Books · Heroine Interviews

SRP Heroine Interview: Bree LeFleur from Out of Time

Today on my blog, I’m going to talk with Bree LeFleur, the heroine from  Out of Time.

1. Please tell us a little bit about what is currently going on in your life

Bree Le Fleur moves to Arizona to heal from her past. She meets her neighbor Donny Garafalo Jr., race car driver and model. Unlike most women, she’s not impressed. After their disastrous introduction, Bree ends up needing Donny’s help. They become friends and Donny decides Bree is the perfect girl for him. He won’t inherit the family business unless he can change his ways. He believes dating Bree and attending church will persuade his father. While following his ruse, they fall in love and find faith. Things look promising until Donny hits the road again for his final racing circuit and Bree discovers a plot to harm him. She tries to tell him, but he won’t listen, so she takes matters into her own hands. When he finds out, will he thank her for meddling or send her packing? Is their love strong enough to make it through the ultimate test?

2. What made you want your story to be told?

Well, for one thing, I’m sure I’m not the first young woman to feel insecure around a sexy man who has women chasing him down all the time. I didn’t want to fall for Donny, but God had other plans for me. When Donny found faith, his heart changed. I was afraid to trust it and I made a lot of stupid decisions, not to mention how I threw myself at him thinking it would hold his attention and he wouldn’t want anyone else. I’m ashamed of it now and I’m trying to share my story as a warning to other young ladies to trust God and listen to your heart. Don’t act on natural insecurities and allow the whispering taunts in your head that you’re not good enough drive you to tempt your man to sin. And please stop reading those sexy magazines with articles about keeping a man’s interest by being sexy. They only make things worse.

3. What lead you to make the changes you did in your life?

Donny kept telling me the fact that I was pure and inexperienced made me more attractive to him and I kept reading stuff that said if I did the right things to “turn him on” he’d never leave me. Well, I learned that a decent man isn’t going to stick around because he’s tempted, he’s going to stick around because of love, and because of respect he feels for the woman. It took me awhile to learn this, but I’m glad I finally did. I started treating myself with respect and it made things a whole lot easier.

4. In your life, what has empowered you?

I think the fact that I had strong faith in the past helped, but then I lost my faith when my brother died. I blamed myself and God. Donny’s discovery of the Christian faith and learning about the things I used to love made me reconsider my bitterness and let go of it. When he changed his life around, it really made an impact on me. It made me want to renew my relationship with the Lord. Only after renewing my commitment was I able to be strong in the areas that normally tempted me.

5. What are strengths and weaknesses?

Strengths are easier for me to talk about. I am a nurse by profession, so caring for the sick and helping people heal is my passion in life. I’m typically patient and a loyal friend. I have compassion on people who are hurting. I am not easily duped, either. I refuse to conform to other people’s expectations of who they think I should be. The weakness I have is that I tend to rely too heavily on magazines and then modeling after beautiful women when it comes to advice on things like dating and sex. I don’t work on my inner beauty enough. For some reason I feel like I have to compete with the pretty people in this world, even though I know it is inner beauty that attracts a man for life. My biggest weakness is not having enough faith in myself to be beautiful enough on the inside to keep a famous man like Donny, even if he has changed his ways. Trust doesn’t come easy for me, either.

6. Describe what being a self-rescue princess (a strong, confident woman) means to you.

For me a self-rescue princess is someone who doesn’t use manipulation to get what she wants. And she doesn’t let others discourage her from achieving her goals in life. A strong, confident woman knows who to trust and when to be cautious. I need to work on that.

7. What one advice/wisdom would you like to pass onto young women?

Don’t use sexiness or sex-appeal to snag a man and think it will keep you together. If he’s only attracted to the outside of you, which will eventually wrinkle and fall apart, then you’ll have nothing left that will last you once those younger years have dried up. Plus, sex can only contribute so much toward bonding in a relationship, and a man who is shallow enough to only be with you because you’re great in bed is not a good man for you over the long haul. Holding back, and respecting your body enough to wait for marriage to have sex, is totally worth it. Trust me on that. No man wants to marry a woman who has slept with every guy on the block.

8. Favorite quote or Bible verse.

Romans 8:11-13 (and I’ll paraphrase it, but the gist goes like this… If the same power that raised Jesus from the dead lives in you, it gives life to your mortal body.) This was what I had missing in my life before I had real saving faith. I couldn’t stop sinning on my own. I needed the power that raised Jesus from the dead living in me to empower me. He’s only a prayer away.

