Tag Archives: fictional characters

Interview: Heaven’s Prey

Heaven’s Prey has been out for nearly a year now. I’ve done interviews, character interviews, guest posts, and they’ve been fun. Here’s an idea I learned from Australian author Paula Vince, from the blog tour for her novel, Imogen’s Chance.

cover art: Heaven's Prey by Janet SketchleyIt’s the readers’ turn to ask the questions.

If you’ve read Heaven’s Prey, what would you ask the characters? Ruth, Harry, Tony? Ruth’s pastor? Susan? Or for me, although my imaginary friends may have more to talk about.

Ask your questions in the comments, and I’ll assemble them into an interview to post closer to the anniversary date (November 1… which is also the release date for Secrets and Lies… cover reveal coming soon)


Character Interview: Richard Hollis

Jennifer Slattery

Jennifer Slattery

Richard Hollis is Ainsley Meadows’ fiancé in Jennifer Slattery‘s new novel, Beyond I Do. After my interview with Ainsley, Richard agreed to say a few words himself. Ordinarily I find different questions for different characters, but I thought it would be interesting to hear what each half of this couple thinks – kind of like a game show. You can read Ainsley’s answers here: Character Interview: Ainsley Meadows.

Janet: Welcome, Richard, and thanks for taking time to join us. Congratulations on your upcoming wedding! Ainsley told us how you two met. Is there anything you remember differently or that you’d like to add?

Richard: Oh, yes, I remember that evening quite clearly. She was by far the most beautiful woman in the room. With her long, curly blonde hair, and her shy smile. She is quite… endearing. Almost childish.

Janet: How did you know Ainsley was “the one”?

Richard: She and I complete one another perfectly. Many call me driven, which is to be expected, considering my career. I’m a successful psychiatrist with my own practice, and I have a book releasing in the spring. My ambition isn’t a problem, exactly, except some interpret my drive as being… a bit obsessive, perhaps. I’ve been called a Pit Bull on more than one occasion. At first I thought it was a compliment. (chuckles) Ainsley, on the other hand… she’s so sweet, so caring, like a delicate lily. She softens my rough edges, and of course, I protect her from making poor decisions. She can be quite naïve, you know. I also provide her with the stability she needs. Did she tell you about her mother? Ainsley certainly has some… parental issues, issues that I believe greatly affect her behavior and her choices. But that is where I come in. I help bring clarity to her irrational thinking.

Janet: Do the planning details matter to you, or do you have the more common male approach of “whatever pleases the bride”?

Richard: Hm… Well, weddings are quite large social affairs, especially in my circles. In addition, I am my mother’s only child, so of course she wants to be involved. After all, this will be the first and last time she will ever see a child of hers walk down the aisle. And as I mentioned previously, Ainsley’s mother isn’t very involved or responsible, and certainly will be of no help to her in regard to the wedding. So naturally, my mother wants to step in to that gap, so to speak, in whatever ways she can.

Janet: What does your family think of Ainsley? Of you two getting married?

Richard: Oh, they are quite pleased, of course. My father hasn’t said as much, but he really is not one for… accolades. He’s old school in that way. But truly, Ainsley is a wonderful young woman. Of course they realize this. I’m certain they are quite pleased to welcome her into the Hollis family.

Janet: Could you tell us a bit about your background, and what you do for a living?

Richard: As I mentioned previously, I’m a psychiatrist, and I have my first book releasing this spring—the first of many, I hope. It’s titled The Schizophrenic Next Door, and it looks at neuropathology from a unique angle, including how it affects society as a whole. Of course, once the book releases, I’ll stay occupied with radio and television interviews and the like. You’re in the publishing industry, so I’m sure you understand.

Janet: You have a higher profile than I do, but yes, the promotion does take a lot of time. And I expect psychiatry keeps you very busy. Do you have time for hobbies and outside activities?

Richard: Not at this time, no. I stay active with our country club, of course, and make an appearance at numerous parties throughout the year. I also attend a fair number of mental health conferences, for educational and networking purposes. And of course, I spend a great deal of time with my princess.

Janet: How about some of your likes and dislikes?

Richard: I enjoy a great steak, fine wine, and a plan well-orchestrated. I also enjoy classical music. My favorite musician is David Fyodorovich Oistrakh. Have you heard of him? He was a Soviet violinist, and was incredibly talented, as was his wife, a pianist.

Janet: I just did a search on Mr. Oistrakh and have spent a delightful few minutes listening to a portion of one of his violin performances on YouTube. Thank you, Richard. Is faith a part of your life? Why or why not?

Richard: If by faith, you mean participation in religious rituals and events, of course. I don’t attend church as often as Ainsley does, nor do I spend nearly as much time volunteering. But I go when my schedule permits and am in full support of her religious endeavors. I do, however, have growing concerns regarding her pastor. That man appears to be bent on creating barriers between Ainsley and I. I am sure he is just jealous, or perhaps he fears losing one of his congregants. Either way, we’ll get through this. After all, what relationship doesn’t have its fair share of naysayers?

Janet: If you could do one thing to change the world, what would it be?

Richard: To change the world, you say? Now, my dear, surely you realize the absurdity of that question. (chuckles) For what can each of us do, really? We can positively impact those we come into contact with, we can work to educate the ignorant, and we can receive every gift, blessing, and opportunity with happiness.

Janet: What makes you happy? And what scares you?

Richard: Happiness in an interesting concept, don’t you think? I’ve heard the debates, of course, on the difference between joy and happiness. I’m not hugely interested in such discussions, except to say, happiness appears to be dependent on one’s circumstances, which makes it innately unpredictable. However, I find great contentment in personal growth and achievement. Yes, in setting and reaching a goal, especially if that goal was difficult to reach. In fact, the more obstacles one encounters in pursuit of their goal, the more satisfying that goal will be once achieved. Would you agree?

Janet: (smiling) Sometimes I find the obstacles are there to tell me I’m going in the wrong direction. But generally yes, the things I’ve worked longest and hardest for feel the sweetest when they’re done. What do you like to do to recharge?

