Saturday, January 31, 2015

HANDS OF MERCY

On Tuesday, I shared EYES OF LIGHT.
On Thursday, I shared SECRET KEEPERS.

Today I'm sharing the final book in the
Bending Willow Trilogy,
HANDS OF MERCY.
I'm really looking forward to reading this!





Released 1.26.15 - In the finale to the Bending Willow Trilogy, love, loss, and forgiveness weave a tapestry that will touch hearts as James, Suvi, and Austan are tried by separation, death, grief and revenge. As they struggle to survive, they will discover that when all seems lost, the only hope comes from unseen Hands of Mercy.

About the Bending Willow trilogy:


This series has religious undertones about not judging others and being more aware of hidden secrets people carry, but I tried very hard not to come across as preachy (I hate books that give me a sermon instead of letting me draw my own conclusion from the character’s actions). This is a story about several characters’ journeys as they take different paths in life, from very religious to agnostic to atheistic (yet I love them all, especially the troubled ones). The characters will sometimes ponder upon their spiritual life, but not in a preachy way. That would have made my daughters throw my book out if they thought mom was trying to pull one over on them.

BOOK TRAILER

       


Meet the Author: Charissa Stastny



Charissa Stastny hails from Las Vegas, Nevada, but has never pulled the handle of a slot machine and can’t shuffle cards to save her life. Since 4th grade, she has envisioned herself an author after writing the creative work, The Creature from McGool, and continuing in shame to pen some cheesy romance scenes as a teenager. Thankfully, she has matured somewhat and is a member of the Idaho Writer’s Guild and tries hard not to spread too much cheese around in her writing now. She graduated from Brigham Young University and enjoys writing, reading, hiking and biking. She resides in Idaho’s Treasure Valley with her husband and children (where card shuffling isn’t required).



Q & A

Tell us a little about your family. 

My husband and I are high school sweethearts and married after his mission. We have four children—3 daughters (one married, one serving a mission in Korea, and one still in high school) and one son (in high school). We love being together and our favorite activities include biking, hiking, camping, and going to Disneyland.

How much of your personality and life experiences are in your writing? 

Quite a lot. There is always one character I identify with—usually the shy, awkward one with a good heart who doesn’t know how to accessorize. My cool characters are my dreams of how I wish I could be. It’s fun as a writer to live vicariously through our characters. 

Where do your ideas come from? 

My characters. A vivid character creates their own action, tension and stories. 

Do you have a favorite character? 


I love Suvi and wish I could meet her in real life. Austan’s pretty cool too (he’s a hoot to write), but I don’t know if I’d be brave or confident enough to meet him in person. I wouldn’t be able to come up with witty comebacks fast enough.


And now . . . the question that features my favorite answer!

Most writers are readers. What are some of your favorite books?

I love The Scarlet Pimpernel by Baroness Orczy, any of the Harry Potter books, Les Miserables by Victor Hugo, and anything by C.S. Lewis. Contemporary romance authors I can’t get enough of are Amy Harmon and Taylor Dean. I can reread their stories over and over and not tire of them.

Wow! Thanks, Charissa! What an honor!

I hope you've enjoyed this three part introduction to Charissa's books!

Giveaway
(ends March 1st)

Comment on post or sign up for Charissa's newsletter, here.

Up for grabs:

13 lucky winners! (1 each-$20, $15, $10 Amazon Gift cards; 10 eBook winners)







Friday, January 30, 2015

FRIDAY FAVORITES

Friday Favorites include my favorite images on reading or writing!
(taken from Facebook)
 Enjoy!





Thursday, January 29, 2015

SECRET KEEPERS

On Tuesday, I shared the first book, 
EYES OF LIGHT.

Today I'm featuring the second book in the
Bending Willow Trilogy,
SECRET KEEPERS.





Suvi feels unworthy of her happily-ever-after, especially when her knight in shining armor becomes the target of evil men due to her dark past. James believes he has won the heart of the woman he loves, but when she leaves him and exposes sinister secrets, his love may not survive. Austan stands guard against the Dragon’s wrath, but nurses hope that he can reveal his true identity. When a chance arises to team up with a pair of Israeli Mossad operatives, he may finally be in a position to do what he has wanted for four long years—reunite with Suvi and rekindle their love.

My five-star review:



This book was filled with non-stop action, but that's what made it an entertaining read, and that's why I like to read--to be entertained. At the same time, Secret Keepers deals with some very sensitive issues, hence this is by no means a fluffy read. I love happy endings--and this book has one, thank goodness. After everything the characters go through, it was a satisfying end to book two. I look forward to book three! Great job, Charissa!



BOOK TRAILER

 


Meet the Author: Charissa Stastny


Charissa Stastny hails from Las Vegas, Nevada, but has never pulled the handle of a slot machine and can’t shuffle cards to save her life. Since 4th grade, she has envisioned herself an author after writing the creative work, The Creature from McGool, and continuing in shame to pen some cheesy romance scenes as a teenager. Thankfully, she has matured somewhat and is a member of the Idaho Writer’s Guild and tries hard not to spread too much cheese around in her writing now. She graduated from Brigham Young University and enjoys writing, reading, hiking and biking. She resides in Idaho’s Treasure Valley with her husband and children (where card shuffling isn’t required).


Q & A

What got you started on your writing journey? 

I’ve dabbled with writing since I was a kid. I loved reading clean romance as a teen and wrote many cheesy scenes between handsome cowboys and milkmaids in my journal. The world will NEVER see these!



What kind of trials do your main characters have to endure? 

Suvi’s trials never seem to end. I feel bad for being so brutal to her, but it makes for a good story. She’s a recovering closet alcoholic, as well as dealing with repressed memories of abuse as a teen and adult. And as if those weren’t bad enough, she has drug capos and a psychopath killer stalking her in Book 2. Good thing her dad is a Mossad agent. 

James’s trial seems to be Suvi, even though he’s smitten by her. The baggage above that she carries becomes his by association...and puts his life in jeopardy. 

Austan’s life rivals Suvi’s. Unloved and unwanted as a child, made to play dead as an adult and lose the love of his life, he’s used to life’s gut punches. The secretive life of a CIA-NCS operative isn’t as glamorous as he thought it’d be when he signed up; but with Suvi’s life at risk, he can’t quit. 


Don't miss my post about the exciting third book in this series, HANDS OF MERCY.
Saturday, January 31st.


Giveaway
(ends March 1st)

Comment on post or sign up for Charissa's newsletter, here.

Up for grabs:

13 lucky winners! (1 each-$20, $15, $10 Amazon Gift cards; 10 eBook winners)





Wednesday, January 28, 2015

WORDLESS WEDNESDAY WITH WINNER

Congratulations to last week's WORDLESS WEDNESDAY winner: Mary!

I liked her answer entitled:


Image courtesy of MorgueFile.com

HOCUS POCUS, LOVE'S THE FOCUS

To view, go here.

Wordless Wednesday is actually filled with words--the words, thoughts, and feelings that pictures or images evoke within each of us without uttering a single word!

(This is the first time I've used a picture and not an illustration for WW!)


Image courtesy of MorgueFile.com

What WORD/WORDS does this picture evoke within you?

Or, in other words, "TITLE THIS IMAGE."

I'll start: "Juicy Love"

I know you all can do better than that!
Impress me!

My favorite answer wins a $5.00 dollar Amazon gift card.
Don't forget to leave your email!

Contest is closed by Thursday at midnight and the winner will be contacted. Winner will be announced the following Wordless Wednesday.

Open only to those who can legally enter. No purchase necessary. You must be 18 or older to enter or have your parent enter for you. The winner will be emailed. If email is incorrect, a new winner will be chosen. Giveaway is sponsored by Taylor Dean Books. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW.


Tuesday, January 27, 2015

EYES OF LIGHT

The first time I met Author Charissa Stastny, she emailed me to tell me how much she loved Lancaster House.

We've been author friends ever since!

I went on to read her books and she went on to read more of mine.

Charissa has written a three-book series. 
In celebration of the third book's release yesterday, I'm sharing a three part series of posts to introduce you to each of her books.

The Bending Willow Trilogy

A cast of three very different heroes come together in this trilogy. Austan Sandoval is the master of disguise and deception. James Hinton is a clean-cut missionary out to save the world. Suvi Goldstein seems like she has it all, yet secrets bind her to misery. This series follows these characters through several harrowing years, showing how the transforming power of God holds out hope to all—from the missionary who’s led a charmed life to the vilest of sinners.


Today I'm sharing the first book in the Bending Willow Trilogy,
EYES OF LIGHT.





After swindling millions from a Central American drug cartel, Austan stumbles upon the location of the daughter of an Israeli Mossad assassin and determines to recruit her to his team. James serves the Lord as a missionary in Guatemala and sacrifices all to bring truth to those he meets. When Suvi tries to escape her past, she’s torn between violent men in one world and a kind, forgiving man in another as she battles darkness to discover the light within herself.



