Monday, October 12, 2015

The Author's Casting Call, episode 46: Elizabeth Byler Younts Casts PROMISE TO KEEP

Today we are pleased to welcome Casting Director(and author!) Elizabeth Byler Younts to the Author's Casting Call. This author is among one of the sweetest, most adorable people you will ever meet... so if she's signing or appearing anywhere near you, be sure to stop by!

As you know, we don't often feature Amish fiction at this blog, but having heard raves about Elizabeth's books (and then meeting her and hearing, first hand, why she is uniquely qualified to write Amish fiction) I decided I had to check out her latest release, Promise to Keep. And you know what? I was captivated. The story drew me in and kept me turning pages. This, my friends, is a talented storycrafter with an eye for history, cultural accuracy ... and romance! Even if you're not a fan of Amish fiction (the camp I usually fall in) you will enjoy this series! Add The Promise of Sunrise series to your TBR stack--you'll be glad you did! ~Serena

Casting Promise to Keep
The Promise of Sunrise Series, book 3

by Elizabeth Byler Younts, special for EIR

Promise to Keep, as the other Promise of Sunrise books, is set in a small Amish community in Delaware during World War Two. Each book highlights several Amish characters but in a setting that the Amish are not usually seen in—enlisting in the army and going to war, working in a mental institution, or falling in love with an non-Amish war veteran. Finding inspiring images to feed my imagination was really fun and I think it gives a greater dimension to understanding the story.

Find PROMISE TO KEEP by Elizabeth Byler Younts at AMAZON

Here’s a bit about Promise to Keep: World War II Marine Joe Garrison returns home from war longing to be a father to his deaf daughter, Daisy, only to find that she is attached to Esther Detweiler, the Amish woman who has raised her since his wife’s death in this touching historical romance.

Orphaned as a child, Esther Detweiler is used to caring for herself and her ailing grandmother. They made the best out of a hard life and poverty without asking for help. They even take in her shunned cousin’s deaf daughter, Daisy, when her mother dies and her father goes off to war. When Esther’s grandmother dies, Daisy is all she has.

When war veteran Joe Garrison returns, all he can think about is recovering from the horrors of war and building a relationship with his seven-year-old daughter. Daisy, however, is unwilling to leave Esther, whom she loves. Joe and Daisy get to know each other again, but Joe struggles with nightmares and fatherhood is proving to be more difficult than he imagined. Esther loves Daisy and despite her Amish ways, Joe finds himself drawn to her as a woman and not just a caregiver.

As their love blossoms, Joe decides to send Daisy away to a school for the deaf which propels their lives into turmoil and a battle for love and family.

 (click on the character names to link to a picture of that character, as "cast" by the author!)

As I developed Esther Detweiler Julia Ormond instantly fit the bill. Strong features and thick black curls. She’s a spinster in her early-30s, orphaned as a child, and is caring for her elderly grandmother. Esther, as many women during wartimes, took on added responsibilities, one of which taking in an English girl, Daisy, while her father is fighting in the Pacific. Daisy is the daughter of Esther’s shunned cousin who died in childbirth and is deaf. There’s a scene in the last half of the book where her hair is down from her kapp and there is so much of Esther in this image.

Joe Garrison is like a young Paul Newman—a handsome face with a world by the tail smile and a cigarette hanging out of his mouth. By the time the reader meets him he has lost his wife and has been sent to war as a Marine. When he returns to Sunrise he doesn’t know how to be a father to a deaf daughter or navigate his destructive the PTSD.

ELIZABETH BYLER YOUNTS is a middle-born daughter, military officer’s wife, homeschooling mama, writer, closet DIYer, and Downton Abbey addict. She loves her history--and her coffee--rich. Formerly Amish, her heritage is very dear to her. She is thankful to be so accepted among her still-Amish family, and she can still speak PA Dutch, too! You can learn more about Elizabeth's Amish family in her first book Seasons: A Real Story of an Amish Girl. Find Elizabeth at her website, Twitter, and on Facebook.

Watch for Serena's interview of Elizabeth Byler Younts at USA Today's Happy Ever After blog, coming soon!

