Book Review – Love the War Woman by April W. Gardner

Happy Friday, friends! If you haven’t yet checked out the Creek Country Saga series by April Gardner, you really must! Today, I’m looking at book #5 in the series but you could also read it as a standalone (though you’re missing out on all the other wonderful books that preceded it).

About the Book

Love the War WomanFor the DEFIANCE of a nation. For the DEFENSE of a tribe. For the LOVE of a war woman.

War woman Fierce Mink has loved Tall Bull as long as memory. He is beauty and power, but in the secret pockets of her spirit, he is vastly more. He is the brave to whom she swore her heart, the friend to whom she owes her life, and the chief to whom she will never be bound. Soon, he will be required to take a wife, but lamentably, Mink is severe, intimidating, hard-bitten by war—qualities a man appreciates in combat, not so under the bearskins. But perhaps it’s best he’s blind to her, for he clings viciously to the Beloved Path, and unbeknownst to him, she has joined her fire with Jesus.

Since his youth, Chief Tall Bull has treasured Mink. Even now, in their turbulent refugee world, she is comfort; she is home. Better yet, she shares his passion to preserve the Beloved Path and his fight to start anew in a land where they are no longer hunted. Then, a startling omen: before the blood moon, Tall Bull must make restitution for his transgressions, or the spirits will take payment. From her. A tragedy he would die to prevent.

Another portent looms—that of a horde of bluecoat soldiers pecking at their borders, threatening to drive the Red Stick Defiance into uninhabitable swamps. The Defiance will not go quietly, and as Tall Bull prepares for a brutal strike, he realizes the bluecoats aren’t his only enemy, and Mink’s life isn’t all he stands to lose.

goodreads | amazon

My Thoughts

With a richly atmospheric narrative and gorgeous word pictures, April Gardner takes us once again into Spanish Florida in 1817/18. The events closely parallel those of Bitter Eyes No More, but for a new perspective we follow Mink’s and Tall Bull’s stories instead.

Mink is fierce and fearless, but also insecure in many ways. Not only is she a Muscogee warrior, but she is also a new believer in Jesus. One who is still learning how to balance her vibrant tribal traditions with being a new creation. Yet, even in the transformation that Gardner exquisitely paints for her, Mink retains her culture and tribal identity. She does not, as so often fiction like this portrays, cease to be a Muscogee warrior when she also becomes a follower of Jesus. Instead, she finds new meaning and a covering of grace in her traditions, as well as seeing it all from eyes of faith.

Mink is also a woman long in love with her best friend – Tall Bull, a tribal micco who (as Beth Erin says) is an “unintentional master of mixed messages”. His own heart’s desires seem to catch him by surprise, and his intense pride often keeps him from those very desires. He is, like Mink, a complicated character but one well worth exploring each newly uncovered layer.

I also have to briefly mention Ten Cats, a seemingly minor character who grew in importance as the story progressed. He also grew on me and became one of my favorite characters in the whole book.

Mink and Tall Bull’s relationship is not a ‘typical’ love story. It’s a tumultuous path marked with detours and uncertainty, with other loving relationships, and with a conflict in faith. It’s often deliciously unpredictable but always exquisitely told with rich detail and lyrical prose. Gardner’s choice to include the tribal language (as well as a linked glossary) immerses you into a deeper reading experience that honors Mink and Tall Bull’s culture. And woven through it all is the overwhelming grace of Jesus, pursuing Mink and Ten Cats and Tall Bull – relating to them as their personal Savior, not as a white man’s God. Gardner does a beautiful job depicting the unity found in Jesus, as well as the cultural diversity He created.

I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy of this book, which I received from the author.

About the Author

aprilwgardner

A military spouse, April has performed the art of homemaking all over the world. Currently, she lives in Georgia with her two children and USAF spouse. She is unashamedly a child of the King. In her free time, April enjoys reading, organizing, and DIY. In no particular order, she dreams of owning a horse, visiting all the national parks, and speaking Italian.

After a year gaining experience as a content editor with Clean Reads, April is now a freelance editor, certified through the University of California, San Diego. As a way to give back to the writing community and to promote Christian fiction, April founded and runs the literary contest site, Clash of the Titles.

website | facebook | twitter

Also In This Series


 

What about you? What most interests you about this story?

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Book Spotlight: Dear One by Brandi Boddie

Happy Valentine’s Day, reader friends!

We hope that you will enjoy this book spotlight on “Dear One” by Brandi Boddie.

