Infinite Suspense with Lynette Eason!

Today, I’m
jumping and down! Why? Lynette Eason, one of my all time favorite authors, is in the
house! If you’ve never read anything by Lynette Eason, stop right now. Go out
and buy ANY of her books (you’ll like them all)! I could gush the rest of the
day, but I won’t.
Lynette Eason
has written/contracted thirty-one books since 2007. She has fourteen Love
Inspired Suspense books on the shelf with more due to release soon. Lynette
also writes for Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group. Her current
release, WHEN THE SMOKE CLEARS hit #8 on the CBA bestsellers list this year.
The sequel, WHEN A HEART STOPS will release October 2012. Currently, she is
working on her third series for Revell and just signed and eight book contract
for Love Inspired Suspense. She has been teaching for more than ten years and
is very happy to make the transition from teaching school to teaching writing
whenever the opportunity presents. She is married, has two children, and lives
in Simpsonville, SC.

JP: Impressive! God has blessed you with
such a gift and ministry. That makes me smile! Your tagline is Infinite
Suspense. Tell us why you chose to write this genre?
LE: Because it’s what I love to read.

JP: Well that makes sense! Your newest
novel (the first in this series), When
the Smoke Clears
, is about a Smoke Jumper who goes back to her hometown
after several years. Where did you get the idea for this book and how much
research did you have to do before writing it?
LE: I watched a
movie about Smoke Jumping on Lifetime Television. It sparked (pun intended) and
idea for a story. I did A LOT of research on this. I read tons and talked to
several firefighters, including a retired fire chief.
JP: It paid off!
I felt like I was really there with them—through everything! Can you share with
us your favorite line or snippet of dialogue from this novel?

Conversation at
the lab between Rick and Hunter
  “It’s a
fast-acting drug that’s usually used for the treatment of seizures,” Rick
explained. “Sometimes it’s used for inducing sedation before medical
            “So, it’s a
knockout drug?”
            Rick rolled
his eyes. “In layman’s terms, sure, a knockout drug.”
nothing that would kill her?”
shrugged. “Depends on how many darts hit her.”
none did.”
            “Then no,
they won’t kill her,” Rick deadpanned.
rolled his eyes. “Wise guy.”
JP: Folks, you can obviously see besides suspense
and romance, there’s humor! Okay, now a couple of fun questions before you have
to go!
If you could be a character in any book
you’ve read, who would you choose and why?
LE: Oh my.
That’s a tough one.  Maybe Serena because
it would be cool to be able to do an autopsy without wanting to puke.
JP: Ha! For
Fill in the
blank: A perfect day for me would be a trip to the mountains with
my family to eat at a great restaurant
, followed by an
evening sitting on the front porch of a lodge working on my novel.

JP: That sounds fabulous! Thanks so much
for spending some time with us. Before you go, do you have a question you would
like to ask readers? They love to comment!

What kind of characters do you like to
read about? Do you have any good ideas for a next series?
You can connect
with Lynette on facebook, twitter, and her website! Now go buy her books! 
a peek at her latest, When the Smoke
As a member of
the North Cascades Smokejumpers, Alexia Allen always takes care of the
equipment that keeps her safe. So when she nearly dies in a fire due to
equipment failure, she knows something is up. Ordered to take time off while
the investigation continues, Alexia makes a last-minute decision to recuperate
at her mother’s home and attend her high school reunion. Yet trouble seems to
be following her, and within hours of arriving home she’s involved with murder,
arson–and a handsome detective. But the conflicts ahead are nothing compared
to the ghosts of her past. As she strives to remember and forgive her family
history, she must also decide if the secret she’s been guarding for the last
ten years must finally come to light.
Chock-full of the suspense and romantic tension readers have come to expect
from Lynette Eason, “When the Smoke Clears” is the explosive first
book in the Deadly Reunions series.

*I’ll be taking Monday off to celebrate the holiday with friends and family! See you Wednesday, with a guest devotion from Lindsay Harrel

Tea Time with Keli Gwyn!

Today, I am honored to have a Victorian tea with author,
Keli Gwyn! I even broke out my new tea set! If you’re around Keli for about two
seconds, you’ll fall in love with her sweet and gentle spirit. Keli is an
encourager and romantic! You can read about her real-life romance with Gwynly
on her blog! Always insightful and inspiring.

Keli, what kind of tea are you sipping? How do you take it?
KG: My favorite tea is Bigelow’s Mint Medley. I add a
healthy dollop of honey.

like mint tea as well, but I’m having Irish Breakfast tea with a splash of real
cream and Splenda! We’re also having an assortment of Keli’s favorite pastries:
shortbread and vanilla scones. You know, Elenora—your heroine in your debut
novel, A Bride Opens Shop in El Dorado, California, wasn’t much of a cook. How
about you?
KG: This is one trait Ellie and I share. I don’t like to
cook and am not much good at it, although I’ve managed to keep Gwynly satisfied
nearly twenty-five years. Of course, he’s very easy to please. In my defense, I
do make yummy enchiladas smothered in green sauce.