9. If your story had a theme song, what would it be?

Perfect by Flyleaf (the music in the beginning even fits) and the lines that say:

I’m nobody

Perfect in weakness

I’m only perfect in just your strength alone

10. Will you be continuing your journey in written form?

No, this is it. Donny and I live happily ever after… The End!

11. Is there anyone in your life who will be sharing their life?

You can’t improve on perfection (cheeky grin.) This book is a stand-alone title.

Books · Heroine Interviews · Uncategorized

SRP Interview: Hope Williams from a Decision to Love

Decision to LoveToday on my blog, I’m going to talk with Hope Williams, the heroine from  Decision to Love.

1. Please tell us a little bit about what is currently going on in your life?

Eight years after Tony and Hope’s affair ended, new problems arise. Jimmy has gone off to college, but returns home with a startling revelation that devastates his father and causes his final heart attack. Now Hope is grieving the loss of both her husband and their son. She tries to make sense of everything, and in the end she decides to love her son through the grief. More than that, she makes the decision to love whoever her son chooses to love, whether she agrees with his choices or not.

Tony’s life has its own disaster tearing through it. First, he is accused of killing his ex-wife, but he is soon released once the authorities realize he had nothing to do with it. The tragedy with his ex-wife led to some major changes in his life, however, and some soul-searching that ultimately turns Tony’s life around. While he is still adjusting to his new perspective on life, his long-lost daughter Nina contacts him and has some secrets of her own. He is overjoyed to be reunited with his daughter, but with their relationship comes an entirely new set of challenges.

Jimmy is confused about his faith, his life, and ultimately, whom he should love. After some severe trials knock him off what he thought was the right course for his life, he makes the decision to love himself enough not to be used by someone again. But will his decision protect him in the end?

2. What made you want your story to be told?

Well, when Jimmy started college and told me over Thanksgiving break that he was attracted to men, I knew his father would flip out, especially since he’s our only son. So I talked to other people and found out I wasn’t alone in this. Then when my son told my husband about his sexual preference, my husband had a fatal heart attack. I didn’t understand why this was happening. I mean, I raised Jimmy in a Christian home and he loved Jesus from the time he was five on through school. He was always praying for his friends and loved bringing them to church with him. Then…bam! He goes off to college and comes up with this startling revelation about himself and I started grieving immediately. It didn’t help that his father also died in the midst of our family conflict. So I had compounded grief. Then I blamed myself, which was stupid, but hard to resist. As a mother, how do you fix something that is so entrenched in someone’s identity? The truth I discovered, was I couldn’t change a thing. But I didn’t give up on my son and made the decision to love him and whoever he loved despite whether I agreed or not with the person he chose. Then my son breaks up with his boyfriend and starts hanging out with my ex-lover’s daughter? How in the world did that happen? But I guess God knew I needed something in my face to help me work through this situation. And ironically, God used a tragic time from my past to bring about some good. God’s ways are mysterious, but I don’t question Him anymore. I’ve learned to trust. Oh, and my story continues with a book title, Learning to Trust. Good one, eh?

3. What lead you to make the changes you did in your life?

If you’re talking about the decision I made to love my son regardless of his choices, then I suppose the fact that he’s all I had left in the world after my husband died was a major contributing factor. I kept thinking I’d forgiven myself, too, but then this brought everything back. It didn’t help that my son’s new best friend was Nina, my ex-lover’s daughter. Small stinking world, I’m telling you. But it happens.

4. In your life, what has empowered you?

The love I’ve received over the years from my husband gave me a lot of strength. His decision to forgive me despite my wayward heart eight years ago helped a lot. My faith has helped me get through a lot of tough times as well. I’ve learned that I need grace and forgiveness every day. I’m not above sinning and I need to remember that or I’ll be more vulnerable to spiritual attacks. Knowing that God is on my side and wants me to grow in my love for Him helps keep me striving for more of Him and less of me. It’s a good thing, though. And when I am feeling empowered, I can help my son. He needs me now.

