Monday, November 28, 2016

Interview with Author Lucette Nel.

Today we got a chance to interview our very own Lucy!
Get to know Author Lucette Nel before her debut novella 
The Widow's Captive comes out December 1st!

What are some of your favorite books and/or authors?
Redeeming Love by Francine Rivers.
And everything Tamera Alexander and Karen Witemeyer writes.

Do you ever read outside of your genre?
I do, but not as often as I'd like to. I am a romantic at heart, so I prefer a story with a strong romantic theme. :)

Do you enjoy any hobbies?
I love being creative. Scrap booking. Making cards. Drawing. 

What’s your favorite drink?
Coffee - though sometimes I like to think of it as survival fluid. Hehehe.

Lucette Nell

Do you have any pets?
Three adorable Pugs. They shed. They snore, but I love them to pieces!

If you could kiss a prince, which prince would you pick?
Does a Disney Prince count? Because then it's Eugene Fitzherbert. ;)

I’ve heard things about a certain ‘special’ Barbie doll of your childhood. Care to reveal any more?
Aaaahhh Raphael *Sigh*... My Ken doll *Wink*. 
I think I do add a little of him whenever I create a hero. That is all I'm sharing. 

And finally, what’s a piece of writing advice you’d like to give a newbie?
Jane Yolen's quote sums it up nicely. 
Exercise the writing muscle every day, even if it is only a letter, notes, a title list, a character sketch, a journal entry. Writers are like dancers, like athletes. Without that exercise, the muscles seize up.

Pre-order The Widow's Captive now! You don't want to miss out on this sweet Christmas story! 

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Author Interview and Book Review: "Down in Yon Forest" by Clare Revell

Pelican Book Group is releasing another Christmas theme novella on December 1! I reviewed it and interviewed author, Clare Revell.

Having suffered a panic attack on stage during a performance, violinist Meredith Stranraer flees to the small town of Paradise where her grandparents live. For some strange reason, they don’t want her around and their rejection is more than unsettling, it’s downright alarming.

Jeremiah Mantle is the local forest ranger. He watches the girl in the grey cloak from a distance, his assignment to protect her as well as the forest. However falling in love is definitely not in his job description.

Thrown together at the annual Christmas ball, things soon escalate. There is something wicked in the woods and a dark past is determined to rip them apart. 

The cover art, title, and British setting had me ready for a period romance, but Down in Yon Forest  surprises with a contemporary story in which love takes a back seat to suspense.

Sparks do fly immediately, and the romance is sweet, but there is no tension there. The reader still enjoys the developing relationship, because Meredith is in danger, vulnerable, and in need of a protector. When we meet her, she is licking the wounds of a profoundly bad experience, floundering and unsure of herself, and prone to panic attacks. 

For me, her loneliness is also striking: she has a friend to whom she's barely spoken since school, a sister in a foreign country, and grandparents who seem to love her but don't want her around.

It's a relief when Jeremiah, the typical too-good-to-be-true romantic hero steps onto the page. Even though he's pretty much perfect in every way, the reader is carried along from page to page, sucked in by the fear that he may not be able to protect her--especially when the true level of deception that's been going on is revealed.

It's a nail-biter for sure, with the added complexity of emotionally damaged characters. The difficult backstories of trauma and abuse bring mental health issues to the fore in Down in Yon Forest. I love the patience and tenderness of the hero, along with the value of his medical expertise. Meredith is not averse to using medication to treat her mental health issues--a trait which can be difficult for some to accept, especially if they've never suffered in this way. 

Revell doesn't leave it there--she also highlights the danger of meds if they're misused.

I typically read and write historical, so the use of meds and mental health is not something I see often in fiction. But I do see it in real life, all around me. Every reader should be able to identify with Meredith, as one who has suffered, or with Jeremiah, as loving one who suffers. Hat's off to Revell for giving us this sweet picture of love and support.

Purchase the novella here:

Clare was kind enough to join us and answer a few questions about her novella:

1. Bowie was a wonderful sidekick, and like all good sidekicks, he stole the scenes he shared with Jeremiah! Are you a dog lover yourself? Do you have any experience with working dogs?

