Books · Heroine Interviews

SRP Heroine Interview: Gwenn Hilliard from the Phoenix Files Trilogy

Closest Enemy1. Please tell us a little bit about what is currently going on in your life?

I’m a consultant with the FBI. I joined the FBI to fulfill my husband’s dream. He was killed in a car crash, and never made it to Quantico himself. It was a cathartic goal for me to finally gain my creds for his sake. Of course, after my first assignment in the Phoenix office landed me flat on surveillance duty, I was starting to regret it. We were at Monte Vista Hospital in Phoenix when Sam Montoya finally made it in from his under-cover assignment. I don’t know how it happened, but when he said there were kids in danger, and someone needed to go get them, I was on it. It didn’t seem to matter though, because my next assignment was counterfeiting, and all I had was some fake money, and a new partner I was trying not to fall in love with. I guess the rest is history.

2. What made you decide to take on such a risky endeavor?

I didn’t think about it. I just did it. I was just doing my job. Sam said to get the kids, and nobody else was moving fast enough.

3. Did you ever imagine yourself being involved in fighting crime?

Well, not in my younger days, of course. After working as a head nurse in a ped’s hospital though, I did some crime fighting before joining the FBI. Then after I got through my FBI training, I wondered how in the world I would ever be able to take down a perp. I did it though. That was a long time ago, now.

4. Who would you say is the least pleased about your additional career choice of Special Agent in the FBI?

I think that would be me, myself and I. Like I said, I was trying to keep my husband alive by living his dream. When I actually got through it, and realized I now had a job that I had to keep in order to pay bills, well I was feeling the pressure, and kind of missing my nurse’s job. After all that’s happened though, I’m so glad I did it. I never would have met Ranson. I have had such adventures that I never would have dreamed of, so I guess I would have to say that all things work together for good to them that love God.

5.  What are your strengths and weaknesses?

Oh, I second-guess myself all the time. I never know if the decision I make is going to be the right one. Given enough time, I always change my mind. That’s why the best things I have ever done are on the spur of the moment. I guess my only strength is that I’m faithful at whatever I am doing and I finish the job. I try to think about how others feel, you know?

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

If I would define this ‘self-rescue princess’, It would definitely not be me! I don’t feel that I am either strong, or confident. I get the job done, try to do it right, pray that I made the right decision…and most of the time, hope I don’t ever have to do it again. I guess a strong, confident woman would learn from her mistakes though. My aunt once told me I was my own closest enemy. Can’t run from yourself, you know!

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

I guess it would be just that. You can’t run from yourself, so if you don’t like who you are, then take the steps to change. Trusting the Lord to guide you in the right path, is essential!

8. What was one lesson you learned during this challenging time in your life?

I learned that the Lord really knew who I was, where I was, and how I got there. He had never left me. I left him, but he was waiting on me to call on him. It was so he could help me get rid of my bitterness and pain from the past and move on toward a wonderful future. You see the Lord always has good plans for us, if we just follow his guidance.

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

Love Lifted Me

10. Do you plan on getting back into crime-solving?

 Well,  like I said, I do some consulting, but I don’t think I would ever choose to go back to full time work. Sometimes, I help Ranson with surveillance, but he and I both are just about ready for retirement! We are enjoying our children; watching their lives blossom into adulthood. Time has gone so fast. But who knows? I still have my FBI creds, somewhere, in a box. One of these days, when my grand kids find them, I might have to tell them some stories! If they decide to write about their FBI granny, you might just see me again! 

Books · Heroine Interviews

SRP Heroine Interview: Amy Spears Montoya from Classified (The Phoenix Files Trilogy)

I’d like to welcome Amy to the Self-Rescue Princess and thank her from taking time out of her day to answer a few questions about her job and her recent cases.

Classified1. Please tell us a little bit about what is currently going on in your life?

I was labeled, pretty correctly by a friend and colleague, as having an obsessive-compulsive personality disorder; OCPD. This meant I could not leave my home without making sure all small appliances were unplugged, and all light switches had to be touched; not just turned off, but touched. It took a good ten minutes to go through and make sure I was in control of every situation that could arise, real or imagined. As time went on, behavior modification therapy was working on the surface, but failure was not an option. If I felt out of control, I counted it as a failure, and therefore, I had to go through a routine to solve it. It was pretty amazing that I had made it through the Air Force Academy, and I was a Special Agent in the FBI, but the things that hindered me were the same things that drove me to excellence. That was my mantra, excellence. Then I met Sam Montoya. And then, I met Jesus Christ. I found true love and happiness, forgiveness for my sin, and peace in my heart. I realized that while there is something to be said for hard work and achievement, there are times when we are out of control, and no amount of routine or repetition is going to fix it – like the time I was kidnapped by that agent-gone-bad! Thank God I got out of that alive! I’m not in the FBI full time now, but looking back over my life, I would say that being in the FBI was the best time of my life – until now.

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

I don’t think I started out wanting my story to be told. I wanted to keep things the way they were. I was safe in my routine, and although I was striving for more and more achievements to put under my belt, I just wanted to be left alone to do it. It didn’t even start out as my story. My Psych prof in grad school assigned this thesis on Religious Fanaticism, and I got teamed up with Ranson Hilliard. He is the one  who started labeling me, and trying to analyze me. True, I stepped into the middle of his life when he didn’t ask me to, but it was only because I couldn’t see someone wallow in self pity.

