Wednesday, July 01, 2015

The Author's Casting Call, episode 31: Heather Day Gilbert Casts TRIAL BY TWELVE

Welcome back to The Author's Casting Call! Today's episode features Casting Director (and author!) Heather Day Gilbert and her picks for a cast for a film version of her latest novel, Trial by Twelve!


Tess Spencer loves her low-key job at the Crystal Mountain Spa, which allows her plenty of down-time with her one-year old daughter and lawyer husband, Thomas. But when a pool installation turns up eight skeletons in the spa's back yard, Tess becomes entangled in a sleuthing job destined to go awry.

As the investigation gets underway, someone dumps a fresh body near the excavated burial site, confirming unspeakable fears. A serial killer has returned to Buckneck, West Virginia...a skilled hunter with a unique taste in prey.

When Tess agrees to help the cunning Detective Tucker gather clues from the inside, she discovers the posh spa hides more than dead bodies. Even as she sifts through layers of deceit, Tess realizes too late that the killer's sights have zeroed in on her.

Unpredictable psychological mystery replete with memorable characters, Trial by Twelve is Book Two in A Murder in the Mountains series.
Click on the name of the actor for a link to a picture, so you can "see" what these characters look like. And be sure to follow my for links back to all previous episodes! ~Serena
Casting Trial by Twelve
by Heather Day Gilbert, special for EIR

How fun to be part of the Author's Casting Call! I've enjoyed seeing pics of everyone's characters...especially Sally Bradley's Kept inspirations, which I had already checked out on Pinterest because I was so curious!
My Appalachian mystery series, A Murder in the Mountains, has a recurring "gang" of characters. The most recent installment is Trial by Twelve, Book 2 in the series.
When I envisioned my main character, Glock-toting amateur sleuth Tess Spencer, I visualized the lovely Sherilyn Fenn from her Twin Peaks days, only with blue eyes and straight hair/bangs. Also, my original cover art here represented Tess well (albeit hidden behind a white rose!).
Tess is totes in love with her handsome lawyer hubby, the level-headed Thomas Spencer. For him, I wanted someone with blond hair and brown eyes, made of lean muscle...someone like Justin Hartley.
Tess' best friend, Charlotte Michaels (the George to Tess' Nancy Drew) is tall and gazelle-like with smoky amber eyes and a gypsy spirit. For her, I pictured model Magali Amadei.
Finally, the German character Axel Becker (enigmatic florist at Fabled Flowers) walks onto the scene in each book. Tess mentally compares him to Dolph Lundgren, since he's built like a brick wall and has a jaw of steel . And we won't know what he's really doing hanging around Buckneck, West Virginia, until the last book in A Murder in the Mountains releases!
Find more visuals for all my characters (because I LOVE visuals) on my Trial by Twelve board here.


HEATHER DAY GILBERT enjoys writing stories about authentic, believable marriages. Born and raised in the West Virginia mountains, she believes that bittersweet, generational stories are in her blood. A graduate of Bob Jones University, Heather has been married for eighteen years and has three children.

Heather's Viking historical novel, God's Daughter, was an Amazon Norse Bestseller for an entire year. She is also the author of  Miranda Warning and Trial by Twelve, Books One and Two in A Murder in the Mountains mystery series, and the Indie Publishing Handbook: Four Key Elements for the Self-Publisher.

For more information, check out or follow Heather on twitter @heatherdgilbert.

Monday, June 29, 2015

The Author's Casting Call, episode 30: Varina Denman Casts JUSTIFIED

On this episode of the Author's Casting Call, we are joined by Casting Director (and author!) Varina Denman whose second novel recently released. Here's a little bit about the book:

About Justified by Varina Denman
(courtesy of the author)
In a small Texas town ruled by gossip, Fawn Blaylock believes others are justified in condemning her untimely pregnancy. Stifled by guilt, she yearns for grace while the local football coach treats her with gentle respect.

Justified perfectly captures the rhythm and romance of life in a small town, telling the unforgettable story of a woman searching for renewal, a man looking beyond what others see, and a community torn between judgment and love. It is the unforgettable story of broken dreams, second chances, and relentless hope.
Click on the name of the actor to open a link to a pin featuring the face Varina chose for that character. And make sure you follow my Author's Casting Call at EIR Pinterest board for links back to all previous episodes of this feature.

Casting Justified (Mended Hearts, book 2)
by Varina Denman, special for EIR

As the author of Justified, you’d think I would be qualified to hold a casting call for the imaginary movie, but I’m not sure I have what it takes. Don’t get me wrong, I watch plenty of movies, but I don’t really pay attention to the actors … except to point out they all seem too young to have real jobs. The actors I recognize are currently playing the roles of somebody’s parent, but have no fear! Where there’s a Pinterest, there’s a way, and I have managed to fill the roles of Fawn and all the men in her life.
Fawn Blaylock, my college-dropout female lead, is too pretty for her own good. Her blond hair and long legs draw the attention of every man in the room, but in spite of that, she’s extremely insecure. Part of her problem could be that she’s a spoiled rich girl, suddenly left stranded when her daddy pitches her out of the house. This photo of blogger Cara Loren perfectly depicts the beauty and fragility that is Fawn Blaylock.
The father of Fawn’s unborn child, Tyler Cruz, only adds to Fawn’s self-esteem problems. He treats her poorly, takes advantage of her, and considers her to be “his property.” It takes Fawn fooorreveeeerr to see the real Tyler, but with looks like his, I can’t blame her. Even though Enrique Iglesias is twenty years too old, this picture matches Tyler’s bad boy image to a tee.
Fawn’s former high school history teacher, JohnScott Pickett, is a refreshing boost to Fawn’s confidence. The head football coach befriends her without any underlying motives, and as they become closer, Fawn wonders if she could ever be good enough for him. If singer Randy Montana lost ten pounds, he could pass for JohnScott (and in this picture, he’s even sitting in Dixie’s Diner).
Probably the majority of Fawn’s emotional issues stem from the way she was treated by her father, Neil Blaylock. The man has so much money and power that he can’t take “No” for an answer, especially from his naïve daughter. I tried to find a picture of Gerard Butler dressed as a clean-cut, wealthy, Texas rancher, but no such thing exists. If it did, he would SO be Neil Blaylock.
JohnScott’s friend and mentor, Clyde Felton, helps clear rattlesnakes from Fawn’s dump of a house, but she doesn’t trust him. Clyde was recently released from prison, so Fawn can’t overlook the fact that he is a convicted rapist. I chose Trace Adkins for the role of Clyde.
And last, but not least, is Fawn’s canine protector, Rowdy. JohnScott brought him over to Fawn’s house, knowing he would bark anytime a rattlesnake got within fifty yards of the place. He’s so old, he can hardly walk, but there’s nothing wrong with Rowdy’s bark. The silver eyes of this blue heeler captured my heart and won him a spot in the film.
So there you have it. The final cast of Justified, including Fawn Blaylock and the men in her life. Watch the trailer and discover: Does Fawn overcome her self-esteem issues? Can Gerard Butler actually play a man who is clean-shaven? How much make-up does it take for Enrique Iglesias to look twenty-two again? Is Trace Adkins’s hair as naturally curly as Clyde Felton’s or will it have to be permed? And more …
Justified the movie, coming soon to an imaginary theater near you!

About the author:

VARINA DENMAN is a native Texan who spent her high school years in a rural Texas town, so writing the Mended Hearts series has allowed her to reminisce about her small town memories. She and her husband live near Fort Worth, where they enjoy spending time with their five mostly-grown children and their elderly Pomeranian. Connect with Varina on her website, or on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, or GoodReads.

Saturday, June 27, 2015

Drumroll, please! THE SEAHORSE LEGACY by Serena Chase -- Cover Re-design Reveal + Prize Pack Giveaway!!!

As we're prepping to release The Seahorse Legacy in paperback, and its sequel, The Sunken Realm, in electronic formats (and soon paperback, too!) we are finally ready to unveil the newly redesigned, dangerously cinematic (in my opinion!) cover of Eyes of E'veria, book 3: THE SEAHORSE LEGACY! To celebrate this redesign reveal, I'm offering a prize pack giveaway... and you can visit several blogs and enter to win! After you've entered via the Rafflecopter link below, click on the listed blogs to be linked to their cover re-reveal posts for more chances to win the following prize pack, which includes:

A custom skin for your e-reader or mobile phone, featuring the new cover of The Seahorse Legacy!
A $10 Amazon giftcard
"Official Pirate Crew -- The Seahorse Legacy" temporary tattoos

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Make sure you visit 
these participating blogs 
for more chances to enter this giveaway:

In Darkness There is Light(Morgan L. Busse)

*Not everyone posts at the same time, so if the TSL re-reveal giveaway is not up yet at the blog when you arrive, do not despair! Several are up now and more will arrive as the day goes on, so make sure to check back. If the first one you click does not yet have the giveaway posted, I'm betting the next one will!* 

And now, without further ado... 
the newly redesigned cover, for your viewing pleasure!

Click on the title (below) to find
THE SEAHORSE LEGACY by Serena Chase at Amazon

About The Seahorse Legacy 
(Eyes of E'veria, book 3) 
by Serena Chase
(from publisher Candent Gate)

a Pirate, bound by a centuries-old oath 

As Keeper of the Seahorse Legacy, Cazien de Pollis is a King among pirates, divinely appointed to dispense justice on the seas. Bound by the sacred oath of a long-dead ancestor, he must fulfill a contract to wed the green-eyed Oracle’s Daughter named therein—or risk losing everything he and his people hold dear. But at nineteen, with the identity of his betrothed only recently revealed, Cazien resents the contract—and the urgency within him to see it satisfied. 

a Knight, determined to prove her calling
Erielle de Gladiel returned from the quest for the Remedy, changed. Not only are her formerly-blue eyes now a brilliant shade of green, but she must don gloves to hide inky evidence that her prophetically-bestowed title, the Oracle’s Daughter, demands more from her than the task already completed. Erielle’s dearest-held dream is realized when she is knighted by her King, but unbeknownst to her, that very honor jeopardizes the prophesied purpose to which she and Cazien have been called. 

a Legacy, demanding surrender 

Just as Cazien summons the courage to collect his bride, dark rumors and darker deeds crawl up the coasts, calling its guardians, the Seahorse Pirates, into action—and Cazien away from Erielle. But even though the Oracle’s Daughter knows nothing of the contract to which she has been consigned, Cazien’s enemies have somehow learned of his interest in Erielle. And if they reach her before his ancestor’s weighty oath is executed, the Seahorse Legacy will be forfeited . . . and darkness will be given reign.

The third book in this series-within-a series, The Seahorse Legacy begins an epic tale of piracy, adventure, and romance. Giving subtle nods to several fairy tales, including an unexpected twist to the story of The Twelve Dancing Princesses, this romantic adventure will conclude in Eyes of E’veria, Book 4: The Sunken Realm, coming late Summer 2015. 

About the author:
SERENA CHASE lives in Iowa with her husband, two teen daughters, and a big white dog named Albus. A frequent contributor to USA Today's Happy Ever After blog, Serena is an avid reader of young adult fiction and inspirational romance and has become a respected influencer within those communities. When not engaged in her varied roles within the publishing industry, Serena can be found watching action movies and dreaming about someday living in a cottage by the sea. Connect with Serena Chase on Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, and Twitter (@Serena_Chase) and visit to subscribe to her newsletter and gain access to exclusive, subscriber-only content.

OF NOTE: For those who have already purchased this book with its original (greenish) cover, please note that this is listed as a "2nd Edition" due not only to the new cover art, but due to some significant editing that has happened within the novel since its original publication in May 2014. Because it is a 2nd Edition, you will likely receive notification from Amazon that there is a downloadable update to your purchased book--at no cost to you. If you do not receive that notification, make sure you watch my official Facebook page throughout the rest of the summer (but specifically in late July/August)--not only for news about the release of The Sunken Realm (Eyes of E'veria, book 4) but because, as part of the promotion for the new book, there will be a short time in which The Seahorse Legacy will be available for FREE!

