Monday, August 26, 2013

Rebellious Heart and Jody Hedlund Interview

Good Morning!!!

I am THRILLED to be able to introduce this fabulous story to all you lovely, lovely ladies. *wink* As you know, Jody Hedlund is absolutely one of my favorite authors, as well as being simply a marvelous woman who shines with the light of Christ. 

Her latest release REBELLIOUS HEART (it's available Set. 15, but of course you can PRE-ORDER it right now...jus' sayin'...) is a story that will stay with you forever, just as all her others have done.

The Revolutionary era has always been one of my favorites so when I heard Jody had written a story set in Boston in the 1760's I just about flipped! I asked Jody a few questions about her latest story, and now that I know more, I love it more--and I know you will, too! 

But you may be asking, "So, Amber--have you read it? Where's your review?" 
Answer: No. I haven't read it yet, BUT my influencer copy is coming soon and believe you me--when I get it I will be reading it immediately and writing my review just as quick. *grin*

OK, one last thing...did someone say GIVEAWAY?!?! That's right, my friends, Jody is giving away a copy of REBELLIOUS HEART-- so do yourself a favor and enter! You must be a follower of my blog or FB page, comment and leave your email address if you want to be entered to win. Easy-peasy, right?

Heeeeere's the interview!....

What prompted you to write a story in this era?

I was really interested in writing another story inspired by a famous couple from history similar to my books, The Preacher's Bride and The Doctor's Lady. So I compiled a list of various couples that I thought had unique courtships and fascinating lives.

During the course of my research, I came across several biographies regarding John and Abigail Adams. As I read more about them, I realized that the stories about how they met and courted would make a wonderful book, especially because they faced numerous obstacles in their quest for love.

As most history buffs know, John and Abigail Adams went on to have a wonderful marriage full of love and friendship. They penned numerous letters to one another during their lifetime. And although much has been recorded of their marriage, very little has been written about their early days and courtship. I thought it would be fascinating to bring them to life for our modern generation.

What did you love most about these characters as you were writing them?
I loved getting to explore some of the issues of the colonial era.Both Susanna and Ben are facing discrimination, but each on a different level. Susanna faces discrimination because she's a woman and Ben because of his lower social status. I loved being able to wrestle through some of the issues they dealt with as a result of the discrimination.

I also enjoyed delving into some of the Pre-Revolutionary War tension that was beginning to escalate at that time. Ben is already involved in the unrest. But Susanna is determined to obey her God-ordained authorities, even if she doesn't always agree.

Of course, as the story unfolds both are challenged beyond what they think they can endure, and they both have to make life-threatening choices. It was exciting to see these characters grow throughout the story.

What message do you hope people will take away from this story?

It’s my hope that readers will walk away encouraged by the sweet relationship of this famous couple. Even more than that, I hope readers will take courage from their compassion, bravery, and willingness to stand against tyranny for God’s higher laws of justice and mercy.

THANK YOU SO MUCH, JODY! I am so happy you were willing to take the time to answer my questions. God bless you as you share your special gifts with us, we love you!

Happy Reading!

Thursday, August 15, 2013

My Hope is Found

You wanted it. You waited for it....and actually, you are still waiting for it, BUT your patience will soon be rewarded, and oh, what a reward it is!

Book Rating: Up All Night'er

MY HOPE IS FOUND is SOOOOOO-ho-ho-ho good! Literally, I read it in one sitting. I was up until the wee hours of the morning, but it was way worth it.

If you have read the first two books then you know about the delicious drama, romance and intrigue that Joanne has so craftily woven and you are simply gagging to know the rest! This book delivers on every account. Though I must say, I could have done with another kiss or two and especially a epilogue at the end, but that's just me.

In book two a new character was introduced--Toby. (I can hear you swooning from here! He's so dreamy, I know.) After the heartache that Lonnie has endured, she begins to think he might be the one to heal her heart--if only she could forget Gideon. Raise your hand if you are on "team Toby". OK, now raise your hand if you are on team Gideon. LOL Sweet! Seems like its about 50/50! *teehee* The tensions mount in book three and I simply cannot give anything away, because I know you will want to find out for yourself who she chooses....

I think Joanne did a great job of showing the growth of the characters. At the beginning of book one I really could feel Lonnie's innocence, immaturity (as in young), and lack of self confidence. And now, she's much wiser and has grown so much. This goes for all the characters. I think that was one of my favorite things about this story. I got so attached to these characters, its hard to say good-bye to them.