Enchiladas sound divine, but I’ll suffice with this delicious vanilla scone!
You know, I was telling my mom about your book and I believe my exact words
were, “Keli writes all things Victorian.” What do you find most fascinating
about the Victorian Era and why did you choose to write about it?
I’m having so much fun
using my new tea set today!
 KG: What a great
question, Jess. Even before I began writing, I gravitated to stories set in the
Victorian Era. Why? I’m not sure. I find the fact that the Victorians labored
under such rigid rules and societal restrictions intriguing. Being a
Californian, I enjoy the Westward Expansion aspect of stories set in that period.
And I do love the clothing of the time—all but the corset, that is.

was shocked to learn how dangerous corsets were to women back then! I feel
suffocated just thinking about it!  Being
a woman has its setbacks for your female lead character, who wants a business
partnership with Miles Rutledge, but her tenacity is inspiring. What do you
think was the hardest thing for a woman during this time? Why?
KG: Aside from wearing corsets and wilting in the summer
beneath the many layers of clothing Victorian women wore, I think the
repression they experienced must have been hard on them. Thanks to the
suffragists, women were becoming more self-aware and eager to explore new
avenues, but they had a tough battle to convince men—and many traditionally
minded women—that they deserved the right to vote, own property, etc., rather than being considered property.
This isn’t to say that I’m a feminist, because I’m not. I’m happily
married, and I understand and accept the Biblical teaching that Gwynly is the
head of our family. But I like being able to voice my opinions. And I do like
the fact that I have a book out with my
name on it, a privilege that women writers in the past were often denied.
JP:  I agree with you, Keli, and I think you did a
wonderful job making Elenora strong minded, yet able to follow Miles’ lead when
needed. Well done! Since we’re having tea and chatting about A Bride Opens Shop in El Dorado, California,
can you share a few fun facts about a Victorian tea? Did women wear gloves? Was
there a proper way to “have” tea? Am I doing this all wrong today?
A Victorian love letter!
photocredit: freedigitalphotos
KG: Trust the Victorians to have rules for just about
everything. One of my etiquette books from the time devotes eighteen pages to
the Tea Party, and yet the chapter begins by saying this about the Afternoon
Tea: “Gone are the anxieties, the formality, and the etiquette of the dinner
Afternoon Tea took place between four and six p.m., with a
recommended maximum of six guests. The hostess could choose whether or not she
wanted her guests to bring their own teacups. A lady would wear a tea dress,
which could be worn without a corset. (Ah. Sweet relief.) She must, however,
wear gloves, which is why the food had to be prepared in such a way that
butter, fillings, etc. were not on the outside of the sandwiches and biscuits.
She would also wear her hat during the entire visit.

The Victorians were known for having lists of “do not’s.” With regard to Tea
Parties, three I find entertaining are: do not request more than one or two
spoonfuls of sugar, because that “is ill-bred and appears greedy;” do not quite
drain a cup or glass; and do not extend your ring and small fingers upward, for
that “bespeaks arrogance, not refinement.”

chuckled on the “gone are the anxieties, the formality” part! Wow, that’s so
interesting. And pardon me for sticking out my pinky! Really, I’m not arrogant,
just uneducated! LOL Okay, tell us one thing you truly hope readers will take
away and forever remember about your debut novel?
KG: Oh. This is easy. I hope they remember how much fun they
had reading it. There are messages and themes in the story, of course, but to
me, those are secondary. As I see it, my job as an author of fiction is to
entertain, and that’s what I endeavor to do first and foremost.
JP: Well, you nailed it then! I was thoroughly entertained
and engrossed! I loved your book, Keli, and I anticipate reading your sophomore
novel. When can we expect to see that one on shelves?
photo credit: freedigitalphotos
KG: I’m glad you enjoyed the story, Jess. Hearing that warms
this debut novelist’s heart.
As to when readers can expect my next book… Soon, I hope. My
agent and I are working on that now. And you can be assured it will be a historical
romance set in the Victorian Era, since I’m smitten with it.

JP: I’d
expect nothing less! Well, whatever and whenever, I know I’ll be ready for it!
I hope you’ll pick up Keli’s debut novel and read it, if  you haven’t already. You won’t be

for sitting a spell and having tea with me today, Keli! It’s been a treasure.
KG: Thanks so much for having me as your guest, Jess. What a
pleasure to spend time with you and your blog’s visitors. I have a question for
all of you: What is one thing you’ve
heard about the Victorians that you find particularly interesting or unusual?
To learn more about Keli, you can visit her Victorian-style
cyber home at, where
you’ll find her parlor, study, carriage house, and more, along with her blog
and her social media links.
Purchase this book! (kindle)
Purchase this book! (nook)
And all book stores! 
Here’s a peek at A Bride Opens Shop in El Dorado, California:
An ever-resourceful
widow, Elenora Watkins arrives in El Dorado ready to go into partnership with
Miles Rutledge. When he refuses, Elenora becomes the competition across the
street. Is this town big enough for the two of them? Miles can’t help but stick
his well-polished boot in his mouth whenever he comes face-to-face with
Elenora. Can he find a way to win her heart while destroying her business?
Miles’s mother, Maude, is bent on Elenora becoming her new daughter-in-law
while Elenora’s daughter, Tildy, thinks Miles would make a perfect papa. How
far will these meddlers go to unite this enterprising pair?

