Glad to see you all back at The Mustard Seed again today. Author, K. Dawn Byrd is here to discuss eBooks and industry trends and chat with us and share about her new book, Mistaken Identity

Let's meet her...

K. Dawn Byrd is an author of inspirational fiction. She is an avid blogger who interviews several authors a week on her blog at Most of these authors, give away signed copies of their books there. She's also the moderator of the popular facebook group, Christian Fiction Gathering.

Okay. I'll admit it. I don't much like change. To be more accurate, I loathe change. When I heard snippets a couple of years ago that ebooks were the wave of the future, I fought it with everything in me. I've been a book collector for over 15 years and have approximately 2,000 books in my home. The very existence of ebooks threatened my beloved print books. I vowed that I would never buy an ebook (the enemy that might eventually extinguish the print books that I so loved so much.)

A Christian fiction book came out (Michelle Sutton's Danger at the Door) that I just had to read, but I didn't see it available as a print book. I e-mailed the author and she responded that it was available only in eformat. I kicked it around in my head for a few days and decided that I just had to have that book.

After I figured out how to download the first ebook, I was hooked. I've read ebooks in several formats, but the Kindle is my favorite because of ease of use. I have the Kindle app on my laptop, my netbook, my Eken, and also my Blackberry. I have purchased dozens of ebooks since that first purchase.

Out of all my devices, my favorite way to read E is on my BlackBerry. It's always with me, it's very portable, it's backlit, and I can adjust the font. It's not heavy in my hands like a book or laptop  and I never tire of holding it. In addition, I never miss a phone call or an email, that is, if I want to take them.

I absolutely love ebooks. I'm not killing trees, using expensive ink or lugging around heavy objects. Trust me, I know all about this having recently lugged over five hundreds upstairs in my house. And best of all, I can read when I want on my cell phone. Anywhere. Any time. And, I can read in bed with hubby right beside me and don't have to worry about disturbing him with a lamp. The font is adjustable and right now my font is larger and darker than the print in a paperback. It's backlit and easy on the eyes. I can purchase ebooks in seconds and never have to leave the house. I have literally thousands of titles at my fingertips. Also, ebooks are inexpensive and many of them, especially those in the public domain, are free. They're not taking up room in my home and I can read them again if I choose.

I've decided not to fight it and I'm glad I did. After all, how many people fought purchasing a microwave oven? DVD player? Cell phone? An ebook? Progress will continue no matter how hard we try to fight it. I, for one, believe that ebooks are here to stay and I'm loving every minute of it!

Couldn't agree more. I hate change and was moving forward into the eBook movement, kicking and screaming. Now that I got a Kindle for my birthday, I love it and I've been "kindle-fied." 

So, how do you relax after a long day at work?

I work full-time in a job that has nothing to do with writing. Writing is how I relax after a long day at work. I also like to take long walks with my husband and Chinese Crested dogs along a lake near our home. When I have time, I enjoy reading.

Love that writing relaxes you. Same for me. Are romance novels your preferred type of book to read for leisure?

I write romance and romantic suspense. My favorite read is romantic suspense.

I love to read romantic suspense also. What is your all-time favorite romantic movie (comedy or drama etc.)?

Titanic. I absolutely loved the romance between Rose and Jack.

Epic movie and great love story. My sister and I have seen that together several times and have cried each time at the end. 

Please tell us about your new book, Mistaken Identity.

Eden Morgan longs for a boyfriend of her own, an impossible goal when her best friend, Lexi Branson, gets all the attention and all the guys. When they fall in love with the same guy, Eden believes she doesn't have a chance. She can only hope that sometimes the good girl gets the guy.

Sounds like a great book and I love the cover. Where can readers find your book online?

The only link I currently have is to my publisher. It will be available upon release through Amazin, B&N, CBD, etc. 

The link is 

You can check out the book trailer for Mistaken the trailer, great soundtrack. 

I'm so glad you stopped by today to chat and share about your new book. Hope everyone sticks around for a while to visit with us.

Author, Lee Ann Sontheimer Murphy is visiting here at The Mustard Seed today. She will be doing a book giveaway...keep reading for more details. 

Let's meet Lee Ann...

Lee Ann Sontheimer Murphy is a full-time romance author.  A native of the old historic city of St. Joseph, Missouri, one time home to both Jesse James and the Pony Express, she now lives and writes in the beautiful Missouri Ozark region.  Her romance novels include Wolfe’s Lady (December 2010 Evernight Publishing), Love Tattoo, (March 2011, Evernight), Love Scars (June 2011, Evernight), Love Never Fails (May 2011, Rebel Ink Press), Kinfolk (July 2011, Champagne Books) and The Marriage Cure (Astraea Press).  Other works scheduled for upcoming publication include four other novels, short fiction in several anthologies and more.

So, Lee Ann, as a writer, how do you persevere and not give up?

My Granny was a major force in my life. As one of my early caregivers, I spent most of my waking hours in her home between the ages of two months and four years when I began school. She was a vital, dynamic woman, always cheerful and resilient despite her often difficult life. When I was about fourteen, one day she revealed a secret to me.

In the depths of her cedar chest she had a manuscript, the class prophecy she wrote when she graduated from the eighth grade back in 1912. That was the end of her formal schooling but she knew about my aspirations to become a writer and so she showed me her only surviving work.

