Tag Archives: giveaway

Multi-Book Suspense Giveaway

Have you seen this amazing giveaway from BookSweeps?

Enter to win 25+ Christian mysteries & thrillers. Ends July 31, 2017

You can win my book Secrets and Lies, plus books from authors like Christy Barritt and Susan Sleeman, PLUS a Kindle Fire or Nook Tablet! This giveaway ends July 31, 2017, so make sure you enter soon.

Join the fun here: bit.ly/2u9Z7ep

When you’re done, tell me which books you’re most excited to win!

Viking Historical: Interview and Giveaway

What do Vikings and present-day folk in small-town West Virginia have in common?Heather Day Gilbert

They both thrive in the head of award-winning author Heather Day Gilbert, whose fiction can immerse readers into either world. Heather’s newest Viking historical, Forest Child, released this month, and she’s offering a free ebook copy to a randomly-chosen commenter on this post. [Draw closed Nov. 25, 2016.]

Janet: Welcome, Heather, and congratulations on your newest release. In both of your genres, you create heroines we can relate to, strong yet vulnerable. Except for your novella, Out of Circulation, they’re each married women. How important to you is exploring the relationship dynamics this brings to each story?

Heather: Thank you for those kind words on my characters, Janet! Ever since I started writing novels, I’ve had a burden for writing about married women and their struggles. Married characters have just always been intrinsically interesting to me… all the way back to those Janette Oke books that featured them. I feel that married love is so much deeper and more powerful than dating love. When we’re married, we see each other at our worst, we sacrifice for each other, we grieve together… and yet if we do it right, our love grows even stronger because we are fully committed to each other.

Janet: So true, and since part of the reason we read about others’ struggles is to learn for our own, we should be seeing a lot more of this. Along with the relationship themes, your novels also involve a fair bit of action. Which aspect of the writing comes easier: the characters or the plots?

Heather: Definitely the characters. Then I have to plug them into a rough plot (my plotting is really loose and involves chapter highlights) and then ask myself what would this character really do in this situation?

Of course, with mysteries, you have to stretch it a bit, because if I were off chasing baddies and having showdowns with cold killers like Tess Spencer, I daresay my hubby would force me to stop my sleuthing “hobby.” Although Thomas Spencer tries to do this, he hasn’t quite succeeded.

Often, my characters surprise me with what they say and do. There is this line that Ref says to Freydis in Forest Child that I didn’t see coming, yet when I typed it, I knew it was exactly what he would have said. It was both brutally honest and quite vulnerable, and it made me mad, just as it did Freydis. (if you read it, try to guess which line that is—you might know, Janet! 😉 )

Janet: Forest Child is, what, your fourth novel in print? You’ve said this was the hardest novel to write – why so? And was it worth it in the end?

Heather: Hm. It’s actually my fifth in print (God’s Daughter, Miranda Warning, Trial by Twelve, and Out of Circulation preceded it). Yes, this was definitely the hardest one I’ve ever written, for several reasons. First, I had to build the simple Icelandic saga accounts of Freydis into a fleshed-out story. That involves matching up timelines, events, and even some wording. Vikings of the New World boxed set

Second, what Freydis did in the saga accounts was something so horrific, it took me over two years to really come up with reasons why a woman would be driven to such actions. I honestly prayed God would give me ideas about that, and He did. While the reason shocked me somewhat, I knew it was a perfect catalyst for her actions. Historically, Freydis was domineering, she was wild, she was a warrior, she was rude, and the list goes on and on. The true challenge was drawing this character so readers could empathize with her.

Finally, I had to  fully get into Freydis’ head because I write in first person present tense, which meant I had to be her for a while. I was kind of afraid her way of thinking might trickle into my own thoughts, but as I wrote her, I realized that in some ways, we were already similar. Acknowledging that was rather terrifying, but ultimately it turned into something that was freeing, for me and for her. So yes, I feel the angst of writing Forest Child was worth it and I know the story turned out exactly the way it needed to.

