Marji Laine

I Love a Good Mystery!


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Interview: Debut Author Keisha Bass

PERMANENT-RESIDENT-AT-THE-PURSE-TABLEbI’m so excited to host author Keisha Bass today. Her debut novel, Permanent Resident at the Purse Table, has just released. Don’t you love the name? Seriously, it brings up all of the insecurities I had as a child and still struggle with.

And though I haven’t read the book in it’s entirety, I did get to critique on some of the initial chapters. Keisha just gifted me with my very own signed copy this weekend and I can’t wait to put it to good use! Here’s the premise of the story: Continue reading


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Review – Critical Condition by Sandra Orchard

A couple of months ago, I announced to y’all the top 10 books that I wanted most to read this year. Almost all of them are romantic suspense or mystery novels with a Christian focus. A few weeks ago, I chose one at random to read, I can now add another check mark to my list.  Continue reading


The Great Gatsby Connections

Complicated things, connections. My Precious Redhead just finished reading The Great Gatsby and I tried to remember how all the characters went together. Epic fail.  Continue reading


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Interview: Steve, Hero from Sharon Srock’s Newest Book

I’m so excited about Sharon Srock’s newest book, Terri, in her Women of Valley View series! Have you purchased your copy yet? If you haven’t, you might could win the one that I’m giving away!

And today, we actually have a MAN from the book visiting on Faith~Driven Fiction. I hope you enjoy getting to know STEVE, the hero from the book Terri. As your getting to know him, see if you can determine the type of hero he is! And don’t miss a special treat at the very end of the interview, a preview of Terri by Sharon Srock! Oh and leave a comment and email if you want to win a copy of Sharon’s book. Tell me what type of hero you think STEVE is! Continue reading


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Interview with Kellie Coates Gilbert, Author of MOTHER OF PEARL

I’m so pleased to welcome Kellie Coates Gilbert to Faith~Driven Fiction. She’s an inspiring author, and a dear critique buddy. I’ve been so excited about this book! I hope you enjoy meeting Kellie!

When did you decide to become a writer? Continue reading


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Historical Romance at its Best!

I stayed up way too late last night finishing debut author, Keli Gwyn’s, A Bride Opens Shop in El Dorado, California. What a delightful story; three crying opportunities! LOL!

This book is propelled by its characters. And such characters! A widow/single mom with bull-dozing determination insists on proving her capabilities. A fastidious widower harboring a guilt-filled secret refuses to revisit the vulnerable position in which affection places him. An adoring mother whose meddling ways instigate complicated interaction. A talkative nine-year-old with the sincerity and wonder of one much younger, but the intellect and daring of one much older.

A Bride Opens Shop follows Elenora Watkins to the rather new California town of El Dorado where she finds disappointment, unwarranted suspicion, and discrimination. Rather than allowing the attitudes to defeat her, Elenora used them to strengthen her resolve to prove to the townspeople, and maybe more to herself, that she has the capabilities to accomplish her goal.

What I loved most about this book was the consistency of the characters. Not that they remain the same, both main characters complete a satisfying arc. But as they adjust and redirect, they stayed true to their personalities. For example, only a desperate emergency would persuade the always well-dressed Miles Rutledge to disregard his appearance.

In fact, Elenora stays so true to her character, she builds up regrets about it. I must say, during a special contest, I had hopes that she would step down rather than risk injury to someone else, but true to form, she can’t seem to shrink from a challenge.

These people seemed so real in their reactions, they make the reading easy, the changes believable, and the story an absolute gold mine, worthy of the name El Dorado! Five hearts! ♥♥♥♥♥

From her bio: Keli Gwyn writes stories that transport readers to the 1800s, where she brings historic towns to life, peoples them with colorful characters, and adds a hint of humor. A California native, she lives in the Gold Rush-era town of Placerville at the foot of the majestic Sierra Nevada Mountains. Her debut novel, A Bride Opens Shop in El Dorado, California, set in the heart of the Gold Country where she lives is currently available.

When Keli’s fingers aren’t hovering over the keyboard of her newfangled laptop, she enjoys strolling past stately Victorian houses in her historic town, burying her nose in reference books as she unearths interesting facts to include in her stories, and interacting with other romance readers. Her favorite places to visit are her fictional worlds, the Coach factory outlet store, and Taco Bell.

Website and Social Media Links

Website – http://www.keligwyn.com
Facebook Timeline – http://www.facebook.com/KeliGwyn
Facebook Page – http://www.facebook.com/KeliGwynReadersGroup
Twitter – http://twitter.com/#!/KeliGwyn
Goodreads – http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5411901.Keli_Gwyn
Title: A Bride Opens Shop in El Dorado, California

The story is a sweet romance with hints of humor that readers of Margaret Brownley, Erica Vetsch, or Karen Witemeyer’s work might enjoy.


Clash of the May 2012 Releases

This clash’s host: Jennifer Slattery

My summer reading list is quickly growing. When you read the following two-sentence hooks, I’m sure you’ll agree, these five May releases are must-reads indeed! Which one is drawing you the most? Please vote below, and check out www.clashofthetitles.com on July 5th to see who won. Happy Independence Day!

Spring Hope by Martha Rogers:

Libby Cantrell’s life has gone from bad to
worse since her mother’s death. With an abusive father, and life in a brothel,
she sees no hope for her future until she gains the courage to make her escape
one cold winter night. 

When she arrives exhausted, hungry, and ill in
Portersfield, Texas, Sheriff Cory Muldoon finds her in an alley and takes her
to a doctor. 

Wildflowers From Winter by Katie Ganshert

A young architect at a prestigious Chicagofirm, Bethany Quinn has built a life far removed from her trailer park teen years. Until an interruption from her estranged mother reveals that tragedy has struck in her hometown and a reluctant Bethany is called back to rural Iowa.




Eighteen months after the tragic Grove Street Fire took the life of her husband and four other heroic firefighters, Susan Marlowe thinks she’s finally beginning to heal. But then she discovers that David carried a secret to his grave—a secret that changes everything she thought about their marriage.



When Trusting God Is the Only Way Out
On an average day, God started her missions in her sculpting studio, revealing the face of the person she would meet at the grocery store, bank, or playground. The goal was always the same. Reach the lost, bring someone back to God, restore hope.


Everyone in Fitzgerald Bay—except his law-enforcement family—is convinced Charles Fitzgerald murdered his children’s nanny. Condemned by public opinion, his only hope for a replacement nanny to take care of his two-year-old twins is newcomer Demi Taylor.
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Choosing Characters

carwash I love plotting. And I can see a murder scene almost anywhere I go. I know, gruesome! My Precious Redhead and I make a game of it. Should have heard our conversation as we waited in a fast food line next to a car wash. After sunset, the flashing blue lights inside the glassed-in building looked more like a house of horror than a car wash.

But I digress.

My biggest challenge, and my critique partners will back me up on this, is developing deep characters. But I’ve heard some excellent advice on this.

First, from Susan May Warren, I learned to ask my characters what their greatest fear is. Actually, it never occurred to me to actually ask them until I read Shame and Redemption by Bethany Quinn (a character created by Katie Ganshert).

But I have to describe the depth of my greenness. So I jotted down the greatest fears of my characters, and stopped. The thought never occurred to me that I should actually take my characters through their greatest fear. No. I can’t do that to them!

At a DFW Ready Writer meeting (a chapter of ACFW in Dallas/Ft. Worth) Ronie Kendig argued my point. By all means take your characters to those dark places. I got the feeling that unless things hurt, I didn’t go deep enough.

I’m also inspired by some of the terrific stories I’ve read from all three of these authors and the way their characters have unique personalities with things that I like about them and things that I don’t like. (See Reviews on My Foolish Heart, Wildflowers from Winter, and Firethorn)

So I’ve got a place to start with my character development. Only a starting place, though.

What tricks to do you have for peopling your stories? How do you make them all distinct?


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Review – Wildflowers from Winter

I had a lovely time this summer reading books til I turned purple. Okay not quite. But I did read several books. I didn’t review all of them, but for a while, book reviews were a weekly event at my blog. I’ve compiled those reviews on my new page, For Readers. Hope you enjoy browsing!

And in that same spirit, I’m utilizing my A2Z Blog hop article to share a Review of a new favorite!

AVAILABLE TODAY!

Wildflowers from Winter: A Novel

Wildflowers from Winter: A Novel by Katie Ganshert
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Halfway through this book, I stopped and told my daughter, “Katie Ganshert is Michelangelo with words.”

I’m in total awe! Her main character, Bethany Quinn, is terribly realistic. I say terribly because she alternates between sweet and self-absorbed. She proves easy to identify with (I hate to admit) but not always easy to like. Her personal agendas and hidden pain provide many of the conflicts in the story.

But those same flaws make her real. Keep her true to her character throughout the story. And though the story, for the most part, is told in third-person, Ganshert’s delve into 1st person flashbacks are masterful. The connection to Bethany Quinn strengthens as each layer rolled back.

The hero with a past, Evan Price gives a good balance to Bethany, but I really connect with her best friend, Robin, and look forward to reading more about her – hopefully in future books!

I’ve found a new favorite author and can’t wait to keep reading!

Wildflowers From Winter is available TODAY! Celebrate it’s premiere by ordering your own copy!

Amazon
Barnes & Noble
Books a Million
ChristianBook.com
IndieBound
Lifeway
Mardel
Parable Christian Stores
Powell’s Books
Random House

Special thanks to the author for an advanced copy for an impartial review!

View all my reviews on Goodreads


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Christian Fiction

Katie Ganshert is a debut author whose novel premieres in May 2012

Is this term an oxymoron? Christianity itself has the Truth as it’s ultimate foundation. Fiction, by it’s definition means the opposite of truth. Why would anyone want to make Fiction about Christianity?

Ephesians 5 urges us to “make the most of every opportunity.” Not surprising that our God is a Master at that, and fiction writing is no exception.

I am typical for most women my age in that I love to read novels. (Particularly romance and especially a good mystery.) I learn about different types of people and enjoy the way they deal and rise above their circumstances. I know the stories aren’t true, but they draw me in because something within them relates. Whether the main character reminds me of myself in some fashion or the situation in which she finds herself captures my attention, her story becomes real because it could be.

Keli Gwyn is a debut author whose novel premieres in July 2012.

And inviting God to have a place in that story brings the similarities all the more clear. I’m fallen, but redeemed and made holy by His Grace and Christ’s sacrifice. I relish experiencing that sensation again and again while I empathize with the heroines of the books I read as, broken, they reach for an adoring Father who has been there all along just waiting for the chance to show them the depth of his love.

That’s what I want my writing to do as well. Inspire readers to the realization of God’s adoration. Those that understand all that He has done for us need reminding – I know I do – and encouragement in the truth. Those that haven’t experienced that kind of relationship don’t need me to preach at them. But if they can see a real submission to the Father’s love from a book character in which they see themselves, maybe they can also be aware of that same love that wraps around them everyday.

Faith-Driven; that’s my kind of Fiction.

Your turn: What’s your favorite book or which author has your attention at this point – and why???