Friday, October 09, 2015

CHARACTER INTERVIEW: Amanda G. Stevens Interviews Marcus and Lee from the Haven Seekers series

When Megan Besing reviewed the novel Seek and Hide, my reader-heart was intrigued. This past summer, I finally READ the first two books of the Haven Seekers series... and LOVED THEM ... I'll be reading the third SOON! 

These books are incredibly awesome examples of dystopian lit at its scariest, simply because the future imagined therein is entirely... realistic, and it comes off as so very possible. Amanda's writing is intense and absolutely page-turning. ~Serena

Amanda is here today, along with Marcus and Lee from the series, but first.... here is a little bit about the first book, courtesy of publisher David C. Cook:

Find Seek and Hide by Amanda G. Stevens at Amazon
Six years ago, the government took control of the church. Only re-translated Bibles are legal, and a specialized agency called the Constabulary enforces this and other regulations. Marcus Brenner, a new Christian, will do anything to protect his church family from imprisonment--including risk his own freedom to gain the trust of a government agent.

Aubrey Weston recanted her faith when the Constabulary threatened her baby. Now released, she just wants to provide for her son and avoid government notice. But she's targeted again, and this time, her baby is taken into custody. If only she'd never denied Him, maybe God would hear her pleas for help.

When Aubrey and Marcus's lives collide, they are forced to confront the lies they believe about themselves. And God is about to grab hold of Marcus's life in a way he'd never expect, turning a loner into a leader.

And now... a special treat! The author interviews two of her favorite characters from the Haven Seekers series:

Marcus & Lee from the Haven Seekers series

interviewed by author Amanda G. Stevens, special for EIR

Welcome, Marcus Brenner and Lee Vaughn. Thanks for being with us today for an interview!

Marcus: Sure.

Lee: Thank you for inviting us.

Let’s start with some basics. How long have you known each other?

Find Found and Lost
at Amazon
Lee: Ten years. We met when I was twenty and Marcus was twenty-three.

That’s a long friendship, which we’ll talk about more in a minute. But first—the world of these readers is different from yours in one crucial way. Could you explain who the Constabulary are and what they do?

Lee [waits a moment to see if Marcus wants to answer, but he nods to let her start]: The Constabulary are a specialized unit of law enforcement. They uphold philosophical regulations, which essentially means they arrest those who profess Christianity or possess an archaic Bible—that is, any version other than the government translation.

So what does life look like for Christians in a world with the Constabulary?

Marcus: Churches meet at night. Secretly. If you own a Bible, you
Find Take and Give
at Amazon
have to hide it. I’m … um, right now I’m carving a nativity scene. I have to hide that, too, but I wanted one, so I’m making one. Anybody who gets arrested—you don’t see them again. They stay in prison. Unless they deny their faith.

Thanks for sharing that, Marcus. I promise none of what you say here can get back to the Constabulary. This is a safe place to talk.

Marcus: Thanks.

Let’s lighten things up a little. Answer this question about each other: does he/she prefer books or movies or both?

Lee [with a sigh]: Marcus does not read books. He does have quite a large collection of movies. He prefers discs to digital, and he arranges them chronologically, so all the silent films are at the front. He doesn’t understand why I think they should be alphabetical.

Far & Near coming
February 2016
preorder HERE
Marcus: Well, they shouldn’t be. And Lee watches movies, but she’d rather read a book. Every bookshelf in her house is full. Old stuff, mostly. She reads every day. She used to try to get me to read, but after a couple years, she gave up.

Any traditions between the two of you that you’d like to share?

Marcus [grinning]: Ice cream.

Lee: The readers don’t care about that.

Marcus: Lee loves Klondike bars. All the flavors. She eats healthy unless she’s eating a Klondike bar.

Lee: And Marcus likes to play with his food.

Marcus: No.

Lee: He takes great pleasure in building an ice cream sundae and then races to eat it before it melts. He calls this construction and demolition. I call it playing with his food.

Marcus: I use a spoon. More than you can say about your Klondike bar.

Lee: I’m quite sure the blog readers don’t care about our ten-year ice cream war, Marcus.

Marcus: It’s a tradition. They asked about traditions.

Yes, we did, and thanks for sharing that one! But moving on, this question is for Marcus. Please describe Lee for the readers—her strengths and weaknesses.

Marcus: Um … Well, Lee’s a nurse. She works hard and she keeps people alive. She’s a great cook. She’s smart and good with words and practical. And … she’s the one person I never have to hide from. Ten years, she knows a lot about me. But she sticks by me through everything. She’s always there. A weakness … well, people are hard for her. Letting people in, being open with them. Even me sometimes.

Lee, now would you describe Marcus—strengths and weaknesses?

Lee: Marcus doesn’t quit, does nothing halfway. He protects others to his own detriment. He would never deliberately hurt someone unless they were hurting someone else. He is loyal and safe and good. As for weaknesses, he is the most stubborn person I’ve ever known, and he doesn’t communicate very well. Often he plunges into action without bothering to explain himself or the situation, and he thinks “no” is an acceptable response to open questions. It can be maddening.

Speaking of communication, what did you talk about the last time you spoke on the phone?

[Long pause. Finally Marcus clears his throat.]

Marcus: Um … I’m … The last time we talked on the phone, it was about three in the morning and … I was driving. I’d been at a party. There was alcohol, and I … I’m an alcoholic. Sober now but it’s still hard sometimes. So Lee talked me home.

I’m glad you’re there for each other. Marcus and Lee, thanks again for agreeing to this interview, and we all hope you both stay safe in your story world

As a child, Amanda G. Stevens disparaged Mary Poppins and Stuart Little because they could never happen. Now, she writes speculative fiction. Holding a Bachelor of Science degree in English, she has taught literature and composition to home-school students. She lives in Michigan and loves books, film, music, and white cheddar popcorn. Her debut, Seek and Hide, was a 2015 INSPY Award finalist.

Monday, October 05, 2015

The Author's Casting Call, episode 45: Katie Gansert Casts Amish Christmas at North Star

Welcome back to another episode of The Author's Casting Call. This episode features a Christmas novella collection, and we're joined by one of the contributors, Katie Ganshert, who is acting as EIR's resident Casting Director today.
Here's a little bit about the collection, from publisher WaterBrook Press:

Click HERE to preorder this title at Amazon
It is scheduled to release 10/20/15
One night four lives entered the world by the hands of an Amish midwife, just outside North Star, Pennsylvania. 
Rebekah’s babies, as they are called, are now grown adults and in four heartwarming novellas each young person experiences a journey of discovery, love, and the wonder of Christmas.

Guiding Star
 by Katie Ganshert

Curiosity gets the best of Englisher Chase Wellington when he investigates the twenty-five-year-old disappearance of an Amish baby. When he finds adventurous Elle McAllister in Iowa will his discoveries upend her world? 

Mourning Star
 by Amanda Flower

Eden Hochstetler slips from her parents’ fudge shop to investigate the death of her friend Isaac Yoder.  Who is guilty? Isaac’s handsome great nephew Jacob, an angry Englisher, or someone else?

In the Stars
 by Cindy Woodsmall

Kore Detweiler has nursed his broken heart, avoiding North Star after Savilla Beiler suddenly rejected his love.  But when he is called to return home, he and Savilla must join forces to keep a family together.

Star of Grace
 by Mindy Starns Clark and Emily Clark

Andy Danner left North Star to work in construction in a new Amish settlement in Louisiana. His little brother devises a scheme to bring Andy home for Christmas, and unwittingly unleashes the power of forgiveness in an old widower’s life.

Today, Katie Ganshert joins us to cast Guiding Star, her contribution to this novella collection

Amish Christmas at North Star: Casting Guiding Star
by Katie Ganshert, special for EIR

Chase Wellington was born and raised in Amish country, which means he’s well acquainted with the plain lifestyle, even if he can’t imagine living it. He’s a construction manager by trade, but enjoys writing (especially human interest stories), so he contributes a few articles each year to his small town’s paper, the North Star Tribune. He’s a handsome fella with dark brown hair and hazel eyes. If I was able to pick the perfect actor to play his role, I’d choose David Giuntoli.  

Noelle (Elle) McAllister is a friendly and carefree twenty-five year old with wanderlust in her veins. She loves kids and art, so her work as an elementary school art teacher (with summers free for travel) make for the perfect job. Her name’s Noelle because she was left on a doorstep as a baby on Christmas Eve. She’s petite, with long blonde hair, big blue eyes, and a young face, which makes actress, Amanda Seyfried, the perfect actress to play her role.