Janet: You did a fantastic job making Freydis both shocking and relatable. I think her inner vulnerability, which she didn’t even see at the start, made a strong connecting point for readers. And for me, even the worst of what she did seemed like a perfectly natural outflow of her character.

As well as vibrant characters who make realistic choices, how important to you is each novel’s setting?

Heather: In the Viking novels, setting is obviously crucial (from describing the Viking voyages to their foods and longhouses), so that requires a lot of research on my part. I wish I could visit the Viking locales in Newfoundland, Iceland, and Greenland, but I haven’t been able to yet. I do the best I can with photos and my imagination.

I have noticed that in every one of my books, there is a forest scene. I think it’s because I spent a lot of time in the woods growing up. My West Virginia mystery/suspense is really what I know, because I grew up in WV and I live here now. The ways of the Appalachian people, the winding mountain roads, the issues this state is having with drug addiction… all these things play into my contemporary stories. I don’t go into paragraphs of descriptive detail, a la Thomas Hardy (whose writing I love, BTW), but I hope I include enough description that my readers can see the books playing out like a movie in their heads, which is what some reviewers have said.

Janet: Your forest scenes feel alive to me, likely because the ones of my childhood are similar. Now, my favourite question: What might happen if Tess from your Murder in the Mountains series met the Viking heroines, Gudrid and Freydis?

Heather: Oh my word! I can’t imagine! Tess would probably get along okay with Gudrid, since they both had traumatic childhoods and they might have similar issues. But Freydis and Tess… boy, that would be a clash of the titans! Let’s just hope neither of them would be armed! LOL!

Janet: Could make for an interesting time! Heather, thank you so much for visiting today, and for these fantastic reads. The care you invest in your writing shows in the finished books.

Heather is offering one free ebook copy (epub or mobi format) to a randomly-selected commenter on this post. Entries close at midnight, Nov. 25, EST. To enter, scroll down to the comments field. Just for fun, share something you either know or wonder about the Vikings.

===

Forest Child, by Heather Day GilbertViking warrior. Dauntless leader. Protective mother.

Determined to rise above her rank as the illegitimate “forest child” of Eirik the Red, Freydis launches a second voyage to Vinland to solidify her power and to demand the respect she deserves. She will return home with enough plunder to force her brother, Leif, to sell her the family farm in Greenland.

But nothing can prepare her for the horrors she must confront in Vinland… and nothing can stand in her way when her family is threatened.

In her race to outrun the truths that might destroy her, Freydis ultimately collides with the only enemy she cannot silence—her own heart.

Historically based on the Icelandic Sagas, Forest Child brings the memorable, conflicted persona of Freydis Eiriksdottir to life. This immersive tale is Book Two in the bestselling Vikings of the New World Saga.

AUTHOR BIO:

HEATHER DAY GILBERT, a Grace Award winner and bestselling author, writes novels that capture life in all its messy, bittersweet, hope-filled glory. Born and raised in the West Virginia mountains, generational story-telling runs in her blood. Heather is a graduate of Bob Jones University, and she and her husband are raising their children in the same home in which Heather grew up. Heather is represented by Rebeca Seitz and Jonathan Clements of SON Studios in FL.

Heather’s Viking historical novel, God’s Daughter, is an Amazon Norse Bestseller. She is also the author of the bestselling A Murder in the Mountains mystery series and the Hemlock Creek Suspense series. Heather also authored the Indie Publishing Handbook: Four Key Elements for the Self-Publisher. Find out more at heatherdaygilbert.com.

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Christian Authors

Christian Authors is a new site featuring Canadian Christian authors. Today, February 4, 2016, they’re hosting a virtual launch party on Facebook, complete with hourly giveaways.

Christian Authors website launch party

Here’s the lineup of hosts (Eastern Time):

Party link: Christian Authors Virtual Launch. You can either visit the link early to sign up for the event, or simply pop in while it’s going on. The key with a Facebook party is to refresh your browser regularly so you’ll see the new chatter. (Windows users: refresh by hitting F5 or the little circle arrow in the top left of your screen.)

