Book Spotlight: His Last Resort by M.A. Malcolm

Happy Wednesday, Reader Friends!!

Thanks for stopping by to check out the latest Book Spotlight: His Last Resort by M.A. Malcolm. It’s the first book in the His Last Hope series and FREE on eBooks.

Let’s get started!


About the Book

17475349_1390222064349363_1203402309_oDriven and focused, business owner and future pastor Robert Marsden knows exactly what he wants… and what he doesn’t. The Do Not Disturb sign he’s placed on his heart is his way of discouraging the ‘wanna-be first ladies’ who’ve set their sights on him. The way he sees it, Claire Foxwood and women like her are more focused on impressing others than on their eternal souls. As a man of God, it’s his duty to set them straight, right?

Claire can’t help her attraction to Robert, but his decision to make a public spectacle of her hurts to the core. Part of her wants to give him a piece of her mind, but the rest of her remains infatuated with the man who’s too attractive for his – and her – own good. If only she didn’t feel like he has a role to play in her destiny!

Can “Aunt Ruby” Crawford’s words of godly wisdom peppered with humor help the misguided pair look deep within themselves and discover God’s plan for their lives?

Links: Amazon, B&N, iTunes, Kobo, Goodreads


About the Author

M. A. Malcolm, a native of Jamaica, is a wife, mother, stepmother, daughter, sister and aunt. She is a freelance copy editor, administrative service provider and self-publishing consultant who also works part-time as an educator. With a passion for enhancing the work of Christian writers, she is certified in copyediting and is the founder of Nitpicking with a Purpose (NitpickingwithaPurpose.com). Over the years, she has worked with a host of local and international authors and authors-to-be.
When she published her first book, His Last Hope: A Contemporary Christian Romance in July of 2015, she fully expected it to be ‘one and done.’ She had no intention of writing another book of any kind; however, readers have demanded more, and the Lord has made it possible for her to comply. Not only has He allowed her more time to write; He has also given her more messages to share.

Her second publication was a children’s book entitled So very… Max! She wrote it in response to her young son’s repeated requests for her to write him a book. Set on a horse farm, So very… Max! is a modern-day response to Hans Christian Andersen’s The Ugly Duckling. Through her words, Mrs. Malcolm hopes to build children’s self-esteem and help them to understand that the things that make us different also make us special.

Her second novel and third book, His Last Resort, is the long-awaited and oft-requested prequel to His Last Hope. With its publication, her relatively recent vision of turning His Last Hope into a series has come true. She is currently working on two more manuscripts in the series, and has plans for a third.

Mrs. Malcolm studied Spanish Education and Spanish Literature at the University of the West Indies (Mona) in Kingston, Jamaica. A qualified teacher, she has taught Spanish, Caribbean Studies and Communication at the college level since 2002. She currently serves as an adjunct professor at two local colleges. She also works online providing freelance administrative services.

She has been a part of Faith in Christ Ministries in Westmoreland, Jamaica, for more than ten years. She divides her time among her family; work and writing projects; dogs; to-be-read list, and catching up on much-needed sleep.

She loves hearing from readers, and can be reached via her website authormamalcolm.com. You may also sign up there for her mailing list if you’d like to receive occasional emails and special offers, including free gifts. Book clubs may invite her to appear in person or via the Internet for live discussions surrounding her books.

Follow: Website, Facebook, Instagram


Book Spotlight post by Toni Shiloh

Open Discussion: Where are all the good stock photos?

Happy Saturday, y’all! I pray the week has been good to you and I want to thank you for stopping by this weekend.

If you’re new to our blog, I’d like to welcome you. Saturday’s we take the time to have an open discussion on various issues that authors of diverse Christian fiction face. Today’s topic: Where are all the good stock photos for minorities?

Have you ever done a search for minorities on a stock photo site? If I type “black women” in the search box, I won’t get many good options. In fact, I’m more likely to get a Caucasian female dressed in black. I’ve found the best thing to do is use the phrase “African American” when I’m looking for certain images.

Even then, I’m disheartened by some of the images that come back from the search. Are African-American women only seen as sexual objects? Some of the photos look like they were taken during a music video production.

And for some reason, many photographers seem to believe the consumers only want urban images. You know the kind where the person is posed in a thuggish style, looking like all they’re missing is a gun.

As a writer of contemporary romance, I’m constantly frustrated by the selection of stock photos. I want the romantic hugged-up pose. Or the soft smiles between two couples. Or *gasp* a beautiful wedding dress picture. But I literally have to weed through thousands of photos in order to find what I’m looking for. And when I’m done, I’m left with a limited amount to choose from. If I want to pick a photo that has never been used on a book cover, my selection is drastically limited. Because, all of us who do write diverse Christian fiction, are searching for the same-style that fits our genre.

I read an article in Madam Noire that talked of the subject. Here is a list of sites that have diverse images available:

Please share what sites you use! Also, do you have any suggestions on how we can improve the amount of diverse images available?


Written by Toni Shiloh

Book Spotlight: The Ebony Cloak by April W. Gardner

Happy Wednesday!!

Today I’m sharing a book spotlight of The Ebony Cloak by April W. Gardner. It’s part three in Beneath the Blackberry Moon. If you missed the interview where we discussed book one, check it out here. Also, book two spotlight is here. Let’s get started!

About the Book

In the wilds of 1816 Florida, a beautiful slave is free game for depraved men. But for an honorable man, she is a military objective, an asset to be protected, a love that should never be pursued.

Milly’s pale skin provides her with special privileges, but every luxury comes with a command. And Milly is done yielding. On the run, she can pass for white only as long as no one demands she lower her hood. But there’s hope. It lies in the Floridas in a refuge commanded by an army of runaways. Negro Fort. The first sweet taste of freedom convinces Milly that surrender is not an option. But the U.S. Army is keen on the fort’s conquest, and when it accomplishes the unthinkable, Milly must decide whether life is worth fighting for.

Major Phillip Bailey has orders to subdue the uprising and return the runaways to their masters, all the while being forced to fight alongside Creek warriors—the same who etched the scars into his mind and flesh. The same who, in a storm of flame and blood, ripped out Phillip’s heart and took her for himself.

And then came Milly…

While musket balls fly, a war of another sort rages inside Phillip—perpetuate a crumbling dream or pursue the forbidden; follow orders or follow his heart.

Purchase: Amazon

About the Author

APRIL W GARDNER writes history with a Christian perspective and a little imagination.

She is a copyeditor, military wife, and homeschooling mother of two who lives in Texas. She writes Christian historical romance with a focus on our Southeastern Native tribes. In no particular order, April dreams of owning a horse, learning a third language, and visiting all the national parks.

Connect and follow: Website, Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads

Open Discussion: Who/what should be on the cover?

Happy Saturday, my friends!

Thanks for stopping by Diversity Between the Pages. I’m excited to jump start today’s open discussion. My co-contributor, Alexis, and I were discussing this and voila, a discussion post was created.

Today’s question is “who/what should be on the cover” of an ethnically diverse book? Sure it seems like the obvious answer would be an ethnically diverse character, but is it?

What if a cover such as this one (yes I used my own) prevents a non-minority reader from picking up the book because she thinks she won’t be able to relate to the characters?

Sure, it’s nice looking, but does it scare away readers who are not African American? Would some publishers even considering putting people on the cover or would they automatically use one without in the hopes that it’ll reach more readers?

Cecelia Dowdy is an Indie (independent) publisher. She chose to use silhouettes on the cover of her Bakery Romance series. Her characters are ethnically diverse, but will a reader realize that? Sure, she’ll describe the characters in the books, but will a reader pick up on that or automatically assume they’re Caucasian?

Indie authors have the choice to choose what goes on the cover, but they still have to look at the marketing aspect. Google romance covers and you’ll see the majority of them have people on the covers. Some readers want the picture to clue them in how the character(s) look(s).

But are covers without people bad? Ms. Raney doesn’t have a couple on her cover. In fact, this book features an interracial couple. However, it is important to note that none of her covers in the Chicory Inn series have people and that is the main reason they went without people. In fact, the Dutch versions all have the female lead. But I’m curious, would a publisher get backlash from readers if they used an interracial couple on the cover? After all, in some parts of the United States, interracial relationships are still frowned upon. Just a couple of years ago, there was a huge uproar when a commercial for Honey Nut Cheerios featured an interracial family. Are publishers (Indie or traditional) not being “honest” when they choose to not depict the faces?

So what is an author to do, if she has a choice? What is a publisher supposed to do? Put ethnically diverse people on the covers or not? If they chose not to, are they hurting the opportunity for minorities to see more books that feature people like them?

What say you? Who or what should be on the cover of ethnically diverse books?

Post written by Toni Shiloh

Book Spotlight: The Sacred Writings by April W. Gardner

Happy Wednesday, Reader Friends!!

Thanks for stopping by today. I’m happy to share a new book spotlight, The Sacred Writings, by April W. Gardner. This is part two in Beneath the Blackberry Moon. Let’s get started!