Richard: I sleep. When I’m not sleeping, I’m working, learning, planning, thinking. There’s always something that can be done. Of course, I make sure to carve out time for my princess, so, in a way, I guess you could say she recharges me. Yes, that is true. I quite enjoy spending time with her. She is refreshing, indeed.

Janet: Tell us something you appreciate about where you live.

Richard: I’ve lived in Kansas City since I was a young boy. It has everything one could want—symphonies, the opera, fine restaurants. My condominium is near the Plaza, an upscale outdoor shopping area with numerous quality stores. I’m not much for shopping but when I need something new, it’s nice to be able to find what I need in one general area. I can normally find a nice piece of jewelry for Ainsley as well.

Janet: If you could say one thing to your author, Jennifer Slattery, what would it be?

Richard: I would encourage her to discuss her plot twists with me in depth, before putting them to paper. I must say, I was quite… surprised with numerous scenes, and I am not one who enjoys surprises. I would elaborate further, but I fear I would spoil your enjoyment of the story. But perhaps once you finish it, we could discuss these… episodes. I’d be interested in your opinion.

Janet: Hmm… I don’t particularly like surprises either. I trust things will work out well for you! Surely Jennifer has your best interests at heart. What do you think will be the biggest change when you’re married?

Richard: I believe I will need to be more diligent about developing my patience. As I mentioned, Ainsley has some emotional issues caused by her dysfunctional upbringing, and at times, she allows the pain she’s experienced in her past affect her decisions, and not always for the better. I want to help her move past those wounds and her insecurities. But I realize, regardless of how encouraging, supportive or patient I am, this won’t happen overnight. To the contrary. Deep healing takes time; sometimes a lifetime.

Janet: May you and Ainsley enjoy a lifetime together, Richard. It’s been great getting to know you, and all the best to you.


Jennifer Slattery writes Missional Romance for New Hope Publishers, a publishing house passionate about bringing God’s healing grace and truth to the hopeless. Her debut novel, Beyond I Do, is currently available for preorder at a 26% off discount. Purchase link: Amazon.com

Visit with Jennifer online at Jennifer Slattery Lives Out Loud and Faith Filled Friends, on Facebook  and Twitter.

Beyond I Do, by Jennifer Slattery

Marriage . . . it’s more than a happily ever after. Eternally more.

Ainsley Meadows, raised by a hedonist mother who cycles through jobs and relationships like wrapping paper on Christmas morning, falls into a predictable and safe relationship with Richard, a self-absorbed socialite psychiatrist. But as her wedding nears, a battered woman and her child spark a long-forgotten dream and ignites a hidden passion. One that threatens to change everything, including her fiancé.

To embrace God’s best and find true love, this security-seeking bride must follow God with reckless abandon and realize that marriage goes Beyond I Do.

Beyond I Do releases August, 2014 from New Hope Publishers.

Character Interview: Ainsley Meadows

Jennifer Slattery

Jennifer Slattery

Ainsley Meadows is the heroine of Jennifer Slattery‘s new novel, Beyond I Do, and she’s here to chat with us before the story begins.

Janet: Welcome, Ainsley, and thanks for taking time to join us. Congratulations on your upcoming wedding! Would you tell us how you met your fiancé?

Ainsley: Thanks! It is pretty exciting, and more than a little stressful, as I’m sure you can imagine. Well, Richard and I have been dating for five years. We met at a mental health conference, actually. I wasn’t sure what to think of him at first, but he was smart, attractive. (Nervous laugh) Then one date led to another…

Janet: How did you know Richard was “the one”?

Ainsley: Yeah, um… That’s kind of an interesting question. You know how they say you should pray before making big decisions? Let’s just say, I’m doing a lot of praying now. This whole, “Til death do you part” thing totally freaks me out. Of course, it doesn’t help that my mom has fallen in love more times than… If my best friend were here, she’d have a witty analogy for that one, but I don’t. Let me put it this way, my mom falls in and out of love a lot! Needless to say, before I say my vows, I want to make sure God’s behind it. Not that I’m worried or anything.

Okay, maybe I am. A little.

Janet: Are you enjoying the preparations, or is wedding planning stressful for you?

Ainsley: Wow, yeah. I’m stressed, nervous, frustrated. Of course, it doesn’t help that Richard’s mom thinks she has to have her high-society hands into everything. There must be some sort of social rules regarding these things—who you invite, how many people you invite, what floral company you use, where you book the reception. Funny, and I thought it was about celebrating two people’s love for one another. (sigh) I’m sorry. I’m normally not this negative. I’m just a little stressed. Oh, right. I already said that, didn’t I?

Janet: It’s natural to be a bit nervous. What does your family think of Richard? Of you two getting married?

Ainsley: My mom loves him, though I’m a little worried she mostly likes his savings account. You see, she’s never been too good with money. In fact, she’s quite a bit in debt, which wouldn’t bother me if I hadn’t co-signed on her Visa account. I know, I know, the Bible says never co-sign. That was another area I really should’ve prayed about—before signing my name in legal ink.

As for my dad, honestly, we don’t talk much.

Janet: Could you tell us a bit about your background, and what you do for a living?

Ainsley: Sure! Like I said, I’m a pharmaceutical representative for a company that sells medication for schizophrenic patients. Although I hope to go back to school to get a pharmacy D degree, if I can save up enough money. Or win a few scholarships. Last recession left so many unemployed, some who’d been with the same company for decades. Others who were fresh out of college with scads of educational debt. I figured I needed to try and find a recession proof career, and well, people will also get sick, so…

Janet: How about some of your likes and dislikes?

Ainsley: I love music. I always have. Back when I was a kid and things got crazy, I’d go into my room or onto the back porch, and I’d bring my Walkman. You know what those were right? (laughs) I could listen for hours, and if no one was around, I’d usually sing. That’s when I feel closest to God, actually.

I also love anything chocolate and very sweet, very creamy coffee drinks. Oh, and soft, fuzzy slippers, old blue jeans, and t-shirts.

I’ll fit right in to Richard’s high-society lifestyle, huh? (laughs) But what do they say about opposites attracting?

Janet: Being opposites may bring some challenges, but that’s what deepens your relationship. You’ll be fine. Is faith a part of your life? Why or why not?

Ainsley: Absolutely! I wasn’t raised in a Christian home. Far from it, actually. My mom’s one of those new-agers who sort of mixes and matches her beliefs to her mood of the day. When I hit third grade, things got really ugly around my house, and I felt swallowed up by it all. Sort of like I’d turned invisible. But I had a teacher, her name was Mrs. Eldridge. She reached out to me. Over time, we formed a friendship, and she began to tell me about Christ. She even started bringing me to events at her church, and soon, she started taking me with her every Sunday. Of course, this was before there were so many rules regarding student-teacher relationships. Anyway, I accepted Christ, and she’s remained my spiritual mentor ever since. 🙂

Janet: What a wonderful gift from God! If you could do one thing to change the world, what would it be?

Ainsley: Make sure every child had enough to eat and a safe and loving place to call home.

Janet: What makes you happy? And what scares you?

Ainsley: I’m afraid of the dark and becoming like my mother. Or more accurately, of following in her footsteps and reaching the end of my life with nothing to show for it but debt and a bunch of broken relationships.

Janet: What do you like to do to recharge?

Ainsley: Listen to music while sipping hot tea. Or reading Scripture. Both, actually. 🙂

Janet: I’m with you on that! Tell us something you appreciate about where you live.

Ainsley: I love the Midwest with its distinct seasons and close-knit neighborhoods. I especially love how my neighborhood looks in the fall. We’ve got a bunch of old growth trees, and around October, their leaves turn the most beautiful oranges, yellows, and reds. But I love winter, too, especially after a new snow that blankets the ground, undisturbed. Or seeing cardinals flitter through the barren tree limbs.

Janet: If you could say one thing to your author, Jennifer Slattery, what would it be?

Ainsley: Thank you for continually moving me toward full surrender. That’s the best place I could ever be.

Janet: What do you think will be the biggest change when you’re married?

Ainsley: If, you mean? Oh, oh, oh! Um, wait… You’re interviewing Richard next, aren’t you? Please don’t mention my, uh, cold feet. That’d only stress him out more, and he has enough going on already, with his upcoming book launch and everything.

Janet: I won’t say a word. It’s been great getting to know you, Ainsley, and all the best to you and Richard in your marriage.

[Here’s the link to Richard’s interview.]


Jennifer Slattery writes Missional Romance for New Hope Publishers, a publishing house passionate about bringing God’s healing grace and truth to the hopeless. Her debut novel, Beyond I Do, is currently available for preorder at a 26% off discount. Purchase link: Amazon.com

Visit with Jennifer online at Jennifer Slattery Lives Out Loud and Faith Filled Friends, on Facebook  and Twitter.

Beyond I Do, by Jennifer Slattery

Marriage . . . it’s more than a happily ever after. Eternally more.

Ainsley Meadows, raised by a hedonist mother who cycles through jobs and relationships like wrapping paper on Christmas morning, falls into a predictable and safe relationship with Richard, a self-absorbed socialite psychiatrist. But as her wedding nears, a battered woman and her child spark a long-forgotten dream and ignites a hidden passion. One that threatens to change everything, including her fiancé.

To embrace God’s best and find true love, this security-seeking bride must follow God with reckless abandon and realize that marriage goes Beyond I Do.

Beyond I Do releases August, 2014 from New Hope Publishers.

Character Interview: Nikki Jo Spencer

Heather Day Gilbert

Heather Day Gilbert

Regular readers of my blog may recognize Heather Day Gilbert as the author of the epic Viking historical, God’s Daughter. Heather also writes mysteries, including the recently-released Miranda Warning, a contemporary Appalachian suspense novel set in West Virginia.

Today, one of the characters from Miranda Warning joins us for an interview. Meet Nikki Jo Spencer. Nikki Jo, welcome. I hear the mountains of West Virginia are beautiful. Could you help us imagine being there?

Nikki Jo: Oh honey, it’s hard to capture it, but I’ll give it a shot. I live in the town of Buckneck… there’s a story behind that name, but my husband tells it better than I do. Anyway, our house is snugged down in a little valley just outside town. Our roads are crooked as a dog’s hind leg. Everyone loves our mountains in the fall, but I think the spring is even more impressive. It’s green just about everywhere you turn your head.

Janet: It sounds beautiful. Is there a down side? Anything you wish would change?

Nikki Jo: Not one blessed thing. I’ve always loved living in West Virginia—my family goes way back here, and so does my husband’s. My church family is wonderful, my son and daughter-in-law live nearby, my youngest has a great school… all in all I’m just pleased as punch.

Janet: What’s your biggest challenge right now?

Nikki Jo: Well now, it might be time management. I have lots to keep me busy around the house but I’m also really active at church. I like to keep my yard up and I have a bunch of bulbs I need to plant, but just no time to get around to it. My boys keep me hopping, too.

Janet: Tell us a bit about your family.

Nikki Jo: My husband, Roger, has a great sense of humor. That’s partly why I married him. I have three sons: Petey’s the youngest, and he somehow got red hair. Andrew is our middle boy, and he’s in college studying to be a doctor. He… well, he goes through girlfriends pretty fast. No idea why, but I’m hoping that will slow down someday. Like I said, my oldest, Thomas, lives in our cottage behind the main house. Thomas married Tess. She’s a West Virginia girl, like me.

Janet: Ah, yes, Tess. Is she a good match for Thomas?

Nikki Jo: They haven’t been married long, but I’d have to say yes. Thomas has always been pretty serious—he’s a lawyer now, so that’ll tell you something. Tess sort of lightens him up. She’s pregnant, you know. I’d be lying if I didn’t tell you I’m hoping it’s another girl to balance things out in our family. I want to teach my grandbabies to cook and sew… all those things my boys didn’t care about.

Janet: What about that mysterious letter? How do you think she should handle it?

Nikki Jo: I don’t know what letter you’re talking about… and what do you mean, handle it?

Janet: Oops! I assumed you knew. What will you do now, ask Tess about it, or wait for her to ask for advice?

Nikki Jo: Oh, I don’t pry. No ma’am, I don’t. But maybe you can tell me a little more about what you know when we’re done talking….

Janet: Do you know a woman named Rose?

