Sunday, February 25, 2018

Interview with Raquel Byrnes

Recently, I interviewed author Raquel Byrnes.

Raquel Byrnes

Which of your books was your favorite to write? Why?

My current work in progress is always my favorite. I think it’s because I just go full bore committed to each story. I get enthralled by the setting or the magic or whatever and revel in the discovery process. I also always feel like I’m striving to hone my craft, so each new book is a chance to learn from what worked or didn’t in the previous story. That is something that keeps me motivated and interested.

What are your hobbies (besides writing)?

I love sky watching. I even throw heavenly happenings gatherings on my front lawn. Cuddled up in a blanket, sipping hot cocoa, and watching light streak across the sky is my favorite thing to do with my family and friends. But it does feed the reader in me that loves the unknown.

What is your favorite Bible verse? Why?

My favorite verse is Micah 6:8 because it’s pretty self-explanatory as to what kind of behavior expected of me. If I seek justice, that would take integrity and honesty. If I am to love mercy, then that would mean I give grace and have compassion and understand mistakes. And finally, If I were to walk humbly with my God, then that means He is first and foremost as is His plan for me. Overall that verse has resonated with me since my teens.

If you could travel to another period in time, which era would you choose?

Definitely the future. There’s something about the ‘what if’ factor of futuristic fiction or science fiction that just resonates with me so I would love to see what’s around the corner, figuratively. Did we embrace clean energy, are we at war, did we make it to another planet…? I would love to know.

The Tremblers, Blackburn Chronicles, Book 1, Some Heroes are born ladies. a girl's body is shown from the neck down. It's a blue dress, steampunk-style cover.

What do you enjoy most about writing books?

My father once called me a professional daydreamer and I really like that. Bringing to life the adventures and characters parading around my head for others to enjoy or react to is so fulfilling to me. It reminds me a lot of cooking in terms of making something for people I care about. I truly love creating something and sharing it in the hopes that others get joy out of it too.

Amazon: The Tremblers

Friday, February 23, 2018

Review of In Too Deep

girl swimming in water


In the novel In Too Deep, Grace Stone, a safety-conscious young swim instructor butts heads with her new boss (Kye Campton), the director of a fledgling camp, as Kye wants to introduce extreme sporting activities, which Grace finds dangerous. But as financial struggles and sabotage threaten to close the camp, the unlikely duo must band together. The story had good pacing and likeable characters, plus the setting and plot were unique. The author did a good job of creating sufficient conflict to keep readers turning the pages. This book would appeal to adults who enjoy reading romantic suspense.  


Like an anchor wedged in the lake floor, Grace Stone's heart is submerged in the past. Drowning in guilt over the role she played in her father's and sister's deaths, Grace prays that launching her water survival program at Camp Moshe will properly honor their memory and enable her to move on. But success depends on Grace risking everything on the man hired to rebrand the Christian camp. Kye Campton's usual confidence wavers when his extreme sports campaign lands him in hot water with the cautious instructor and it becomes increasingly evident that Camp Moshe's fight for survival is against more than a declining economy. Will Kye be able to save the camp—and Grace—from a saboteur determined to close the camp at any cost?

About the Author:

Stacey Weeks is a novelist, writer, and painter of everything. She rotates between fiction and non-fiction work, loving the unique features of each. When not writing, she is usually painting or renovating something in her home. Visit for more information.

Friday, February 16, 2018

Interview with Stacey Weeks

Recently, I interviewed Stacey Weeks.

stacey weeks

Which of your books was your favorite to write? Why?

In Too Deep was my second book, and my favorite book to write.  I learned so much writing my first novel that by the time it was ready for publishing I was quite tired of the characters. In Too Deep came together faster than my third novel and felt easier (for lack of a better word). I’ve always loved the water and I expect part of the reason I love In Too Deep so much is because the story is set on the beach.  You can read the first two chapters for free on my website:

What advice do you have for aspiring writers?

