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Monthly Archives: February 2016

Book Review: Mermaid Moon by Colleen Coble

Mallory’s mother died fifteen years ago. But her father’s last words on the phone were unmistakable: “Find…mother.”

Mermaid Moon

 

Shame and confusion have kept Mallory Davis from her home for the last fifteen years, but when her dad mysteriously dies on his mail boat route, she doesn’t have any choice but to go back to Mermaid Point. Mallory believes her father was murdered and childhood sweetheart Kevin O’Connor, game warden in Downeast Maine, confirms her suspicions. But Kevin is wary of helping Mallory in her search. She broke his heart—and left—without a word, years ago. When Mallory begins receiving threats on her own life—and her beloved teenage daughter, Haylie—their search intensifies. There’s a tangled web within the supposed murder, and it involves much more than what meets the eye. As answers begin to fall into place, Mallory realizes her search is about more than finding her father’s killer—it is also about finding herself again . . . and possibly about healing what was broken so long ago with Kevin. She just has to stay alive long enough to put all the pieces together.

Publisher: Thomas Nelson, 2016

Genre: Romantic Suspense/Christian Fiction

Length: Novel, 342 pages

My Review: When Mallory Davis receives a call from her dying father, asking her to find her mother who passed away fifteen years ago, she rushes home to Folly Shoals, Maine for answers. With the help of her former fiancé Kevin O’Conner, she discovers her father has been murdered and a complex mystery shrouds her entire family. As Mallory and Kevin work together to find answers, they must learn to put their past aside and accept their differences.

As always, Colleen Coble delivers an entertaining, page-turning book. This story explores second chances, which most readers will connect with. I loved the setting on coastal Maine, as well as the unique story line. Mallory and Kevin are both complex, strong and loveable characters, who’re supported by equally likable secondary characters. This book was full of surprises and twists that made it impossible for me to put down. I enjoyed that this book included characters from The Inn at Ocean’s Edge, as well as the beloved town of Summer Harbor from author Denise Hunter’s books.

I recommend Mermaid Moon to anyone who enjoys romantic suspense, rejoices in second chances, and loves an unpredictable book that leaves the reader satisfied. I give this book 5 stars!

*I received a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

~Candice Sue Patterson (Quid Pro Quills)

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For more on Colleen Coble and her books, visit her website at www.colleencoble.comColleen Coble

 
4 Comments

Posted by on February 29, 2016 in Uncategorized

 

How to Charm a Beekeeper’s Heart

I’ve dreamed of writing a novel since I was a small child. Dreamed of seeing it published and shelved beside my favorite authors’ novels in the library and local bookstore. And God, in all His grace and mercy, has given me my dream. In a few short months, I’ll get to literally hold that dream in my hands. Share it with others.

My debut novel How to Charm a Beekeeper’s Heart will release with White Rose Publishing (Pelican Book Group) on November 1, 2016. This story is a 2012 ACFW First Impressions finalist and a 2014 Seekerville Pitch Perfect winner.

HowToCharmABeekeepersHeart_w12080_680Weddings are the last thing beekeeper Huck Anderson wants to be associated with, considering his past. So when he inherits a building occupied by a bridal boutique, he aims to evict the failing business and open a sporting goods store. Until his tenant ends up being Arianne Winters, a woman he’s indebted to from a mistake made years ago.

When a life-threatening injury derails Huck entirely, Arianne offers a compromise to keep her boutique, and her life, out of bankruptcy—she’ll aid in his lengthy recovery if he’ll allow her to remain in his building. But nursing her adversary proves challenging when her adolescent crush resurfaces. Amidst a battle-of-wills, their lives intertwine in unexpected ways, providing opportunity to overcome their pasts and start anew.

Will this confirmed bachelor consider holy-matrimony, or will Huck’s choices sting them a second time?

How to Charm a Beekeeper’s Heart is available for pre-order now!

 

~Candice Sue Patterson writes Modern-Vintage Romance–where the past and present collide with faith. For more, visit her website at www.candicesuepatterson.com.

