Claiming Mariah by Pam Hillman
Hunky bad-boy cowboy. Beautiful, desperate heroine. An evil villain.
Genre: Western Romance
In light of her father’s death, Mariah Malone sends a letter that will forever alter the lives of her family. When Slade Donovan, strong willed and eager for vengeance, shows up on her front porch, Mariah is not ready to hear his truths: her father’s farm, the only home she’s ever known, was bought with stolen gold. With Slade ready to collect his father’s rightful claim and force Mariah and her family out on the streets, Mariah must turn to God for guidance. Though Mr. Frederick Cooper, a local landowner, promises to answer her financial woes if she agrees to be his bride, Mariah finds herself drawn instead to the angry young man demanding her home.
With the ranch now under Slade’s careful eye, he will unearth more than he ever imagined as a devious plot of thievery, betrayal and murder threatens more than the well-being of the ranch, endangering the lives of those who hold it dear. With days dwindling until the rest of the Donovan clan arrive to the Lazy M ranch, Mariah and Slade must rise above the resentment of their fathers and see their true feelings before greed alters their futures forever.
“Pam Hillman has a way with her characters.” -Wanda B.
“Once you pick up this book, you will have found friends you won’t want to leave when the book ends.” -Mustlovetoread
“I look forward to reading more of her books as she writes them!” -Martha A.
Pam Hillman was born and raised on a dairy farm in Mississippi and spent her teenage years perched on the seat of a tractor raking hay. In those days, her daddy couldn’t afford two cab tractors with air conditioning and a radio, so Pam drove the Allis Chalmers 110. Even when her daddy asked her if she wanted to bale hay, she told him she didn’t mind raking. Raking hay doesn’t take much thought so Pam spent her time working on her tan and making up stories in her head. Now, that’s the kind of life every girl should dream of! Claiming Mariah is her second novel.
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Can you tell us about yourself?
I was a city arts council director until I was employed by Volunteer State Community College as a Remedial Writing Aide, where I began a new career. A late bloomer, I continued my college education, getting a BFA in Creative Writing at Stephens College Without Walls program and honored as Senior Speaker at Commencement (an apt designation, considering I was at least twenty-five years older than most of the graduates). That degree was followed a few years later with an MA in English. At the college, I established the Writing Center and served as its first Director, while also teaching English classes until my retirement.
When did you first consider yourself a writer?
I think the moment of truth came to me in the fifth grade when my teacher asked me to read my twelve-page Christmas story to the class. It made me think I might have a talent for story-telling. Shortly thereafter I tried to imitate Louisa May Alcott by getting my mother to fix up a writing space with an old trunk in the attic, which I wrote about in my blog. I liked essay writing in high school and in my early college years, but marriage and children, long distance moves, and various community and church activities kept me fully occupied. Then when I became Executive Director of our local Arts Council, I attended an Arts Conference in Charlotte, N.C. Meeting even more people who were happily engaged in arts activities inspired me to begin writing again.
How many books have you written? Which is your favorite?
I’ve written eleven novels, but the one I used for my Senior Project at Stephens College in pursuit of the BFA has been lost, probably because of my changing computers programs and physical moves. My favorite is usually the last one I’ve written; as of today, the honor belongs to Grace, the fourth in my Foxhill Series of Christian romances. That series is set in a fictional historic district of Nashville with certain characters being referenced in most all the other Foxhill novels, sometimes as protagonist, sometimes as an incidental character. I also have a coming-of-age, Snusville, that takes place during the 1940s and ‘50s in Iowa about a girl growing up in a Scandinavian family; a thriller about the oil business (my first novel, described below); a Southern Gothic called Rosehall about a poor girl who thinks she can escape her roots by marrying into a “fine old family; and three mysteries (with a fourth one currently in the process of being written) called the Judge “Baby” Godbold Mysteries, featuring a female judge as the sleuth.
How did you happen to write Christian romances?
My faith has become stronger and more clearly defined through the years, and I feel it’s important to express in literary terms how valuable the Christian experience is for everyone. Except for my thriller, which has some salty talk for verisimilitude, all my other works are couched in acceptable, polite language with the protagonist exemplifying Christian values. Although I try to be accurate in expressing human temptations, I have no explicit scenes to offend readers of finer sensibilities. I’m a huge fan of Downton Abbey, the Masterpiece Classic phenomenon, and I believe one reason it has topped all the charts for popularity is not only its fine writing, but also how “clean” it is. In addition, viewers will note references to church, the Bible, prayer, and baptism. I believe my own Foxhill series is in a similar but more overtly spiritual vein, though not preachy, as it displays a Christian influence that permeates the lives of my characters and sustains them through their trials.
Can you share a little of your favorite work with us?
The theme of Grace is renewal and forgiveness with the protagonist, Grace Madison of British birth, who comes to Nashville from a small town after finally breaking with her doctor fiancé, John Ransom. She had discovered he had been was cheating on her, which has depressed her seriously and without a real faith to call her own has led to a suicide attempt in the previous Foxhill novel, Ever After. Accepting a good position as assistant librarian at Vanderbilt, she agrees to work on the political campaign of one of her neighbors, Alex Arenas. He’s a handsome and charming man of Cuban descent who has made headlines as a state representative in revealing graft and corruption in the Governor’s office. Now he is throwing his hat in the ring, seeking Grace’s help in his campaign as well as her company in his private life. Then her fiancé surprises her with the unexpected news that he’s taken a position as Chief of Surgery at Vanderbilt Hospital. He claims to be reformed and penitent, hoping they can be close again. This state of affairs is complicated by Alex being shot at a rally, and the surgeon who saves his life is none other than Ransom. Grace feels called upon to seek spiritual guidance, knowing how important for both of them that she forgive John. At the same time, she is compelled to sort out her feelings about Alex who has become so prominent in her life.
Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?
I find that it’s difficult “to leave well enough alone” after I have completed a novel and have proof read it thoroughly. Even with my Writers Group also having vetted it, I always have a strong desire to fiddle with the manuscript. Sometimes, I think I really do improve it, but I also think tampering should be kept to a minimum once it’s deemed completed.
Do you take your characters and situations from your own experiences? How do you decide which direction your story and the people in it should go?
Except for the somewhat biographical Snusville, my coming-of age novel, I rarely use my own experiences directly in my work. My characters arise mainly from imagination, and though sometimes they begin fictional life with characteristics of someone I know, they invariably take on a life of their own. Most writers, I’m sure, would agree that only a dedicated biographer can be even partially accurate in defining someone else’s character. It’s hard enough to know ourselves, let alone others, but the best we can do as fiction writers is use interesting characteristics of people we know or have come across in our own lives. My plots come from inspiration; by that I mean as I get further into the story, my imagination takes over and ideas emerge that usually dovetail into a believable chain of events or a sense of personal discovery for my protagonist. I know that I am very “right brained,” which means I use connections of ideas and circumstances to develop characters and story lines rather than the “left brain” method of predetermined character traits and careful initial plotting. Usually, it works out well for me to operate in this way which is so natural to me. On the other hand, my mysteries do require a more cold-blooded, organized approach to make sure I don’t leave out important facts or clues.
What do you like to do when you’re not writing?
I try to keep a balanced life with regular physical exercise by walking my very active papillon, Louie, each day if weather permits; by reading for amusement and edification and enlightenment; by playing weekly bridge; by keeping up with my husband’s activities, such as “junking” for interesting art objects or collectibles or dining out with friends; by checking out our grandchildren’s Facebook pages and chatting with them on-line or by e-mail; by having regular phone conversations with our three out-of-state sons; by regular participation in worship and activities in my church, Trinity Lutheran, Missouri Synod; and lastly, by writing at least a chapter, a poem, or a story each week.
Grace by Jeanne Irelan
A novel of renewal and forgiveness
The fourth book in the series, Grace Madison is trying to refashion her new life in Nashville. She is, however, uncertain about her mental health after a broken engagement which brought her to the brink of despair. It is through a connection with the historic community where she lives that she meets Alex Arenas, a rising star in politics, whom she agrees to help on his campaign for governor. Then she is confronted by her old love, Dr. John Ransome, who has also moved to town. Because of a terrible accident to Alex that requires John’s medical skills, their lives become further entwined. Her continued resentment of John’s betrayal, coupled with a lingering attraction to him can only be rectified, she begins to understand, by her forgiveness. Her spiritual journey also includes accepting or rejecting Alex’s growing love for her. Grace must sort out her feelings with the ministrations of Pastor Geitner, when she can at last find peace.
“You can count on Jeanne Irelan to provide a good story line that keeps the readers interest to the end.” -S.P.
“I loved the book, loved the theme: forgiveness. The path of forgiveness is not a pleasant journey, but the end is wonderful if we stay the course.” -Titansfan!
I was born and reared in Des Moines, Iowa, a fourth generation descendent of Scandinavian pioneers. After my marriage to Max Irelan, whom I met in college, we left Cedar Rapids, Iowa, when his work required a move to Richardson, Texas. From there we lived in Oklahoma City, followed by another move to a suburb of Nashville, Tennessee, where we stayed for over thirty years. There came a short sojourn to the Galveston Bay area to be closer to one of our three sons, but my husband missed his kaffe klatch with old friends, and he disliked the climate, the topography, and the hurricane threats, so back we moved to Tennessee–to be hit by a tornado nine months later! We sustained mainly glass damage, but it was a most disconcerting episode and one I hope never to go through again. I believe all of my life experiences have acted as inspiration for my writing.
Undaunted Love by Jennings Wright
Civil War romance with mystery, faith, patience and redemption.
Genre: Historical Romance
Purchase for Kindle
NEW EDITION, same great story!
Hugh Byrd, the cold, ambitious patriarch of Byrd’s Creek, is used to getting what he wants. And what he wants is the Colton’s prime land and the destruction of the Colton family. What he doesn’t count on is his own daughter falling in love with Rafe Colton.
Ripped apart by the Civil War, the young couple must find a way to keep their secret love alive. The end of the War should mean a joyous reconciliation, but when Rafe is accused of a terrible crime, he runs away, leaving Livvie behind once again. Will this finally break their bond, or will their love survive?
A sweeping romance set in the South, Undaunted Love is a tale of faith, hope, patience and the redemption of God’s love.
“Love conquers it all. This is one of those books that’s highly detailed, the writer captured every moment of these couples journey throughout their timely relationship.” -Lavomnia K.
“Undaunted Love is a love story full of hope and faith intertwined with history.” -SStall
“I initially got this book because I really enjoyed what I have read of the author’s other works, but I was not expecting this. I was completely swept away with this story!” -WRB12
I am an eclectic writer… Or maybe ADD. I can’t stick to just one genre! I’ve written action/adventure, Christian historical romance, dystopian, and my next project is a YA dystopian low fantasy. I like interesting locations and engaging characters, and whatever genre is best to tell their story… That’s what I write.
I am a lifelong traveler, and am always looking for my next trip, whether near or far. I’ve traveled to Uganda six times in the last few year for my non-profit there, and hope that my love of Africa is reflected in the Quinn’s adventures in Solomon’s Throne. I also love history, and all my books have historical elements, even those set in the future.
There are many more adventures in my future — I’ll try to share them with you in my books!