Postcards, Smooching Llamas, and Beth K. Vogt!

Connect with Beth!

Today, I am ecstatic to hang out with the wise, lovely, talented author, Beth Vogt. I read her debut novel, Wish You Were Here and I gotta say, it was so much fun to read. I laughed out loud, I swooned, and I’m pretty sure I laughed and swooned some more!
Beth K. Vogt is a
non-fiction author and editor who said she’d never write fiction. She’s the
wife of an Air Force family physician (now in solo practice) who said she’d
never marry a doctor—or anyone in the military. She’s a mom of four who said
she’d never have kids. She’s discovered that God’s best often waits behind the
doors marked “Never.” Her inspirational contemporary romance novel, Wish You Were Here, debuted May 2012 (Howard
Books.) Her second novel, Catch a Falling Star,
releases May 2013. Beth is an established magazine writer and former editor of Connections, the leadership magazine for MOPS
JP: You said
you’d never write fiction. The world is a better place because you do! Tell us
why you chose romance?
BV: God turned a
season of burnout into a bend in the writing road and I found myself on the
“Dark Side” writing a novel. I’ve always loved to read romances – contemporary,
historical, even some suspense – so it was a natural choice for me to try
writing one.
JP: In your debut
novel, one of your male characters, Daniel, has spent years sending your
heroine, Allison, postcards. Are you a postcard fan? Do you collect them? How
did this idea come to you? It was one of my favorite things about the book,
among so many others!
BV:The title Wish You Were Here came first – after several
misfires – and then the idea for the postcards came after that. It just seemed
natural that Daniel would send Allison postcards – glimpses of all his travels.
Most of the postcards are based on places that my family has lived or visited
through the years.
JP: Can you share
with us one of your favorite lines from this novel and tell us why?
BV:This is some
dialogue between Seth, Allison’s ex-fiancé, and her stepfather, Will:
“I’m sorry about how
things ended between you and Allison. But that doesn’t give you the right to
get physical with my daughter. Do I make myself clear?
Seth closed his
eyes, searching for a way to make amends. “Look, Mr. Denman, Allison and I had
a bit of a disagreement before Christmas. I assure you that I didn’t hurt—”
“The only thing you
can say at this time is ‘Yes, sir.’”
Seth gritted his
teeth. “Yes, sir.”
When I wrote this
scene I imagined what my husband would say if he were talking to Seth – I think
I even asked him. Will represents safety for Allison – and he comes through for
her again. I believe fathers can (should) play a crucial role in their daughter’s
life – and one facet of that role is to protect them.
JP: I remember grinning at this snippet! Daniel is a
big-time outdoorsman. What about you? Indoor girl or Outdoor? Have you ever
done any of the things he did in the book?
BV: I’m an indoor
girl who married an Eagle Scout-outdoor guy. I love to watch my husband camp.
My husband and I enjoy snowshoeing and we’ve gone snowmobiling. The scene where
Daniel breaks his knee cap? That one is taken from real life. Several summers ago,
my husband broke his knee while we were hiking. After our daughters headed down
the mountain to alert the rescue team, he splinted his leg with two tree
branches, bandanas and a rolled up T-shirt and with the help of two guys,
started hiking down the mountain. We met the rescue team halfway down.
JP: Oh, wow! You
married the real MacGyver! So tell us, did you try on wedding dresses for fun,
you know as inspiration for the novel!? What kind of research, hands-on/off,
did you do?
BV:The only one
trying on wedding dresses was my oldest daughter, who got married in 2011. I
did visit a llama ranch to get up close and personal with llamas. I even shared
a few kisses with some of them.
JP:  Um…I’ve done lots for research, never
smooched a llama! Okay, now a couple of fun questions before you have to go! If
you could be a character in any book you’ve read, who would you choose and why?
BV: Oh. My. Word.
That’s a tough one. I’ll go with Anne of Anne
of Green Gables. I love that girl’s spunk and intelligence and
imagination and sense of adventure!
JP: Fill in the
blank: If I were out for the day, I’d be lost without __________ and
__________, but I could make it without __________________.
BV:  If I were out for the day, I’d be lost
without my sunglasses and my iPhone, but I could make it without breakfast or
JP: I could make it,
but I wouldn’t want to! Before you go, what would you like to ask the readers
today? They love to comment!
BV: I’ll offer them
two questions: If you could be a character in any book you’ve read, who would
you choose and why? And here’s an easier one: What 2 things do you need to make
it through the day?
Good questions!
Thanks, Beth, for hanging out today!  
Here’s a sneak peek of Wish You Were Here
Wish You Were Here
 Kissing the wrong
guy days before her scheduled
wedding leads Allison to become a runaway bride. But can it also lead to
happily ever after?
Denman is supposed to get married in five days, but everything is all wrong.
The huge wedding. The frothy dress. And the groom.
kissing the groom’s brother, Daniel, in an unguarded moment is decidedly not the right thing to do. How could she
have made such a mistake? It seems Allison’s life is nothing but mistakes at
this point. Daniel’s adventures—chronicled through a collection of
postcards—have always appealed to Allison’s well-hidden desire for something
more. But how can betraying her fiancé’s trust lead to a true happily ever
Allison find her way out of this mess? Recognizing she doesn’t have all the
answers won’t be easy because she’s used to being in control. To find her way
again, she will have to believe that God has a plan for her—one outside her
carefully defined comfort zone—and find the strength to let Him lead.

Shootin Straight with Erica Vetsch

A few weeks ago I ran a contest. You had to come up with a sentence using several words from the Urban dictionary. It was a blast and everyone who participated whether on facebook or the blog had great and hilarious sentences. We’ll be doing it again soon! 

The winner had several options as a prize. You all voted and the winner was the fabulous Erica Vetsch! I love her writing, her personality and I CAN. NOT. WAIT. to meet her in PERSON! She chose a fun interview! And to make it even wilder, I’m over at her blog doing her Friday Five! So after you crack up at her answers, pop over there and say hi to me and answer the questions! It’s fun! I’ll have a link at the bottom of the blog! 

Let’s get this party started! 

What did you do for fun growing up?
We played outside. Rode our bikes all over the neighborhood without wearing helmets. Drank straight out of the water hose. We watched a lot of tv, played Pong on the Atari, and caught lightning bugs and frogs. It was a good childhood.
Sound a little like my growing up, only I never liked drinking from the hose and frogs…nope. What was the dumbest thing you did as a teenager?
Honestly, I did so many stupid things, but we were pretty sheltered so nothing that had lasting consequences. I got grounded once for a semester because of my grades. That was pretty dumb.
I can relate to doing so many stupid things. Grounded once? If I was UNgrounded my friends thought something was wrong. If you were offered 100 million dollars to stop writing books, would you? Why/why not?
Boy, that’s a tough one. I don’t think so. I’ve got more than enough $ for my needs, and I feel like I’m called to write.
I bet so many of writers would agree with you! If you could be a criminal and get away with your crimes (no threat of hell either), what kind of criminal would you be? Why?
Global domination has a certain appeal. Supreme Dictator For Life?
I like that. Bossing everyone around. Sweet. Me? I’d have to go with jewel thief. Like what a cool crime, yah know! What’s your favorite TV show, if you can’t decide, top 3?
In no particular order: Criminal Minds, Psych, Castle.
AH! Three of my faves too! We should hang out and watch TV sometime! 🙂 If you could own a yacht or a private plane, which would you choose and why?
Plane. I get seasick.
I get sick on planes. A really big yacht…you wouldn’t know you were moving. Okay now…fill in the blank: I would rather poke my eyes out with rusty nails than________.
Eat seafood.
Fill in the blank: On my private island, there would be a ________and my favorite_______but it wouldn’t be complete without a ______and _______.

 Satelitte Dish, Steakhouse, Library, my husband. 
Are you a concert person? How many you been to? And who?
Not so much. In fact, I can’t remember the last concert I went to. I love music, particularly country music, but I don’t go to the concerts because I’m not such a fan of beer-induced lack of inhibition.
A drunk guy passed out at Memphis in May during a Charlie Daniels concert and fell on top of me. My husband wanted to beat him senseless, but he already was… and comatose on the ground. Anywho, if you could pick one of your books to put on the big screen, which one would you choose and why?
At the moment, I’d choose Light To My Path, because the avalanche would be cool on the big screen.
Avanlanches! Suh-weet! I also like that title! This has been a blast, Erica! Everytime I talk to you I find out we have more and more in common! Before you leave this dog-and-pony show, do you have a question or want a reader to answer one of these? 
I’d love to have folks answer #8.
Okay everyone fill in the blank:
On my private island, there would be a ________and my favorite_______but it wouldn’t be complete without a ______and _______.

Come by Erica’s blog and do Friday Five with me! CLICK HERE! Hope you all have a wonderful Easter weekend!

Love on the Range and Jessica Nelson

I’m excited to hang out with author, Jessica Nelson today. Her sunny smile exudes tons of fun and sincerity. Her blog usually has short posts, but packed with good stuff. I encourage you to pop over and follow if you don’t already.

