Wednesday, November 14, 2018

Spotting My Doppleganger

Have you ever seen a stranger who looked just like you? I have, but before I tell you about it, I thought I'd quickly mention this great ebook sale. A few weeks ago, I posted 5 Great Book Deals You Don't Want to Miss. Those 5 deals are still available–and here's a 6th one as well...



Get the e-book version of Whispers of the Bayou for just $1.99 (regularly $9.99)  or the ebook version of The Amish Quilter for just $3.99 (Regularly $14.99). Sale prices available at amazon, Barnes and Noble, Christianbook.com, and wherever ebooks are sold.  Sale runs till November 30th, 2018, so be sure to get your copy today!

Now back to our regularly scheduled program...

SEEING DOUBLE

Back in 2017, I shared a fun post about my daughter Emily and how she seemingly appeared on a book cover–three years before she was born!

Emily on the left in 2016, photoshopped into the scene, and her doppleganger on the right, from a book published in 1986!
You can see all the pics and read more about that astounding coincidence here. 

Now I'm adding a Part II to the story, because this time I have found my own doppleganger! Yes, much to my astonishment, I was watching a show recently, an episode of Being Erica on Amazon Prime Video, and suddenly saw myself step into the frame as an extra in the background.

Stunned, I snapped a screenshot and texted it out to my family, but none of them reacted much at first. Turns out, that's because the woman on the show looked so much like me that they thought I'd simply Photoshopped myself into the picture.

Here's the screenshot I sent them...



And here's a close-up of the TV "me", on the left, next to a posed photo of the real me, on the right, with the same foreground added in digitally, just for comparison.


Crazy, huh?  I wonder if everyone has at least one look-alike out there somewhere!


Have you ever spotted your double? If so, I'd love to hear about it on my Facebook page or in the comments below.


Wednesday, November 7, 2018

November 2018 Christian Fiction Book Releases

Here are some great new books to curl up with now that the weather is turning chilly (at least in my neck of the woods.) More in-depth descriptions of these books can be found on the ACFW Fiction Finder website.

Contemporary Romance:

Christmas in Jingle Junction by Tabitha Bouldin -- In the small town of Jingle Junction, Holly Winters owns the local coffee shop, Jolly Java. It's here that she meets Patrick Cooper and promptly throws coffee everywhere. Not only does Patrick not like coffee, he also despises Christmas! It's up to Holly to show Patrick that Christmas is worth giving a second chance, just as Patrick himself deserves a second chance when he is accused of robbing a local convenience store. In a town full of Christmas spirit, lively debates over the best superhero and riding in a sleigh pulled by actual reindeer is just a normal day. Will Holly be able to prove to Patrick that Christmas is more than a holiday that has to be endured? (Contemporary Romance, Independently Published)

  A Picture Perfect Christmas by Candee Fick -- Freelance photographers Liz Foster and Ryan Callahan are finally making plans for their future. And what better time to get married than during the festive holiday season that brought them together? If only Liz’s parents weren’t standing in the way of a picture-perfect wedding. Spurred on by the ghosts of Christmases past, Dan Foster has already written Liz out of his will, so even attending the wedding—let alone walking his daughter down the aisle—is out of the question. However, this is the season for miracles and Ryan will do anything to make his bride smile. What will it take to bring this family back together in time for the wedding? (Contemporary Romance, Independently Published)

  On Magnolia Lane by Denise Hunter -- When his secret crush joins a dating website, Jack takes a leap of faith and soon becomes Daisy's online suitor. But when they begin growing closer in real life also, Jack finds himself with an unexpected dilemma. Is Daisy falling for the real Jack or for the online version of himself? And how is she going to respond when she finds out they’re one and the same? (Contemporary Romance from HarperCollins Christian Publishing)


  A Merry Miracle in Romance by Melanie D. Snitker -- Baxter Reid returns to his hometown of Romance, eager to see his childhood crush. Unfortunately, Savannah hasn’t forgotten all the ways he used to tease her back then. He’s got his work cut out for him if he’s going to get a second chance. Savannah Miller avoids Baxter and the embarrassing childhood memories he evokes…until he apologizes and suggests a truce. Now what is she supposed to do? Only time will tell whether the spirit of Christmas in Romance is enough to transform a grudging relationship into true love. (Contemporary Romance, Independently Published)

  I Still Do by Melanie D. Snitker -- What's worse than running into your ex-husband? Becoming snowbound with him and an avalanche of memories you can't escape. (Contemporary Romance, Independently Published)






Contemporary/Women’s Fiction:

A Southern Season by Eva Marie Everson, Claire Fullerton, Ane Mulligan, and Linda Yezak -- Four seasons. Four stories. Each one set in the enchanting world of the South. These are the kinds of stories your grandmother told you from a front porch swing. (Women’s Fiction from Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas)



Historical:


Second Chances by Carol Ashby -- A widowed father, still grieving the loss of his wife and child, and a devoted mother, who leaves behind everything she’s ever known to rescue her daughter from the ex-husband who would hurt her, are first drawn together by their love for her little girl, but God has much more for them than either could have imagined. (Historical, Cerrillo Press)


Historical Mystery:


Murder of Convenience by Linda Shenton Matchett -- May 1942: Geneva Alexander flees Philadelphia and joins the USO to escape the engagement her parents have arranged for her, only to wind up as the number one suspect in her betrothed’s murder investigation. Diagnosed with Retinitis Pigmentosa, she must find the real killer before she loses her sight…or is convicted for a crime she didn’t commit. (Historical Mystery, Independently Published)



Historical Romance:

The Great Lakes Lighthouse Brides Collection by Lena Nelson Dooley, Rebecca Jepson, Carrie Fancett Pagels, Candice Sue Patterson, Kathleen Rouser, Pegg Thomas, and Marilyn Turk -- Along the Great Lakes, America’s inland seas, lighthouses played a vital role in the growth of our nation. They shepherded settlers traveling by water to places that had no roads. These beacons of light required constant tending even in remote and often dangerous places. Brave men and women battled the elements and loneliness to keep the lights shining. Their sacrifice kept goods and immigrants moving. Seven romances set between 1883 and 1911 at Great Lakes Lighthouses bring hope to the lonely lighthouse keepers and love to weary hearts. (Historical Romance from Barbour Publishing)

  A Musket in My Hands by Sandra Merville Hart -- Two sisters have no choice but to disguise themselves as men to muster into the Confederate army in the fall of 1864--just in time for things to go very badly for the Southerners at the Battle of Franklin. (Historical Romance from Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas)


 Uncharted Journey by Keely Brooke Keith -- Young widow Eva Vestal assumes loneliness is God’s permanent plan for her life. She keeps busy by raising her son and co-managing the Inn at Falls Creek with her elderly father, but her heart yearns for more. Solomon “Solo” Cotter has spent his life working with horses, but he secretly wants to write a book of the children’s stories his grandfather told him as a boy. He barters with Eva’s father for a 40-night stay at the inn, a needed respite from work to get his stories on paper. Once Eva discovers the barter, she believes Solo is taking advantage of her father’s failing memory. But when tragedy strikes and Solo works hard to save the inn, Eva sees his true nature. As her heart stirs with feelings for Solo, she wrestles with the guilt of loving someone new. (Historical Romance, Independently Published)

  Snow Angel by Davalynn Spencer -- Lena Carver works as her physician brother’s medical assistant, housekeeper, and cook. Maimed in a childhood accident at Christmas, she believes she is beyond love’s reach—until a dark-eyed cowboy arrives broken, bruised, and bent on changing her mind. Wil Bergman wakes in a stranger’s home with a busted leg and a bullet-creased scalp. Trail-weary, robbed, and penniless, he is at the mercy of a country doctor whose sister’s healing touch has power to stitch up his heart and open his eyes to the impossible. (Historical Romance from Wilson Creek Publishing)

Romantic Suspense:

Tell Her No Lies by Kelly Irvin -- After Nina Fischer is accused of murdering her uncle and adopted father, she must unlock deadly family secrets in order to clear her name and learn to trust love again. (Romantic Suspense from HarperCollins Christian Publishing)



  North by Starlight by Diane and David Munson -- Attorney Madison Stone hurries to help her client Jordan Star defeat a mysterious relative who claims a share in his inheritance, and during the Christmas season Maddie learns to leave past regrets behind her, embrace the warmhearted people of Starlight, and dig deep to find her true heart. (Romantic Suspense from Micah House Media)


Her Deadly Reunion by Beth Ann Ziarnik -- What will it cost an estranged daughter when she meets her birth father at his home and discovers it's a dangerous place to mix past and present? (Romantic Suspense from Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas)



Speculative:

Mark of the Raven by Morgan L. Busse -- When the new Lady of Ravenwood inherits her family’s secret gift of dreamwalking, she discovers a dark history. Women in her family have been wielding the gift to preserve her family’s legacy—through assassinations. She’s determined to find the true reason behind the gift, convinced there must be a more noble purpose. But she’s torn about upholding her family's legacy--a legacy that supports her people. What will she do when she is tasked with assassinating the one man who can bring peace to the nations--but who is also prophesied to bring about the downfall of her own house? One path holds glory and power and will solidify her position as Lady of Ravenwood. The other path holds shame and likely death. Which will she choose? And is she willing to pay the price for the path chosen? (High Fantasy from Bethany House [Baker])

Thriller/Suspense:

Stratagem by Robin Caroll -- Psychologist Grayson Thibodeaux creates mind-bending adventure games for businesses as team-building explorations. When his ex-wife’s company hires Grayson’s for their executive retreat, he doesn’t see how things can get worse. Until she dies during the course of the game he created…making him the prime suspect for murder. (Suspense from Barbour Publishing)

Wednesday, October 31, 2018

A Tribute to My Co-Authors

Since tomorrow is #NationalAuthorsDay, I thought I'd use today's post to celebrate the various co-authors I've worked with over the years. I love them all dearly, and I treasure the time we've spent working together.

Co-writing a book is such a unique and amazing process. There are brainstorming sessions and a-ha moments, there are scenes that fall together seamlessly and scenes that take all of our effort and energy—but there is nothing quite like sharing this journey with someone else. The book launch, the events, the interactions with readers...it truly is a blessing to experience all of that with a writing partner.

So in no particular order, here are all of my wonderful co-authors and the projects we've worked on together.

LESLIE GOULD


Mindy and Leslie take a break from brainstorming in 2014









Media together: Author interview.



SUSAN MEISSNER


Mindy and Susan on a research trip in Lancaster County



Media together: Interview.


JOHN CAMPBELL CLARK


John and Mindy: Riding–and writing–partners for life!





Book written together: 
Echoes of Titanic


Media together: Articles about collaboration here and here
Audio interview.

KIM ALEXIS


Kim and Mindy at a radio interview in Orlando, FL



Book written together: 
Beauty to Die For









Media together: Interview.


EMILY CLARK

Mother and daughter at Emily's wedding in August






Book written together: 
Amish Christmas at North Star

Other authors that appeared in this collection were Cindy Woodsmall, Amanda Flower, and Katie Ganshert.



Visit Emily's web page.



Blessed with the Best

Co-writing isn’t for every author, but it sure has worked for me—mostly because I’ve been blessed with such an extraordinary group of partners. I know that these books are better and I'm a better writer (and person!) because of each of my co-authors and the things I've learned from them along the way. 

Wednesday, October 24, 2018

5 Great Book Deals You Don’t Want to Miss

Fun news! I’ve decided to jump into my annual book sale one month early, just in case you’re the kind of person who likes to start their Christmas shopping sooner rather than later.  That’s so not me—I’m more of an eleventh hour kind of gal—but if this is you, then I truly admire your ability to get things done in a timely fashion.

Thus, I’m happy to announce this year’s HALF PRICE CHRISTMAS SALE is up and rolling NOW. To make things even more exciting, I’ll be adding one of these star Christmas ornaments to all qualifying orders—for FREE—while supplies last.



Here’s all the info you’ll need to get these great deals, plus a repeat of last year’s Gift Giving Guide in case you find it helpful.  Happy shopping!

DEAL #1:
All autographed books ordered from this page of my website are 50% off! IMPORTANT: Note that the sale price won’t show up until the items are in your shopping cart. (Go ahead and add items to your cart by clicking on the Autographed by Mindy button, then you’ll be able to see the actual discount prices in the cart before you finalize your purchase.)



DEAL #2
The first 20 buyers who purchase up to two books from the above sale will also get this FREE shiny star ornament.  No action required; simply buy one or two books—at half price, no less—and your free star will be included with your order!



DEAL #3
The first 6 buyers who purchase three or more books from the above sale will get one of these rustic metal star ornaments FREE. No action required, simply buy at least 3 books—again, at 50% off—and your free star will be included with your order.  (Please allow us to choose the color for you.) 



DEAL #4
Get the audio version of Whispers of the Bayou for FREE when you sign up for Audible.com at this link



DEAL #5
The first 2 buyers who purchase the book Amish Christmas at North Star from the above sale will get one of these red and white star ornaments FREE. No action required, simply buy Amish Christmas at North Star—again, at 50% off—from my website and your free star will be included with your order.    


NOTE: Only one free star ornament per order, with priority given to the star ornament earned in Deal #5, above.  (In other words, for example, if you order one book, you qualify for the smaller clear star ornament, but if that one book happens to be Amish Christmas at North Star and you’re one of the first two to order it, then you will earn the red & white star instead.)


MINDY'S GIFT GIVING GUIDE
Need help choosing what books to give to whom? Here’s a handy Gift Giving Guide to help you narrow things down!


Wednesday, October 17, 2018

Two Yummy Gumbo Recipes in Honor of National Gumbo Day



Last Friday was #NationalGumboDay, a food that’s featured prominently in my book Under the Cajun Moon. To celebrate, I decided to share a bit about that book and pass along two great recipes for gumbo—one that’s easy and quick and one that’s more complicated but well worth the trouble.

