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Holiday Chat with Author Meghan Gorecki!

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Loveys, I’m so excited that my friend Meghan Gorecki is visiting the blog today to talk shop on the holidays! Meghan is an amazing editor and writer and person and–she’s basically awesome. So let’s chat!

What’s one of your favorite aspects of the holiday season?

The music! From the holiday hymns honoring Jesus’ birth, to the pop classics old and new that you get stuck in your head instantly—it’s all so happy and bright. I just love the spirit it brings and the warmth it ushers in even through the stress and hustle and bustle.

 

Oh! I LOVE holiday music. Seriously. I listen to it in June sometimes. What’s your favorite holiday movie? Oh gosh. Not gonna lie I sat here for twenty minutes thinking of one. Favorite holiday movie is probably White Christmas, followed closely by Little Women if that can be considered a holiday movie (hey it opens at Christmas, right?). And we can’t forget all the Claymation classics like Rudolph or The Year without a Santa Claus.

White Christmas and Little Women are both classic Christmas movies to me. We watched Little Women as a family every year of my childhood. So…cider or cocoa? Cider, actually! Cocoa is delicious but so very rich. Warm cider with whipped cream and caramel? Sign me up, any day, any time.
 

I’m a fan of whipped cream and caramel on anything actually. Are you partial to Thanksgiving or Christmas and why? Thanksgiving, for sure. The stuffing(!), the parade—and the reminder to count our blessings. And it’s kind of like autumn’s last hurrah, my favorite season, but I do still love Christmas too. Just partial to Turkey Day.
 

I definitely love both holidays as well. My family usually makes the same traditional meal for both, so it’s turkey again (or maybe a glazed ham!) and dressing and all the fixings. Okay. I’m getting hungry! Tell us about your latest novel! So my latest novel is coming out this April, and it’s a historical romance. Amongst the Roses follows Margaret Bryant, and Connor and Adam Doyle—three people from opposite sides of the tracks, brought together when the Civil War overturns all their lives. It’s set in Chambersburg, a large Pennsylvania city very near the Mason-Dixon line that saw three Confederate invasions during the four years of war. Here’s the official blurb:

The War Between the States shakes Margaret Bryant out of her comfortable upper-class life when her father enlists in the Army of the Potomac. Despite being safely ensconced above the Mason-Dixon Line in Chambersburg, Pennsylvania, Margaret finds her strength tested by opposition from familiar faces and Confederate threats. Will she let a young man from a lesser station into her heart even as war rages ever nearer to the home front?

Restless Connor Doyle sees the war as a way to escape from his family’s farm and his identity as a poor Irishman’s son. His brother, Adam, torn between duty to country and his family, enlists alongside Connor. Adam dares to hope in a future with Margaret when he begins a courtship correspondence from the war front. The two brothers make a vow to protect one another at all costs, but when faced with death and destruction from all sides—will they be able to uphold it?

The three bloodiest days in America’s history bring these three together at Gettysburg and tragedy’s cruelty threatens to tear two hearts apart—and bring two unlikely allies together.

That sounds so intriguing! Meghan, thank you SO much for stopping by! Loveys, check out her Christmas novella. (I love the cover so much!)

Meghan M. Gorecki is an author of inspirational fiction about what God can make beautiful from the ashes of history, and hearts. A lover and avid studier of people, times gone by, and fiction, she has been writing since childhood and now houses her books under Northern Belle Publishing. Coffee and red lipstick color her days as a redhead from a box, alongside her treasured tribe of family and friends in her beloved hometown of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Connect with her on social media and at her blog/website at: http://www.northernbellemeg.com (http://www.northernbellemeg.com)

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Wrapped in Red: A Three Rivers Romance NovellaWrappedinRedHolidayDiscount.png

A Steel City holiday romance sure to melt your heart.

The holidays haven’t been the easiest for Merry Grainger. Five years ago, she lost her grandfather and got dumped by her boyfriend right before Christmas. Each season since sees her determined to avoid getting hurt again, and so she keeps a steel-like grip on her hopeless romantic heart.

Music used to soothe Sam Shepard’s soul until the death of his biggest cheerleader broke his heart, family, and dreams into pieces. Now he’s focused on thriving in the city, and with the people, he’s grown to love—all to keep the hole in his heart from opening anew with every passing holiday season. Thrown together by a church play and meddlesome family armed with mistletoe, will Merry and Sam unwrap their guarded hearts to let in the true hope of Christmas—and each other?

 

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Team Us: Marriage Together by Ashleigh Slater

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Hi Loveys! Here’s a treat for you! We’re talking with my new friend Ashleigh Slater! She’s the author of the new book Team Us: Marriage Together. In her writing, Ashleigh loves to unite the power of a good story with biblical truth and practical application to encourage couples. (For more information visit AshleighSlater.com.) She’s going to give us a marriage tip today and also give us a glimpse into what’s on her to-be-read list (along with what she cooks for company!).

1. How did the writing bug bite you? Have you always wanted to be a writer? What’s your story with that? It’s funny, while writing has always been a part of my story from as early as 3rd or 4th grade, I don’t remember ever sitting down and thinking, “I want to be a writer when I grow up.” Instead, I wanted to be a television producer. To the point that I studied it in grad school. Yet once I had kids, I decided not to pursue that career path. I really wanted to be home with my children on a daily basis. The thing was, once I put that aside, I still needed a creative outlet. Since I’d been writing music reviews and articles since I was teenager, I started to focus more on writing and editing. Almost 20 years after I had my first music review published as a teen, here I am with my first book.

2. Where did the “Team Us” inspiration come from? When it comes to my writing, I actively hold to “write what you know.” So when Moody Publishers approached me last spring about possibly writing a book on relationships, I sat back and thought, “Okay, what can I write about that I have experience in and am passionate about?” The first thing that came to mind as I reflected on Ted and our marriage was how grace has impacted our relationship. This idea of writing on grace turned into the book that is now “Team Us.”

3. As we all know, marriage can be a little like a rollercoaster–highs and lows and freefalls! What’s one practical way that you recommend staying on the same team even through the hard times? Remember that your spouse is not the enemy. It can be easy when you face difficulty to start pointing fingers and assigning blame. You know, to look for what your spouse could have or maybe even should have done differently. And, as a result, “casting” your spouse in the role of villain in the tragedy you’re facing. Instead of making it “you against me,” I think it’s important to make it “us against the problem.” Determine to face whatever comes your way together, united. And I believe this is something that doesn’t just apply to the “big” difficulties, but even the smaller challenges involved in parenting or finances.

4. What books are you currently reading? What’s on your to-be-read list? I tend to read two or three books at a time. Right now I’m finishing up Emily Wiergena’s memoir Atlas Girl and am in the middle of Tessa Afshar’s novel In the Field of Grace as well as Dannah Gresh’s parenting book Six Ways to Keep the ‘Little’ in Your Girl. My to-be-read list includes reading The Hunger Games Trilogy and The Divergent Trilogy again. I’ve also heard a lot of great things about The Nesting Place by Myquillyn Smith.

5. What’s your special go-to meal when having company over? What are you famous (or infamous!) for when it comes to cooking? We actually don’t have one go-to meal. Instead, we kind of cater a few of our favorites depending on who the company is. Things like chili or chicken saltimbocca. But, if we have a large group of friends over, it’s normally an easy crowd pleaser such as bratwursts or burgers on the grill. Ted and I both have a lot of German in our family history, so we love a good brat with mustard and sauerkraut.

Thank you, Ashleigh!! I am super excited to read Team Us and to get to know Ashleigh better! Check out her website and hop over to Amazon to take a look at what others are saying about her book.

 

Interview with Christa Banister

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Hi everybody! I know it’s been a while since you’ve heard from me. I’ve been buried in boxes and covered in paint. The “settling in” process has begun at our new house. Moving is chaos. Every night for the last two weeks, Jeff and I have painted the interior of the house once Ash went to bed. Today Jeff brought in more boxes for me to unpack, and we hung a few pictures. It’s really starting to feel like home. Which I’m thrilled about because I really like our new place and can’t wait for everything to be put away and for life to get back to normal. Jeff’s been a good sport today. For some reason, hanging pictures is always a major situation for us. Could be that I always disagree with the level and think the picture needs to go up on the right just a little. And this makes Jeff crazy. It’s actually so familiar to me–this process. I had to work hard not to giggle about it today while Jeff was turning red and I was, as usual, asking him to raise the mirror just a tad on the right. 🙂

So anyway, you should be hearing from me on a more regular basis now that the computer is off the floor. It’s not so easy for us pregnant women to type while sitting criss-cross applesauce on the floor. I know that we probably won’t be completely settled in for a few more weeks, but it seems like we’re accomplishing enough every day to feel like there’s actually a light at the end of the tunnel.

On another note, good things are happening with my novel Looks Like Love. It was featured today on the Family Fiction website. Yay! And Christa Banister, author extraordinaire and completely fabulous person that she is, posted my interview with her today. So hop over to her website and check that out. I loved her questions. I’ll be featured on Operation Encourage an Author on Monday, which I’m excited about. I’ll post the link then for you to stop by.

Well, my dears, I’m struggling to keep my eyes open as I write this. I think it’s time to call it a night. I’ll be in touch soon.