Whether or not you’re interested in today’s party, you might want to check out the website. They have interviews with featured authors (mine is here: christianauthors.ca/janet-sketchley/) and their plan is to send monthly email updates to subscribers, with book news, updates on sales, and other newsworthy events. Right now they’re offering new subscribers (it’s free) attractive printable colouring bookmarks and wall art. Link: subscriptions.

Win a Print Copy of Without Proof

This week there are two chances to win a print copy of Without Proof:

At Thinking Thoughts: New Novel News (ended Nov 23, 2015)

and at A Christian Writer’s World (ended Nov. 28, 2015)

Don’t need a copy of the book? Stop by and check out the interviews. Some of the questions made me think!

Without Proof available for print and in multiple ebook formats.

Four Tips to Writing a Death Scene That Won’t Kill Your Readership, by Sara Goff

Giveaway: Sara is offering a printed copy of I Always Cry at Weddings to one randomly chosen commenter, worldwide. The winner will be announced October 9. To be entered in the giveaway, please leave a comment.

Four Tips to Writing a Death Scene That
Won’t Kill Your Readership

by Sara Goff

Readers aren’t likely to get excited about a death scene. You’re asking them to experience the protagonist’s despair, guilt-ridden relief, or callous pleasure, if that’s your story. The scene is intrinsically heavy. The action likely slows down, and perhaps worst of all, we’re reminded of our own mortality. Basically, you’re entering dangerous storytelling territory, where your readers might skim, skip, or ‘kill’ the book right there, setting it down. Losing a reader is a death no writer wants. You want to give your readers an emotional experience, and in order to get them laughing, bawling, or afraid to turn the next page they need to be engaged.

Here are four tips to writing a death scene that will lead your readers further (deeper) into the story:

Purpose. Think of the sequential scenes or chapters in your story as drivers on a long and winding journey. Each driver, or scene, takes the wheel of your story for a leg of the trip. If one scene gets lost, moves too slowly, or (yikes!) pulls into a rest stop, the action brakes, along with your readers’ attention.

How to avoid this? Make sure each scene has its driver’s license. That is, each scene or chapter needs to have a specific purpose that moves the action forward. So, in writing a death scene, for example, ask yourself: Is the death necessary in order to reach your destination? Here’s another way to phrase the question: Will arriving at “The End” feel incomplete or less satisfying without the scene?

If you answer “yes” to these questions, then hand over the keys and let that scene drive the action. My next three tips will test its driving skills.

Conflict. You’ve written a death scene and it’s licensed with big-picture purpose, advancing the plot. But does it have conflict? That’s like saying, is it fueled up for the drive? Readers are greedy; they expect the thrill of finding out what happens in every chapter, not just at the end of the book. A mistake I made when first writing about death was thinking, with unquestioning certainty, that the death of a supporting character was plenty of action to sustain a chapter. After all, death is a major life event. Actually, death is not a major life event in storytelling unless it’s about to happen to your protagonist and she narrowly escapes. My focus was on the dying character, not on my protagonist, so the chapter stalled.

Your protagonist needs to take action, and the fact that she’s in dire despair over the death of her husband is a reaction, not an action. Where is the Conflict? How will it resolve? Perhaps there’s a disagreement between your protagonist and her husband’s family, a disagreement that could make her lose custody of their daughter. Or the funeral home catches on fire and your protagonist risks her life to save her husband’s body. Well, you get the idea.

The conflict can be internal, as well. Your protagonist might be so terrified of losing her husband that she can’t find the words to say good-bye. Or she might be too proud to say she’s sorry for past mistakes and will have to live with the guilt. Now you have a purposeful chapter to the story as a whole that is also interesting on its own. A cliffhanger at the end of the chapter will keep your readers wanting more while you switch drivers, moving on to the next scene.

Originality. My third tip is how to avoid writing a death scene that reads like every other death scene. Since most people have lost a loved one or attended a funeral, it’s important to personalize your scene. Use props that mean something to your characters; for example, an old fiddle or a photograph. Color the room with flowers, curtains, a favorite pillow. A startling lack of color would also create a memorable scene, but be aware that you’re making a dark scene even darker. Unusual clothing and unexpected gifts would help to develop your characters. If a particular item, a keepsake, for example, is mentioned earlier in the story, now would be a good time to bring it back. In life we hang on to sentimental possessions when we’re feeling emotionally challenged; keep your story true to life.

