Genesis 5020

My Story for His Glory

Write to the Point with Valerie Comer March 5, 2014

Filed under: Author Interviews,Book Reviews — Melissa Finnegan @ 11:37 am
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Valerie-Comer-300x300Today we get write to the point with Valerie Comer….again 🙂 She visited just last week and a couple of times before that. Today she’s sharing about her newest book Wild Mint Tea and the giveaway she is running. I also have posted my review of the book at the end of this post.

Tell us about your newest book.

Wild Mint Tea http://valeriecomer.com/mint

She’s rooted deep. He flies free.

Local-foods chef Claire Halford envisions turning Green Acres Farm into an event destination. Weddings prove trickier than she imagined when the first one comes with a ruggedly handsome brother-of-the-bride, who has everything but a fixed address. Oh, and faith in God.

Noel Kenzie loves the freedom his reforestation company affords him. Why worry about deep stuff like God and commitment when he’s in his prime? Except there’s a woman who might make it worth giving up his wings…and digging in some roots. If he dares.

What do you do when you’re not writing?

Gardening, food preservation, and playing on the trampoline with my three little granddaughters. My husband and I also like to haul our little holiday trailer up beside a mountain creek when we get the chance in the summertime, but the farm keeps us pretty busy. In winter, there’s not much to life besides writing, marketing, and a bit of snowshoeing.

Where do you get your ideas?

The basic idea for the Farm Fresh Romance series, of which Wild Mint Tea is the second story, came to me in a dream. I think that’s the only time that’s ever happened! Once the concept of having several young women buy a farm together got perking in my mind, I knew they needed very different backgrounds and personalities. And because the series is focused on sustainability and local food, one of them had to be a chef. That was Claire, and this is her story.

Do you outline or are you a seat-of-the-pants writer?

I learned a few years ago that it’s not either/or but a spectrum, which explains why I create a huge mess when I try to pants—and freeze up blind when trying to plot. I’ve finally started settling into a routine (about time, as I’ve written ten novels!) where I use GMC (goals, motivation, and conflict) to do a very basic plot…and then wing it from there.

Have you written a book you love that you have not been able to get published?

I have two or three I’ve written that are still calling my name. When I catch up with contracted novels, I’ll go back through them and see if they’re worth putting more effort into or if they’re better left behind. At the moment, I’m not sure.

Are you like any of the characters in your book?

At first I read that question as, do you like any of the characters…and the answer is yes, I do like them! But am I similar to any of them? Not so much in Wild Mint Tea. In Raspberries and Vinegar, the first novel in the series, I see a lot of myself in the hero’s mom. She’ll play a larger part again in the third story, but she wasn’t “in town” during the time frame of Wild Mint Tea.

Are you working on a new project now?

The third Farm Fresh Romance novel, Sweetened with Honey, releases in about a year, so that’s my current main project. It will take over totally soon, when I turn in edits on my novella for Snowflake Tiara, a Christmas twosome I’m writing with Angela Breidenbach that releases in September. It’s a bit different with a historical (Angie) and a contemporary novella set around a beauty pageant. And yes, my “brand” of farm and food holds solid through.

Anything you would like to add?

Yes! I’d love to share my adorable book trailer (created by my daughter), but don’t watch it if you don’t want to grin for 40 seconds straight. I’m warning you!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=55p5lI48JiQ

There’s also a Goodreads giveaway on currently, with three paperback copies of Wild Mint Tea up for grabs. Why not enter?

Goodreads Book Giveaway

Wild Mint Tea by Valerie Comer

Wild Mint Tea

by Valerie Comer

Giveaway ends March 17, 2014.

See the giveaway details
at Goodreads.

Enter to win

My thoughts on Wild Mint Tea:

I adored the characters in this book. I instantly liked Claire with all her spunk and Noel was just “bad” enough but not too bad. I liked the fact that he really didn’t want to settle down but he was drawn to this woman who had roots (pun intended) down deep in her community.