I would tell them to be teachable. Eventually, someone will tell you that you’ve made a mistake. You’ll learn a new grammar rule or an old grammar rule and recognize the dozens of ways you’ve mishandled the English language. You can be embarrassed. You can get angry (at yourself). You can run and hide and vow never to publish again. Or, you can be teachable. You can hear, apply, learn, and grow. You can read more advice for authors on my website:

What is your favorite Bible verse? Why?

1 Corinthians 10:31, “Whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.” This verse has become my life verse because it reminds of why I write, why I serve in our church, why I parent with such purpose, and why I remain committed to furthering my study of Scripture. Whatever I do, whatever opportunities God has given me, I am to pursue them for the glory of God. All that matters in the end is if the Lord is pleased with my service for Him.

How many books have you written?

I’ve written five books, two novels that are published, The Builder’s Reluctant Bride (2016) and In Too Deep (2017), my third novel, Lethal Legacy, is currently under consideration by my publisher, and I have authored two non-fiction books, Glorious Surrender (2017) and a photo driven devotional Unexpected Love (2016).

cover of in too deep by stacey weeks, girl is shown on cover, swimming toward surface

The Builder’s Reluctant Bride was named Best Christian Romance at the 2017 Word Awards. Glorious Surrender won the 2016 Women’s Journey of Faith award. Unexpected Love was a finalist in the 2017 Word Awards. In Too Deep has been entered into the 2018 Word Awards.

If you had unlimited funds and free time, where would you choose to travel?

I probably wouldn’t travel. I would love to attend a seminary class on studying and teaching Scripture. I’ve taken online classes and really enjoyed them, but I would really love the feedback a professor or classmates would provide.

What do you enjoy most about writing books?

I love how it allows me to freely express myself and work through personal issues. It lets me experience things I would never consider without the excuse of book research. I love brainstorming with other writers. It is so much fun to plan a friend’s book because I can let my imagination run wild and carry none of the responsibility of pulling the story together. - I post weekly devotionals and regular home renovation projects.
Facebook: - This is where I post questions and collect feedback for projects.
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Twitter: @WriterSWeeks 

Friday, February 9, 2018

Review of Deadly Doll by Brooke Cox


Deadly Doll by Brooke Cox is a fun read. The story is set in the ‘80s and involves two teenage girl cousins attempting to solve a mystery related to a doll given to one of them. Born in ’77, I appreciate the ‘80s references.

The author does a good job with character development and wrapping up all subplots at the end of the story. Also, she does a good job of presenting a Christian message that flows naturally throughout the story and doesn’t feel forced.

This book should appeal to readers who enjoy mystery and suspense, as well as those who enjoy ’80s nostalgia. 

novel cover shows a young blonde teenage girl in foreground with the image of a doll in the background. the background uses the colors red and yellow.

Author bio: 

My name is Brooke Cox and the one thing that I have never inspired to be is normal.  Normal is a setting used for appliances.  I loved being quirky (fun while being different) and creative.  In fact, Deadly Doll came from my desire to reach out to others who don’t quite fit in with everybody else.

photo of author brooke cox

Also, I wanted to write a mystery.  I thought of my great grandfather.  He really did work in Alaska from the early 30s to the mid 50s.  And he really did send a handmade Alaskan doll back to my mother when she was a small child.  She still has it and it’s on the cover.  That story always fascinated me and I wondered, “What if…”

Deadly Doll was a 2016 Selah Finalist for Debut Novel.  And it also made the Inspy 2016 Mystery/Thriller Longlist. 

photo of brooke cox holding certificate


Adventurous twelve-year old Brooksie discovered a hidden room in her grandparent’s attic. She opened up an old hat box and found her mother’s favorite childhood doll wrapped up inside. Brooksie’s great-grandfather sent it from Alaska and it was believed to have burned in the trash pile years ago. After showing it to her father, he takes it from her. A few days later he was murdered and the doll becomes a faded memory until it reappeared six years later after a freak accident. What was it about the doll that people kept hiding it? Could finding the doll have played a part in her dad’s murder? If the doll had remained hidden would he still be alive? Brooksie and her best friend Darlene delve deep into the doll mystery which has them learning about a past that Brooksie never knew existed. Along the way, Brooksie’s thirst for adventure and acceptance has the girls stumbling on the edge of danger. What shocking family secrets might she find and could they change her life? Will she finally understand why God made her so different from the rest of her family and will it draw her closer to Him? Can Brooksie finally accept who she is?

