Book Review: “Free to Love” by Terri J. Haynes

Happy Friday! I hope you’re finding some place cool to read in this summer heat! Is it Fall yet???

Today, I’m excited to bring you a review of “Free to Love” by Terri J. Haynes. It’s one of the novellas in The Underground Railroad Brides Collection from Barbour.

ABOUT THE BOOK

The Underground Railroad Brides collectionLove Guides Hearts Along the Road to Freedom

Nine historical couples walk the road to love even as they dare to escape and help others break free from the injustices of slavery between 1849 and 1860. From Southern states of Georgia and South Carolina to above the Mason-Dixon Line in Indiana and Pennsylvania, they work within the network known as the Underground Railroad.

Free to Love by Terri J. Haynes

East Towson, Maryland—1850
Winnie is hiding a secret—Hiram, a fugitive. Their lives cross at an Underground Railroad station. Can they overcome danger and find freedom in love?

BUY THIS BOOK: Goodreads | Amazon | B&N | Barbour

MY THOUGHTS

“Love had never been as valuable as strength and freedom. Until now.”

I absolutely loved this story!

Despite being limited to a short novella-length word count, the author has packed the riveting plot with heart-in-your-throat moments of life or death… and a sweet romance that lightens the emotion a bit when needed. Layered and well-defined characters will quickly settle in your heart, and you’ll be rooting for them every step of the way.

Additionally, the author’s writing style is very engaging as well as entertaining. Every page makes you eager to read the next one & I would love to see a follow-up novel with these characters – specifically related to the escaped slaves’ stories Winnie has recorded in her notebook.

Winnie’s revelation about her owners will also linger with me for a while – how many similar things in modern times have we passed off as well-meaning or kind when in fact it’s sin? And once we realize that, what are we willing to do about it?

A sobering but simultaneously encouraging story of the power of love and the pull of freedom – and the people who risked their lives to give others the chance at both. Perfect for your weekend reading list. I’m off to catch up on the author’s backlist 🙂

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Terri J. HaynesTerri J. Haynes, a native Baltimorean, is a homeschool mom, writer, prolific knitter, freelance graphic artist and former Army wife (left the Army, not the husband).

She loves to read, so much that when she was in elementary school, she masterminded a plan to be locked in a public library armed with only a flashlight to read all the books and a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. She is a storyteller at heart. Her passion is to draw readers into the story world she has created and to bring laughter and joy to their lives.

Terri is a 2010 American Christian Fiction Writers Genesis contest finalist, and a 2012 semi-finalist. She is also a 2013 Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award Quarterfinalist. Her publishing credits include Cup of Comfort for Military Families, Crosswalk.com, the Secret Place Devotional, Vista Devotional, Urbanfaith.com and Publisher’s Weekly.

Terri and her husband pastor a church where she serves as executive pastor and worship leader. Terri lives in Maryland with her three wonderful children and her husband, who often beg her not to kill off their favorite characters.

Follow Terri online: Website, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram

 

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Interview with Natasha D. Frazier about her book Love, Lies & Consequences

Good Monday Morning, reader friends!

Today, we’re talking with Natasha D. Frazier about her book Love, Lies & Consequences.

Enjoy the interview!


Interview with Natasha D. Frazier about her book Love, Lies & Consequences

Alexis: Why did you write this book?

Natasha: Love, Lies & Consequences is my first work of fiction. It is a story that was on my heart long before I put pen to paper. It evolved quite a bit as the story developed. I honestly didn’t know where the story would end up, but I wanted to explore celibacy in today’s environment.

Alexis: What is the significance of your story’s title?

Natasha: The title came after the story was written. When I first began writing, the book was titled, “He said Grace.” I changed it because it put too much emphasis on Rico and why Raegan chose to date him, in spite of her misgivings. The story is more about Raegan, so I thought Love, Lies & Consequences was more fitting. Raegan’s relationship with Rico is built on lies and so are the reasons that she and Caleb weren’t together initially. Lies are not without consequence and that is one fact that Raegan had to learn and continues to learn throughout the entire series.

Alexis: What does commitment mean to your main characters?

Natasha: To Rico? Nothing. Raegan waivers quite a bit with commitment, both to herself and God. She was committed to celibacy for two years, but she became relaxed because she believed she was strong enough to handle whatever came her way, especially when it came to Rico. She pretty much flirted with the enemy and lost the battle. As for Caleb, he is a man of his word and I love that about him. When he commits, he is “all-in.”

Alexis: Let’s talk about the heroine of your story, Raegan. What does she look like, sound like, act like and think about?

Natasha: Raegan is a brown skinned, petite woman with curly, shoulder length hair. With a pair of high heels, she stands at about 5’6”. She’s a bit prissy, but introverted. She’s career driven, but still has a desire to be a wife and mother. She wants it all and believes that she can have it all. She’s also selfish because in her desire to get everything she wants, she doesn’t want to compromise. She pretty much has the attitude of “my way or the highway.” However, she desires to be the woman that God has called her to be. She attends church, participates in ministry, studies her bible faithfully, and prays consistently. Being in her early thirties, her thoughts are consumed with her career progression and one day getting married.

Alexis: What are Raegan’s greatest strengths and weaknesses?

Natasha: This always a difficult question for me to answer, even about myself. LOL. I’d say she’s headstrong and motivated, which makes for her greatest strength and weakness. Although it’s great for her to know what she wants and to be highly motivated to go after it, those traits result in stubbornness.

Alexis: Why does Raegan believe that waiting until marriage to have sex is the right thing to do?

Natasha: Her faith and experience. Raegan has been involved in sexual relationships before and they didn’t work out well for her. The book opens with her walking down the aisle to marry Damion, who she was also living with at the time. She decides that she doesn’t want to live that way anymore and wants to go “all-in” with her faith. She didn’t feel like her relationship with Damion was honoring God and she didn’t want to start a life with Damion in that way.

