Wednesday Words – Erin Unger (GIVEAWAY)

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Please welcome author Erin Unger to The West Corner! She’s here today talking about books. Giveaway details are at the end of her post!

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Thanks so much for having me today!

Books are powerful. Whole other worlds unfold in a few well-stated sentences. There’s nothing like that feeling a reader gets when the perfect book is open on their lap and it pulls them in on the first page. It’s like a gift. Sometimes they make us rethink long held ideas. At times they mirror what we’re going through. And sometimes they remind us of areas in our lives we haven’t worked on.

But not every book is for every person. Sometimes it’s not the best seller that struck the right cord or the book everyone’s reading, it’s the one you stumbled upon on a special or heard of from a friend. It’s a God-ordained tool to show us His ways and plans.

As Christian writers, the power to transform is even more in our hands. We have the ability to show how great our God is and how he works in the most unusual ways at times. We use our gift to do more than only entertain, we want to make Him more real to our readers. We want to show them how to grow and change as our characters do. And it’s amazing that we can use fiction to do so.

Next time you pick up a book, see if you can find the message hidden in the character’s struggles. Maybe God used a writer to put it there just for you to learn from.

Comment below for a chance to win an eBook of Practicing Murder, and leave your email. Five people must comment for a prize to be given.

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About the Author

photo of author Erin UngerErin Unger was raised in the hills of Virginia, exploring abandoned houses and reading the scariest books she could find. After marrying so young it would make a great romance novel, she has enjoyed an exciting life with her hubby. But her fast-paced life sometimes rivals the suspense in her books thanks to all her mostly grown children and a couple grandkids. Her novel, Practicing Murder, releases March 29, 2019.

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram

Practicing Murder cover artBook Description

Graduate student Maddie Clare is never talking to her ex-boyfriend Joze Evans or God again. Broken from her past and Joze’s betrayal, she must go home for her Aunt Lonna’s funeral. But after a run-in with a stalker, who insists Maddie knows the secret that had Aunt Lonna investigating him, she’s afraid for her life and must accept Joze’s protection.

As the stalker draws closer, how will Maddie and Joze face the past and their love that never died? And will Maddie stay out of the stalker’s grip long enough to figure out what secret he possesses?

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Practicing Murder is available from Amazon and Pelican Book Group.

Read a Romance for Valentine’s Day

Happy Valentine’s Day! Since today is all about love, it’s the perfect time to read a romance. Here are a few of mine for you to check out.

Escaping the Past

Escaping the Past cover artTrue love never dies, but can it overcome mistakes of the past?

When Felicia Coronado’s soon-to-be ex-husband kidnaps her daughter on a remote mountain road, she must rely on the assistance of a group of soldiers in the area for a training exercise. She’s stunned to discover the soldier in charge is the high school sweetheart she never thought she would see again.

Lieutenant Mark Benson never stopped loving Felicia, even after she dumped him before their senior prom. Now, six years later, he learns the truth behind why she left him. Can he forgive her for the past and give her a chance for the future once her divorce is final, or will he help find her missing daughter and leave Felicia behind?

This short romance was originally published in Second Chances: A Love Anthology.

Read an excerpt HERE.

Redeeming Honor

RedeemingHonor_w12418_300Meghan Carpenter loves God, her yarn business, and her twin brother Ryan — a former marine who currently lives with her. When she agrees to let his wounded buddy live with them on her small Indiana alpaca farm, she expects an American marine. What she gets is a former Afghan interpreter who’s painfully shy around women.

Scarred from the war, both physically and emotionally, Basir Hamidi is grateful for a place to live. But his attraction to Meghan is a problem. With his honor destroyed by events in his homeland, and nothing to offer her but his broken, scarred self, he vows to avoid her and protect her reputation. Yet he is drawn to her with a strength that can only be God’s leading. For a man who has lost everything, letting go of the past is a difficult process. When he must also redeem his honor, his only chance of success is to rely on God.