Food in Fiction

One of my favorite reviews I’ve ever gotten was this one from Publisher’s Weekly for Under the Cajun Moon:

“…a delicious recipe of intrigue, romance and intelligent character development…Clark's story line is full of spice and lingers with an unexpected bite familiar to Cajun cuisine lovers. This text is sumptuous.

The review was cleverly worded, because much of the novel is set amid the New Orleans restaurant world and deals with Louisiana cuisine, especially gumbo. In fact, in the story, concealed in what seems like an ordinary gumbo recipe are clues to the whereabouts of a hidden treasure! 

Gumbo as Character Development

In the novel, Gumbo also serves as a symbol of the troubled relationship between the main character, Chloe, and her demanding and distant father, as shown in this excerpt:

“Don’t you know how to make gumbo?” Travis asked.
I shrugged, not explaining about my one disastrous experience at gumbo when I was sixteen years old. My father had taken a rare day off from work and we were both at home, so in yet another desperate attempt to get his attention, I had had the brilliant idea of asking him to teach me how to cook.
Much to my delight, he was pleased with my request at first, eagerly gathering the ingredients from the kitchen cabinets and describing for me the origins of gumbo and the infinite number of variations that people had managed to create over the years. His version started with a roux and ended with filé, he said, though many folks believed you didn’t need filé if you had a roux.
He prattled on and on, and though I didn’t care much about the specifics, I remember beaming in the glow of my father’s undivided attention. With him watching over my shoulder, I stood at the stove and stirred the flour into the oil exactly as he directed.
“The trick is to keep stirring and stirring and watching and watching as it changes colors,” he said.
Sure enough, the longer I stood there and stirred, the mixture began to change from a light brown he called “béchamel sauce” to a darker one he deemed “sauce piquant.” As it slowly grew even darker, I thought the mixture might burn, but he assured me that as long as I kept stirring we could push it to the very limits, to that precise dark brown moment that waited between “not quite enough” and “disaster.”
Unfortunately, the phone rang as we were coming into the home stretch. He answered it, motioning for me to keep stirring. My arm was getting tired, though, so when he ducked around the corner to talk, I took a moment to shake out my arm and switch the spoon to my other hand. That one didn’t work as well for stirring, though, so I switched back, accidentally dropping the spoon in the process.
Mortified, I wiped up the globby mess from the front of the stove and the floor as quickly as I could, knowing that that sort of clutziness in his restaurant could get a person fired. Hiding the dirty paper towels in the trash and the spoon in the sink, I ran to get a new, clean spoon from the drawer. I made it back to the stove, spoon in hand, just before my father hung up the phone and returned to the room.
I thought I had gotten away with it, but the moment he came around the corner, he screamed. Apparently, in the few seconds it had taken me to clean up my mess, my lack of stirring had caused the roux to burn.
My father went into a rage so extreme that one would have thought I had burned the house down. He took over then, pushing me away from the smoking pan as he banged and clanged and continued to yell. By the time his tirade had run his course, I was still there in a corner of the kitchen, determined to make things right.
“Can we still make gumbo, Daddy?” I asked softly, trying not to cry.
At that, he turned to me and gave me his most withering glare. “You burned the roux, Chloe. There’s no going any further when you burn a roux.”
All these years later, I could still feel the sting of that moment, of standing there alone after he stormed out, our happy time together having gone up in smoke.


If the above scene makes you sad, not to worry: In the final chapter of the book, Chloe takes another crack at learning how to make gumbo, this time with a far kinder teacher, and she ends up with much happier—not to mention far more romantic—results. (Sorry, I can’t include that excerpt here or it’ll give away the ending of the story!)


Shortcut Gumbo

Here’s my own quick recipe for the gumbo I usually make, which is a bit of a cheat since it mostly comes from a box, but it really isn’t half bad…



Louisiana Gumbo

If you’re a more ambitious cook than I, you might try this recipe instead, which is the one my brother David usually uses. Considering that he’s the single best cook I’ve ever known, it’s an understatement to say that this gumbo is beyond delicious.

Tough Job, But Somebody’s Gotta Do It


One last note, when I was researching Under the Cajun Moon, my husband, John, and I got to take a culinary tour of New Orleans. This included a lesson in making a roux as well as a yummy sample of the end product. Look closely at the photo below, which always makes me laugh: As you can see, John is far more focused on the gumbo sample than he is on the cooking lesson!



I hope you enjoyed this week’s post, and if you end up trying either recipe, I’d love to hear how it turns out in the comments below or on my Facebook page.


Bon Appetite!