I read those faded, fragile pages with awe, recognizing a way with words and asked her why she had not become a writer. Her words, simple and honest, said it all.

“I couldn’t,” she said, very matter of fact. She didn’t need to explain the reasons – I knew them all. Her first marriage of abuse ended in divorce at a time when “nice women” didn’t divorce, her second marriage ended in suicide, and when my Pop died, she was widowed once again. Her oldest son died long before she did and she endured every manner of hardship possible.

Then she added the words that set my future.“But you should.”

At any time when rejection or my own life trials made me wonder if I should give up the dream, her words and the promise that I made to her on that day restored my dream.

I never gave up and as I succeed, it is as much for that small woman with an unquenchable spirit and force of will.

Wow, that is such an inspiring story. Thank you so much for sharing it. 

What was the setting for the most romantic scene you’ve ever written?

I think it would have to be a scene in my upcoming release, third in the series, “Love Knots” for Evernight Publishing….it’s a beach at night at Malibu in California, beneath the stars.

Sounds like a very romantic setting. So are you a true romantic at heart or not really?

I have to confess I truly am.  When I made up my tagline, I came up with “Romance that lives and breathes the power of love” because, well, I really do believe that. I’m a firm believer in the power of love. I’ve had too many wonderful romantic things happen to me not to be!

So great to be a firm believer in the power of love. Can you share the Top Five Random facts about yourself?

1. I was born just before Halloween (October 27) and I’ve always had a touch of being fey or what the Irish call being a “dark one” who tunes into things most people don’t or won’t.

2. I am an American mix of many cultures and influences, Irish, German, English, a little Welsh, some Cherokee, Catholic, Jewish, Southern Baptist.

3. I grew up with two working parents and so my grandparents took care of me most of the time from the age of 2 months until just before I began school. Thus they raised me as they did their own kids so I’m a child of the 1930s and 1940’s far more than one of the 1960’s, my own generation.

4. I used to work in radio broadcasting and when I did my first on-air work, I was told that I had “star quality” and a voice that the airwaves loved.

5. As a child my dad taught me to shoot well and to hunt. I can hold my own with anyone who shoots and when I first got married, amazed my husband with my skills.

Thanks for sharing. We'd all love to find out more about your new book Love Never Fails

Old love sometimes fades away...

When a late night phone call from the former love of her life interrupts both her sleep and her otherwise quiet existence, Caroline Cunningham finds she can’t refuse Reid Ramsay's request for help. As the call pulls Caroline back to her small hometown and into the heart of the search for Reid’s missing brother, Caroline finds the feelings she thought she'd buried where Reid was concerned are indeed alive and well.

And sometimes it refuses to die...

Reid Ramsay is still in love with Caroline Cunningham. As they work together searching for Reid's brother, Reid and Caroline find themselves attempting to rebuild the life they once shared together. But their future remains uncertain. Before they can find the happiness they seek, each must work through the emotional baggage of the past and test the theory they desperately hope rings true.

Sounds very intriguing. Can you share an excerpt with us?

                                                                            * * * * * *
If he heard her coming, which she thought he must have he gave no indication, sitting with his back to her. His broad shoulders were tight beneath the old chambray work shirt he wore and his black curly hair was longer than she remembered, touching the collar of the shirt. She sat down next to him and put her hand on his arm.

“I’m here.”

At her touch, he turned and she felt the energy surge between them, electric as ever.  Reid’s eyes, the deep navy blue she remembered so well, met hers and her anxiety melted.


His voice made her name an endearment.

They stared at each other as if they could bridge five years distance in a few moments and then he put his arm around her.

“You got here quick. I thought you might keep me waiting half the night.”

“You knew I'd come.”

“Yeah, I did.” It appeared he hadn't doubted her, even after the years of silence and separation and something deep within her stirred and rejoiced at that. Even now, it seemed he knew her well.

“Why did you have me come here, to the grotto?”

“Don’t you remember?” His voice was very soft.

“I do. This was our secret place, somewhere we came when we were troubled.”

Reid nodded. “We came here the day after my mom died.”

Caroline leaned against his shoulder, savoring the feel of his strength behind her, inhaling the long remembered but never forgotten masculine scent of him. En route, she worried that he was injured or ill but even though he looked tense, he also looked well.

“Are you all right?” She needed to know.

“I’m okay,” Reid said.  He put his hand in the center of his chest. “That is, except for this pain I’ve had right here for about five years now. A deep, burning pain that never went away. Today though, it feels just a little bit better.”

She inhaled sharply, panicked at the idea of him having chest pains and then realized his heart trouble was romantic, not medical. Without analyzing it or planning what she'd say, she leaned forward.

“Maybe this will help it heal.”

She touched her lips to his, a very light kiss, her mouth barely touching his.

“It helps if it’s real,” Reid said, taking her face into his hands and kissing her with thoroughness that ignited fire in her veins. “Did you mean what you said on the phone?”

“I came, didn’t I?”

“You did, but do you?”

Her answer was a vow. “I do, Reid. I love you.”

He exhaled. “It’s about time you told me.

Very nice! Love it. Where can readers find your book online?
Purchase Link:

Where can readers connect with you online?


Lee Ann, I'm so glad you stopped by today. It was great chatting with you and learning more about you and your books. 