Alexis: What or who challenges Reagan’s desire to remain pure in romantic relationships?

Natasha: After Raegan made the commitment to remain pure, she had done so for two years. When she met Rico, he saw this as a challenge and continued to pursue her, telling her everything she wanted to hear, including promising marriage. I think to some extent, she felt like it was okay if they would marry soon.

Alexis: Let’s talk about Rico. Describe his looks, personality, character and heart. What role does he play in this story?

Natasha: Rico is bald and handsome, standing at about 5’10” tall and most of the time he is very well-dressed. Rico is a charming smooth-talker and always knows exactly what to say. He wrote beautiful letters to Raegan, pulling her into his scheme to get her in bed. Everything he did and said was a ploy to make her believe that he wanted to be with her forever so that he could have sex with her.

Alexis: Why doesn’t Rico respect Reagan’s desire to stay pure in their relationship?

Natasha: I think Rico saw her as a challenge, as something to conquer, and he set his sights on doing everything he could to win her over.

Alexis: Finally, let’s talk about Caleb. Describe his looks, flaws, hopes and deepest fears. How does he impact this story?

Natasha: Caleb is dreamy and kind-hearted, the type of guy that would make a woman look twice. He is confident, but not arrogant. Fair skinned with beautiful brown eyes, Caleb stands at 5’11” tall. He’s an architect with the primary desire to build a life with Raegan. Seeing her again was an answered prayer, and the last thing he planned to do was let her go again. At the time he sees her again, she is involved with Rico. Though he knew this, he didn’t allow it to stand in the way of letting her know how he felt about her. When Caleb enters the story, Raegan slowly begins to see Rico for who he truly is – a snake.

Alexis: What role does faith in God play throughout this story?

Natasha: One of the things that I love about Caleb is that he reminds Raegan of who she is in God. He is truly a man after God’s heart, whose first plan of action is to seek God’s face, no matter the situation. The more of Rico she allowed into her life, the less time she spent with God. Raegan also had Kensi, her best friend and accountability partner, to speak words of encouragement and faith in her life. Kensi often reminded Raegan about her commitment to God, but she often ignored her when it was convenient.

Alexis: What’s the moral of the story?

Natasha: Even when things seem right, if they aren’t in alignment with God’s Word, then it isn’t God. We often rush God and tend to put his stamp of approval on something he never ordained in the first place. Even when we mess up, we must learn to accept God’s forgiveness and forgive ourselves in the process.

Alexis: Would you like to see more books like this (with real-life issues and main characters of color) published by CBA? Why or why not?

Natasha: Absolutely! These aren’t the kind of books that are primarily published by CBA, and the world needs to read stories with main characters of color written by people of color.

Alexis: What would you do if you couldn’t write stories?

Natasha: If I couldn’t write stories, I would continue to write devotionals and books for the Christian faith because I choose to honor God with my gift of writing.

Alexis: Thanks for the interview, Natasha! Do you have final comments?

Natasha: Thank you for the opportunity. I hope you’ll read and fall in love with the characters because book four is coming soon!

*Interview conducted by Alexis A. Goring, contributor

~*~

About the Book:

Are you ready and willing to accept the consequences that come along with your choices?

“The true test of my commitment will come when I am actually tested, but it’s nothing I can’t handle…” So thinks Raegan – and it proves to be a thought that is tested every step of her journey.

Raegan was all set to live a life free of sexual impurities until she met Rico, who challenged her character. Sex outside of marriage isn’t all that bad if you’re going to eventually marry that person, right? After all, Rico did make promises to marry her, but can he hold true to that promise?

Raegan had come to believe that Rico could be the one until Caleb, her college love, comes back into her life. Raegan begins to make a series of choices that lead to consequences she wasn’t prepared to face. Will her faith sustain her?

Buy Natasha’s book on Amazon or Barnes and Noble


About the Author:

Natasha Frazier received her Bachelors of Business Administration degree in Accounting from Jackson State University and her Masters of Science degree from Texas A&M University. Since graduating, Natasha earned her CPA license. While practicing accounting, she began her career as an author.

Natasha believes that we are all created for a purpose, and in knowing that, she strives to live a life of purpose by doing what she has been created to do: inspire and encourage others. She does this through her literary works and the How Long Are You Going to Wait Conference.

Natasha has authored three devotional books, one non-fiction book, and four fiction titles, including the Love, Lies & Consequences series.

Each of her books are award-nominated titles. Her most recent title, Kairos: The Perfect Time for Love has been nominated by Joy & Company to receive the Henri Award. The Henri Award honors excellence in Christian literature and is presented at the Christian Literary Awards in Dallas, TX.

Natasha resides in Richmond, TX with her husband, Eddie Frazier, Jr. and their children, Eden, Ethan, and Emilyn. Her greatest joy and commitment is to her family who she hopes to inspire above all else. She attends Parkway Fellowship Church, where she co-leads a preschool small group.

Follow Natasha online: Facebook ~ Twitter ~ Instagram

Book Spotlight: “Free to Love” by Terri J. Haynes

Happy Wednesday, reader friends!

Today, we’re shining the spotlight on the story “Free to Love” by Terri J. Haynes.


About the Book (story collection), The Underground Railroad Brides Collection: 9 Couples Navigate the Road to Freedom before the Civil War

Love Guides Hearts Along the Road to Freedom

Nine historical couples walk the road to love even as they dare to escape and help others break free from the injustices of slavery between 1849 and 1860. From Southern states of Georgia and South Carolina to above the Mason-Dixon Line in Indiana and Pennsylvania, they work within the network known as the Underground Railroad.

