Interview with Ann Marie Bryan

Happy Monday!

Today we’ve invited the awesome Ann Marie Bryan to join us here and talk about her latest book, Hearts over the Line. Grab a cup of tea (or coffee) and chat with us!


About the Book

A STAND-ALONE NOVEL: From #1 Amazon bestselling author Ann Marie Bryan comes the highly anticipated final installment in the Encounters of the Heart series—a riveting story about rising from the ashes, unlocking love, and learning to create and maintain an atmosphere of faith.

Chandler Peynard has it all—family, fame, fortune, and salvation. This A-list celebrity has come a long way from his philandering days. That’s no longer his style. He’s head-over-heels in love with Sabrina, his wife, and in full pursuit of God’s calling on his life. But when shadows of the past beckon, he panics. Eventually, he has no choice but to face his previous indiscretions, but will Chandler’s past activities be more than his wife can handle?

Larry and Rozene Kanate have moved beyond the consequences of their mirrored sin. The birth of twin daughters helped to seal their happily-ever-after. Life is wonderful, until it’s not. After the beaded curtain falls, Rozene scrambles to put the pieces together and avoid public humiliation. As the past crosses paths with the present, will their marriage survive?

Madison Bradshaw has moved past her inability to trust and love. But when Tyler, her husband, makes a special request, she hides the truth from him. What could go wrong?

In this captivating conclusion to the bestselling Encounters of the Heart series, unresolved issues make unwelcomed visits to test the resiliency of love. Will the characters learn to reset the atmosphere in which they live? Will they live in a place where God finds it easy to bless them? In a season that brings many challenges, they must summon the courage to forgive, heal and fall in love again.

Amazon | Goodreads


Interview

Toni: Thank you so much for joining us today at Diversity Between the Pages. I’m so excited to talk about your latest release, Hearts Over the Line. You’ve got a few couples featured in this book. Tell us a little bit about Chandler and Sabrina?

Ann Marie: Chandler and Sabrina Peynard are a power couple. Their love story can be described as an emotionally gripping account of a most unexpected love, and a marvelous reflection of God’s grace. Book 3 – A Place for My Heart in the “Encounters of the Heart” series, gives a detail account of how the relationship developed between Chandler and Sabrina.

When Chandler literally staggered into Sabrina Benjamin’s life, he was desperate for an escape route. Battling feelings of isolation, he had erected barriers around his heart, often times leaving a trail of broken dreams behind him. During that time, Sabrina was also struggling emotionally. Her happily-ever-after had been ripped away, but she hadn’t given up on finding love. Still, she was caught off guard by her feelings for Chandler, a man whom she could hardly describe as a model man of God. Nevertheless, an unexpected bond developed between them.

Touched by Sabrina’s kindness and faith, Chandler makes a life-changing choice; but complication occurred when the past he’d thought was long buried, pushed him to confront matters he would have given anything to forget. As Chandler struggled to release himself from his past and embrace the future, he offered Sabrina a place in his heart, but she demanded all of it. That was a lot more than Chandler was prepared to give, because falling in love and putting down roots were not in his plan.

But love fines a way. With the help of the Lord, Chandler and Sabrina found the strength to take a chance at life and love.

In Book 5 – Hearts over the Line, we witnessed life with Chandler and Sabrina, eleven years later. They have a family and they’re in full pursuit of God’s calling on their lives. Again, shadows of the past beckoned and Chandler had no choice but to face his previous indiscretions. As unresolved issues made unwelcome visits, Chandler and Sabrina must weather the storms of life and learn to create and maintain an atmosphere of faith. Above all, they must summon the courage to forgive, heal and fall in love again.

Toni: Do you have a favorite couple from the Encounters of the Heart series? Who are they and why?

Ann Marie: At first, my favorite couple in the series was Blake and Gabrielle Montgomery (Book 1 – Shades of the Heart). However, as the series continued, I developed a special love for Chandler and Sabrina Peynard (Book 3 – A Place for My Heart).

Initially, Chandler and Sabrina seemed to be total opposites. They had to come out of their comfort zones and be open enough to understand each other. The lessons learned were priceless.

Witnessing the development of the relationship between Chandler and Sabrina was precious. I enjoyed so many things about them—the growth in their personal relationships with Jesus Christ, the love they shared, and their friendship. They were two souls ideally suited for each other. Oh, watch out for their playfulness and compassion for each other.

Getting to know Chandler was like peeling back an onion. Even though he was seemingly living the good life, he had a gaping hole in his heart—one that could not be filled by his fleeting relationships or any of his earthly possessions.

Sabrina was a dedicated woman of God, but when Chandler entered her life, that devotion was put to the test. Rooted in her faith, she was resolute in the things she stood for, refusing to bend because of Chandler’s foolishness.

In the end, they were able to create a love for all times.

Toni: How does your own ethnicity influence your writing?

Ann Marie: I am sure my ethnicity has influenced my writing. However, I attempt to write for a world-wide audience. I’m not just writing a great love story; I am writing to inspire and empower readers, hoping that they will see the awesome power of God in the lives of people and places. It is my desire to write many inspirational, life-changing books. I want my words to encourage hope, change, forgiveness, healing, restoration and new beginnings.