Jessica, in keeping with her romantic inclinations, married two days after she graduated high school. She believes romance happens every day, and thinks the greatest, most intense romance comes from a God who woos people to himself with passionate tenderness. When Jessica is not chasing her three beautiful, wild little boys around the living room, she can be found staring into space as she plots her next story. Or she might be daydreaming about a raspberry mocha from Starbucks. Or thinking about what kind of chocolate she should have for dinner that night. She could be thinking of any number of things, really. One thing is for certain, she is blessed with a wonderful family and a lovely life.
JP:  Raspberry mocha. Um…yum! And I agree the most intense romance I have is with God! I had the chance to read Jess’s Love Inspired historical romance debut novel, Love on the Range. Ah! Sigh. I was hooked from page one and I journeyed through the pages of a beautiful and fun love story! When did you get the writer’s bug, Jess?
JN: I think maybe I always had it, but it didn’t morph into finishing a story until my twenties. My local paper editor (where I freelanced) told me I should write a book because I’d get paid more money. That sparked off an amazing realization that writing books could actually be a career.
JP: Pretty awesome to be able to do what you love for a living. Not everyone can say that, can they? I’m sure you hold that editor close to your heart for giving you that first nudge. And now you’ve not only finished a book—you’ve been published! Awesome! Tell us one favorite line in one from Love on the Range and tell us why?
JN: “A man should know when a woman fell madly in love with him.”
I like that one because it’s funny to me (because why does a man need to know that? lol) Can I explain why? Not sure, except she thinks she’s in love with one guy but then falls for another guy who ends up being…well, you’ll have to read to find out. *wink*
JP: Tease! Men are generally oblivious to this, I think. Tell us, how did you come up with this story?
JN:I came across a link on the influenza pandemic and had a sudden image of a girl on a train, sent away because of the flu in her city.
JP: As I read this story, the flu was running rampant in my area and I thought about that, being sent away from my family due to illness. That’s who I want nearest in those times. You did a wonderful job with your history and I learned a lot! Other than writing, what’s one thing you’re passionate about?
JN: Reading. J
JP: LOL! Me too, me too! Books take us off to all sorts of wonderful places we’ll probably never go. Speaking of places, name one place you’d like to go that you’ve never been and why?
JN: Maybe Ireland. Or Australia. Italy. Does it really have to be one place? *grin* I think all of those places are interesting because of their cultures and history.
JP: There are so many places to go, so many things to see! I guess 3 is okay. 😉 I’ll go with you! Books also show a darker side to the world, enter: villains. If you could pick one villain from a book to be for a day, who would you choose?
JN: Oooh, this is such a good question!! And I’m drawing a complete blank. Eeek! Hmmm. Okay, I can’t even think of any villainesses. This is horrible!
JP: LOL! I think people have a hard time picking a villain because no one wants to be evil or do heinous things. You’re too sweet. Wish I could say the same of myself. I have ½ a dozen villains I’d like to be! Ha! I’m kidding…maybe…I obviously think good things about you, what would your characters say about you if they had the chance?
JN: Gracie might find me a bit boring but Trevor would definitely be in love with me. Teehee!
JP: That’s hilarious! I wouldn’t mind if Trevor were in love with me either and women should know when a man is madly in love with them! Ha! I guess we writers think of ourselves as boring because we’re always planted in a chair writing exciting lives for others. Our minds are definitely not boring! What are you working on currently?
JN: It’s the story of Mary and Lou, secondary characters from Love On The Range.  They find a child in the desert and disagree over what to do with her, igniting sparks, danger and revealing the secrets both of them have been hiding for years. Which of course only draws them closer and then they fall in love. *grin*
JP: Oh good! I was interested in those characters, especially Uncle Lou. I liked him A LOT! Can’t wait to read it when it comes out!
Thanks, so much, Jessica, for hanging out today and sharing a little about your debut novel. I enjoyed so much! I know readers will too!
Jessica has graciously offered to give away a copy of her debut novel! All you have to do is answer the question in the comments AND leave your email address. If you don’t leave your email, I’ll assume you aren’t entering the drawing! Here’s a sneak peek:

“Any other socialite would view being packed off to a remote Oregon ranch as a punishment. But Gracelyn Riley knows that this is her opportunity to become a real reporter. If she can make her name through an interview with the elusive hero known as Striker, then she’ll never have to depend on anyone ever again.
Rancher Trevor Cruz can’t believe his secret identity is being endangered by an overly chatty city girl. But if there’s one thing he knows, it’s that Gracie’s pretty little snooping nose is bound to get her in trouble. So he’ll use her determination to find “Striker” to keep an eye on her…and stick close by her side.”

JP: So, Jess, what’s your question?
JN: Hmmm. How about, what’s your favorite kind of chocolate and if you could be a villain, who would you be? (sorry, had to steal that question because it’s GENIUS)
You can connect with Jessica through her website and on facebook!

Meet Sarah Forgrave

When I see pictures of Sarah Forgrave, I think sophisticated, savvy, and fun. Sarah and I are agency mates and while I haven’t had a chance to meet her in person, I’m looking forward for that day. I like her blog because I get to meet new people, smile when she talks about being a mom to young kiddos, and she gives great health tips, that I never take, but should. 🙂
Sarah writes contemporary romance for the inspirational market and is represented by Mary Keeley of the Books & Such LiteraryAgency. She’s a member of American Christian Fiction Writers and was a runner-up in the 2010 Genesis contest. She’s also a regular contributor to The Writers Alley and the webzine Ungrind, and maintains a blog on her website, where she hosts monthly giveaways. When she’s not in front of the computer writing, she enjoys being a self-proclaimed health and fitness nut and stays busy chasing the bundles of energy that live in her house–her husband and her two young children.
JP: You’re a busy woman when it comes to the writing world. What one thing other than writing are you passionate about?
SF:I have a really strong passion for health and fitness and viewing our bodies as the temples that they are. I struggled with extra weight after my pregnancies and going through medical struggles. Regaining my health has been such a blessing in giving me more energy and strength to be the wife and mother God wants me to be. It really is possible for everyone to achieve! I believe so strongly in it that now I’m studying to become a certified fitness instructor. (Now I just have to pass the exam. Yikes!)
JP: Congrats! I’m sure you’ll pass the test. You’re very knowledgeable! And since you’re so healthy, you won’t need to worry about getting a bug to keep you from the test…speaking of bugs, when did you get the writer’s bug?
SF: How much time do you have? J I’ve had an unconventional path to writing, for sure. I think I’ve always had a writer’s gene tucked away somewhere, but in college I chose a more practical career choice and became an accountant. It wasn’t until after the birth of my son when I faced difficult medical issues that God got my attention. It took a year and a half of the medical journey before I finally heard His voice, but it was so loud and clear, I couldn’t have missed it!
JP: I admit, I’m jealous of those who can write and add. Numbers hate me. They really do. I think you just proved God speaks to us in difficult times and it’s always sweet and wonderful promises! Tell us one favorite line in one of your WIP’s and tell us why?  
SF: Hmm, I’d have to go with the opening line of my second book. “There comes a time in every woman’s life when her heel breaks and her backside meets concrete.” It took me forever to come up with a line that really grabbed me, and I remember it popping in my head while I was watching a movie. (Evidence that time spent in front of the TV is not a waste for writers. J)
JP: Honey, you ain’t just whistlin Dixie! Some of my best ideas come from something I see on TV! And that line? Um, fabulous! So perfect. I’d definitely keep reading, especially if the book came with a trip to the a private island. Ah, sigh. Name one place you’d like to go that you’ve never been and why?
SF: Oh goodness, it’s impossible for me to narrow this down. My bucket list includes wanting to visit all 7 continents, so can I choose the 5 that I haven’t visited yet? I don’t care what order…I just want to go. J
JP: What else is on that bucket list? I love reading them! If you were on one of those continents, what genre do you like to read? Do you write that genre? (Cause you’d also need your laptop while you’re there!)
SF: Mostly contemporary romance, which I also happen to write. I also love a good historical romance or women’s fiction that really brings the characters to life.
JP: Hey, we read some of the same things. I knew I liked you for more than your good looks! Okay, time to see the darker side of Sarah. If you could pick one villain from a book to be for a day, who would you choose?
SF: Hmm, that’s a tough one. I guess I’d choose the mean girl from Anne of Green Gables (I forget her name…Was it Josie?), simply because I’d get to visit Avonlea and meet Anne.
JP: I confess, I don’t think I’ve read Anne of Green Gables. Maybe one of them. It was a cartoon though, right? I’m almost certain, I saw a movie or show about it. But enough of how much TV I watch. It’s cold outside and Old Man Winter is beating us with his cane, what one thing do you love most about this season? What one thing do you like least about this season?
SF:I love watching the snowflakes fall, especially when I’m tucked away in my house with nowhere to go. The thing I like least? Ice storms and trying to chink off the layers from my car when I have to drive somewhere.
JP: Snow is pretty if I can stay behind the glass to watch it. The only thing pretty about ice storms is the trees. Like glass! Okay, I’m getting chills, let’s move on. Do you hunt down pictures of your characters from the internet? Care to share what your hero and heroine look like with us from your current WIP?
SF:I don’t usually hunt down pictures because I have such a vivid picture in my head…It’s hard to match it exactly. I did stumble across a picture of one of my heroes in a catalog. It’s an exact replica, including the dog. J
JP: I really ought to read catalogs more often! What would your characters say about you if they had the chance?
SF:Well, the characters from the book I’m editing would probably say, “When will you finally leave us alone?” LOL. I’ve been editing this thing for what feels like forever, so yeah, they’re probably ready for a break from me.
JP: Hilarious! I feel your editing pain. Really. I do. Can you give us a peek at your WIP?
SF:I would love to, but I’m still polishing this stuff for my agent, so I should probably hold off. I will say that it takes a unique twist on contemporary romance since it’s set in an Amish-centric town (but it’s not straightforward Amish fiction by any stretch). I grew up around the Amish, so I thought it’d be fun to explore the setting through the eyes of someone like me who interacted with them every day.
JP: Very interesting! I’m looking forward to reading it. Thanks so much for coming Sarah! I’ve had a blast. Before you go, tell everyone how they can connect with you and feel free to ask them a question. They’re awesome about chatting in the comments!
SF: I’d love to connect with readers on my blog. I do weekly author interviews and lots of book and Amazon giveaways. And I also blog about motherhood, health, and anything else that strikes my fancy. J 
You can also find me on Twitter and Facebook.
Going with the health theme, what’s the craziest diet you’ve ever tried? Any orange juice fasts or garlic and onion diets? J Or even if you’ve done traditional diets, how did they go?