If you’re looking for a sweet story to celebrate the holiday, this is it!


About the book:

Love in Steel Town America during the midst of WWII

Youngstown, Ohio 1944

Molly Clayton works as a ladies columnist for the Valley Bulletin, the town’s most prominent African American newspaper. Between writing, aiding the war effort, and helping her struggling parents pay the bills, she doesn’t have time for her favorite pastime of swing dancing.

When a friend gives her tickets to a Valentine’s Day dance for her birthday, Molly can’t wait to attend. She meets Stephen Keller, a handsome jazz magazine editor. She’s attracted to him, but a painful secret lurks beneath the surface of Stephen’s easy charm that makes him defensive to others and suspicious of her faith.

Things take a turn for the worse when a vicious rumor threatens to destroy both her career and her blossoming courtship. Will she gain the courage to confront the rumor and speak her heart to Stephen before it’s too late?

Book purchase link: Amazon


About the Author: 

 Brandi Boddie writes historical and contemporary romance. She resides in Texas where she loves spending time with her husband and dogs, a cocker spaniel and a schnauzer who both aspire to be food critics. She holds a juris doctorate from Howard University School of Law and a B.A. in political science from Youngstown State University. She has worked for the Office of the Attorney General in Washington D.C. and traveled extensively across the country as a military wife. When she isn’t writing, Brandi enjoys fencing and swing dancing.

Visit her website www.brandiboddie.com for news and updates.

Follow Brandi on Twitter

Author Interview: C. D. Gill

Happy Monday!

Thanks for stopping by Diversity Between the Pages. Today, we’re bringing you an interview with the author of On Wings of an Avalanche. It released last week. Have you had an opportunity to read it or at least put it on your TBR pile? Meet C.D. Gill and show some love in the comments!


About the Author

The Blurb: “A struggling charity hospital, visa troubles, and an arrest at gunpoint leave Dr. Madison Cote at the mercy of the corrupt Malian police. Rescue comes at a price when a warlord demands that she traffic drugs in exchange for her freedom and his protection. When the French embassy enlists her to relay intelligence on the warlord, Dr. Cote’s trapped as a civilian double agent, facing an immediate death sentence if she’s caught.

Royal Air Force recruit Chip Chapman needs to prove to himself that he can be more than his abusive father. A week before basic training, an avalanche replaces his dreams of heroism with raw survivalism. Taken captive for his piloting skills, Chip plans to escape until he uncovers war crimes no human could ignore.

Both pressed into servitude, Dr. Cote and Chip forge a desperate alliance. But with lives in the balance, their allegiances and honor will be the least of the sacrifices required to topple a warlord.”

Links: Amazon, AppleBooks, Kobo, Goodreads


Interview

Toni: Welcome, C.D.! Since I’m so excited to talk about your book, I’ll just jump right in with the questions. What made you decide to pick Mali as a setting for On Wings of an Avalanche?

C.D: I chose Mali, because of the drug trafficking problem, and the proximity to Europe. It has a unique feature of being Muslim in the north closer to the desert and “Christian” in the south. So I was able to separate the crimes from religion mostly.

Toni: Have you ever been to Africa? If so, can you tell us a little about your experience there?

C.D: Yes! I went to Zambia in 2015! The travel was really long coming from the US, but my husband and I had the privilege of seeing life “in the bush” in Zambia. Pretty quickly outside of Lusaka, the roads turned to dirt with huge holes. The journey which would have taken 8 hours with paved roads took two 12-hr days to get to our destination. We stayed near locals, visited local schools, the missionary hospital, the hydro project which provides electricity to the area, and the markets. It was so bizarre to see so many people in the bush with cell phones yet they still lacked things like running water, toilets, refrigeration, etc. I was so glad we went with people who knew the area, because we would have had no idea where to stop for food or fuel. Those things aren’t easily available outside the city because people don’t have the money to pay a day’s wage for “fast food” nor do they all have vehicles that need fuel.

Toni: That sounds amazing. I still would love to visit the continent. What kind of research did you have to do for this novel?

C.D: All kinds! I went in depth into Mali’s culture, landscape, political structure, medical rules, and transportation. I researched the Olympics in 2008, bugs, aviation, birth rates, medicine, language, gift-giving, the drug trade, child soldiers, food, license plates, roads—you name it. I looked into it. And it was lots of fun!

Toni: You make it sound fun. 🙂 Did you find it difficult to portray the African culture considering your own ethnic background?

C.D: It was super important to me that I not misrepresent Africa as a whole or even present it as something “lesser than.” For example, one warlord doesn’t mean that the country is full of them, just like one gang story doesn’t mean the US is only gangs. Africa isn’t lesser than. It’s just different. I didn’t want people to read this book and think that “West is best.” In Zambia, healthcare is given to the citizens, as is the land. They expect things for free from the government. In the US, being given things goes against the ideal of work hard and earn what you want. So yes, it was difficult, because there are things I wanted to include in the story but refrained because the understanding of the full culture was difficult to fit into one story.

Toni: Makes perfect sense. I’m glad you took care with your portrayal. What is the one thing you wanted to portray for the different cultures?

C.D: That forgiveness is a concept understood around the world. Evil is always with us in many shapes, but it’s how we deal with evil and change for the better that shapes our identities.

Toni: Amen! What would you choose for a life verse for the hero/heroine?

C.D: For Chip, John 14:27, “Peace I leave with you; My peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, nor let it fear.”

Toni: I love that verse!

C.D: For Madison, Matthew 11:28-30, “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke on you and learn from me, because I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy to bear, and my load is not hard to carry.”

Toni: That’s another good one! Last but not least, what can readers do to support your writing journey?

C.D: Recommending the book to friends and leaving a review so others can find the book! Of course, I would love personal notes on how the story landed with each person.

Toni: Readers, do you have any questions or comments for C.D.?


About the Author

C.D. Gill caught the travel bug as a young girl. Now she integrates other cultures and faraway places into her fiction. Equally as important is her desire to lend a voice to those around world without one. Her favorite adventure buddy is her British pilot husband who doesn’t know how to sit still and whose stories have added fuel to her wild imagination.

Follow: Website, Facebook, Twitter, Newsletter

Book Spotlight: A Light on the Hill by Connilyn Cossette

Hi, reader friends! Today’s book spotlight features a leading lady with an exciting and inspiring story of overcoming the past, embracing her heritage, and remembering the Hope of her first Love.

about the book

A Light on the Hill by Connilyn CossetteSeven years ago, Moriyah was taken captive in Jericho and branded with the mark of the Canaanite gods. Now the Israelites are experiencing peace in their new land, but Moriyah has yet to find her own peace. Because of the shameful mark on her face, she hides behind her veil at all times and the disdain of the townspeople keeps her from socializing. And marriage prospects were out of the question . . . until now.

Her father has found someone to marry her, and she hopes to use her love of cooking to impress the man and his motherless sons. But when things go horribly wrong, Moriyah is forced to flee. Seeking safety at one of the newly-established Levitical cities of refuge, she is wildly unprepared for the dangers she will face, and the enemies–and unexpected allies–she will encounter on her way.

goodreads | amazon | bookdepository | christianbook

 

A Light on the Hill by Connilyn Cossette

 

about the author

Connilyn CossetteConnilyn Cossette is the CBA-Bestselling author of the Out from Egypt Series from Bethany House Publishers. There is not much she likes better than digging into the rich, ancient world of the Bible, discovering new gems of grace that point to Jesus, and weaving them into an immersive fiction experience.

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More from Connilyn Cossette on Diversity Between the Pages
Giveaway opportunities on Goodreads & Faithfully Bookish

What are your thoughts, reader friends?

Spotlight by Beth Erin

Author Interview with Brandi Boddie featuring “Dear One” (book)

Happy Monday, reader friends!

Let’s welcome Brandi Boddie to our blog today! She’s a returning guest. Today, Brandi is here to answer questions about her book “Dear One”. It’s the perfect read for Valentine’s Day!  She’s also going to share some of the race-related roadblocks she’s faced as an author of color writing about characters of color.

Enjoy your time with Brandi!


Interview with Brandi Boddie, author of Dear One (book):

Alexis: What inspired you to write a story about “Steel Town America during the midst of WWII” and call your story “Dear One”?

Brandi: Thanks for having me as a guest again, Alexis. During WWII, the “steel towns” were cities that were known for their high production of steel. This metal was highly needed to craft planes, tanks, and ammunition for the troops overseas. The more notable steel towns of the day were Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, Birmingham, Alabama, and Trenton, New Jersey. The story is called “Dear One” because it’s part of a multi-author collection called Valentine Matchmakers. Each story is titled after a saying on those classic candy hearts. The company that manufactured the candy started putting “Dear One” on the hearts during the 1940s.

Alexis: Why did you choose Youngstown, Ohio as the setting for your story?

Brandi: I was born in Youngstown, Ohio. During the 1910s-70s, the city had numerous steel mills. During WWII, they were used to furnish vehicles and weapons. Many of my male relatives worked in these mills before going off to fight in the war or to college in the latter half of the century. I wanted to pay tribute to the hard-working people of the city and my family by recognizing part of Youngstown’s legacy.

Alexis: Describe the Valley Bulletin, the town’s most prominent African American newspaper. How many years did it take for it to rise up in the ranks?

Brandi: The Valley Bulletin is a fictional African American newspaper based on the real-life examples of black journalism during that time. Since African Americans didn’t often find work with white newspaper companies, they formed their own. The papers featured news of the day as told from an African American perspective, as well as entertainment, gossip and advice columns. This tradition continues today in major cities.

Alexis: How did your story’s heroine Molly Clayton become a “ladies columnist” for the Valley Bulletin?

Brandi: Molly took a few secretary and writing courses after high school, which enabled her to find employment with the Valley Bulletin. She loves to give practical advice on war rationing to ladies in her weekly column.

Alexis: Why are Molly’s parents struggling and in what ways does she help them?

Brandi: Molly’s father lost his job in the steel mill due to a work-related injury. She tries to help him find work by bringing home the classifieds in the Valley Bulletin. She helps her mother with the share of the household duties .

Alexis: Describe Molly’s passion for swing dancing. How and when did she start?

Brandi: Swing dancing, or Lindy Hop, was one of the big pastimes during the 30s and 40s. While money was tight, it didn’t cost much to attend a dance. Molly began dancing during high school and goes regularly to these social events in her spare time.

Alexis: What’s the significance of the “Valentine’s Day dance” that Molly is invited to by a friend?

Brandi: The Valentine’s Day dance has a romantic theme of music and dining. Molly has been working hard at the newspaper office lately, and a friend suggests she deserves a little time to enjoy herself.

Alexis: Let’s talk about your story’s hero, Stephen Keller. Describe his looks, personality and taste in music. What’s his motivation in this story?

Brandi: Stephen is tall and handsome with dark hair, hazel eyes, and tan skin. He has an outgoing personality and is an avid fan of jazz music. He’s a hard worker and talented talker, not to mention dancer. But he always feels the need to prove himself.

Alexis: Why did you make Stephen a jazz magazine editor?

Brandi: Stephen has relatives who are jazz musicians. This lively, soulful music is in his blood.

Alexis: What draws Molly to Stephen? Is there anything that makes her not like him later on in the story?

Brandi: Molly is drawn to Stephen’s charisma, both on the dancefloor and in his conversation. He’s passionate about music and making advances for people of color. He’s suave, and there’s a cultured element to his behavior and way of dress. However, there’s also an unspoken element that she can’t put her finger on.

Alexis: How does Stephen’s “painful secret” affect his relationship with Molly?

Brandi: It goes back to his need to always prove himself. He’s trying to escape from the memories of his past, as well as something he can’t change about himself. This leads Molly to see another side of his personality, one that’s sad and bitter.

Alexis: What were the challenges of writing this story? What were the rewards?

Brandi: While there are many WWII romances to read, few of them feature people of color. We know for a fact that black and brown American soldiers helped win the war. We also know that their families, friends, and love interests worried about them. Just like white women, black women did their part to send care packages and letters. They anticipated their husbands and boyfriends coming home. I wanted to tell such a story. It’s been amazing to write about a young black couple falling in love against the backdrop of a war that ended up changing the scope of how we view religious, ethnic, and moral grounds.

Alexis: As a woman of color, what are the challenges you’ve experienced in trying to publish your books about people of color with traditional CBA publishing houses?

Brandi: I’ve had books get canceled because they featured people of color. In earlier stages of query, I’ve had editors ask me the race of my characters before they even knew the plot. I think this is because, historically, people of color haven’t had an easy time in this country. Historical fiction has to deal with that reality or it can become very disingenuous. It’s my belief that certain settings and subject matter make publishing houses want to proceed with caution. However, the human race can’t heal and POC are not being served if their experiences are sugarcoated, glossed over, or not given a voice at all.

Alexis: Would you like to see more love stories featuring heroines of color, successfully published and marketed by CBA? Why or why not?

Brandi: I certainly would, but it has to reflect POC experiences and their unique journeys of faith. God doesn’t lead us all down the same path. I’d also like to see more heroines of color being featured in genres such as mystery and science fiction.

Alexis: If you could advise the marketing and sales departments in traditional CBA publishing houses on how to market books about people of color, what would you say?

Brandi: Be proactive about it. Survey readers of existing romance novels that feature POC. Ask them why they enjoyed the book and what they would like to see in the future. Also, bring authors of color to your conventions and conferences to be guest speakers. Have several panels on diversity (with POC as the panelists) to start the conversation.

As for in-store and online marketing, don’t be afraid to have covers featuring POC. I’ve seen too many books that featured ethnic characters, but had flowers or a vague landscape for the cover. Why can’t we see cover models for the characters?

Alexis: Thanks for the interview, Brandi! Do you have any closing thoughts?

Brandi: Thanks for inviting me again, Alexis. I enjoy reading your blog features. Thanks for sharing diverse stories with your readers.

*Interview conducted by Alexis A. Goring, contributor.


About the Author:

 Brandi Boddie writes historical and contemporary romance. She resides in Texas where she loves spending time with her husband and dogs, a cocker spaniel and a schnauzer who both aspire to be food critics. She holds a juris doctorate from Howard University School of Law and a B.A. in political science from Youngstown State University. She has worked for the Office of the Attorney General in Washington D.C. and traveled extensively across the country as a military wife. When she isn’t writing, Brandi enjoys fencing and swing dancing.

Visit her website www.brandiboddie.com for news and updates.

Follow Brandi on Twitter


About the Book:

Love in Steel Town America during the midst of WWII

Youngstown, Ohio 1944

Molly Clayton works as a ladies columnist for the Valley Bulletin, the town’s most prominent African American newspaper. Between writing, aiding the war effort, and helping her struggling parents pay the bills, she doesn’t have time for her favorite pastime of swing dancing.

When a friend gives her tickets to a Valentine’s Day dance for her birthday, Molly can’t wait to attend. She meets Stephen Keller, a handsome jazz magazine editor. She’s attracted to him, but a painful secret lurks beneath the surface of Stephen’s easy charm that makes him defensive to others and suspicious of her faith.

Things take a turn for the worse when a vicious rumor threatens to destroy both her career and her blossoming courtship. Will she gain the courage to confront the rumor and speak her heart to Stephen before it’s too late?

Book Review: The Long Highway Home by Elizabeth Musser

Happy Friday – and Happy February! Today, we’re looking at an emotional and inspiring read from Elizabeth Musser that spotlights the courage of Iranian refugees and the people who aid them. The Long Highway Home is a feast for the senses, the emotions, and the soul. It will break your heart and soothe it again, but it will not leave you the same person you were when you began reading.

About the Book

the long highway homeWhen the doctor pronounces “incurable cancer” and gives Bobbie Blake one year to live, she agrees to accompany her niece, Tracie, on a trip back to Austria, back to The Oasis, a ministry center for refugees that Bobbie helped start twenty years earlier.

Back to where there are so many memories of love and loss.

Bobbie and Tracie are moved by the plight of the refugees and in particular, the story of the Iranian Hamid, whose young daughter was caught with a New Testament in her possession back in Iran, causing Hamid to flee along the refugee Highway and putting the whole family in danger.

Can a network of helpers bring the family to safety in time? And at what cost?

Filled with action, danger, heartache and romance, The Long Highway Home is a hymn to freedom in life’s darkest moments.

goodreads | amazon

My Thoughts

“… how costly it was to follow Isa [Jesus]. Costly, yes, but worth it.”

The Long Highway Home is set in 2005, at the height of the riots in France, but its theme is oh-so-timely today. The story follows several main characters – Bobbie, Tracie, Stephen, Hamid, Amir, and Rasa – as well as the secondary characters these six encounter on their respective journeys. The text shifts from first person to third person, depending on which character’s perspective we are reading, but the transitions are clearly indicated and easy to follow.

Seven-year-old Rasa has the beautiful faith of a child – after hearing New Testament stories of Isa (Jesus) she comes to believe in Him and trusts Him to help her family. This is not an easy decision, even for such a young child. In her world, in her country, belief in Jesus is a death sentence. And yet… she believes. Wholly and without doubt.

Hamid is a gentle soul who must flee Iran along the treacherous ‘Refugee Highway’ after Rasa is caught with a New Testament. Knowing his family is in grave danger, hoping they are safe where he has hidden them (they aren’t), he escapes to find help and freedom. Along the way, he meets Jesus too. Yet the journey may be no safer than remaining behind in Iran. The terrain is unforgiving and the dangers are many.

Hamid and Rasa’s stories are incredibly moving and emotional – heartbreaking and deeply inspiring. Even in great darkness, when their lives are on the line, Jesus is there in their story, wrapping them with grace. The best part (to me) of Hamid & Rasa’s story is that they are based on real-life refugees and their own stories that captured the author’s heart. As Musser herself said, “The Long Highway Home is fiction, but it is based on many, many true stories of refugees finding hope in the midst of the horror as Jesus reveals Himself to them in the most surprising ways.”

The Long Highway Home is, at its heart, a bringing together of the plot lines of a refugee’s story. It’s not a political statement. It’s not a religious statement. It’s a beautiful picture of how Isa [Jesus] redeems and rescues, with plot lines simultaneously playing out in Turkey, in the Netherlands, in Iran, in Atlanta, and in Austria. No matter where you stand on the refugee debate, this story and its people are for you. It’s an inspiring portrait of the selfless individuals who work behind the scenes in many cases to help refugees find hope as well as freedom. And it’s a heart-clenching reminder that, while following Jesus is very costly to so much of the world’s population, He is very worth it. “Not everyone had made it safely out of Iran. But everyone has made it safely Home.”

I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy of this book, which I received from the author.
Portions of this review were originally posted on Reading Is My SuperPower.

About the Author

elizabeth musser

ELIZABETH MUSSER writes ‘entertainment with a soul’ from her writing chalet—tool shed—outside Lyon, France.  Elizabeth’s highly acclaimed, best-selling novel, The Swan House, was named one of Amazon’s Top Christian Books of the Year and one of Georgia’s Top Ten Novels of the Past 100 Years.  All of Elizabeth’s novels have been translated into multiple languages. The Long Highway Home has been a bestseller in Europe.

For over twenty-five years, Elizabeth and her husband, Paul, have been involved in missions’ work in Europe with International Teams.  The Mussers have two sons, a daughter-in-law and three grandchildren who all live way too far away in America. Find more about Elizabeth’s novels at www.elizabethmusser.com and on Facebook, Twitter, and her blog. See photos from scenes in The Long Highway Home on Pinterest.

What about you? Have you ever met a refugee and listened to his/her story?

Book Spotlight: Lone Star Bride

Happy Wednesday, Friends!

Today I’m spotlighting Lone Star Bride by Jolene Navarro. Have you read it?


About the Book

The Blurb: “An Unwanted Marriage 

Sofia De Zavala wants to help her father run their family’s Texas ranch–but he has other ideas for her future. Faced with an arranged marriage, Sofia dresses as a boy and joins a cattle drive, determined to prove herself to her father. But her plan backfires when she’s forced to save her reputation by marrying trail boss Jackson McCreed.

Jackson thought he was hiring a scrappy young boy–instead, the wary widower has landed his business partner’s feisty, headstrong daughter as his bride. He believes a marriage of convenience is the best they can hope for. But Sofia dares him to look to the future again…and find a love strong enough to lasso a lifetime of happiness.”

Links: Amazon, B&N, CBD, Goodreads


About the Author

jolenenavarroJolene’s life, much like her stories, is filled with faith, family and all of life’s wonderful messiness. She know that, as much as the world changes, people stay the same. Good and evil. Vow-keepers and heart breakers. Over twenty years ago Jolene married a vow-keeper who showed her that dancing in the rain never gets old. She loves creating powerful heroines and strong hero that find love and faith in a broken world. She writes Contemporaries and Historical.

Follow: Website, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest

Interview with Brandi Boddie, author of “The Preacher’s Wife”

Happy Monday, reader friends!

Let’s welcome Brandi Boddie to our blog today! We did a book spotlight on her story “The Preacher’s Wife” last week. Today, Brandi is here to answer questions about her book and share her insights as an author of color in the publishing industry.

Enjoy your time with Brandi!


About the Author: 

 Brandi Boddie writes historical and contemporary romance. She resides in Texas where she loves spending time with her husband and dogs, a cocker spaniel and a schnauzer who both aspire to be food critics. She holds a juris doctorate from Howard University School of Law and a B.A. in political science from Youngstown State University. She has worked for the Office of the Attorney General in Washington D.C. and traveled extensively across the country as a military wife. When she isn’t writing, Brandi enjoys fencing and swing dancing.

Visit her website www.brandiboddie.com for news and updates.

Follow Brandi on Twitter


About the Book:

 Can this small-town girl trade her tarnished past for a respectable life?

During the hot, windy summer of 1870 in the burgeoning prairie town of Assurance, Kansas, Marissa Pierce is fed up with her abusive boss. She longs to start a new life and is growing weary of convincing townsfolk that she is most certainly not a prostitute.

Civil War veteran and preacher Rowe Winford arrives in town intent on leaving the tragic memories of his deceased family behind. Although Rowe has no plans to fall in love anytime soon, the plans of God rarely match those of man.

Faced with adversity and rejection from the town and Rowe’s family, can Marissa overcome her past, renew her faith, and experience the life of love that God has planned for her?


Interview with Brandi Boddie about her book, The Preacher’s Wife:

Alexis: Why do you call this book “The Preacher’s Wife”?

Brandi: Actually, the original title was called “Garters For Lace”. There’s a line in the story that provides more detail about it. My publisher decided to give the novel a new title, which also is very fitting to the story.

Alexis: Let’s talk about your story’s heroine Marissa Pierce. What’s she like? Describe her personality, looks, and motivation.

Brandi: Marissa is a young woman in her twenties. I describe her as tall, with long black hair and brown eyes. She’s attractive. Today we might describe her as biracial or multiethnic because she is Native American and Caucasian. Although Marissa was born in the 19th century, some aspects of her personality resemble today’s modern woman. She’s very resilient and independent. She’s a survivor of sexual and physical abuse. Although there are things in her past that are very discouraging, she strives to move forward in life with the help of God and caring friends.

Alexis: What’s Marissa’s backstory? Why do people think she’s a prostitute?

Brandi: Marissa had a difficult childhood and early adult life. Circumstances have forced her to work in a saloon as a dancehall girl. In the frontier days, ladies could earn money by dancing with saloon patrons and serving drinks. Not all of these women were prostitutes, but saloons and their employees were often considered disreputable at this time by the public. Marissa has to battle this perception.

Alexis: Let’s talk about your story’s hero Rowe Winford. What is he like? Describe his personality, looks and motivation.

Brandi: Rowe is a kind, strong man who journeys west from Virginia after losing his wife and unborn child. He’s always wanted to be a minister, a profession that his tobacco farming family disapproves of. He desires to make a new start. Rowe is over six feet tall, has blue eyes and dark brown hair.

Alexis: What tragic memories is Rowe trying to escape?

Brandi: Rowe is saddened by the loss of his young wife and unborn child. He also is depressed by his family’s rejection of him.

Alexis: How do God’s plans for Rowe contradict Rowe’s plans for his life?

Brandi: As the town’s new preacher, Rowe wants to do everything right to impress the people and show his competence as a spiritual leader. He doesn’t anticipate meeting and being attracted to Marissa, a woman who many consider beneath his station.

Alexis: What brings Marissa and Rowe together? Is there anything that threatens to tear them apart? Explain.

Brandi: A chance meeting at the saloon and a later encounter firmly place the two in each other’s lives. Rowe doesn’t count on the backlash from the town or Marissa’s abusive employer, the saloon owner Jason Garth.

Alexis: In what ways to Marissa and Rowe work to overcome adversity?

Brandi: Marissa works to escape the saloon and abusive people in her life. Part of that involves seeking new employment, but not everyone in the town wants to be associated with a former saloon girl. Rowe soon learns that his can-do spirit and eagerness to prove himself must be met with action. Being a preacher involves more than Sunday sermons. He learns he has to truly serve others, even those society rejects.

Alexis: What role does faith in God play in Marissa and Rowe’s lives?

Brandi: They learn to recognize God’s voice and accept where He leads them. Marissa, due to her mistreatment by the morally upstanding people of the town, has formed the wrong impression of God. Rowe wonders how God could allow him to lose his family.

Alexis: Marissa is Native American. Why did you give her this heritage and how does it affect her story?

Brandi: Although Hollywood would have us think differently, the historic frontier west actually was made up of diverse peoples. Roughly 40 percent of cowboys were black and Latino. Among white settlers, there were often low populations of women, especially when towns were first being established. It wasn’t unheard of for white men to have children with Native American women or take them as wives. This is partly how Marissa has Choctaw in her ancestry.

Alexis: What’s Rowe’s ethnicity? What role does his racial makeup play in this story?

Brandi: Rowe is Caucasian. As a white man in a mostly white small frontier town, there are certain expectations of him. Will he fulfill them, or will he go against the grain?

Alexis: How do your own experiences as a woman of color affect your storytelling?

Brandi: I’ve always loved to read, but I didn’t see too many women/girls of color as the main characters in stories. This left me feeling like people who looked like me didn’t matter and that our stories weren’t worth telling. If I did find stories featuring POC, they were often relegated to their own little hidden corner of the bookstore or given the general label of Urban Fiction. I have nothing against urban fiction if that’s the actual story setting. However, I’ve seen too many books mischaracterized and given that broad label simply because the protagonists are people of color.

Even now, as a fan of romance novels, it can be discouraging to rarely see black women on the covers. The underlying message is that we are not worthy of love or romantic pursuit. I write stories to help change this by uplifting and representing women of color. We are from all walks of life. We have different experiences. And we have always been here.

Alexis: What changes would you like to see in CBA this New Year 2018 when it comes to authors who write books featuring people of color?

Brandi: I strongly hope we will see more stories featuring POC, written by POC. If we want this, there has to be action behind our words. We can’t just talk about what we’d like to see. We need to be proactive by promoting and encouraging authors. Buy books by POC. Tweet, follow on social media, and don’t be afraid to write to CBA traditional publishers and agents. Let them know there is a demand for diverse stories. Support the indie author movement, because that’s where we’re going to see the impact of diversity in storytelling first.

Alexis: Thanks for the interview, Brandi. You’ve shared such great thoughts! We look forward to your return in February to talk about another one of your books! God bless you.

*Interview conducted by Alexis A. Goring, contributor.

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Book Review: If You’re With Me

Happy Friday!

Hopefully you aren’t buried under snow or bad weather. And if you are, maybe this review will help you decide what book to read next. 🙂


About the Book

The Blurb: “From the Promises of God Series – Read after Book 2: IF I BELIEVE.

Faith Langston has made her choice as to whom she loves. But when the love of her life goes home just before Christmas and runs into his first love—he’s faced with choices of his own . . .”

Links: AmazonB&NGoodreads


Review

Y’all, I was on pins and needles while reading If You’re With Me. I’m loving the Promises of God series so I snatched this book up as soon as I saw Ms. Tate release it and it didn’t disappoint.

Faith has been through a lot in books 1 and 2 if you’ve had the opportunity to read them. This book is considered 2.5 so please read books 1 and 2 first. If you have already read them then jump right in, you’ll know exactly where we are in the timeline.

I love the issues Faith and Reggie go through and it’s great to see both of their sides. Of course, I chose a team and had some moments where I fussed at the characters. (Who else does this? Please tell me I’m not the only one.)

It was a fast-paced read because I wasn’t going to miss one second of it so I read it in one sitting. When it was done, I was sad because now I have to wait for book 3, but Ms. Tate makes these reads worth the wait.

Oh and you’ll love the promise of God that’s featured in this story.


About the Author

KIM CASH TATE is the author of several books, including Cling (2017) and If I Believe (2017). A former practicing attorney, she is also a Bible teacher and is currently doing a study on First Samuel on YouTube. She’s been married to her husband Bill for more than two decades, and they live in St. Louis with their two young adult children. You can find Kim online at kimcashtate.com and on social media @kimcashtate.

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Book Spotlight: The Preacher’s Wife

Happy Wednesday, Reader Friends!

Today, we’re featuring Brandi Boddie and her book “The Preacher’s Wife”.


About the Book: 

 Can this small-town girl trade her tarnished past for a respectable life? 

During the hot, windy summer of 1870 in the burgeoning prairie town of Assurance, Kansas, Marissa Pierce is fed up with her abusive boss. She longs to start a new life and is growing weary of convincing townsfolk that she is most certainly not a prostitute.

Civil War veteran and preacher Rowe Winford arrives in town intent on leaving the tragic memories of his deceased family behind. Although Rowe has no plans to fall in love anytime soon, the plans of God rarely match those of man.

Faced with adversity and rejection from the town and Rowe’s family, can Marissa overcome her past, renew her faith, and experience the life of love that God has planned for her?


About the Author:

 Brandi Boddie writes historical and contemporary romance. She resides in Texas where she loves spending time with her husband and dogs, a cocker spaniel and a schnauzer who both aspire to be food critics. She holds a juris doctorate from Howard University School of Law and a B.A. in political science from Youngstown State University. She has worked for the Office of the Attorney General in Washington D.C. and traveled extensively across the country as a military wife. When she isn’t writing, Brandi enjoys fencing and swing dancing.

Visit her website www.brandiboddie.com for news and updates.

Follow Brandi on Twitter

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