Toni: Beautifully stated. If you could explain your writing style to a reader, what would you say?

Ann Marie: I would use the words—emotional, inspirational, fluid, compelling, romantic—to describe my writing style. I like to put readers in the heart of the story—to pick a side, a team, a couple, or a cause—and give them a chance to think how they would react in a similar situation.

Toni: Nice! Do you prefer sunrises or sunsets?

Ann Marie: I love both. I am an early riser, but I love sunsets.

Toni: Susnets are pretty. Chocolate or Vanilla?

Ann Marie: Vanilla.

Toni: I’m the same. Old school music or current hits?

Ann Marie: This is a hard decision. I’ll go with old school music.

Toni: Books or movies?

Ann Marie: I love both, but I’ll go with books.

Toni: Yay, books! Describe your dream writing spot.

Ann Marie: I don’t think I have a dream writing spot. I like to write in the morning… early mornings, when it is quiet. My favorite writing spot—in bed, propped against pillows.

Toni: And last but not least, how can readers help you on your writing journey?

Ann Marie: I am extremely excited about my writing journey, and I am thankful for the opportunity to share with readers. Consequently, I would love to hear from readers. I would like to know how my stories impacted them, and of course, I want to hear their testimonies about God’s faithfulness. I am available for book club or group meetings.

Toni: Readers, do y’all have any questions for Ann Marie?


About the Author

Ann Marie Bryan is a dedicated multi-talented leader with a passion for excellence. She is the CEO and Founder of Victorious By Design, an organization committed to providing top quality professional writing services, comprehensive personal and professional development programs and exceptional performing arts services to meet the unique needs of individuals and organizations.

A Christian Fiction author, Ann Marie writes to educate, inspire and empower others. She desires to tell great stories with fascinating characters to show the awesome power of God in the lives of people and places. Her celebrated bestselling Encounters of the Heart series, blend faith and romance that test the resiliency of love.

Ann Marie’s greatest passion is to empower others to succeed by tapping into their God-given potential. She enjoys writing, reading, dancing, teaching, meeting people and traveling. With all the knowledge and experiences that God has so graciously blessed her with, Ann Marie is determined to make her life a ministry for the Lord.

Follow: Website | Facebook | Reader Group | Twitter | Pinterest | Instagram | Newsletter | Amazon | Goodreads


Post by contributor Toni Shiloh

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Author Interview with Alexa Verde + Giveaway

Happy Monday, Friends!

I’m excited to talk to Alexa Verde today about her latest book, Love Me. It’s set in the awesome fictional town of Chapel Cove, Oregon, “where life begins at forty.” Grab a cup of tea (or coffee) and chat with us.


About the Book

Welcome to Chapel Cove, Oregon, where life begins at forty.

The biggest disaster of her life or the beginning of something wonderful?

Growing up, Kristina Vela never imagined she’d meet her fortieth birthday divorced by her cheating, manipulative husband, and without a house, degree, or career. Back in her hometown, Chapel Cove, to start anew, she’s given up on men. Then she meets grieving widower Greg Matthews and his adorable five-year-old daughter and helps them renovate a house. Just when Kristina feels she can love again, her ex gives her an ultimatum. Can she choose between her own happiness and Greg’s?

Former snowboarder Greg Matthews is moving to Chapel Cove so his daughter can be close to her grandparents. After his wife died, his heart closed to romance. As caring and compassionate Kristina helps him repair his house and his life, he might be falling for her. But if she decides to leave, will he survive a second heartbreak?

Amazon, Goodreads


The Interview

Toni: Welcome, Alexa! I’m so excited to talk about your latest release, Love Me. Let’s talk about your heroine, Kristina Vela, first. What would her dream job be and why?

Alexa: Happy to be here, Toni, and thank you so much for inviting me!

It takes a while for Kristina to find her dream job because for many years she dedicates herself to raising her twins and taking care of her rather demanding husband. When he leaves her and she finds herself starting over at forty, she recalls the dreams she had in childhood and decides to become an interior designer. Growing up in a dilapidated house, she wants to help people make their homes beautiful and full of life, laughter, and happiness.

Toni: I always thought being an interior designer would be cool. How does her ethnicity influence her background and/or the story?

Alexa: Kristina is a Latina and cooking delicious Mexican food is partly how she remembers good parts of her childhood (not so good part was constant arguments between her parents and her mother’s complaints). Coming back to her roots is an important part of Kristina’s spiritual growth. This is how she returns on the path to the person God wanted her to be. Her ex-husband didn’t like her to listen to Tejano music or use Spanish words, and it was one of many ways of him controlling her, but now she can listen to the music she likes, pursue the career she wants, or talk in Spanish to her brother or cousin to her heart’s content. She speaks Spanish fluently and can make great fajitas and tacos!

Toni: You’re making me hungry! 🙂 How does your own ethnicity influence your writing?

Alexa: I’d say rather my nationality influences my writing because I try to incorporate pieces of my Eastern European culture in many of my books. In real life, I’m a blue-eyed blonde living in south Texas, so I stand out like a sore thumb even before I open my mouth (I have a strong accent). But I found Hispanic community as friendly and hospitable as the warm and sunshine weather here. Many of my characters are Hispanic, and I learned to speak Spanish and even got a degree in it. I decided to be grateful to God for creating me just the way I am. Yes, it’s difficult to be different when we have that deep-rooted desire to belong, but God made us diverse for a reason and we should embrace it.