Author Interview with Christa Ann Banister

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Hi everyone! Christa Ann Banister is the fabulous author of Blessed Are the Meddlers and Around the World in 80 Dates. She was sweet enough to agree to stop by for a chat. Here’s a little background info on her: After years of working as a respected music critic and freelance writer for various Christian publications: CCM Magazine, Crosswalk.com, Christian Single, ChristianityToday.com, not to mention kickstarting the inaugural Christian music blog for MTV’s Urge.com, Christa inked two novels about a journalist’s erstwhile adventures in dating, and she hopes that her stories will inspire countless twenty and thirty-somethings in their quest for snagging Mr. Right, even as they hold fast to their Christian values.

BB: So, Christa, tell me, when did you discover you were a writer?

CB: Thanks to my grandpa who always read to me, I grew up loving stories from a very, very young age—Dr. Seuss, Beverly Cleary, Shel Silverstein—you name it, I loved it. And hearing those stories always made me dream up characters of my own. The first I remember inventing was Buddy the Turtle who really liked going to birthday parties, an interest I happened to share, too. But the author who really sparked my imagination when Buddy the Turtle no longer could was Judy Blume. Between Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing, Superfudge, and Freckle Juice, I found plenty of inspiration for my own scribbling. And I remember thinking, even back in elementary school, that if Judy Blume got paid to make up stories for a living that I wanted to do exactly the same thing.

BB: You’re novels are romance, right?

CB: I always say that I write romantic comedies in novel form, and I think part of it is because everyone wants a happy ending with a great pop song playing in the background. But more than anything, I absolutely love the genre, and after seeing one unfortunate rom-com after another (I’m also a film critic), I decided to write something I’d like to read with an ending that you don’t see coming from a mile away. Plus, I don’t know about most rom-com fans, but I just always felt like the genre could be so much more—funny, charming and even (gasp!) deep.

BB: What’s your writing process?

CB: I’m a go-with-the-flow sort of writer . . . I outline enough to have a basic structure, but then I like to see where the story and the characters take me. Plotting out the destination from beginning to end steals a little bit of the fun, but I know for some authors, it’s absolutely essential.

BB: So we know Judy Blume inspired you (and so many other girls, too!), but who else inspired you? What was it about their writing that moved you? Do you have any “favorite” books you read over and over?

CB: Well, aside from Dr. Seuss and Judy Blume (yes, that’s quite a combo, huh?), I absolutely love almost anything by Jane Austen, C.S. Lewis, Nick Hornby, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Brennan Manning, and A.J. Jacobs. Each of them brings something different to the table, whether it’s fantastic turns of phrases, complex characters, humor, or sheer readability. As for books I read again and again, Hemingway’s A Moveable Feast immediately springs to mind, and for something totally mindless (but hilarious), I enjoy Sophie Kinsella’s novels.

BB: I’m a Sophie Kinsella fan, too! Okay, so talk a little about your publishing experience. Did you get an agent first? Was that difficult?

CB: My publishing experience was definitely a bit unorthodox. I didn’t have an agent, but because I worked at CCM Magazine in Nashville for five and a half years as a columnist and editor, I was already connected to people in the publishing business who said they’d take a look at my sample chapters once I was ready for them to. Of course, given how busy everyone in the publishing biz is and how rapidly the personnel often changes, it took about six months for my submission to reach the top of the pile. But once it did, I was thrilled to get the good news–after a slew of meetings took place to evaluate whether my work was marketable and had enough of an audience to justify publication.

BB: What role does faith play in your novels?

CB: Since my faith is such an important facet of my life and ultimately defines who I am, it can’t help but naturally make its way into my writing. It’s never forced or heavy-handed, but it’s always there in my characters and the values that are portrayed. Whenever I write, whether it’s a movie review, a magazine feature, or my latest novel, it’s my aim to use my gifts in the most creative way I can, rather than simply pushing my own agenda. Readers can see an agenda coming from a mile away, so I’d prefer to let them draw their own conclusions while reading an entertaining story that I hope and pray will move them in a significant way.

BB: What’s a “must know” about you?

CB: Well, I’m a recovering glitter addict who used to be nicknamed the “glitter princess.” Aside from that, I absolutely love Scrabble, travel, NFL football, and cooking. In fact, I’m a bonafide Food Network addict and can’t wait to get all my work done so I can start diving into my ever-growing pile of foodie magazines. Thanksgiving is coming up, after all, and I’m still figuring out which stuffing recipe I’ll use. 🙂
BB: Recovering glitter addict? I love that! Can you tell us what are you working on now?

CB: Aside from my regularly scheduled movie, music, and book reviews and features (!!!), I’m currently chipping away at my third novel. It’s been so much fun, and I seriously can’t wait for everyone to check it out. To see what I’ve been working on in the meantime, feel free to check out my Facebook page (www.facebook.com/christabanister), Twitter (www.twitter.com/christabanister), and my official website at www.christabanister.com.

Christa, it was so great to have you share all this with us! Thank you so much!