Hope everyone can stick around and visit. If you'd like to enter for a chance to win a copy of Lee Ann's book, Love Never Fails, please leave a comment on this blog post and be sure to include your email on the contact form

Linda Weaver Clarke, a fellow member of the John 3:16 Christian Authors Network is having her Book launch today. You stopped by my blog on the right day! For more information on some great book giveaways, keep reading. Please welcome Linda to The Mustard Seed today.

Let's meet Linda 

Linda Weaver Clarke travels throughout the United States, teaching a “Family Legacy Workshop” at libraries, encouraging others to write their family history and autobiography. Clarke is the author of the historical romance series, “A Family Saga in Bear Lake, Idaho” and a new mystery series, “The Adventures of John and Julia Evans.” E-mail Linda at:

Linda, please share your thoughts on your Book Launch Day.

The first book in this series won the Socrates Great Book Alert Award a few months ago. I was thrilled. I didn't realize that I would go in this direction in my later years. This is my 8th book. I've been told that I have a different writing style, and I've had many people comment on my style, saying they like it. I don't use the familiar one person point of view, but I allow my readers to know the feelings, thoughts, and emotions of each of the main characters, allowing my readers to get to know them intimately, and many people told me that they really like this style. I've been told by professionals that this style of writing is a difficult task for some authors. But I wanted to tackle it and, according to the professional reviews I've received so far, it must have worked.

Congrats on winning the Socrates Great Book Alert Award! Awesome news!

Please tell us more about your book, Montezuma Intrigue: The Adventures of John and Julia Evans.

This book is the 3rd in this series.  

The search for Montezuma's treasure, mysterious events, a good-looking rogue, and family secrets! When a leather parchment of Montezuma’s map is found in great-grandfather Evans’ old chest, April and the twins know this summer is going to be a memorable one. The girls want to search for it but their father is against it for some mysterious reason. With Julia’s help, she and the girls convince John to go on a treasure hunt. Is Montezuma’s treasure a legend or reality? Whatever the case, John insists on keeping their little treasure hunt a secret. If certain people find out about it, the family could be in danger.

While searching for Montezuma’s treasure, Matthew is trying to get the courage to tell April how he feels about her. How does he tell his kindred friend that she means more to him than just a friend? Oblivious of Matthew’s feelings for her, April is gradually learning the importance of her heritage. Who were her ancestors and why have they kept a certain “secret” all these years?

Sounds like a book I'd love to read. Going on my TBR pile. Where can readers find your books online?

Anasazi Intrigue: you may purchase a book or an ebook at Amazon
Mayan Intrigue: you may purchase a book or an ebook at Amazon
Montezuma Intrigue: you may purchase this book directly from Publisher Direct Bookstore or Amazon

This is what Suko’s Notebook ( wrote: 

“In the latest book by Linda Weaver Clarke, Montezuma Intrigue, the mysteries continue as this author entrances us with life-like characters and electrifying adventures. The search for Montezuma's treasure is both exciting and memorable. I enjoyed the adventure and suspense in her latest novel, which kept me reading well into the night.”

That's a wonderful review. Thank you for sharing. 

So, please tell us more about this celebratory Book Launch.

In celebration of our country’s “Freedom” and my Official Book Launch for Montezuma Intrigue, I’m having a Book Give-Away from June 27 – July 7: Win a mystery/adventure novel with a touch of romance, at

Adventure...Suspense...Romance...Intrigue...Humor! The search for Montezuma's treasure, mysterious events, family secrets, and a good-looking rogue!

When a leather parchment of Montezuma’s map is found in great-grandfather Evans’ old chest, April and the twins know this summer is going to be a memorable one. The girls want to search for it but their father is against it for some mysterious reason. With Julia’s help, she and the girls convince John to go on a treasure hunt. Is Montezuma’s treasure a legend or reality? Whatever the case, John insists on keeping their little treasure hunt a secret. If certain people find out about it, the family could be in danger.

But that’s not all! I have more gifts for you! I will be having a drawing for 2 children’s books: The Magic Word by Sherrill S. Cannon and The Donkey and the King by Lorilyn Roberts. If you have already bought Montezuma Intrigue, I will email you 4 free e-books (pdf):

1. The Treasure of Isian by Serena Clarke. This is a fantasy/adventure novel with a touch of romance. This story is full of intrigue as you watch Garin and Elani search for the treasure of Isian.

2. Reflections of the Heart, which has 13 chapters of inspirational writings such as: The secret of Happiness, Laughter is the Best Medicine, Parenthood – A Great Responsibility, Equal Partners in Marriage, and Music Soothes the Soul.

3. Writing Your Family Legacy, in which I teach you how to write your family history or autobiography. I travel all over the U.S., teaching this class.

4. The Donkey and the King
by Lorilyn Roberts, a beautifully illustrated children’s book about a donkey named Baruch who longs for an easier life beyond the stable.

Linda, many blessings to you and great success in continuing with God's work in your writing. Hope you guest again soon at The Mustard Seed. 