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

Well, I guess Ranson did to a certain extent. Until he gave a name to my ‘excellence chasing’, as I called it before it was known as OCPD, I just wanted to do something more. He was the one who said I should do something different. Then, when Sam joined our team in Phoenix, I fell in love. No man had ever caught my attention like Sam, not even Ranson, though I know at one point, he wanted to give it a shot. I never let on like I knew that though, because I had too much to do, and I just wanted a friend. But Sam, he was different. He was happy. He was joyful. He had something I didn’t have, and I wanted it. It was salvation through Jesus Christ! And that is where my life changed once and for all.

4. In your life, what has empowered you?

You know, sometimes we can thank our parents for who we become as adults, and sometimes we can blame them. It turns out that the thing that made me OCPD, also made me productive. I can’t say that I didn’t have a little of the tendency to start with, as my step-father so sweetly pointed out to that guy he wanted me to date. Just a word of advice…never tell your daughter’s date about embarrassing things she did as a child! But, the point is, that if Jeff had never pushed me to excellence, I would not have gotten to where I was when I met the Lord.  I would say that since then, Sam is my greatest encourager, and the Bible is my strength.

5. What are strengths and weaknesses?

I guess one of my greatest strengths is the ability to think about things, analyze them, and find out what others are missing. I spent a lot of time in the FBI as a data analyst, and I was good at it. I still do some consultations, and I love it. My weakness is the OCPD. When I get shaken in my emotions, I tend to revert back to my old ways. Well…maybe two weaknesses; OCPD and chocolate.

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

I would never classify myself as a self-rescue princess. There were times I thought I was strong, but then I learned that strength all by yourself is not really strength. Learning to depend on other people and trust them; that is what makes you a much stronger person. That is why I would not say self-rescue would be the words to describe me. It’s give and take. Ranson showed me that one day. He challenged me to open up to friendships and relationships. Confidence is built by experience. When you are inexperienced, you cannot be confident. Over-confidence when you are inexperienced is dangerous.

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

Always do your best, but never be afraid to fail. Through mistakes and failures, you learn how to do it better next time. Life is not about who finishes first, so finish well even though it might take a little longer.

8. Favorite quote or Bible verse.

That is easy. It’s the verse that kept going over in my mind when I was running from the Lord. “Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” Matthew 11:28

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

Amazing Grace

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

As for now, I don’t have another story to tell. I’m too busy! Those twins keep me hopping from sun-up to sun-down! I know enough to say though, that if there is a story with me in it, I’m not afraid to strive for another happy ending!

11. Is there anyone in your life (friend, family member) who will be sharing their life?

Who knows? Most of the people sharing my life during my transformation had their own transformations at the same time. I think about some of the things I went through, and honestly, it’s scary to think that my children will have to take their own journeys one day. If their stories were ever to be told, it would mean they would have to have an adventure worth telling. It is hard to believe that our twins are almost fourteen now, but their main objective is tormenting their brothers and sister. Oh, you haven’t heard about them have you? Hmm, well maybe there is a story in there…somewhere.

Books · Heroine Interviews · Uncategorized

SRP Heroine Interview: Allison Campbell from Killer Image

killerimageWelcome Allison Campbell to the Self-Rescue Princess. I’m so happy you’re able to stop by and chat with me.

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

As Philadelphia’s premier image consultant, I help others reinvent themselves, but I guess you could say that my most successful transformation was my own after a scandal nearly ruined me years ago. Now I move in a world of powerful executives, wealthy, eccentric ex-wives and twisted ethics.

Not long ago, my latest Main Line client, Maggie McBride, the fifteen-year-old Goth daughter of a White House hopeful, was accused of the ritualistic murder of a local divorce attorney, and I had to fight to prove her innocence when no one else would. But unraveling the truth brought specters from my own past. And in a place where image is everything, the ability to distinguish what was real from the facade was probably the only thing that kept me alive.

2. What made you decide to take on such a risky endeavor?

My client was accused of murder, and no one – not even her parents – seemed willing to fight for her. Maggie McBride is no easy kid to deal with, and the circumstances were incriminating, so I understand why she was an easy target. But I couldn’t stand by and watch her life be ruined if there was a chance she was innocent. And something happened in my past, something that I would rather not talk about right now, that made me worry even more. Let’s just say I wasn’t going to let another teen get hurt on my watch.

Sometimes we reach a point when it’s not enough to worry or talk about something, we have to make a choice. I had reached that crossroad. I had to act.

3. Did you ever imagine yourself being involved in fighting crime?

Lord, no. I’m an image consultant on the Main Line of Philadelphia. At worst, I figured I might have to break up an argument between two people fighting over a parking spot outside of Bloomingdale’s. Bringing a murderer to justice? No, I never imagined that.

4. Who would you say is the least pleased about your additional career choice of amateur sleuthing? Or is detective work your only career?