To be honest, I'm a cat person. Despite putting dogs in three or four books now, I'm not a great fan. I don't have any personal experience with working dogs, but I did a great deal of research into both hearing and guide dogs for previous books - Tuesday's Child and Lily of the Valley in May.

2. Both the main character and the villain deal with mental health issues. Every reader can relate, I'm sure, if not directly, then indirectly, yet it is rarely portrayed in Christian fiction. What inspired you to embed this timely and important issue in your story?

Hubby has struggled with depression on and off for several years. I also had PND after my eldest was born. It's the silent disease that no one sees or wants to acknowledge exists. It's important to let people know that they aren't alone. sometimes they want to talk, sometimes just having someone in the same room is enough.

3. I enjoyed the chemistry and camaraderie between the main characters and their friends, Caitlyn and Ty. Will we be seeing them in future novellas?

Yep, Caitlyn and Ty are plotting their own story as I type. Rather annoying as I'm writing something else right now, but they have big plans for a book all to themselves.

About the Author

Clare is a British author. She lives in a small town just outside Reading, England with her husband, whom she married in 1992, their three children, and unfriendly mini-panther, aka Tilly the black cat. Clare is half English and half Welsh, which makes watching rugby interesting at times as it doesn’t matter who wins.

Writing from an early childhood and encouraged by her teachers, she graduated from rewriting fairy stories through fan fiction to using her own original characters and enjoys writing an eclectic mix of romance, crime fiction and children's stories. When she's not writing, she can be found reading, crocheting or doing the many piles of laundry the occupants of her house manage to make.

Her books are based in the UK, with a couple of exceptions, thus, although the spelling may be American, the books contain British language and terminology.
The first draft of every novel is hand written.

She has been a Christian for more than half her life. She goes to Carey Baptist where she is one of four registrars. 

She can be found at:

Monday, November 21, 2016

Author Interview - Marian P Merritt

Marian, welcome to Quills and Inkblotts.
We are so happy to have you and congratulations on your latest Christmas Extravaganza title ‘Gumbo Weather: A Bijou Bayou Christmas Romance releasing December 1st.

Lucy, I'm honored to be here at Quills and Inkblotts. Thank you so much for having me!

1.      Do you have a writing routine?
When I'm actively writing. I do. I get up, grab a cup of coffee, feed the dog and let her out, spend some time in Bible study, then write for 45 minutes, take a 15 minute break at which time I may do laundry, dishes, have breakfast etc then write for another 45 minutes. That's usually my morning routine. In the evening, sometimes I'll write another 45 minutes.

2.      How many unpublished and half-finished books do you have?
Wow, you caught me with this question! I've never taken inventory of the stories I've started and for one reason or another didn't finish. I was surprised to find the count is:
1 Unpublished completed manuscript in need of serious editing!
8 Unfinished novels in various stages of completion.
3 Unfinished novellas (1 is a Christmas story that didn't feel right at the time but may be ready to see the light of publication!)

3.      Was there something that surprised you while writing your novella?
Nothing in particular, but usually when I'm writing I'm always surprised by how God faithfully shows up during my writing sessions. I don't know why that surprises me, but it's a sweet time of worship. One surprise I love!

4.      Did you have to do a lot of research while you wrote your novella?
Not a lot for this one. I had to research major league baseball farm teams and the process for when a player gets "called up" to the major leagues.

5.      Which character did you enjoy most writing about and why?
Although, this character doesn't fill a lot of "word space", Justin's Uncle Al was my favorite. He was a voice of reason and steadfast faith. He was the calm in any of Justin's storms.

6.      Are you working on anything else at the moment?

Yes, I'm currently writing another Bijou Bayou Novel! Many of the characters introduced in Gumbo Weather will make encore performances in For Gilly. One of the main characters is Evangeline Louviere, known to her friends and family as Gilly, one of the women Noel meets in Vivian's Bible Study group. Gilly has cancer and has asked her twin sister, Josephine "Jo", who has pulled away from the family and Christ, to complete a bucket list they wrote when they were twelve. It will be a fun, faith-filled journey that neither woman anticipated.  