Guest post by Gail Pallotta
How relaxing to sit on a beach and watch the waves roll onto shore. No, maybe to plop down in a rocking chair and overlook distant mountains. 
 How about a day shopping in Paris? Oh yeah, that’d be nice. It might be fun to browse at an open market on a Caribbean Island or go to a Luau in Hawaii. What about walking where our ancestors walked? Find out more about ourselves. Or better yet, walk where Jesus walked. 
Even the most seasoned traveler can find new places to go. Thanks to all the writers who transport us to sites we’ve never seen or show us something different at the ones we have. We hear so much about a book’s plot and characters and rightly so, but the characters need to live in interesting surroundings.  If a writer’s plotting a scuba diving expedition, the diver needs to see clear water, coral reefs and exotic fish and know all about boats and dive equipment. If a character is in the kitchen cooking grits while looking out a window at blue tinted mountains, that person’s in the south in the Blue Ridge Mountains. A character walking on a crowded street surrounded by high rise buildings with Times Square in the distance is in New York City. The setting also can make characters seem real when they smell newly mowed grass, watch a sunset, listen to the wind howl or feel the onset of a sudden shower.
It’s fun to sit back in a favorite easy chair or curl up on the sofa with a cup of coffee or tea with visions of new places to go and read until the heart’s content. If the character in the novel sees something the reader’s never seen, that’s traveling by book.
Do you have a favorite setting for a novel? The Civil War? The beach? Paris? Do share!
Gail’s husband, Rick, says she’s the only person he knows who can go in the grocery for a loaf of bread and come out with someone’s life story. That’s probably because she inherited her mother’s love of people and enjoys talking to them. Working as an editor and freelance writer, Gail published a couple hundred articles. While some of them are in anthologies, two ended up in museums. In 2004, the American Christian Writers Association named Gail a regional writer of the year. She recently published her first romance, Love Turns the Tide. When she isn’t writing she likes reading, swimming, and getting together with friends and family. Gail wants to write books of faith that show God’s love. She and Rick live in Georgia.
Contact Gail at pallotta[at]gailpallotta[dot]com. Visit her Web site at or her blog at
Happy Friday! Welcome to my First Reader's Corner. I really enjoy connecting with readers and feel that they are so important, especially to authors and we should value their opinions...after all, they are the ones who read our books. 

I decided to start the Reader's Corner twice a month on Fridays to let readers have a voice and to find out what they are thinking and dig deeper into their perspective. Hope you all enjoy the interviews with two readers today, Paula and Claudia.

Paula, can you share a little bit about yourself? 

I am a mother and grandmother.  I am married to a wonderful caring man.  I love working with the youth group at our church.  Most of all I love Jesus.

Claudia, tell us about yourself?

I am a wife and a busy mom of three boys!  I’m the Secretary in the PTG at my kids school.  I’m also involved in a Mother of Preschooler program at our church.  My interests are music, photography and reading.

So, ladies, on a scale of 1 – 10 (10 being the highest) how much of an avid reader are you? 

Paula - 10

Claudia – 6. It would be higher if I had more time!

I hear you on that one. I love to read, but don’t always have the time. Now that I recently started reviewing books again, I read about 2 – 4 per month, depending on how long they are and how much time I have.

What kind of books do you both like to read?

Claudia – Christian fiction novels

Paula – Christian Romance and Christian Mysteries.

I have a similar reading list. Although, I do review sweet contemporary romance novels and mainstream mysteries as well.

Why do you like to read?

Paula – It’s relaxing.

Claudia – It allows me to use my imagination and become a part of another world for a short time.

Love all those reasons. Do you prefer eBooks or print books?

Claudia – print

Paula – eBooks now.

I just got a Kindle and love reading books on it. I never thought I would like reading eBooks. 

Does anyone have an ereader?

Paula – Yes. The Kindle.      

Who is your favorite contemporary author and author of classic literature? 

Claudia – Karen Kingsbury

Paula – Terri Blackstock and Charles Dickens.

Love all of their work. I especially liked Karen Kingsbury’s Redemption Series. Paula, once you read a book, do you read it over again?

Paula – Sometimes.

Which do you prefer in a book: dialogue or prose or do you like a good combination of both?

Paula – Combination of both.

As children, did either of you have a favorite book?

Paula – I can’t remember.

Claudia – Babar the Elephant.

That was one of my favorites, too. Anyone have a favorite book and if you had to pick actors to play the parts of the characters, which actors would you pick?

Paula – Suncoast Chronicles.  Brad Pitt.

I never read that one yet. That’s another one of the authors, Terri Blackstock, whose books are in my TBR pile. What books are on your summer reading list for those lazy days at the beach or relaxing in a hammock?

Paula – Any free eBooks I can get. 

Claudia – George Bush’s new book “Decision Points.”

Love getting free eBooks from Amazon.

Are there any other avid readers in your family?

Paula – My daughters.

Claudia – My sister, Rosanna.

Do you like to browse books in the bookstore or do you like to shop online?

Paula – Shop online.

Claudia – Online.

Anyone have an all-time favorite classic novel?

Paula – Oliver Twist.

I must confess I never read that one, but did watch the movie! What’s one thing you’ve always wanted to ask an author?

Paula – Where do they get their inspiration for the stories they write.

For me, I get my ideas from every day experiences. I’m a people watcher. The rest comes from my imagination. Have either of you ever gone to a book signing before?

Paula – No

Claudia – No

Have you ever wondered what an author was thinking in regard to where he or she generates story ideas etc.? 

Paula – Yes

Claudia – Yes

Do you think characters’ names are important?

Paula – Not really.

Claudia – No

What about characters’ physical descriptions? Do you like specifics or would you rather leave most of it up to your imagination?

Paula – I like specifics.

Claudia – Descriptions help me imagine what they look like.

Happy endings or endings true to life, which do you prefer?

Paula – Happy endings.

Claudia – True to life.

I like happy endings in books…I guess that’s why I like reading romance novels. Although, true to life novels are good too. I like books that are grounded in reality, yet give you an escape.

Have you ever thought about writing a book?

Paula – Yes

What book do you think should absolutely be made into a movie? Do you like reading multiple genres or do you stick to only romance or mystery etc.?

Paula – The Suncoast Chronicles. Only to romance and mysteries.

Have you seen any movies based on books and thought the book was better?

Paula – Yes, movies leave out a lot of things.

Claudia – No but my sister has and she said the book is always better!

Ladies, I really appreciate you both taking the time to be interviewed today. Thanks so much. I value your opinions. Hope you stop back soon. My summer blog scheduled is jam packed with many great authors and free book giveaways.

Hope everyone has an awesome weekend. Please feel free to share your thoughts in answer to any of these questions. I love hearing from readers.

Author Lindsay Klug is here today to share about her writing journey, chat for a bit and give away an ebook. Hope you can stay and visit with us.

In the first grade, my teacher assigned an essay about what we wanted to be when we grew up. My essay involved ninjas and secret missions. It also sparked my interest in devising whimsical stories of fancy.

For a few years after that, my mother was rather concerned about me, I think. I used to hold conversations with myself, or with my imaginary friend, named Fred. Real friends were spotted in there, too, of course. But when real life people hurt and left me destitute, Fred always knew exactly what to say.

Eventually, Fred evolved into a character. He stuck with me, hovering in the back of my mind through high school, and one day an English teacher assigned us a creative writing paper. This was the break I’d been waiting for, the one opportunity to let my imagination fly. The story became one of a girl’s daydream. She was a secret agent, being pursued by The Man until he finally caught her. He was Fred, the principal.

Since then, I’ve never stopped writing. I used my creative writing classes in high school to work out some family issues, and also crafted a potential series of short stories based on a woman on Death Row. My teacher saw my dark mind, just barely glimpsed into it, but she believed in me.

And now, here I sit, a published author. It’s surreal for me to say those words. Never did I believe all those hours I’ve spent laboring over a laptop or notebook would actually pay off. But with this, a new and daunting task faces me: I must overcome my wall.

I’ve built a cinderblock little wall around myself, as a protective means. It’s solid, never bending, and I use it to keep people at bay. But if I want to write, to really write what I need to, I’m going to have to dismantle the beast, piece by piece. And that’s hard to do. I’m terrified of a story I put out to a publisher recently.

It was written from the mind of a sociopath who is intent on killing a woman. Never once are either of the characters named, and the thing was so gritty and disturbing, I actually had to stop writing several times and catch my breath. The only thing I keep wondering is, What if they think I’m insane?

That’s why it’s going under a pen name, which won’t be mentioned here because I don’t plan on marketing this one to any of my current readers. Another thing I’ve learned in this journey is that a pen name doesn’t mean you can’t own your work. It’s done as a means of protection. I’ll use it to shield my children from the almost certain gasps of horror should anyone find out their dear mother penned such a violent piece.

I’ve learned that no matter how proud I may be of what I do, my work won’t always be accepted by everyone. And that’s a-okay. To each their own, and I know vampires aren’t everyone’s cup of tea. I just hope that my books can bring pleasure to someone’s evening.

Lindsay, can you share with us what your book, The Life and Times of Delila is about?

Delila has roamed the Earth for over one thousand years with her maker, Alaric. She has everything a vampire could want: Beauty, brains, a booming business, and an ability to read human emotions.

When a werewolf makes an imprint in her life, Delila feels she may have finally found the soul mate she has been seeking. But when everything goes terribly wrong Delila finds herself burdened with a young half breed child to protect from the evil forces of her world.

Sounds very intriguing. I really love the cover, too. Where can readers find your book online?

Buy Link:

Can you tell us a little bit about yourself?

I am a mother, wife, dog lover, cat lover, baker, pharmacy technician, and tattoo aficionado in addition to writing in my spare time. You can usually find me up at four thirty a.m. to savor a few hours of quiet time to pen my next novel.

Sounds like you keep a busy schedule. Where can readers connect with you online?


So, Lindsay, let's chat. Where is the most exotic place you've ever been?

I haven’t traveled to it, but I lived in Germany with my family for four years. This is the most amazing country I’ve had the pleasure of visiting. Castles and history and festivals – oh, my! Such beauty, such inspiration.

I have German roots on my father's side. I have always wanted to visit Germany. What is your favorite childhood memory?

That would be when my mom and I lived in a little city in New Mexico. Down the block from our home was an empty field with the remnants of a house foundation and a basement left open and abandoned. My friends and I built a Secret Safe House out of old sheets and sticks. We battled the neighborhood boys for control of the house and had a blast all summer.

I've asked authors that question many times and I'd have to say that is the best answer I've heard so far. Sounds like a blast. You must have always been creative. Glad you're putting that creativity to use in writing novels. I especially love the part about battling the neighborhood boys for control of the place. 
Before you go, what are Ten Reasons You Can’t Live Without Writing?

1. I’d be schizophrenic.

2. My children would hate the bedtime stories I create.

3. The husband would get tired of hearing about my “friends”.

4. People on the street would wonder why I’m twitching so much.

5. How else am I going to maim horrible people without actually harming them?

6. Insomnia would be really boring.

7. The conversations I hold with myself wouldn’t make much sense if they weren’t for dialogue advancement.

8. I wouldn’t have a reason to demand quiet in an otherwise chaotic day.

9. What a waste of people watching.

10. My “hobbies” list would be pathetically short.

With that, I leave you! Thanks for having me, Joanne!

Wow, you've done it again! I think the most creative list of Top Ten Reasons I've gotten from an author. Well, Lindsay, it's been a pleasure. Thank you so much for stopping by today to share what you've learned from your writing journey. 

Now everyone has a chance to share their creative side. What do you think about Lindsay's Ton Ten List? Did you enjoy her guest post? 

If you'd like to be entered into a drawing to win an ebook copy of The Life and Times of Delila, please leave a comment (and include your email address in the comment form). Thanks so much! 

I am chatting over at the Long and Short Romance Reviews today. Here's the link to check out the chat:

You can also read my interview on The Long and Short of It here: I hope you can stop by for the chat today. I'll be hosting a book contest as well.

You can also read my interview on The Long and Short of It here:
I hope you can stop by for the chat today. I'll be hosting a book contest as well.

If you would like to enter my book contest today for a chance to win an ecopy of Mr. Shipley's Governess, please answer each of the following questions correctly and email me your answers. I'll pick a winner tonight. All of the answers can be found on my blog page.

1. Names 3 of the 7 books I reviewed.

2. What kind of a blog party did I host on 6/17?

3. Name one of the other 4 participating hosts from that blog party.

4. What Jane Austen heroine am I most like?

5. What is the title of my blog?

Thanks for participating and I hope to see you over at the chat today.

I'm so excited to have romantic suspense author, Raquel Byrnes here at The Mustard Seed today to feature the first book in the Shades of Hope Series, Purple Knot, which released on June 3rd from White Rose Publishing.

Meet Raquel Byrnes:

Raquel lives in Southern, California with her husband of sixteen years and their six children. She considers inspirational fiction a wonderful way to minister to others. She writes romantic suspense with an edge-your-seat pace. 

You can visit her at her website: and her writing blog, Edge of Your Seat Romance.

So, Raquel, how do you relax after a long day at work?

I love to hang out with a cup of coffee and chat with my hubby. I'm also a fan of bubble baths.

I'm more of a tea fan myself, but do love bubble baths. You write romance novels, but what is your preferred type of leisure book?

I love a good romance, but I am also a huge cop procedural fan. I love the chase, I think.

Romantic suspense is one of my favorite genres too. If your book was made into a movie, which actors do you see portraying your characters?

Hmm...I kind of see Paul Bettany as James Corbeau and for Reyna...?  Someone feisty for sure.

He's a good actor. I've seen some of his movies. A feisty I definitely want to read your book. What was the setting for the most romantic scene you’ve ever written?  

I think the scene at the marina is the most romantic. The sound of water lapping against the pylons and the smell of sea air all help to set the mood.

The sound of water definitely creates a romantic mood. Are you a true romantic at heart or not really?  

I truly am a squishy heart. I love happily ever after and grand declarations of forever love. So yeah, I'm a romantic at heart.

What is your all-time favorite romantic movie (comedy or drama etc.)?  

I'll watch the recent Pride and Prejudice over and over again. Drives my husband bonkers.

Loved that movie. I'm a big Jane Austen fan so I love her work and watch all the movies they made of her books. My favorite was Emma and Sense and Sensibility. What’s your favorite childhood memory?  

My family spent a week at the beach in a rented cottage. It was such a happy and playful time. All of us with nowhere we needed to be just hanging out, laughing, and napping. Awesome.

Sounds like fun. Where is the most exotic place you’ve ever traveled to?  

I would have to say the Mayan ruins on the Yucatan Peninsula. The structures are so enormous and the carvings truly beautiful. Lazing about everywhere were huge iguanas that hissed when you passed them. It was amazing.

My husband and I visited the Mayan ruins too. I agree, it was an awesome place. 

Please tell is about your new book, Purple Knot.

A killer strikes. A love rekindled. A life-altering choice.

When her best friend, is murdered, Reyna Cruz doesn't believe the police have the whole story. An investigator by trade, she has the talent to track Summer’s killer, but when clues lead to a family connection and a vicious gang, she suddenly becomes the hunted. At the end of her rope, Reyna must decide to trust the God she believes abandoned her. 

Wanting justice for his sister’s murder, lawyer Jimmy Corbeau agrees to help Reyna—even though she’s his ex-fiancé, and their break-up devastated him. Romance is reawakened, but so are memories of their tragic undoing. Jimmy must decide if he will fight for a future with Reyna or allow their past to derail the investigation and his second chance at love.

When the investigation goes awry and Summer’s infant daughter is kidnapped, Reyna must put her life on the line. Will Jimmy and Reyna survive the desperate measures it takes to recover his niece, catch a killer, and secure a happily-ever-after for them all?

Love the cover. This is going on my TBR pile. How about an excerpt. I know we'd all love to read one.                                                                    

                                                                        * * * *
“Rain, you have to decide what kind of person you’re going to be. I have to know.”

“What are you saying, Jimmy?” Confused I looked at him.

“I’m saying that you’re racing towards a crossroads, and I want to know what path you’re

planning to take.”

“Now is not the time for this conversation, Jimmy. We’re chasing a suspect!”

“Now is exactly the time, Rain. I need to know, right now because anything you do out of anger or grief will directly affect me, too!” Jimmy said loudly.

Dread bubbled up into my chest. I tried to answer calmly but I felt control slipping. My throat ached with the words I wanted to shout at him. “Don’t make me do this, Jimmy. Not now.”

“Yes, now, Rain.”

“What do you want me to say?” I shouted. “What do you want to hear?”

“I want to hear that you won’t put your anger ahead of our future. I want to hear that you can walk away from the possibility of revenge.”

“Why…why would I do that?” I looked at Jimmy with wonder.

“Because you’ll destroy us in the process, Rain.” Jimmy reached out and caught the hem of my sweater in his fingers. He looked worried.

“Are you asking me to choose between nailing Parker and loving you?” Anger and confusion

whipped through me like a cold wind.

“No. I’m asking you to choose between the hatred boiling in your veins and the grace hanging over your head.”

Great excerpt. Where can readers find your book online?

Purchase Link:

Raquel, thank you so much for stopping by today. It was so nice to get to know you and your work better. I'd love for you to guest again some time. 

Hope you all can stay and visit with us for a bit. What's your favorite aspect of romantic suspense novels? Any questions for Raquel? 

-guest post by April W Gardner Rosslyn Elliot--Winner of th
Best Protagonist Clash
Fairer Than Morning was voted as having the best protagonist description by Clash of the Titles readers. Her worthy competitor was Pamela Thibodeaux's Tempered Hearts.
A snapshot of her winning excerpt:
Will groaned. His eyes still would not focus, though the barn’s spinning was slowing.

The barn door rattled as Master Good left. Will raised his fingers to the side of his head, where he could feel a huge lump already forming. A sharp sting revealed a break in the skin. His fingers were slick and red when he held them up close enough to focus on them.

He would live. Tom’s head had bled worse than this, when the master hit him with the poker two weeks ago. He thought vaguely that he would have to wash the blood off before dinner, or he would get another thrashing. Read full blurb here
A couple reader comments:
  • Tom's scene gave vivid picture of the protagonist was, and the dream of who he might become. I wonder what angel of mercy found him in such a state...
  • Taking on slavery from a historic and spiritual perspective seems really important and challenging. I liked the way you allow your protagonist to experience fear.
Rosslyn says:
For me, a good protagonist is admirable but also real, which means he must have sympathetic traits and also flaws. I find the most sympathetic traits to be courage, compassion, faith, sincerity, and loyalty. I want the protagonist’s weakness to be a significant problem, not just a cosmetic story device. Read full interview here:
Want to get in on the voting action? Head over to Clash of the Titles now and cast your ballot for this week's Clash!
Join us in June as we premier COTT's book club! Karen Witemeyer and her COTT winning novel, A Tailor-Made Bride is up as our first read . More details and to vote for July's book, CLICK HERE
--April W Gardner is the senior editor at the literary site,
 Clash of the Titles. She is also the award-winning author of Wounded Spirits.
Glad you could join us today. I'm interviewing romance author, Grace Elliot. So pour yourself your favorite cup of tea or coffee and come with me to meet Grace.

My name is Grace Elliot and I lead a double life as a veterinarian by day and author of historical romance by night. I firmly believe intelligent people should read romantic fiction as an antidote to the modern world. As an avid reader of historicals I turned to writing as a release from the emotionally draining side of veterinary work. I have been married for 22 years and work as housekeeping staff to two teenage sons, five cats and a guinea pig. I live near London, England.

My debut novel ‘A Dead Man’s Debt’ has just received a fourth ‘5 / 5’ review in a row! 

‘A Dead Man’s Debt’ is a regency romance; a story of blackmail, duty and unexpected love.
Described by The Romance Reviews as ‘historical romance at its best’ .

Congrats on getting such great reviews! Where can readers connect with you online?

If you would like to find out more about my work visit:
Twitter – Grace_Elliot

Can you tell us more about your book, A Dead Man's Debt?

Celeste Armitage has a plan...and that plan doesn't include marriage.

After deliberately humiliating a suitor, Celeste’s despairing parents exile her to the country. But once there she discovers a sketch book of daring nude studies and is shaken to find the artist is her hostess’s eldest son, Lord Ranulf Charing. This darkly cynical lord is exactly the sort of dissipated rogue she despises most…if only her blood didn’t heat at the thought of him…

Nothing is as it seems. Lord Ranulf’s life is a façade. Only he can save the Charing’s from disgrace as a blackmailer seeks to ruin his late brother’s reputation. But just as Ranulf dares to open his heart to Celeste, the fury of his nemesis is unleashed… facing him with the stark choice between true love and family duty. However when Celeste guesses the truth behind his rejection, Ranulf underestimates her resolve to clear his name and in so doing places the woman he loves in mortal danger….