Who isn’t displeased? Let’s see, there’s my former husband (and best friend), Jason — I think he’s a wee bit proud of me, but also terrified that I will put my nose where it doesn’t belong again at some point in the future. There’s my former-mother-in-law, Mia, who worries about my safety. And, of course, my business manager, Vaughn, who, like all good business managers, would prefer that we focus on clients and stop chasing after bad guys. But Vaughn and I are not so different, so I think underneath it all, Vaughn wants to see justice done, too.

Jason and I are . . . well, let’s just say that he may have the most reason to be concerned. We’ll leave it at that.

5. What are your strengths and weaknesses?

Oh, Christina, surely you’ve read my book, From the Outside In! And, if you have, you know from Chapter Seven (“Putting Your Best Pump Forward”), that you should only divulge weaknesses that can be considered strengths. You know, things like, “I can’t leave a task undone,” or “I work too hard – all of the time.”

But to go off script, one thing my work with Maggie McBride taught me is that I’m too rigid. Jason would back that up. I have a tendency to want things neat and tidy, and I don’t just mean my house. I want to be in control. And because of what happened with Violet, because of mistakes in my past and some pretty rough relationships, I like to keep things simple. But life gets messy, things change. That’s really hard for me to accept. Sometimes you have to roll with it.

My strengths? I’m good at reading people, and, even though sometimes I wish it weren’t so, I care about people. Deeply. I realized at a pretty young age that I have a gift for seeing beneath the surface, understanding what makes people tick. And I think this gift makes me a good image consultant. I’m pretty good at recognizing the beauty in people even when they can’t see it themselves. And as for detective work? Well, this trait comes in handy for sleuthing, too.

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

Digging deep and being strong when it matters most. I don’t think a self-rescue princess needs to be physically tough, but she needs to have strength of character – she needs to be smart, decisive and brave when circumstances demand it. This doesn’t mean she can’t be caring, loyal, or loving. Or flawed. We’ve all met women who kick butt when they need to, regardless of age or education. And they do it in different ways (not just nabbing the criminals). Think of the women you know. Maybe there’s a woman caring for an elderly parent, a single mom fighting to create a better life for her and her children, a professional who puts the needs of her clients before her own, or an activist who works tirelessly for a cause. Real-life self-rescue princesses are people we see every day. They are strong women who choose to make the world a better place through action.

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

Don’t let society dictate who you become. So many girls start out as creative, carefree and confident kids and later succumb to the dictates of our society, believing that their worth is determined based on someone else’s ideals or, just as bad, the media’s portrayal of beauty. Stop. Realize you are beautiful for who you are and what you do, not what you look like – and strive to be the best person you can be.

8. What was one lesson you learned during this challenging time in your life?

Oh, Christina, there were so many life lessons learned. For one, never underestimate a group of divorcees with a mission. And two, heels may look good, but they are not the best footwear for chasing murderers. I’ve become a fan of sensible shoes.

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

Dylan’s “The Times They Are A-Changin’.”

10. Do you plan on dabbling in amateur sleuthing in the future, or have you hung up your detective hat?

Well, my back and neck still smart from the last adventure, so I’d like to say I’m done, but something tells me there may be another case (or two) to solve in the near future!

Books · Heroine Interviews · Writing

SRP Heroine Interview: Margarita from From to Find

first to find1. Please tell us a little bit about what is currently going on in your life?

Margarita: Not too much, at first. I had a nice routine, you know? I have my day job and I teach jujitsu to teen girls in the evenings, and I geocache whenever I get the chance—geocaching is basically using a GPS unit or smartphone app to look for treasure others have hidden for you, all around the world. Best hobby ever. But recently I had this mysterious online secret admirer who placed a new geocache as a tribute to all the puzzle-based geocaches I’ve been making for others. When I went out to find it in the park across the street from my house, I stumbled on the body of a geocaching friend. Someone had attacked him and left him to die! Not cool at all. His widow doesn’t like his hobby, but she trusted me, so she asked me to look into things. I did, and boy did I get more than I bargained for! I was jumping fences, breaking and entering, and  trying to piece together clues that no one wanted to give to me. Talk about a puzzle! And that battle on the cliff? Well, let’s just say I won’t forget that anytime soon.

2. What made you decide to take on such a risky endeavor?

Margarita: I have a secret I don’t talk about. Ten years ago, I lost someone I loved very much. I never even found out what exactly happened to him. One day he was with me, and the next he was gone. So when Ruby asked me to find out exactly what had happened to her husband in the woods, I knew exactly how she felt. I’d been begging the world for answers for a decade, and I never got them. I didn’t want her to feel like I felt. I just couldn’t walk away.

3. Did you ever imagine yourself being involved in fighting crime?

Margarita: No, not really—

Bindi: Oi, you get an interview, and I’m dangling my heels in the hallway? I don’t think so, love. Budge up there. I’d like a go as well.

Margarita: Sorry, this is my roommate, Bindi. She’s from Australia.

Bindi: Fresh off the plane from Melbourne, dumped even before I got to the altar, that’s me. You think this complexion is meant to wear all this black?

Margarita: Bindi alters vintage clothing and sells it. Kind of a retro steampunk thing. And, back on topic, she’s a rabid fan of that detective show, Monk. Being inordinately curious is pretty much the core of her being.

