Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Carole Brown & The Redemption of Caralynne Hayman

Books and stories about occult and the powerful, mesmerizing allure of its leaders always find a sweet reading spot within me. The Redemption of Caralynne Hayman is no exception. As I read this story, I am swallowed by its fast pace and deep storytelling; and it is my pleasure to host an interview with this talented author.

About the book:
How far would YOU go to avenge a daughter’s cruel death? Cara is considered rebellious and inappropriate to befriend. Dayne is the apple of Elder Simmons’ eye—until he takes a stand against their teachings. Can his prayers and love reach Cara and show her the way to redemption? Will Cara realize God’s love and forgiveness before she goes too far?

The Redemption of Caralynne Hayman is a novel of hope shining through the darkness with strong elements of suspense and romance. This novel was a semifinalist in the Genesis contest and is receiving raving reviews! Release date was October 21, 2013 from the Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas, an ACFW approved publisher. The preorder link for the book which is on SALE NOW is:

Read some of the reviews below:

"What an exciting, yet eerie ride. The characters in this book are so believable. Cara's emotional and mental scars are well-written, making her illogical choices very believable. This book takes the reader into a religious cult community."~ CH Amazon Reviewer

"A compelling story, which takes place in an abusive cult, that grabs you on the first page and doesn't let go." ~ LB Amazon Reviewer

"The Redemption of Caralynne Hayman is a courageous story, set in a storyworld few are brave enough to explore, the seamy world of cults. But even in this living hell, there is a light in the darkness; there is hope for the hopeless; there is a love that is stronger than hate. This is a riveting romantic suspense with underlying spiritual themes. A great debut novel by Carole Brown." ~ PK Amazon Reviewer

How did the idea and/or inspiration of writing this book come about?

CB~ I can thank my husband for the idea. We like to follow news items that catch our attention. Awhile back the cult news in Texas was prominent, and Dan--my husband--began a what if session with me. It seemed like a tough topic, but he was there with me throughout the whole time. Traveling, I’d read to him and he would point out faults in a scene, give me ideas on how to improve certain areas, and suggestions of how to write different things of which I had no experience. We added a twist to the old cult-thing with a spunky rebellious woman who prevailed in spite of circumstances. 

Your book has a strong faith element. How natural was this to write about?

CB~ It was a little more strongly written in this book than some, but easy enough to include. I like showing improvement and change in my characters. Showing their realization that God is real and God loves them, which happened to Cara, was a slow process to someone who never experienced real love. Even then, her faith barely blossomed.

If there is a second book, then I hope to show her growing spiritually through the trials and problems that face her and Dayne.

What do you hope readers take away from this book?

CB~ That there is hope for everyone! No matter how low a person sinks, God loves him/her and is willing to help them if they will open their hearts.

Which of the characters in the novel is most like you and why?

CB~ Oh, dear. Cara is such a stinker in her plotting revenge. Yet her loving, tender heart is a lot like my own. I adore my own sons and grandsons, and have a tender heart for those hurting and needy. I cry at excellent love scenes and when our pets have to be put down. Unfortunately (?) I can usually see the other person’s viewpoint. I’ve always had a tender conscience and probably always will.

Who is your favorite Biblical character and why?

CB~ I love so many of them, but one that always stands out is Daniel, partly because that’s my husband’s name, and mostly because he was such an upright, stalwart young man. Admirable, courageous, and determined to do what he felt was right. Traits I like to write into my own heroes.

What’s your favorite and least favorite part about being a writer?

CB~ Favorite? All of it. Writing the story, knowing you have a good one, and typing the words, The End. Having Readers love your novel. It’s all good knowing you’re using the talent God’s given you.

Least favorite? Hmmm. Probably marketing. I’m enjoying the interaction with bloggers and other writers but shoving myself out there feels sometimes like an abrasive move. Still, it’s got to be done, so I grit my teeth, and adhere! lol

What advice would you have for writers hoping to follow in your footsteps?
CB~ Never, never give up. Hold fast to your dreams.

Other than writing, what else occupies your time?

CB~ Family, GRANDSONS, traveling, gardening, and still some ministry.

Like to learn more about Carole Brown and how to connect with her? Read below and follow the links.

Besides being a member and active participant of many writing groups, Carole Brown enjoys mentoring beginning writers. She loves to weave suspense and tough topics into her books, along with a touch of romance and whimsy, and is always on the lookout for outstanding titles and catchy ideas. She and her husband reside in SE Ohio but have ministered and counseled nationally and internationally. Together, they enjoy their grandsons, traveling, gardening, good food, the simple life, and did she mention their grandsons?

Connect with her here:
Personal blog:

I (Carole Brown) also am part of several other blogs:
Geezers Guys and Gals:
Stitches in Time:
Barn Door Book Loft:

Sunday, October 6, 2013

The Journal by Beth Harlow

The time is June 1861. A journal is given to a young Rebel fighter and each entry over the next four years detail the lives of 8 men: Rebel and Yankee.

As the journal falls from one hand and into the next, each man will read what was written beforehand and add his own thoughts: about life, about the war, about love, and about God.

Each man is at a different stage in his life in his relationship with God. Some make the choice, a couple do not. And each finds that there are good men and bad men on both sides and each pray for the day the war will end.

The Journal chronicles these men's lives and will bring the reader even deeper into their own walk with God.

At times I found the writing to be heartbreaking and I could picture the horror of the young man trapped in the bombardment of Vicksburg and his relief that his company had surrendered. Finally food and rest, either in a prison camp or in heaven.