About the Book

Big Warrior Totka Hadjo enters his toughest battles yet—the fight for love, the invasion of fear, and the inescapable ashes of each.

The war has ended, and now, Totka Hadjo must endure eleven moons and twenty-six sleeps without his beloved Copper Woman. But he has a two-fold task to keep him occupied: establish a lodge deserving of her and challenge her Jesus Creator to a vision, to prove his existence.

Totka leaves the white settlements with Copper Woman’s holy book, an object with medicine strong enough to keep at bay the hounding ghosts of his unavenged ancestors. But the sacred writings cannot restrain the Bluecoat who has returned from the dead, the one who first owned her heart. From the far reaches of the Muscogee Confederacy, Totka is powerless to stop the onslaught of events that conspires to take his beloved from him forever.

Leaping Waters, Totka’s old passion, is a constant presence he cannot escape, but she might be able to unlock the spiritual mysteries found in the holy book’s talking leaves. While he wades through the confusing symbols, the Choctaws, his ancient enemy, are determined to seize prime Muscogee hunting lands. In the process, they aggravate wounds that might never heal and expose him to a truth too bitter to swallow.

Denial and revenge go down much easier.

Purchase: Amazon

About the Author

APRIL W GARDNER writes history with a Christian perspective and a little imagination.

She is a copyeditor, military wife, and homeschooling mother of two who lives in Texas. She writes Christian historical romance with a focus on our Southeastern Native tribes. In no particular order, April dreams of owning a horse, learning a third language, and visiting all the national parks.

Connect and follow: Website, Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads

Author Interview: April W. Gardner

Happy Monday, y’all! Wait to you see who’s chatting with us today! That’s right, April W. Gardner, historical romance author. She’s going to be talking about her novel, The Red Feather. Be sure to check out her other books on the Diverse Books recommendation page AND Beth Erin will be sharing her review of The Red Feather, later this week. Let’s get started!


About the Book

theredfeatherOn a moonless night in 1813, Adela McGirth encounters a set of wolves and the steely eyed warrior who slays them, searing himself on her heart. When he returns, it’s with a brand of a different sort—the flaming arrow that destroys her life.

In the copper-haired captive, Totka Lawe finds the other half of his spirit. He vows he would die ten deaths to protect her, and he would kill any who tried to steal her away. With bluecoat soldiers pursuing him, a jealous cousin pursuing her, and the woman herself pursuing home, that vow stands a serious chance of being called into action.

In the first of this three-part, inspirational story, award-winning author April W Gardner brings to vibrant life an obscure event and the noble people who once dominated the Southeast but are now forgotten.

Purchase at: Amazon    Add to: Goodreads


About the Author

aprilwgardnerAPRIL W GARDNER writes history with a Christian perspective and a little imagination.

She is a copyeditor, military wife, and homeschooling mother of two who lives in Texas. She writes Christian historical romance with a focus on our Southeastern Native tribes. In no particular order, April dreams of owning a horse, learning a third language, and visiting all the national parks.

Connect and follow: Website, Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads


Interview

Toni: Thank you so much for joining us to talk about The Red Feather, part 1 in the Beneath the Blackberry Moon saga. I’m tickled pink that you’ve chosen to focus on Native Americans in this book. Care to share a little about the tribe Totka Lawe is part of?

April: Sure! But before I dive into that, thank you for having me, and thank you for this blog. It’s more needful today than ever before, and I’m honored both to have been invited and to write diverse characters.

Totka is Muscogee, or Creek as his people were first called by the British. For over a hundred years, the Muscogees were the dominate people group in our Southeast. They ruled from the East Coast to present-day Alabama and beyond. When they migrated into the area, they were smart conquerors and incorporated the tribes they overtook into themselves and, over time, created the Creek Confederacy. It was so mighty that President George Washington treated it with the same respect he did the European nations.

This history is taught in few American schools today. The Creeks and their history have been systematically swept under the rug since 1813 when the nation raged over the massacre at Fort Mims (the setting of The Red Feather). It was the largest massacre of whites by Natives in our history (some estimate 500 dead). The event was horrific, no denying, but I take special care to show both sides of the story. I tell it through the eyes a Muscogee warrior named Totka who simply wants to preserve his land and his culture from encroaching whites. Their method of warfare was a more violent one than Americans were (and are) accustomed to, but they were behaving in accordance with their culture and traditions. However, from that day on, Americans associated the Creek Nation with disgust and began to wipe them from the history books. It’s their forgotten story I long to tell.

Toni: Wow! Now you’ve got me wanting to do a search to learn more! Such an interesting story to tell. And your other character,  Adela McGirth, is Totka Lawe’s captive. Man, oh man, did that get my attention in the blurb. There’s a struggle that appears between one’s past life, present circumstances, and the future. How does Adela handle the pressure?