 

 
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Posted by on February 29, 2016 in Uncategorized

 

Foodie Friday

Are you ready for your weekend foodie fix? Since half of us are wearing snow boots and the other half are wearing galoshes, I’ve decided to delight your taste buds with both a northern and a southern specialty…clam chowder and crab pie!

Clam Chowder:

1.5 lbs. chopped, sauteed clams
2 C. bottled clam juice
2 slices bacon, chopped fine
1 small diced onion
2 T. all-purpose flour
4 large potatoes, peeled and diced
3 C. cream
1 bay leaf
1 t. thyme
salt and pepper

Saute chopped clams in a pan sprayed with non-stick spray. Set aside. In a large pot, fry the chopped bacon on medium-low heat. Add the onion and stir until cooked. Add the flour and stir for another 2-3 minutes. Whisk in the clam juice and simmer. It should resemble a gravy consistency. If it’s too thick, you can thin it with more clam juice. Add the potatoes and simmer until cooked. Add the cream, clams, and bay leaf. Stir. Simmer on low for 5 minutes, stirring frequently as not to scorch the cream in the pot. Add thyme, salt, and pepper. Stir. Turn off and remove pot from burner. Cover the pot and let rest for 10 minutes. Serve with crackers.

Crab pie:

2 nine-inch pie crusts, baked for five minutes
1 lb. canned crab meat
4 eggs
2 T. all-purpose flour, sifted
1 C sour cream
1 C. milk
8 oz. grated Gruyere cheese
8 oz. grated cheddar
1 T. minced onion
1 T. minced green bell pepper
2 T. minced red bell pepper

Bake the pie shells for 5 minutes and allow them to cool. In a medium bowl, beat eggs. Mix in milk and sour cream. Mix in flour. Gently STIR in rest of ingredients, mixing well. Try not to break up the crab. Evenly distribute crab mixture into pie shells. Bake at 350* for 45-50 minutes or until toothpick inserted into middle of pie is clean.

Enjoy!

~ Jericha Kingston

 
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Posted by on February 26, 2016 in Jericha Kingston, Recipe

 

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Gazing at Tall Trees

5299436018_3a4bc9d9ff_bI may need to see someone about my obsession with trees. A month ago in a post called “Why God Wants to Bless You,” I blogged about the tree in Psalm 1:3, its many uses, and what the illustration could mean for Christians. Two weeks ago in “A Planting of the Lord,” I skipped over to Isaiah 61:3 and discussed the oaks of righteousness and how, when we’re accomplishing God’s purpose for us, we help those around us flourish. You’d think I’d be finished with metaphors about trees, but last week, we traveled to Jackson, Mississippi, where pines, oaks, and magnolias flourish in the moist climate. And so, of course, I thought about trees.

I took a walk in the outskirts of Jackson and found myself wandering down what I think must’ve been a logging path, a wide swath of cleared land surrounded on two sides by pine forest. (A normal person would’ve stuck to the sidewalks. Nobody ever accused me of being normal.) I walked to the edge of the clearing and looked up at the pines above me.

Psalm 84:11 reads in part, “The Lord gives grace and glory; No good thing does He withhold from those who walk uprightly.”

Those words—“The Lord gives grace and glory”—filtered through my mind last week as the sun filtered through the Mississippi treetops. I thought of those trees that had begun as mere saplings. By God’s grace, they’d grown and become tall and strong. Where once they were pinecones littering the ground, now their glory, beauty, and majesty towered nearly a hundred feet in the air.

In the same way, the Lord by his grace gives us all we need to accomplish His will; He gives us glory in our own talents and abilities, beauty and strength, which are mere reflections of His glory. When we walk uprightly, God withholds nothing we need. When we’re accomplishing God’s plans in our lives, that glory he gives us should encourage those around us to look up, beyond our meager accomplishments to the One who shines high above us all.

 

DSC_8915-25edRobin Patchen lives in Edmond, Oklahoma, with her husband and three teenagers. Her third book, Finding Amanda, released in April, and its prequel, Chasing Amanda, released in July. When Robin isn’t writing or caring for her family, she works as a freelance editor at Robin’s Red Pen, where she specializes in Christian fiction. Read excerpts and find out more at her website, robinpatchen.com.

 

 

 

 

 
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Posted by on February 24, 2016 in Uncategorized

 

Author Chat with Susan Anne Mason

 

Susan and booksWe welcome author Susan Anne Mason to the Quid Pro Quills. Susan writes historical novels including Irish Meadows and A Worthy Heart. They are the first two books in her Courage to Dream series. I recently reviewed A Worthy Heart.

QPQ: Having a bit o’ Irish blood meself, I’m enjoying this series immensely. What prompted you to center on the Irish in New York at the beginning of the 20th century?

SM: I always wanted to write a family saga because I enjoy reading them so much, and as I was researching my own family’s history. I discovered that my father’s side of the family came from Ireland and settled in Brooklyn around the turn of the century. So that became the seed that grew. My ancestors, like many immigrants, weren’t well off when they arrived. I wanted to portray the patriarch of my story, James Leary, as having clawed his way up from poverty to achieve a good measure of success. Because it’s always more fun to read about the rich, isn’t it?

QPQ: Adam O’Leary … wow. What a difference a book can make! How did you recreate Irish Meadow’s bad boy into A Worthy Heart’s hero?

SM: This was indeed a challenge! To be honest, at first I didn’t like Adam O’Leary much! That’s why I moved him ‘offstage’ in Irish Meadows. I didn’t know much about him, only that he would end up in prison. But the more I delved into Adam’s character, the more I understood what drove him, and I began to see his potential as a hero! (I can’t give away Adam’s secrets. You’ll have to read to find out!) But it was certainly fun reforming him, and helping him heal from his childhood wounds — with a little help from Maggie Montgomery!

QPQ: Maggie Montgomery is an instantly likeable heroine who has no intention of returning to Ireland. Historically, how common was this for Irish relatives visiting their American relations?

SM: To be honest, I have no idea. I know that during the Irish Potato Famine, a huge influx of Irish immigrants came over to Canada and the United States, which I’m sure resulted in a lot of their families coming to join them. In my own family, my uncle married a sweet Irish girl who came to Canada for a visit and when the two fell in love, she quickly moved to Canada. Her sister and her widowed mother also came over from Ireland and all of them eventually ended up living in California (with another rather large Irish population!)

QPQ: I mentioned in my book review of Irish Meadows that you didn’t bury the Catholic roots of these characters. We see that too often in historicals dealing with the Irish, and I don’t understand that since it was such an intricate part of who they were. Yes, the Christian in-fighting in Ireland was horrible, but it happened. Was there any push-back from your publisher regarding that?

SM: Interesting question because when I was first shopping Irish Meadows to potential agents and publishers, I received a lot of negative feedback about the fact that the characters were Catholic. I believe one person said that a story with a priest would never get published. Thankfully Dave Long at Bethany House didn’t hold that opinion. I only got one mild suggestion to make sure that anything “Catholic” in the book was accurate because if we got it wrong, the readers would surely let us know!!

QPQ: Aurora Hastings, she’s the quintessential “poor little rich girl” isn’t she? You’re dragging that dear young woman through the emotional mud in the first two books. Dare we hope she’ll reach a happily-ever-after at some point? Soon?

SM: The lovely Aurora reached her happily ever after at the end of A Worthy Heart. I’m afraid you’ll have to imagine the rest, because we don’t see her again in the next book. The third and final book in the series is called Love’s Faithful Promise, which mostly centers on the youngest O’Leary, Deirdre and her tug-of-war with the handsome Canadian doctor, Matthew Clayborne, as they work together to help Mrs. O’Leary overcome a health crisis. In this book, which takes place for the most part back at Irish Meadows, we see Gil and Brianna and their children, as well as some appearances from Colleen and Rylan and a cameo by Maggie!

Susan small author photoQPQ: Where can readers connect with you on the web?

SM: Readers can find out more about me and my books on my website: http://www.susanannemason.com/

My author page on Facebook

I LOVE Pinterest!

My Twitter handle is: @samason.