About Terri’s story “Free to Love” in the story collection:  East Towson, Maryland—1850
Winnie is hiding a secret—Hiram, a fugitive. Their lives cross at an Underground Railroad station. Can they overcome danger and find freedom in love?

Buy this book online: Amazon ~ Barnes and Noble ~ Barbour Books 


About the Author:

Terri J. Haynes, a native Baltimorean, is a homeschool mom, writer, prolific knitter, freelance graphic artist and former Army wife (left the Army, not the husband).

She loves to read, so much that when she was in elementary school, she masterminded a plan to be locked in a public library armed with only a flashlight to read all the books and a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. She is a storyteller at heart. Her passion is to draw readers into the story world she has created and to bring laughter and joy to their lives.

Terri is a 2010 American Christian Fiction Writers Genesis contest finalist, and a 2012 semi-finalist. She is also a 2013 Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award Quarterfinalist. Her publishing credits include Cup of Comfort for Military Families, Crosswalk.com, the Secret Place Devotional, Vista Devotional, Urbanfaith.com and Publisher’s Weekly.

Terri and her husband pastor a church where she serves as executive pastor and worship leader. Terri lives in Maryland with her three wonderful children and her husband, who often beg her not to kill off their favorite characters.

Follow Terri online: Website, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram

Book Spotlight: Hannah’s Hope

Happy Wednesday, reader friends!

Today, we’re shining the spotlight on Hannah’s Hope.


About the Book:

Hannah’s Hope (“My True Identity” Teen Series)

Since she could remember, young Hannah Monroe has endured pain and struggles.

Now, she’s moved in with Aunt Loretta and her husband.

After arriving, Hannah was delighted to just be a kid and hang out with her friend, Monet, steering clear of all the girl drama but griping about the mounds of homework and their annoying peers.

One day darkness creeps in, securing its grip on her childhood innocence.

At only twelve years old, Hannah wonders if she will ever find hope to overcome the darkest moments of her life.

Will any one ever believe her? Will anyone even care?

Buy this book on Amazon or Barnes and Noble


About the Author:

Denise M. Walker is a pastor, wife, mother, minister, podcaster, experienced educator and entrepreneur.

Denise has educated youth for over 18 years and served in the field of education for 22 years. Most of her career has been serving middle school youth.

She is the founder of Hope-in-Christ Ministries, Inc. and the owner of Armor of Hope Writing & Publishing Services, LLC. In addition, Denise M. Walker is the creator and facilitator of the Hope-in-Christ Book Club Facebook group, the host of the Book Review Radio Show, Hope-in-Christ w/Denise and Building Literacy & True Identity podcasts. Her ministry’s mission is to lead others to the truth of Christ, build literacy, and assist individuals in walking in their true identity in Him.

Denise has written several blogs on the Hope-in-Christ Ministries platform. She has penned three books, Re-Presenting God, a youth journal on the deity of Christ; Hannah’s Hope, a teen novel about overcoming abuse and The S.C.R.I.P.T. journal for aspiring Christian writers. She has also co-authored several anthologies.

Currently, she working on her second novel, Hannah’s Barren Womb, a Bible study journal called Is This English Class or Bible Study? and another journal for women and girls.

Denise also has a passion for designing her own curriculum in order to build reading comprehension and grammar skills in others.

Follow Denise online: Ministry Website, Business Website, Author Website, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and YouTube

 

Interview with Terri J. Haynes, author of “Free to Love” (story)

Good Monday Morning, reader friends!

Today, we’re talking with Terri J. Haynes about her story “Free to Love.”

Enjoy the interview!


Interview with Terri J. Haynes about her story, “Free to Love” in the Underground Railroad Brides story collection:

Alexis: Why did you agree to write this story “Free to Love” for Barbour Books as part of their collection of stories titled, “The Underground Railroad Brides Collection: 9 Couples Navigate the Road to Freedom before the Civil War?”

Terri: This story was originally a part of a proposal but in a different time periods. That proposal was modified so that all the storied happened before the Civil War. Even though it wasn’t our original proposal, all the ladies in the collection had worked so hard on our stories.

Alexis: What is your story “Free to Love” about?

Terri: It is the story of Hiram and Winnie, two slaves in Maryland. Hiram has run from the south and Winnie’s church is a part of the Underground Railroad. Hiram ends up wounded near Winnie’s church and she helps nurse him back to health. But there is a storm brewing around them and it threatens their freedom and their lives.

Alexis: Who are the main characters in your story? Briefly describe the hero and heroine’s looks, personality, hopes, fears and outlook on life.

Terri: Winnie is a slave but she and her parents assist with the Underground Railroad. Winnie is strong, loyal and caring, but fears being on the run. Hiram has run from the south and his brave but gentle. He fears he will be captured before he can reach freedom.

Alexis: What is it about the hero that the heroine loves? Explain.

Terri: Winnie loves that Hiram is so gentle despite his size. She also loves that he enjoys growing things. She also loves his courage to run from his slave masters to freedom.

Alexis: What is the hero’s greatest skill and his most troublesome weakness?

Terri: Hiram’s greatest skill is his ability to make people feel at ease. His most troublesome weakness is that he is afraid of being caught and sent back to the south.

Alexis: What is it about the heroine that makes the hero want to protect her?

Terri: Winnie is one of the most caring, hardworking woman Hiram has ever met. She also is sacrificing for the people she loves. Winnie is also working toward her freedom, just in a very different way than Hiram and Hiram wants her freedom as much as he wants his own.

Alexis: How are your hero and heroine involved in the Underground Railroad?

Terri: Hiram is a runaway slave and Winnie is a conductress.

Alexis: What do you want readers to remember most about this story? Why?

Terri: That love can bloom in the darkest of places. I feel that many stories about the Underground Railroad focus on the pain, tragedy and abuse, but not taking into account that there were families, couples and children who loved each other. In my research for this novella, I found instances of runaway slaves risking a return to their slaveholders to free their families. Working so they could purchase the freedom of their spouses and children. Slaves were not an unfeeling mass. They had families, dreams and love.

Alexis: Would you like to see more stories like these that feature main characters of color, published by CBA? Why or why not?

Terri: I would. I would love to see more stories because I am a person of color. There is power in representation. Of course, I can connect with stories featuring other races, but I would love to read about my own. We have stories to tell that will further the Kingdom.

Alexis: What would you say is the greatest challenge in being an author of color writing stories about characters of color to be published by CBA?

Terri: The greatest challenge is that CBA, at the moment, publishes very few authors of color. It is heartbreaking to see it. It feels like there isn’t a place for me, even though I am a Christian and a consumer of Christian fiction. It’s hard to see a whole segment of literature devoid of people who look and write like me.

Alexis: Would you say that it’s easier for authors of color who write books about characters of color to become indie authors to get their stories out there? Why or why not?

Terri: This question has a hard answer. Yes, I think it is easier for authors of color to become indie authors. In the indie world, there is no “gatekeeper.” Authors of color are free to tell the stories they want how they want. Unfortunately, this has a downside. There is a lot of work in indie publishing, espically if you plan to succeed. You basically become a publishing house. I am thankful that we can indie publish, but I would like it to be one of my options, not my only option.

Alexis: What advice would you give the Marketing and Sales Department of traditional Christian publishing houses to help them reach readers of color and effectively sell books by authors of color whose stories feature characters of color?

Terri: Now I have to put on another hat I’ve worn in the past: bookseller. I used to work for a major bookstore so I understand that world. The truth is simple. All publishing houses need to do is publishing authors of color.

There were many days where people from all races came into the bookstore where I was working and ask specifically for books by authors of color. Christian authors of color. The demand is there. The problem is the books aren’t. Put the books out there and they will sell.

When we start taking about how to reach readers of color, there is the suggestion that readers of color are somewhere buried way under a rock and never set foot into a bookstore or library. Like there is some different process on how to reach us than readers of other races. I have been told several times that publishers don’t know how to market to readers of color and this statement makes it seem like readers of color are foreign and “other.”

There isn’t a different way. Christian readers of color find new reads the same way everyone else does. We browse bookstores. We get book recommendations from our friends. We read book reviews. Readers of color have been purchasing CBA books for years. If we found those books, have a little faith that we’ll find books featuring characters of color. Have more than a little faith, because we want to see ourselves in books and on covers.

Alexis: If you were not an author, what would you be?

Terri: Unhappy. I love to write and can’t imagine my life without it.

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

Terri: Thank you for interviewing me. I hope that this interview will broaden the conversation about authors of color in Christian fiction.

*Interview conducted by Alexis A. Goring, contributor


About the Book (story collection), The Underground Railroad Brides Collection: 9 Couples Navigate the Road to Freedom before the Civil War

Love Guides Hearts Along the Road to Freedom

Nine historical couples walk the road to love even as they dare to escape and help others break free from the injustices of slavery between 1849 and 1860. From Southern states of Georgia and South Carolina to above the Mason-Dixon Line in Indiana and Pennsylvania, they work within the network known as the Underground Railroad.

About Terri’s story “Free to Love” in the story collection:  East Towson, Maryland—1850
Winnie is hiding a secret—Hiram, a fugitive. Their lives cross at an Underground Railroad station. Can they overcome danger and find freedom in love?

Buy this book online: Amazon ~ Barnes and Noble ~ Barbour Books 


About the Author:

Terri J. Haynes, a native Baltimorean, is a homeschool mom, writer, prolific knitter, freelance graphic artist and former Army wife (left the Army, not the husband).

She loves to read, so much that when she was in elementary school, she masterminded a plan to be locked in a public library armed with only a flashlight to read all the books and a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. She is a storyteller at heart. Her passion is to draw readers into the story world she has created and to bring laughter and joy to their lives.

Terri is a 2010 American Christian Fiction Writers Genesis contest finalist, and a 2012 semi-finalist. She is also a 2013 Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award Quarterfinalist. Her publishing credits include Cup of Comfort for Military Families, Crosswalk.com, the Secret Place Devotional, Vista Devotional, Urbanfaith.com and Publisher’s Weekly.

Terri and her husband pastor a church where she serves as executive pastor and worship leader. Terri lives in Maryland with her three wonderful children and her husband, who often beg her not to kill off their favorite characters.

Follow Terri online: Website, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram

Interview with Denise M. Walker, author of “Hannah’s Hope”

Good Monday Morning, reader friends!

Today, we’re hosting Denise M. Walker who is here to talk about her book, Hannah’s Hope.

Enjoy!


Interview with Denise M. Walker about her book, Hannah’s Hope:

Alexis: Why did you write this book?

Denise: I wrote Hannah’s Hope to bring awareness to the reality of child abuse and the struggles of our youth. We need to protect our children.

Alexis: What is the significance of your book’s title?

Denise: One night I had a dream about this book before writing any words. God gave me the name. The name Hannah in Hebrew means grace or favored. Despite our struggles and pain, I believe God shows us His amazing grace. He turns our tests and trials into testimonies, and he wants to use us to help others. Hope reminds me of Jesus. He is our only hope and will see us through. He will also send others to shine His hope in our darkest hours.

Alexis: Tell us about Hannah Monroe, the heroine of your story. What does she look like? Does she speak with an accent? What sets her heart on fire? What gives her hope?

Denise: Hannah is an African American middle school girl. She is dark skinned with natural hair. She’s hardworking and loves reading and writing but finds it difficult to focus on school. Hope comes to Hannah through her best friend and father. As a middle school student, Hannah never thought she would experience such pain. She just wants to be a kid but wonders if her other peers might be experiencing similar things they don’t want to talk about.