Award-winning author, Katie Ganshert, graduated from the University of Wisconsin in Madison with a degree in education, and worked as a fifth grade teacher for several years before staying home to write full-time. She was born and raised in the Midwest, where she lives with her family. When she’s not busy penning novels or spending time with her people, she enjoys drinking coffee with friends, reading great literature, and eating copious amounts of dark chocolate. You can learn more about Katie and her books by visiting her website or author Facebook page.


Friday, October 02, 2015

Annoucement: EIR Closing November 1st

EIR's last day will be October 31, 2015 ~ until then, we have a full schedule for you!
After long and careful consideration, we have decided to step back from blogging at this location. As of November 1, 2015, the Edgy Inspirational Romance blog will no long offer new posts, but it will not "close the doors" entirely. EIR will still be "live" and available for readers, authors, and publicists to be able to link back to past features. At this time, however, we do not foresee returning to this forum as bloggers.

image ID 291383204 used under standard license from
Our heartfelt thanks to everyone who visited, shared, or contributed to the Edgy Inspirational Romance blog over the past several years. We have an October full of posts to end our run here, so please check in this month.

A special thanks to EIR regular guest contributors Megan Besing, Karen Collier, and Rachel McMillan for loaning your voices to EIR.

This decision was not made lightly. Thanks for understanding our need to turn our time and focus elsewhere. We cherish the many friends and connections made, and the authors and books discovered through our blogging here at EIR, but the time has come for us to move on.

May you be blessed . . . and may your bookshelves overflow.

All Our Best,

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Announcing! Eyes of E'veria, book 4: THE SUNKEN REALM -- available now for Kindle and Kindle Apps!

After over a year of leaving readers on something of a cliffhanger ending in The Seahorse Legacy, I'm coming to the rescue! I am pleased to announce the birth of my newest book in the Eyes of E'veria series.

And this one is kind of an epic monster! 

I hope you will enjoy what is, essentially, two books in one: THE SUNKEN REALM. I hope it captures your heart, makes you laugh, cry, worry, and bite your nails (metaphorically, of course) and then laugh a little more.

Here's a little bit about the book:

Available now for Kindle and Kindle apps!
Find THE SUNKEN REALM by Serena Chase at Amazon
She is an outcast among knights
Her reputation in ruins, her knighthood revoked, and her future bleak, Erielle de Gladiel would have welcomed death as her due. Captured by pirates, she was beaten, whipped, branded a thief—and worse—and then set adrift to die. She did not expect—or even want—to be rescued. Especially not by the dashing blasted pirate now calling himself her husband.

He is the King of Pirates
His oath satisfied and his Legacy secured, Cazien vows vengeance on all who harmed Erielle. But before he can hunt them down, a strange visitor appears with an urgent message—a message that aligns with prophecy Erielle has written in her sleep: The Seahorse Pirates must reach Nirista before the famed Tournament of the Twelve . . . or hundreds of stolen children will die.

Together, they are . . . relentless
With the fate of many resting upon them, Cazien and Erielle sail to Nirista. Once there, they are forced to follow separate paths to achieve their aims. Treacheries are uncovered and allies are gained, but in the shadows, a hidden foe plots a grievous betrayal that could shatter not only their hope, but the Seahorse Legacy itself.

The epic conclusion of this series-within-a series, The Sunken Realm sweeps Erielle and Cazien along a pulse-pounding voyage to discover all they are meant to become, together. Giving subtle nods to several fairy tales, including an unexpected twist to the story of The Twelve Dancing Princesses, this romantic YA pirate adventure is the final novel in the Eyes of E’veria series . . . but the Seahorse Pirates and their friends in E’veria may yet have stories to tell. 

Of special note: 
As Cazien and Erielle rescue children from slavery in the Sunken Realm, I am honored to add my voice and platform to a similar cause, partnering with I WILL Bring Change and Face of Dignity to help bring awareness about and healing to victims of human trafficking around the world. 
Click here to visit I WILL Bring Change & Face of Dignity

I WILL BRING CHANGE exists to PREVENT human trafficking and support the RESCUE,RESTORATION and REINTEGRATION of survivors.

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 often, and subscribe to her newsletter and gain access to exclusive, subscriber-only content.


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