Read an excerpt HERE.

Bogota Blessings

Bogota Blessings cover art
Bogota Blessings

When Kayla Shaw travels to Bogotá to help renovate a house for a mission to street children, nothing can prepare her for the ever-present mission employee Mateo Luis. He looks like he could be one of the rebels who have caused so much fear throughout Colombia. Then she begins to see him with her heart instead of only her eyes.

Mateo Luis Gómez Días has dedicated his life to the mission, and he’s determined to help as many street children as he can. Unfortunately, he can’t keep his thoughts off the beautiful American helping renovate the new children’s home. Although he would love to have a relationship with Kayla, his past and the bad neighborhood God has called him to serve in prevent him from pursuing her.

Has God truly led Kayla and Mateo to each other, or does He have something else in mind for their lives?

Read an excerpt HERE.

Finding the Way Back

Finding the Way Back cover artA field agent betrayed, tortured, and broken. Can the gentle love of his nurse heal his wounds?

Ian Grant withstood captivity and ruthless torture on his latest mission. Now home, his body slowly heals from the deep physical injuries. His mind, though, refuses to mend — and his voice refuses to return. Unable to answer the persistent questions of his superior agents, Ian grows despondent. Until he meets beautiful nurse practitioner, Hazel Baker.

Hazel’s job is to treat bodies, but compassion calls her to heal Ian’s deeper wounds. Agreeing to care for him long-term from her home, Hazel sees how PTSD unravels Ian’s thoughts and behavior. He seems a mental mess, but the warmth in his eyes shows promise, and when he interacts with her four-year-old daughter, the single mother catches a vision of resiliency even Ian doesn’t see any longer.

As Hazel and Ian work on his recovery together, Agency corruption threatens his peace. His trauma can be put to rest only by regaining his voice and speaking against the brutality. Can Hazel’s sweet love help him find the way back to the man he used to be?

Read an excerpt HERE.

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Share a romance book in the comments for others to enjoy!

Monday Mentions – The Waiting by Carol James

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Please welcome Carol James to The West Corner! She’s here today with her brand new inspirational romance, The Waiting.

The Waiting cover artBook Description

When Katherine Herrington was a teenager, she made “The List” and believed God would bring her the husband she desired. That faith helped her to keep life under control just the way she likes it. But then Katherine loses her mother, her job, and her boyfriend, and after years of praying, she accepts the probability that God’s answer is, “No.”

A professional soccer player, Sam Tucker has lived the life of a celebrity in the UK only to discover that, despite all the wealth and fame he has acquired, his life is empty. He returns to the one place where life last had meaning, and goes in search of the one woman he’s loved since he was a teenager—Katherine. He wonders if she’ll remember him after all these years… And fears she just might.

As God weaves together a rejected proposal, a mission trip, and a devastating storm to turn their hearts toward Him and toward each other, Katherine and Sam will have to let go of their fears, find forgiveness and trust, and realize that their future together was worth the wait.

Excerpt

As a gust of wind blew rain into the small cave, Katherine shivered again, and Sam turned his back to the doorway in the rock to shelter her from the cold. He held her close, and while habit told her to pull away, she refused to obey as the old Katherine would have done. Instead, she placed her head back on his shoulder, and he began slowly swaying back and forth as if they were dancing. Stepping out of the boat meant taking risks she’d never taken before. And yet something about him felt safe.

“Hey.” Barely audible above the splatting of the rain against the river rocks, his whisper warmed her hair.

In response, she turned her face up toward his. They were eyelashes apart.

“Whatcha thinking?”

How close you are.“Nothing.”

“Nothing?” His eyes probed hers until he had to be able to read her thoughts. “I’m pretty sure that’s impossible.”

How close you are. And how much I like it. “Nothing…really.”

“Sorry, but I’m not buying.” He gently rested his forehead against hers. “Let me see if I can pick up some telepathic communications here. Look into my eyes.”

She was floating in the ocean, the sunlight sparkling on the gentle, cerulean waves. Kiss me. “Sam, I—”

“Quiet, please. I need total silence to ensure accurate results.” As she continued to stare into the blue pools, tiny lines crinkled at the outer edges, and he drew his head away. “I got it.”

“You have, have you?” For some ridiculous reason her voice quivered.

“Yes. You have a question you want to ask me.”

“Oh, I do? And what would that be?”

“You’re wondering why I haven’t tried to kiss you.”

Her face was on fire as she moved away. There’s no way he could have possibly known her thoughts.

“And you think it might be because I’m not attracted to you.” He entwined his fingers with hers and then raised their clasped hands to draw her back to him. “But you’re wrong.”

The rain had slowed to a gentle sprinkle as the storm marched on downstream. In minutes, the two of them would exit the cave, and these moments of forced intimacy would be gone as quickly as they had come. She needed to take advantage of the little time they had left. “Why haven’t you then? Every other man I’ve ever dated would have at least tried by now.”

“I’m not every other man.”

He was right about that.

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The Waiting is available from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, and Pelican Book Group.

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About the Author

photo of author Carol JamesCarol James is an author of inspirational fiction. She lives in a small town outside of Atlanta, Georgia with her husband, Jim, and a perky Jack Russell “Terrorist,” Zoe.

Having always loved intriguing stories with happy endings, she was moved to begin writing to encourage others as she’d been encouraged by the works of other authors of inspirational fiction.

Carol enjoys spending time with her husband, children, and grandchildren, traveling with friends, and serving in the production department at her church. And, most days in the late hours of the night or the wee hours of the morning, she can be found bringing her newest novel to life.

Connect with Carol James online

Website
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Twitter

Wednesday Words – Marilyn Leach

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Please welcome author Marilyn Leach to The West Corner! She’s here today to talk about Christmas shopping in England.

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I took a deep inhale of the scent that was a midday English mist and fingered the floral inspired book mark in my hand. A deluge of muted pinks, blues, and purples, it was a gift from an artist’s heart, crafted by hand, on offer in a tiny shop some would consider far too narrow and cramped to be successful. Three people plus the shop clerk nearly filled this humble place. I was Christmas shopping in the village of Lacock, Wiltshire, England.

photo fo English shop decorated for Christmas

My mind flashed to the mall near my Colorado home where over-crowded bustling, bright lights, and expensive shopping lists reigned.

My gift-buying in the tiny shop was an introduction to the fact that Christmas in England is a calmer, truly heart-warming, and much less commercialized affair.

Done with our shopping task, my English friends and I walked to the Carpenter Arms pub where we had a yummy lunch. The sizable blackboard, where menu offerings were posted, invited all to enjoy free mince pies and a caroling sing-song with the local church choir to be held that evening in the pub. The warmth of the fireplace added an extra tug to the event, but we had to make our way back to Berkshire and the Harris family home where we would continue preparations for friends dropping round for aperitifs.

Our celebration of Christ’s birth included visits to family in London and Hertfordshire, a midnight candle light service on Christmas Eve, lamb roast for Christmas dinner, the panto, and trips to decorated manor houses. But, I will forever remember Christmas shopping in a small English village.

About the Author

photo of author Marilyn LeachThough Marilyn Leach grew up in the Western United States, she became a dyed-in-the-wool British enthusiast after exploring the UK and making friends there. Her travels throughout England color her life and written works. Her most recent work includes the Berdie Elliott Mystery series a series of English whodunits that tickle the brain and add a giggle or two. Marilyn lives lakeside on the Front Range of Colorado.

Amazon | Website | Pelican Book Group

 

Candle for a Corpse cover artBook Description

Candle for a Corpse: A Berdie Elliott Advent Mystery by Marilyn Leach is a Christmas whodunit with plot twists, shifty suspects, and loving villagers. All of it’s sprinkled with English grace and humor. Who would believe an advent wreath could solve a murder? It can when Berdie Elliott’s at hand, a vicar’s wife and sleuth extraordinaire. Fresh brewed tea, and high adventure with a spoonful of romance make the season bright.

Candle for a Corpse is available from Amazon.

Wednesday Words – Barbara M. Britton

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Please welcome author Barbara M. Britton to The West Corner! She’s here today to talk about platform.

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Platform: Not The Clunky Shoe From The 70s

Every year I peel hundreds of apples for a Christian school’s apple pie fundraiser. I enjoy the community, great snacks, and conversation. This year I sat beside a high schooler who would like to make it big in country music. He has plans to migrate to Nashville after graduation. I asked him if he had his music on social media, and he shook his head.

Here’s where the mother and author in me took over. I explained that he needed a platform and needed one now, years before he headed south to Tennessee. It isn’t easy being an artist in 2018 whether it’s writing or singing. Record companies and book publishers don’t want to start at square one with an artist. Having thousands of followers on social media translates into sales. With all things being equal, a company or publisher will take an artist with thousands of followers over an artist with a big goose egg when their name is Googled.

How do I know this? I’ve received the “you don’t have a big enough platform” spiel from an agent who liked one of my manuscripts. The story was good enough to show to an editor at a publishing house, but because I didn’t have the ‘followers’ needed to produce sales, I was rejected. Ouch!

What did I do after the rejection? I’ve worked steadily to build my followers on Twitter, Facebook, and to build a mailing list. At a recent conference, a literary agent said an aggregate of 5,000 followers across all social media platforms and your mailing list should be a goal for authors. Thousands of followers takes time to produce. And you want viable followers, followers who relate to you and like your art, not just followers who are using social media to find a wife.

My advice to the future country music star, was to start building followers on social media and to look into getting a domain name for a website. Platform can also be built with in-person meetings. Authors can teach workshops or classes. Professional organizations are a great way to meet fellow authors who become friends in the cyber world, too. Musicians can play at a local venue just as authors do local book signings.

If you are looking to start a career as an artist, diving into the social media world is a must-do in today’s technology-driven world. The earlier you start, the better. It’s the same strategy as making 3800 apple pies.

About the Author

photo of author Barbara M. BrittonBarbara M. Britton lives in Wisconsin and writes Christian Fiction for teens and adults. She has a nutrition degree from Baylor University but loves to dip healthy strawberries in chocolate. Barb brings little-known Bible characters to light in her Tribes of Israel series. She is a member of RWA, WisRWA, SCBWI and ACFW.

Website | Facebook | Twitter

Jerusalem Rising cover artBook Description

When Adah bat Shallum finds the governor of Judah weeping over the crumbling wall of Jerusalem, she learns the reason for Nehemiah’s unexpected visit—God has called him to rebuild the wall around the City of David.

Nehemiah challenges the men of Jerusalem to labor on the wall and in return, the names of their fathers will be written in the annals for future generations to cherish. But Adah has one sister and no brothers. Should her father who rules a half-district of Jerusalem be forgotten forever?

Adah bravely vows to rebuild her city’s wall, though she soon discovers that Jerusalem not only has enemies outside of the city, but also within. Can Adah, her sister, and the men they love, honor God’s call? Or will their mission be crushed by the same rocks they hope to raise.

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Jerusalem Rising is available from Amazon.

Monday Mentions – The Putting Green Whisperer by Zoe M. McCarthy

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Please welcome Zoe M. McCarthy to The West Corner! She’s here today with her latest Christian romance novel, The Putting Green Whisperer.

Book Description

The Putting Green Whisperer cover artSuddenly unemployed, Allie Masterson returns home to Cary, North Carolina where she caddies for her father on the PGA Seniors Tour. There, she encounters a man who possesses an alluring gift of reading the contours of the green. Fascinated with his uncanny ability, Allie is excited to meet the Green Whisperer—until she discovers that the easygoing caddy is actually Shoo Leonard, the boy who teased her relentlessly when they were kids. Despite Allie’s reservations, when Shoo is faced with having to overcome a hand injury, she agrees to use her sport science degree to become his trainer…and then she falls for him.

Shoo Leonard is grateful to Allie for her singular determination to get him ready for the PGA tour, but he isn’t ready for anything more. Still raw from a broken engagement and focused on his career, he’s content to be her fist-bumping buddy…but then he falls for her.

What seems like a happily-ever-after on the horizon takes a turn when Allie decides she’s become a distraction to Shoo’s career. Is it time for her to step away or can The Putting Green Whisperer find the right words to make her stay?

Excerpt

What was that all about? Shoo stared at the retreating caddy, whose blonde ponytail protruding from the back of her golf cap danced wildly as she hurried off. He craned his neck to keep her in sight as she wove through the caddies on the cart path.

Approaching him, she’d seemed like a girl on a mission. Her striking blue eyes, bright against her tanned skin, had focused on him, as if she’d rediscovered an old friend. No doubt about it, her smile had beamed at him. Then, bam! She’d done an about-face and slammed into the check-in table.

But he didn’t know her. Did he?

He mentally scanned his female acquaintances. No match surfaced. Unlikely he’d have forgotten the petite blonde.

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The Putting Green Whisperer is available from Amazon.

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About the Author

photo of author Zoe M. McCarthyA full-time writer and speaker, Zoe M. McCarthy writes contemporary Christian romances involving tenderness and humor. She is the author of The Invisible Woman in a Red Dress, Gift of the Magpie, and Calculated Risk. Believing opposites distract, Zoe creates heroes and heroines who learn to embrace their differences. Zoe and her husband live in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia.

Connect with Zoe McCarthy online

Website

Wednesday Words – Erin Unger

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Please welcome author Erin Unger to The West Corner!

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Never give up! It sounds so easy to say but at times nearly impossible to do, right? Well, God had to show me a thing or two about waiting on Him and not giving up. My writing journey wasn’t this beautiful gallop across the meadows into publication. As a matter of fact, it was more like the ‘are we there yet, National Lampoons Vacation’ type with one misadventure after another. …And I almost gave up many times. I even stopped writing for almost a full year in my attempt to show God I wasn’t supposed to be the writer He called me to be.

I learned some valuable lessons through that time—like don’t even try to talk God into a different plan. I tracked forward and then backtracked like a million times. And don’t think I didn’t want to do it His way once I returned to His will. But finding it was like a scavenger hunt in the pitch black. Move forward, hit your nose on a brick wall. Turn left, stub your big toe. Go back the way you came. But it was all worth the wait—and the learning—to do it God’s way and in His time. He says:

Lamentations 3:5 The Lord is good to those who wait for him, to the soul who seeks him.

I have a full year of harvest in 2019! Five of my romantic suspense novels will be releasing throughout the year. Because I didn’t give up.

If you know God called you to do something, keep pressing forward. Work through the obstacles and learn from them. Grow strong in your faith as you seek the finish line. He’s there waiting to bless you and love on you.

About the Author

photo of author Erin UngerErin Unger was raised in the hills of Virginia, exploring abandoned houses and reading the scariest books she could find. After marrying so young it would make a great romance novel, she has enjoyed an exciting life with her hubby. But her fast-paced life sometimes rivals the suspense in her books thanks to all her mostly grown children and a couple grandkids. Her novel, Practicing Murder, releases March 29, 2019.

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram

Practicing Murder cover artBook Description

Graduate student Maddie Clare is never talking to her ex-boyfriend Joze Evans or God again. Broken from her past and Joze’s betrayal, she must go home for her Aunt Lonna’s funeral. But after a run-in with a stalker, who insists Maddie knows the secret that had Aunt Lonna investigating him, she’s afraid for her life and must accept Joze’s protection.

As the stalker draws closer, how will Maddie and Joze face the past and their love that never died? And will Maddie stay out of the stalker’s grip long enough to figure out what secret he possesses?