I love the story already. Can't wait to read it. Where can readers find it online?

Purchase Links:        OR

Smashwords, Fiction Books and other eBook retailers.

Now on to the fun part...let's chat. Why did you become a writer…was it a dream of yours since you were younger or did the desire to write happen later in your life?

I’ve always loved reading; as a teenager I averaged a book a day and incorporated the walk to the library on my way home from school!  When I wasn’t reading I was looking around and describing the people and streets in my head,  to use later in the stories I wrote. But as often happens, a career, marriage  and children distracted me and so it  was twenty years later, at a school reunion that I remembered the creative satisfaction of writing, went home and started my first short story!

Can totally understand such a voracious appetite for reading. What was the inspiration for your latest work of fiction? 

The idea for ‘A Dead Man’s Debt’ sprang from a painting!

I was reading ‘England’s Mistress: the Infamous Life of Emma Hamilton’ by Kate Williams when I came across a portrait of the young Emma by George Romney. The painting shows an innocent yet scantily clad young woman, staring brazenly out of the canvas with an almost hynoptic allure.

It struck me as sensational for an 18th century work, that the sitter was not prim, proper, straight backed and starchy. The painting must have been considered scandalous at the time. But who would be bold enough to commission such a portrait? (As it happened Emma nee Hart was a woman ahead of her time…but that’s another story.)

What a delicious idea for a story! What if the woman in the painting wanted to shock? What if, years later, this rebellious streak threatened to disgrace her family? What if only the son she despises can save her reputation… but at the price of his secret love…and so the scene was set for ‘A Dead Man’s Debt’.

Love that! How do you go from an idea for a book to the birth of the story?  Is the process the same for every book you write?  How long does it take you to write a book? 

Writing a novel is a bit like knitting – you start with one thread, then knit and purl madly away until something starts to hold together. So the initial thread for ‘A Dead Man’s Debt’ was that Lady Sophia Cadnum wanted to shock because she was suffocating in a loveless marriage, bearing children she resented. Initially the characters are vague shadows, just entries on a family tree until the right names pops into my head…and that’s when each character takes on a life of their own. For me, names are the pivot around which I see what each character looks like, visualize their mannerisms and start learning how they react in different situations and then the story grows from there.

Like that analogy. What is your favorite work of literary fiction and why?  Do you have a favorite literary author?

My all time favourite  is ‘The Autobiography of Henry VIII’ by Margaret George.

It is because of Margaret George’s work that I was intrigued by the Tudors and just had to know more about them. Reading about the Tudors then awoke a latent passion for history that had been smothered at school because of ‘dates and treaties’ type teaching. Social history is about what people ate and how they lived and is utterly fascinating - a wealth of ideas for the novelist!

‘The Autobiography of Henry VIII’ is a joy to read, immersing the reader in period detail and atmosphere. It’s a true page turner, exciting, evocative and made all the more riveting because the events brought to life in the novel actually happened. I can’t recommend this book highly enough.

Who is your favorite contemporary author?  Are you currently reading any contemporary novels?

You may have gathered by now that my favorite genre is historical romance, but I surprised myself the other day by picking up a copy of ‘The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo’ by Stieg Larsson, and thoroughly enjoying it.

I think it was the sympathetic way the characters were written; none of them angels, but so believable, so drew me into the book and kept me intrigued. Who knows I may even read the remaining two books in the series… but after I’ve topped up my HR batteries first!

What’s your writing schedule like?  When do you find time to write?

As a working veterinarian, wife and mother, (my motto is ‘If you want something done ask a busy person.’!) finding time to write is my biggest hurdle. After a long day at work I make a bargain that I will write for just 20 minutes, and if the muse doesn’t strike then I can stop. But what usually happens is that two hours later I realize hubby is locking up the house ready for bed and the evening has vanished completely.

I love the whole process of writing which includes reading the genre, research, planning and the actual writing itself. It’s all sheer joy, well worth forgoing an evening in front of the TV for! 

I know what you mean. Do you have any writing idiosyncrasies? 

I write with Widget, one of my five cats, snuggled up against my right leg. My writing space is an old sofa in a converted garage. The sofa is beneath a large window and it gets a lot of natural light, which helps my mood. Also there is no TV which means less distraction. If Widget is napping somewhere else in the house she hears the tapping keys and appears, rubs her chin against the lap top, settles down for a deep sleep, and sometimes snores which is amusing.

How have your friends and family received your career as an author?  Are they supportive?

My family are totally supportive and very understanding about my need to withdraw and write. They were all immensely proud when I found a publisher, as my youngest son succinctly put it, ‘Mum, you can officially feel smug.’  I’m constantly surprised just how many people admit to loving historical romance, when they find out that’s my genre. It seems there are a lot of closet HR lovers out there!

Grace, I had a wonderful time chatting and getting to know you better. Hope to see you guest here on The Mustard Seed again. 

Please feel free to visit with us. We'd love to know your thoughts on historical romance. 

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    In accordance with FTC Guidelines for blogging & endorsements, I want to post this disclaimer. From time to time, I do purchase and review some novels. However, most of the novels I review are given to me as a complimentary review copy by the author or publisher. I do not receive  monetary compensation for the reviews I complete.

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