QPQ: Thank you for visiting and sharing some behind-the-scenes information about your books. I’m looking forward to Love’s Faithful Promise already!

 
7 Comments

Posted by on February 22, 2016 in Author Chat

 

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She’s Mine – Behind The Story

This months suspense posts showcased the romantic suspense novel, She’s Mine by multi-published Christian author Tammy Doherty. And now, as promised, here’s the story behind the story. Enjoy! 

Tammy Dohery - Author She's Mine The area where I grew up, and where I still live, is a beautiful rural landscape full of small town charm. The perfect setting for romantic suspense. In my opinion, at least. A desire to share my central New England home led to choosing the setting and time period for my fourth novel. She’s Mine is a contemporary romantic suspense showcasing central Massachusetts and the wonderfully friendly and sometimes quirky people who live here. But it isn’t a true story, or even based on real-life, so how’d I come up with the plot? Glad you asked.

First, I started with a young woman, Caitlin Harrington, who had decided early in life to never get married. She didn’t even date until recently. Now she’s being stalked. I needed a back story to explain why she wouldn’t want to marry, or even date. So I gave Caitlin parents who went through a horrible divorce . . . and then abandoned her with her grandmother. That ought to give her issues! Her mother continues to make bad choices regarding men; her father has remarried and moved on. To top it off, her beloved grandmother has recently died and Caitlin lost her job. The story opens with her moving back into her grandparents’ house to take a new teaching job.

Since it’s romantic suspense, I also needed a hero for the story. Enter Sean Taggart. He seems to have a perfect life: owns a successful She's Mine - Behind The Story2campground, coaches little league, serves on the local fire department. He’s well-respected in the community. But he’s alone. Someday he’d like to have a marriage as wonderful as his parents’. If only he could find a woman who didn’t try to change him into her ideal. Sean is in charge of Sean’s life, not anyone else! Then he meets Caitlin. She’s beautiful and aloof. And possibly has a few loose screws. After all, she does get “locked” in an unlocked basement. Something spooked her at the local fair but she won’t say what.

She's MineNow we’ve got a heroine and a hero. Time for the villain! He’s stalking Caitlin so you think you know who he is, right? Yeah, the guy she dated just before moving – Adam. But when the police investigate, turns out Adam doesn’t exist. Who is he really? Sean is determined to save Caitlin from this menace. Can they figure out who Adam is before it’s too late?

The real fun, for me, was peppering the story with local stuff. And having friends and neighbors recognize it! The restaurantShe's Mine - Behind The Story where Sean takes Caitlin is named after a family friend (Claudia) who actually once owned a diner here in town. The location of Sean’s 3x-great-grandmother’s house is real, except there’s no house there. The local fair in the story – the Asparagus & Flower Heritage Festival – is real and happens the third week of May every year, since 2002. Caitlin’s house, Sean’s campground, swimming at the lake, walking to the nearby beaver pond . . .all things based on my view of central New England. I’m looking forward to showcasing more in the sequel, too, along with a good romantic suspense of course.

 

Kara writes supernatural suspense thrillers and is an ACFW Genesis 2013 Finalist in the Mystery/Suspense/Thriller category. BlogPhoto Resized

She’ll also keep you updated on upcoming writing contests and some of the best reads in Christian suspense.

To contact Kara, email her at fictionwithfaith@gmail.com or by clicking the below link:

@KaraHunt2016 on Twitter

 
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Posted by on February 19, 2016 in Book Showcase, Kara Hunt

 

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Animals & Authors with Ann Gabhart

Oscar and book

Oscar says he’ll just keep his bone and let me keep the book.

Writing – they say – is a solitary occupation. But is it? Really? Let’s visit with Ann Gabhart and ask her about her constant companion.

QPQ: Introduce us to the dog you’re sharing with us today.

AG: My current dog friend is Oscar, a black Labrador with some chow mixed in. The chow shows in his black splotched tongue and his square head. He has the Labrador temperament except he isn’t a water dog. Most Labs love water, but not Oscar. He will wade into the water and even sit down a while when he’s hot, but forget the swimming.

We got Oscar about seven years ago. The dog I had at the time, a chocolate Lab, was getting some age on him. I’ve had a dog in my life continuously since I was around eight years old. And so, my husband, who loves shopping on the internet, decided it was time for me to get a new dog before my chocolate Lab crossed over the Rainbow Bridge. He’d go online and tell me about this or that dog and I’d say “No, we have a dog.” But then one day he found a black Lab named Oscar. A horse training couple in a nearby city had rescued him from the side of a highway, took him back to the barn with them and named him Oscar. They wanted to keep him but had to travel with their job and weren’t able to take Oscar with them.

So, I looked at Oscar’s picture and said, yes. I couldn’t tell he was part Chow in the picture on the internet. That was lucky for both of us since if I’d known that, I might not have agreed to take him, because some Chows can be unfriendly. I have nine grandchildren and I didn’t want to worry about them playing with my dog. As it turned out, I couldn’t have asked for a better dog than Oscar. He got the Lab “I love everybody” gene although the UPS man is not so sure about that.

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Oscar soaking up some grandkid love.

When we first brought Oscar home, he refused to come in the house. Refused. You had to drag him through the door, so we let him be an outside dog. Then, a few years ago, when we were having some work done on the house, our builder ran over Oscar in our yard. That was while I was sitting with my mother who had dementia, so I couldn’t come home to see about him. My husband took Oscar to the vet who said Oscar needed surgery with plates and pins to repair the leg. When I asked my husband how much it would cost, he said he didn’t figure that would matter to me and he was right. Oscar was worth the price, whatever it was. After we brought Oscar home, he had no choice except to come into the house while he recuperated.

Sometimes good things can come from the worst things. Oscar now eagerly comes inside, and I have a great dog companion to keep me company while I’m writing. He goes with me on my daily walks here on the farm and enjoys playing with the grandkids. He’s a very good dog!

QPQ: How does Oscar help you in your writing?

AG: Oscar sleeps beside my desk and doesn’t complain if I go off into a story world. Occasionally, he pokes his head against my arm to let me know it’s time to get up and move a little. He goes with me on my walks and sniffs out his world while I try to think through knotty plot issues. He looks at me as though I am the most wonderful, smartest, best person ever. Sometimes a writer needs that. LOL.

QPQ: Have you ever written one of your pets into a story?

AG:  Oscar hasn’t appeared in any of my stories, but he has become quite the fan favorite on my author’s Facebook page and he sometimes makes an appearance in my newsletters. However, I do often let my characters have furry buddies. My Hidden Springs mysteries all feature cat characters. In The Innocent, my main character had a dog friend named Asher that is surely the dog Oscar would like to be if he had the chance. In Scent of Lilacs, my young character, Jocie, had the same dog hunger I had as a youngster.

So I suppose when I’m writing about a new four-pawed character, I use bits and pieces of all the dogs I’ve known, somewhat the same as the two-footed characters in my stories spring from all the people I’ve known or met in stories.

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Oscar shortly after we brought him home on a walk down the creek with me.

QPQ: Tell us three things you and Oscar have in common.

AG: 1. We both like walking here on our farm and looking for new things to see.
2. We both like cheese although I don’t have to hide my vitamins in it to make me take them the way I have to do for Oscar’s pills.
3. We both love it when the grandchildren come for a visit.

QPQ: Thank you for visiting here at the Quid Pro Quills. Where on the web can readers connect with you and your books?

AG: You can find out more about my books and see easy ways to connect with me on my website, www.annhgabhart.com. That’s also a great place to sign up for my newsletter and to access my blogs, One Writer’s Journal and the Heart of Hollyhill.

On my Facebook author page, www.facebook.com/anngabhart I do regular posts like Friday Smiles, Shaker Wednesday and the popular Sunday Morning Coming Down.  I tweet @AnnHGabhart, enjoy posting pictures at www.pinterest.com/annhgabhart and you can find me at Google+ with a user name AnnHGabhart.

 
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Posted by on February 17, 2016 in Animals & Authors, Pets, Writing

 

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