Well, I could go on, but I imagine it will just make you all the more impatient so I'll be quiet for now. BUT, this is not the last you will hear about this book!!! We've got some really fun things coming up as the release gets closer, so I'll keep you posted! This book releases Oct 15, by the way. So if you want, you can make a paper chain to help you count down the days.

Happy reading! (or in this case...happy waiting... LOL Don't hate me. *wink*)
Buy it!

Tuesday, August 6, 2013


I must say that this book was quite a pleasant surprise.

Book Rating: Up All Night'er

It's no secret that I'm a BIG Hatcher fan. Her novels are always sweet and full of inspiration.  This novel was no different, and it got me really excited for the last book of the series which comes out in the next several months, I think. (There's a few pages of Beloved--the next book--at the back of this book, and I was SO hooked!! I have a feeling this will be my favorite of all Hatcher's series....)

The two main characters, Hugh and Julia are marvelous! Their struggles were very real, and I loved the romance. Though I have to admit--and this might just be me--but, I REALLY wanted more drama! LOL (Have you heard me say that before?) More kisses, more danger, etc. That being said, I still think you will love this!

Hugh Brennan is trying to hide a difficult past as he searches for his lost sisters. On his way to Boise he stumbles upon a young widow who needs some help on her ranch. Julia tries not to let her heart be stolen by this dashing and somewhat mysterious stranger. He is very kind and attentive, yet her previous marriage was so hard she cannot allow herself to trust another man again.

Oh, I highly, HIGHLY recommend this! The end will touch your heart, and you will be gagging for the next book, believe you me!

Happy Reading!
Buy it!

Thursday, August 1, 2013

August's Author of the Month: Joan Hochstetler

Good Morning, Ladies, and Happy August!

Summer is in full-swing and if you are like me, you're baking in the heat and giving thanks for AC! *teehee*

It was such an honor to feature Tracie Peterson last month and I hope you were able to read her little interview and get to know her better. I just love her!!! Don't forget she has another book coming out soon...but I'll keep you posted on the release date, don't worry.

I couldn't be more thrilled about this month's author! Joan Hochstetler is a WONDERFUL author and if you haven't read any of her amazing novels, well now's your chance! *wink*

I've just reviewed DAUGHTER OF LIBERTY, a book that I truly loved, and Joan has graciously offered to do a giveaway!!! So, if you want to be entered, please comment below with your email address and I'll put your name in the hat.

Well, let's get on with it, shall we? Enjoy the interview!

Tell us about you!! Please include something funny/silly about yourself if you want!

I’m the daughter of Mennonite farmers and grew up on a farm near Kokomo, Indiana. I was a voracious reader from the time I made friends with Dick and Jane, but strangely enough as a young person I never had any ambition whatsoever to be a writer. I don’t recall writing any fiction at all. I really wanted to be an artist, but instead I got married and had babies, and life happened.

Then in 1977 I had this dream. Seriously! I had a dream one night that was so intriguing it kept haunting me. I finally decided that if I was going to make any sense of it, I was going to have to figure out who the characters were and what their story was, and the only logical way to do that was to write it all down. That turned into my epic medieval tragedy, which I swear I will get published someday! Anyway, that was the beginning of my life of adventure, intrigue, war, and romance.

What got me started writing about the American colonial period was The Scarlet Pimpernel, a fabulous TV movie from 1982 starring Anthony Andrews and Jane Seymour. It was set during the French Revolution. I absolutely ADORED it and knew immediately that I had to write my own version of the story. Alas, I wasn’t in the least interested in the French Revolution, and anyway there was no reason to duplicate that setting. Luckily we had our own Revolution, and my hero turned out to be a girl. And so the saga began . . .

So far 4 volumes of my American Patriot Series have been released, and I’ve also published one contemporary novel, One Holy Night, which was the Christian Small Publishers 2009 Book of the Year. It’s set to release in a new edition in October with a gorgeous new cover.

In my everyday persona, I’m an author, a professional editor, the publisher of a small press, Sheaf House Publishers, and the wife of a retired United Methodist pastor. I live in Elkhart, Indiana, and I have three daughters, four grandchildren, and five step-grandchildren.

Have you always had a passion for history? What draws you to this time period?

Passion . . . not so much when I was young. I doubt most kids are that interested in the past; they’re pretty much in the here and now. But in high school I enjoyed history and social studies, and that interest really took off in college.

I was raised in the Mennonite Church, and faith, family, church, and community are very important to Amish and Mennonites. The Hochstetler family has an especially interesting history that’s well known in the community and is regularly recounted. You’ll find a summary on my author website at In 1757, during the French and Indian War, my ancestors were caught up in one of the last Indian attacks on the border settlements in Pennsylvania. Three family members were killed, and three were carried off into captivity and returned some years later. That had a powerful impact on my life and interests, and, in fact, a distant cousin Bob Hostetler, a well-known author, and I are writing a fictional version of our ancestors’ story that we’re hoping to release by the first of the year. It’s a truly inspiring story.

That’s what first drew my attention to the colonial era, though my greatest area of interest has become the American Revolution. I love to do research and to learn about the lives of people in earlier times, and then bring the past to life for readers, especially for those who think they hate history. One of my greatest rewards is when I get feedback from readers who loved my books and mention that they never enjoyed history in school, but that my stories brought the era to life for them. I love that! That’s exactly what I’m trying to do.

My greatest concern, though, is that knowledge of our history and the values and principles our nation was founded on is eroding at an alarming rate, which doesn’t bode well for our future. I hope through this series to spark a greater understanding of and appreciation for our Founding era and the heroic men and women who sacrificed so much to bring this nation to birth.

What is your favorite scripture story and why?

Of all the wonderful, inspiring stories the Bible contains, the story of Jesus’ crucifixion and resurrection touches me the most deeply. It reminds me how much my sins cost Him, and how very much God loves me to make such an incredible sacrifice for my salvation. There’s no more beautiful story in any book that exists.

If you were stranded on a desert island, what three historical christian romance books would you take with you?

Oh, that’s a really hard question! There are so many good ones. Well, I’m going to go for 3 I haven’t read yet by authors whose work I especially enjoy. First would be Laura Frantz’s Love’s Awakening, Book 2 of the Ballantyne Legacy Series, which releases in September. I’ve read book 1 and can’t wait to read the upcoming volumes in the series.

Second would be new author Lori Benton’s sophomore novel, The Pursuit of Tamsen Littlejohn, which comes out in April 2014. Her debut novel, Burning Sky, comes out this month, and it’s excellent! One of my all-time favorite historical novels is Siri Mitchell’s A Heart Most Worthy, and I love all her contemporary romances too. So my third choice would be She Walks in Beauty, which has gotten excellent reviews, and which I haven’t had the chance to read yet.

These ought to keep my mind off the burning desert sands while I’m a castaway!

Your characters are very strong and yet they have struggles like we all do. How do you create living/breathing characters?

A lot of what my characters go through relates in some way to my own struggles over the years and those of people close to me, and what I’ve learned in the process. That’s probably true for most authors; to a great extent we write out of personal experience. The truth is that it takes some living to get to the point where you’ve suffered enough of the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune, as Hamlet put it, before you develop the maturity to interpret life on a profound level. In other words, you have to get old. As the saying goes, sadder but wiser. It’s the rare young person who has that kind of insight, though there are the occasional prodigies—or perhaps they’re just daring enough to get their heads well bloodied early on and draw the connections!

Writing a long series, such as my American Patriot Series, allows you to get deeply into your characters, to know their histories, what shaped them, and the hidden depths of their personalities even outside the scope of the story. I have a great advantage in developing my characters because I’m setting them in the midst of the real events and people of the American Revolution. I simply allow them to interact with what’s going on around them in the natural way they would as individuals. Once you get to know your characters very well, it becomes relatively easy to discern how they would react, what actions they would initiate, and what their emotional responses would be. But not always. Sometimes they surprise me, and I love that!

Bio and contact info

An award-winning author and professional editor, J. M. Hochstetler is the daughter of Mennonite farmers, a graduate of Indiana University, and a lifelong student of history. She is the author of the American Patriot Series, the only comprehensive historical fiction series on the American Revolution. Her contemporary novel, One Holy Night, was the Christian Small Publishers 2009 Book of the Year and a finalist for the American Christian Fiction Writers 2009 Carol Award. She is also the publisher and editorial director of Sheaf House Publishers.

Her books are available on, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Koorong, and other online retailers and can be ordered in bookstores. They can also be ordered from Sheaf House at or readers can contact her directly at

You’ll also find her on Facebook at

How fun was that?! I love all the in-depth information you shared, Joan--thank you SO much for being on my blog this month!! I can't wait for people to get to know you like I have! You are truly making a difference with your stories in a time when this country really needs to be inspired and reminded of how great America is, and the rich history we share. Thank you again!

If you want to be entered to win Joan's first book DAUGHTER OF LIBERTY, don't forget to comment! God bless you all!

Happy Reading!!!