Getting to Know Nicole Petrino-Salter + Giveaway!

*** Book Giveaway ***
See Contest Rules Below

Nicole Petrino-SalterI had the pleasure of *meeting* Nicole Petrino-Salter a handful of years ago via her blog, Into the Fire. I was immediately drawn to her honesty and openness when talking about the state of Christian fiction, and quite often, we share the same opinion. Since then she’s become a sounding board and a prayer warrior and best of all, a very dear friend.

Nicole has just released a new romance, Sweet Release, so I’m thrilled to welcome Nicole back to tell us a little about herself and the new story.

Sweet ReleaseFirst, here’s the back cover blurb for Sweet Release (and isn’t that cover just gorgeous!):

Love is just a four letter word until its true revelation hits hard in the hearts of six people who have yet to experience it in its purest form. The journey these individuals make to realize the origin and reality of genuine love is both gut-wrenching and rapturous, searching to find the sweet release to love freely. A film critic, an architectural designer, a rape victim, a computer wizard, a lonely divorcée, and a longtime bachelor pastor discover love is far more powerful than anything they’ve experienced in their pasts.

Nicole, thank you for stopping by today! And congratulations on your fantastic new release! So excited for you!!! What do you hope your readers take away from the story?

In the Foreword for Sweet Release I give a warning to readers stating this particular story is definitely Christian Fiction and heavy on romance. I’m not pulling any punches with this one. If a reader doesn’t like stories about the journey to and in faith, this is probably not the book for them. Six characters in this book have either had bad experiences with love, have never known love, and/or wonder if they will ever experience it the way it was “meant to be” if such an ideal even exists. One of my hopes for readers of this story is that they will be able to feel what one – or all of – these individuals experience physically, emotionally, and spiritually as they seek the road to romance and love.   

What are you working on right now?

At this time I have three novels in various stages of progress, but they’ve been this way for a long time. I trust the Lord will redirect me to them anytime, and I’m praying He will restore me to their completion. He once said to me during the long endeavor to write my first novel, a huge tome that took years to finish, “If you pick up the pen, I’ll give you the words.” I put it on my business card, and I’ve never forgotten it. At the time, I wrote that 700+ page novel in longhand, thus “the pen”. Now I need to do my part to get back to the keyboard and allow Him to fulfill His words to me.  

What keeps you writing during the difficult times?

I wish I could give you a genuine answer/solution to this question. I’m not the most disciplined writer at any time, let alone during difficult times. I’m exceptionally emotional and difficult times tend to crush me where creativity is required. Honestly, it’s like a I lose all confidence and am stunted until they pass. I do find that afterward the restoration taps into a deep expressive part of me, and I can usually translate that into writing again.


About Nicole ~

Nicole Petrino-Salter writes love stories with a passion. After spending over 30 years in Thoroughbred horse racing, she wrote her first novel Hope of Glory about racing and life on the track. Since then she has written several books. Nicole lives just south of Seattle, Washington, and is devoted to the Lord Jesus Christ, her family, friends, pets, and writing novels for His glory. You can find her most days at hopeofglory.typepad.com.

Nicole writes Love Stories and Romance.

Get in touch with Nicole ~

Website | Twitter

Purchase Sweet Release ~

Amazon

Other books by Nicole Petrino-Salter ~

Amazon


Sweet Release*** Book Giveaway ***
Nicole has graciously offered to give away one ebook copy of Sweet Release to one commenter who answers this question:

Why do you read romance novels that don’t adhere to the “squeaky clean” mantra of most Christian romance?

This contest ends Sunday, May 29, 2016 at 11:59 pm CST. I will post the winner on Monday, May 30, 2016. Winner will be chosen via Random.org.

New Book Release Schedule!

ScheduleBack on March 8, 2016 I posted a tentative book release schedule. A mere two months later, that schedule has changed drastically, so here’s the new *tentative* schedule:

October 4, 2016 – Risking Love (Where the Heart Is book #1) – As I will likely–hopefully–soon be recognized as a Qualified Independent Publisher, I’m moving Risking Love‘s release up by four months. Releasing this novel in 2016 means I’ll be able to enter it in some of the big Christian fiction literary contests in 2017. Look for the cover reveal the first part of July (I’ve seen it already, and it’s absolutely gorgeous! George at Think Cap Design Studio created another masterpiece!)

February 6, 2017 – Capturing Beauty (Where the Heart Is book #2) – I’ve got to have one book come out in time for Valentine’s Day, right?