Gumbo Weather: A Bijou Bayou Christmas Novella
Colorado sports reporter, Noel Winters heads to Louisiana after finding love letters in her deceased mother’s belongings. When her car breaks down near Bijou Bayou, a handsome, struggling pitcher and part-time mechanic comes to her rescue by fixing her car, and offering to help her find her father. Only problem? As her alias, Micki Barrett, Noel wrote an article criticizing Justin Gravois's big league debut. Now she’s fallen for him, can she ever find the courage to tell him the truth? Justin Gravois, professional pitcher, wanted to make his uncle proud. When he finally got his shot, his dream turned into a nightmare. It didn’t help that sports reporter, Micki Barrett, wrote such terrible things about him. Now, Justin wants to forget about the past and move forward to next season. When he falls in love with Noel he wonders if she’s an answer to his prayer.

Purchase Links:

Pelican Book Group:

Barnes & Noble:

Meet Marian:

Marian Pellegrin Merritt writes stories that blend her love of the mountains with her deep Southern roots. Her tagline, Where the Bayous Meets the Mountains, grew from both loves.
This Louisiana native writes her Inspirational Christmas romances and Southern women’s fiction with a Louisiana/Colorado connection from the Texas home she shares with her husband and a very spoiled Labradoodle.

Connect with her through

Buy links to Marian’s Books:!/cnec

Monday, November 14, 2016

Author Interview and Book Review: "The First Noelle" by Delia Latham

'Tis the season to curl up with a throw blanket and a good Christmas themed story, isn't it? Pelican Book Group is releasing their "Christmas Holiday Extravaganza" on Dec. 1, including The Widow's Captive by our very own Lucy Nel! We're so excited we're highlighting other authors in the Holiday Extravaganza. 

Delia Latham's writing is clean and skillful, making this novella a pleasure to read. At only 130 pages, it's the perfect way to spend a chilly winter afternoon.

Noelle Joy stopped celebrating Christmas ten years ago, when Trevor Holden skipped out on their long-planned Christmas Eve wedding. He destroyed her trust in men, crushed her belief in God, and left her cynical about love. Gone is the bright, cheery spirit of the girl she thinks of now as “the first Noelle.” Stronger and savvier, the new Noelle would never be found waiting at the altar for a groom who didn’t show.

When a famous-but-mysterious architect commissions her to decorate his mansion for a holiday event, Noelle finally returns to her hometown. Even as she finds an unexpected peace in facing ghosts from the past, her fiercely private client disturbs her. Michael Holliday is kind and considerate, but far too handsome…and hauntingly familiar.

Holliday didn’t choose Noelle to make his home a Christmas wonderland by accident. She’s the only one who can do the job he has in mind—and once she’s in his mansion, he never wants to let her go. But he’s hiding a secret that could destroy any chance of a relationship with the beautiful decorator.

A false persona. A shattering secret. Can love break down these insurmountable walls?

My review:

Thirty-something Noelle Joy is a reinvented professional, hardened after heartbreak ten years ago. She prides herself in being nothing like the first Noelle, who was naive, romantic, trusting, and vulnerable. 

Her love interest is mysterious from the moment we see him on the page, and his mystery grows deeper with every well-time hint offered by Latham. 

I had several theories about what his secret could be, but nothing prepared me for the truth! I promise you will never, ever guess what he's keeping from everyone. This unusual twist keeps an otherwise ordinary contemporary romance fresh and interesting. Though reality must be suspended somewhat, it doesn't detract from his character: Michael Holliday is a man in love who has gone to great lengths and deep pain to protect his loved ones. That's hard for a romance reader to resist. 

Being a Christian romance, you won't be surprised or disappointed by the satisfying resolution, but I will say this: for two people who have been dealt a tough, life-changing blow--not of their making--the happy ending is made all the sweeter by their lack of regret and bitterness, by their joy, and by their acceptance. 

It's a great lesson for any reader who is facing a holiday season under circumstances that are less than ideal. We can't change what God has ordained, but we can learn and grow from it. We can let it make us better instead of bitter. Sometimes we even figure out that it's okay to go back to the way we were before, when we were trusting, and faithful, and full of hope.

Author interview with Delia Latham:

1. According to your author bio, you're from east Texas, but the setting of this novel is very authentically set in beautiful northern California. The mountains, the winter climate, and the proximity to San Francisco are all integral to the story. How did you come to be familiar with the region, and what made you decide to set the fictional town of Hope Creek there?

Well, now, you spotted that. I'm delighted!

The truth comes out... I've lived in East Texas just under two years, as of this interview. I am a born-and-bred California gal, who lived in the Golden State -- central California, however, not the lovely northern portion of the state where The First Noelle is set -- for the first 50 years of my life. East Texas is beautiful, and I'm enjoying my time here (it's much, much closer to my grandchildren), but California will always and forever be home in my heart.

2. Speaking of Hope Creek, many of the names in "The First Noelle" seem to have symbolic meaning. For example, the main character's name: Noelle Joy. "Joyeux Noel" means "Merry Christmas" in French. Her love interest's name, Michael Holliday points to the holiday theme. Noelle's father, the Reverend Joy and his wife could be characterized as a couple who experience joy in each other and the Lord. Am I missing any? What other meanings can we derive from the names you gave your characters and setting?

I'm so glad you picked up on the name thing, Robin! I had fun with them in this book, right down to the town...Hope Creek. (You've read the story. Does Hope Creek seem as right to you as it did to me for this little tale?)

I love the name 'Noelle." It's so graceful...and joyous. It makes me smile. I wanted the title of the book to somehow tie in to a Christmas carol, so...since Noelle can be a female name, and I happen to love it, I settled on The First Noelle for the book title and Noelle for the heroine's name. Her surname was never a question, from the moment I started putting the book together. It had to be Joy. This was especially interesting to write, with Noelle's current less-than-joyful mindset and her faith challenge.

Michael's name does reflect the season, but I also was thinking ahead to Noelle's name change should there be a happy-ever-after, and she suddenly wear the hero's surname. Noelle Holliday would still give her an interesting seasonal moniker. Using your French example, she would then be Christmas Holiday.

The Joy family's innate spiritual peace and joy was such a pleasure to incorporate into the story line. I didn't push the holiday names with her parents or any other characters, however. My beloved daddy's middle name was Kennith. Noelle's relationship with her dad is similar to the one I shared with mine, so I 'allowed' Ken Joy to share the name. :) The other character names hold no particular significance, other than they felt right. The chauffeur/butler/handyman's name, Wynn, just happened, as did Josie's, Dr. Marcus Johnston's, and, of course, Oscar Tennerman's (oh, how I enjoyed penning Mr. Tennerman's character!).

3. Without giving away any spoilers, I have to ask about the shocking secret Michael Holliday has been keeping. I've never come across a twist like this in Christian Fiction! It was so unexpected, I nearly dropped my kindle when I discovered his secret. What inspired it?

I hope the shock wasn't unpleasant, dear girl! Disclaimer: I do not promise to replace dropped Kindles or other devices. :)

Michael's secret had to be really, really good - and completely without solvability. (OK, so that's not a word...but I have faith that every reader of this blog will 'get it.' lol) Nothing else would make his one, HUGE past failure forgivable. And, for honesty's sake I have to admit - that little side trip takes the reader down a genre road I often travel myself. Maybe one day I'll venture further down that path, and see how my readers react. I'm getting braver, but still taking baby steps. I hope you enjoyed the diversion!

Meet Delia:

Writing Heaven’s touch into earthly tales, Delia Latham puts her characters through the fire of earthly trials to bring them out victorious by the hand of God, His heavenly messengers, and good, old-fashioned love. You’ll always find a touch of the divine in this author’s sweet tales of romance.

Delia lives in East Texas with her husband Johnny. She’s a Christian wife, mother, grandmother, sister, friend, and author of inspirational romance…with a finger or two immersed in the design pool, where she creates beautiful marketing material for other authors. Delia treasures her role as child of the King and heir to the throne of God. She’s got a “thing” for Dr. Pepper and loves hearing from readers.

Contact this author at any of the following locations:

Amazon purchase link:

PBG purchase link: