New Release: Katelyn’s Choice

The Gilded Age comes to life in this first installment of the Thousand Islands Series!

Katelyn Kavanagh’s mother dreamed her daughter would one day escape the oppressive environment of their Upstate New York farm for service in the enchanting Thousand Islands, home to Gilded Age millionaires. But when her wish comes true, Katelyn finds herself in the service of none other than the famous George Pullman, and the transition proves anything but easy.

Thomas O’Neill, brother of her best friend, is all grown up and also working on Pullman Island. Despite Thomas’ efforts to help the irresistible Katelyn adjust to the intricacies of her new world, she just can’t seem to tame her gossiping tongue—even when the information she’s privy to could endanger her job, the 1872 re-election of Pullman guest President Ulysses S. Grant, and the love of the man of her dreams.

 

 

Here’s an excerpt from Katelyn’s Choice, the first in the Thousand Island Gilded Age series. It releases this Friday, March 15th! Soon, you’ll get to read the entire story.

Katelyn got up and ran to her room to watch the storm from the safety of her window. A quick, torrential shower followed. It only lasted a quarter of an hour and left as quickly as it had come. Before long, the sun burst through the dissolving clouds, so she took her place again on the cool, breezy veranda.

She watched as fish broke the water, seeming to play tag in a joyful game. It reminded her of her childhood, of her friends. If she were a fish, she would surely be a wide-mouth bass, ugly and always fighting the desire to jabber, never able to keep her prattling mouth closed. She wished she were a rainbow trout, beautiful and desirable. But no, she was a bass, ever fighting and flapping her jaws.

The steady beat of the waves along the shore assured her that a divine heartbeat pulsed through this beautiful world that she was a part of. She had the power to choose. Right or wrong, she had to choose. It was terrifying to think of such power on the tip of her tongue. She could choose to speak life. She could choose to spread gossip and birth a deadly virus that could bring pain and hurt to many. She had the freedom to love others enough to hold

her tongue or the freedom to hate and bring death. She even had the power to stay silent when faced with unfair accusations, as Jesus had done. Her choices might be terrible right now, but they were hers alone.

A wave of guilt threatened to engulf her. “Help me, Lord. I’ve been drowning in a sea of words I can’t take back, in prattle that has poisoned, in gossip full of guile. And now, in false accusations because of my errant ways. Change me, Creator! Make me a new creation lest I die in the weeds of my own making. Take my tongue, my words, my thoughts, and my deeds, and make them Yours. Please.”

Tears stung her eyes, and she allowed the dam to burst. Alone on the veranda. Alone with God. With only the river as her witness, Katelyn wept as she’d never wept before. For the loss of her mother. For the abuse of her brothers and her father. But most of all for her wretched tongue. The tongue that hurt others. That abused others with gossip, tales, and prattle that were untrue, half-true, or outright lies. Oh how she wished she could take them all back, rewind time, and make it all right.

To read the entire story of Katelyn’s choice to grow and change and overcome her challenges, click here!

 

 

Pat Nichols on following your dreams

Pat Nichols launched career number two as a novelist after retiring, proving it’s never too late to follow your dreams. Drawing on years of corporate experience, she creates stories about women who face challenges in the pursuit of their dreams. She lives in an Atlanta suburb with her husband of fifty plus years, is the mother of two, and grandmother of three.

Tell us about your newest book.

The Secret of Willow Inn, my debut novel, is the story of two women fighting for their dreams, one who’s long lost hers, are united by tragedy and a long-held secret.

Pregnant with her first child, Emily Hayes is eager to help her mother finish transforming an estate into the Willow Inn and write a novel about Willow Falls’ colorful history.

Sadie Lyles left Willow Falls a murderer who’d killed the town hero. She returns as a despised felon and seeks solace in the town’s café. Emily struggles to unite the close-knit community and becomes Sadie’s biggest advocate.

To appease her father, Rachel Streetman, a VP in his Atlanta real-estate-development firm, relegates her acting dream to secret performances for imaginary audiences. After meeting charming, flirtatious Charlie Bricker, manager for Willow Falls’ future vineyard, she vows to break free from her father’s control.

The tragedy and Willow Inn’s secret past launch Emily and Rachel on a collision course with destiny and truth.

What genre do you focus on and why?

My decision to write women’s contemporary fiction was inspired by my twenty-seven-year corporate career working with amazing women from all walks of life.

Why do you write? What drives you?

The trigger that launched my writing career, which began after I was eligible for social security, was the loss of our Goddaughter. After drifting in and out of our lives for more than thirty years, she succumbed to a long struggle with addiction. I wanted to write a novel based on her life, but with a happy ending.

Who is your main character, and how did you choose that name?

There are two main characters Emily and Rachel. To me Emily seems more down-to-earth, thus the name of my country-girl character, and Rachel more sophisticated. A third key character is a middle-aged quintessential southerner. For her, I chose a southern name, Sadie.

What does a day in your writing world look like?

My day typically begins at 5:30. My goal is to write 1,000 words five sometimes six days a week. In addition, I devote forty-five minutes to marketing and as much time as needed to publishing deadlines. I was accustomed to working sixty hours a week in my corporate career, so long hours come naturally.

What is the hardest part of being an author? Why?

For me, the most difficult part of being an author was learning all the nuances of social media. After all, I’m old enough to remember slide rules, although I never understood how they worked. Fortunately, my daughter and grandchildren have helped me figure it all out.

What’s the best part of your author’s life? Why?

Two things I love most about writing, first the humbling, heart-warming joy that comes when a reader compliments my novel. It’s more exciting and thrilling than getting an A-plus on a term paper. The second-best part in author life is the joy of watching my characters struggle and succeed through life’s ups and downs. I’ve often heard authors say they are intrigued by where their characters take them. Now, I understand what they mean. One benefit of writing a series is following characters on a prolonged journey.

What is the craziest thing you’ve experienced as an author? One advantage the modern author has is the internet. We can explore any topic with the touch of our fingers. It also triggers some unusual responses. After searching couture clothing, I received some unexpected, not-so-welcome ads.

What are you most proud of?

I am proud of and grateful for my beta readers who have provided incredible insight and feedback through my writing journey. Also, on top of the list is Tim, my husband of fifty-plus years. He’s not a reader, yet he listens to my chapters, and finds inconsistencies and errors. He also answers one important question; “Would a man say that?”

What is your favorite pastime?

Tim and I enjoy spending time with family and friends. We’ve ticked off every destination on our travel bucket list, but still like to take an occasional trip.

Do you have other books? We’d love to know.

Willow Falls Series book two is scheduled for release January, 2020. I have two shelved manuscripts. Whether they ever make it to publication is a question without an answer.

What are you working on now?

My current work-in progress is Willow Falls book three, with more to come.

Website:https://patnicholsauthor.blog

Link to book: https://www.amazon.com/dp/1946016772/

Social media links:

https://www.facebook.com/pat.nichols.52459 https://twitter.com/PatNichols16https://www.instagram.com/patnicholsauthor/

 

 

Crystal Bowman on infertility

Crystal Bowman is a best-selling, award-winning author of more than 100 books for children. She has also written several nonfiction books for women. She writes lyrics for children’s piano music and stories for Clubhouse Jr. Magazine. She enjoys being a mentor for MOPS (Mothers of Preschoolers), teaching at writers’ conferences, and spending time with her seven grandkids.

Tell us about your newest book.

When my daughter-in-law Meghann Bowman spent five years going from one infertility doctor to another, she felt alone, discouraged, and isolated. She longed for support and encouragement from others, but this topic isn’t you’re your typical girlfriend conversation. She came to me and said, “We need to write a book!” Mothers in Waiting—Healing and Hope for Those with Empty Arms, is a collection of 30 stories from women ages 30-65, who have experienced infertility. The variety of women and stories allows us to reach a very broad audience. As one contributor wrote: infertility encompasses so much more than not being able to conceive. The book includes stories of miscarriage, adoption, IVF procedures, foster care, and more. The goal of the book is to let women know they are not alone in their painful journey to become a mom.  The contributors walk alongside each reader with sympathy and understanding, as well as offering hope from God’s Word.

What genre do you focus on and why?

I am best known for my children’s picture books, board books, Bible storybooks, and devotions for kids, so this book is outside of that genre. But it’s still about a love for children and couples wanting to bring children into their home. My life has always centered around children, and this book fits with that.

Why do you write? What drives you?

I write because it’s my passion and God-given gift. Writing for me is like breathing—I can’t not write. I want my words to offer hope and encouragement, and most of all point readers to Jesus.

What does a day in your writing world look like?

For me, every day is different, and it depends on my current writing projects. If I am under a tight deadline or working on a major project, I might write 10-12 hours. Otherwise, I write a few hours almost every day. My writing world not only includes books, but also blogs, magazine articles, and short devotionals.

What is the hardest part of being an author? Why?

Keeping up with social media and marketing is time consuming, but it is necessary. I have hired someone to manage my website because I couldn’t keep up with the technology and the demands of keeping it current.

What’s the best part of your author’s life? Why?

Touching lives and sharing God’s love with my audience of readers. When I get an email from someone who says my words encouraged them—that’s the best!

What is the craziest thing you’ve experienced as an author?

One time I was on staff for a writer’s conference, and my email address was incorrect, so another Crystal Bowman keep getting all the group emails with details about the conference. She was not happy and sent some harsh emails in response. One of my friends who was also on staff figured out what was going on and we finally got things corrected. I sent an email to the entire staff letting them know those emails were not from me. I also contacted the “other” Crystal Bowman to apologize and she kindly replied. To this day, if she gets an email intended for me, she forwards it to me.

What are you most proud of?

That I can co-author books with my daughter and daughter-in-law.

What is your favorite pastime?

Spending time with my grandkids.

Do you have other books? We’d love to know.

My daughter, Teri McKinley, and I are co-authors for Our Daily Bread for Kids (Discovery House). We have several titles for different ages: Our Daily Bread for Kids(ages 6-12); Our Daily Bread for Preschoolers; and 6 board books under the brand: Our Daily Bread for Little Hearts. We also published M is for Manger (Tyndale), which has been a popular Christmas book.

What are you working on now?

I’m working on Our Daily Bread for Kids coloring and activity Easter book—so fun!

Website: www.crystalbowman.com

Link to book:

https://www.harvesthousepublishers.com/books/mothers-in-waiting-9780736975360

Social media links:www.faecbook.com/crystal.bowman

www.facebook.com/crystaljboman

www.christianchildrensauthers.com

 

 

Bob Hostetler on bedtime stories

Bob Hostetler is an author, speaker, and literary agent whose fifty books include Don’t Check Your Brains at the Door (coauthored with Josh McDowell) and The Bard and the Bible (A Shakespeare Devotional). He lives in southwest Ohio. 

 

Tell us about your newest book.

Don’t Close Your Eyes is a silly rhyming bedtime book. I have long been a lover and reader of children’s books and have read hundreds to my children and grandchildren. So I thought it would be fun to try using reverse psychology and the power of suggestion to coax children to sleep win the most entertaining way. And the illustrations, by Mark Chambers, enhance that purpose beautifully.

What genre do you focus on and why?

Focus? What’s that? I write fiction and nonfiction, devotionals, and ministry helps, from How to Survive the End of the World to the historical novels, Northkill and The Return (based on events in my Amish family’s history).

Why do you write? What drives you?

I can’t NOT write. Sometimes I’m not even sure what I think until it flows from my mind through my fingers and onto a screen or page. Writing is a big part of how I think and process and express myself. 

Who is your main character, and how did you choose that name?

Don’t Close Your Eyes is a series of quatrains an adult reads to a child, so I guess the main character is the child—though the delightful illustrations feature animal families (owls, squirrels, rabbits, etc.), so they play a part too.

What does a day in your writing world look like?

I ease into my writing days, praying and reading and doing busywork (email, paying bills, writing short pieces, etc.) before getting into the day’s writing tasks. Usually by mid-afternoon I’m in the zone and, if it’s going well, at the keyboard until 5 or 6. Those are the good days. The not-so-good days….well, let’s not talk about them.

What is the hardest part of being an author? Why?

The money. Seriously, it’s not the easiest way to make a living. 

What’s the best part of your author’s life? Why?

I get to do what I love. I get to play with words. I get to dig into the Word. I get to rub shoulders with writers and readers. I get to talk about words and books and God and His Word and writers and readers.

What is the craziest thing you’ve experienced as an author?

I was once in a pitch meeting with a major publisher, passionately describing a novel idea that was going to be a bestseller, for sure. But the editor’s countenance kept falling, lower and lower, until he finally stopped me and said, “I hate to tell you this, but that story is already half written. By [a well-known author].” Who had pitched virtually the same storyline about six months earlier. 

What are you most proud of?

My humility.

What is your favorite pastime?

Reading. Duh. I usually read 100 or so books a year. But I also like hiking, seeing the Cincinnati Reds play, and enjoying weekly dates with my lovely wife.

Do you have other books? We’d love to know.

Thanks for asking. Most are listed on the “books” section of my website, from The Red Letter Life and The Red Letter Prayer Life to The Bone Box and Life Stinks…And Then You Die.

What are you working on now?

Lots. I hope to finish a new proposal on ancient values and practices that can draw us closer to God today…if we’ll take even just a few steps in those directions. 

Website: www.bobhostetler.com

Link to book: https://www.thomasnelson.com/9781400209651/dont-close-your-eyes/

 

The Thousand Islands Gilded Age comes to life!

Did you know the U.S. Gilded Age and the Thousand Islands Gilded Age is historically from 1870 to the early 1900s? It was a time of great economic growth, a time when European immigrants flooded into the U.S., and a time of railroads expanding America at an alarming rate.

Mark Twain first coined the term in his 1873 novel The Gilded Age: A Tale of Today. In it he used satire to show this time period as one of masking social problems with thin gold gilding.

He had a point. It was a time of rich and poor, servant and served, beauty and trouble. In my Thousand Islands Gilded Age series, I show what those days were like through the history and setting of the beautiful Thousand Islands in Upstate New York. My stories are a kind of Downton-Abbey-meets-the-Thousand-Islands, but from the perspective of the servant girl.

In 1872, George M. Pullman invited President Grant to visit his small island during the reelection campaign. In so doing—and thanks to hungry journalists—he launched a season of the rich and famous buying lots of the Thousand Islands and building castles, mansions, and magnificent summer homes. Those islands, those homes have delightful, intriguing, and often poignant stories to tell. And I aim to tell a lot of those stories!

In Katelyn’s Choice, The Gilded Age comes to life in this first installment of the Thousand Islands Series!

Katelyn Kavanagh’s mother dreamed her daughter would one day escape the oppressive environment of their Upstate New York farm for service in the enchanting Thousand Islands, home to Gilded Age millionaires. But when her wish comes true, Katelyn finds herself in the service of none other than the famous George Pullman, and the transition proves anything but easy.

Thomas O’Neill, brother of her best friend, is all grown up and also working on Pullman Island. Despite Thomas’ efforts to help the irresistible Katelyn adjust to the intricacies of her new world, she just can’t seem to tame her gossiping tongue—even when the information she’s privy to could endanger her job, the 1872 re-election of Pullman guest President Ulysses S. Grant, and the love of the man of her dreams.

Here’s an excerpt from Katelyn’s Choice, the first in the Thousand Island Gilded Age series. It releases on March 15th! I hope it’ll whet your imagination and desire to read the entire story.

Even at breakfast, Katelyn marveled that the swirl of fumes didn’t choke President Grant as he continued his cigar smoking. After she poured his coffee—without incident—she responded to his wink with a relieved smile and stepped back in line.

Mr. Pullman took a generous slurp of coffee and set the cup down. “How did you fare the night, sir?”

The president stopped cutting his omelet and gazed wistfully out the window and then at Mr. Pullman. “My repose was most assuredly that of genuine enjoyment, a wonderful treat during this harried campaign. This blue bosom of the mighty St. Lawrence held me in its spell all the night long, enchanting me with a dream of a quiet piece of heaven and that of calmer affairs than I have had in a long while. Pullman, old chap, you respite on one of the myriads of gems you call an island. I call it a bit of paradise.”

Mrs. Pullman sent a pleased glance toward her husband, who gave her a slight nod. “I am delighted you rested well, sir, and you are most welcome here anytime.” She took one of the dainty muffins that Katelyn offered from a silver platter.

The first lady turned to Mrs. Pullman. “It is a delightful place. I should think every island here will be quickly scooped up by those who can afford such a summer’s rest.”

President Grant agreed and smiled so lovingly at his wife that Katelyn wondered if he would get up and kiss her at the breakfast table. “Did you know I spent four years stationed at the Madison Barracks in Sackets Harbor? It was beautiful, to be sure, but not like these islands.” He went on to talk about the War of 1812 battlegrounds and the quaint little town on the shore of Lake Ontario, not fifty miles from there. “It got mighty cold in the winter, and the snow? Never saw the like of it. One winter we had near ten feet of it, and a nasty blizzard nearly froze us all to death.”

Mr. Pullman laughed. “Yes, that’s why the Thousand Islands is only a summer spot.”