Marian P. Merritt - Lagniappe

Where the Bayous Meet the Mountains

Monday, April 29, 2013

An Interview with Author - Linda Wood Rondeau

Lagniappe Welcomes...

Author - Linda Wood Rondeau

Linda was kind enough to answer a few questions for Lagniappe. I hope you enjoy meeting Linda through her answers. First a little about her:

Linda is the winner of the 2012 Selah Award for best first novel The Other Side of Darkness/Harbourlight,  LINDA WOOD RONDEAU, writes stories of God’s mercies. Walk with her unforgettable characters as they journey paths not unlike our own. After a long career in human services, Linda now resides in Jacksonville, Florida.
Linda’s best-selling Adirondack Romance, It Really IS a Wonderful Life, is published by Lighthouse of the Carolinas and is available wherever books are sold.
These books are also available in ebook format along with her other ebooks by Helping Hands Press: I Prayed for Patience/God Gave Me Children and Days of Vines and Roses. Songs in the Valley is scheduled for release this fall by Helping Hands Press.
Readers may visit her web site at or email her at  or find her on Facebook, Twitter, PInterest, and Goodreads.   

Tell us about yourself and how you began writing.

Growing up, I loved to tell stories to younger children on the bus. I began to write them down. When I grew up I continued to enjoy writing as a hobby—poems, skits, and church plays. In my career in human services, I enjoyed writing case histories. One day, God called me and said, “Wouldn’t you like to write for me?” I thought about it but there was work, and kids, and responsibilities. Finally, in a dramatic way, God impressed me to write professionally. I have not regretted it since. In 2001, I was awarded writer of the year award at Blue Ridge Mountains Christian Writers Conference. In 2012, I won the award for best new novel. It’s been a long, difficult journey. But like the promise I made my husband when we got married, “Never a dull moment.”

Tell us about your latest book and what inspired you to write this particular book?

My most recent release is Days of Vines and Roses. It is the story of a romance writer and her estranged publisher husband. The disarray of the centuries-old gardens, the one beauty Henry sees when he visits, prompts him to spend the summer with Sylvia in their Connecticut home. As the couple move toward reconciliation, malignant forces within the home seem determined to keep them apart.

Sylvia is under a deadline and their gardener has quit. She convinces Henry to rescue the rose gardens overrun with vines. Henry doesn’t have a clue about much in life, particularly gardens. He hires a gardener who’s as mysterious as the ghostly apparitions in the ballroom. Henry is desperate to free himself from his hasty agreement to oversee the massive renovations of the rose gardens. But being in close proximity with Sylvia stirs their love. As reconciliation seems possible, the paranormal activity intensifies. Then a law suit threatens to bring about the final blow to their marriage.

I received the inspiration for this book, initially a short story, while mowing my lawn. I cried because the yard was nothing but weeds. Then I realized how some marriages are like that. Due to neglect, vines self-interest strangle the blooms of first love.   

What actor/actress would you choose to portray your main characters?

Julianne Moore (with dark hair) would make a good Sylvia or Ashley Judd. I actually picture Pierce Brosnan as Henry…sans the British accent. I see Willie Nelson playing Charlie Michaels, the aged hippie gardener.  

What did you enjoy most about writing this book?

I enjoyed Henry’s antics. My favorite scene is him in the kitchen trying to make dinner without a clue how to cook.

What one bit of advice would you give to aspiring writers?

Don’t be in a rush to self-publish. Be patient. Learn the craft. Go to writers conferences. Network. Build your platform. Developing your voice takes the same commitment and practice as a pro-golfer’s perfect swing.

What message do you hope readers gain from your novel?

Don’t take your marriage for granted. Sylvia and Henry’s marriage was nearly destroyed because each expected the other to change rather than commit to the relationship. Marriage is not 50-50 but 100-100.

Tell us what we have to look forward to in the future. What new projects are you working on?

I am currently writing a Christmas novella, and revising a book, Songs in the Valley, inspired by the Book of Hosea, for release this fall or early winter. In addition, I am writing another Adirondack suspense, similar to my award-winning novel, The Other Side of Darkness, as well as a novel inspired by my non-fiction work of the same title, I Prayed for Patience God Gave Me Children. I am also compiling seven years of columns for devotional series.  In addition to these projects I am broadening my devotional blog, This Daily Grind, to be a multi-author venue while expanding my current multi-author blog, Geezer Guys and Gals.  

Linda, thanks for sharing!

Readers, thanks for visiting Lagniappe

I pray that you find "a little something extra" in each of your days.

I love hearing from you so don't be afraid to leave a comment!


Sunday, April 21, 2013

Liz Flaherty - A Soft Place to Fall

Lagniappe Welcomes...

Guest Blogger

Liz Flaherty

I was in a room with a whole flock of other women the first time I ever heard the term “baby Christian.” I was enthralled with the very notion.
In the first place, I was on my Emmaus Walk—referred to by a coworker as a Christian retreat on steroids—and every hour of the 72 I was spending there was an awakening.
In the second, even though I’ve been a Christian my whole life, I’m a sadly undereducated and unfortunately lazy one. (My Textbook, the NIV version, has occasionally had to have dust blown off it when I’ve picked it up to read, though in my defense I use a pew Bible at church.)
In the third, one of the verses that guide my life fits right in with the whole baby Christian concept—Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. - 2 Corinthians 4:16.
Now, I’m not sure about you, but I need the “day by day” thing. Some days, I think I’m getting it. I remember to pray, I manage not to swear, I give with a whole heart. Other times, I fall into bed without even realizing I haven’t once said “thank You, Lord” all day long, I speak…uhm…inappropriately, and even though I hope I always give, I know that sometimes it is grudgingly.
I’m a romance writer, and I’m proud to be one. Five of my published books are contemporary, one is historical. This newest one, the one that wouldn’t let me write it any other way, is inspirational.
Inspirational? Me? Really?
This wouldn’t work, I insisted. I’m too old to write in another subgenre, especially one I feel unqualified to do proper justice to.
Even more than that, Early, the heroine of A Soft Place to Fall, is 46. She’s divorced. In the vernacular of days gone by, she had to get married. She’s a Christian, though she stopped attending church a few years back—and she’s mad. She might know the words to the hymns they sing at the community church on the Ridge, where she grew up, but she doesn’t feel a whole lot like singing them.
And Nash—that’s the hero—he’s way too busy being a doctor to be a good husband and father, much less a loving and giving child of God. He’s 48, has an iffy heart, and he’s…well, he’s not inspirational, that’s for sure.
Except that writing about him and Early was inspiring. Maybe it wasn’t up to me to decide how qualified I was. Maybe some of my writing voice, a gift from God after all, was “renewed day by day” to glorify Him.
A Soft Place to Fall then, illustrates my first steps as a Christian writer. Baby steps. I hope you’ll take that first walk with me. And I hope you enjoy it.

  Early McGrath didn’t want freedom from her thirty-year marriage to Nash, but when it was forced upon her, she did the only thing she knew to do—she went home to the Ridge to reinvent herself. Only what is someone who’s taken care of people her whole life supposed to do when no one needs her anymore? Even as the threads of her life unravel, she finds new ones— reconnecting with the church of her childhood, building the quilt shop that has been a long-time dream, and forging a new friendship with her former husband. The definition of freedom changes when it’s combined with faith. Can Early and Nash find a Soft Place to Fall?

Life is new and wonderful for me these days. I retired from the post office in 2011, promptly gained 15 pounds—overnight, I swear!—and promised my grandkids, The Magnificent Seven, that I would make each of them a bed-size quilt. I also planned to write all day, every day.

What was I thinking?
I’ve learned to write when I feel like it, sew when I feel like it, and maybe even to eat a little less—or not. I’ve learned to share the house and sometimes even the kitchen with Duane, my husband of, oh, lots of years.
And I’m having a Very, Very Good Time.
I recently finished the sixth quilt and my seventh book—I’m not an overnight success, but I never give up—A SOFT PLACE TO FALL is a new release by Pelican Book Group. I am thrilled to the point everyone I know rolls their eyes as soon as I open my mouth. It is my first inspirational novel and I have been so blessed by the writing of it.

Visit me at or email me at —I’d love to hear from you and the coffeepot’s always on!

Liz, thanks for sharing!

Readers, thanks for visiting Lagniappe

I pray that you find "a little something extra" in each of your days.

I love hearing from you so don't be afraid to leave a comment!


Friday, April 12, 2013

Sharon Srock and The Women of Valley View

Lagniappe Welcomes 
Guest Blogger 

Sharon Srock

Sharon Srock lives with her husband, Larry, and two dogs in Rural Oklahoma. She is a mother, grandmother, and Sunday School teacher. Sharon has one and three-quarters jobs and writes in her spare time. Her favorite hobby is traveling with her grandchildren. She is a member of the ACFW and currently serves as treasurer for her local chapter. 

Sharon’s debut novel, 
The Women of Valley View: Callie released in October 2012.

The second in the series, 
The Women of Valley View: Terri released this month!

Mine is the story of an ever-evolving community. When I first started to write Callie’s story, I had no idea that the characters would become so real. I guess that happens to all writers. How can you eat, sleep, and work with people, twenty-four hours a day, for years, and have it any other way? They’ve each whispered their own story line to me and demanded equal time on paper. I was good with that, they weren’t. These greedy women, once granted the small freedom of the written page, demanded not only stories of their own, but a blog as well. Wasn’t space in my head good enough for them? I guess the answer to that would be a loud “NO”. And since I seem to be outvoted by Garfield’s population of thirty to my lonely one, The Women of Valley View was born. 

I started with a single character who looked a lot like me. Callie is in her mid fifties, married with kids and grandkids, she teaches a Sunday school class at the church she’s attended nearly forever, and works at an OB/GYN clinic. I could identify with this person, I knew who she was (me), I could hear her voice in my head, and I was comfortable in her skin. It was easy to write from her point of view. Small town Oklahoma is where I live, so I invented a little place named Garfield, OK. Callie needed a place to worship. Valley View church became that place. 

Those baby steps quickly grew from one person to a community. Callie needed a husband. Enter Benton who resembles my own hubby in appearance if not in deed. Callie needed a best friend so Karla received breath along with her husband Mitch. I wanted to appeal to more than the over fifty crowd, so forty something Pam and almost thirty Terri stepped onto my page. Who knew things could get so out of hand? Pam needed a husband and kids. The church needed pastors. No one wants to read about a group of church women sitting around, talking and eating cheese cake. Where’s the conflict? Enter Samantha, Iris, and their estranged father, Steve. Who knew Steve and Terri would fall in love and generate a second story? Who knew that Pam’s vicious ex-husband would get saved, move back to Garfield, and spawn a story worth telling in a third book? Who knew that Samantha…Well, you get the picture. Pushy, pushy women! So, from one story to six. Should be good to go, right? Not so much. Did I mention the blog? 

I never intended to blog. My life is just not that interesting. I work two jobs in addition to the writing, I didn’t have the time to think about a blog much less launch one. Pushy, sneaky women. These ladies do their best work when I’m sleeping. I woke up one morning with an idea for a blog lodged firmly between my eyes.”Trust us,” they whispered, “We’ll do the work. All we need are your fingers.” I tried to shake it off for a couple of days, but the idea grew with each minute. Before the week was out, the women got their blog, complete with their own personalized pages. 

Sigh…With Callie and Terri both a reality, Pam under consideration, and
Samantha’s story in progress I can only imagine what my life will look like by the time Kate and Karla are done with me.

Despite a bustling day care center and a new foster child, Terri Hayes hungers for a family of her own. Then a plumbing mishap leaves her homeless and questioning God’s plan. Steve Evans’s gracious offer of his basement apartment as a temporary solution is an answered prayer.

Steve is a successful writer and a good father, but Terri is horrified when Steve’s book research leads him to a harsh confrontation with the parents of her foster child. She needs to distance herself from Steve, but her efforts fall short as his two scheming daughters plot to make Terri their new stepmother. 

Will harsh words and sneaky plans drive Kelsey’s family further apart and put a wedge between Terri and Steve? Or does God have another plan in store?

Connect with Sharon:

Sharon, thanks for sharing!

Readers, thanks for visiting Lagniappe

I pray that you find "a little something extra" in each of your days.

I love hearing from you so don't be afraid to leave a comment!


Tuesday, April 09, 2013

Out of a Dream by Rosemary Hines

I recently read an interesting book by Rosemary Hines. The subject matter captured my attention because it could have been written about me. There were times when I dabbled with New Age spiritualism and thought, "What's the harm?" 

The Bible says, we cannot serve two Gods and that there will be no gods before the one true God. Period. Some of the things I was learning taught reliance on self. Making yourself the god of your life. And that's wrong.

There's nothing wrong with a healthy dose of confidence, but our strength should come from the Lord. Simply because everything we have and are, comes from Him. Here is a little about the book.

Out of a Dream
Rosemary Hines
This story is one that could be told about any one of us. The occult disguised as New Age is a lure that can be hard to resist. While many of us are searching, as the character in this book, for something to fill our void. It's easy to fall into the trap of Spiritual enlightenment via the New Age movement.

This based-on a true story begins with Michelle who is a happily married woman who is subtly lured into the new age world. As the story progresses, we see that she needs more to fill the ever-increasing void she feels and is lead away from the things she values. When tragedy strikes her family, her new-age spirituality is not enough to give her the peace she longs for.

Rosemary's story gives us a glimpse into what can happen once we've opened the door to trying to find God in things that are not of God.

Rosemary, Thanks for sharing this story.

On Amazon:

Thanks for visiting Lagniappe

I pray that you find "a little something extra" in each of your days.