April: Adela is the other half of the equation, and her story is based on the actual McGirth family. They were rescued from the fort in the heat of the battle and protected by a Muscogee warrior for the duration of the war. The romance is my own invention, which wasn’t easy to do, considering Totka is partly to blame for Adela’s grief. How does she handle it? The only way any person can handle such a thing and come out the stronger for it is through the power of Christ. Apart from His grace and the comfort of the Holy Spirit, I don’t know if it’s possible to survive such a thing emotionally, much less come away loving the enemy. Adela is a strong character to begin with, and though she does emerge from the ordeal bearing emotional scars, she relies heavily on God, staying true to Him and her faith.

Toni: God is amazing! I love to see how His presences changes a person. Now, since we’re all about diversity, I have to ask, how did you develop Totka Lawe’s character without falling into racial stereotypes?

April: With lots of help! My dear expert, Ghost Dancer, is Muscogee. He is passionate about preserving his heritage and has dedicated countless hours to helping me get it right. Without his guidance and the careful eye of another expert and friend, Edna, I probably would have stumbled into more than one racial stereotype.

Toni: How awesome! I love to hear who authors have spoken to in their research. What is it about this time in history that captivates you so?

April: Good question! I grew up hearing that my great-great-something grandfather was Billy (Red Eagle) Weatherford, one of the attacking Creeks who later leapt from a bluff to save his people from the pursuit of General Andrew Jackson. As a young adult, I dug into that story, wished it were told in novel form, and decided to do it myself. My research became an addiction and a love that continues to this day.

Toni: Ah, that makes sense. Family history has a way of weaving into our present. How about some easier questions?
What do you do for fun in your spare time?

April: Um, write? LOL. Other things I enjoy doing are walking my fur-babies (two German Shepherds), visiting historical sites, and reading.

Toni: German Shepherds are such gorgeous animals. How about favorite meal?

April: Anything I don’t have to cook. Ha! But if you’re looking for something specific… I’m a big rice girl. If it has rice, I’m a fan!

Toni: Kindred spirits! I say the same thing and rice is wonderful. Especially with butter and sugar. But I digress. Favorite Christian song?

April: There are a ton of contemporary songs that I adore, but my favorite hymn is “The Love of God” by Frederick Lehman. The third verse is my favorite:

Could we with ink the ocean fill,
And were the skies of parchment made,
Were every stalk on earth a quill,
And every man a scribe by trade;
To write the love of God above
Would drain the ocean dry;
Nor could the scroll contain the whole,
Though stretched from sky to sky.

Toni: Beautiful! Last but not least, what’s next for you on your writing journey?

April: Glad you asked! Bitter Eyes No More released February 7. Its tagline is, “A man of abiding honor, tested by a woman of ruinous passion. A woman of unspeakable sins, pursued by a God of unquenchable mercy.” It takes place during the last days of Spanish Florida and depicts the upheaval between the Spanish, Natives, and Bluecoats (American soldiers).

It’s such a new release that my “what’s next” is still at least six months away, but I’m already working on it. The fifth book in the Creek Country Saga is entitled Love the War Woman. Its female lead is a Muscogee woman who is, you guessed it, a warrior. She is bodyguard to Chief Tall Bull who is far too handsome and prestigious to consider loving a roughened woman such as herself. It’s set during the inciting event of the First Seminole War, and because of the rare setting and characterization, it promises to be quite unique!

Toni: It sounds great! I’m looking forward to it and definitely adding your books to my TBR pile. Thank you so much for talking with me today.  I’ve enjoyed it. 🙂 What about you, reader friends? Care to ask April some questions?


Interview conducted by Toni Shiloh

Open Discussion: Where can you get diverse fiction published?

Happy Saturday, y’all!

Thanks for joining me as we settle down for another open discussion. One common question I’ve seen across social media is where can you get ethnically diverse Christian fiction published?

Readers are clamoring for fiction that fits their lives. Not everyone around them looks like they do, experiences the same life issues they do, etc. Yet, their fiction usually focuses on the same theme, a Caucasian who lives in a small-town.

A lot of ethnic authors are Indie (independently/self-publishing) publishing their works. Each has their own reason, but some Indie publish, because no one will take their ethnically diverse characters.

So, if you know of an agent or publishing company (small press, big press, etc.) who wants diversity, leave a comment and help an author out. 🙂

But, before you go, since this is an open discussion, tell me, what do you think publishers should do to change the market to be open to everyone regardless of race?