Saturday, February 3, 2018

Interview with Sarah Varland

Recently, I interviewed Sarah Varland.

What do you like most about living in Alaska? How many of your stories are set in Alaska?

I love EVERYTHING about living in Alaska. I love that it’s such a land of extremes, with things like how it’s light all summer and so dark in the winter. I love the people. Most of us share a love for adventure and there are a lot of people up here chasing their dreams. That makes it a fun place to live. I also love having hiking close-by, looking at the mountains, and that going to dog sled races is relatively common for us here.

I’ve got two stories so far set in Alaska, counting this latest February release. There is another scheduled for July.

Did you have to evacuate for the tsunami threat associated with the recent Alaskan earthquake?

I’m inland, so no, I didn’t need to evacuate. My husband did feel the earthquake though, even though it was centered hundreds of miles away. I slept through it. Earthquakes are always an interesting mix of exciting and nerve wracking since you never know when they start how long they’re going to be or how intense they’ll grow to be.

I’ve read that you enjoy hiking and kayaking. When was the first time you kayaked? Do any of your characters hike and/or kayak?

The first time I kayaked was in a small sit-on-top version when I was fifteen and lifeguarding at a Christian summer camp up here. We were life guarding for a swimming race across the lake and need to follow the swimmers in boats. It was so much fun and I decided then that I loved kayaking.

I don’t think I’ve had a character kayak yet—thanks for the idea!! But yes, actually Summer, the heroine from Mountain Refuge likes to hike. She’s actually a mountain runner so she took one of my favorite hobbies and stepped it up a notch.

Which of your stories did you enjoy writing the most? Why?

This was one of my very favorite stories to write. Not just because it’s set in Alaska, although that was part of it. I also really like Summer and Clay as characters and seeing their relationship grow was a lot of fun. I also learned a lot from writing this one and from the lessons especially Summer learns about living life to the fullest.

You are a pastor’s wife, a writer, a mother, and you homeschool your children. When do you find time to write?

That’s such a great question! I have no idea. But seriously, I know God wants me to be writing even though in some ways my life is already pretty full. My first contract call came literally a week before my second son was born and I was excited but wondered at the timing then but I know God knows best and I have had so much fun getting to do this. Sometimes I can get some writing done while the boys are doing school work, sometimes my husband or my mom will hang out with them while I go write at a coffee shop. My most recent favorite place to write and way to find time is to write on the couch at my boys’ weekly art lessons. We are all busy in different ways and it’s really just a matter of shuffling things around and balancing, really more like juggling.


When someone tries to grab Summer Dawson on a secluded mountain path, she escapes—but soon discovers she’s a serial killer’s latest target. Her brother’s friend, ex-cop Clay Hitchcock, promises she won’t become the next victim, though, even if it means putting himself at risk. Clay thought he was done with law enforcement, but after finding Summer running for her life off a mountain trail, he’s back in cop mode. Determined to protect her, Clay shadows the brave, beautiful mountain runner. Now if they want to stay alive, Clay and Summer must work together to bring down the crazed killer lurking in the wilderness.


Sarah Varland lives near the mountains in Alaska with her husband John, their two boys, and their dogs. Her passion for books comes from her mom, her love for suspense comes from her dad who has spent a career in law enforcement. Her love for romance comes from the relationship she has with her husband and from watching too many chick flicks. When she’s not writing, she’s often found reading, baking, kayaking or hiking.