May 2017 – Planting Hope (Where the Heart Is book #3) – This is a very tentative date as I’ve got most of the book to write yet, but it’s my goal.

As for the Coming Home Series novella’s, they’re still a work-in-progress and will release as they are completed.

Thy Will Be Done

Thy Will Be DoneOne of the biggest questions people ask God is “Why?” Why am I going through this? If you’re such a good God, why am hurting? Confused? Broken?

Much or most of the time, the answer isn’t ours to know, rather we’re to trust and give, whatever the situation is, over to Him and surrender. His will be done, not mine. The song below says much better than I can.

Thy Will” by Hillary Scott & the Scott Family

Spring 2016 – Novel Anticipation

I can’t think of much better than sitting outside in the spring sunshine with a book in hand, can you? (Assuming spring gets here!) Here are a few titles that would be perfect for that anticipated sunshiny day.

Her One and OnlyHER ONE AND ONLY
(Porter Family Series)
by Becky Wade

Gray Fowler, star NFL tight end, is being pursued by a stalker, so his team hires a protection agency to keep Gray under the watch of a bodyguard at all times. When Gray meets Dru Porter, an agent assigned to him, he’s indignant. How can an attractive young female half his size possibly protect him?

But Dru’s a former Marine, an expert markswoman, and a black belt. She’s also ferociously determined to uncover the identity of Gray’s stalker. And she’s just as determined to avoid any kind of romantic attachment between herself and the rugged football player with the mysterious past. But the closer they get to finding the stalker, the closer they grow to each other. As the danger rises, can Dru and Gray entrust their hearts–and their lives–to one another?

 

Silence in the DarkSILENCE IN THE DARK
(Logan Point Series #4)
by Patricia Bradley

Two years ago, Bailey Adams broke off her engagement to Danny Maxwell and fled Logan Point for the mission field in Chihuahua, Mexico. Now she’s about to return home to the States, but there’s just one problem. After Bailey meets with the uncle of one of the mission children in the city, she barely escapes a sudden danger. Now she’s on the run–she just doesn’t know from whom. To make matters worse, people who help her along the way find themselves in danger too–including Danny. Who is after her? Will they ever let up? And in the midst of the chaos, can Bailey keep herself from falling in love with her rescuer all over again?

Song of SilenceSONG OF SILENCE
by Cynthia Ruchti

Lucy and Charlie Tuttle agree on one thing: they’re committed to each other for life. Trouble is, neither of them expected life to look like this. While Charlie retired early, Lucy is devoted to a long-term career . . . until the day she has no choice.

Forced to retire from her position as music educator in a small Midwestern K-8 school, Lucy can only watch helplessly as the program her father started years ago disintegrates before her eyes. As the music fades and a chasm separates her from the passion of her heart, Lucy wonders if her faith’s song has gone silent, too. The musical score of her life seems to be missing all the notes.

When a simple misstep threatens to silence Lucy forever, a young boy and his soundless mother change the way she sees—and hears—everything.

Close to YouCLOSE TO YOU
by Kara Isaac

A disgraced scholar running from her past and an entrepreneur chasing his future find themselves thrown together—and fall in love—on a Tolkien tour of New Zealand.

Allison Shire (yes, like where the Hobbits live) is a disgraced academic who is done with love. Her belief in “happily ever after” ended the day she discovered her husband was still married to a wife she knew nothing about. She finally finds a use for her English degree by guiding tours through the famous sites featured in the Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit movies. By living life on the road and traveling New Zealand as a luxury tour guide, Allison manages to outrun the pain of her past she can’t face.

Jackson Gregory was on the cusp of making it big. Then suddenly his girlfriend left him—for his biggest business competitor—and took his most guarded commercial secrets with her. To make matters worse, the Iowa farm that has been in his family for generations is facing foreclosure. Determined to save his parents from financial ruin, he’ll do whatever it takes to convince his wealthy great-uncle to invest in his next scheme, which means accompanying him to the bottom of the world to spend three weeks pretending to be a die-hard Lord of the Rings fan, even though he knows nothing about the stories. The one thing that stands between him and his goal is a know-it-all tour guide who can’t stand him and pegged him as a fake the moment he walked off the plane.

When Allison leads the group through the famous sites of the Tolkien movies, she and Jackson start to see each other differently, and as they keep getting thrown together on the tour, they find themselves drawn to each other. Neither expected to fall in love again, but can they find a way beyond their regrets to take a chance on the one thing they’re not looking for?

Breaking FreeBREAKING FREE
by Jennifer Slattery

Women’s ministry leader and Seattle housewife Alice Goddard appears to have it all. But when her credit and debit cards are denied, she begins an investigation into the family’s finances—and discovers her husband trapped in a downward spiral of lies. Can they break free from his deception in time to save their marriage?

Assault on Saint Agnes Review + Giveaway!

*** Book Giveaway ***
Enter Below

Assault on Saint AgnesOne of my favorite modern-day authors is Vince Flynn  (who unfortunately passed on a few years back). I loved his realistic portrayal of geo-political issues, and in spite of not always agreeing with Mitch Rapp’s (Vince’s hero) method of dealing with the bad guys, you still rooted for him. I always wondered what a Christian would do given the same situations.

Well, that question’s been answered in Joseph Courtemanche’s Assault on Saint Agnes. The book begins right after the church of Saint Agnes was attacked by terrorists. Rather, the bad guys attempted to attack, but their plans were foiled by former spook and Arabic linguist, Bobby Kurtz, who was simply at the church to worship. He did worship that day, by saving all but one parishioner and eliminating the terrorists.

That’s just the beginning of Bobby’s problems as he’s *asked* to become part of the shadow government, and they begin uncovering a far more hideous and widespread terrorism plot.

Bobby Kurtz is a very unlikely hero when you first meet him, as he’s been retired from the military for several years and has since bulked up to Santa size. And yes, jokes abound at Bobby’s expense, but Bobby always has a comeback. He’s got this sarcastic wit that makes me laugh out loud, and makes him come across as not only likeable but very realistic.

And then there are the scenes told from the terrorists’ point of view as they’re planning their impending attack. The scenes are chilling in their realistic portrayal. Knowing the author has experience in these types of scenarios, you realize not only how true-to-life those scenes are, but how plausible they are. Adding to the chill-factor is the fact that this book takes place in my back yard, and many of the locales mentioned are places I frequent.

One other aspect of this story I really enjoyed was the romance between Bobby and his wife, Grace, again painting a realistic portrayal of a husband and wife who love and respect and fight with each other amidst the turmoil of their lives. The relationship makes Bobby seem just like the rest of us.

So, if you’re looking for a sweet romance or cozy mystery, pass on this book, but if you want a can’t-put-down thriller, you’ll love Assault on Saint Agnes! I can’t wait for Joe’s next book, which won’t be out soon enough!

Also, if you didn’t read the introduction to Joseph Courtemanche on my Tuesday blog, go here to catch up.


About Assault on Saint Agnes ~

When terrorists assault Saint Agnes Church in St. Paul, Minnesota, they expect to find a congregation of lambs: they get Bobby Kurtz, instead.  An unrepentant Cold Warrior, Kurtz destroys the terror cell with violent finality.

Against his will, Kurtz is pulled back into the life he left behind decades before.  He reluctantly picks up the burden of hunting the terrorists in our midst.  He risks his life, and his marriage, in a single-minded pursuit of victory over evil.

Working with a shadowy government agency, Kurtz uses all of his skills and experience to foil a plan that would plunge the Twin Cities back into the Stone Age.  The final battle rages across the plains during a Christmas Eve blizzard in a story that will leave the reader pleading for more of Kurtz and his team of experts.

Purchase Assault on Saint Agnes ~

Amazon | B&N | Autographed by Author

About Joseph Courtemanche ~

Joseph CourtemancheJoseph Courtemanche is a former Police Officer and Middle East/North Africa analyst. He is a distinguished veteran of the Naval Security Group of the United States Navy, and an Arabic Linguist with training at the University of Minnesota and the Defense Language Institute (Honors Graduate). Joseph holds several military awards, including two flag letters of commendation for his work in providing real-time intelligence support to commanders in the field. His experience provides the background that’s crucial to his writing in the thriller genre. He is a graduate of the University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, and holds degrees from two other colleges as well.

Find Joe at ~

Website | Facebook | Twitter


Assault on Saint Agnes*** Book Giveaway ***
Joe has graciously offered to give away two paperback copies of Assault on Saint Agnes! To enter, fill in the Rafflecopter form below.
This contest is open to residents of the continental US states only. Contest ends Tuesday, April 26, 2016 at 12:00 am CST. Winner will be posted on Wednesday, April 27, 2016.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Introducing Debut Author, Joseph Courtemanche! + Giveaways!

And the winners are
Denise W and Kay D!
CONGRATULATIONS!!!

*** 2- Book Giveaway ***
Enter below


Joseph CourtemancheHow do you properly introduce someone who has a larger-than-life personality, someone who is a distinguished veteran of the Naval Security Group of the United States Navy, and an Arabic linguist, so they guy’s got a few smarts. He’s not afraid to speak his mind on tough subjects, which is something more of us need the guts to do. (Check out his blog, Commotion in the Pews.)

Besides writing, one of Joe’s passions is becoming Santa Claus every Christmas season, and he even prays for all the children he meets. Joe has an amazing heart for all God’s people, and is and active servant in his community where he lives that out in his daily walk.

Joe Courtemanche giveawayI’ve been privileged to get to know Joe over the past couple of years, and I’m so excited to introduce him to my readers. Joe’s debut novel, Assault on Saint Agnes, released yesterday. I’ve read the book already, and let me tell you, it’s a page-turner! Come back on Thursday for the review.

For now, though, let me turn the blog over to my friend, the inimitable Joseph Courtemanche!

Somewhere, under the Mediterranean’s surface, in the 1980s there was a young Bobby Kurtz riding around in an attack submarine with a group of professionals you’d never imagine in your wildest dreams.

Maybe, just maybe, he’s in the house next door to you thirty years later.

Bobby Kurtz is the hero of my award-winning (you have to say that if you’ve won the Genesis award, it’s in the rules) debut novel Assault on Saint Agnes. He’s just a guy who served his country and picked up some special skills along the way.

People ask me if I’m Bobby Kurtz. No. For one thing, he’s way better looking. Secondly, I ask Bobby to … well, who am I kidding. I modeled him on my own experiences. Once upon a time, I was a “spook” and served with elite teams of intelligence professionals in strange places we won’t talk about. Sometimes we shared dinner (for a month-at-a-time) with people whom we loving referred to as “Our friends, the fur-bearing aquatic mammals.” Our way of saying Navy S.E.A.L. teams.

Mind you, I was never a SEAL. Nor do I claim to have even applied. I’d never make it past the application at the time I was in the military. The reasons were simple: I was as nearsighted as Mister Magoo without my glasses, and I hated running. SEALS have eyes like hawks, and they run all the time. Not my cup of tea.

However, Bobby Kurtz did more than I did, and he spent some quality time with the SEALS in the forthcoming prequel. In this book, he’s a man challenged with an atrocity unfolding in front of him. Terrorists attack Saint Agnes on a cold winter morning. Now he has to use the skills God gifted him with in order to save the lives of the congregation: including his own hide!

I try very hard in this story to provide a thriller capable of engrossing the reader with something Vince Flynn might have written. I write from a Christian perspective, so there’s no sex and no swearing. As another author once wrote on the topic, you really don’t want to read any sex scenes I might muddy the book with by accident. Consequently, it meets all the guidelines for the American Christian Fiction Writers and is sold within that genre.

It’s a book that provides a great story for Christians without the sex and cursing. It provides a great story for the average thriller reader who is curious about how a Christian hero might deal with some very ugly things. It also provides a story that was well reviewed by Jews, Wiccans, atheists, and my dog Stormy. The first three groups were beta readers. Stormy is my beloved rescue dog. Trust me, she’s heard it read out loud for the audio book and never once bit me. Very good for a sensitive Sheltie.

There’s an ebook version, an audio book (the link was not yet up on Sunday, 17 April. I expect it any minute), and paperback. If you want an autographed copy, you can go to http://www.assaultbook.com and take a gander. Hit the tab at the top for the flavor you desire.

It is my hope that this book opens the door for more action-oriented Christian fiction. My publisher, Athanatos Christian Ministries, has rolled the dice on a new author. I hope you’re one of the readers that make them glad they chose me.


About Joseph Courtemanche ~

Joseph Courtemanche is a former Police Officer and Middle East/North Africa analyst. He is a distinguished veteran of the Naval Security Group of the United States Navy, and an Arabic linguist with training at the University of Minnesota and the Defense Language Institute (Honors Graduate).

Joseph’s debut novel, Assault on Saint Agnes, won the American Christian Fiction Writers 2015 Genesis award for best novel in the Mystery/Suspense/Thriller category. He has been published in Splickety magazine as well.

Joseph holds several military awards, including two flag letters of commendation for his work in providing real-time intelligence support to commanders in the field. His experience provides the background that’s crucial to his writing in the thriller genre. He is a graduate of the University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, and holds degrees from two other colleges as well.