Your chapter has Purpose, the right to belong in the story. It has Conflict, the gas to keep it going. You’ve even seasoned it with a unique blend of sensory objects that bring the action to life. However, you’re not done yet. There’s one more tip I can give you to deliver a death scene your readers will love.

Do not let a single cliché slip into the scene. “Tears streamed down her cheeks.” “It was his time to go.” “This too shall pass.” “The tragedy was too much to bear.” I could go on and on. Think of clichés as road bumps. If your readers come across one, they’ll be reminded of the thousand times they’ve heard the phrase before. What happens then? They stumble over the sentence and lose the flow of the story. Be on high alert and take the time to give your characters their own thoughts.

Showing the death of a character or the subsequent funeral will challenge you as a writer and enhance your story on many levels. Losing a friend or family member can be a life-altering event, which might take your story in a new direction. Everyone handles death differently, which means you have an opportunity to show more about your characters’ personalities. Most importantly, death gives you the chance to prove love’s everlasting power. With careful thought and attention to details, your scene will give the story emotional depth and resonate with readers.

Sara Goff

Sara Goff is the author of I Always Cry at Weddings and the founder of the global educational charity Lift the Lid, Inc., a non-profit supporting underprivileged schools and encouraging young people to exercise their creative expression through writing.  Formerly a New York City fashion buyer/merchandiser, Sara left her career to write and make a difference in the world.

In New York, Sara volunteered as a writing instructor for the homeless with Holy Apostles Soup Kitchen Writers Workshop, founded by author Ian Frazier.  She has been an active member of The National Arts Club’s creative writing program and received two fellowships to Summer Literary Seminars in St. Petersburg, Russia and Nairobi, Kenya.

Beyond her leadership with Lift the Lid, Inc., Sara has found a way to share her passion for the written word through speaking engagements with inner-city high schools and colleges in the New York area. Sara has lived in Europe for the past seven years and has recently moved to Connecticut with her Swedish husband of 14 years and their two sons, ages one and six.  I Always Cry at Weddings was released this September by WhiteFire Publishing. Proceeds from the book will go towards her charity Lift the Lid, a 501(c)(3) tax-exempt organization. Visit www.lift-the-lid.org for more information on the charity.

~ Places to Connect with Sara ~

I Always Cry at Weddings, by Sara Goff

I Always Cry at Weddings

“Ava Larson is going to bring all the other brides to tears.”

Engaged to a wealthy NYC socialite’s son, Ava is ready to set the city abuzz with her glamorous wedding.  At least until she realizes her relationship isn’t what it should be.  Then, in a move as daring as a red satin dress, she does the unthinkable–she calls it all off and makes a promise to God that from now on, she’ll save sex for marriage.

She’s convinced the future is hers for the taking, especially when an undercover cop promises a new romance…and an unexpected friendship with the homeless guy under her stoop brightens her days.  But when her carefully balanced life teeters out of control, weddings aren’t the only thing to make her cry.  Ava has to figure out what life she really wants to live…and what in the world love really means.

Guest Post: Deadly Intent

Deadly Intent

by Lillian Duncan

DEADLY INTENT is the second in my Deadly Communications series. It features Maven Morris, a speech pathologist (another word for speech therapist) who has a knack for getting into trouble—deadly trouble.

In Deadly Intent, Maven takes on the foster care of a small boy, abandoned in a park. She hasn’t got a clue how that decision is going to impact her life. She’s in for a lot more trouble than she bargained for.

I’m not going to ruin the story by sharing what she’s about to face, but let me assure you there’s a reason deadly is part of the title. Instead, I’ll share a bit about how I came up with Maven, a crime-fighting speech pathologist.

I was a school speech pathologist, also known as an SLP, for more than thirty years. I’ve also been writing for twenty. During the time, I never figured out a way to merge the two together until about two years ago, three things happened within a week of each other.