Through all the entries and all the worry, the ugliness of war and man's behaviour, and the desperate longing for home one theme reigns: hope. Each man had hope. Hope to see family, to see the end of war, to see his brother or child, or just to go home. And each learned that belief in Jesus Christ gave that hope.

An easy book to read in one afternoon, but a book to keep on your shelf to read time and time again. The author's research of the Civil War was complete and the description placed the reader in each scene. This is a book that will stay with you for a long, long time.

***I was given this book through BookCrash for a complete and honest review.***

Willing to Die by John Muntean/Josephine Walker

"Hope and freedom hang in the balance between the success or failure of one man’s plan. And John Muntean will succeed, or die trying." 

 The True Story of John Muntean as told to Josephine Walker

I have the blessing to know Jo Walker through online and phone calls. A truly remarkable lady with a bright love for Christ in her heart. When she told me about her opportunity to write John Muntean's story I was excited. But that excitement paled in comparison as I read a portion of the story before it was even published.

Willing to Die takes the reader into a world very few knew much about. History books made passing remarks. We could find the country of Romania on the map. We heard tales about Romanian gypsies and the Romanian circus, but other than that what did we really know about it other than it was the Breadbasket of Europe?

The horror of WWII barely touched Muntean's village.  To those who experienced the atrocities the news about the war's end brought them hope. According to Muntean, "they truly believed life would get better once the Nazis left". But the one sentence that prickled my skin and sent ghostly shivers down my neck was: They were wrong--the Russians were coming.

That one sentence set the stage for a book that is truly hard to put down. Throughout the oppression, the reader sees the hand of God at work through one man and his family. How many close calls? So many that you can see only God brought him through it or saved him from it. And God had a purpose for this man's life.

Not only to flee a country where Christians hid in fear, where those who did not conform to Communism faced imprisonment, torture, and even death. People wanted to flee. The Breadbasket of Europe became a withered loaf under the pounding of an iron fist.

As the reader becomes immersed in the true story of one man's plight and flight, you can't help be see the parallelism with today.  That was Romania in history. It is fast becoming America today. With so many truths exposed and so many warnings, I wonder who will listen to his man. He loves America and he's willing to fight for her. Through this book, we see more than just history, we see the future.

In 1981, Muntean and his family saw a wondrous sight, one that most Americans have forgotten that existed. On the plaque it reads:
Not like the brazen giant of Greek fame,
With conquering limbs astride from land to land;
Here at our sea-washed, sunset gates shall stand
A mighty woman with a torch, whose flame
Is the imprisoned lightning, and her name
Mother of Exiles. From her beacon-hand
Glows world-wide welcome; her mild eyes command
The air-bridged harbor that twin cities frame.
"Keep, ancient lands, your storied pomp!" cries she
With silent lips. "Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!

The Statue of Liberty represents freedom. Freedom that Americans are signing away each day for a few morsels, a few crumbs, of bread from empty promises of a government.

Read below for more about Josephine Walker and Willing to Die:

Author bio: Josephine Walker a former stay-at-home mom, car sales associate, Realtor and CNA in a long-term care center started her writing career in 2009 after asking God “When I get old, what am I going to be doing? I must have some talent somewhere.” God planted a seed in her heart, gave her the idea for her first book, a fiction called Hope, soon to be published. Over the two years of writing Hope, she learned her craft, which prepared her for God connecting her with Mr. Muntean to author, Willing to Die.
A rough partial outline for the book was written by John Muntean, that and a total of 107 interviews brings the story and John’s warning to America to light.
Josephine Walker is the penname for Jo Walker, a member of ACFW. A mother of three grown children, grandmother of eleven, widowed in 2011.

More about John Muntean:

Born in Romania when it was still the beautiful, vibrant, productive Breadbasket of Europe, John Muntean had a taste of real freedom. Thirty-two years later, his desire to flee religious persecution and Communist control pushes him into a plan that very well could cost him his life. All he’s got to do is get past the throng of specially-trained guards keeping Romanian citizens away from the American Embassy.  If he doesn’t, his family will be living forever under one of history’s most ruthless Communist dictatorships. John’s willingness to die for his family’s freedom rocks the nation and brings hope to those trapped under the thumb of Nicolae Ceausescu. Until November 10, 1980, hope hadn’t been a word heard too often on the lips of the average Romanian citizen. Then, with one broadcast from Radio Free Europe, it explodes across the nation into the hearts and minds of all those yearning for independence.

Now, after living thirty-two years in his beloved America he sees the same things happening, and fears for his children’s and grandchildren’s religious freedoms. John has a strong warning for God’s people and every liberty loving patriot.

Excerpt from his warning to America, thirty-two years later:

"The remains of American soldiers lie in cemeteries across Europe
and other countries as monuments to America’s willingness to fight
for freedom for all.

"Thousands of our combat veterans carry emotional and physical
scars from their efforts to protect freedom—ours and other

"Do some things need to change? Of course, they do. There
are those within and without who want to bring America to her
knees. There are those within and without who have an agenda of
destruction. Yet, American citizens are strong. Our heritage of freedom
ought not allow us to stand aside and let destruction happen.

"If we, God’s people, will fulfill our responsibility to God and
our land, God will, indeed, hear from heaven and heal our land.
Thirty-two years ago, I feared for my children’s and grandchildren’s
futures under a Communist dictatorship. I put my life on
the line to gain freedom for my wife, my children, and me. Now,
thirty-two years later, I again fear greatly for the freedom of my
children, my grandchildren, and their descendants."

Purchase a copy of Willing to Die at these links:

Stay in contact with Josephine Walker at the following: