Tag Archives: Prism Book Group

Guest Interview–Julie B. Cosgrove

Tell us a bit about you and your background.

I am a native Texan, widowed at the age of 58, who majored in religion and has always been a bookworm. My faith is the most important thing in my life. To be given the humbled honor to write about my Lord and have that touch others in a way that strengthens their faith still amazes me daily.

As a freelance writer, I write devotionals and inspirational articles for several publications and websites. I’ve also authored three Bible studies. I lecture to church groups and lead retreats. But fiction is my passion. Our Lord told stories, because people relate to stories. Each of my novels contains characters with real struggles and doubts, but through the process God helps them discover something in their lives worth redeeming.

What are your hobbies away from the computer?

Reading and word games/puzzles. I also enjoy observing nature and the wonderful variety of creation in plants, birds and animals.

Do you start a new story with the plot or characters first?

Plot, though it evolves around my characters’ life struggles and eventual discovering of God’s mercy and grace at work in their lives. I want people to identify with my characters, but in less they can dive into their lives through the plot, I don’t believe they will see my characters three dimensionally. Our experiences and our reactions to them define us greatly.

Is your writing style planned or freestyle?

Freestyle. I let the creative juices flow and am constantly surprised where God directs my story- always to better plots than my own brain could conjure up. Then I go back and edit, edit, edit to polish it.

If you use music while writing, name your favorite types.

In 1994, when I’d reached a very dry point in my life, a friend suggested Christian radio. I listened for thirty days, and never went back, except an occasional deviation into Bach or Handel. Gosh, has it really been twenty years? Wow. Music is how I get my worship on, which is my Lord’s and my private joke because the radio is the only thing I have talent to play. Whenever I feel I’m starting to sink, Christian music lifts me back into His hands. But I write in total silence, probably more than not. Stems back to my bookworm in the library days, I guess. That’s where I studied the best.

 Have you traveled to any locations that appear in your books?

Yes, many of them. However, I also had the honor to freelance write for a travel site for two years and my assignments were to help people visualize the locations. That has helped my scene-setting immensely. I research until I can put myself there—walk the streets, smell the foods and flowers, and see the people. Thank the Lord for the vastness of the internet!

Describe a normal writing day (or period, if you have other employment obligations).

I am blessed to work part-time as a church secretary, and they allow me to write when things slow down. But I seem to have “writing cravings” as if God is beckoning me to carve out time to pray and create. In those times, my fingers fly over the keyboard for hours, even skipping meals and sleep. (Not at work, though!)

In what genre do you read?

I love suspense and cozy mystery. Always have, from the age of eleven on. In fact, most of my Netflix list is murder mysteries as well. I am just not at the point to where I can murder any of my own characters…maybe down the road

Are you a pet person? If so, what do you have?

I am a total cat person. I have had cats all my life. I have two and they are my joy. They have made widowhood so much easier. To have another heartbeat to talk to when I get home is so nice. Few things are more soothing than a purring cat on your lap. I call them my “beasty boys.”

What do you hope readers gain from your stories?

In all my writing, fiction and non-fiction, there is one underlying theme- the fact that God breaks through the mundane, everyday life in a broken world to reach out and show us His vast love for us. Thus my blog – Where Did You Find God Today? It always amazes me how God chooses to communicate with us. I want my readers to discover it for themselves. From the beginning of creation, God’s greatest desire has been to be with His children. Jesus came and walked among us for just that reason. It is also why He died for each of us.

Hush In The Storm

Blurb /Synopsis:

Jen, a young widow floundering in the storm of mourning, whose only lifeline is her humdrum job, is tossed into a maze of deceit and intrigue by a coworker named Tom…at the request of her late husband, or so Tom says. He kidnaps her and fakes her death to keep her safe from the cartel who he thinks caused her husband’s “accident.” Together, they are thrust into a tempest of danger and deceit where no one is whom they claim to be. The list of people Jen can believe in keeps diminishing. Who can she trust while dodging the Feds, human traffickers and the press who’ve discovered she’s alive? How will Jen rescue the two held-captive girls she befriends without drowning them, Tom, and herself in the waves of betrayal, especially when she’s begun to suspect her husband may not be as dead as everyone thinks..