Toni: Amen! One of the things I loved about this story was the age difference. What made you have Kristina be older than Greg?

Alexa: After verbal and emotional abuse from her husband, she feels insecure and unsure of herself. The large age difference with the man she’s now falling for only adds to this internal conflict. However, the age difference doesn’t bother the hero in the least. I wanted to show that when it comes to love and affection, it’s really not about the age, social status, or appearance. It’s the heart that matters. Kristina has a wonderful, loving heart that was hurting for a long time. In the end, she is the right person not only for the hero, but also for his little daughter, Chelsea.

Toni: Aw! What would your characters eat for breakfast and why?

Alexa: That would be a tough choice between chocolate-filled brioches and tacos. Kristina loves anything chocolate (I wonder where did she get that from?), as well as fish tacos, beef tacos, chicken tacos, okay, you get the idea. Of course, she’d never make fish tacos now because Chelsea is allergic to shellfish.

Toni: I approve of tacos! 🙂 How long does it take you to write a novel start to finish, including editing process?

Alexa: It can be from a month to a year. A lot depends on how much time I have to write!

Toni: That makes sense. And last but not least, how can readers help you on your writing journey?

Alexa: I love this question! Readers’ support means so much to me, and it also help other readers find Christian books they might enjoy. Here are some ways that would help tremendously:

– writing a review (even several words count!)

– recommending books on BookBub, GoodReads, social media, and/or in person (the word of mouth matters so much!)

– mentioning the book in readers’ group on social media

– following us on Amazon

– commenting on author’s posts to make them more visible and sharing the posts

– participating in giveaways

– subscribing to the newsletter and forwarding it to friends

– just sending me an email saying they enjoyed my books.

It keeps us authors going. Besides, publishing is extremely competitive these days, and support for books is needed like air! I want to say heartfelt thanks to many of my wonderful readers who are already doing many of those things. I love you.

Toni: Those are great tips! Readers, do you have any questions for Alexa?


About the Author

Alexa Verde writes stories of love, faith, and mystery to warm your heart. She’d love it if you subscribed to her newsletter (every subscriber gets a free Christian romance after confirming the subscription as a thank-you gift). She penned her first literary masterpiece, a rhymed poem, at the ripe age of eight, and since has had twenty books and 200 short stories, articles, and poems published in the five languages that she speaks. She has bachelor’s degrees in English and Spanish, a master’s in Russian, and enjoys writing about characters with diverse cultures. She’s worn the hats of reporter, teacher, translator, model (even one day counts!), caretaker, and secretary, but thinks that the writer’s hat suits her the best. After traveling the world and living in both hemispheres, she calls a small town in south Texas home. The latter is an inspiration for the fictional setting of her popular series Rios Azules Christmas and Secrets of Rios Azules.

She hopes and prays that her stories will bring joy to her readers. Heartfelt thanks for interest in her books!

Follow: Facebook, Twitter, Amazon, BookBub


Giveaway

Alexa Verde is kindly offering a $5 Amazon gift card to one randomly chosen commenter of this post. You have until May 13th, 9 p.m. CDT to comment. The giveaway is open to people with  an www.amazon.com account.
To enter, answer the question: What would you most likely eat for breakfast?

Book Review: It’s Like That

Happy Friday!

I hope you’ve had a great week and an awesome weekend plan. Before you jump into your weekend reading, check out our contributor, Toni Shiloh’s thoughts on It’s Like That. Now’s definitely a good time to add to your TBR pile!

Let’s get started!


About the Book

After suffering a tragic loss ten years ago, twenty-six-year-old Jasmine Richardson has traded her love of lyrics for writing legal briefs. It only takes one encounter with the microphone for Jasmine to realize the music is still in her heart—if only it could pay the bills. After making some bad decisions, Jasmine is thrown into a tailspin. She is forced to consider taking a case that could make her legal career from someone from her past. Suddenly, Jasmine finds herself questioning her future. When the music is still in your heart, sometimes life forces you to make some tough decisions. Sometimes…it’s like that.

Links: Amazon, Goodreads


My Thoughts

This book has it all. Romance. Mystery/Suspense. Family drama. Etc.

I loved Ms. Splond’s writing voice. It hooked me in and kept me turning the pages. I also liked the story premise. How many of us have wavered between choosing a job that pays the bills versus following your dreams? And that’s essentially what the book is about and what Jasmine has to decide.

With some great secondary characters and a come-to-Jesus moment, It’s All That will entertain you from beginning to end.


About the Author

Chandra Sparks Splond is an editor, speaker and award-winning author and blogger. Her young adult novel Make It Work was named Alabama’s Great Read 2017,  Spin It Like That was chosen as a Popular Paperback for Young Adults by the Young Adult Library Services Association (YALSA), and The Pledge was a YALSA Quick Pick for Reluctant Readers. Black Pearls Magazine honored Splond as a Legends & Leaders for 2017 for her blog, Book of Splond (formerly known as Magic City Momma).

Splond is the owner of West End Publishing, LLC, and Live Life Creations, a personalized gift and party boutique. In addition to working for Kensington Publishing as the consulting editor for Arabesque romance, Splond has also done work for Random House, Moody Publishers, Kimani Press (formerly known as BET Books), and Hyperion. She has edited books for several New York Times, USA Todayand Essence bestselling authors. Splond has interviewed New York Times bestselling authors Karen Kingsbury, Kimberla Lawson Roby, Eric Jerome Dickey and actress Meagan Good. She has also worked for Good Housekeeping, Black and Married with Kids, Brides Noir, Weddingpages, Newsday, The Morning Call and Romantic Times. 

Of all the titles she has held, Splond’s most important remain child of God, wife and mommy. Splond graduated from Ramsay High School in Birmingham, Alabama and the University of Alabama at Tuscaloosa with a degree in journalism. She received her master of science in education degree with a focus on instructional design and technology from Samford University. Splond is a member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc., and resides in Birmingham with her family. They are members of Forty-fifth Street Baptist Church.

Follow: Website, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram

Book Review: Shadow Among Sheaves

Happy Friday!

I’m super excited because I’ll be heading for the Christian Fiction Readers Retreat this afternoon. But before I go, I have to share my thoughts on Naomi Stephens’ Shadow Among Sheaves. Her debut novel released Monday, so if you haven’t heard about it or had an opportunity to read it, continue reading.


About the Book

A Timeless, Beautiful Allegory of the Biblical Love Story of Ruth and Boaz

The Great Rebellion of 1857 was a remarkably bloody business. At a time when Britain’s imperial influence in India was sparking brutal clashes on both sides, no one could have expected Rena, an Indian woman, to marry a British officer—nor do they understand her decision to follow her mother-in-law to England after her husband’s tragic death.

Once the two widows are in Abbotsville, the stern yet compassionate Lord Barric attempts to help them despite his better judgment. Soon he is torn between the demands of reputation and his increasing desire to capture Rena’s heart for his own.

Amazon, B&N, CBD, Goodreads


My Thoughts

Okay, y’all, I’ve been trying to gather my thoughts together so I’ll start with my initial impressions.

Wow. The prologue sucked me right in as I entered Rena’s world. An Indian woman, she vows to follow her mother-in-law back to England. From that prologue, I knew this would be a story I’d read until the very end. I love Ruth’s story, one of my favorites in the Bible. I couldn’t wait to find out what Ms. Stephens did with the story and how she made it her own. Plus, an Indian woman in England after a rebellion that had happened in India makes for some page turning tension.

I loved Rena as a heroine, a woman, and just an interesting character to follow. She’s amazing and I was pulling for her through the entire story. I often asked myself if I would have that strength and dedication to another. It’s remarkable and one of the reasons I have always loved Ruth.

And that leads me to the English Lord Barric, because what’s a Ruth retelling without a Boaz? Barric is very stern but he has his moments of kindness that peek out every now and then. And although I wasn’t in love with him as a hero, I didn’t dislike him either. His standoffish mood made it difficult to fall in love with his character. Still, I continued reading to see what would happen with his thread. But about 80% in, there’s a scene that turned my opinion. In the end, I just can’t say that I think he deserved Rena. I feel like she deserved someone wholly gallant and worthy of her and all that she sacrificed. Because Barric wasn’t that for me, I would lower my review rating, but that’s the only reason why.

Because this story is rich in history. Filled with a beautiful wealth of emotion. I was invested in the story and that’s saying a lot because not every historical story moves me. I will be reading more of Ms. Stephens in the future.

*I received a complimentary copy through NetGalley. My review was not influenced nor required.
**Review first appeared at Soulfully Romantic blog.


About the Author

Naomi Stephens is a bookworm turned teacher turned writer. She received a B.A. in English from Concordia University in Ann Arbor and an M.A. in English from Indiana University-Purdue University Fort Wayne. 

In bookstores, Naomi gravitates towards 19th-century British novels—the broodier the better (i.e., Jane Eyre)—but she can also be found perusing the young adult, mystery, and fantasy sections. Anything that keeps her turning pages past midnight.

Though she has called many places home over the years, she currently lives in Ohio with her husband, her two children, and a rascal of a dog named Sherlock. When not writing or having adventures with her family, she can be found drinking tea, practicing photography, and pining for London.

Website, Facebook, Twitter


Review post by contributor Toni Shiloh

Book Spotlight: Kiss You Now

Happy Wednesday reader friends!

I think we might finally be seeing signs of spring this week in my neck of the woods! The sun is shining, the temps are slowly creeping up, and the snow is ever so slowly melting away.  Kind of puts you in the mood for a sweet romance story, don’t you think!? Today the spotlight is on Kiss You Now by Jan Thompson.


About the Book

Kiss You Now: A Multiracial Contemporary Christian Romance (Savannah Sweethearts Book 7) by [Thompson, Jan]

A novelist who can’t write…
A doctor who won’t practice…
A world moving on with or without them…
Welcome back to the multiethnic new South, to Savannah and Tybee Island, two of USA Today bestselling author Jan Thompson’s favorite coastal Georgia towns by the Atlantic Ocean. Going about their daily lives while attending the Riverside Chapel church, a group of Christians meet the loves of their lives. What is God’s will for each of these Christians?
In Book 7, we return to the Savannah Senior Living Resort on Tybee Island, where centenarian retired Great-grandpa Hiram Jacobs waits for the day God takes him home to heaven…

Hunter’s Honor…

The Reverend Hiram Jacobs believes he is finally dying, and he wants his memoirs published before his one hundred and fourth birthday.Well, Hunter has his own book deadlines to juggle, and can’t Great-grandpa Hiram wait a few more months?
Unfortunately, Hunter’s writing career tanks. He loses his publishing contract since his books haven’t sold enough copies, and his agent fails to find a new publisher for his old manuscripts. His writing well has dried up, and he has been unable to write anything new for months.

 
Hunter sells his cottage in the Swiss Alps to pay off his debts, and flies home to coastal Georgia. He wants to talk to Great-grandpa Hiram about his memoirs, hoping that it might reboot his writing career. To Hunter’s surprise, Great-grandpa has found a new writing assistant, someone who isn’t even in the Jacobs family. And Hunter is required to hand over everything he has worked on for seven years to her, an outsider who has barely known Great-grandpa for a year.

Stunned, Hunter feels stuck.

Priyanka’s Present…

Renting a campground yurt on Tybee Island, Priyanka Patel is far away from the surgical centers at pediatric hospitals and from that nightmare of a medical mission trip more than two years ago. Yet, even here, there’s that faint scent of a defunct career, too dark, too painful for her to revisit.

 
These days, Priyanka would rather cheer up the elderly residents of the Savannah Senior Living Resort by bringing them freshly-cut flowers, singing and praying with them, and listening to some of them tell sad stories about their children who never come to visit anymore. She spends mornings at the florist and afternoons at the SSLR, walking with the seniors who can, and wheeling them around if they cannot.

 
Pastor Hiram is Priyanka’s favorite patient—ah, friend. The centenarian is losing his memory bit by bit, and the sooner Priyanka writes down everything about his life for his posterity, the better. His great-grandson is supposed to be compiling all his sermons, and if he’d hurry up, those can be published before Pastor Hiram dies.

 
Still, perhaps she should have turned down Pastor Hiram’s request for her to help him complete his memoirs. And yet, her heart gets the better of her, and Priyanka says yes to helping an elderly gentleman fulfill his lifelong wish.

 

When life moves on and time runs out, Priyanka finds herself thrown together with Hunter, trying to catch up with the world around them that is moving faster than they can handle. Should they press forward and go along with it, or should they shrink back and return to their comfort zones? Or is there another way they haven’t thought of?

 

Links: Amazon, B&N, Goodreads


About the Author

Jan Thompson

USA Today bestselling author Jan Thompson writes clean and wholesome multiethnic contemporary Christian romance with elements of women’s fiction, Christian romantic suspense with an air of mystery, and inspirational international thrillers with threads of sweet Christian romance. Her books are for readers who enjoy stories of faith, hope, and love in Jesus Christ.

Follow: Website, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram

Book Review: The Winter Reunion

Happy Friday and Happy 1st of March!

I hope that this year is treating you right. And I hope you are seeing signs of warmer weather to come. As I type this post, I’m eyeing the possible snow coming out way. Good thing I have books to read! 😉

If you need something to read and it is still a winter wonderland, might I recommend Rhonda McKnight’s The Winter Reunion. It’s sure to entertain you.


About the Book

Everyone knows the woman in the “viral” video that hit two million views on YouTube. Humiliated, Tamar Johnson changed her name and disappeared behind the embarrassing video that captured her losing her virginity on prom night. But who was the guy?

NFL Running Back Stephen Pierce is football’s darling. He’s spent his entire career doing community service work with at-risk kids, and endeared fans as a devoted Christian, even claiming celibacy. It’s time for his high school reunion. Stephen is determined to get his EX, Tamar, to come out of hiding, even going as far as posting their prom picture on Instagram in hopes that she would accept the challenge to show up.

Tamar isn’t interested in the reunion, but her boss is. She writes for a small magazine. Stephen Pierce is a BIG story.
With reunion activity in full swing, the tension between Tamar and Stephen reaches an unbearable level. Before it’s over will the world find out who the real Stephen Pierce is? And will Tamar survive spending time with the only man who’s ever had her heart?

Links: Amazon, Goodreads


My Thoughts

This book has a really interesting premise. I wasn’t sure how Tamar would be able to overcome the pain of her past and the man who caused it. I liked how Ms. McKnight threaded the faith through the story line and showed us the power of God and forgiveness.

I also really enjoyed the reunion aspect of the book. They are one of my favorite tropes to read so I enjoyed seeing how Ms. McKnight put her spin on it. All in all an enjoyable read to pass my winter reading time with.


About the Author

Rhonda McKnight is the author of several award-winning novels and Black Expressions Top 20 bestsellers, including An Inconvenient Friend, What Kind of Fool and Breaking All The Rules. She is the winner of the 2015 Emma Award for Inspirational Romance of the Year. She was also a 2010 nominee for the African-American Literary Award. Rhonda writes edgy stories that touch the heart of women. The themes of faith, forgiveness and hope mark her stories.

Rhonda has done free-lance work as a developmental editor and writing coach for the past seven years. She’s also the founder of the Write It Right Online Fiction Writer’s Workshop. Originally from a small, coastal town in New Jersey, she’s called Atlanta, Georgia home for nineteen years. She can be reached at her website at www.RhondaMcKnight.net and at www.BlackChristianReads.com.

Follow: Facebook, Twitter


Post by contributor Toni Shiloh

Book Spotlight: Sunday Brunch

Happy Hump Day!

I hope you’re having a good week and staying warm! Today here at Diversity Between the Pages, we’re sharing a book spotlight of Sunday Brunch by Norma L. Jarrett. Have you read it? It was published in 2004 so it’s a throwback. 🙂 Explore the info below!


About the Book

Waiting to Exhale meets Church Folk as five female attorneys do brunch each week to trade tales about their love lives, law firms, and the Lord!

Meet Capri, an attorney at a top Houston firm. She seems to have it all together all the time until a seductive client topples her self-control. Then there’s Jermane, a devout Catholic who met her husband in law school and has never been with another man. But now her workaholic marriage is threatened by temptation.

Angel, on the other hand, sees men merely as a means to sex. Her scorn for love of all kinds—godly or otherwise—is challenged by a serious health scare. Meanwhile, Jewel bases her dating choices on the size of a man’s bank account until she meets a new flame who causes her to reconsider her requirements.

Finally, there’s Lexi, the link between the ladies, who provides sage advice while praying for Mr. Right. But what happens when depression hits hard?

Through conversation and consolation, these dynamic characters provide one another with divine inspiration—encouraging readers to root for them along the way.

Links: Amazon, B&N, Goodreads


About the Author

Norma L. Jarrett, J.D. is a speaker and award winning author of Randomhouse novels, Sunday Brunch, Sweet Magnolia and The Sunday Brunch Diaries (Essence bestseller) and other works: Bridal Brunch, Brunchspiration, Christmas Beau, Love on a Budget, Valentine’s Day…Again??? and Salt and Sky.  Her work has been featured in USA Today, Essence, Ebony, Publisher’s Weekly, Rolling Out,Southern Living, Upscale, Hope Magazine and other media. Norma has been a featured guest on The Yolanda Adams radio show, ABC 13’s Crossroads, Outlook Houston, Majic 102, Atlanta’s V103 and other media. Among other honors, Ms. Jarrett has received a Certificate of Congressional Recognition for her literary work. She has served as a panelist and/or speaker at events such as the Baltimore Book Festival, Miami Book Fair, Faith & Fiction Retreat, Harlem Book Fair, the Essence Music Festival, Christian Book Lovers Retreat and other venues. Ms. Jarrett is a graduate of North Carolina A & T State University and Thurgood Marshall School of Law.  Norma is also a member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc.  She is married and resides in Houston, Texas.

Follow: Website, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram

Interview with Kathy Douglass about her book, “How to Steal the Lawman’s Heart”

Good Monday Morning, reader friends!

Today, we’re interviewing Kathy Douglass again. This time, we’re talking about another one of her books. This one is titled, How to Steal the Lawman’s Heart.

Enjoy!


Interview with Kathy Douglass about her book, How to Steal the Lawman’s Heart:

Alexis: Why did you write this book?

Kathy: I wrote this book because the characters called to me. The idea began floating through my mind and I couldn’t rest until I put their story on paper.

Alexis: What do you want readers to take away from this story? Why?

Kathy: I want readers to understand that no matter what happened in the past, you have to move forward. Trent had a wonderful wife and a truly happy life ripped away from him without warning. It was hard for him to let go of the happy memories or the bitterness at losing it all. Carmen had so many regrets for mistakes she had made. Neither one of them could change the past, so they had to find a way to put it behind them and move forward in the present with an eye toward the future.

Alexis: Would you like to see more stories that feature characters of color published by the Christian book industry? Why or why not?

Kathy: Absolutely. People of color read Christian books so they should be able to see themselves reflected in the stories they read. Not that POC should be the only people who read those stories. Just as POC read stories featuring white couples, white people should also read stories featuring POC. 

I’ve heard books referred to as mirrors and windows. Mirrors reflect people like you and windows give you the opportunity to see into the lives of people not like you. Both are important. Both must be done well by authors who know what they are writing about. That’s why own voice books are so important.

Alexis: Who is your story’s heroine? Describe her looks, personality, and heart for the hero and then explain the conflict that she is experiencing.

Kathy: Carmen Shields is the heroine in this story. Whenever I create a character, I find someone to serve as the physical model. In this instance, I used actress Rochelle Aytes. Carmen is beautiful and kind. She’s had some difficulty in her past, so she is sympathetic. As a person who’s made mistakes in her youth, she can spot a person who is on track to make similar mistakes. When she does, she tries to help them avoid the pitfalls.

Carmen feels guilty for her role in the accident that resulted in the death of Trent’s wife and wants to make amends. But since she knows he doesn’t care for her, she is reluctant. Not only that, she refuses to beg for his affection.

Alexis: Who is your story’s hero? Describe his looks, flaws, strengths and his heart for the heroine and then explain the conflict that he is experiencing.

Kathy: Trent Knight is the hero in this story. I used actor Henry Simmons as his physical model. Trent sees the world as black and white. No gray. He expects a lot of himself and others. He can be hard and unforgiving. He is loyal and loves his daughters with his whole heart.

He blames Carmen for the death of his wife. As he gets to know her, he discovers she is not the monster he’d believed she was. Still, he is not happy when he finds himself falling for her and fights hard against his feelings.

Alexis: Why is forgiveness as important as a stolen kiss in this story?

Kathy: Forgiveness is important in this story. Trent needs to forgive Carmen in order to put the past behind him. Carmen also needs to forgive herself for the same reason.

Alexis: If you could step into this story as a licensed counselor, what would you tell Trent and Carmen to help them live their best life?

Kathy: I’m not a counselor, but I would tell them they need to put the past behind them. They need to forgive themselves and each other in order to embrace the present.

Alexis: Thanks for the interview, Kathy! Would you like to share closing thoughts?

Kathy: Thank you so much for the interview. I love hearing from my readers, so if you want to drop me a note, please do so via my website kathydouglassbooks.com. Also while you’re there, feel free to sign up for my newsletter.

*Interview conducted by Alexis A. Goring, contributor


About the Author:

Kathy is a born reader who as a child always had her nose in a book. That love of reading grew with her. She often would finish one book and immediately pick up another. She went from reading Bobbsey Twins to long, lush romance novels. One day she stumbled upon The Shining by Stephen King and was hooked. She turned her back on romance and became a serious Stephen King fan, reading every word he wrote. When she caught herself checking under the bed and looking in the closet for monsters or worse, she knew it was time to put down the horror stories and pick up the romance novels.

Her return to romance novels was short lived. She’d started law school and soon her reading was limited to legal opinions. Then one happy day her younger sister handed her a Harlequin romance. They were just what the doctor ordered. The books were short enough to read in a week and still get her required reading done. Best of all she knew there would be a happy ending and she wouldn’t have to search her room before she went to bed each night.

When her first child was born, she stopped practicing law to become a stay at home mom. Her second child followed nineteen months later. With two little ones in the house, reading suddenly became limited to Dr. Seuss and other children’s books. Any free time was spent trying to catch up on sleep or laundry.

All too soon her kids were attending pre-school two hours a day. She spent those few precious renewing her relationship with romance novels. After a while, she felt the urge to write a book of her own and she began writing the stories she wanted to read. She spent many years writing some really terrible books and learning her craft. In 2016, Kathy sold to Harlequin Special Edition. Her first book, How to Steal the Lawman’s Heart, was released in February 2017. Since that time she has released three more books in her Sweet Briar Sweethearts series with more to come.

Follow Kathy on social media: Website, Facebook, Twitter


About the Book:

Forgiveness starts with a stolen kiss.

Chief of police Trent Knight had it all until an accident took his wife and he was left alone to raise two beautiful girls.

Now the person he always blamed for his loss is back in town, and all bets are off. But soon his anger toward Carmen Shields gives way to a very different emotion—awareness of Carmen as a woman.

On one hand, it feels like a betrayal of his late wife’s memory. On the other, it could be his second chance at life—and Carmen’s shot at redemption. Maybe she can go home again—with the help of a certain lawman…

Buy How to Steal the Lawman’s Heart on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, or Books-A-Million

Book Spotlight: Winning Charlotte Back

Happy Wednesday, reader friends!

Today, we’re shining the spotlight on Kathy Douglass’s book, Winning Charlotte Back!


About the Book:

When the man who left her at the altar

Moves in next door…

This could not be happening. Charlotte Shields had left both that heartbreaking day and this heartbreaking man behind. Even worse, their mutual attraction is back to betray her. Especially as

Dr. Rick Tyler works hard to make amends. He’s got to make this move to Sweet Briar work to give his son a second chance. Will he get a second chance with Charlotte in the bargain?

Buy Winning Charlotte Back on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Books-A-Million


About the Author:

Kathy is a born reader who as a child always had her nose in a book. That love of reading grew with her. She often would finish one book and immediately pick up another. She went from reading Bobbsey Twins to long, lush romance novels. One day she stumbled upon The Shining by Stephen King and was hooked. She turned her back on romance and became a serious Stephen King fan, reading every word he wrote. When she caught herself checking under the bed and looking in the closet for monsters or worse, she knew it was time to put down the horror stories and pick up the romance novels.

Her return to romance novels was short lived. She’d started law school and soon her reading was limited to legal opinions. Then one happy day her younger sister handed her a Harlequin romance. They were just what the doctor ordered. The books were short enough to read in a week and still get her required reading done. Best of all she knew there would be a happy ending and she wouldn’t have to search her room before she went to bed each night.

When her first child was born, she stopped practicing law to become a stay at home mom. Her second child followed nineteen months later. With two little ones in the house, reading suddenly became limited to Dr. Seuss and other children’s books. Any free time was spent trying to catch up on sleep or laundry.

All too soon her kids were attending pre-school two hours a day. She spent those few precious renewing her relationship with romance novels. After a while she felt the urge to write a book of her own and she began writing the stories she wanted to read. She spent many years writing some really terrible books and learning her craft. In 2016, Kathy sold to Harlequin Special Edition. Her first book, How to Steal the Lawman’s Heart, was released in February, 2017. Since that time she has released three more books in her Sweet Briar Sweethearts series with more to come.

Follow Kathy on social media: Website, Facebook, Twitter

Interview with Kathy Douglass, author of “Winning Charlotte Back”

Good Monday Morning, reader friends!

Welcome Kathy Douglass to our blog!

Today, we’re interviewing Kathy about her new book, Winning Charlotte Back.

Enjoy!


Interview with Kathy Douglass about her book, Winning Charlotte Back:

Alexis: Tell us about your Sweet Briar Sweetheart series. Where does Winning Charlotte Back fit in?

Kathy: The Sweet Briar Sweethearts books take place in the fictional town of Sweet Briar, North Carolina and the surrounding area. Each of the books tells the romance of a different hero and heroine, but it also lets us see the town as a whole. Winning Charlotte Back is the fourth book in the series. In Winning Charlotte Back, we also catch up with couples from earlier books in the series.

Alexis: Tell us about your story’s hero, Dr. Rick Tyler. Describe his looks, style and heart for Charlotte.

Kathy: Dr. Rick Tyler is gorgeous as romance heroes usually are. He is tall, dark and handsome. I always choose a real person as a physical model for the characters I create. For Rick, I used model Tyson Beckford.

Rick cares for Charlotte and wants the best for her. Even before he falls in love with her, he wants her to be happy. It is only after he realizes the role he’s played in making her unhappy and begins to make amends that he becomes the man he was meant to be.

Alexis: Why did Rick leave Charlotte at the altar and why does he now want to win her back?

Kathy: Rick left Charlotte at the altar years ago because he wasn’t in love with her. They’d been good friends and their fathers wanted them to get married. Rick and Charlotte got swept away in the planning and he couldn’t see another way out of a marriage he believed was doomed to fail. He wants to win her back because as he gets to know her again he falls in love with her.

Alexis: How did Charlotte feel when she found out that Rick was her new next-door neighbor?

Kathy: She’s horrified. He’d hurt and humiliated her so he was the last person she ever wanted to see again.

Alexis: Tell us more about your heroine Charlotte Shields. What is she like (looks)? What are her highest aspirations in life? What does she love? What or who can she not stand (explain why)?

Kathy: I used ballerina Misty Copeland as the model for Charlotte. She’s beautiful and in great shape as is Charlotte. Charlotte’s aspirations change as the book progresses. She wants to be successful in her job and contribute to society. She loves riding her bike and junk food. She doesn’t like hypocrites.

Alexis: What role does Rick’s son play in this story? Tell us about him.

Kathy: Rick’s son helps to get Bobby and Charlotte together. He and Charlotte understand each other and he loves being with her. He’s a fun child who loves basketball.

Alexis: Do you only write about African American characters in all of your books? Why or why not?

Kathy: Yes, all of my characters are African American. I choose to write only African American characters for a couple of reasons:

First, I’m a firm believer in writing what you know.

Second, I believe that African American readers deserve to see themselves in romances. I believe everyone deserves a happily ever after. It is my pleasure as a writer to provide that for my readers.

Alexis: Thanks for the interview, Kathy! Do you have closing comments?

Kathy: Thank you so much for the interview. If anyone wants to contact me, please feel free to visit my website, kathydouglassbooks.com and drop me a line.

*Interview conducted by Alexis A. Goring, contributor


About the Author:

Kathy is a born reader who as a child always had her nose in a book. That love of reading grew with her. She often would finish one book and immediately pick up another. She went from reading Bobbsey Twins to long, lush romance novels. One day she stumbled upon The Shining by Stephen King and was hooked. She turned her back on romance and became a serious Stephen King fan, reading every word he wrote. When she caught herself checking under the bed and looking in the closet for monsters or worse, she knew it was time to put down the horror stories and pick up the romance novels.

Her return to romance novels was short lived. She’d started law school and soon her reading was limited to legal opinions. Then one happy day her younger sister handed her a Harlequin romance. They were just what the doctor ordered. The books were short enough to read in a week and still get her required reading done. Best of all she knew there would be a happy ending and she wouldn’t have to search her room before she went to bed each night.

When her first child was born, she stopped practicing law to become a stay at home mom. Her second child followed nineteen months later. With two little ones in the house, reading suddenly became limited to Dr. Seuss and other children’s books. Any free time was spent trying to catch up on sleep or laundry.

All too soon her kids were attending pre-school two hours a day. She spent those few precious renewing her relationship with romance novels. After a while she felt the urge to write a book of her own and she began writing the stories she wanted to read. She spent many years writing some really terrible books and learning her craft. In 2016, Kathy sold to Harlequin Special Edition. Her first book, How to Steal the Lawman’s Heart, was released in February, 2017. Since that time she has released three more books in her Sweet Briar Sweethearts series with more to come.

Follow Kathy on social media: Website, Facebook, Twitter


About the Book:

When the man who left her at the altar

Moves in next door…

This could not be happening. Charlotte Shields had left both that heartbreaking day and this heartbreaking man behind. Even worse, their mutual attraction is back to betray her. Especially as Dr. Rick Tyler works hard to make amends. He’s got to make this move to Sweet Briar work to give his son a second chance. Will he get a second chance with Charlotte in the bargain?

Buy Winning Charlotte Back on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Books-A-Million