Must Meet Monday: Heather Sunseri

Think snickering in a library with your gal pal, watching romantic comedies and gorging on pizza while fighting over the hero, hanging at the beach. That’s Heather Sunseri. She’s fun, mischievous, a talented writer and a deep thinker.
 She’s always asking great questions and inspiring great conversations on her blog: Balance withPurpose. That’s how we connected. I discovered her wonderful blog and we’ve built a relationship–the kind where I can send her goofy videos I take of crazy carpool moms! And she can send me funny icon pictures and I actually get what she’s saying!
When Heather’s not pretending to like her work as a CPA, she writes YA paranormal romance, while corralling two kids to soccer practice and two dogs and a cat to their feeding bowls. It’s a crazy life, but someone’s gotta live it.
 Thanks for coming. Everyone, welcome Heather!
Thank you, Jesse, for inviting me on your blog today. These questions were a lot of fun! And you are all kinds of awesome!!
Aww! *blush*
 JP: What one thing other than writing are you passionate about?
HS: Just one, really? Well, let’s see. Besides God and family, I’m super passionate about traveling and about the trip I took to Haiti last summer. There is so much of God’s love in His people and His sights spread throughout the world just waiting for us to experience and explore.
JP: I agree. I felt the same way after coming back from Thailand. Lucky, that’s all we brought back, a deeper appreciation for God. We could’ve brought back bugs! Speaking of bugs, when did you get the writer’s bug?
HS: If writing is a “bug,” does that mean someone found a cure? I need that. I didn’t seriously consider writing until about four years ago. And I’m still just trying to figure it all out.
JP: I think it’s non-curable. It does make me nauseous at times, though. Hey, name one place you’d like to go that you’ve never been and why?
HS: There you go with “one” again. There are so many!! (Did that sound whiny?) I’d like to go to Sicily. That’s where my husband’s family is from. I’d like to go to Ireland—just ‘cause. Also, I’m pretty happy on just about any beach, and there are bonus points if there’s a coral reef off that beach for scuba diving.
JP: I say “one’ because I can’t monopolize everyone’s blog time! LOL I love your places. I’d love to visit them as well. I see a research trip in our future even though we don’t write the same genre. We do have a lot of books in common, though. Tell everyone what genre do you like to read? Do you write that genre?
HS: I read a lot of different genres, but lately, I’ve mostly read YA paranormal romance and contemporary romance. I’m not picky about the romance I read: suspense, paranormal, fantasy, contemporary, even a historical from time to time.
Although the last novel I wrote (that is still out in slush pile land) was a romantic suspense about a missionary, my current novel is a YA paranormal romance. It’s a little bit of a switch, but it was necessary, and there was a big reason behind it.
JP: I read that missionary novel and really enjoyed it! I love any kind of romance as well. You’re good with hooks. “a big reason behind that” yet you give us nothing! That’s evil!!  And since we’re on the subject of evil, if you could pick one villain from a book to be for a day, who would you choose?
HS: I’m not sure about from a book, but I’d like to be Regina from Once Upon a Time. She’s pretty and oh-so mean. Being her would teach me a thing or two. You know, for research.
JP: Oooh! That’s a good one! Excellent choice. She’s not gnarly like the witch in the fairytale Snow white, which makes me think of old gnarly people, like Old Man Winter who’s beating us with his cane; what one thing do you love most about this season? What one thing do you like least about this season?
HS: I love the mornings I get to sit in front of a fire with my laptop or a book and a giant mug of coffee. I am not a big fan of snow or cold temperatures, although I love the drama of an approaching snow storm. I don’t know what that says about me.
Oh, and I don’t know if this has anything to do with winter, or not, but it seems that both Vampire Diaries AND Justified are both starting new seasons this month. So, I love winter for that reason. I just know that those two shows are going to get me mostly through tax season without crying much.
JP: Two of my FAVORITE shows!! Sigh! Great characters. Do you hunt down pictures of your characters from the internet? Care to share what your hero and heroine look like with us from your current WIP?
HS: Okay, I know everyone is going to judge me for this, but I like my romances to have good-looking characters. I only dream dreamy heroes and pretty heroines. However, I do not hunt down pictures, because I don’t typically describe my characters too vividly. I want the reader to have the freedom to envision a little of how they want the characters to look themselves. Everyone has their own definition of pretty, right?
Also, I don’t want to be disappointed when the movie producers pick Taylor Lautner to play my Ian Somerhalder.
But, if I do come across pictures that remind me of my setting or my characters, I typically paste those pics on Pinterest. I provided the link below.
JP: I would beat someone down for making Lautner a Somerhalder. No comparison. And I really should join Pinterest. We’ll see. So you don’t hunt down pics. That’s cool. I wonder what your characters would say about you if they had the chance?
HS: My main guy would probably bring me a Chai tea and tell me to freaking relax while he rubbed my feet, while my gal would tell me to get over myself. There’s work to be done. She’s pretty intense about staying on task. And her best friend would tell me to breathe and get into the downward dog yoga position.
JP: They sound like interesting and fun characters! Can you give us a peek at your WIP?
HS: Oh, yikes. I can’t. I’m really not a superstitious type, but for some reason I’m always uncomfortable revealing the backcover blurb before the manuscript is actually complete. I can tell you that I’m unbelievably excited about the plot and the characters of this novel. I just hope I can pull off the uniqueness of it. Sometimes I wonder if God picked the wrong person to write it. (Side note: maybe trust should be my #1 word choice for 2012. Hmmm. Something to think about since I haven’t come up with one yet. Although, “zany” is running a close second.)
JP: Totally understand! And He didn’t! Besides, I plan on reading it when it’s finished anyway! Thanks so much for hanging out today, you zany woman, you! Before you go, what would you like to ask readers? They’re awesome about leaving comments!
What is your kryptonite, the one thing that bleeds your creative juices dry? For me, it’s tax season.
You can connect with Heather on her blog, facebook, twitter, and Pinterest (  I actually do post inspiration for my novels on one of my Pinterest boards. It’s titled…wait for it… “Book Inspiration.”)

Must Meet Monday: Jill Kemerer

I hope everyone had a great weekend. Today, I’d like to introduce you to one of the most encouraging and helpful people I’ve met online. Jill Kemerer. As a newbie to blogging, I discovered Jill and emailed her with a few questions after commenting on her blog a few times. She was eager to jump in and answer them all thoroughly.

She’s fun and super-genius, as well as organized and an all around sweet person. I’m so glad that I’ve connected with her.

Jill writes sweet, emotional, sparkling inspirational romance novels.

So without further ado, everyone meet Jill. Jill, meet everyone, and tell them a little bit about yourself.
Thanks for having me, Jessica. Since I adore reading romances, it was only natural for me to gravitate in that direction when I started writing. It took a few books to hit on my ideal genre, and I’ve found my home writing inspirational contemporary romance novels. Besides writing, I’m blessed with a hilarious husband, and I’m the mom-shuttle for our energetic children.

Thanks for being here! So tell us, when did you get the writer’s bug? Has it always been something in you? Did you pen your first story with a jumbo crayon?
Looking back, I’d say I was always infested with the writer’s bug. As a kid I wrote a short series of stories about my cousins before creating a ridiculous magazine, which I recently found. Yikes. Yes, crayons were involved! But I never considered writing as a career until I quit my job to stay at home with our oldest. It still seems like a magical fantasy some days, you know, like acting in movies.

It does seem magical. Sometimes, I pinch my husband to be sure. I don’t like inflicting pain on myself! When you write, do you snack? If so what do you munch on? I try not to. I’ll wolf anything down if I’m engrossed in either writing or reading, so I stick to beverages. Coffee, tea, water and soda.

What do you love most about writing? I love allowing my characters to express themselves on the page. When I develop an idea for a book, I spend the most time on the characters. It isn’t until I’m actually writing, though, that their true, full personalities shine through. It’s always a delight getting to know them.

What do you find most challenging?The most challenging? Forcing myself to start each day. It doesn’t matter what phase I’m in—plotting, writing the first draft, revising, or creating the proposal—all paralyze me until I sit down and begin.

How do you come up with story ideas?

Oh, love this question. I keep my mind open at all times. If I see something on a television program that could be incorporated into a story, I write it down. If I read an inspiring article in a magazine, I clip it. A friend gave me a beautiful journal a few years back. It’s my idea journal. All snippets of ideas get jotted down there.

I need an idea journal. I have post-its everywhere. I’ve even jotted a note in the back of my bible during a Sunday service once. 🙂 If you could be one hero/heroine from a book who would you choose and why?

This is a tough question! I have two—one is a historical figure from the Bible, Esther. Her faith and integrity have been an inspiration to me all of my life. The other? Jane Eyre. Her conviction in following her own truth speaks to me. I admire anyone who does what is difficult because it is right.

I admire Esther, too! I always wonder what the few things she was given to take with her to the king were. So what about villains? Who would you be if you had the choice of any bad guy/girl?I was always the goody-two-shoes in games growing up! I’d have to say the captain in Treasure Island, what’s his name? Long John Silver? His charisma masked his evil intent.

Ah, deception. Perfect evil! I love it. Okay, in books. Not in real life! What are you currently working on?I’m lengthening a short novel to a full-length single title novel. What a blast! I love these characters.

That does sound like fun! New scenes to write, more romance. Oooolalala! Can you share a little about the story?For Barter or For Worse

The thought of exercising with a gorgeous personal trainer makes Darcy Collins break out in hives. But when Ian Halbrook asks her to mentor his withdrawn twelve-year-old daughter in exchange for training sessions, how can she say no? Sweet, shy Michaela clearly needs a woman to talk to, and Darcy yearns to get in shape.
A barter arrangement with compassionate Darcy seems perfect—Ian gets a feminine influence for his daughter without the emotional baggage a girlfriend would bring. But he never anticipated that he and Michaela would grow so attached to the spunky hairstylist. Attached enough to consider revealing his guilty secret. Neither bartered for love, but with Ian by her side, Darcy just might accept herself…for better or for worse.

Okay, you got me with the title! Catchy and fun. I love it! Don’t you, everyone? I need to know the guilty secret! I need to stop using so many !! points! 🙂
You can connect with Jill by facebook, follow her on twitter,visit her blog–you’ll learn a lot–and her website

Jill, thanks so much for coming and for being such a good friend! Before you go, would you like to ask everyone a question?

What’s your favorite genre to read?