Marian P. Merritt - Lagniappe

Where the Bayous Meet the Mountains

Monday, March 30, 2015

Kathleen Friesen - Nila's Hope

Good Monday Morning Readers!

Today, Kathleen Friesen visits Lagniappe to discuss her latest release, Nila's Hope. She also agreed to answer a few questions. Read on to see what superpower she'd like to have and why. 

Welcome, Kathleen!

Tell us a little about Nila's Hope.

Nila’s Hope began in my first novel, Melody’s Song (published with Westbow Press). The young woman who started out as a minor character in that story grew to be someone I longed to know better. Nearly crushed by neglect and abuse, Nila Black responded to Jesus Christ’s grace with blossoming faith. As the first story ended, Nila’s abusive ex-boyfriend was headed to prison. I couldn’t help but wonder what would happen if he obtained early release and decided to regain his control of her.

 What were some of the challenges (research, literary, psychological, or logistical) you faced in bringing this story to life?

A retired policeman and acquaintance who became a friend, Greg Woods, generously offered his expertise on matters of the Canadian judicial system. I hadn’t known just how quickly some criminals are released from custody, and this turned out to be a vital plot point in Nila’s Hope.

Getting into the mindset of an abused woman was painful. I haven’t experienced such abuse myself, but I have known people who have lived through the horror of verbal, emotional, and/or physical abuse. In order to understand their plight better, I talked to workers at shelters and was moved by their protectiveness toward their clients and their professionalism. No one should have to endure violence, and if Nila’s Hope gives one person the courage to step away from an abusive situation, I would feel incredibly blessed.

Where is one place you want to visit that you haven't been before and is it a place you'd set a story?

I would love to visit Maui someday and set a story there. It seems like a fairytale place, perfect for a romance.  I can’t quite visualize the characters yet. Perhaps they’re waiting there for me. Of course, I would have to spend several weeks in Hawaii in order to get enough material!

·      If you could have one of your senses (Touch, sight, taste, smell, hear) be a superpower which would you choose and why?

My choice for a superpower sense would be my hearing. To be able to hear the quietest whispers, the softest touch of the wind through a garden, or a murmur of a loved one would bring great joy. I would listen for songs of unusual species of birds, the flutter of butterfly wings, and the laughter of children playing. And as a bonus, I could finally understand my husband when he mutters.

·      What can readers who enjoy your book do to help make it successful?

I would love for my readers to share how they feel about Nila’s Hope with other readers on sites like Goodreads, Facebook, amazon, and on my website,

·      Where did your love of books/storytelling/reading/writing/etc. come from?

My mother loved to read, and that’s probably why I yearned to go to school when I was three, but only to learn to read. A shy girl, I usually had my nose in a book. Mom brought home stacks of Grace Livingston Hill novels from the library, and I often read them before she got a chance. Mom also wrote poetry and short stories, and she gave instilled in me the love of words, of stringing them together like pearls. My goal in writing is to touch the heart of each reader with the beauty of those pearls that create pathway to faith.

·     What can we expect from you in the future?

I’m currently working on the third story set in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan. Once it is completed, I’d love to write a series set in a fictional small town. I’ve always been a small town girl, and I love the way people in small towns know one another and, hopefully, care for each other. The characters are already whispering to me, and I can’t wait to get to know them.


·      eReader or Paper book?
I do read books on my laptop, but I prefer the feel of a “real” book. The texture of the paper, the smell of ink, and the satiny feel of the cover have always thrilled me.

·      Steel Magnolias or Fried Green Tomatoes?
While Fried Green Tomatoes made me chuckle and cringe, Steel Magnolias affected my life. The interactions of the disparate characters created a rich tapestry that wrapped itself around my heart.

·      Sweet Tea or Unsweetened Tea?
Unsweetened tea, please, with perhaps a tiny bit of honey. My English grandmother taught me to drink my tea “straight” or sweetened with honey, and I’ve always preferred it that way.

Debbie Macomber or Nicholas Sparks?
         Nicholas Sparks knows how to pull heartstrings, but I adore Debbie Macomber’s stories of normal people in normal places who invite me into their normal, intriguing, and problematic lives. I want to write stories like that.

·      Vacation: Beach or Mountains?
It’s impossible to decide – I love them both! And here in British Columbia’s beautiful Okanagan Valley, I have quick access to lakes and mountains. I couldn’t ask for a better place to live and write.

Just when her career as a carpenter and a relationship with Will Jamison are within reach, Nila Black’s abusive ex-boyfriend is released from prison. He’s out of jail, out for revenge, and making promises she knows he’ll keep. Nila will do anything it takes to save Will and her friends from the evil that will come their way if she doesn’t put distance between them—even if it means abandoning her new-found faith. It will take a miracle and an angelic messenger to show Nila that God is her greatest protector. He has never left her side, and He wants only the best for her and for the man she loves.

Kathleen Friesen lives in the beautiful Okanagan Valley in British Columbia, Canada. 
She enjoys reading, travelling, kayaking with her hubby (on calm waters only!), and spoiling their grandkids.

Kathleen completed her first novel, Melody's Song, a story of redemptionIt was published via WestBow Press and is available at all major online retailers or through your local bookstore.

Her second novel, Nila's Hope, with its theme of release, is being published by Pelican Book Group under their Harbourlight banner.. It will be available March 20, 2015. Mark your calendars!

Kathleen's current work in progress is Hayley's Choice, and it concludes the Saskatoon series. The theme for this book is resurrection, and I can't wait to see how it all turns out.

Kathleen, thanks so much for sharing!

Readers, thanks for visiting Lagniappe.

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


Monday, March 23, 2015

Cindy Green - Andrea and the 5-day Challenge

Good Monday Morning Readers!

Today, Cindy K. Green visits Lagniappe to discuss her latest release, Andrea and the 5-day Challenge. 

Dear Lord,
I need Your help and sooner would be better than later. Wouldn't you know it, just as soon as I decide to attempt the 5-Day Bible Study Challenge, my parents start heaping on loads of pressure to get me into Julliard. My friend Amy isn’t any better, urging me to ask Luke Ryan to homecoming. As if the cute, transfer jock would actually go out with me. I mean, we’re kinda friends, and I’ve enjoyed our Geometry study sessions, but in case Amy hasn’t noticed, I’m the invisible one at Aubrey Christian Academy, and I like it that way. On top of that, I have a feeling Luke’s concealing something behind those chocolate-brown eyes of his. I know I can be self-centered and a bit melodramatic, but I really do want to seek Your will for my life. Then maybe I’ll even figure out which direction points up.

Sincerely, Andrea Jamison
High School Junior
Change-o-phobic & complete neurotic

Welcome, Cindy! 

Give readers your brand/tagline and share how you came up with it.
My tagline is ‘Humor & Heart with God at its Center’. I came up with this tagline because I write sweet Christian books in several genres which I hope will touch the hearts of readers & my books are full of humor. I just can’t write without it.

Tell us a little about Andrea & the Five Day Challenge.  
This is the first book (out of four) in the YA Aubrey Christian Academy series. Andrea’s story is one that I think most teens can relate to. She is one of four girlfriends (each girl is getting her own book). Andrea accepts the challenge offered by her youth pastor to get into God’s Word and see what He does through her. And what proceeds to happen changes her life. Sometimes its painful, sometimes it’s hilarious but by the end she finds that she’s matured and sloughed off a lot of selfishness in her life to open herself up to being there for others.

What were some of the challenges (research, literary, psychological, or logistical) you faced in bringing this story to life?
I love writing for the teen. Teen or YA fiction has always been a favorite of mine ever since I was one. I taught middle school for several years so the mindset of the teenager is ever close to my heart (I also have one living in my house now too). Writing for the YA makes you analyze your own life not only when you were the age of your characters but the consequences of those years of your life and where you are now because of those decisions. So there is a lot of psychoanalyzing in writing for this age group. You also want to make sure you are connecting with teens of today so I make sure my group of teens are only a text message away.

Give us the description of the ideal person you'd want to read your book.
I am very hard to brand because I like to write across the board of genres. For my new release, the ideal reader would be a Christian teenager—probably female, although my teenage son enjoys reading my teen stories. There is something in there for everyone. But I really hope my books end up attracting teens outside of the church as well. As the series continues, the stories will be tackling harder and harder subjects that all teens can relate to. My hope and prayer is to make a positive impact on my young readers to seek God and know that they are not alone in whatever circumstances they find themselves.

What can readers who enjoy your book do to help make it successful?
Readers can tell others how awesome my book is. They can share my posts in social media. They can review my books and post those on the bookseller websites (like Amazon). Word of mouth is the best way to sell books.

Where did your love of books/storytelling/reading/writing/etc. come from?
Books have always been important in my life. I’m sure that started with my mother who read to all of us five children often. My early influences were Alcott, Austen & Montgomery. Writing my own stories started early. I started actually putting words to the page back in middle school. I wrote simple children’s stories for my younger siblings. I was very influenced by L.M. Montgomery (Anne of Green Gables) as a young teen. I read all her books and short stories. And when you read my early writings they are quite Montgomery infused.

What can we expect from you in the future?
My Aubrey Christian Academy series has 3 more books to come. See keep an eye out for them from Pelican Book Group. I also have a sweet YA faery series that I hope to publish soon. Then for the adult reader, I have a Valentine themed short novel coming next year as well as a couple historical westerns. So lots going on. Busy, busy, busy.

LIGHTNING ROUND   Pick 3-5 to answer.

Plotter, Pantser, or Planser?
Pride and Prejudice or Gone with the Wind?
P&P definitely!
Coffee or Tea?
eReader or Paper book?
Laptop or Desktop?
Dogs or Cats?
More important: Plot or Characters?

Cindy K. Green has worked as a middle school history & English teacher, a frozen yogurt server and a golf magazine employee. Today she's a multi-published, award-winning author, a mother, a wife, and a homeschooler too. This native Californian now resides in North Carolina with her husband, two boys, and two cats named Chloe & Kassey. Visit her website, her blog She's on Facebook (Cindy K. Green) and Twitter (@cindykgreen) too.

Cindy, thanks so much for sharing!

Readers, thanks for visiting Lagniappe.

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


Monday, March 16, 2015

Valerie Goree - Weep in the Night

Good Monday Morning Readers!

Today, Valerie Goree visits Lagniappe to discuss her latest release, Weep in the Night.

Welcome, Valerie!

Give readers your brand/tagline and share how you came up with it.
Tagline: Stories of Passion and Intrigue . . .  I wanted something that evoked both aspects of romantic suspense.

Tell us a little about Weep in the Night.
I like to compose interesting first lines to future stories. Several years ago, when in a first-person writing mode, I thought about a story that begins: “I was in the witness protection program for three years when . . .” That line stuck with me, and I developed Weep in the Night from it.

Sadie Malone lost it all—husband, daughter, faith, and her freedom. After three years in WITSEC, her identity is compromised. Now, who can she trust? 

Help comes from an unlikely source, but will Bowen’s lies prove more than Sadie can handle?

What do you enjoy doing when you are not writing? Hobbies, etc?
I love to knit, embroider, sew, and paint. However, I don’t have much time for these activities any more. I help take care of my 94 year-old mother, and with writing, there is just not much time left.

Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?
Yes. I am a terrible time-manager. If I don’t have a deadline, then I can procrastinate all day.

What is your least favorite part of the publishing / writing process?
The marketing. I do not like to blow my own horn. I would not make a good sales person.

If you could have one of your senses (Touch, sight, taste, smell, hear) be a superpower which would you choose and why?
I think I’d like super-sight. Details fascinate me. With super-sight I could see far into the distance or examine something up close. I wouldn’t want X-ray vision, but I would really like to see every detail that God has created.

What's the worst job you've had and how has it helped your writing?
The worst job I ever had was cleaning the communal bathrooms during my college freshman year. As a foreign student, I had to work on campus and had to accept the job offered. Thankfully, the other students did not make fun of me. Lesson learned – all jobs are worth doing well. Accept your lot in life, but don’t be content there. Work hard and move ahead.

What can we expect from you in the future?
I’m working on the sequel to Weep in the Night. It is a standalone story, but will feature the same organization and a couple of the same characters. However, a new hero and heroine work together and solve the problem.

eReader or Paper book? Paperback book for sure.
Laptop or Desktop? Laptop.
Dogs or Cats? Both.
For Thanksgiving: Pecan Pie or Pumpkin Pie? Pecan pie, made by my mother-in-law.
Socks or slippers or both? Socks.

Vacation: Beach or Mountains? Mountains close to the water.

Weep in the Night

After three years in the witness protection program, Sadie Malone’s life in Texas is bland and humdrum—until she meets a new co-worker. Bowen Boudine ignites a flame in Sadie’s long-dormant heart, but when she discovers he knows her true identity, she attempts to flee. He thwarts her escape and reveals the reason he’s been sent to locate her.
Bowen, a seasoned operative with International Retrieval Organization takes his job escorting Sadie back to California seriously, but quickly finds he’s falling for her. Can he maintain a professional relationship while he protects her from the crime boss her testimony helped to convict?

American Christian Fiction Writers Genesis Award winner Valerie Massey Goree was born in South Africa and grew up in Rhodesia—now Zimbabwe. She attended a Christian university in the USA and then returned to Zimbabwe with her husband, Glenn, where they served as missionaries.
After they settled back in Texas, Valerie served 25 years in the public school system, focusing on students with special needs. Now retired, she resides in the Texas Hill Country with Glenn, two dogs, and two cats, and spends her time writing and spoiling her grandchildren.

Valerie loves to hear from her readers.

Social Media:

Valerie, thanks for sharing!

Readers, thanks for visiting Lagniappe.

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