Genre: Christian contemporary suspense romance

Publisher: Prism Book Group

BUY LINKS

AMAZON

BARNES & NOBLE

to learn more, visit Julie’s website

To add to your Want To Read list on Goodreads

Excerpt:

An eerie thought pressed a clammy hand upon my shoulder. What if all you thought was true never actually was?

Widowed unexpectedly at thirty-one, I naturally longed for what could never be again. Regrets and what-if mantras swirled daily through my mind. I’d learned to push them aside. But this sudden, unsolicited notion surged an icy-hot chill through my body.

My logical side chided me. Don’t be silly, Jen. Of course it was true. The diamond band on my left hand glimmered with proof. Robert had cherished me, married me, spent five loving years with me…that one night didn’t mean a thing.

I shuddered off the question and leaned in to review the balance sheets my boss had emailed.

But the bizarre suggestion whispered once more in the back of my thoughts just loud enough to keep me from concentrating. The numbers on the page became muddled gibberish. I closed my eyes, sucked in a breath, and tried to focus.

I fiddled with the little gold cross I always wore around my neck, more out of habit than any indication of piety. I hadn’t perched in a pew in years, except for our wedding day and at Robert’s funeral. But after the latest in the series of sympathizers walked away, I seethed a semi-prayer under my breath. “Dear Lord. Please. Why can’t everyone just leave me alone?”

I had a job to do. The report was due first thing in the morning. I had to concentrate on the now. Besides, I never wanted to hear the eggshells crack as well-meaning colleagues tiptoed around my mourning. I was stronger than that, at least in public.

One by one, the other workspaces emptied. The buzz of office machines and human chatter diminished until the only sound was the soft hum from the fluorescent lights and the tick of the office clock, like a steady heartbeat.

At last, a welcomed solitude settled around me in a thick hush. In fact, it was too quiet. I tapped my pencil, then my foot, to dispel it.

A short, high-pitched ding pierced the silence.

My heart jumped into my throat. The elevator? The bottom right-hand side of my computer screen flashed 6:05 p.m. It was too early for the janitorial staff. None of the executives or customers ever ventured down to this dingy basement department with no windows and stale, recycled air.

I swallowed. “Who’s there?”

Tom stepped out of the elevator, then pushed open the glass door with the stenciled white lettering proclaiming the owners of this windowless dungeon—Abernathy & Smith Accounting Firm.

“Hey, Jen. Still at it?”

My heart slid back into place.

My jaw set, making a dental impression in my now tasteless chewing gum. Of all people to show up after hours, why Tom? Those piercing blue eyes unnerved me. Many times over the past few weeks, I’d find his gaze on me. And now, he and I were the only ones left in the department.

I wanted him to leave—and for these numbers to make sense so I could do the same. I also wanted my life back, but I wasn’t about to discuss that with him, or anyone else for that matter.

“Back away from it for the night, Jen. It’s time to go.”

His voice took on an authoritative tone. A hint of brogue, no doubt leftover from some forgone ancestor, twirled the last word on his tongue. They called his type the black Irish—dark hair, crystal blue eyes. Right now his windows into the soul darkened to a deep, steel gray. Stern. Inflexible. Like my eighth-grade biology teacher’s stare when I hadn’t paid attention in class, again. That sort of look always made me buckle.

Bob’s Burgers is close.”

Cholesterol-clogging comfort food did sound good. I grabbed my purse off the back of my chair. “Okay.” I raised my finger. “But we’ll go Dutch.”

“Whatever.”

“Well…” I glanced to the office wall clock. 6:15. My stomach responded with a silent rumble to remind me I hadn’t stopped for lunch. I loathed eating alone and didn’t feel like whipping up something at home. Even eating with Tom was better than the alternatives. “The janitors will be here in a bit anyway. Can’t concentrate with them vacuuming, emptying the trash bins…”

I sighed and dug into my purse. “Where are my keys?”

Tom dangled them in front of my nose. “Left ’em on your desk. But, we should take my car.”

I shook my head and opened my palm, fingers cupped. “Uh, no. We shouldn’t.”

“Your choice.” He exhaled through his nostrils, plopped the keys into my hand, and then texted something into his cell phone. I noticed his jaw twitch as he slipped his phone back into his jacket.

