Devyn’s Dilemma…an excerpt

I hope you’ve had a chance to enjoy Devyn’s Dilemma, book two of The Thousand Islands Gilded Age series. If not, I wanted to whet your interest with a short excerpt:

The scent of lavender pleased Brice’s senses as Devyn passed by him and entered the panty.

He had been happy to find the bonnie lass exploring the dining room with the endearing wonder of a child as he happened upon the open door—and even more gratified by her apology.

But then there was her flummoxing reaction to the river views.

Such a curious combination of sweetness and something that seemed to border on bitterness. What would make this fair fawn so skittish, so resentful of the great St. Lawrence River? Had she had a near-drowning experience? Could she have toppled over from a boat and feared for her life?

His imagination ran wild with the possibilities, but as it did, his heart began to hurt for her. Surely something, or someone, had turned her against the river. Was it Falan? Could that scrappy lad have terrorized her somehow? Brice didn’t doubt that he might have been the culprit. If he harassed her in any way during their tenure here, her brother would have to reckon with him.

Devyn’s voice tore him from his thoughts. “This pantry is far grander than Mother’s tiny kitchen—and far more luxuriously equipped.” He followed her gaze as she surveyed the fully stocked room. Fine china, elegant stemware, and ornate chafing dishes filled the shelves. “That sink and those warming ovens are huge. And I’ve never seen the likes of those cut-glass cupboards!” She turned and pointed at an open box. “Is this the dumbwaiter?”

Brice nodded. “It is. You work it like this.” He pulled a heavy rope, lowering the wooden box until it was out of sight. “Now it’s down in the kitchen, and Cook can send up the hot food when it’s time for dinner. Mahlon, the butler, or his staff, can set the food here in the warming ovens until it’s ready to be served.” He pointed to the two modern contraptions.

“I’ve never seen such wonders in all my life!” Her eyes twinkled like the stars.

“You’ve seen but a few of the marvels that are here. Maybe I’ll run into you again so I can show you more of them.” He allowed himself a teasing wink in her direction. “But now, off with you afore the missus tans your hide.”

Brice smiled broadly as he waved her away.

I hope you enjoyed this little taste of Devyn’s Dilemma. Click here to get your copy today!




Meet author Patricia Beal

Patricia Beal writes contemporary romance and women’s fiction. She is a Genesis Award semi-finalist, First Impressions finalist, and the author of A Season to Dance (Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas, 2017). She writes from Fayetteville, North Carolina.

Tell us about your newest book.

Desert Willow is a love song to the City of El Paso, to family, and to Prince Harry.

What inspired you to write Desert Willow?

Desert Willow started as a NaNoWriMo project in 2015 and has a lot of my grandma’s history in it—life in the German colonies of the south of Brazil, the beginning of the shoe industry there, and the story of the most influential man her town has ever known, my great-grandfather.

What does that have to do with El Paso and Prince Harry?

Well, my Prince Harry lookalike, a young Army captain named Andrew Lee James who lives in El Paso, is helping the protagonist deliver her grandmother’s last love letter, a letter she was urged to write all those years ago after what happened in Brazil.

How would you describe this book to someone in a 30-second blurb?

A stubborn ballerina and a charming young officer are brought together by an old woman’s dying wish and last love letter.

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

Clara Malone. I wanted a name that was easy to pronounce in English and also in Portuguese, should this story end up published back home in Brazil, like the debut.

What is your work schedule like when you’re writing a book?

I like thinking about the writing all week and then putting it on paper on Saturday.

What is the hardest part of being an author?

Christians who judge you and your writing. I write beauty from ashes stories, so there are broken parts needing to be made whole. That bothers some people.

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

When readers tell me they finally understand the Gospel because of my writing.

What’s one unusual fact about you?

I love my day job. I’m an Army Special Operations Forces civilian employee, and there isn’t a thing I would rather do with my life. What a privilege to serve alongside America’s best, helping them in the fight against our Nation’s adversaries.

How have you changed or grown as a writer?

My first novel was first person women’s fiction. The new one is deep third person romance. Learning how to do deep third person was great, but I discovered that I’m stronger writing first person women’s fiction. I enjoy it more too. So that’s the direction I will go in the future.

What is your favorite pastime?

Other than working, it’s dancing ballet.

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

A Season to Dance, the debut, the book of my heart, the book that wrote me. God had me writing my own salvation story, and I had no idea.

What are you working on now?

I have two works in progress: Kindred Spirits and The Seven Lives I Never Lived. Visit my website or those WIPs’ Pinterest boards for more info. Thank you so much for having me here!


Link to book:

Social media links:







Blog: (group)


Happy Birthday to Devyn’s Dilemma!

Happy Birthday, Devyn’s Dilemma. My second book in the Thousand Islands Gilded Age series has finally released! Here’s the storyline:

Longing for love, can she escape the shadows that follow her to Dark Island?

1910, Thousand Islands, New York. Others may consider The Towers castle on Dark Island an enchanting summer retreat, but to Devyn McKenna, it’s a prison. Yet as she works as a maid for Frederick Bourne, former president of the Singer Sewing Machine Company, her life blossoms under the kindness of his family and fascinating entrepreneurs such as J.P. Morgan, Thomas Lipton, and Captain Vanderbilt. But more than anything, the growing friendship of Mr. Bourne’s valet, Brice McBride, begins to pry away the painful layers that conceal Devyn’s heart.

Brice is drawn to the mysterious Devyn even though he’s certain she’s hiding a secret, one far more dangerous than the clues they find in The Towers that hint of a treasure on the island. When Devyn is accused of stealing Bourne’s investment in Vanderbilt’s New York City subway expansion, he might not be able to protect her.

I love connecting with my readers and getting the word out about my newest releases, but no matter how you cut it, it’s a lot of work to let others know about any book baby you birth.

The reality is, there are so many books out there that it’s easy for Devyn’s Dilemma, Sara’s Surprise, Katelyn’s Choice, Christmas Charity, or The Fabric of Hope to get lost in the crowd. Would you be willing to help me in getting the word out?

Would you help me promote my book? It’s the best gift you can give an author. Here’s some ideas:

  1. Post an Amazon review. Your review doesn’t need to be fancy. Just a sentence or two would be great. Here’s the link:
  2. Post on Social Media. Share posts about Devyn’s Dilemma (or anything else you like) as well as post comments! You can post your review on your social media pages, and I can also email you other helpful stuff (Facebook posts, Tweets, etc.) that you can copy and use at your leisure.
  3. Take pictures. Post photos of you with the book (even holding it in your hands or on your lap), on a library or store shelf, at a book club, with your dog, etc., and be sure to tag me.
  4. Pass the word. Tell your friends, family, local library, etc.
  5. If you have a blog and would like me to be a guest blogger, I’d love to do that. Or if you know of someone who has a blog who might be interested in interviewing me, a personal introduction would be greatly appreciated.
  6. If you have a book club, I’d love to be a guest author for it in person or through Skype, Google Hangout, etc.

The truth is, word-of-mouth is the most powerful way to make a book successful. Thanks, for joining me on the journey. You are a blessing!




Meet marriage expert Sandra Glahn

Dr. Sandra Glahn is a professor at Dallas Theological Seminary. She is the author or coauthor of more than twenty books, including Vindicating the Vixens: Revisiting Sexualized, Marginalized, and Vilified Women of the Bible (Kregel Academic). Her areas of study are first-century backgrounds, women in public ministry, arts and culture, and sexual ethics.

Tell us about your newest book.

Years ago, I teamed up with a theologically-trained medical doctor to collaborate on a male/female-authored book on marital intimacy, Sexual Intimacy in Marriage (Kregel). At the time, the best-known Christian books on the market about sex were written only by males, and they lacked some essential research about women—not to mention a female perspective. We have re-republished several editions of the book since that first release—especially considering that the internet has changed access to pornography, and couples are waiting longer to marry.

What inspired you to write a fourth edition of Sexual Intimacy in Marriage?

Initially, we felt the female part of the marriage equation was missing. Since the last edition, my dear physician-coauthor suddenly passed away from a heart-related condition. So this time around, we’ve included a new chapter from a marriage therapist specializing in sexual addiction. We also take into account that the U.S. Supreme Court has redefined marriage, and we incorporate new research. We also talk more about same-sex attraction and its effect on heterosexual marriage.

How would you describe this book to someone in a 30-second blurb?

Sexual Intimacy in Marriage is a physician/theologian, male/female look at God’s beautiful design for marital intimacy—which certainly includes sex but also takes into account the marriage relationship and the context in which sex is most likely to thrive. The book includes sex through the life cycle, exploring the changes humans undergo as they age and how these changes affect their intimate lives.

What genre do you focus on and why?

Although I have written four novels, all in the medical suspense category, my primary focus is non-fiction. Lately, I have especially concentrated on the intersection of the Bible/theology on topics relating to sex and gender. So often the tone of such conversations (on both sides of the debates) has been vitriolic, and I’m hoping to help readers converse more winsomely.

Why do you write? What drives you?

I can’t not write. I love getting lost in the zone of ideas. As soon as I could hold a fat pencil over dotted lines, I started writing. And all these decades later, I’m still at it.

What is your work schedule like when you’re writing a book?

I pull a lot of my content from blog posts I’ve written for on Engage (their blog for women in Christian leadership), where I post twice a month. My academic schedule perfectly complements my writing life; during summers and between semesters, I have nice blocks of days for cranking out content. I do better writing in blocks of time than writing in “snippets. I read somewhere that when most writers get interrupted, it takes twenty-five minutes to get back in “the zone.” I would never even make it to the “zone” if I tried to write for fifteen minutes here or ten minutes there. When I do have those snippets of time, I work on social media. Or I outline where I plan to go or make lists of what research I need to track down. Or I read an article.

During the part of the year when I’m teaching, I may write for an hour per day. But I don’t spend all that time crafting paragraphs that become pages that become chapters. Instead, I’m writing blog posts, reviewing books (often writing summaries of research), and copying answers I wrote to people in emails. All this sits until I can organize it into something larger. Every Sunday when I can, I spend the entire afternoon reading. The information I gather feeds into the blog posts, which feed into the books. Reading is a big part of writing for me.

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

It’s easy to underestimate how much time I need for thinking and processing. It takes a long time to come up with a great chapter title, for example. I’m told that the table of contents is second only to the cover in influencing a reader to buy a book. But it’s easy to think I can come up with a title in five minutes. Wrong!

If I sit staring out the window, I can look extremely unproductive. But good writing requires that thinking and processing. We tend to think of writing as sitting at a desk and, well, writing. But a lot of writing is thinking. I often tell my students that 90 percent of writing is actually having something worth saying.

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

I love knowing that I have helped people gain a more generous view of God. So often people have been taught a lot of do’s and don’ts, especially when it comes to sex and gender, including views of women in ministry. Instead of thinking of God as the Creator who loves us and designed us all to thrive, many think of him as a slave master out to steal everyone’s fun. I do love to write, the process of writing. But even better for me is the actual content and its truths transforming the way people think and love and live.

What’s one unusual fact about you?

When my husband was in seminary, we housesat/babysat for a family with a sweet kid named Drew Brees. He has gone on to have a pretty decent football career.

How have you changed or grown as a writer?

One way I’ve changed as a writer is in how I tell stories. I keep the focus on the story much more than I used to. Now when I teach from the Bible, I give the big picture and where the story or verses fit in the whole. I met a woman raised in church who thought the Bible was a book of quotes. I hope no one I’ve taught through the written word would ever go away thinking such a thing.

What is your favorite pastime?

I love traveling, especially travel to sites connected with the Bible and church history.  Next up: Egypt and Jordan—assuming the Middle East stays stable!

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

I do. I have a Bible Study series called the Coffee Cup Bible Study series (AMG), with eleven titles. I mentioned the five novels—the most recent of which was Informed Consent (Cook). And I have another Kregel Academic book due out in June: Sanctified Sexuality: Valuing Sex in an Oversexed World. I’m general editor for that along with my colleague Dr. Gary Barnes. In it we curate a collection of essays from a group of theologian-experts with a high view of scripture who address issues of same-sex attraction, celibacy, trans-sexuality, and related issues.

What are you working on now?

IVP Academic has asked me to submit a proposal for a book based on my dissertation about first-century Ephesus and Artemis, their primary goddess. She was a goddess of midwifery, and we read about her influence on that city in the Book of Acts. After the apostle Paul left Ephesus, he left his protégé Timothy there to correct some false doctrine. I have a hunch her cult affected phrases Paul wrote to Timothy (see 1 and 2 Timothy) that have confounded scholars for years—phrases about women keeping silent in church and about being saved through childbearing. If only I had a deadline for sending that proposal, I could get it done faster….


Link to book:

Social media links:

Twitter: @sandraglahn

Facebook: /aspire2





The Luck o’ the Irish!

In honor of St. Patrick’s Day and because it’s the 3rd birthday of my debut novel, The Fabric of Hope: An Irish Family Legacy, I thought you might enjoy knowing a little more about my personal story and why I wrote this book. Those who’ve read it are often surprised that it’s my story.

The Fabric of Hope: An Irish Family Legacy is based on my family story—my great great grandmother, Margaret, and loosely based on my personal story as well. It’s a parallel story line so you who enjoy historical fiction and you who enjoy contemporary fiction will enjoy this novel. And for anyone who is Irish or wish they were, well, this story is Irish through and through.

My family certainly brought their Irish heritage with them, and over a hundred years later, I got a healthy dose of it, whether from the Hawkins, O’Neill, or Graham side. For my family, St. Patrick’s Day was the most important holiday of the year, complete with lots of Irish music and corned beef and cabbage (which I didn’t appreciate at the time). Green walls. Green furniture. Green dishes. Yup, we had them all.

Moreover, we went to St. Patrick’s Church and St. Patrick’s School (K-8). We watched the New York City St. Patrick’s Day parade, and the grownups drank green beer (yuk!). We made shamrock-shaped sugar cookies tinted green, and we wore everything green (including our school uniforms all year long). I learned a strong work ethic and my Irishness became a part of me.

In my novel, the historical family are Margaret and James Hawkins, poor farmers who have six children from ages nine months to thirteen years. They emigrate from Northern Ireland to Canada after the Irish Potato Famine of the late-1840s. Can you imagine immigrating on a famine ship with six young children? It was terrifying to say the least. And how did they feel leaving Ireland and moving to the New World? When Irish immigrants came to the U.S. and Canada, they weren’t looking for a handout. They were looking for hope and a future for them and their children, a topic I cover in depth in my story.

The contemporary character, Maggie, has struggles quite similar to my past. She’s a single mother who has lots of challenges, especially when her only daughter nearly dies in Africa. Maggie struggles to survive and heal from the hurts of her past. And she learns to trust God with everything. Yes, The Fabric of Hope is two stories of my personal journey in one novel.

Whether you have an Irish heritage or not, you do have a heritage—traditions, beliefs, and achievements that are a part of your history. Your heritage has laid a foundation for you, whether you are conscious of it or not. Exploring that heritage will enrich your life, if you take the time to do so. It sure did for me.

So Happy St. Patrick’s Day to all of you, Irish or not. If you haven’t had the chance to check out, here’s the link:

I think you’ll be blessed.