As a performer, he’s appeared on television in a variety of commercials, and does voice over work for both radio and television. He delights in doing his own audio books.

His greatest joy is working as a professional Santa for the last fifteen years, appearing in a number of television spots as the Jolly Old Elf.

He lives in Saint Paul, Minnesota with his wife and dog. Both of whom tolerate him fairly well.

Find Joe at ~

Website | Facebook | Twitter

Assault on Saint AgnesAbout Assault on Saint Agnes ~

When terrorists assault Saint Agnes Church in Saint Paul, Minnesota, they expect to find a congregation of lambs: they get Bobby Kurtz instead. An unrepentant Cold Warrior, Kurtz destroys the terror cell with violent finality. Against his will, Kurtz is pulled back into the life he left behind decades before. He reluctantly picks up the burden of hunting the terrorists in our midst. He risks his life, and his marriage, in a single-minded pursuit of victory over evil. Working with a shadowy government agency, Kurtz uses all of his skills and experience to foil a plan that would plunge the Twin Cities back into the Stone Age. The final battle rages across the plains during a Christmas Eve blizzard in a story that will leave the reader pleading for more of Kurtz and his team of experts.

Purchase Assault on Saint Agnes ~

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Direct from Author


Assault on Saint Agnes*** Book Giveaway ***
Joe has graciously offered to give away two paperback copies of Assault on Saint Agnes! To enter, fill in the Rafflecopter form below.
This contest is open to residents of the continental US states only. Contest ends Tuesday, April 26, 2016 at 12:00 am CST. Winner will be posted on Wednesday, April 27, 2016.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Retreating Again

Writing RetreatI’m off on another writing retreat this week, this time with my husband, so we’ll see how much writing I actually get done. His goal is to spend as much time as possible on the golf course. My goal is to stop changing major plot points in the novella I’m working on so that I can actually type The End before I go back and completely revise the first half of the book to match the second half. Got that? Yeah, me neither. Right now, the novella is a mess!

But please stay tuned to the next few weeks as I’ll be introducing new writers and new releases, all with book giveaways! Also, I’ll be having a giveaway plus special book pricing next week as two books will be celebrating their book birthdays.

Novel Recommendation – The Hearts We Mend

The Hearts We MendSo far this year I’ve read eighteen books and, for the most part, they’ve been okay reads, but few have wowed me. Much of that is owed to me being a super-picky reader–it’s not easy to make my Favorite list. So when a book does make that list, I have to tell you about it.

The Hearts We Mend by Kathryn Springer is a gritty, real-life, authentic characters romance. The romance developed slowly and organically while getting to know imperfect characters. Evie is your stylishly dressed, consummate planner who’s also the Director of Women’s Ministry at her church while Jack is your rough-around-the-edge, take-life-as-it-comes maintenance man at her church, so conflict is naturally built-in. But, the author doesn’t stop there as Evie is drawn out of her comfort zone into a rough part of town where she’s introduced to a colorful variety of people Jack is serving simply because that’s who is he. Now that’s swoon-worthy! Combine these well-deep characters with a page-turning story, and you have a book I couldn’t put down.

While this is book #2 in the Banister Falls series, you could easily get into it without reading book #1, The Dandelion Field – but you’ll want to read book #1 anyway. I’m hoping there will be a third Banister Falls book from Kathryn Springer.

About The Hearts We Mend ~

Planning and Post-It notes are the epitome of Evie’s life. But when she meets Jack, her life gets more than a little complicated.

Thirteen years ago, Evie’s firefighter husband was killed in the line of duty, leaving her to raise their young son, Cody, alone. Now, Cody is marrying the love of his life, and as he packs up his belongings, the house feels as empty as Evie’s heart. But for all her planning and mad organizational skills, Evie could never have anticipated the dramatic shift her life is about to make.

Tattooed, rough-around-the-edges Jack raises quite a few eyebrows in the tight-knit community of Banister Falls. Where Evie’s life is stream-lined, Jack’s approach to living is moment-by-moment. But as Evie gets drawn into Jack’s world—a world that isn’t as safe or predictable as the one she’s worked so hard to create—he challenges her to open her eyes to the problems outside the walls of the church.

Jack doesn’t make Evie feel comfortable, but he definitely makes her feel something. Something she hasn’t felt since Max passed away—or, maybe ever. Because even though Jack isn’t anything like her late husband, he just might be everything she needs.