Alexis: What role does Hannah’s Aunt Loretta and her husband, play in this book in relation to how they affect Hannah’s story?

Denise: Hannah experiences abuse in their home.

Alexis: What role does Hannah’s friend Monet play in this story? How did they meet? Is Monet a good friend to Hannah? Explain.

Denise: Monet plays the role of a true friend. When Hannah feels that she can’t take it anymore, Monet is right by her side encouraging her to tell someone. They met in elementary school.

Alexis: What can you tell us about the darkness that gripped Hannah’s childhood innocence, without giving away the story?

Denise: Hannah comes to realize that she can’t trust those she is supposed to trust the most. Trying to endure such pain and not get anyone in trouble is destroying her emotionally.

Alexis: What do you want readers to remember most about this story?

Denise: I want readers to remember that our middle school girls endure more than we can ever know, and they don’t know what to do about it. Therefore, they result to acting out.

Alexis: Would you like to see more stories like yours published by CBA? Why or why not?

Denise: Yes, I love to learn more about other authors.

Alexis: Now for the fun questions…write your answers in italics.

  • Who is your favorite actor?

I guess I would say my favorite actor is Idris Elba.

  • Who is your favorite actress?

My favorite actress is Angela Bassett.

  • What is your favorite color?

My favorite color is teal.

  • How do you take your coffee (or tea)?

I take my coffee with creamer and natural sweetener. I love my tea with natural sweetener as well.

  • Who is your favorite author?

I do not have a favorite author. I love to read many different authors in Christian Literature.

  • What is one book (besides The Holy Bible) that you cannot live without?

It is not a book. However, I take my calendar everywhere. Otherwise, I would forget something.

  • Which Bible verse keeps you going when times are tough?

Psalm 91 (ESV) is one of my favorites. Here are the first few lines: “He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will abide in the shadow of the Almighty. I will say to the Lord, “My refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust.”

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

Denise: In closing, I pray that you all would come to realize and embrace your true identity in Christ. You are not your past, your pain nor your fears. You are the image of Christ. Be Blessed!

*Interview conducted by Alexis A. Goring, contributor


About the Book:

Hannah’s Hope (“My True Identity” Teen Series)

Since she could remember, young Hannah Monroe has endured pain and struggles.

Now, she’s moved in with Aunt Loretta and her husband.

After arriving, Hannah was delighted to just be a kid and hang out with her friend, Monet, steering clear of all the girl drama but griping about the mounds of homework and their annoying peers.

One day darkness creeps in, securing its grip on her childhood innocence.

At only twelve years old, Hannah wonders if she will ever find hope to overcome the darkest moments of her life.

Will any one ever believe her? Will anyone even care?

Buy this book on Amazon or Barnes and Noble


About the Author:

Denise M. Walker is a pastor, wife, mother, minister, podcaster, experienced educator and entrepreneur.

Denise has educated youth for over 18 years and served in the field of education for 22 years. Most of her career has been serving middle school youth.

She is the founder of Hope-in-Christ Ministries, Inc. and the owner of Armor of Hope Writing & Publishing Services, LLC. In addition, Denise M. Walker is the creator and facilitator of the Hope-in-Christ Book Club Facebook group, the host of the Book Review Radio Show, Hope-in-Christ w/Denise and Building Literacy & True Identity podcasts. Her ministry’s mission is to lead others to the truth of Christ, build literacy, and assist individuals in walking in their true identity in Him.

Denise has written several blogs on the Hope-in-Christ Ministries platform. She has penned three books, Re-Presenting God, a youth journal on the deity of Christ; Hannah’s Hope, a teen novel about overcoming abuse and The S.C.R.I.P.T. journal for aspiring Christian writers. She has also co-authored several anthologies.

Currently, she working on her second novel, Hannah’s Barren Womb, a Bible study journal called Is This English Class or Bible Study? and another journal for women and girls.

Denise also has a passion for designing her own curriculum in order to build reading comprehension and grammar skills in others.

Follow Denise online: Ministry Website, Business Website, Author Website, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and YouTube

 

Book Spotlight: A Treasure of Gold

Happy Wednesday, reader friends!

Today, we’re shining the spotlight on A Treasure of Gold by Piper Huguley.


About the Book:

When you follow your heart, never count the cost.

Trusting in the One who orders her steps, Nettie Bledsoe is determined not to deviate from her route to the charity kitchen. Don’t stop for anything, her sisters say.

Pittsburgh isn’t like Georgia, they warn. Yet when low moans of unholy suffering drift from an alley, she can’t help but investigate. It’s a man. The most beautiful man she’s ever seen.

Despite his scandalous reputation, something within her responds to his sinfully rich voice. Jay Evans is trying hard to stay on the straight and narrow, and doesn’t want help from any church do-gooder.

But until his wound heals, he needs help caring for his young daughter, Goldie. Especially since Nettie saw fit to fire Goldie’s barely competent nanny.

Despite their mismatched backgrounds, Nettie and Jay fight a losing battle against their growing attraction. But it’s only when Nettie is kidnapped that Jay realizes that if he doesn’t get her back safe and sound, his heart will shatter into uncountable pieces.

Buy A Treasure of Gold on Amazon


About the Author:

Piper G. Huguley is a two-time Golden Heart ®finalist and is the author of “Migrations of the Heart,” a three-book series of historical romances set in the early 20thcentury featuring African American characters. Book #1 in the series, A Virtuous Ruby, won Best Historical of 2015 in the Swirl Awards. Book #3 in the series, A Treasure of Gold, was named by Romance Novels in Color as a Best Book of 2015, received 4 ½ stars from RT Magazine, and won an Emma Award for best historical romance in 2017.

Huguley is also the author of the “Home to Milford College” series. The series follows the building of a college from its founding in 1866. Book #1 in the series, The Preacher’s Promise was named a top ten Historical Romance in Publisher’s Weekly by the esteemed historical romance author, Beverly Jenkins and received Honorable Mention in the Writer’s Digest Contest of Self-Published e-books in 2015.

Her new series “Born to Win Men” starts with A Champion’s Heart as Book #1. A Champion’s Heart was named by Sarah MacLean of The Washington Post as a best romance novel selection for December 2016.

She blogs about the history behind her novels at http://piperhuguley.com. She lives in Atlanta, Georgia with her husband and son.

Follow Piper on social media: Facebook, Twitter and Blog

Interview with Piper Huguley about her book, “A Treasure of Gold”

Good Monday Morning, reader friends!

Today, we’re talking with Piper Huguley about her book, A Treasure of Gold.

Enjoy!


Interview with Piper Huguley about her book, A Treasure of Gold:

 Alexis: Describe the heart of your story, A Treasure of Gold.

Piper: It’s a Black Damon Runyon story of the nanny falls for the father of her charge, who is kind of like Robin Hood.

Alexis: What do readers need to know about Book One and Book Two in your Migrations of the Heart series?

Piper: Book One, A Virtuous Ruby, is about Nettie’s oldest sister. Book Two, A Most Precious Pearl, is about Nettie’s next older sister. If people care about their love stories, then they can read them. They all standalone on their own.

Alexis: What role does faith in God play in the lives of your characters in this book?

Piper: Nettie was a middle child who felt that she was always overlooked in her family. When she recovered from an illness when she was a child, she became intent on pastoring to show her gratitude to Him.

Alexis: Tell us about your story’s heroine Nettie Bledsoe. What’s she like?

Piper: Nettie is a very spiritual person who is intent on helping others, even if it means sacrificing her own happiness. She has to learn how to seek that for herself.

Alexis: Tell is about your story’s hero Jay Evans. What’s he like?

Piper: Jay Evans works on the wrong side of the law because racism prevents him from obtaining a well-paying job that would permit him to make good money, as well as have a sense of dignity. So, even though he is a numbers kingpin, he uses his money to help everyone in the neighborhood improve their lives. Helping people is what they both have in common.

Alexis: Why does Nettie think that Jay is the “most beautiful man she’s ever seen?”

Piper: Cause he is, lol! Think Idris Elba with hazel eyes.

Alexis: Beyond his beautiful looks, what is it about Jay that makes Nettie want to know him more?

Piper: At first she doesn’t! She cares for his motherless child. Then when she sees how similar they are in wanting to help people, she falls for his beautiful heart as well as his beautiful face.

Alexis: What is the core conflict between Jay and Nettie and why does he think she’s a “church do-gooder?”

Piper: Because she is! They think their core conflict has to do with Jay being on the wrong side of the law and Nettie as a church worker. The conflict really has to do with Jay’s estrangement from God and Nettie’s repeated attempts to bring him closer to God.

Alexis: What role does Jay’s daughter Goldie play in this story?

Piper: She helps Nettie and Jay realize their attraction to one another sooner than they would if she wasn’t there. Kids can be brutally honest in that way.

Alexis: What is it about Nettie that makes Jay’s heart break just by the very thought of losing her (after she’s kidnapped)?

Piper: He realizes that his life on the wrong side of the law has cost Nettie her safety. He also realizes that he loves her and that if he wants a life with her, he will have to leave the criminal life behind forever.

Alexis: Paint a picture of your story’s setting, with words. What makes it special?

Piper: The good girl and bad boy is a trope that happens a lot in romance, but I’ve not seen it in a story like this before. I enjoyed writing it and setting it in my hometown of Pittsburgh, PA—where I was able to draw on lessons of Black history and incorporate them into the story.

Alexis: What’s lacking in CBA and how can you as an #ownvoices author help fill that void?

Piper: The CBA is rigid in terms of what it publishes and that is a problem. Diversity in all kinds of stories would help with that. I’m not sure that I could help the CBA unless they were less rigid.

Alexis: In what ways could ABA and CBA work harder to effectively market books and sell stories written by #ownvoices authors.

Piper: I’ve spoken to the CBA situation. The ABA seems as if they are willing to try, at least. Hopefully, they will be more creative with their marketing and reach non-traditional audiences in new ways to help sell #ownvoices authors.

Alexis: Are you happy with the currents state of affairs in the publishing industry?

Piper: No. I’m glad that the ABA seems to be trying to rectify the situation, but really, it’s been disgraceful for a very long time. I hope that they are in it for the long haul.

Alexis: What advice do you have for authors of color who want to write their #ownvoices stories and seek representation from a literary agent?

Piper: Learn your craft and write the best story that you can. If you chose to seek representation from an agent, know that they are not looking for innovation, but they are looking for the “sure thing.” Get an agent you can reach out to, and talk to. I don’t care who the agent is, if you feel afraid to send an e-mail or call, that agent is not for you. Remember that you are hiring the agent, not the other way around.

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

Piper: Thank you for this generous opportunity to appear on Diversity Between the Pages!

*Interview conducted by Alexis A. Goring, contributor


About the Author:

Piper G. Huguley is a two-time Golden Heart ®finalist and is the author of “Migrations of the Heart,” a three-book series of historical romances set in the early 20thcentury featuring African American characters. Book #1 in the series, A Virtuous Ruby, won Best Historical of 2015 in the Swirl Awards. Book #3 in the series, A Treasure of Gold, was named by Romance Novels in Color as a Best Book of 2015, received 4 ½ stars from RT Magazine, and won an Emma Award for best historical romance in 2017.

Huguley is also the author of the “Home to Milford College” series. The series follows the building of a college from its founding in 1866. Book #1 in the series, The Preacher’s Promise was named a top ten Historical Romance in Publisher’s Weekly by the esteemed historical romance author, Beverly Jenkins and received Honorable Mention in the Writer’s Digest Contest of Self-Published e-books in 2015.

Her new series “Born to Win Men” starts with A Champion’s Heart as Book #1. A Champion’s Heart was named by Sarah MacLean of The Washington Post as a best romance novel selection for December 2016.

She blogs about the history behind her novels at http://piperhuguley.com. She lives in Atlanta, Georgia with her husband and son.

Follow Piper on social media: Facebook, Twitter and Blog


About the Book:

When you follow your heart, never count the cost.

Trusting in the One who orders her steps, Nettie Bledsoe is determined not to deviate from her route to the charity kitchen. Don’t stop for anything, her sisters say.

Pittsburgh isn’t like Georgia, they warn. Yet when low moans of unholy suffering drift from an alley, she can’t help but investigate. It’s a man. The most beautiful man she’s ever seen.

Despite his scandalous reputation, something within her responds to his sinfully rich voice. Jay Evans is trying hard to stay on the straight and narrow, and doesn’t want help from any church do-gooder.

But until his wound heals, he needs help caring for his young daughter, Goldie. Especially since Nettie saw fit to fire Goldie’s barely competent nanny.

Despite their mismatched backgrounds, Nettie and Jay fight a losing battle against their growing attraction. But it’s only when Nettie is kidnapped that Jay realizes that if he doesn’t get her back safe and sound, his heart will shatter into uncountable pieces.

Buy A Treasure of Gold on Amazon

Interview with Piper Huguley about her book “A Most Precious Pearl”

Good Monday Morning, reader friends!

Today, we’re interviewing Piper Huguley about her book, A Most Precious Pearl.

Enjoy!


Interview with Piper Huguley about A Most Precious Pearl:

Alexis: I love the opening line to the summary of your book, A Most Precious Pearl. You wrote, “They’re cut from different cloths…but their hearts are a perfect fit.” What inspired you to write this line and in what ways are your story’s hero and heroine the “perfect fit?”

Piper: I didn’t write that line. The publisher for the book wrote that. I think that whomever wrote that line thought about how Asa and Mags work in a textile mill and used their workplace to explain their relationship. It’s clever, but I cannot take credit for it.

Alexis: Let’s talk about the hero of your story, Asa Caldwell. Answer my questions below. Answer in italics.

What does he look like?

Asa looks like the actor Sterling K. Brown from “This is Us.”

What is his racial background?

He is a Black man.

What lights a fire in his soul?

Telling a story that brings injustice to light.

What or who makes him happy?

Besides Mags, exposing injustice.

Is he a man of faith?

Not at the beginning of the story. He has to come to that.

What is his greatest flaw?

He’s a bit spoiled having been fawned over by his many sisters and his mother. Mags puts an end to all of that.

Alexis: Why did you make Asa a journalist and what role does his life’s work and passion for the Journalism industry play in this story?

Piper: I based Asa on the founder of the Pittsburgh Courier, Robert L. Vann. I wanted to write a story where I showed the critical role that Black journalists played in the civil rights struggle that began in the first quarter of the twentieth century, not in the 1950’s as so many think.

Alexis: Asa lost his left leg in the Great War. How does he cope with his loss?

Piper: The book deals with an arc about how Asa has to come to this new reality about his legs. So when the reader first meets him, he’s not doing very well with it.

Alexis: In what was does having this new disability affect his daily living?

Piper: Asa’s biggest fear is about what he feels is his inadequacy to be a man who can protect his family. He has to deal with what that protection means and how that impacts his life before he can make a family with Mags.

Alexis: What is Asa’s relation to Ruby Blesdoe from your first book in this series, A Virtuous Ruby? Why is he on a mission to rescue her sister Mags from trouble?

Piper: Before he went to war, he had a bit of a crush on Ruby. She uses that information to get him to go rescue her sister. He no longer has a crush on her when she comes to see him, but still feels compelled to go. He has all of those sisters and he is used to saving women in a heroic fashion—it turns out that Mags is the one who saves him.

Alexis: Let’s talk about the heroine of your story, Mags Bledsoe. Answer my questions below. Answer in italics.

What does she look like?

Mags resembles a young Viola Davis.

What’s her racial background?

She is a Black woman.

What are her most favorite things?

Family, home, and hearth. She loves the domestic arts.

What upsets her?

People who upset the domestic happiness of her home.

What or who makes her happy?

She loves her sisters and parents and after a time, comes to love Asa.

Is she a woman of faith?

She is a woman of faith. She has to be in order to endure the trials that she has endured.

How did the lynching of her childhood sweetheart affect Mags?

It made her believe that she would never find love again.

How is she healing from that trauma?

She heals once she comes to realize what Travis was to her.

Or has she not healed?

Ultimately, she does.

Alexis: What do Mags and Asa like and dislike about each other upon first meeting?

Piper: Mags has a certain way of doing things that she does not like to be disrupted and Asa is pure disruption in many ways. Asa is amused at first, but then wants Mags to give him (and his ways) a chance.

Alexis: What role does faith in God play in this story and how does that help Mags and Asa’s journey through their fictional world?

Piper: Mags becomes a shining light for Asa to rediscover his faith and love comes about as a consequence of that. He does the same for her, in the wake of the lynching of her childhood sweetheart.

Alexis: You’ve addressed some topics like lynchings that are heart wrenching for real-life African Americans who live in the United States of America. What inspired you to include this dark part of American history in your story?

Piper: My work is not about covering up these so-called “dark” parts of history, but to shine a light on the heroic deeds of the ancestors to show what they had to endure so that we could be here.

Alexis: What impact do you hope that this true to American history story, A Most Precious Pearl, will make on your readers? Why?

Piper: I hope people come to understand that the ancestors were not victims of hatred, but were survivors who endured a great deal of painful trauma but kept hope present because they dared to have us and to try to make a better future for us. It’s important to honor their sacrifices by making some of our own. We tend to forget that in the relative comfort of the twenty-first century where a tragedy means not having enough charge on our phones.

Alexis: What was the most challenging – and the easiest part – of writing this story? Explain.

Piper: When this story was published the first time around, there was a great deal of disbelief in the history that I told. I believe that my stories reflect the old African saying of “Tales of hunting glorify the hunter.” We have been taught the hunter’s story in school to the point where we believe that is the complete story. I’m telling the story from the lion’s perspective. That was the challenge. The easiest part was in having Mags and Asa fall in love. They were a lot of fun to write.

Alexis: If you could spend a day at a picturesque location in the South with Mags, sipping on sweet tea where would that location be and what would your conversation be about?

Piper: Such a conversation would take place in her kitchen where she would tell me the secret of her biscuits. I struggle with them.

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

Piper: Only when we embrace multiple historical perspectives will we come closer to the truth of how we have gotten to this present. Thank you so much for having me!

*Interview conducted by Alexis A. Goring, contributor.


About the Book:

They’re cut from different cloths…but their hearts are a perfect fit.

Asa Caldwell returned from the Great War with nothing to show for it-as in nothing below his left knee. Forget about the journalism career he loved. His story is over. Done. Yet he finds the strength to journey to Winslow, Georgia, to get Ruby Bledsoe Morson’s sister out of trouble.

Before he can bring Mags Bledsoe home, though, a spate of mysterious attacks reawakens his investigative instincts. During the war, Mags did her duty to God and country by stepping into a management role at the textile mill.

Now she’s been shuffled back to the rank and file-and Asa has her hard-earned job. Not only is the infernal man doing everything wrong, her plan for revenge against the mill owner who lynched her childhood sweetheart is farther out of reach than ever.

As they clash over almost everything, Mags begins to set fire to Asa’s soul, bright enough to dim the memory of the killing fields of France. Enough to give him a new mission in life-to make her feel the same way.

Buy Piper’s book on Amazon.


About the Author:

Piper G. Huguley is a two-time Golden Heart ®finalist and is the author of “Migrations of the Heart,” a three-book series of historical romances set in the early 20thcentury featuring African American characters. Book #1 in the series, A Virtuous Ruby, won Best Historical of 2015 in the Swirl Awards. Book #3 in the series, A Treasure of Gold, was named by Romance Novels in Color as a Best Book of 2015, received 4 ½ stars from RT Magazine, and won an Emma Award for best historical romance in 2017.

Huguley is also the author of the “Home to Milford College” series. The series follows the building of a college from its founding in 1866. Book #1 in the series, The Preacher’s Promise was named a top ten Historical Romance in Publisher’s Weekly by the esteemed historical romance author, Beverly Jenkins and received Honorable Mention in the Writer’s Digest Contest of Self-Published e-books in 2015.

Her new series “Born to Win Men” starts with A Champion’s Heart as Book #1. A Champion’s Heart was named by Sarah MacLean of The Washington Post as a best romance novel selection for December 2016.

She blogs about the history behind her novels at http://piperhuguley.com. She lives in Atlanta, Georgia with her husband and son.

Follow Piper on social media: Facebook, Twitter and Blog

Book Spotlight: A Most Precious Pearl

Happy Wednesday, reader friends!

Today, we’re shining the spotlight on A Most Precious Pearl by Piper Huguley.

Enjoy!


About the Book:

They’re cut from different cloths…but their hearts are a perfect fit.

Asa Caldwell returned from the Great War with nothing to show for it-as in nothing below his left knee. Forget about the journalism career he loved. His story is over. Done. Yet he finds the strength to journey to Winslow, Georgia, to get Ruby Bledsoe Morson’s sister out of trouble.

Before he can bring Mags Bledsoe home, though, a spate of mysterious attacks reawakens his investigative instincts. During the war, Mags did her duty to God and country by stepping into a management role at the textile mill.

Now she’s been shuffled back to the rank and file-and Asa has her hard-earned job. Not only is the infernal man doing everything wrong, her plan for revenge against the mill owner who lynched her childhood sweetheart is farther out of reach than ever.

As they clash over almost everything, Mags begins to set fire to Asa’s soul, bright enough to dim the memory of the killing fields of France. Enough to give him a new mission in life-to make her feel the same way.

Buy Piper’s book on Amazon.


About the Author:

Piper G. Huguley is a two-time Golden Heart ®finalist and is the author of “Migrations of the Heart,” a three-book series of historical romances set in the early 20thcentury featuring African American characters. Book #1 in the series, A Virtuous Ruby, won Best Historical of 2015 in the Swirl Awards. Book #3 in the series, A Treasure of Gold, was named by Romance Novels in Color as a Best Book of 2015, received 4 ½ stars from RT Magazine, and won an Emma Award for best historical romance in 2017.

Huguley is also the author of the “Home to Milford College” series. The series follows the building of a college from its founding in 1866. Book #1 in the series, The Preacher’s Promise was named a top ten Historical Romance in Publisher’s Weekly by the esteemed historical romance author, Beverly Jenkins and received Honorable Mention in the Writer’s Digest Contest of Self-Published e-books in 2015.

Her new series “Born to Win Men” starts with A Champion’s Heart as Book #1. A Champion’s Heart was named by Sarah MacLean of The Washington Post as a best romance novel selection for December 2016.

She blogs about the history behind her novels at http://piperhuguley.com. She lives in Atlanta, Georgia with her husband and son.

Follow Piper on social media: Facebook, Twitter and Blog