Valerie did a great job of building tension between these two and I couldn’t wait to see them get together. The whole time I kept wondering how Noel would ever decide to plant roots with Claire. Would he give up his business? I couldn’t wait to see how Valerie would work that out.

I’m not giving anything away though. You’ll have to read the book for yourself to see how that all plays out….if it does 🙂

I have to say I think I like this book better than the first. Speaking of the first book in the series, you will not feel lost of you choose to read this book first, but why wouldn’t you want to read the first book? If you enjoy good down on the farm romance you will enjoy this tasty book.

Grab your copy at your local bookstore, Amazon, or Barnes and Noble.

Visit Valerie’s website here.

A copy of this book was given to me by the author in exchange for an honest review.

 

Write to the Point with Valerie Comer January 22, 2014

Filed under: Author Interviews,Book Reviews — Melissa Finnegan @ 11:43 am
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Valerie-Comer-small-sqToday we get write to the point with Valerie Comer. I interviewed Valerie a while ago. you can read her interview here.

Valerie will be visiting us a few times this year, she is one busy writer. I had the privilege of reviewing one of her books, Raspberries and Vinegar. You can see my thoughts at the end of the post.

Valerie Comer’s fiction debuted as part of Rainbow’s End, a novella collection from Barbour, in May, 2012. She has been a member of American Christian Fiction Writers since 2007, finaled 3 times in the Genesis contest for unpublished writers before securing her first contract, and attended 4 ACFW conferences. Her first solo novel, Raspberries and Vinegar: A Farm Fresh Romance (contemporary romance/ farm lit) released from Choose NOW Publishing in August, 2013.

She blogs weekly at valeriecomer.com/blog, where food meets faith and farm lit. She’s active on Facebook, Pinterest, Goodreads, and Twitter.

Valerie owns To Write a Story where she offers a free writing course via email and blogs once a week. The website and blog at Inspy Romance is her brainchild as a place for a group of Christian contemporary romance authors to create a community of readers. She’s a founding member of International Christian Fiction Writers, blogging there regularly. Valerie writes a monthly column “On Being Green” for NicoleOdell.com and another on simple living at Not Quite Amish Living. She’s an occasional nonfiction contributor to the ezine Vision: A Resource for Writers, as well as a member at Forward Motion, an online writing community of over 4000 active members, where she taught numerous workshops and classes during her years as a moderator.

Valerie and her husband of over 30 years live on a small farm in Canada with assorted cows, chickens, pigs, and bees. They grow much of their own food and preserve vast quantities by canning, freezing, and dehydrating. Valerie is also webmaster for her local food action coalition.

When not writing novels of contemporary inspirational romance and farm lit grounded in the local foods movement or volunteering at local food initiatives, Valerie enjoys Toastmasters and is active in her creation-care-centric church. She cherishes time spent enjoying the outdoors with her husband, their adult children, and adorable granddaughters.

About Raspberries and Vinegar by Valerie Comer

Breaking ground with the Farm Fresh Romance series, RASPBERRIES AND VINEGAR finds Josephine Shaw and her friends renovating a dilapidated farm rasperberrieswith their sights set on more than just their own property. Transforming the town with their sustainable lifestyle and focus on local foods is met with more resistance than they expected, especially by temporary neighbor, Zachary Nemesek. Jo needs to learn that a little sweet makes the tart more tasty.

Read the first chapter:

Josephine Shaw gritted her teeth as she jerked the harvest gold range forward on worn linoleum. There it was again. That incessant scratching could only be from one source. Mice. Of course the old trailer would have the despicable creatures. It had been vacant for how long? The beam of her flashlight found half a dozen naked newborns sheltered in a nest of insulation and wood chips. A full-grown rodent shot through the gap she’d created and scuttled right over her foot. Jo gasped, nearly dropping the light as she jerked back.

Her roommate, Sierra Riehl, shrieked and danced some kind of fierce jig designed, Jo presumed, to fend off an attacking two-inch-high army.

“Whoa! You’re going to go right through.” A distinct possibility, given the spongy feel to the old trailer’s floor.

Sierra’s gaze tried to capture every inch of space at once, but at least her feet slowed their tempo. “Th-the mouse…”

Jo tried to get her own heart rate under control. “Long gone.” At least, Jo would be if she were in his shoes. If mice wore shoes. Which they didn’t.

“Are you sure?”

What was she, some kind of fortuneteller? Oh, wait. There was still the nest, and somebody would have to deal with it. Didn’t look like Sierra was up for the job. Never mind, Jo could do this herself. “Um. You might not want to look.”

Sierra dug purple manicured fingernails into Jo’s arm, her blue eyes wide. “Why? What’s back there?”

“You don’t want to know.” Jo steered her friend into the empty living room, clad in musty shag carpet. “Just look out the window for a minute. Admire the view. Dream about all the things we’re going to do here at Green Acres. Think about the new house.” She pointed across the snow-flattened yellow grass to the building site. “Right over there.” Pouring the foundation couldn’t come fast enough. Even spending one night in this disgusting, moldy trailer would be more than ample. Bad enough without the mice, but with them? (Read More. . .)

My review:

First of all, I have always thought this cover was cute, even before I read the book. But now, after reading the book and getting to know Jo and Zachary, the cover is absolutely perfect.

Valerie is an excellent writer. She puts us right into the characters minds and feelings. She has created a great cast in this book that will leave you wanting to get to know the other characters better.

Jo is one spunky girl. She is passionate about health and I totally respect that. I think there is a misconception that you have to be a hippie or something if you embrace the health food way of life. That’s just not true. Many Christians are choosing to live green so I think Valerie’s book is right on point.

Zachary is strong hero but totally doesn’t get this healthy way of life. He also just wants to get out of small town life and live in the big city.

So what happens when these two fall for each other? By the way, Valerie did a great job with the first kiss. Completely unexpected, loved it!

Well, you’ll just have to read the book to see how these two find their way to each other and love.

Grab your copy at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Christianbook.com or Books-A-Million.

A copy of this book was given to me by the author in exchange for an honest review.

 

Write to the Point with Valerie Comer May 30, 2012

Filed under: Author Interviews — Melissa Finnegan @ 12:31 pm
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Congratulations to Heidi who won last’s weeks giveaway.

This week we get write to the point with Valerie Comer.Valerie Comer’s life on a small farm in western Canada provides the seed for stories of contemporary inspirational romance. Like many of her characters, Valerie grows much of her own food and is active in the local food movement as well as her church. She only hopes her imaginary friends enjoy their happily ever afters as much as she does hers, gardening and geocaching with her husband, adult kids, and adorable granddaughters. Check out her website and blog at http://valeriecomer.com.

Tell us about yourself, family, where are you from, how long have you been writing?

I’m a gardener, beekeeper, farmer, wife, mom, grandma, and local food advocate. Thankfully I also have a day job at a small town flooring shop or I’d never have time to catch my breath or write!

Like most authors, I’ve been dabbling in writing for as long as I can remember, but an entire novel always seemed too big a task. I didn’t have any idea how to start. When I got this job in flooring and realized I’d have many hours most days to devote to my own interests (so long as I put clients, bosses, sales reps, and freight concerns first–and dust and vacuum occasionally), I knew this was a God-given opportunity.

That was ten years ago now. I’ve written nine novels, most of which will never see the light of day–whew! But I’ve learned so much from each and every one that I can’t regret the winding trail that’s gotten me to where I am today.

How did you come to know Jesus as your Savior?

I grew up in a Christian home and remember, as a very young child, kneeling with my mother to ask Jesus into my heart. The bigger problem was assurance. Had I said the magic words correctly? Was I really saved? I struggled with this for many years.

Tell us about your latest book.

My novella, “Topaz Treasure,” is the first tale in a 4-in-1 collection called Rainbow’s End written with Annalisa Daughety, Cara Putman, and Nicole O’Dell (Barbour, May 2012). Rainbow’s End is set around the Lake of the Ozarks in Missouri, with all the characters participating in a geocaching challenge set up as a church outreach event.

“Topaz Treasure” is the story of Lyssa Quinn, who’s the volunteer coordinator for the challenge. She’s shy about sharing her faith, and hopes canvassing businesses for sponsorship will help get her out of her shell. But at the very first business she walks into, a soon-to-open electronics store, she encounters her former college professor–young, handsome, and decidedly anti-Christian Kirk Kennedy. To her surprise, he’s interested in the geocaching hunt and, apparently, in her. How can she trust someone who once shredded her best friend’s faith?

What do want your readers to take away after the last page?

Of course I’d like them to sigh over a satisfying romance. I’d like them to check out geocaching and use it as a way to get out in God’s beautiful world with their friends and family. But for a lasting impression, I hope they’ll think about what it means to share Jesus with others. Are they bold in their faith, or afraid like Lyssa? Maybe her experiences can help challenge someone else.

How often do you blog and what do you cover in your blog?

I have two blogs, and post on each of them three times a week. On my personal site at http://valeriecomer.com/blogging, I post something ‘green’ every Monday. For example, I recently posted a series on food preservation as a way to keep the cost of eating local organic food to something affordable. On Wednesdays I post a book review, usually of a current Christian release. Fridays I blog about writing and promoting. I’ve had a lot of guests on Fridays talking about everything from Goodreads to Tumblr to author newsletters, etc. I have some very interesting topics coming up in June, too.

In January I began Romancing America as a way to help all the authors of Barbour’s 4-in-1 collections get the word out about their 2012 releases. Each month the focus changes to the newest release, where we share excerpts, author interviews, and posts from the authors on items related to their novellas. For example, right now we’re in the midst of talking about Rainbow’s End, and a big focus for these posts has been geocaching. Thankfully (except for this month!) I don’t write the articles for this site myself but organize and schedule what the various authors send me.

Can you share with us a favorite book you have read?

My favorite book changes often, but an author I keep returning to is Sandra Bricker, as I love her humorous style of writing contemporary romance. Possibly my favorite of her books is The Big 5-Oh, in which Olivia tries to outrun her ‘birthday curse’ by house sitting in Florida. If only the elderly neighbor didn’t insist on swimming in her pool every morning, and the dog didn’t need a lampshade collar, and there wasn’t an alligator. To say nothing of the man-next-door and his flirtatious twenty-something son.

Can you share with us a Genesis 5020 in your life?

I have to say that nothing comes to mind when I consider this. My life (thus far) has been fairly uneventful in those large unsettling ways. So may I talk about my character, Lyssa? When she was in college a few years before the novella, her humanities professor made a game of poking fun at Christians. He definitely meant it for harm, successfully for a number of years. Still, this wedge was used by God (seems weird to talk about my own story this way…) and became instrumental in teaching Lyssa about standing up for her faith.

Do you have a life and/or a ministry verse?

I love 2 Peter 1:3-11, which begins this way: “His divine power has given us everything we need for a godly life through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness. Through these he has given us his very great and precious promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature, having escaped the corruption in the world caused by evil desires.”

The rest of the passage goes on to explain the practical aspects of HOW we may lead that godly life. I’m a list kind of girl, so I appreciate things being spelled out. However, recently God has been reminding me (again) that it’s not about the steps I take in a particular order, but about my soul responding to him in worship without my mind cluttering things up.

Psalm 46:10 sums that up: “Be still, and know that I am God.” So simple. So difficult.

Where can we find you on the web?

Valerie, thanks so much for taking the time to talk to my readers today.

Readers, I have a paperback copy of  Rainbow’s End to give away to one commentator. Leave a comment for Valerie by 5:00 PM on June 5 and you will be entered to win.