Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Interview with Jill Kemerer, Author of Unexpected Family

Jill Kemerer writes contemporary Christian romance novels with love, humor and faith. A full time writer, she relies on coffee and chocolate to keep up with her kids’ busy schedules. Besides spoiling her mini-dachshund, Jill adores magazines, M&Ms, fluffy animals and long nature walks. She resides in Ohio with her husband and two children. Jill loves connecting with readers, so please visit her website, jillkemerer.com.

Thank you for having me today!

Where did you grow up?

I grew up in farm country. We lived a few miles from Oakley, a small town in mid-Michigan. I spent a lot of time running around barefoot, playing with my sister and cousins and sitting around reading. We moved to Saginaw, Michigan when I was twelve, and I think I’ve been moving ever since!

When did you begin writing?

It was a cold January day. I was twenty years old. I’d finished my college homework, so I read a romance novel. Well, I didn’t like the book and figured I could do better than that! I grabbed a cheap spiral notebook and began writing. My characters would fall in love, and they wouldn’t have all those pesky problems the other fictional couples seemed to have. Twenty-two pages later, the book ended. Turned out the problems were the point! Yes, I had a lot to learn, but once I started writing romance, I never looked back. I’ve been writing them ever since.

Do you write during the day, at night or whenever you can sneak a few moments?

I write my books during the day, but I write blog posts, short stories and other projects whenever I can sneak a few moments.

What is this book about?

Unexpected Family is about a single mom who finally gets the guts to tell her ex-husband they have a daughter. Here’s the back-copy:

His Surprise Daughter

After five years apart, Tom Sheffield is shocked to find his ex-wife, Stephanie, on his doorstep. The news that they share a child he's never met sends him reeling. Four-year-old Macy has his eyes, his mouth and, from their first encounter, his heart. Things with her mother are much more complicated. He doesn't understand what went wrong between them or why she kept their daughter a secret. And he's afraid of falling in love all over again. Yet he feels a glimmer of hope that somehow he can convince Macy and Stephanie to stay in Lake Endwell—and with him—for keeps.

What inspired you to write it?

Inspiration comes at the worst time! I was trying to fall asleep, and all of a sudden, I thought what if a guy got a call from the police saying, “Your wife and daughter were in an accident,” and the guy responded, “But I don’t have a wife or daughter”?

I got up and wrote it down. The idea would not go away, and the basis for Unexpected Family was born.

Was the road to publication smooth sailing or a bumpy ride?

The road to publication was not only bumpy, it was steep! I wrote twelve novels and submitted nine before getting a contract. I’ve been writing for over twenty years, but I’ve only been writing full-time for eight. Last year, I finally got the call I’d been waiting for. My debut novel, Small-Town Bachelor, released in April. It, too, is set in Lake Endwell and features Tom Sheffield’s sister, Claire.

If you knew then, what you know now, is there anything you would have done differently?

No. God used the time to draw me closer to him. I gained humility and confidence in my writing. I’m thankful for every step of my journey.

Where can readers purchase a copy of your book?

Readers can find purchase links to all major booksellers on my webpage for Unexpected Family. Paperbacks are available in stores such as Walmart, Barnes & Noble, Kmart and local grocery stores.

What is one piece of advice you would like to share with aspiring authors everywhere?

Never give up! And don’t let worries and doubts keep you from writing. Some authors get published with their first or second book. Some self-publish. But if you’re like me and want a traditional publisher, just keep trying. I’m living my dream, and you can too!

What is up next for you?

The third book in the Lake Endwell series will release sometime next spring, and I’m currently writing the fourth book. I love my job!

Thanks again for having me today!

Monday, August 31, 2015

Musing Mondays and Book Review of The White Knight, the Lost Kingdom, and the Sea Princess by Judy Carlson

Musing Mondays is a weekly meme sponsored by Jenn of A Daily Rhythm that asks you to choose one of the following prompts to answer:
  • I’m currently reading…
  • Up next I think I’ll read…
  • I bought the following book(s) in the past week…
  • I’m super excited to tell you about (book/author/bookish-news)…
  • I’m really upset by (book/author/bookish-news)…
  • I can’t wait to get a copy of…
  • I wish I could read ___, but…
  • I blogged about ____ this past week…
THIS WEEK’S RANDOM QUESTION: What is your favorite book? (or, one of your favorites!)

Favorite book? There are so many. I guess if I had to pick one it would be The Stand by Stephen King. Ultimate good versus ultimate evil, faith, the supernatural, and the rebuilding of society. Pretty neat stuff.

I recently finished reading The White Knight, the Lost Kingdom, and the Sea Princess by Judy Carlson. Like young adult fantasy has been influenced by the popularity of Harry Potter, Christian fantasy has been influenced by The Chronicles of Narnia by C. S. Lewis for decades.

After the brutal murder of the royal family a decade earlier, Prince Lael fights for the freedom of the Lost Kingdom. Along his journey, he meets a mysterious Sea Princess who quickly captivates him. Two cousins from Minnesota are dropped into the mystical realm and join the fight to free the Sea Princess while searching for their way back home.

This is a thrilling Christian adventure story sure to appeal to many. The battle against the dark forces will thrill and the romantic element will touch hearts. Eloquently written, Carlson has developed a story with numerous plot points seamlessly woven to create a fascinating tale. Lovers of mythical fantasy will appreciate this one.

Paperback: 472 pages
Publisher: Nordskog Publishing, Inc. (July 1, 2015)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0983195757
ISBN-13: 978-0983195757

I received a copy of this book from the author through Pump Up Your Book. This review contains my honest opinions, which I have not been compensated for in any way.

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

"Waiting On" Wednesday: Little Woman in Blue: A Novel of May Alcott by Jeannine Atkins

"Waiting On" Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating.

My pick for this week is:

May Alcott spends her days sewing blue shirts for Union soldiers, but she dreams of painting a masterpiece—which many say is impossible for a woman—and of finding love, too. When she reads her sister’s wildly popular novel, Little Women, she is stung by Louisa’s portrayal of her as “Amy,” the youngest of four sisters who trades her desire to succeed as an artist for the joys of hearth and home. Determined to prove her talent, May makes plans to move far from Massachusetts and make a life for herself with room for both watercolors and a wedding dress. Can she succeed? And if she does, what price will she have to pay?

Based on May Alcott’s letters and diaries, as well as memoirs written by her neighbors, Little Woman in Blue puts May at the center of the story she might have told about sisterhood and rivalry in an extraordinary family.

What are you "waiting on" this week?

Monday, August 24, 2015

Interview with Lisa Tillinger Johansen, Author of Stop the Diet, I Want to Get Off!

LISA TILLINGER JOHANSEN, MS, RD is a Registered Dietitian who counsels clients on a wide range of health issues. Her debut nutrition book, Fast Food Vindication, received the Discovery Award (sponsored by USA Today, Kirkus and The Huffington Post).  She lives in Southern California.

Can you tell us a bit about yourself?

I live in Southern California and love it. Reading is one of my most favorite pastimes and has been most of my life. I joined my first book club when I was six years old. I love to entertain, from a small dinner party to a major bash. My husband and I love the arts and go to a lot of movies, plays and concerts. I would have to say that my biggest adult passion has been travel. It’s my goal to see as much of the world as I can.

When did you begin writing?

I wrote my first play when I was nine years old. It was about Native Americans and my friend and I performed it for our history class. The next year I wrote a play for my English class about Santa Claus, and I played Santa! In seventh grade I mounted my most ambitious play called Rocky and the Boys about bank robbers. I, of course, was Rocky and we performed the play on the school’s theater stage. It was very exciting.

Throughout high school and college I continued to write, but mostly essays and short stories. Then in my mid-twenties I tried writing a romance novel called The Girl With The Kelly Green Scarf. It was 86 pages from start to finish. Too funny! It was then that I realized how hard it is to write a book.

I took some time off from writing for a decade or so and then started back again several years ago with my first book FAST FOOD VINDICATION. It was well-received and won several awards. This inspired me to write my new book STOP THE DIET, I WANT TO GET OFF!

What is this book about?

STOP THE DIET, I WANT TO GET OFF! examines the pros and cons of dozens of the most popular diets out there and ultimately provides the reader with a healthy eating plan for life.

What inspired you to write it?                                              

I’m a dietitian and I’ve counseled thousands of patients about weight loss and management. So many of them have been on numerous diets that didn’t work. Too few have tried a common-sense diet approach. My goal is to help people learn to eat healthy for life. And because there’s so much misinformation out there about what to do, I felt compelled to write a book that answers all the diet questions.

Who is your biggest supporter?

I can answer two questions here. My husband is my biggest supporter and he’s also my favorite author. He writes mystery/thriller books and sometimes collaborates with my second favorite author, my mother-in-law Iris Johansen.

Where can readers purchase a copy of your book?

Readers can get STOP THE DIET, I WANT TO GET OFF! on Amazon, Barnes and Noble and local booksellers.

Do you have a website and/or blog where readers can find out more?

I have three websites. The one that is specific to STOP THE DIET, I WANT TO GET OFF! is www.stopthediet.com. I also have a Q&A website at www.consultthedietitian.com and one for my first book www.fastfoodvindication.com. I’m on Facebook at Lisa Tillinger Johansen and on Twitter @LisaTJohansen.

What is up next for you?

Right now I’m busy promoting STOP THE DIET, I WANT TO GET OFF! as well as teaching nutrition, conducting hypertension and diabetes clinics and holding cooking classes in various senior centers. So I’m pretty busy! But I’m looking ahead to my next book and hope to get started on it soon.

Is there anything you would like to add?

Thank you for taking the time for the interview. I appreciate it.

Friday, August 21, 2015

New to My TBR Pile

Not that I've had any time to read lately--too busy selling houses--but here are some books that were added to my TBR pile over the past few weeks.

What have you added to your TBR pile? 

Monday, August 10, 2015

Musing Mondays - Aug 10

Musing Mondays is a weekly meme sponsored by Jenn of A Daily Rhythm that asks you to choose one of the following prompts to answer:
  • I’m currently reading…
  • Up next I think I’ll read…
  • I bought the following book(s) in the past week…
  • I’m super excited to tell you about (book/author/bookish-news)…
  • I’m really upset by (book/author/bookish-news)…
  • I can’t wait to get a copy of…
  • I wish I could read ___, but…
  • I blogged about ____ this past week…
THIS WEEK’S RANDOM QUESTION: Do you read in the water (bathtub, pool, etc)? Why, or why not?

Today is definitely a whining post day. I miss reading. There is absolutely no time lately. Right now, it's 2:20 a.m. and I know I have to get up at 7:00. That means I better go to bed and catch a few hours of rest before the work day starts.

My review of Guilt Free Motherhood: A 5-Step Guide to Reclaiming Your Time, Health & Well-Being is overdue and I have to read four more books before the end of October. How am I going to manage that? Sigh! I love my job, but man, the real estate market is crazy right now. People are buying.

So, now that I have cried a bit, I hope you are reading some great books and enjoying them.

Updated: In answer to this week's question, I most definitely read in the tub. I would never get reading accomplished otherwise--which is part of the problem I mention from above. I used to bath every night to relax. Right now, I am staying up so late I plop into bed right away and take a shower in the morning.

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Book Blast & Book Giveaway: Love, Defined by Leila Tualla

Author: Leila Tualla
Book Title: Love, Defined
Paperback: 242 pages
ISBN-10: 1680582313
ISBN-13: 978-1680582314
Publication Date: August 4, 2015
Genre: Christian YA Romance

Into their final summer before graduating college, three childhood friends, Alex Makapulo, Lori Hanson, and Andy Taylor had each expected an uncomplicated transition to adulthood.
Alex had recently professed her love for Christ and is toying with the idea of leaving the Catholic Church and becoming a member of her best friend, Jack Page’s church. Jack wonders what is keeping Alex from being baptized and fully accepting a new life with Christ. Alex wonders the same thing and believes that she needs to be 100 % in her conviction before fully committing to a new Christian life. Like everyone she has doubts and wants to make sure she’s doing the right thing in her spiritual walk. Her new found beliefs disconnects her from her roommates and while they feel she is intentionally separating herself from them, to Alex, she is trying to figure out what is Christian and what isn’t.

For Lori’s twenty-second birthday, her grandfather Pete Hanson presented her with a summer vacation to England. While looking up various tourist spots, she meets and befriends Colin Watson, a British musician, online who then suggest they meet when she lands in London. They hit it off instantly but Pete is angry and believes that she only used him as a means to meet Colin. When he finds out that Lori met Colin online, he forbids Lori from seeing Colin entirely. Lori, who has fallen in love with Colin, is heartbroken. Pete threatens to leave England with Lori’s passport. Colin and Lori try to arrange meetups where they can see each other but Pete catches on. Lori takes this as a sign that it wasn’t meant to be. She unhappily finishes her trip with Pete and goes home vowing not to forgive her grandfather.

Andy reconnects with her old crush, Miles Webber and decides she wants a more meaningful relationship with him. She tells Alex about the situation and Alex truthfully tells Andy that Miles only wanted her for sex. This angers Andy and she walks out of the apartment.

Andy ends up walking to the coffeehouse and comes up with an idea to throw a surprise birthday party for Alex. She believes that if Alex and Jack were to hook up, the focus would shift from Miles and her. Andy spikes all the drinks for Alex’s party and leaves her friend while she goes in search of Miles. He shows up at the bar with another girl. In an effort to soothe her wounded ego, she goes home with someone else. When she wakes up the next day, she realizes she’s in bed with Alex’s young boss from the coffeehouse, David Roberts, Jr.
They return home from their trip with Alex asking Jack to baptize her. Andy confronts David and Lori both forgives and asks for forgiveness from Pete.

Leila Tualla is a Christian blogger and writer. She blogs at www.tuallaleila.blogspot.com and writes about her misadventures in faith, in motherhood, and whatever else inspires her. She holds a membership to the American Christian Fiction Writer. Her current project is a YA Christian Romance.

Social Links:
Website: http://tuallaleila.blogspot.com
Facebook: www.facebook.com/LeilaTuallaM
Twitter: www.twitter.com/LeilaTualla
Buy Links:
Amazon: http://amzn.com/1680582313
Barnes and Noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/love-defined-leila-tualla/1122402464

Follow the tour here: http://wnlbooktours.com/?p=5650
Enter Giveaway: One winner will receive an autographed copy of Love, Defined

Terms and Conditions: NO PURCHASE NECESSARY TO ENTER OR WIN. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW. A winner will be randomly drawn through the Rafflecopter widget and will be contacted by email within 48 hours after the giveaway ends. The winner will then have 72 hours to respond. If the winner does not respond within 72 hours, a new draw will take place for a new winner. Odds of winning will vary depending on the number of eligible entries received. This contest is in no way sponsored, endorsed or administered by, or associated with Facebook. This giveaway is sponsored by the author Leila Tualla and is hosted and managed by Paulette from Write Now Literary Book Tours. If you have any additional questions – feel free to send an email to Paulette @ pharperjohnson@gmail.com