Friday, June 26, 2015

The Author's Casting Call, episode 29: KAREN BARNETT CASTS BEYOND THE ASHES

Follow Serena's
Author's Casting Call at EIR Pinterest board
for links back to all previous episodes!

On today's episode of The Author's Casting Call at EIR we are joined by Casting Director (and author!) Karen Barnett, who has picked a sweet dream cast to populate her new novel, Beyond the Ashes (don't you just LOVE that title?!?) To whet your appetite, here's a little about the book, courtesy of publisher Abingdon Press:

Where better to rebuild and face one’s fears than in 1906 San Francisco, a city rising from the ashes? Ruby Marshall, a young widow, is certain she’ll discover new purpose assisting her brother Robert with his cancer research, but she doesn’t anticipate finding new love. Dr. Gerald Larkspur dreams of filling his empty home with family, but he’d always hoped it would be a wife and children. In the aftermath of the great earthquake, the rooms are overflowing with extended family and friends left homeless by the disaster. When Robert’s widowed sister arrives, the close quarters seem close indeed. Ruby and Gerald’s fledgling romance is put at risk when Gerald develops symptoms of the very disease they’re striving to cure. Together they must ask—is it worth a second chance at love when time might be short?

Now grab a bowl of popcorn and settle in as Karen imagines Beyond the Ashes as a movie!

Casting Beyond the Ashes
by Karen Barnett, special for EIR

There’s only one actor who could play the part of Dr. Gerald Larkspur and that’s Dan Stevens of Downton Abbey fame. It’s unfortunate he’d have to lose the lovely British accent, but with the blonde hair and Bristol-blue eyes, he’s a perfect match for the character.

It was a little more difficult for me to choose someone to play leading lady, Ruby King Marshall, since I imagined a young friend from my church in the role. But since she’s probably not available, I chose Rachelle Lefevre for her wild curls and impish smile.

Dr. Robert King and Abby Fischer were the romantic leads from Out of the Ruins, but they return as the supporting cast in Beyond the Ashes. Since this is an imaginary, I can get away with choosing one actor who’s no longer with us, right? Jonathan Crombie as he appeared in Anne of Avonlea was the inspiration for Robert. English actress Emma Watson would make an ideal Abby. I think she can handle an American accent, don’t you?

From day one, I imagined Judi Dench as the wise, but funny, Mae Larkspur. As you can see, I’m more inclined to choose British actors. I wonder why that is? I do have an Irish character in Beyond the Ashes—a handsome, redheaded Irish pastor, determined to steal away the leading lady. I know Kevin McKidd is Scottish, but really—who else could play this part?

KAREN BARNETT is the author of Beyond the Ashes, Out of the Ruins, and Mistaken. Named the 2013 Writer of Promise by Oregon Christian Writers, Karen lives in Albany, Oregon, with her husband, two teenagers, and three adorable dachshunds. When she’s not writing, she enjoys playing guitar, cake decorating, and binge-watching all sorts of television series on Netflix.


Thursday, June 25, 2015

The Author's Casting Call, episode 28: Beth K. Vogt Dreams About CRAZY LITTLE THING CALLED LOVE as a Film

Welcome back for another episode of The Author's Casting Call at EIR! This week, Casting Director (and author!) Beth Vogt picks her dream cast for a film version of her latest novel Crazy Little Thing Called Love. Here's what it's about, from publisher Howard Books:

Wedding bells and storm clouds collide in the first engaging novel in a brand-new series about destination weddings, the power of love, and the possible mishaps and missteps that happen on a couple’s journey down the aisle to “I do.”

Paramedic Vanessa Hollister has put her adolescence behind her, including the unwanted label of being the new kid in town over and over again, thanks to her father’s military career. She’s overcome what her mother called “the biggest mistake of her life” and is planning an elegant destination wedding in Destin, Florida with her new fiancé. But will the reappearance of her first husband from her what-were-you-thinking teenage elopement disrupt her dream of an idyllic beach wedding?

As a professional storm chaser, Logan Hollister is used to taking risks. However, a reckless decision during the last tornado season has him questioning the future of his team, the Stormmeisters. Coming face to face with his ex-wife eight years after their divorce compels him to confront his greatest regret: losing Vanessa. Does their past give him the right to interfere with her future?