5. What are your strengths and weaknesses?

This is going to sound crazy, but my weakness is for sexual contact with men. Now that my husband has passed away, I’ve decided to stick it out and remain single until I die, but it has been only eight months since he passed away and already I’m starting to feel super lonely and my need for skin to skin contact is growing by the day. I never would have strayed eight years ago if he had tried to work things out, but when he stopped touching me and loving me as a man should love his wife, well, the temptation became too great. It’s a wonderful thing, but I hate this intense physical desire at the same time. Now that I have no outlet that fits what my faith allows me to do (because I’m not married) it’s more like torture for me than a blessing. My strength is that I do have faith. I also have a son who loves me and I had a good marriage for many years. I am creative and a good friend. I love intensely and am devoted to the people I care about. I would never hurt anyone on purpose. I need to pray more for my friends, but I’m working on that.

6. Describe what being a self-rescue princess (a strong, confident woman) means to you.

What that means to me is I can be strong and confident if I remember that I’m not alone in this life. God has my back, and He’s given me people to love and who love me to help me through this journey called life. I’ve learned that I don’t have to make poor choices or do things that will hurt myself and my family. A self-rescue princess would stop before things got out of control and make sure that she’s strong enough to say no to things that are not good for her. I strive every day to be that kind of strong, confident woman.

7. What one advice/wisdom would you like to pass onto young women?

Don’t let despair trap you in a corner so you feel that there is no way out. Nothing good will come of this and you will only ruin your life. Know that God is for you and not against you, and you’ll make it through the tough times and come out stronger in the end.

 8. Favorite quote or Bible verse.

Romans 8:11-13 (and I’ll paraphrase it, but the gist goes like this… If the same power that raised Jesus from the dead lives in you, it gives life to your mortal body.) This was what I had missing in my life before I had real saving faith. I couldn’t stop sinning on my own. I needed the power that raised Jesus from the dead living in me to empower me. He’s only a prayer away.

9. If your story had a theme song, what would it be?

Meant to Live by Switchfoot.

I love the line that goes… “We were meant to live for so much more. Have we lost ourselves?”

10. Will you be continuing your journey in written form?

Oh, yeah. My story lives on. I resist finding love again through this whole book, but in the end there is a hint that love will spark in my heart again for a certain man. The book this story will be told in is titled Learning to Trust and it will release next year.

11. Is there anyone in your life who will be sharing their life?

Yeah, the first book in the series, Never Without Hope, is my story about how my life got out of control. Then the second book, Their Separate Ways, features the year after. In Never Without Hope, you only get my perspective. In Their Separate Ways, my ex-lover’s perspective comes into play. Then the third book, Decision to Love, features my perspective, my ex-lover’s perspective, and my only son’s perspective. The fourth book, Learning to Trust, will add Nina’s perspective. She is my ex-lover’s only daughter. It’s a series full of complex characters, but the stories run deep and have many layers. The series is titled Sacred Vows, and so far there are four books. I’m not sure if there will be any more after the fourth book. I’ll play that one by ear.

Books · Heroine Interviews · Writing

Interview: Sara, heroine from A Special Blessing for Sara

Today on my blog, I’m going to talk with Sara, the heroine from A Special Blessing for Sara.

1. Please tell us a little bit about what is currently going on in your life? 

Oh, I can’t tell you what I just found out – something totally amazing and unexpected. But I can tell you this, I’m so happy. Things are turning around for me.

2. What made you want your story to be told? 

I guess since I have seen how God works in my life, I thought it would be helpful for others to know what’s possible when you have a love relationship with Christ. I’ve learned in the last year to leave it all to Him, so I made a major mess on my own. I’m a Christian counselor, you know, but man, did I need counseling! My broken engagement threw me. Then I didn’t trust my feelings toward — oh, I’ll let you read my book. I don’t want to give too much away.

3. What lead you to make the changes you did in your life?

I had an inner battle going on. When you’re rejected the way I was, you get a low opinion of yourself. Like, what did I do wrong? Why did he leave? Things seem bleak. I didn’t even tell my sisters at first, and they usually know everything about what’s going on. I guess I had to digest it myself first.

4. In your life, what has empowered you?

I lean on God a lot. He is my strength. Also, as I’m a counselor, I see so much suffering, and I’ve watched the recovery process as people turn their problems over to God and work through their past, that I’ve made it a goal to seek Him first. It took a while to learn it and I’ve had quite a year of turmoil. Even witnessed a shooting, but that’s going to take to long to explain.

5. What are strengths and weaknesses?

My own strengths? I don’t give up easily and I’m organized. (usually) If I start a job, I don’t quit until it’s done.

Weaknesses?  Lots. I’m impatient with incompetent people. (Like I never am! Ha.) Also, I forget birthdays sometimes and I’m lazy about calling people.

6. Describe what being a self-rescue princess (a strong, confident woman) means to you.

I can’t qualify for “self-rescue,” really. I know some women who seem to be able to “go it alone,” but I’m not one of them. I am strong though with God’s help. When I forget to pray about things (important stuff) or go on impulse, I get myself into trouble. Gosh, I almost lost my chance at happiness. If it weren’t for…. Oops, there I go again. You just have to read my book.

7. What one advice/wisdom would you like to pass onto young women?

 Problems? Don’t try to go it alone. Seek family, friends, counselors, but first get on your knees. He really will give you the strength and wisdom to get through. Learn to go one day at a time.

8. Favorite quote or Bible verse.

 I love Philippians 4:4-7. I have difficulty memorizing verses, but this one is imprinted forever in my mind.

9.  If your story had a theme song, what would it be?

No idea, sorry.

10. Will you be continuing your journey in written form? 

Okay, Sara left. It’s June, here. Actually, I’m working on a three-book series about Amish sisters from Lancaster County. So far, I’ve only done ‘stand-alone’ books, but I’m ready to attempt a series.

11. Is there anyone in your life (friend, family member) who will be sharing their life?  Not really, though I’m sure there are traits found in my characters, which could sometimes be assigned to members of my own family.

Books · Excerpt · West Virginia · Writing

Ebook Week: Excerpt of Lost Then Found

Lost Then Found, is the first book in the New Beginnings Series, which features a skip-tracing business that specializes in relocating abused and stalked women. The second book, Led Astray, will be released in May.


 Skip-tracer Renee Stratford-Knight’s life is becoming stable again. Eighteen months prior, the murder of her sister and the soon-to-follow collapse of her marriage left her reeling. She made it through those dark days with the help of family, embracing faith and starting her own skip-tracing business, New Beginnings, which specializes in relocating abused women. Now, her ex-husband — and former business partner — Jonas Knight shows up asking about her most vulnerable client.

Jonas knows his ex-wife helped embezzler Gina Howard elude the authorities and plans to bring the young woman to justice. When Renee is threatened, Jonas grows suspicious of his client’s reason for finding his niece. In order to uncover the secrets their clients hold, Jonas and Renee must struggle through distrust and the pain of their pasts to work together to save the life of a teenage girl — and their own.


Renee locked the apartment up tight and took the stairs. Gripping the rail, she plodded down the steps, each step draining energy. The eventual battle with Jonas weighed down her spirit. She didn’t want to relive the painful moments of her life.

She stepped onto the ground floor, tugged open the door leading to the back parking lot and walked outside. A cold breeze played along her skin, drifting against her unprotected neck. The impulsive summer haircut she chose that winter over the hairdresser’s recommendations no longer symbolized independence to her but teenage rebellion.

She tugged up the small collar of her leather coat. “Showed him, didn’t I.”

Hands clapped. Renee halted under the dim lights of the outside doors. Her heart rate accelerated as she looked around the darkening area. Parked in the lot were three cars and a van. She swallowed hard and stared at the windows of the van, trying to make out any figures. Placing her hand into her front pocket, she pressed her thumb onto the keypad of her cell phone. She sent out a heads-up message to her brother.

Jonas stepped into the light, a sarcastic smile stretching across his face. Better to face a known enemy than an unknown one. She typed another message to her brother. False read. Lord, let that work to keep Alex at home rather than charging to the rescue.

“Your skills at deception have gotten better.” Jonas loomed over her.

“I learned from the best.” Regret tugged at her conscience as the words left her mouth. She pushed it away. If she allowed Jonas to get the upper hand, then she offered an opportunity for his words to steal away her confidence.

She tilted her head back and locked onto his storm-cloud gray eyes, standing in place even though her neck muscles ached. She promised herself not to ever allow a man to make her feel powerless. The streetlights allowed her to see her reflection in his eyes. As he studied her face, his gaze softened. He reached out, fingers lingering by her cheek.

The air between them crackled. A shiver raced through Renee and she fought the instinct to lean those few inches toward his touch. They were divorced. They no longer meant anything to each other. She drew back but not before awareness crept into his gaze. He knew. He sensed it.

Time to end the silent duel, and leave. Now. She held in a frustrated sigh as she asked the question Jonas silently demanded. “What do you want?”

“Gina Howard’s location.”

Books · Excerpt · Writing

Ebook Week: Excerpt of Faith, Fireworks and Fir by Pam Andrews Hanson

 I’ve been wanting to join in the celebrating of ebook week and it has  sped by without hardly an acknowledgement from me. Though, I have been reading ebooks this week. Since I have a few days left, I’ve decided to post some excerpt to finish up the week.
Faith, Fireworks and Fir: David Maxwell comes to Evergreen, Michigan to persuade his beloved elderly aunts to sell their bed and breakfast and retire to Phoenix to be closer to him. His aunts have no intention of retiring and enlist Faith Turner, manager of a year-round Christmas store, to persuade their nephew to change his mind.Can Faith help her friends and avoid falling in love with soon-to-be-gone David?
“Are you here about the angels?”
Faith Turner leaned against the checkout counter hoping a big problem was about to be solved.
“My aunts are dears, but I’ve never heard them called angels,” the tall, dark-haired man said smiling warmly.
“Oh, I’m sorry. I just assumed—I mean, our customers don’t wear suits and ties. They’re mostly tourists, and when I saw your dark suit….”
“You thought I was here about angels?”
“Blown glass angels,” Faith explained, feeling a little flustered by the intensity of the gorgeous dark eyes focused on her. “We received a shipment with more than half the ornaments broken. The company promised to send a sales rep with replacements. I was hoping you were it. July is a busy month, and we’re doing a special promotion on the angels. At least we were until they arrived all smashed up. I cried when I saw how many were ruined. But you don’t want to hear my problems. How can I help you?”
She was talking too much, a habit she’d tried hard to kick. What was it about this stranger that made her chatter on instead of finding out what he wanted? A lot of strangers came to The Christmas Store, so what was so special about the tall, lean man on the other side of her counter?
“I’m David Maxwell. A girl cleaning rooms at my aunts’ bed-and- breakfast said Cora and Carrie might be here.”
“You just missed them. They came to check on a wreath I special- ordered for them. It’s nice to meet you at last. Your aunts talk about you a lot. Oh, I’m Faith Turner. This is my parent’s Christmas store, but I’m managing it for them.”
The sisters were dear friends of her family, and she was happy to see their elusive nephew after hearing about him for years. They hadn’t exaggerated how handsome he was, and the pictures on display in their parlor didn’t begin to capture his vibrant good looks. His hair was such a dark brown it was nearly black, and he had the longest lashes she’d ever seen on a man.
“Do you know where they might have gone?” His resonant voice reminded her of his reason for being there.
“I think Carrie went to a hair appointment, and Cora was going to the supermarket. They didn’t want to bother with the wreath until their errands were done, so I expect at least one of them to come back later.Maybe you can catch up with them at Angela’s Beauty Salon or the Budget Buy store. They’re both on Fort Street, about a quarter mile down from us.”
“Maybe it would be easier to wait at inn. By the way, I’m impressed with your store. I expected it to be full of plastic Santas and mass- produced collectibles. You seem to be preserving the true meaning of Christmas. Do you mind if I look around while I’m waiting to catch up with my aunts?”
“Please do. My parents always tried hard to emphasize the spiritual side of Christmas. We have a full line of items for the holiday, but both my mom and dad worked to find decorations appropriate to celebrate Christ’s birthday. If you like, I can give you a tour.”
She was pleased he’d noticed the quality of their stock, and even happier when he took her up on her offer. The more she looked at him, the more obvious it became that Cora and Carrie’s photographs didn’t capture his ‘wow’ factor. He was far and away the best-looking man to step foot in the store in a long time.
Bio: Pam Andrews Hanson and her mother,  Barbara Andrews, have written a wide range of women’s fiction together for nearly 20 years. Pam blogs about family, faith, and aging at Please stop by to say hello!You can also ‘like’ her on on Facebook at her official author page.
Books · Reviews · Writing

SRP Review: Holiday Edition III – The Christmas Train, A Married Man’s Guide to Christmas, Orphaned Hearts

Disclaimer: The reviews I post on The Self Rescue Princess won’t be the usual style of book review that talks about all the points and elements of a novel. My intention is to focus on heroines that I believe exemplify the spirit and character of a self-rescuing princess or are on their way to achieving that status.

During this month, the reviews I post on The Self-Rescue Princess will have a different focus as my reading habits change. From Thanksgiving until the New Year, I only read novels set during the holiday season or have a seasonal theme. The Holiday Edition reviews will focus on the holiday spirit in the stories, and I plan to review more than one book in each post. I decided to go with more than one because I find I read more at this time and I want to share as many holiday short stories, novellas and books that I can during this time frame.

The Christmas Train by David Baldacci is about a reporter Tom Langdon traveling across the country by train during the Christmas season. Tom meets some interesting people on his journey and also re-establishes a connection with someone from his past. It’s a lovely story of redemption, understanding and a community (the people on the train) pulling together to get through a stressful and could-turn-tragic event. Many sweet moments, a few stretching believability but that’s to be expected with a ‘classic’ feel-good Christmas tale.


A Married Man’s Guide to Christmas by Robert Henry is a non-fiction book of humorous essays dealing with the different areas of holiday madness and how guy’s can get through … or muddle through … them. I found some of the stories very funny and some that I’d label as having a little ‘wicked’ humor that didn’t quite work for me … but I know others will love those stories. It was a quick read and a very unusual and funny take on a Christmas how-to/self-help book.

Orphaned Hearts by Shawna K. Williams is one of my favorite books I have read this year, not just the holiday season but during all of 2011. If I was going to put together a list of my Top 10 it would be up there … like 2 or 3.  This is an unusual holiday story as it starts long before the  season, but does wrap-up at Christmas and the heart of this story is the Christmas spirit displayed through the year. It’s a lovely book filled with love, compassion and hope. In Orphaned Hearts,  a young orphan boy who is fostered by the town ‘spinster’ when his soon-to-be adopted parents cannot care for him. The pastor knows the loving heart Sadie has and asks for to care for the boy for a short while other parents can be found. I don’t want to give away to much of the story but I will say this is a ‘heart-melting’ book. I’m not a crier, especially when it comes to books or movies, but this one got me a little teary at the end. I loved the ending. Orphaned Hearts will be a book that I’ll read again. (as of this posting this e-book published by Desert Breeze is on sale for the incredible price of .99 cents)

Books · Reviews · Writing

SRP Review – Renegade Hearts by Anne Patrick

 Disclaimer: The reviews I post on The Self Rescue Princess won’t be the usual style of book review that talks about all the points and elements of a novel. My intention is to focus on heroines that I believe exemplify the spirit and character of a self-rescuing princess or are on their way to achieving that status.

Now on to the review:

Renegade Hearts features Jenny Holloway, a woman of faith moving forward after the devastating loss of her husband. Now as a single mother, Jenny works through her grief while balancing motherhood and taking care of the ranch that her late husband had inherited from his uncle. With her increasing workload, Jenny agrees to hire on another hand.  

What I loved most about Jenny was  the ability to stand up for herself combined with a strength of relying on others when needed. A lot of strong heroines are very much “I’ll do it all myself” kind of gals and will refuse even necessary help, making their situation tougher and putting themselves in danger. I enjoyed seeing a strong heroine depicted as not only able to direct and lead, but also knowing when it was time to listen and follow.

Jenny also kept a warm and loving relationship with her sister even though they had conflicting views about their father. Usually in books when the heroine has a difficult relationship with a family member, and others don’t ‘see’ the person and their behavior in the same light, the other relationships suffer. I liked how the two sisters supported and loved each other anyway, keeping their sisterly bond while allowing each other to have a separate relationship with their father. Later, Jenny makes a hard decision that honors her father even though it’s one that forces her to put her pride in check and take steps toward forgiveness.

Jenny exemplifies the type of self-rescuing princess I love to get to know. One that can stand alone but also with others, not holding independence as such a great character value that others are always pushed to the side.

Books · Writing

Regina Andrews – Light of the Heart

 Today, visiting The Self-Rescue Princess is author Regina Andrews and her heroine Cascade Preston. Regina is one of the terrific authors at Desert Breeze Publishing. Light of the Heart is the first book in the Sterling Lakes Series.
Below is a small snippet of a scene that to me helps showcase Cascade’s strength by her willingness to face and challenge her own long-held rule born from a dark and painful childhood — never returning to Sterling Lakes.

“Cascade’s designing the stained-glass windows for the project, Father. She’s originally from Sterling lakes.”

Turning to Dan, Cascade saw him give an eager smile. What was he thinking?

“How wonderful,” Father Greene blessed himself. “So good of you, Cascade, to give back so generously to the town that you called home.”

“It’s my pleasure, Father.” Cascade answered. Did I just agree to do the windows?

“Oh bless you, my dear. Bless you.” Father Greene checked his pocket watch. “It’s been so nice to chat with you wonderful folks. I have confessors waiting now.” Turning on his heel, he bustled off through the shadows to the door.

“What were you thinking, Dan? I haven’t agreed to do the windows. Now that nice priest is going to be all disappointed and flustered when he finds out,” Cascade whispered.

“He might not be,” Dan answered.

“I’m infuriated. You weren’t asleep at all. Were you really saying prayers?” Cascade asked as they walked down the aisle.

Dan nodded. “Were you?”

“Oh yes,” she answered. “Without a doubt. Lots of special prayers. Now there’s one more special intention on this list — me getting out of helping Father Greene.” She turned to face him. “You look like you’re going to laugh!”

“Well, it’s just that…” Dan’s eyes seemed to twinkle as he looked at her. It turned Cascade’s knees to jelly.

“Let’s change the subject.” She cleared her throat and gripped the edge of the pew to steady herself. “Before we go, I wanted to tell you that my parents were the first couple married in this church.”

Dan’s eyebrows shot upwards. “Quite a distinction.”

“They started out with lots of hopes and dreams for a bright future, I’m sure. Life takes some funny turns.” She sighed. “Look, I’ve been thinking, Dan, of how stubborn I’ve been about not working in Sterling Lakes. I’ve been holding on to that way of thinking for years now. It really hasn’t made me any happier in the long run, to think like that. Just kept me tied to this town in a negative way. I think the fight is over. I want my life to be filled with light and beauty and color. And love. God’s love.”

She blinked away the tears that filled her eyes. “You were right. Abby was trying to do me a favor, and I think she did. It’s through forgiveness that we are set free. Maybe it’s time for me to forgive what happened in the past. At least I can start, and this might be a good first step. Plus, I would never in a million years disappoint that nice priest. Father Greene has enough to worry about without me adding to it. So if it’s at all possible, could I do the windows here?”

Encouragement · Uncategorized · Writing

Sometimes women have to be the knight

Woman in jeopardy. That was the downfall for my inspirational romantic suspense. The heroine placed herself directly in danger in order to save another. A role more suited for a hero than a heroine. The danger needed to be directed at her. But why? A woman is just as capable of being a rescuer as a man. Sometimes, women have to be the knight in shining armor for themselves. For their children. For each other.

At first I was heartbroken. This book was one of those writers labeled ‘a book of my heart’. I didn’t want to give up. I had come so close.  I consulted some friends and showed them the encouraging rejection letter. I could try again. Write another book. Submit that one.

A wise and beautiful friend then said the words that changed everything. “You don’t write women in jeopardy. You write the self-rescuing princess.” Another friend chimed in agreement. “You’ll keep running into the same issue.  It’s not in you to write the heroine they want.” And they were right.  I knew the women I wanted to showcase in my stories. That I wanted to write about. Write for.

I’ve been in the position of having to save myself because those responsible to do so refused. Actually, those responsible created the danger and built the tower I wondered if I’d ever escape from. But I did. Not an easy task when you’re still really just a kid but one that was necessary. Sure, I could damsel in distress with the best of them … especially when my preferred snack was on the top shelf. But for the most part, I learned at a young age that I had to fight my own battles or else let the dragon burn me.

For many, there is no prince. No knight in shining armor … actually not even a knight in tarnished armor willing or able to go to battle.  Some will have to defend their own honor.  Slay their own dragons. Find a way out of the tower through their own strength. The self-rescuing princess isn’t doomed to life of unhappiness if a man doesn’t save her … because she’ll save herself. She’ll find her prodigal prince or help that knight shine up his armor.  And if she doesn’t find her match, she’ll still live a life to be proud of and admired.

There was a happy ending to this story. I submitted my book to Desert Breeze Publishing. They were looking for strong heroines in rescue type of rolls, especially in romantic suspense. I was shocked when I received word that they not only wanted the first book … but the rest in the proposed series. 

Push aside the damsel in distress that lurks inside and embrace the self-rescuing princess. Happiness. Hope. Empowerment. Future.  It’s available for all. Heroines and heroes alike.