Nikki Jo: Rose Campbell? Only Rose in these parts. She was the prettiest woman ever born around here… but honey, Rose died forty years ago. What does she have to do with anything? She was best friends with Miranda Michaels—Tess’ good friend over at the Haven. That’s an assisted living home.

Janet: Oh… and it’s Miranda who showed the letter to Tess. She said it looked like Rose’s handwriting. I wonder what’s going on.

Nikki Jo: Rose’s poor husband, Paul, still lives in that house where she died. Don’t think he ever got over her. But then again, you never know. He’s a quiet one.

Janet: Are you a woman of faith? If so, is there a particular song or Scripture verse that’s made a difference for you?

Nikki Jo: Yes, I’m a Christian. I love to sing in the choir—the old hymns are my favorite. I know it’s not popular to sing about blood these days, but I do love Alas and did my Savior Bleed. I don’t like watered-down gospel. Jesus died and bled for me and that’s something I’m always going to be grateful for.

Janet: Grateful indeed! I understand you love to cook for a crowd. What  are some of the dishes your family looks forward to?

Nikki Jo: My boys each have their favorites. For Roger, it’s meatball subs. For Thomas, it’s a good ol’ southern pork barbeque. Andrew likes my cabbage rolls. And Petey… right now he’s happiest when I fix plain old sloppy joes.

Janet: It all sounds good to me! Are you a morning person or a night owl?

Nikki Jo: Morning. Why not get up and greet the day head-on?

Janet: What’s your favourite season?

Nikki Jo: Oh, I love Christmas. Every year I have a special theme for my tree. I think this year will be my most unforgettable yet.

Janet: That gives us something to look forward to! I’m sorry to come back to Tess, but I’m concerned about this letter she hasn’t told you about. If there’s trouble, do you think she might try the lone ranger route?

Nikki Jo: I wouldn’t put it past her. That girl has been through more than she’d ever say out loud and she’s tough in her own ways. Still, if she is in any kind of trouble, we all need to know. With her being pregnant, well… maybe they’d better move up into the big house with us if there’s anything dangerous around… I think I need to go find my phone….

Janet: I guess I’ll have to read Tess’ story and find out what happens. Thanks for visiting today, Nikki Jo, and introducing us to your world.


Miranda Warning, by Heather Day Gilbert

Miranda WarningBook One in A Murder in the Mountains Series

Child of the Appalachian mountains, Tess Spencer has experienced more than her share of heartache. The Glock-wielding, knife-carrying housewife knows how to survive whatever life throws at her.

But when an anonymous warning note shows up in her best friend Miranda’s mailbox—a note written in a dead woman’s handwriting—Tess quickly discovers that ghosts are alive and well in Buckneck, West Virginia. Hot on a cold trail, she must use limited clues and her keen insight into human nature to unmask the killer…or the next victim might be Tess herself.

Tinged with the supernatural and overshadowed by the mountains’ lush, protective presence, this twisting psychological mystery is the first in A Murder in the Mountains series.

Heather Day Gilbert enjoys writing stories about authentic, believable marriages. Seventeen years of marriage to her sweet Yankee husband have given her some perspective, as well as ten years spent homeschooling. Heather regularly posts on Novel Rocket about self-publishing.

You can find Heather at her website, Heather Day Gilbert–Author, and at her Facebook Author Page, as well as Twitter, Pinterest, YouTube, and Goodreads. Her Viking novel, God’s Daughter, is an Amazon bestseller. You can find it on Amazon and Audible.com. Her Appalachian mystery, Miranda Warning, released June 20th.

Lee Brandt from On the Pineapple Express

Today we meet Lee Brandt, one of the characters from H. L. Wegley‘s suspense novel, On the Pineapple Express.

Janet: Welcome, Lee, and thanks for taking time to join us. I’m writing these questions before reading your story, so forgive me if I blunder over something that should be obvious. This way I can’t accidentally toss out a spoiler. Let’s start with the basics: tell us what you look like, and what you do for a living.

Lee: Here’s a picture of me. Photo of Lee BrandtI’ve never been very good at descriptions. Jenn says my eyes usually have an intense look … except when I’m teasing her. That’s what tells her I’m not serious. But you asked about my work. I recently jumped ship from computer systems development back to Meteorology, my first career. I’m a partner in a weather consulting firm doing specialized weather forecasting for our clients.

Janet: I understand you’re engaged—and that you met your fiancée through a cyber investigation. Could you tell us a bit about that? And is it true she’s brilliant? How easy is that to live with?

Lee: Jennifer? Yeah, she’s brilliant. Has an IQ a few points above Einstein, so you don’t want to challenge her to a game of chess … or to a deadly game of wits. She’s an Internet forensics specialist. If you’re a bad dude collaborating on the net, she can find you, all your partners, and what you’re up to. Our mentor, Howie, uh, Dr. Martin, sent her to help me with a computer security problem and her probing into a cyber espionage plot nearly got us killed. That’s how I got to know her. And, as long as you’re completely honest with Jennifer, believe it or not she’s easy to live, even for someone like me, a man from the dregs of the genius barrel.

Janet: I also hear Jennifer is good with a gun. That’s not something I expect of a computer genius. How about you, Lee? What’s your comfort level with danger?

Lee: When you’re small, young looking, and beautiful, like Jenn, you sometimes attract men you’d rather not have around. One of those types stalked her and he had some really bad intentions. He’s behind bars now and walks with a permanent limp. She hits what she aims at. But danger … when I accept it on my terms, I can live with a little danger. However, when it comes at you unexpectedly, and threatens someone you love, I can get a little crazy if I don’t get on my knees first. Even after I do, I can still get a little crazy. Jenn can vouch for that.

Janet: On the Pineapple Express is the second time you and Jennifer have faced death together. Has it been easy working with such a strong-willed and perhaps impetuous woman?

Lee: Strong-willed. Yeah, that’s Jennifer if she knows she’s right. But she only seems impetuous. By the time my mind catches up to what she’s thinking, she’s already thought it through and made a decision, a carefully weighed decision. We both have strengths such that we complement each other. Together, we make an awesome team. At least I think so.

Janet: Is it true you’re also a man of prayer? How does that play out in your life?

Lee: Prayer, 10 years of it, brought me a soul mate after I had given up on finding anyone. God does things right, doesn’t He? He allowed me to introduce Jennifer to Himself. I’ve been privileged to do that with some other people too. I’m something of a self-taught apologist who enjoys answering questions like, if God exists, how can He be good when He allows so much evil in the world? That’s one agnostics like to throw at me. Or, how can you believe all those myths and legends about Jesus? Sorry. I got a little carried away. But, as you can see, I’m pretty good at apology. J

Janet: Your first story was Hide and Seek, but there’s even more at stake this time: the lives of those girls about to be sold into slavery. If I’ve got this right, Jennifer found out about this operation but the FBI say there’s not enough to go on—so you and she are going to take on a human trafficking ring by yourselves?

Lee: Take on the ring by ourselves. It sounds a little crazy when you word it like that, but taking on heavily armed traffickers wasn’t our intent. Jennifer believed that the holding location was an abandoned mill on the Olympic Peninsula, but the Peninsula is dotted with old mill sites. We did some research to locate sawmills and simply wanted to find a site with some squatters living on it, then sic the Feds on them. But the storm got in the way, isolating us. If the girls were going to be saved, our options for doing so were reduced to only one or two, and they didn’t include FBI support.

Janet: Where do you have to go to rescue them? And is it true there’s a major storm heading that way?

Lee: The old mill sites are strung out along the coastal road, Highway 101, on the outer Olympic Peninsula. A beautiful place when the sun is shining. Using satellite pictures, we found 5 candidate sites that we planned to visit … very cautiously. The Pineapple Express, the heavy rainstorm, presented some problems, mainly flooding. But the greatest danger came from a windstorm forming near the coastline. This storm didn’t move in. It developed in something called explosive cyclogenesis. It’s unusual in the Pacific Northwest and, by the time the computer models picked it up, we had barely 24-hours advance warning about the hurricane-strength winds.

Janet: How likely is it you’ll pull this off?

Lee: Twenty-four hours notice still gave us time to visit all 5 mill sites. The odds were in our favour. But then we encountered several delays, and the clock became a major factor in what had become a deadly game. Jennifer’s certainty about God wanting her to find the girls was the only thing that kept us in a game, a game where our odds of winning had become long.

Janet: What scares you more than anything?

Lee: What scares me to death is that Jennifer might try to sacrifice her life for mine in the hope that I would survive to contact the authorities so they could stop the sale of the girls. If I lost her after waiting 10 years for someone like her to come along … I can’t let my mind go there.

Janet: If you could say one thing to H. L. Wegley, what would it be?

Lee: Good old H. L… Janet, you did know that he and I have similar resumes, right? And the stuff I did in Hide and Seek, much of it he did years ago, but he swore me to secrecy on the details. What would I say to him? Probably this—H. L., I can never thank you enough for bringing me Jennifer. But if you put us in one more predicament like this, I’m going to pray that you get the worst case of writer’s block you’ve ever had—maybe a permanent case.

Janet: I hear you! If you and Jennifer survive this crisis, do you hope life settles down, or are you developing a taste for adventure?

Lee: Taste for adventure? You’ve got to be kidding! I want to marry Jenn and go on a long honeymoon in Maui where nothing bad ever happens. Walk barefoot in the sand on Keawakapu Beach, watching the Moon over Maalaea Bay.

Janet: Describe your idea of a perfect day.

Lee: I can see the perfect day now. Jenn and I pull our snorkelling gear on in the morning sun on Maui’s Ulua Beach and then plunge into 80-degree water, where brilliantly colored tropical fish swarm around us while we swim hand-in-hand above a coral reef in one of the most beautiful settings in all of creation.

Janet: Thanks for chatting, Lee. And I hope you and Jennifer can rescue those girls and save your own lives too—and enjoy a beautiful, safe time in Maalaea Bay, although I have a suspicion it won’t be as calm as you’d like.


Author H.L. Wegley

For more about the author and the Pure Genius series, visit H.L. Wegley’s website.

H. L. Wegley has a related post, “Fear, Courage and Foolishness” at Inner Source, and you can read interviews with Jennifer Akihara at Ralene Burke’s site and Fay Lamb’s site. You can read my review of On the Pineapple Express here.


On The Pineapple Express, by H L Wegley

On the Pineapple Express, by H.L. Wegley

In one of the most beautiful places on earth the ugliest of crimes holds young, innocent lives in its evil grip. An intercepted cell-phone call from a remote area on the Olympic Peninsula tells beautiful, brilliant NSA researcher, Jennifer Akihara, a group of girls will soon be sold into slavery by human traffickers. She enlists her fiancé, Lee Brandt, to help find the holding location and convince the FBI to intervene. With the clock ticking off the last few hours before both the sale of the girls and the arrival of a deadly storm, and with international criminals pursuing them, can Jennifer and Lee save the girls, or will their wedding plans be cancelled … permanently?

Character interview: Pam Lake

Pam Lake is  the heroine in the newest novel in The Women of Valley View series by Sharon Srock. Pam’s story releases this month.

Janet: Pam, thanks for visiting us today. It sounds like you have a great group of friends in Valley View. You’ve given your support to Callie and Terri in their stories, but how does it feel to be in the spotlight yourself?

Pam: Janet, thanks for having me. Being in the spotlight is not something I would have chosen for myself. It was tough to share the secrets of my past, even with my friends.

Janet: Let’s start with some surface chatter. I know you’re divorced, remarried to a loving man. Do you have children? A job outside the home? Hobbies?

Pam: I have two children with my first husband. Jeremy is the oldest. Then I have a daughter, Megan. They are not quite 14 months apart. I work four days a week in my husband’s law office doing computer research. It’s great to have a three day weekend each week. As far as hobbies go, I’m not a crafty type person, but I do love to cook.

Janet: And tell us a bit about Valley View. Where is it located, and what are some of the things you most appreciate about living there?

Pam: Well, Valley View is the name of our church. We live in Garfield, Oklahoma. Garfield is a small town in the central part of the state. I think the thing I appreciate the most is just the sense of community we have. We care about each other.

Janet: It sounds like you’re facing a life-changing struggle. Are there some wounds in your past that might not be as healed as you think?

Pam: Divorce always leaves wounds behind. I don’t think you can ever be so happy in a second or third marriage that it completely wipes away the baggage of the past. This is only multiplied if you have children with an ex-spouse. You will always have to find a way to deal with the ex for the sake of the children.

Janet: You have good friends who will stand by you. Do you also have a faith to help you through this crisis?

Pam: I thought I did. What I’ve come to realize is that the unforgiveness in my heart was just like a nasty, sticky clog in a drain pipe. I was trying to live a life of faith on the tiny drips of faith that managed to flow past the clog. Once I allowed God to flush the unforgiveness out of my system I discovered what I’d been missing for the last four years.

Janet: Tell us the truth: is it possible your abusive ex has changed? Or is this just more manipulation?

Pam: I think God’s love can change anyone. I wanted to believe that Alan was excluded from that, but he isn’t.

Janet: Do you want him to have changed? If he has, what does that mean for you? And what would it take to convince you?

Pam: You know, I honestly didn’t think it mattered. I have Harrison in my life now. But it didn’t take long for me to start dumping the baggage of the past onto someone who didn’t deserve it. I had to forgive Alan in order to fully love again. I don’t have to be convinced, I just have to leave it in God’s hands.

Janet: Even if Alan hasn’t changed, can you forgive him? Forgiveness doesn’t mean what he did was right, but letting go could help heal some of your pain. Easier said than done, I know!

Pam: Like I said, There comes a time when you just have to give it to God. Alan could never heal the wounds his words inflicted. But God could, and did, once I asked him to take the pain away.

Janet: I really hope things work out for you, Pam, and I’m glad you have a good support network.


The Women of Valley View: PamPam’s divorce broke her heart. The cruelty of her ex-husband broke her spirit. A bottle of sleeping pills almost took her life. Four years later the scars of Alan Archer’s emotional abuse are beginning to fade under the love of her new husband. When Alan returns to Garfield, Pam must learn that buried secrets and carefully cultivated indifference do not equal forgiveness.

Alan Archer has returned to Garfield with a new wife and a terminal heart condition. His mission? To leave a Christian legacy for his children and to gain Pam’s forgiveness for the sins of his past.

Two hearts hang in the balance waiting for the delicate touch of God’s healing hands.


Purchase links for The Women of Valley View: Pam
Amazon ~ Barnes and Noble ~ Pelican Book Group

Sharon Srock

Author Sharon Srock went from science fiction to Christian fiction at slightly less than warp speed. Twenty five years ago, she cut her writer’s teeth on Star Trek fiction. Today, she writes inspirational stories that focus on ordinary women using their faith to accomplish extraordinary things. Sharon lives in the middle of nowhere Oklahoma with her husband and three very large dogs. Her books include: The Women of Valley View: Callie and The Women of Valley View: Terri. The Women of Valley View: Pam released 11 April 2014.

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Please visit Sharon’s AMAZON page to find current info on her books, and check out these free reads:



Carol Daniels, Heroine

If you called Carol a hero, she’d laugh. One of her friends calls her a survivor, and she’s not even sure how to take that. Sure, she’s taken a lot of pain and she’s still standing, but for how much longer?

Carol’s a single mom, starting over in Toronto after some anonymous creep threatened her son, Paul. She didn’t tell Paul that’s why they left Calgary—why she dyed her dark hair honey ash and cut it short, why she started wearing glasses with non-corrective lenses. Why she’s so “controlling,” to use his word for it.

Paul is sixteen and pushing the limits she sets. He’s a good kid, does well enough in school, but she can’t stop worrying that he’ll end up like his father: a loser musician who loved the spotlight—and the female fans—more than he loved his wife and sons.

I say “sons” because Carol and Skip had two, after she miscarried a daughter as a teen. Carol would tell you life got easier once Skip died in a car wreck, but losing her other son nearly killed her. Keith was only twelve when he died of a drug overdose. If she hadn’t still had Paul to care for, and Keith’s dog, she’d never have kept her sanity.

No wonder a threat on Paul’s life sent her fleeing half-way across the country.

Why would someone threaten an innocent teen? Technically, the guy threatened them both, but he did suggest that her son was an easier target. As for why? Carol has a brother who’s a dangerous offender: Harry Silver. You may have read about him in Heaven’s Prey. Harry’s enemies can’t touch him directly, but his family are walking around unprotected.

That’s what the note said, and that’s why Carol and Paul relocated with no forwarding address.

These days Carol works at the Sticky Fingers Café, baking desserts and waiting tables. She’s trying to keep anonymous in this new city, and outside of work she hasn’t met many people. Is it sad that speed dial #1 on her phone is the late-night deejay on the local oldies station? And #2 is a friend in Calgary?

Carol loves to bake, especially with chocolate. When the nightmares wake her, she’ll often whip up a pan of brownies or a batch of cookies. She’ll make herself a cup of tea—peppermint is her favourite—and ask for a Billy Joel song on the all-request oldies show. The deejay, Joey, is easy to talk to. And he doesn’t know who—or where—she is, so she’s safe.

What else do I need to tell you about Carol? She’s not as safe as she thinks she is. What’s coming is more than she can handle on her own. And she’s determined not to pray for help, not after what happened the last time she tried prayer.

Blog hop for writers

You can meet Carol, Paul, Joey and a few others this November in Secrets and Lies, Redemption’s Edge Book 2.

Today’s introduction is part of Ruth Snyder‘s biweekly writers’ blog hop series, the assignment being “a character sketch of your hero.” To see the other posts in this thread, click on the blog hop image.

Interview: Tadeo Turtle

I’ve posted author interviews before, but today’s my first fictional-character interview. (Not, of course, that our guest thinks he’s fictional.)

Allow me to introduce TADEO Turtle. He pronounces his name TAD-ay-OH, and I believe we can also call him TAD.

Tadeo Turtle

Tadeo Turtle

Janet: Tadeo, welcome. I’m quite fond of turtles and pleased to meet you. What kind of turtle are you?

Tadeo: Hi Janet. Thanks for the opportunity to talk to you and your readers. I am a painted turtle – well not quite – as my creator used her imagination to create me. Janis started with a picture of a painted turtle and then let the colours flow and out I came.

Janet: Well, you’re a new kind of painted turtle then… a watercolour turtle! Do painted turtles live in most parts of North America? I’m in Nova Scotia, Canada, and I’m pretty sure we have some of your relatives here. We also have the endangered Blandings Turtle.

Tadeo: Yes we are native to most of North America and my cousins live in your neck of the woods.  Thank you for bringing up the subject of endangered species. There are many turtles that are threatened by more than predators. Humans have made some of my relatives very scarce and that makes me sad.

Besides the Blandings Turtle we are also losing the Spotted Turtle and the Snapping Turtle as well as many, many others. These used to be common to you humans but we die on roads – did you know that? Have you seen the signs – Turtle Crossing – well watch out, we move very slowly and can’t get across your busy intersections very well. SLOW down when you see that sign – you might hit ME.

Janet: I’ve seen those signs, Tadeo. The only time I saw a turtle crossing the road was at night, and he was a big guy, a snapper I think. I didn’t think it was safe to stop on the side of the road and try to move him (snappers snap!) but I asked God to protect him and get him safely across. I assume the bigger turtles are the older ones. You’re still fairly young, yourself, aren’t you? I understand you like to laugh and play. What sorts of things do turtles do for fun?

Tadeo: I like to eat, fish, insects, plants – actually I am omnivorous, I love any food – it keeps me healthy. I look around at the lady turtles but haven’t found one I fancy yet. I have some friends – SAMMY SQUIRREL is my friend, you know. I am not sure about CAT as he was in my dream but maybe I could make friends with him some day.

Janet: It sounds like a good life. But for a while you were kind of sad about it. Care to tell us a bit about that?

Tadeo: Oh I started to feel sorry for myself when I looked at what my friend SAMMY SQUIRREL could do and I couldn’t because of my shell – it is cumbersome you know.

Janet: So you started to think your lovely shell wasn’t such a good thing?

Tadeo: My eyes looked at others instead of at God and I did envy what I saw. Now I think of people who have casts on their limbs, or are in wheel chairs. Maybe they feel like that too.

Janet: Perhaps they do. And perhaps if some of them read about your story, they’ll feel better about themselves. I wonder if SAMMY SQUIRREL or CAT wished they could have a cool shell like yours.

Tadeo: I guess so – maybe when they are being chased and can’t get away they would like a place to hide and be protected. Mmm I never thought about that. Thanks Janet for opening my eyes to that fact.

Janet: I think other than protection, the best thing about having a shell would be that your house is always with you. When you want to nap, you can tuck in and sleep wherever you are. Do you still wish you were different?

Tadeo: Well –  I think know now a little bit more about God, the Creator. I know Janis made me in the book but in her heart my little life is real. And Janis knows God and knows that He created turtles to be as they are. So I know now that I have to accept that and try to be the way God created me. I feel more at peace now that I know that.

Janet: I’m glad. We’re all a little different, on the inside if not the outside. That’s part of the variety of God’s creation. He certainly has a big imagination! But we all fit together in His world.

Tadeo: Oh Janet – you get it too. That is awesome to know that we all have a special place in God’s heart. He cares for all of us – you know. Have you read 1 Peter 5:7 “Cast all your anxieties on Him because He cares for you.” I hear Janis saying that a lot.

Janet: Yes, I love that Bible verse. Janis is my friend too, Tadeo, and I  have a lot of respect for her faith and wisdom. She’s encouraged me many times. Would you like to tell our readers a bit about her?

Author Janis Cox

Author Janis Cox

Tadeo: Well I am happy that she created me. She told me that God gave her the words to come out of my mouth and that God inspired her to paint. Did you know that she didn’t think she could paint? I find that interesting because she knows that God can do anything. So why didn’t she believe Him right away?

Do you believe that? I think Janis knows now that He can do anything and when we don’t think we can do something we make excuses (just like Moses). But God CAN and DOES. I love that, don’t you?

Also I think Janis is learning to move more slowly – like me. She used to rush and rush – now she takes time to sit and talk to God. She also looks around herself more. Maybe I helped her do that.

Janet: Maybe you did! Isn’t that cool? If you could scurry like SAMMY SQUIRREL that wouldn’t have happened. I love the way her watercolour paintings let me see you and your world. What do you think, does she accurately capture what you look like?

Tadeo: Well sometimes I think that she might have made me a little more handsome so I would find that lady of my life. I want one – you know. But I am not in a hurry – as I know God does have a plan.

Janet: Well, thank you, Tadeo, for taking time for this conversation. I’m a little curious how you typed your answers! I wish you many happy adventures, and I hope to read more about them in another story. Keep your eye out for that special lady turtle!


cover art for the book Tadeo TurtleFor more about Tadeo Turtle, visit Janis Cox’s website. Janis also runs the Under the Cover of Prayer blog

You can also find her at:

The Janis Cox Facebook page

Tadeo’s Facebook page

Twitter: Janis Cox

Twitter: Under the Cover of Prayer

Friday Friends: Interview with the Characters of Shadowed in Silk

Interview of characters from Historical Romance Shadowed in Silk by Christine Lindsay. EBook is available now, paper version Sept. 2011.

Leave a comment and your name will be put into the hat to win a free E-copy of Shadowed in Silk. [Draw is now closed, Stephanie is our winner, and I hope she enjoys the novel as much as I did. Thank you to everyone who commented!]

Christine Lindsay, author of Shadowed in Silk: First of all, on behalf of Major Geoff Richards and Abby Fraser, I’d like to thank you, Janet, for inviting all 5 of us, real and fictional. We brought along Eshana, Abby’s maid, and of course, Abby’s little 3-year-old son, Cam.

Christine:  So Abby, let’s start with you. Why did you decide to sail to India in Dec. 1918?

Abby: The war in Europe was over at last. I’d waited 4 years, so it was time for my husband, Nick Fraser, and I to be reunited. He’s a soldier in the British army and served the entire war here in India. We had a whirlwind romance at the beginning of the war, and unfortunately don’t know each other very well.

Christine: I’ll bet Nick was thrilled to see you at the pier in Bombay after such a long separation.

Abby: I wish that were so. But Nick didn’t meet me when my ship docked. With Geoff’s help I found my own way to the bungalow that Nick rented for me. Since then my relationship with my husband has been . . . well he’s hardly ever home.

Christine:  Oh, that must be terribly disappointing.

Eshana:  If I may say a word, it has been most upsetting for my dear friend, Abby. Perhaps we should talk of something more cheerful. Her husband, Lieutenant Fraser, is no longer even at home with her. He has been banished to a station in the wilds of Waziristan.

Christine:  You don’t say. Do I smell a bit of mystery?

Geoff:  If I may interject as this is upsetting the ladies. Nick Fraser’s commanding officer transferred him to a non-family station due to ah . . . improprieties on Nick’s part.

Christine:  Of course, Major. Let’s chat instead about you and your career as a Cavalry officer in His Majesty’s army in colonial India.

Geoff:  Be pleased to. My Indian troops and I have just been demobilized after the war in Europe. I can’t be more proud of them than I am. It is my prayer that England will keep her promise to India and grant them independence that was promised a few years ago.

Christine: I hear revolution is in the wind—all this talk of Gandhi and his peaceful rebellion.

Eshana: But the revolution might not be peaceful. There are many Indian people who wish the British to leave, and they will resort to violence to make this happen. It is the same sort of people who show violence to Christians in India. What is worse, the British are terrified and they will retaliate. We are living in fearful days.

Christine:  You are an Indian Christian, Eshana? Not a Hindu?

Eshana: I was born into a Hindu family, but when I was 13 the boy I was married to died of cholera and I was sent away to live in poverty as a child widow. But I became a follower of Christ. Now I am trying to show Abby that it is only Christ who can lift the veil of sin from us, so that God can look upon us face-to-face.

Geoff: Yes, my dear little sister-in-Christ, Eshana, has been a great help to Abby and Cam.

Christine:  I hear that you, Geoff, are also a great help to Abby and Cam. It’s hard on a little boy when his father is not a loving parent.

Geoff:  Well . . . ahem . . . I take Cam out for rides on my charger. The child does get lonely.

Christine: Cam, how do you like the rides on Major Geoff’s horse?

Three-year-old Cam (smiling):  I like Geoff’s horse. His name is Sampson. And Major Geoff is my best friend.

Christine:  But, Cam, don’t you miss your daddy?

Cam: Nope. I’m glad my dad is far away. He’s not very nice, and he smells funny when he drinks that brown stuff.

Christine: Abby, tell me more about you and Nick. Have things been difficult since you were reunited?

Abby: It is not easy for me to talk about this. I suppose . . . well I think Nick married me only to further his career. My father was a famous general . . . and well it’s Nick’s drinking and his gambling. And he can be rather nasty. Once . . . well once . . . he became abusive. I gave him an ultimatum—if he ever strikes me again, or hurts Cam . . . well I don’t believe a wife should put up with that sort of thing.

Geoff:  Abby is in a tough spot. I’ve encouraged her to befriend other Christian women. She needs the friendship of Godly women to help her through this unhappy situation, women such as Eshana. But I agree, a wife should not subject herself to abuse like that. I pray for Nick—only God can change him though.

Christine: And you, Geoff, are you Abby’s friend, like you are Cam’s friend?

Abby (flustered):  I must object to the inappropriate tone of your question, Christine. Major Geoff Richards is an honourable man. A friend of our family.  I’m grateful for his interest in my son. A boy needs a man to take an interest in him, especially when his father shows no interest what-so-ever. And there’s enough gossip in this town already. I was warned when I came out to British India that flirtation is the national sport. But Geoff is nothing like that. And neither am I. I’m doing all I can to save my marriage.

Christine:  Oh dear Abby, I didn’t mean to offend. But tell me, Geoff, are you married?

Geoff:  My wife died a year before the war began. No one could ever take my wife’s place.

Christine:  You seem to have suffered greatly during the war. I notice your right hand shakes quite a bit. Can you tell us of your experience during the war?

Geoff (shifting in his chair):  Not really . . . ahem . . . nightmares . . . the men dying . . .

Christine:  I can see this is distressing to you . . .

Eshana:  Yes, it is distressing to my brother in Christ. And I fear for Geoff’s safety and of all the soldiers. If there is going to be war between Britain and Afghanistan many men may lose their lives. But I am praying that in time, Geoff will come to see that there is still goodness in the land of the living. Right now, his heart is too sore to see this.

Christine:  One last question, Geoff, is there any truth to the rumours that there is a Russian spy in our midst, stirring up the Indian people to revolt against British rule in India?

Geoff: My dear lady, it is never wise to listen to rumours. Besides, whatever befalls us here in India, you can be sure everything will be done to protect all our citizens—British and Indian. That is my vow to you, and to the Indian people I love.

Christine: Thank you all of you for coming all the way from India for this interview. I’ll just let our readers know that Shadowed in Silk can be purchased on EBook at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Kobo and anywhere else EBooks are sold.

A suspenseful, romantic read for less than the price of a couple of coffees.

The printed version comes out Sept. 2011 and can be purchased on Amazon.com and Barnes and Noble as well.

Shadowed in Silk

She was invisible to those who should have loved her.

After the Great War, Abby Fraser returns to India with her small son, where her husband is stationed with the British army. She has longed to go home to the land of glittering palaces and veiled women . . . but Nick has become a cruel stranger. It will take more than her American pluck to survive.

Major Geoff Richards, broken over the loss of so many of his men in the trenches of France, returns to his cavalry post in Amritsar. But his faith does little to help him understand the ruthlessness of his British peers toward the Indian people he loves. Nor does it explain how he is to protect Abby Fraser and her child from the husband who mistreats them.

Amid political unrest, inhospitable deserts, and Russian spies, tensions rise in India as the people cry for the freedom espoused by Gandhi. Caught between their own ideals and duty, Geoff and Abby stumble into sinister secrets . . . secrets that will thrust them out of the shadows and straight into the fire of revolution.

An interesting note to readers, the model for the front cover art and in the book trailer is Christine’s birth-daughter—the child she relinquished to adoption when she was 3 days old and was reunited with 20 years later.

Here’s the book trailer for Shadowed in Silk