First I was talking with someone whose daughter had been in a serious car accident that resulted in brain damage. She was having difficulty with her expressive language skills. He was telling me about a program she planned on attending to help.

Second, my brother was talking with me about my writing. He wondered why I’d never featured a speech therapist in any of my books. My honest answer was I’d never figured out how to work a speech therapist into a suspense story. I loved being a speech pathologist but I’ll be the first to admit, it can be a bit boring listening to a student practice S or R again for the 600th time!

Anyway… later in the week I wasn’t doing anything in particular. Probably riding in the car with my husband or watching TV. Two activities that promote daydreaming in me.

All of a sudden, a ten-second movie blip played in my head. I saw a young woman running through the woods. As she emerged from the trees, she ran onto a highway where the headlights of a truck blinded her.

In that instant, the plot of Deadly Communications was born and from that Maven, my crime-fighting speech therapist was created. I love Maven. In many ways she reminds me of myself. In other ways, not at all.

She’s definitely the adventurous one!

To celebrate the release of Deadly Intent, I’m having a giveaway on my blog, Tiaras & Tennis Shoes at www.lillian-duncan.com. Grand prize is a $25 Amazon gift card but that’s not all! Five more winners will get a $5 Amazon gift card. How’s that for a celebration?

All you have to do is hop over to www.lillian-duncan.com and leave a comment on the Deadly Intent announcement. The contest ends September 26. PS. When you leave a comment, be sure to tell me what blog you read about me on. Then check back to see if you’re a winner!

Everyone belongs somewhere. The key to happiness is recognizing that place when you get there.

Deadly Intent, by Lillian DuncanMaven Morris can’t seem to find that place. A childless widow, she has no immediate family. Forced into a medical leave, she has no career. At loose ends, she hasn’t a clue what’s next for her.

Her neighbor, Paul Jordan knows what he wants—to move their friendship to a new level. Maven may not know what’s next, but she does know she has no interest in romance with anyone— not even her handsome neighbor.

When a young boy is abandoned in the city park, he touches her heart. In spite of his obvious special needs, she agrees to provide a temporary foster home for him. She has no idea the impact he will have on her life—or the danger he brings to her doorstep.

Lillian Duncan: stories of faith mingled with murder & mayhem!

Author Lillian Duncan

Lillian is a multi-published writer with several Amazon bestsellers, including The Christmas Stalking and Betrayed. She writes the types of books she loves to read—fast-paced suspense with a touch or two of romance that demonstrates God’s love for all of us

Whether as an educator, a writer, or a speech pathologist, she believes in the power of words to transform lives, especially God’s Word.

To learn more about Lillian and her books, visit: www.lillianduncan.net. Tiaras & Tennis Shoes is her personal blog at www.lillian-duncan.com.

Guest Post: What’s in a Name?

What’s in a Name?

by Patricia Bradley

I’m sitting here staring at a blinking cursor. Or I was before I abandoned the blank page for Janet’s blog. Of course, that meant I was staring at another blank page and blinking cursor, but at least I have an idea of how to start. I’m going to talk about starting a new book and a new series.

Gone Without a Trace, by Patricia BradleyI’ve finished the fourth book in the Logan Point series, and the third one just came out—Gone Without a Trace, which I’m giving away this week here.

My next series is about cold cases set in Memphis. I’ve tentatively titled the first book The Case of the Murdered Roommate. I have no idea if my publisher Revell will keep it, but that’s a whole ‘nother blog. I have my characters named except for the main antagonist, whose identity will be kept secret until the fourth book. And his name eludes me. I actually thought of a great name, but it turned out that name belonged to a main character in a popular TV show.

Without his name, I can’t move forward. I don’t know why I can’t, but that’s the reason for the blank page and blinking cursor. And I can’t ask you, my readers, to help me because then you’d know who he is. *Sigh*

Why are names so important to a writer?

Well, like naming your children, I’ll have to live with my characters throughout the 95,000 words it will take to tell the story. And some of them will carry through the whole series. I’ve discovered if I don’t have the right name for a character, he won’t talk to me. Or she won’t. And it’s really important for my characters to do that. Otherwise, I don’t know what their greatest desire or fears are. They will be flat. One dimensional. This is especially important for my villain. Well, my hero and heroine, too, but they already have names and are talking to me.

Thanks for listening to me. Just getting away from the story has helped. In fact, a name came to me as I wrote this. A great name. Now to find a fitting last name.

[Patricia is giving away a copy of her newest release, Gone Without a Trace. Contest limited to Continental USA for print copy. E-copy—anywhere! To leave a comment on this post, scroll down.]

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Patricia BradleyPatricia Bradley lives in North Mississippi and is a former abstinence educator and co-author of RISE To Your Dreams, an abstinence curriculum. But her heart is tuned to suspense. Patricia’s romantic suspense books include the Logan Point series—Shadows of the Past, A Promise to Protect, and Gone Without a Trace. Her workshops on writing include an online course with American Christian Fiction Writers and workshops at the Mid-South Christian Writer’s Conference in Collierville, TN. When she’s not writing, she likes to throw mud on a wheel and see what happens.

Connect with Patricia:

Website: www.patriciabradleyauthor.com
Facebook: www.facebook.com/patriciabradleyauthor
Twitter: https://twitter.com/PTBradley1

Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/ptbradley/

Or find her books:

Shadows of the Past: CBD; Amazon; B&N; Books A Million

A Promise to Protect: B&N; CBD; Amazon; Books A Million

Gone Without a Trace: Amazon; CBD; B&N; Books A Million

Christian Suspense Giveaways

Just a quick post to let you know about two opportunities to win a copy of my books:

At suspense author Patricia Bradley’s blog: one copy of Secrets and Lies (Canada and US only, ends Aug. 16)

At the Koala Mom’s blog: one set of Heaven’s Prey and Secrets and Lies (Canada and US only, ends Aug. 31) There are plenty of other giveaways at this site, too, since author Bonnie Way is celebrating a blogging anniversary.

Don’t Annoy the Novelist

Want to know why? Or, if you’re a fiction writer, do you find ways to release real-life frustration in your stories? Pop by James Callan’s The Author’s Blog to read my guest post and leave a comment. One commenter will win a copy of Secrets and Lies.

Link: Don’t Annoy the Novelist.

Book Giveaway: Clean Indie Reads

CIR Blog Hop March Madness

The Clean Indie Reads group is giving away over 40 ebooks! One winner gets them all, and will be well-stocked for reading for the next little while 🙂 The books for the Grand Prize can all be seen at the March Madness Grand Prize link.

You can enter at each stop on this blog hop, and the more times you fill out the form, the more chances you’ll have.

My contribution to the Grand Prize is a copy of my Christian romantic suspense novel, Secrets and Lies. 

Secrets and Lies, by Janet Sketchley

Carol Daniels thinks she out-ran her enemies, until a detective arrives at her door with a warning from her convict brother. Minor incidents take on a sinister meaning. An anonymous phone call warns her not to hide again.

Now she must cooperate with a drug lord while the police work to trap him. Carol has always handled crisis alone, but this one might break her. Late-night deejay Joey Hill offers friendship and moral support. Can she trust him? One thing’s certain. She can’t risk prayer.

Several of the Clean Indie Reads authors have dropped their prices for a sale at the same time. Grab a good read (or more!) now at the CIR sale site.

Enter below for the Grand Prize, and remember you can enter at each blog. So, once you’ve entered, click the blue frog image at the bottom of this post to reach the other stops on the blog hop. Contest dates: March 16-20, 2015. As always, contest void where prohibited by law.

[Edited: Congratulations to Shelly Hammond, winner of the Grand Prize package. Forty-one books… hmm… I’m not sure that’s a full year’s worth, but it’ll keep Shelly reading for a while. Thank you to everyone who participated in the blog hop. I hope you had fun and discovered some new-to-you authors.]

If the entry form doesn’t load properly for you, you can enter the draw by following this link.

Ready to hop on to the next stop?

 [Don’t see the frog? You can reach the blog hop list here.]