A fast-moving, powerful hurricane throws Vanessa and Logan together as they evacuate to a storm shelter along with other residents of the Florida Gulf Coast. Forced to spend time together, the pair battles unexpected renewed feelings for each other.

Vanessa and Logan are faced with a choice: Should they accept, once and for all, their teenage marital mistake? Or is God offering them a second chance at happily ever after?

Now settle in and dream a little with Beth! You can click on the highlighted description for a direct link to a pin of these film-ready faces. (And make sure you follow my Author's Casting Call at EIR Pinterest board for links back to all previous episodes of this feature.) ~Serena

Casting Crazy Little Thing Called Love
by Beth K. Vogt, special for EIR

It’s challenging creating a cast for my books. I don’t want to cast the popular actors and actresses that might be populating other authors’ novels. Recently, I’ve gotten away from always selecting movie actors and actresses for my characters. Sometimes I find the “best look” in a hairstyling book – so I guess you could say I’m casting some unknowns for Crazy Little Thing Called Love. I like to describe my characters well enough so that I give readers something to go on, but also leave room for their imaginations to have fun too.

One of the fun parts of Crazy Little Thing Called Love is writing about my hero and heroine as teens and adults. This meant I needed a visual image for both times in their lives.

I wanted Logan Hollister to be more than a typical bad boy – he was a guy who loved adventure tinged with danger. And that’s why I made him a storm chaser. People who chase tornadoes are doing more than living on the edge; they are often scientists compiling important research about storms.

When I envisioned Logan as a teen, I had a friend’s son in mind who was very engaging and outgoing and also a bit of a risk-taker. Think of a lanky, suntanned teen with shoulder-length sun-bleached blond hair. A Florida boy, born and raised. When I went looking for photos to represent both the teen Logan and the adult Logan, I steered away from actors and went more for the “feel” of the photos.

Going after his dream – leading his stormchasing team, the Stormeisters – cost Logan his marriage. Having made a poor choice that needlessly risked his team, Logan is second-guessing himself. Running into Vanessa again further upends his life. I thought this photo best captured Logan’s grownup, boyish good looks.

Vanessa Hollister could be described as the typical girl next store, except she moved around a lot, thanks to her father’s military career. She meets Logan when they’re both seniors in high school and she’s once again having to be the new kid in town – something she’s very good at.
Vanessa and Logan’s whirlwind romance ends in divorce, and she doesn’t see Logan – the man who taught her to open her heart and embrace adventure – until 8 years later, when she’s getting married again.

I envisioned Anne Hathaway for Vanessa because she’s always been one of my favorite actresses. As a teen, she embodies a casual beauty.  As an adult, she’s mature, put-together, but with an air of vulnerability that hints at past hurts.

Ted Topliff, Vanessa’s fiancé isn’t the villain of Crazy Little Thing Called Love per se – but that doesn’t mean he’s Vanessa’s hero. I borrowed my writing friend, Delores Topliff’s last name – although she’s much more fun-loving than Ted. In my mind, William Hurt always represented Ted: quiet, even keeled, soft-spoken, with the wire-rimmed glasses and lock of hair that keeps falling forward.

Mindy is the best of friends to Vanessa, remaining faithful even when Vanessa fails to put much into their longtime, long-distance friendship. She retains not only her red hair and freckles from her teen years, but has found her way back to the faith that she and Vanessa shared.

Mindy is happy with her life, and accepts Vanessa for who she is, challenging Vanessa to figure out if she’s marrying the right man for the right reasons.

BETH K. VOGT believes God’s best often waits behind the doors marked “Never.” A 2015 RITA® Finalist and a 2014 Carol Award finalist, Beth is a contemporary romance novelist with Howard Books. Her 2014 novel, Somebody Like You, was one of Publisher’s Weekly’s Best Books of 2014. In 2015 she introduced her destination wedding series with both an e-novella, Can’t Buy Me Love (May) and a novel, Crazy Little Thing Called Love (June). Connect with Beth at, on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest.


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