First Line Friday – 23 June 2017 – Then There Was You (Kara Isaac)

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Oh boy, do I love the book I’m sharing with you for First Line Friday today! Not only is it mostly set in Sydney, Australia, but it’s a fabulous read. You can catch my full review here, but just believe me when I say this is a book you don’t want to miss.

It is, of course, Kara Isaac’s new release, Then There Was You. Continue reading

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Then There Was You (Kara Isaac) – Review

5 stars

~ About the Book ~

Paige McAllister needs to do something drastic. Her boyfriend can’t even commit to living in the same country, her promised promotion is dead on arrival and the simultaneous loss of her brother and her dream of being a concert violinist has kept her playing life safe and predictable for six years. Things need to change. A moment of temporary insanity finds her leaving her life in Chicago to move to Sydney, Australia. There she finds herself, against many of her convictions, as a logistics planner for one of Australia’s biggest churches, and on a collision course with her boss’s son. Continue reading

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Word Nerd Wednesday – Fortnight

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Welcome word nerds! Have I really made you wait three whole weeks to find out the meaning of absquatulate? I think I have. How abominable of me! Just because I’ve been having fun away down in the south of mainland Australia…

Let me remedy that now.

absquatulate
1. decamp • a frontiesman preparing to absquatulate and head for the wilderness;
2. abscond • the cashier absquatulated with the funds

https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/absquatulate

Interestingly, both entries are marked as ‘slang’. People were obviously much fancier with their slang back then! Congratulations to the commenters who knew the right definition.

Now, onto today’s word. If I said to you, “I’ll see you in a fortnight”, how many of you would know how long that is? I’ve been led to believe it’s not in common use in the US, but maybe that’s not the case.

It comes from the Middle English fourteniht and literally means fourteen nights; in other words, two weeks. We use it frequently here in Australia, but maybe you don’t use it where you come from. Inquiring minds want to know!

Do you use the word ‘fortnight’?

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Character Spotlight: Cory Minor from The Whys Have It (Amy Matayo)

I’m introducing you to a troubled soul today—or at least, he was; until author Amy Matayo decided to stir the waters and eventually bring him a measure of peace. Here he is, summed up in his own words:

My name is Cory Minor, and according to People Magazine I’m currently the most sought-after man in America.

I never dreamed I’d feel so isolated.
I never dreamed I’d have so much regret.
I never dreamed fame wouldn’t fix all my mistakes.

Want to know more?

Name: Cory MinorBeautiful photo of John Mayer - by  STEVENTAYLORPHOTO
Age: 26
Brief physical description: 6 ft. tall, wavy brown hair, blue eyes, bedroom eyes, famous for his grin.
Inspiration for his character: John Mayer
Five words that describe his personality: Thoughtful, brooding, quick wit, creative, romantic

 

Background: Cory has been estranged from his family for ten years because of an incident that happened when he was a teenager. He’s gone on to have an outstanding career, millions of fans, and has made a huge name for himself in the entertainment industry. But he’s never gotten over his past mistakes.

Is passionate about: Music

Can’t stand: Cheetos

Strength: He’s fiercely loyal.

Weakness: He runs from problems.

Greatest struggles: Letting his past control his present and future, and being unable to forgive himself.

Greatest accomplishments:  Two platinum and one gold record, People Magazine’s Most Eligible Bachelor, mega-selling artist who sells out the nation’s largest arenas.

The thing he most admires about heroine Samantha Dalton: She faces her problems head-on and hasn’t been defeated by tragedy.

Cory is most relaxed when… he’s onstage.

Cory’s idea of a good time is… being somewhere anonymously.

If Cory could talk to Amy Matayo, he would say… Why did you make me go through so many hard things??

~ About the Book ~

“His music holds the heart of America…but his soul holds a terrible secret.”

Chart topping pop musician Cory Minor has it all—fame, money, more women at his disposal than time to spend on them. He’s living the life most American men only dream of. Until an ordinary concert in Springfield threatens to destroy everything he’s worked for.

As he and his band leave the arena for his next show, Cory’s tour bus crashes into two teenage girls, killing one girl instantly and leaving the other barely clinging to life. Lawsuits are threatened, tabloids are talking, and Cory’s idyllic world falls apart. But what no one knows is that this scene is all too familiar. Because this isn’t the first accident Cory has caused. This isn’t the first time he’s destroyed someone else’s life to save his own.

It’s just the first time he’s had to face it head on.

Small town girl Samantha Dalton has no one—no mother, no father, and now no sister. She’s lost everything in a world that celebrates excess. So when Cory Minor shows up at her doorstep offering money and apologies, she turns him away too. You can’t lose what you don’t have, and she can’t take another letdown, especially not from someone who has managed to rip away all she had left. Samantha has been fine on her own for years, she’ll be fine now too.

At least that’s what she tells herself.

But Cory won’t leave. He’s persistent in the worst possible way.

Will Cory’s determination to make things right pay off in the end, or will Sam keep pushing him away until there’s nothing left to fight for? How can two people learn to rely on each other when life keeps hurting them both?

Amazon  //  Goodreads

~ About the Author ~

AmyMatayoAuthor Amy Matayo is an excellent speaker, mathematician, seamstress, chef…and liar. She’s decent at writing books but not much else. Then again, the book thing makes her marginally cool and a whole lot intimidating.

Not really. Not even her kids are afraid of her.

She graduated with barely passing grades from John Brown University with a degree in Journalism. But she’s proud of that degree and all the ways she hasn’t put it to good use.

She laughs often, cries easily, feels deeply, and loves hard. She lives in Arkansas with her husband and four kids and is working on her next novel.

 

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Top Ten Tuesday – Series I’ve Been Meaning to Start or Finish, but Haven’t

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I’m back! And this week’s Top Ten Tuesday from the girls at The Broke and the Bookish is officially Top Ten Series I’ve Been Meaning to Start but Haven’t. I’ve decided to split this into two lists: Series I’ve Been Meaning to Start, but Haven’t, and Series I’ve Been Meaning to Finish, but Haven’t. Sadly, both could have been full lists in their own right, but I have limited myself to five in each category. Continue reading

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Meet the Writer – Mikal Dawn (+ Giveaway!)

Meet the Writer Mikal Dawn

If you have ever met Mikal Dawn, either in real life or online, you’ll know she’s a bundle of fun, so I’m super excited to have her on my blog today letting us get to know her as a writer!

~ About the Author ~

Mikal DawnMikal Dawn is an inspirational romance author, wedding enthusiast and proud military wife. By day she works for an international sports ministry, and by night she mutters to imaginary friends, performs sketchy Google searches, and procrastinates (like any good writer!). When she isn’t writing about faith, fun, and forever, she is obsessively scouring Pinterest (with coffee in hand, of course!) for wedding ideas for her characters.

Born and raised just outside of Vancouver, Canada, Mikal has lived throughout the southern United States, and is currently residing in Nebraska (and loving it!) with her husband, three kids (two of whom she drives *everywhere* for ALL THE SPORTS), and one ferocious feline.

~ Debut Release ~

Allegra Spencer has been living a careful life. Her safe job as an accountant is bookended by going to church and the gym. Okay, sometimes the gym. Fine. She goes to church. And the coffee shop. She avoids risk at all cost, preferring to stay safe in her cozy condo. Until her accounting firm goes belly up and she’s out of a job.

Tyler Hawk had a glorious career as a star NFL tight end. He retired on a high note and now lives a second dream of owning his own business and leading others on extreme outdoor adventures. But he needs help with his books—and his heart. When Allegra takes the job, sparks fly.

It’s a case of safety zone versus danger zone, and in their minds, never the two shall meet.

Amazon US  //  Amazon AU  //  Goodreads

So without further ado, let’s say hello to Mikal Dawn!


Mikal: Thank you SO MUCH for having me, Katie!!!! This is such an honour! ❤

Katie: You are most welcome! Thanks for coming. Let’s start out by getting your initial responses to some authorly words and phrases:

Plotting: Ack!!!! Totally inept. Thankfully, I learned about plot boards at a writer’s conference, and that helped tremendously!

Editing: Groan. But it’s necessary. I’m super thankful to have an amazing editor who makes the process not just palatable but dare I say…fun?

Spelling and Grammar: YES. Okay, so I’m not always the best with grammar (I write better than I speak), but spelling. For heaven’s sake, YES!!!

Reviews: LOVE!!! Before publishing, I knew reviews were hugely important, but wow…they’re crucial. For so many reasons. And I love to have them! Even the hard ones. They’re such a great learning opportunity.

I am quite disciplined about my writing time: Umm… As I sit here going back and forth between my manuscript, Pinterest, and Facebook, I don’t know that I’m qualified to answer this. 😉

Lol! And here I was about to make the observation that each answer was more positive than the last! 😆

Okay, let’s talk about your debut release, Count Me In. What was the first part of this story to come to you?

Actually, the end! I knew Tyler and Allegra needed to change, so the last big moment needed to be the defining moment for them. The very end came to me about a third of the way through writing the book. I got so excited, I had to write it immediately! So. Much. Fun!

You know, somehow that doesn’t surprise me! 😉

Where did you get your inspiration for these characters?

I love opposites attract tropes, but I love it even more when characters grow and change.

And…

*sigh* Fine. I’ll admit it. I got the inspiration for Allegra from me. Bahaha!! I’m a homebody, coffee-lovin’, safety-loving woman. As for Tyler, well, I wondered what a football player who retired from the sport in his prime might want to do and why he might want to do that, and voila!

Haha! We knew it, didn’t we readers! 😉 And I can’t wait to meet Tyler. ❤️

What was the hardest part about writing this novel?

Honestly, the hardest part was ensuring it didn’t become repetitive. Thankfully between God, my incredible critique partners, and amazing editor, I learned so much and was able to pull together a story I’m proud of. (And my local brainstorming group helped me come up with a big event Tyler and Allegra work together in. Such huge help!)

Does frequently drinking coffee count as repetitive? 😜

What was the easiest part about writing this novel?

The easiest part? The dialogue. Though that may be the hardest part to read for friends who know me well. They keep telling me they’re hearing me when they’re reading it. LOL! But I digress. 😊 The dialogue was so much fun, and came so naturally between Allegra and Tyler. It was truly the easiest and most fun part!

Oh, I love great dialogue! I have great dialogue in my head all the time! Wait… 😳 Did I just type that? Moving right along folks. Nothing more to read here… 😜

What was the most interesting piece of research you had did for this novel?

All the adventures! Sadly, I couldn’t do them in person, but I adventured vicariously through YouTube.

Well, it was probably safer that way anyway!

To get a little more general now, what is your favourite part of the writing process?

Can I answer writing The End? Because that’s always a favourite! 😉 But truthfully, opening up a fresh document and getting to know new (or in the case of the second book in this series, revisit some secondary!) characters is always so much fun.

You can answer however you like—it’s your interview! But I can see how both ends of the writing process bring their own sense of excitement.

What is your least-favourite part of the writing process?

Reading the book through countless times. By the time I hit publish on Count Me In, I was so sick of the story. Lol! I love Tyler and Allegra, but I was definitely ready to move on to Bo and Story.

Lol! Well thank you, on behalf of all your readers, for persevering! 

Where is your favourite place to write?

My husband and I bought a gorgeous white metal and frosted glass L-shaped desk. Right now it’s behind our sofa in the living room because we don’t have a room for my office (until my oldest moves out when he gets married next year), so the couch ends up being a big draw and I sit in a corner with my legs stretched out and my cat laying over my feet. It’s seriously the best.

Gee. Writing must be such a hardship! 😉 Although, it makes me wonder whether you’re actually going to want to move when that room becomes available…

What is the average time it takes for you to write a first draft?

You mean, when I stop procrastinating? Ha!! I wrote Count Me In in about two-and-a-half months with the exception of 10,000 words that I’d already written a month or two before. I work much better when I’m under pressure.

At least, that’s what I keep telling myself. 😉

Oh, I can relate! That’s why I need to read so many books. So the pressure is always on. Did that sound convincing? 😇

What is your go-to snack when writing?

Oh wow. Now my mouth is watering. Of course, coffee. Always coffee. But also strawberry Australian licorice! And Tim Tams! And all the red Starburst.

It’s no wonder my waist is shaped the way it is….

One might be forgiven for thinking you have a weakness for Aussie ‘cuisine’! But then, really, who can go past Tim Tams?!

What is the best thing about being an author?

I’d always heard that being an author was a lonely occupation, and while the actual act of writing is just between you and the computer screen (and let’s not forget God!), the authors in the Christian publishing community are truly that: a community. The encouragement, love, support, and opportunities other authors have extended to me have been absolutely beautiful.

Yes! I love seeing how much encouragement and support goes on within the Christian publishing community!

Who are some authors that have inspired you as a writer, and why?

If you’ve read any other interviews I’ve given in the past number of weeks, you might already know the answer to this one. LOL! Tamara Leigh has probably been the biggest influence as a writer. Her first Christian market novel, Stealing Adda, was the first Christian “chick lit” or rom-com I’d ever read, and I adored it. So much so, I actually took myself out of my own comfort zone and emailed her! She doesn’t remember (it was probably 12 years ago now!), but her sweet spirit came through in her return email. Her writing continues to inspire me (both her contemporaries and especially her medievals!).

Other authors who have inspired me are all in different genres than what I write: Ronie Kendig (action, incredible male points of view, outstanding pacing), Amy Leigh Simpson (great suspense, romantic tension), Pepper Basham and Krista Philliips (wit and charm!), Jennifer Rodewald (hard subjects with such grace, depth), and Sarah Monzon (emotions, romance)…there are so many!

You have just named several of my all-time-favourite authors! No wonder we get along so well! 😉

How do you celebrate typing THE END?

I cry. For real. It’s such a relief. And then I get my husband and kids and head on out for dinner…not that we probably already haven’t had take-out copious amounts of times during writing, but y’know.

Well, you need to celebrate the end of take-out season as well, right? 😉

Thank you for joining me on my blog and letting us get to know you as a writer!

Thank you again, Katie!! I had so much fun!! ❤

~ Giveaway ~

Giveaway Count Me In

Mikal is generously offering an ebook copy of Count Me In to one lucky reader. Click here to enter: a Rafflecopter giveaway

Which character do you most identify with? Safe ‘n’ sound Allegra, or the adventure guru, Tyler?

 

 

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Weekend Book Buzz – 17/18 June 2017

Weekend Book Buzz

Well, I’m finally home, safe and sound, with a pile of laundry to keep me busy for the whole weekend! So, once again, there hasn’t been a lot happening around here this week. But never fear! Things will be business as usual now that I’m back home, and I have some great interviews and spotlights to share in the coming weeks, along with the usual reviews. So, let’s see what’s buzzing this week!
Continue reading

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