Was it me, or had his mood taken a dark turn? Had I ruffled his male feathers by insisting we go in separate cars and pay Dutch? I made an attempt to smooth things over. “Thanks for the offer, though.”

“I was just trying to save you…”

I touched his arm. “Tom, I don’t need saving.”

One side of his mouth stretched into a smirk. “You sure?”

5-star Review comments 

“Suspense and romance touches the shadowy underworld of human trafficking. A recent widow is kidnapped and her death faked, supposedly for her own good. But if she’s really a widow, why does she keep hearing her husband’s voice? Julie B. Cosgrove weaves a tale that both shocks and informs.  Hush in the Storm will keep you reading late into the night.” Mary Hamilton, author of the best selling Rustic Knoll Bible Camp Series

“Hush in the Storm by Julie B. Cosgrove is a tough but compelling read about a woman spirited away into the darkness and harsh reality of human trafficking. In addition to her terror and confusion over this split-second turn in her life is the unspeakable horror that perhaps someone very close to her is involved in her nightmare. This is a page-turner that will not only entertain but also inform and educate on a topic relevant to our time and culture.” Kathi Macias  (www.kathimacias.com) is an award-winning writer of more than 40 books, including Deliver Me from Evil.

J Cosgrove

BIO

Julie B. Cosgrove is a freelance writer, professional speaker and published author. She is a member of Advanced Writers & Speakers Association, American Christian Fiction Writers, Christian Authors Network, North Texas Christian Writers, The Christians Writers Group Two, and Christian Writers Fellowship International.

She represents Women at Risk International, a Christian missionary group who sponsor safe houses for women and children snatched from human trafficking and slavery in 13 countries and is actively involved in Prayer For Freedom, a nonprofit anti-trafficking ministry.

Julie has authored three contemporary faith-based novels. Focused, set in the Texas Hill Country, which follows a woman’s journey to find God in her empty nest, was released in 2012. She is working on the other two novels in that trilogy, Grounded and Rooted. The sequel to Hush in the Storm, Legitimate Lies, launches through Prism Book Group in early 2015.

Author Links:

http://www.juliebcosgrove.com

http://Wheredidyoufindgodtoday.com

FB: https://www.facebook.com/juliebcosgrove.tx

Twitter: https://www.twitter.com/JulieBCosgrove

Giveaway-  3 Kindle or Nook versions ( commenter’s choice) emailed

Story Inspiration for Stone Of Destiny

Behind the scenes with Stone of Destiny by Mary L. Ball

Wouldn’t it be great if we could look ahead and see our destiny?  There are fortunetellers who claim that for a price they can tell you what lies ahead. Most of it’s lucky guessing and common knowledge which statically fits 95% of all individuals.

What if an object could change the outcome of our future? People everywhere would struggle to get hold of any item-if they thought it would clear the path to a carefree life.

The truth is there is no way of looking into a crystal ball and knowing what you’ll be doing five years from now and I’ve never known a rabbit’s foot to guaranteeing that life will be a bed of roses. Think about it, the rose is a beautiful soft flower, but the stem has thorns. At times, we all face an unpleasant situation and wish there was a magic potion for problems. Some of us have an   inclination to hold onto sentimental objects, and place our dreams around them. YA fantasy books portray many of those imagines.

One day I passed by my oldest grandson reading a fantasy book. I glanced at it and immediately thought. I need to write about a different kind of magic, a divine guidance that comes from faith and trust. Over the next few days Stone of Destiny was born.

The novel focuses on a sapphire ring and the importance it plays in a family’s life. I choose this symbol because the dark-blue gem is my birthstone. Once the manuscript was submitted to Prism Book Group and the edits began, I began to second-guess the story.

Does it really fit the message I want to convey?

Have I been true to myself while writing this book?

As I pondered those questions Joan, the editor-in-chief of Prism Book Group emailed and said, “Mary, have you researched the Christian meaning of the sapphire stone?” She sent me a link to follow.  I hadn’t check out anything about the sapphire, but as I read the information, I smiled. The words, “the sapphire symbolizes mental clarity, faithfulness and truth,” explained the underlining plot of my story.  When I continued, the explanation said, “The sapphire is often called the stone of destiny,” I knew that once again, the Lord used someone to answer my concerns and that the fictional story should be told.

StoneofDestiny bigger-001 (Mobile) (Custom)

Stone of Destiny blurb:

 Taylor Harrison has given up on everything but her work. The youngest CEO of Mugful’s Beverage Company, her life is complete. That is, until her grandmother asks her to oversee renovations at the family home and find the missing heirloom.

 First contact with what she believes is an insignificant ring, lost for fifty years, sends her life spinning. Taylor experiences strange dreams. Feelings surface; she doesn’t understand; thoughts that should remain unspoken, voiced. 

 Taylor’s emotional journey begins, testing a heart as cold as the ring itself.

  Is this a fairy-tale or her soul, reaching out for a life she can only find through faith and trust in God?  

Amazon.com: Stone of Destiny eBook: Mary L Ball: Books

Mary Ball

Bio-

Mary L. Ball lives in North Carolina and writes Christian fiction novels blended with romance to encourage readers to see the wonder of love and divine mercy.

When she’s not working on her latest story, she enjoys fishing, reading, and singing with her husband.

Readers can connect with her on Face Book and Twitter. https://twitter.com/inspires4mary

https://www.facebook.com/pages/Inspirational-author-Mary-L-Ball/200478210087932?ref=hl

Character Interview by Bonnie McCune

Today I welcome Bonnie McCune who shares insight into the heroine of her latest novel titled Falling Like a Rock.

How about you introduce yourself by providing the basics?

Hi, I’m Elaine Svoboda, twenty-eight, middling height, curly reddish hair. I like to think I’m in control of my life and headed in the right direction, but something always seems to go wrong. Like especially with men. Two serious boyfriends turned out to be losers. The current one Joe (who just happens to be mayor of the mountain town I’ve moved to) is not impressed by me, to put it mildly.

 Where were you raised?

Cincinnati, Ohio. Mostly lived there, went to school there, worked there. So traveling from there, first to Denver, then to the little town of Falling Rock, has been an adventure. I’ve begun to appreciate the joys of small towns, the mountains, and natural areas.

Family members?

My family is back in Cincinnati. Grandparents, immigrants from what now is the Czech Republic, are flag-waving patriots. My parents are dedicated and skilled teachers. As for my older brother and sister, they always have excelled in everything they do. Over-achievers. I doubt I can match them, although I try.

Did you always want to be a communications and marketing person?

No, I first studied nursing, but for some reason, always wound up dealing with the public—publications, events, campaigns. But because I have an early background in nursing, I used that in an earlier job in Cincinnati and am applying it some in my current position. Only temporary, I’m afraid, but loads of fun. I’m running a weight-loss program for anyone in town who wants to compete.

What’s the craziest thing that’s ever happened to you?

When I got fired recently, I pulled up stakes to follow my boyfriend to Denver. On the way there, my car broke down, and I was rescued by a COWBOY! I was thrilled to be in the West and discover a real gentleman under his Stetson.

 What attracts you to a man?

Im proud to say, my tastes are changing. I used to be taken in by easy charm and good looks. With my move to Falling Rock, I’m now finding that a man’s strength—of character as well as muscles—is important. A man who’s absolutely honest and respects a woman’s opinions and talents. A man whose profile may not be perfect, in fact might be rugged, but with a lively intelligence that is irresistible. Wait! That sounds like the mayor of Falling Rock!

Falling Like A rock

BLURB:

When you’re ‘falling like a rock,’ you’ll risk anything.

Unloved and unemployed. That’s Elaine Svoboda, after she’s sacked, then flees across country to her boyfriend who drops her flat. Teetering on the abyss of disaster, she calls an old friend who invites her to a tiny mountain town with fresh prospects. There she meets rugged, hunky Joe Richter-Leon, mayor of Falling Rock.

Maybe he can help her find a job. Maybe they can become friends, even share romance. Sparks fly immediately, but major obstacles make a new life on the ashes of the old appear impossible. Joe’s consumed with challenges like the dismal local economy and an impetuous sister. Elaine butts heads with him at every turn in the rocky road. Are her bungling attempts to help the problem? Or does she remind him of a greedy, selfish ex-wife?

Before they can build a new life on the ashes of the old, she must overcome a few obstacles like a broken ankle, an eating disturbance, his stubbornness, and her own fears. She’s smothering her hopes when a battle with a forest inferno illuminates their true feelings and desire.

Funny and frank, poignant and perceptive, when two people are “Falling Like a Rock,” they learn surrender sometimes means victory.

# # # # #

EXCERPT

The movement now wasn’t rocking but more like a grind. A slowness. A shiver. She knew she had to leave the main road and find help. She swerved onto a pull-off that appeared as if by a miracle, turned off the motor, and sank into the seat. In all directions she saw flat monotone prairie. If spring was about to arrive, no sign of it blossomed here. An occasional bush of greenish sagebrush nodded, but most of the landscape consisted of earth-toned dirt and dirt-toned pebbles scoured by a constant wind, which threw a thin top layer of particles hither and yon.

What she knew about auto mechanics fit on a matchbook cover. She’d been shown where to fill up on gas and wiper fluid, and that was the extent of it. She flicked the ignition off and on several times, peered at the dashboard, even popped the hood. Nothing looked out of place or broken.

She returned to the driver’s seat to think and worry her tooth with her tongue. It wasn’t safe to sit out here alone, and dismal warnings from her parents to never trust a casual passerby in a situation like this darted in her mind. So she hauled out her cell phone. No service. She slumped in her seat.

The plains spread horizon to horizon around her, and an appreciation rose in her for the courage and hard work of the pioneers who had traveled one slow step at a time over an endless landscape to reach their new homes. At least nowadays an asphalt ribbon transversed the plateau. On the road an occasional semi whooshed past, rattling her vehicle as it traveled. One trucker slowed to a crawl and honked, but by the time she decided he was offering help, he’d disappeared.

She twisted her brain in knots to find some way to save herself. Surely if she were careful, stayed in her car and blinked her lights and beeped, someone should rescue her. Perhaps she should wait until a woman stopped, but another female would be as afraid to pull over as she to chance an encounter.

Clouds began to build in gray billows, flowed from west en route the east, and the sun plunged toward twilight. If anything terrified her more than an appeal to a stranger for assistance, it was spending the night out here in the open. In her rearview mirror, a battered Land Rover appeared, and almost on impulse, Elaine switched on her hazard lights and leaned on the horn.

The vehicle slowed but didn’t stop. Not until it was some yards down the road. Next a tall, lean figure climbed out, the engine still in operation. A man dressed in jeans, ski jacket, and a black Stetson. Elaine would have laughed if she hadn’t been worried about the security of the car door locks. She was in the West now. It made sense for a cowboy to show up.

He approached with careful deliberation, halting a few feet from her, and she rolled her window down several inches and studied him in case she had to describe him later to the authorities. Not particularly suave or polished, but certainly with the rugged strength typically associated with cowboy types. Dark, as if he spent time outside or had some Mediterranean or Latino ancestors. A prominent nose, off-centered, perhaps from being bashed once too often.

“Need help, ma’am?”

BUY LINKS:

AMAZON ebook

AMAZON paperback

BARNES & NOBLE ebook

BARNES & NOBLE paperback

SMASHWORDS

Bonnie McCune

BIO & contact info

Bonnie McCune lives in Colorado and is the author of novels, novellas and short stories. A writer since the fifth grade, her interest in the craft led to her career in nonprofits doing public and community relations and marketing. Simultaneously, she’s published news and features as a free-lancer. For years, she entered recipe contests and was a finalist once to the Pillsbury Cook Off. A special love is live theater. Had she been nine inches taller and thirty pounds lighter, she might have been an actress. Her entire family is book-mad.  Bonnie’s writing explores the highs and lows of everyday people and their unique lives with humor, close attention, and appreciation.  Her blog addresses “ordinary people, extraordinary lives” and also features samples of shorter works

Email:  Bonnie@BonnieMcCune.com

Blog : BonnieMcCune.com

twitter.com/bonniemccune

www.facebook.com/AuthorBonnieMcCune

www.linkedin.com/pub/bonnie-mccune/10/2a7/389