Bindi: Too right it is.  But I never really thought I’d be good at detecting anything but overpowering smells. With this nose, I can’t even get close to certain odors. They make me do a chunder. What a mess! Beer’s the worst of all. What dinkum Aussie can’t even handle the smell of our national beverage? Lucky for me, Margarita understands. She’s a good roomie.

4. Who would you say is the least pleased about your additional career choice of amateur sleuthing? Or is detective work your only career?

Margarita: That would be Acting Chief of Police Connor. He thinks he’s a huge professional, but he’s pretty uptight, and that can get in the way of him doing his job.

Bindi: A little? Are we talking about the same man? The bloke’s a right nightmare. Surprised he didn’t arrest you.

Margarita: Ha! I’d like to see him try.

5.  What are your strengths and weaknesses?

Bindi: Oi, I’ll get this one. I’m the Nose, right? I can literally smell trouble. But Margarita, she’s the brains of our little operation. She makes these puzzles for fun, like all the bloody time. Carries a notebook with her and everything. So whenever she tries to figure something out, she looks for clues and pieces them together in her head like a jigsaw.

Margarita: I have my blind spots, though. CoughDrewcough!

Bindi: Bless you. Yeah, that Drew thing was a bit of a bingle, wasn’t it? But no worries, it’s not like you killed him or anything. And I’m the one who attempted fashion suicide because I couldn’t cope with my great stupid abandonment issues.

Margarita: No, that was your coping. And so stylish, too!

Bindi: Bloody flatterer.

Margarita: But you love my flattery.

Bindi: Too right I do.

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

Margarita: I’m centered. It’s a jujitsu term with many applications. There’s the physical meaning, where you take a wide stance and keep your center of balance low and close. It can also mean the attitude you adopt, where you’re ready for surprises but not overly anticipating one or another in particular, not leaning too far toward or away from a possible future. I can definitely defend myself physically, but it also takes a lot of mental focus and stability to handle days and days of chaos, murder, uncertainty in who to trust, and running around gathering clues. Solving this mystery definitely kept me in good shape, body and mind.

Bindi: Oi, how do I top that, then?

Margarita: Well, you topped a pizza with egg once, remember? Your taste in food is so backwards.

Bindi: Not backwards. Upside down. Does no one listen to me when I say I’m from Down Under? Honestly.

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

Bindi: Never solve crime without being yourself. I wasn’t myself when this whole mess started up, and it could have cost me my life. Know yourself, know your limits, let your clothes reflect who you are inside, and never eat spicy burritos before going to a microbrewery. Just saying.

Margarita: *laughing helplessly* It’s true! It’s so, so true.

8. What was one lesson you learned during this challenging time in your life?

Bindi: Fear is a healthy thing. It tells you when you might be pushing things a bit too far, and it lets you know you’re alive and want to stay that way. I wasn’t sure who I was without the bloke who dumped me, until everything I had was in danger. Then I found out how much awesome I’m made of.

Margarita: That’s hilarious. I was gonna say the exact opposite! My fears kept me from being able to piece together a certain handsome man’s motives until it was nearly too late. That situation could have gone very differently, and so much worse than it did. I nearly screwed everything up because I was too afraid to let love back into my life.

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

Bindi: Not sure, love, but it’d have the proximity beep alarm from my GPS unit in there somewhere.  Oh, wait! That Regurgitator song, “I Like Your Old Remix.” It’s hard to adapt sometimes, you know? But sometimes we don’t have a choice. Life drags us off into the bush, and we find out we’re bloody invincible. Plus, the music video makes me laugh.

Margarita: Does anyone outside Australia know who Regurgitator is?

Bindi: They bloody well should!

Margarita: This is kind of an American interview.

Bindi: And? Australians are the most amazing people on the planet, forged in an environment that tries to kill us at every bloody opportunity. Our music is a product of the fittest musically-inclined survivors. You should bloody listen to it. Could save your life or something. Ignorant Seppos.

Margarita: Hey, no insults.

 Bindi: I call you an ignorant Seppo. Like, all the bloody time.

Margarita: Because. I. Let. You.

Bindi: Oh. Right. Sorry. Americans are really very nice, and I’m not being fair. After the disaster my life became in Australia, I really am thrilled to be living here in Oregon with Margarita. So don’t mind my rampant nationalism. I mean every bloody word of it, but only in a nice way. Promise.

10. Do you plan on dabbling in amateur sleuthing in the future, or have you hung up your detective hat?

Margarita: Well, a certain handsome someone has made reservations for three at a historic hotel out in Shady Bend for the weekend before Valentine’s Day. He’s kindly letting Bindi come along because there’s a weekend-long geocaching event going on. It has a costume ball and everything! I’m totally excited. I can’t wait!

Bindi: Oi, right, because surely nothing bad could happen at a love-themed costume ball where everyone’s dying to get in.

If you’d like to know more about Margarita or Bindi, you can find their story at these places:

Amazon Kindle: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B009V4LABY

Amazon Paper: http://www.amazon.com/First-Find-Book-One-Caching/dp/1480022039

Barnes & Noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/first-to-find-morgan-c-talbot/1113580913?ean=2940015535471

OmniLit: https://www.omnilit.com/product-firsttofind-980821-243.html

Books · Heroine Interviews · Writing

SRP Heroine Interview – Nichelle Clarke from Front Page Fatality

Today, I’m talking with Nichelle Clarke from Front Page Fatality.

FPF front cover sm1. Please tell us a little bit about what is currently going on in your life?

Crime reporter Nichelle Clarke’s days can flip from macabre to comical with a beep of her police scanner. Then an ordinary accident story turns extraordinary when evidence goes missing, a prosecutor vanishes, and a sexy Mafia boss shows up with the headline tip of a lifetime. As Nichelle gets closer to the truth, her story gets more dangerous. Armed with a notebook, a hunch, and her favorite stilettos, Nichelle races to splash these shady dealings across the front page before this deadline becomes her last.

2. What made you decide to take on such a risky endeavor?

There’s the desire to get the story and scoop the TV station, sure, but it’s more than that: I have a couple of friends over at the PD who have disappeared, now, and I’m worried about them. There’s something fishy going on, and what kind of a reporter would I be if I didn’t put everything I have into finding the truth?

3. Did you ever imagine yourself being involved in fighting crime?

Not even a little bit! I write about people who fight crime, but I generally have the wrong shoes for the job.

4. Who would you say is the least pleased about your additional career choice of amateur sleuthing? Or is detective work your only career?

Oh, that’d be my mother, if she knew what was going on. I love her to bits, but I’m an only child, and she’s a single mom. You do the math. If she knew I was talking to sexy Mafia men and poking around dirty cops, she’d fly up here and sit on me before she’d let me go to work again.

5.  What are your strengths and weaknesses?

My weakness is definitely a great pair of shoes, if you mean the kind of things you can’t stay away from. Apparently, sexy men I shouldn’t find sexy rank up there, too.

If we’re talking weaknesses of character, it’s probably that I worry too much.

Strengths? I’m determined, and I’m a good friend. Plus, I know where all the best deals on the cutest shoes are.

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

It means being like my mother, which I think makes her proud. Taking care of myself, and being decisive and honest. I’m also pretty comfortable in my own skin, after a lifetime of worry that I was too tall or too flat-chested.

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

This kind of follows the last answer: Life is too short to beat yourself up about your appearance. All women are beautiful in some way. Find the thing you love about yourself, and let it be your signature trait. You’ll be surprised how attractive confidence can be.

8. What was one lesson you learned during this challenging time in your life?

Be careful who you trust.

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

That’s a tough one! Lately, probably “Mama Said” by the Shirelles. But in general, I’d say something with a good beat and a memorable tune, like U2’s “Beautiful Day.”

10. Do you plan on dabbling in amateur sleuthing in the future, or have you hung up your detective hat?

Well, I’m not sure what the future will hold, but if another story comes my way that needs investigating, at least I’ll know more about what I’m doing.

Books · Heroine Interviews · West Virginia

SRP Heroine Interview: Vada Faith from the novel Vada Faith

vada faithToday, I’m interviewing Vada Faith from the novel Vada Faith written by Barbara Whittington. I hope you enjoy the interview.

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

When I decided to become the first surrogate mother in Shady Creek, West Virginia, I believed it would make me special. Call me selfish. I wanted a down payment for a fancy new house in the swanky new subdivision of Crystal Springs – which I was never gonna get working at the beauty shop with my judgmental twin, Joy Ruth, even if we did own the shop. I wanted more than I had. Much more! John Wasper, my husband, has never been accused of wanting to get ahead in life working at this little limping along trucking company.

I knew if I was ever going to amount to anything big I had to make it happen. John Wasper would live in that old run down Victorian of Grandma Belle’s until we were both dead. He thinks it is famous. Big deal. It is rumored Eleanor Roosevelt once sat in the wicker chair that still sits on our front porch. Well, I had this urgent need to do something big. Different. I was afraid I was going to explode with the feeling. Having my own set of twin girls delighted my soul. It just wasn’t enough.

Then, like an answer to a prayer, Roy and Dottie Kilgore swooped into town, wanting a child of their own and bringing money to burn.  What did I have to lose? Of course, that was before I learned the difference between talking about being a surrogate mother and actually being one. Especially when there was that danged egg to be considered. If only it hadn’t been for that egg, things might have worked out different. Better. But, now? Well, I’ll never know, will I?
2. What made you want your story to be told?

I wanted people to learn from my mistakes. And I wanted them to know that good can come from our mistakes. If you love someone enough. That you can always change and grow even when you think you are done with all that.
Roy Kilgore swayed me when he told me when this whole ordeal started it was easier to get forgiveness than permission. He wanted me to be a surrogate for them without John Wasper’s support. I learned that permission is one thing. Forgiveness is another. You have to be careful when you are dealing with issues that not only change your life but the life of those you love.

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

I hate to say this but Miss High and Mighty (me) grew up during this time. Change is tough. And painful. I saw my own faults. I would always leap before I looked. Then, the mote was removed from my eyes, as the Bible says. ( I am a Baptist and can tell you what the Bible says but not where to find it. Sorry!)

4. In your life, what has empowered you?

Family. I can finally say that after years of not feeling loved by my mother. When she left our family without any notice or reason, I felt unloved. Like I’d done something wrong. When I learned as an adult why she left it all made perfect sense.

5. What are strengths and weaknesses?

My strengths are now I know I’m strong. I stand on the shoulders of all the strong women who came before me. I know I am surrounded by family and friends who love me. I’ve been through the fire and came out on the other end ok. Even that crazy Doreen Moon over at the beauty shop who screws up her hair every other week and expects me to make her look like a movie star loves and supports me. That’s what makes life worth living. Every day miracles.

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

I would never have called myself a self-rescue princess until recently. It took an ordeal that almost cost me my family to realize how strong and confident I really am. I guess we have to be tested by life’s storms to really know what we are made of. I learned I am a survivor.

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

Don’t be so strong-minded that you can’t learn something from someone who is older and wiser. Someone who has been around the block a time or two. Maybe even your parents or grandparents.

8. Favorite quote or Bible verse.

My favorite quote now is the one on the plaque still by our back door that belonged to John Wasper’s Grandma Belle. It says, “Bloom where you are planted.”  This is something I live my life by every day now. If we all did this we might be a tiny bit happier.

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

In honor of the Elvis look-alike in the concert in Shady Creek, I have to say in the beginning it was Hound Dog by Elvis Presley because I was “crying all the time.” Then from the middle to the end it changed to Love Me Tender, also by Elvis, because throughout the book John Wasper loved me tender.

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

I’m happy to say that I am in the middle of an adventure as we speak. A baby boy has joined our household making John Wasper a very happy man. With the arrival of Sweet Baby James, named after James Taylor whose music I adore, we ended up having quite an upheaval in our lives. A near tragedy strikes and we have to be stronger than we’ve ever been. You’ll have to look for this story sometime in 2013, tentatively titled Sweet Baby James.

11. Is there anyone in your life (friend, family member) who will be sharing their life?

I would not be surprised if Joy Ruth does not want to claim an entire series for herself. She’s very pushy and demanding as you probably noticed in Vada Faith. Her teaming up with John Wasper’s brother Bruiser can only lead to some kind of mischief. SO you’ll have to stay tuned.

If you’d like to learn more about Vada Faith’s author, please visit:

http://www.authorsden.com/visit/author.asp?authorid=162613

www.barbwhitti.blogspot.com

Twitter

Barbara’s Amazon Author Page

Books · Craft · Heroine Interviews · Scrapbooking · West Virginia · Writing

SRP: Heroine Interview: Faith Hunter from Cropped to Death

 Today, I’m going to do something a little out of the ordinary, and something I usually only do at home, which is talk to myself…in a way. I’m interviewing Faith Hunter from Cropped to Death which releases today, November 20. I found that I got to learn a little more about my character by making ‘her’ answer the following questions. I hope you enjoy the interview.

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

My friend and co-worker Marilyn has been arrested for murdering her cheating husband. I don’t think Marilyn did it but the police do, thanks in part to what Marilyn told me that I had to repeat to the bossy homicide detective. Because of ‘my role’ in her getting arrested, Marilyn expects me to find the real murderer. I told her that just because I served in the JAG Corps of the US Army doesn’t mean I’m qualified. Unfortunately, the ‘qualification’ Marilyn is concerned about is the fact I snitched on her and she expects me to make this right.

2. What made you decide to take on such a risky endeavor?

Detective Roget and guilt. If he hadn’t arrested Marilyn, I’d never would have gotten involved. Of course, that would’ve been because Marilyn wouldn’t have been implicated in her husband’s murder because of what I was forced to tell the detective.

3. Did you ever imagine yourself being involved in fighting crime?

No. And I still can’t believe I got involved in it. When a person is trying to hide their past, annoying police detective’s and an assistant prosecutor (even when he is your friend and neighbor) is not a good plan. Unless your plan is shoving your skeletons out of the closet.

4. Who would you say is the least pleased about your additional career choice of amateur sleuthing? Or is detective work your only career?

The least pleased? I’d think my grandmothers Hope and Cheryl and Detective Ted Roget would have to argue that one out. And Steve. He didn’t like me inserting myself into the case anymore than they did. I guess they could all draw straws or something…

5.  What are your strengths and weaknesses?

My strengths and weakness seems to be the same thing, my loyalty to my family and friends. I’d do anything to help my family and friends even if it puts me in physical and emotionally danger. This amateur sleuthing might very well get me cropped from life or expose the one part of my life I don’t want anyone…especially my grandmothers…finding out about. But, I wouldn’t make a different choice. I can’t. It’s kind of hardwired in me.

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

Honestly, I think I’m still trying to figure this out. I always considered myself a strong woman because I didn’t need anyone and only relied on myself. Sounds strange considering the fact I work for grandmothers. But I’m starting to think the reason I rely on myself is because I’m too scared to trust anyone else. I don’t want to live from fear so I’m working on that. Hopefully with more success in the near future.

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

Know who you are getting involved…especially before you up and marry them.

8. What was one lesson you learned during this challenging time in your life?

Your greatest ally can turn out to be the most unlikely person.

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

Stronger (What Doesn’t Kill You) by Kelly Clarkson

10. Do you plan on dabbling in amateur sleuthing in the future, or have you hung up your detective hat?

I don’t plan on getting involved in detecting work again…unless it’s hunting down the next scrapbook trend. I don’t like meddling in other people’s business because it gives them permission to mess around in yours. I just hope everyone else in town realizes that just because I served in JAG doesn’t mean I yearn for a life of crime-solving and danger.

Books · Heroine Interviews · Writing

SRP Heroine Interview: Elizabeth from Nurtured in Purple

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

Well, my book blurb would say this: One man. One woman (that’s me). Each bent on personal vendettas. Another man. Another woman wanting only to be God’s salt and light.

But I can tell of an amazing thing that has happened in my life in the past six months. For so many years I had been as narcissistic as one could be. The awful thing is I was oblivious to my self-centered behavior. I had been given everything I needed in life to be the spoiled, rich girl. I had a tizzy fit and acted stupid when I couldn’t have the man I wanted and since I couldn’t have him, I made life hard for the woman he wanted, Kate.

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

I want others to know that we can change, with God’s grace and love, and I want to tell the of the change which happened to me. I know it’s hard to believe, but Kate is the one who didn’t turn away from me in spite of how I treated her. Her kindness made me see the selfish woman I was and made me want to change. In my case, redemption did shine brighter on a darker canvas.

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

I thought it was Kate who led me to change, but she pointed out it was really God at work. I hadn’t given God much thought in my life until then. I had seen my husband, Willard, make dramatic changes in his life due to the spiritual influence of Kate’s husband, Seth. Previously, both Willard and I had wanted nothing but bad for Kate and Seth, which shows how misdirected we both were.

4. In your life, what has empowered you?

In my previous life, money and social status and my looks empowered me. Now, I know the power of real love-for my husband and baby, my friends, others. I know about giving and sharing myself with others.

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

It means I have learned the hard way to be my authentic self and not the glamour-minded, artificial and selfish woman I was before. I love who I am now, love that I finally had a longed- for baby, and feel good about my job as a teacher of small children.

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

Life is not all about me, unless I want to miss the best life has to offer. It is about loving and walking in someone else’s shoes.

7. Favorite quote or Bible verse.

It’s hard to pick one and I’m only beginning to learn them, but I do like Isaiah 43:18-19. Forget the former things, do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing. Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the desert and streams in the wasteland. This one is special because it wipes away my past, my former bad girl behavior.

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

My journey is complete, at this point, but I have a sense some of the younger characters in my story may come off the pages and create lives wanting to be read. We shall see.

If you’d like to read about the heroine’s journey or learn about the author, Jude Urbanski please check out the following links:

FIND ME OR MY BOOK AT:

Desert Breeze http://stores.desertbreezepublishing.com/-strse-305/Chanuke-Chronicles-Book-Two-cln-/Detail.bok

Amazon http://www.amazon.com/Chronicles-Chanute-Crossing-Book-ebook/dp/B008AE9T7S/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1344987927&sr=1-1&keywords=nurtured+in+purple+by+jude+urbanski

good reads http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/13063251-the-chronicles-of-chanute-crossing-book-one

LinkedIn  http://www.linkedin.com/pub/judy-martin-urban-pen-name-jude-urbanski/1b/967/130

Face Book  www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1627189130

Twitter https://twitter.com/#!/judeurbanski

Web site www.judeurbanski.com     blog http://judeurbanski.blogspot.com

Books · Contests · Heroine Interviews · Writing

SRP Heroine Interview: Nira Larsen from Warrior Prince: Book One in the Drift Lords Series

Welcome to The Self-Rescue Princess! Today I’m chatting with Nira Larsen from the book Warrior Prince: Book One in the Drift Lord Series.

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

I don’t have much time to talk, so this will have to be brief. The world is on the brink of disaster. I’m on the run from the cops and the FBI, not to mention ugly brutes from another dimension. The Trolleks have invaded our planet and are taking over people’s minds, so be careful. You can’t trust anyone.

I’ve teamed up with the Drift Lords, warriors from space, who’ve come to Earth to beat back the enemy soldiers. As I’m a specialist in Norse mythology, I have to warn you that Ragnarok—the end of times—is coming again. Prophecy calls for the six sons of Thor and the six daughters of Odin to unite and chant an ancient verse. Supposedly, this will repel the invaders, but first we have to find the rune. I’m one of these six women who possess special powers. With so many forces allied against us, it won’t be easy to succeed. We can use your help!

What made you want your story to be told?

I’ve been searching for my true identity ever since I learned I was adopted. But I’m afraid of what I might discover. The old caveat holds true: Be careful what you wish for. I fear there’s darkness in my soul, and I might not like what I find.

What led you to make the changes you did in your life?

I’m going to confess something now, so don’t think ill of me. I killed someone, but it was self-defense. Zohar and I were being attacked. Zohar is leader of the Drift Lords, and we’d fallen into an ambush. I was down, and Zohar had lost his weapon. I grabbed his gun off the ground and shot one of the thugs. I’m finding new strength within myself that I hadn’t known existed, but necessity and survival instincts have brought it out. That’s not the only incident where I’ve used force, either. The next time it happened, I didn’t need a weapon.

In your life, what has empowered you?

Caring for my loved ones is what motivates me. When Grace, my mentor and family friend, was abducted by Trolleks, I vowed to bring her safely home. That’s what led me to join Zohar’s team. And I have to protect my two younger sisters. They rely on me since our mother died.

What are your strengths and weaknesses?

I can be too solitary in my pursuits and have to learn to put aside my own needs for the benefit of the greater good. In a similar manner, I can be very determined when I want to accomplish something.

Describe what being a self-rescue princess means to you.

You can’t rely on anyone else to accomplish your tasks or save you from trouble. Develop the means to solve your own problems. Having a network of friends and colleagues can help, but the only person you can truly count on is yourself. Being strong means setting goals, moving forward to achieve them, and learning how to seek help when you fumble. In that case, get up and keep going. You’re responsible for your own life. Look at how I had to go after Grace when Zohar begged off, citing his own mission objectives. If it weren’t for me, she’d still be stuck as a slave in a Trollek village. I didn’t wait around for someone else to save her; I did it myself.

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

Get an education, become financially independent, and then look for a relationship if you want one. You should be able to stand on your own two feet to gain self-confidence and to be able to manage life alone.

Favorite quote.

“Knowledge is power.” Even if you have special abilities, if you don’t know how to use them, you cannot wield them effectively.

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

The theme from the Lord of the Rings films. My story is also a quest to fight evil and has elves, dwarfs, trolls, and other creatures.

Will you be continuing your journey in written form?

Warrior Rogue is coming next. That book is already in the pipeline. The third title in the Drift Lords series is Warrior Lord. I’ll show up in those stories as I continue to search for the other five women in the prophecy and then as we face a greater peril together.

Is there anyone in your life (friend, family member) who will be sharing their life?

Paz Hadar is a Drift Lord and communications officer for the team. He has his own story in Warrior Rogue. You’ll learn how he meets his mate and achieves his objectives in this second installment. Now I’d like to ask the audience a question: Do you like spin-off stories in a series?

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All commenters during Nancy’s blog tour will be entered into a drawing for a Warrior Prince tee shirt and magnet and a pdf copy of Warrior Prince. Go to http://bit.ly/9ytdvu for a complete schedule of her tour stops.

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Warrior Prince: Book One in the Drift Lords Series by Nancy J. Cohen

When mythologist and Florida resident Nira Larsen accepts a job as tour guide for a mysterious stranger, she’s drawn into a nightmare reality where ancient myths come alive and legendary evils seek to destroy her. To survive, she must awaken her dormant powers, but the only person who can help is the man whose touch inflames her passion.

After a dimensional rift in the Bermuda Triangle cracks open and an ancient enemy invades Earth, Zohar—leader of the galactic warriors known as the Drift Lords—summons his troops. He doesn’t count on a redheaded spitfire getting in his way and capturing his heart. Nira has the power to defeat the enemy and to enslave Zohar’s soul. Can he trust her enough to accomplish his mission, or will she lure him to his doom?

View the Book Trailer: http://youtu.be/aVm2FIumw0o

Follow Nancy on her Social Networks:

Website:  http://nancyjcohen.com

Blog: http://nancyjcohen.wordpress.com

Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/nancyjcohen

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Nancy-J-Cohen/112101588804907

Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/91508.Nancy_J_Cohen

Books · Heroine Interviews

SRP Heroine Interview: Sarah Sanders from A Legacy of Lies

Welcome to the Self-Rescue Princess blog. I’m so glad you could join me  and Sarah Sanders, heroine of A Legacy of Lies, today.

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

I was always the reasonable sort, until I kissed a cowboy against my better judgment. Feeling strangely drawn to this mysterious ranch hand with a dark past, I find myself swept up in an adventure that will force me to question everything I believe.

Jim Anderson’s cowboy gig is going pretty well. Except for one thing – he thinks he’s going insane. Night terrors, hallucinations, and now a girl he has no business falling for. It’s better to keep his distance. But when Sarah is nearly killed, he will risk it all to save her.

When tragedy brings him back to the home he tried to escape, Jim will have to face the truth behind his strange circumstances and hope that Sarah will believe him. Digging up the answers to questions long buried, does he have the strength to face the dark family secrets that threaten to destroy them both?

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

I went on faith. I felt this strange “prompting” to go with Jim and help him figure out what is going on in his life. I knew he needed a friend to face the huge mountain of lies and deceit he was facing.

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

My inner strength comes from my faith. When I am overwhelmed and weak, it is what fills me with strength and peace. I know who I am in Christ, and this gives me the confidence in other areas of my life.

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

Learn to be your own person. Celebrate your talents and gifts and be proud of your uniqueness! If you go with the crowd, you will eventually be trampled by them. Stand up for yourself and for what you know is right. Learning to do these things will give you confidence and strength that will not be easily shaken!

5.  Favorite quote or Bible verse.

Psalm 37: 4-5

Delight yourself in the Lord; and He will give you the desires of your heart. Commit your way to the Lord, trust also in Him, and He will do it. (NASB)

If you’d like to learn more about the author, please stop by Stephenia’s website http://www.stepheniamcgee.com/.