My five-star review:


I really enjoyed this book. Two things stand out to me: One, I really wasn't exactly sure who Suvi was going to end up with, and that kept me turning the pages. Two, this book contains a beautiful message. The ending scene brought tears to my eyes. The message is simply this: no matter what you've experienced due to your circumstances in life or whatever you've done in your life, you are still precious in the eyes of God. The author brings this message to the reader rather eloquently. I finished this book and immediately started on the sequel. I'm looking forward to continuing Suvi's story.



Meet the Author: Charissa Stastny


Charissa Stastny hails from Las Vegas, Nevada, but has never pulled the handle of a slot machine and can’t shuffle cards to save her life. Since 4th grade, she has envisioned herself an author after writing the creative work, The Creature from McGool, and continuing in shame to pen some cheesy romance scenes as a teenager. Thankfully, she has matured somewhat and is a member of the Idaho Writer’s Guild and tries hard not to spread too much cheese around in her writing now. She graduated from Brigham Young University and enjoys writing, reading, hiking and biking. She resides in Idaho’s Treasure Valley with her husband and children (where card shuffling isn’t required).

THE BOOK TRAILER

       



Q and A

Where did you get your inspiration for this book? 


My muse started with a door-to-door salesperson. An Israeli girl named Suvi with a nose ring and a vivacious personality knocked, charmed me into buying one of her oil paintings, and then talked to my daughters and me for an hour. After she left, a story started to form around her in my mind. As I wrote my imagined story for Suvi, I wanted to help my own daughters be aware of hidden secrets people carry so that they would be more merciful in their judgment of others. We never know what awful circumstances and experiences have led someone to act in certain ways. 

My little brother was my inspiration for my James character. He served a mission in Guatemala and I used his letters he wrote home to cast Elder Hinton. I tease my brother that James Hinton is him…only cool!


Did you put real experiences in this book?


In Eyes of Light, the missionary scenes are almost all taken from real-life experiences my brother had while serving in Guatemala. I found his letters captivating and used them to form my character James. In Secret Keepers, there are several scenes—like the Garden tomb and Wailing Wall—I described from being in Israel as a college student. I also stayed on a kibbutz in the Galilee and based Suvi’s experiences there on mine. 

I find that little bits and pieces of real life creep into my writing whether I want them to or not. My sisters always tease me by saying things like, “Ha! James rides his bike like your husband.” or “Suvi bites her nails like you.” Sometimes those references happen on purpose, but usually not.



Do you have a favorite comment or question from a reader? 


After my husband read my first book, he commented, “It would have been better with a zombie in it.” Since then, the Search and Find feature on Word has become my best friend. I always use it before I send out drafts to readers, because unfortunately, my husband is skilled at sneaking zombies into files. There is nothing worse than when the masculine hunk in my story tells the girl of his dreams that ‘he wants to eat her brains.’ Ugh! 

Too funny, Charissa! Thanks for sharing!

Next up: The second book in the Bending Willow Trilogy, Secret Keepers, will make an appearance here on Thursday, January 29th.

Don't miss it!


Giveaway
(ends March 1st)

Comment on post or sign up for Charissa's newsletter, here.

Up for grabs:

13 lucky winners! (1 each-$20, $15, $10 Amazon Gift cards; 10 eBook winners)



Monday, January 26, 2015

MONDAY MUSINGS

My hubby finished reading the first proof copy of GIRL OF MINE.


He had some excellent suggestions for improving the book. Over the next week I plan to implement all of the changes. Most importantly, however, he loved it and felt it was a fast paced and interesting read. Even though he does NOT normally read romance novels, he found the book unputdownable!
Yay! Just what I wanted to hear!
But, I do have my work cut out for me as I polish the manuscript.

I was a little sidetracked this last weekend because I had my grandson visiting while his parents went on a little vaycay!


I love this little guy! It was a nice break for me. I was able to forget everything and just relax and play with my grandson. 
When I was a mom of four young children, getting away and going on a date with my hubby was considered a break.
Now that I'm a grandma, taking care of my grandbabies while their parents go on a date is a break and something my hubby and I consider a vacation.
Go figure!

This last week also brought A LOT of snow!


Yikes! I grew up in San Jose, California where the weather was NEVER an issue. We NEVER worried about road conditions.
Dealing with driving in snow has been an ordeal for me. But all of my children have left the nest and I no longer have to drive them to school every morning.
Whew!
But when my hubby retires . . . well, let's just say sunnier skies are in the forecast!

I recently stumbled upon a song that really hit home. I downloaded it and have listened to it over and over as I write the finishing touches of GIRL OF MINE.  GIRL OF MINE deals with a soldier leaving and coming home from war, something I experienced with my own hubby. This song really captures some of the intense emotions that accompany such an experience.
Watch the video until the end. There's a surprise ending . . . 


           


Have a great week!

Friday, January 23, 2015

FRIDAY FAVORITES

Friday Favorites include my favorite images on reading or writing!
(taken from Facebook)
 Enjoy!



Wednesday, January 21, 2015

WORDLESS WEDNESDAY WITH WINNER

Congratulations to last week's WORDLESS WEDNESDAY winner: Christy!

I liked her answer entitled:


Image courtesy of [Piyaphon] / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

TIME CANNOT DESTROY OUR LOVE

To view, go here.

Wordless Wednesday is actually filled with words--the words, thoughts, and feelings that pictures or images evoke within each of us without uttering a single word!


Image courtesy of MorgueFile.com

What WORD/WORDS does this picture evoke within you?

Or, in other words, "TITLE THIS IMAGE."

I'll start: "I WISH FOR LOVE"


My favorite answer wins a $5.00 dollar Amazon gift card.
Don't forget to leave your email!

Contest is closed by Thursday at midnight and the winner will be contacted. Winner will be announced the following Wordless Wednesday.

Open only to those who can legally enter. No purchase necessary. You must be 18 or older to enter or have your parent enter for you. The winner will be emailed. If email is incorrect, a new winner will be chosen. Giveaway is sponsored by Taylor Dean Books. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW.

Monday, January 19, 2015

MONDAY MUSINGS: GIRL OF MINE BOOK TRAILER

The official front and back cover for GIRL OF MINE  are now complete!





AND NOW FOR AN EXCLUSIVE SNEAK PEEK OF

THE BOOK TRAILER for GIRL OF MINE

(Only available here!!)

ENJOY!


video


                                     

I will be announcing a release date soon.

Perhaps you'd be interested to hear about the process the book will go through before it's ready to be published.

First, my hubby will be the very first person in the world to read the book.
(He's reading it this week.)
He gives me advice, suggestions, and edits.
Then I edit, revise, and rewrite.
Next, proof copies are sent to my beta readers.

Beta readers are very different from ARC (advanced review copy) readers.
A beta reader reads the book in its unedited early stages. They share their advice, thoughts, and feelings with the author. They do not write a review based on reading this early version of the book. 

Readers who read Advanced Review Copies of a book are reading the final, edited, and polished product, the actual book that will be published. They receive the book for free before publication in exchange for an honest review.

That being said, when I receive all of the thoughts and feelings back from my beta readers, I usually spend a few more weeks editing and revising.

Then the book is done and is ready to be sent to my editor.

Then, you guessed it, I make even more revisions based on the edits I receive from my editor.

THEN the book is finally complete and ready to be published!

But, wait, now I have to send it off to the ebook formatter. It's usually a ten day turn around.

You'd think, that's it, right? Ready to publish?

Nope. First I send the .mobi file to my kindle and read it one last time, checking for any edits and ensuring the formatting is correct.

By this time, I practically have the book memorized! This is why I must be meticulous. At this stage it is very easy to overlook mistakes. I'm much too familiar with the book and sometimes I just don't see blaring errors. However, at this point, all mistakes should have been caught by both beta readers, myself, and, of course, my all important editor. But it's always a good idea to check one last time.

Next it's time to celebrate! The book is ready to be published!!!! Yay!!!

Sit back and relax!

Oh, wait, now I have to market my book.

Sigh.

The  hard work has only just begun.

Wish me luck!

Friday, January 16, 2015

FRIDAY FAVORITES

Friday Favorites include my favorite images on reading or writing!
(taken from Facebook)
 Enjoy!




Does that sum up your Friday night?
Hey, it's not such a bad place to be!!



Wednesday, January 14, 2015

WORDLESS WEDNESDAY WITH WINNER

Congratulations to last week's WORDLESS WEDNESDAY winner: BN!

I liked her answer entitled:

 

Image courtesy of [Stuart Miles] / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

CALLING UPON LOVE

To view, go here.

Wordless Wednesday is actually filled with words--the words, thoughts, and feelings that pictures or images evoke within each of us without uttering a single word!



Image courtesy of [Piyaphon] / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

What WORD/WORDS does this picture evoke within you?

Or, in other words, "TITLE THIS IMAGE."

I'll start: "CORRODED HEART"


My favorite answer wins a $5.00 dollar Amazon gift card.
Don't forget to leave your email!

Contest is closed by Thursday at midnight and the winner will be contacted. Winner will be announced the following Wordless Wednesday.

Open only to those who can legally enter. No purchase necessary. You must be 18 or older to enter or have your parent enter for you. The winner will be emailed. If email is incorrect, a new winner will be chosen. Giveaway is sponsored by Taylor Dean Books. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW.


Monday, January 12, 2015

MONDAY MUSINGS


Often, if a reader likes one of my books, they will move on and read them all. I get a thrill out of following along with their progress and seeing how they liked each book. This happened recently on Goodreads and I thought I'd share the experience with you. (Yes, I guess this makes me a stalker!)


The reader first read FOR NICK and left this review on Dec. 29th, 2014:

Taylor Dean really crafted an interesting and thought provoking story in For Nick. She adequately builds suspense as the reader wonders who exactly Nick is. 

The review contains spoilers, so I won't post more than that. She gave it 4 stars. There were a few things she didn't like about the book. Still, four stars is great and she liked it enough to keep reading more of my books!








Then on Jan. 1st, 2015 this FIVE STAR review appeared for I'M WITH YOU:

Really beautiful story, full of loss, love, and just flat out beautiful story telling.













To my surprise, another four star review appeared on Jan. 1st for I HAVE PEOPLE:

Another Taylor Dean novel that I just thoroughly enjoyed and devoured. The characters in I Have People were complex, flawed, and realistic. The book was thought provoking and suspenseful in a way that I just absolutely enjoyed.










When a reader keeps on reading my books like this, it is such a THRILL!!!

It gets better.

She ALSO started reading SIERRA on January 1st, posting this on her GOODREADS page: 

What can I say? Kindle unlimited + taylor dean + laziest day of the new year ;)

WHAT MORE CAN AN AUTHOR ASK FOR THAN THIS???!!!

Then on Jan. 2nd, 2015 this five star review appeared:

When I scrolled through the list on Amazon and picked Sierra, I did so without reading an synopsis or a blurb... so I had absolutely NO idea what to expect when I delved in deep. Last night, as my house work was neglected and my children climbed on the reading tower of mom, I couldn't put Sierra down. I was utterly enthralled by the story telling. 
When a small family is headed on vacation, Sam, Clay, and Alyssa's life as they know it suddenly changes. Tragedy strikes and Alyssa learns to be a survivor, strong, and fight for what she wants. 
You'll probably cry (a lot) and root for love. When the story is over, you'll feel sad that there is no more to read and relieved that there are no more twists.

On January 2nd, the reader posted she was "currently reading" JOSHUA'S FOLLY.

By January 7th, she'd posted a rating of four stars.












So, yes, that was my recent "stalker" experience. Clearly, I live a boring life! I can't even begin to tell you how exciting it was for me. (She didn't move on and read Lancaster House and The Middle Aisle, but paranormal is not for everyone!) Great way to bring in the new year! It also gave me a huge boost of confidence as I finish up my next book.




How about you? Anything exciting happening in your life? 









Friday, January 9, 2015

FRIDAY FAVORITES

Friday Favorites include my favorite images on reading or writing!
(taken from Facebook)
 Enjoy!


Hmmm . . . have you ever done this?

I hate to admit that once when I had a friend visiting for the afternoon, I was chomping at the bit to finish a book. When she expressed interest in watching a movie, I put on the movie so she could watch it--while I buried my nose in the book. I was dying to see how it ended.
I cringe whenever I think I about this not-so-shining-moment.
But, hey, we're still friends!

Thursday, January 8, 2015

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

WORDLESS WEDNESDAY WITH WINNER!

WELCOME BACK!

Congratulations to the last WORDLESS WEDNESDAY winner: RITA!

I liked her answer entitled: 


Image courtesy of [Feelart] / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

ROMANCE BOOKS ARE PAGE TURNERS

(For obvious reasons, I loved this answer!)

To view, go here.

Now, let's get back to WW!

Wordless Wednesday is actually filled with words--the words, thoughts, and feelings that pictures or images evoke within each of us without uttering a single word!



Image courtesy of [Stuart Miles] / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

What WORD/WORDS does this picture evoke within you?

Or, in other words, "TITLE THIS IMAGE."

I'll start: "I'M CALLING ON THE HOT LINE"


My favorite answer wins a $5.00 dollar Amazon gift card.
Don't forget to leave your email!

Contest is closed by Thursday at midnight and the winner will be contacted. Winner will be announced the following Wordless Wednesday.

Open only to those who can legally enter. No purchase necessary. You must be 18 or older to enter or have your parent enter for you. The winner will be emailed. If email is incorrect, a new winner will be chosen. Giveaway is sponsored by Taylor Dean Books. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW.