Book Review; No Other Will Do, by Karen Witemeyer

I have been a big fan of Karen Witemeyer’s [see link below] books for years. With her most recent book, No Other Will Do, Karen hits it out of the park again.

First of all I love the cover.

No Other Will Do

The clothing the heroine, Emma Chandler, wears on the cover is historically correct. That’s important to me.

No Other Will Do, has a lot of things I love. First of all it’s an Inspirational Romance, a sweet read. It’s set in the American West in 1894, in Texas to be precise. The plot moves quickly but not too fast, and there are interesting people and relationships apart from Emma’s and her Romantic Interest. Both Emma and Malachi [our hero] go through a difficult journey towards deeper faith and trust in God.

Karen starts with a prologue in 1882. It’s really important to read the prologue…it totally sets the background for the story and it’s a grabber in itself. Chapter 1 jumps to 1894 and Karen sets new hooks to reel us in.  There is a “Bad Guy” in this story as well as our heroine, Emma, and our hero, Malachi [I have a grandson named Malachi, a connection]. Malachi [our hero, not my grandson] is a guy who blows things up for a living [but he’s not the bad guy]. [Actually I’m sure my grandson would love to blow things up too]

Mal is a great hero. He’s strong, sometimes silent, but other times talking about his feelings. He is sensitive. He made me sigh [maybe because he reminds me of my own Dear Hubby].

When Malachi and Emma have to join forces against the Bad Guy things get explosive in the story; in the plot and in Emma’s and Mal’s feelings about each other, the growing attraction, feelings of love, though of course, each has reasons why their love would never work.

And that’s all I’m going to say. A great novel. It’ll keep you turning pages.

Link to No Other Will Do

See here for Karen Witemeyer‘s books.

Note; I did not receive any free books or any compensation for this review.

I’d love to hear feedback. Have any of you read Karen Witemeyer’s books? Comment below.

 

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My Elevator Pitch for My Novel “Love In The Storm”

I’m so excited, and I just can’t hide it…. I am going to the Write Canada 2016 conference the 23 to 25 of June. I love these conferences.  “Write Canada [see below for links] is Canada’s largest writers’ conference for Christians. Join authors, journalists, columnists, bloggers, and poets from across Canada and hone your craft at this three-day conference.” Don’t let this description scare you. The first time I went was in 2008 and I was not only an unpublished writer I knew nothing about the craft of writing nor the “industry.”

At W!C there is something for every kind of writer, especially Christian writers.

So what I wanted to do here is give you a chance to give me feedback on my Elevator Pitch. An Elevator Pitch is a very short little speech [ie what you could say in an elevator as it travels between a few floors] telling about one’s novel [or whatever one is working on, called one’s Work In Progress aka WIP] So here’s my EP.

“My Novel, Love In The Storm is a 55,000 word inspirational [ie Christian] romance novel dealing with the difficult subject of suicide. It is the kind of story that readers of Harlequin’s Love Inspired line would really enjoy; a sweet read with a spiritual message of learning to trust God and love. The first three chapters of this novel was Runner Up in the In The Beginning contest sponsored by The Word Guild.”

Image courtesy Wikipedia

If my listener asks to know more about it I can then give a slightly longer speech about it.

“Melissa Barber braves a violent thunderstorm to rescue a stray dog and pups. She enlists the help of Dr Matthew Emerson, the new veterinarian in town. Matt feels the dog is too severely injured to treat and suggests putting it down, but Melissa is determined to try to save her.

Melissa and Matt join forces to save the dog and care for the puppies. The sparks fly between them; sparks of conflict and sparks of attraction. Love begins to grow between them. But both of them have been wounded in the past by romance. Each is determined to never let it happen again.  Throw a thirteen year old runaway and a stolen puppy into the mix and you have a story with a few unexpected twists. Can Melissa and Matt learn to trust and love again?”

I would love it if my readers give me some feedback on this EP. I’ve had some critique already so I’ll ask a couple of questions.

Does this “hook” you, make you want to know more?

Do you think it is too confusing that both Matt’s and Melissa’s names start with ‘M’? If so, any suggestions for an alternate name for Melissa? [I don’t want to change Matt’s name for specific reasons].

My idea of Melissa; Rachel McAdams plus other brown-haired green-eyed women…a composite

My idea for Dr Matthew Emerson, Ben Affleck plus others to make a composite. I gave Matt dark green eyes 

I look forward to hearing from you, my blog readers. If I choose your suggestion for an alternate name for Melissa [or if many of you suggest keeping Melissa’s name then I will have a draw] I will give you a free copy of a Harlequin Love Inspired or Love Inspired Suspense, or Love Inspired Historical. I will announce the winner after the Write Canada Conference…not sure how long afterwards. I usually need a week or so to recover since it’s intense.
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Blessings

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Book Review; A Distant Melody by Sarah Sundin

A little while back I just missed getting a Sarah Sundin book for free [or cheap, I can’t remember the details] because I didn’t check my emails and my Book Bub deals. some of these deals last only 24 hours. However, the fact that the deal was there made me interested in Sarah Sundin’s novels. I had not heard of her or her novels before. I checked out what was available and chose A Distant Melody, since it was only $6.29 CDN, vs $8 to $12 for some of her other titles. Since reading A Distant Melody I want to try some of her other titles.

ADM-Official-Cover

A Distant Melody is a WWII story of romance and learning to overcome personal issues and obstacles. Our heroine, Allie [her name is a short form of a word to do with music…read the book to find out. Sarah’s musical motif is really cute as well as beautiful], has not only never measured up to her parents’ expectations, she has been criticized and put down by them all her life. She doesn’t think any man could love her. Walter Novak is full of courage as a bomber pilot but very nervous about romance. Their friendship grows despite these and other obstacles but then disaster strikes them both. Can they recover and find the courage to face their fears and admit their love for one another?

Sarah captures the realities of the War in the USA and Britain. I really enjoyed this book and will be purchasing the next one in the series [when my book budget allows]. This is a sweet but gripping read from start to finish. Don’t start it late in the evening…you’ll stay up all night.

This story is not only romantic and inspirational [Christian] it is realistic for it’s era. It took me back to my childhood as a Boomer who was born eight years after the war ended and listened to my parents’ stories of the war when they were children.

Leave comments please

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A Shared Post; A Holy Experience; Ann Vosskamp

I am sharing a post from A Holy Experience, a devotional/daily story type of blog with gorgeous pictures.

 Pic by Ann Vosskamp

My own thoughts; Jamie Martin, the guest blogger on Ann Vosskamp’s blog, mentions how children make our world brighter by being themselves [I would add if the children have been taught to love]. When my daughter was two years old and we took a walk up to town [town being all of 1700 people strong] she would tell perfect strangers “I love you.” It almost always brought tears to the eyes of adult men and women.

I was not familiar with Jamie Martin before reading this post, but I checked out her blog site, Simple Home School, and Steady Mom, but I am very familiar with Ann Vosskamp and her book, One Thousand Gifts,  which I read a few years ago and loved. I really like Ann’s poetic, lyrical prose, her fresh way of looking at the world, and God. I highly recommend Ann’s book and this blogsite. see link below. Jamie’s writing is similar to Ann’s. a little lyrical, metaphorical, beautiful.

So, I am sharing Jamie’s post here;

how to give your kids a truly world-changing summer & not even leave home [by Jamie C. Martin]

I sat by the edge of the island, watching God show off.

If you’ve ever had the chance to visit Hawaii, you know that’s what He likes to do there.

Miraculously, I had the beach all to myself as a full moon crept over the horizon and the crimson violet of sunset shadowed nearby palm trees.

To my right stood the turquoise guest house where we were staying, to my left the turquoise waves of the Pacific Ocean.

The kids had left behind the remains of their day’s busy work: inflatable inner tubes piled lopsided in a corner, crumbling sandcastles with plastic shovels nearby. With jetlag as their bedtime companions, they’d headed eagerly inside to an early sleep. continue this post here

A Holy Experience

Please leave comments. [There is nowhere on Ann’s blogsite to leave comments, but there is a place to comment on Steady Mom.]

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Are Romance Novels Realistic?

Is the romance in romance stories real or is it all fairy tale and fantasy. I personally feel there is some fairy tale but also a lot of reality. And it depends on the actual book.

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Harlequin has a “category” Inspirational Romance line [and no, I’m not plugging Harlequin, I just happen to know a fair bit about their Inspirational [Christian] lines because I read them and I’m writing my novels with their romance line in mind. Most of the authors who write romance novels for HLI have their feet on the ground. The stories are, for the most part pretty realistic, with the main characters [who I’ll dub Jack and Jane] struggling with real issues and problems that get in the way of their pursuing their initial attraction.

Are the books written to a formula? No more than any other genre book. Within a genre there are things a writer can write into a story, and things one can’t. And with HLI the short word count makes it difficult to add anything extra to the plot; Jack meets Jane, they are both attracted but there are obstacles to their pursuing their feelings of attraction, they overcome the obstacles with God’s help, and they fall in love and find a Happy Ever After, at least in the short term. Usually the obstacles are fears of the relationship due to being hurt in a previous love relationship or being molested as a child or somehow otherwise abused. Or it may be that each is dedicated to their careers and don’t want to give them up, but have to to have a relationship. This sort of thing happens in our real life lives. In our lives there are a lot of things going on that either promote a relationship or get in the way of it.

Our lives have subplots. Because of the short word count for HLI it’s pretty hard to work in a subplot. I tried to do it with my current WIP [work in progress] but could not keep the subplot and get my story down to the accepted word count.

Basically a reader needs to know what is expected of a genre before reading it. If you’re looking for car chases you usually won’t get them in Harlequin’s Love Inspired. [But you likely will in Harlequin’s Love Inspired Suspense.] Same goes for graphic sex, or even a lot of sexual undertones and suggestion. Inspired=Christian and it is governed by the Christian Book Association which has fairly rigid restrictions, although I see that changing slowly. Now with Indie publishing and self-publishing the parameters are blurring. But still a person who is uncomfortable with reading sexual stuff wants to read a romance book without being afraid of a hot and heavy scene suddenly on page 60.

So yes, one could say that romance books have some unrealistic aspects, just as does the mystery that always gets solved at the end. So whether it has no sexual stuff in it, [and that includes a guy seeing a woman and having a fleeting sexual thought] or it has hot and heavy stuff in it and Jack and Jane always have orgasms, and what’s more, they always orgasm together, and it’s always fantastic, over-the-top sex, yes that’s unrealistic. Yes, it happens in our real lives sometimes, but not always.

One aspect of most romances that may be considered unrealistic is that Jack and Jane are always gorgeous, beautiful people.

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Never overweight, or even struggling to stay slim. I do get tired of reading “He watched her slender form cross the room.” Maybe once at the beginning to establish she’s slender [although I think it should not be emphasized at all] but not peppered through the book. There are authors who don’t do this and they are usually among the ones who make it to my faves list. And I’m not saying this because I think all women are heavy, or should be heavy, but most women already struggle with their feelings about weight or self-image. I hate that we promote the implied myth of “only beautiful people find love.” The trouble is, the fantasy [of the book] isn’t just about Jack and Jane finding love, it’s also about being “beautiful,” which in our culture means “slender,” or blonde, or well-muscled and tall-dark-and-handsome. In my novels that I’m writing for HLI line [hoping to be picked up by them, I don’t have any contracts yet] I’m afraid I do give in to that “typing” of the hero and heroine. I want to write more about beauty in a later post.

And what about the Happy Ever After. Is that just fantasy? Don’t about 40% of marriages fail eventually? Maybe, but let’s turn that statistic on its head. 60% of marriages succeed. I have been married to my husband for 41 years and we are happy. We have come through bumpy times but we made it, and that’s what most sweet [and what I term semi-sweet, ie with some sex in them] romances portray. Jack and Jane overcome the obstacles. Yes, there might be obstacles later, but so what? Life has obstacles. Life has beautiful happy moments, or phases, and life has difficult moments and phases, and Romance, just like any genre, portrays that.

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I’d like to hear what you think. Please leave comments.

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