Tuesday, January 13, 2015

BRENTWOOD'S WARD ~ Michelle Griep

Meet Michelle Griep

Have you always wanted to be a writer?
Yes, except for a short season when I kicked around the idea of becoming an astronaut. Two problems with that, though. First off, I hate science and math, both of which are slightly necessary to succeed in an aerospace career. Secondly, it was a total deal breaker when I found out that astronauts don’t actually wear cool Lt. Uhura uniforms.

If you weren’t a writer, what would you be doing?
I’d be running a B&B in England. Near a castle. On a moor. With Mr. Rochester as my neighbor. Wow. Did I mention I’m an out-of-the-closet Charlotte Bronte fan-a-maniac?

Why do you write?
Because being a pirate is frowned upon and I’m pretty sure no one will pay me to eat brownies all day. There’s also the simple matter of quieting the voices in my head by capturing them onto paper so I can have some peace.

What do you struggle with most, as a Christian Fiction writer? How do you overcome it?
One of the biggest traps to snap it’s sharp jaws into a writer’s neck is measuring yourself up against sales numbers. It’s a constant battle to remind myself that my immeasurable worth is found in what Jesus did on the cross, not on having my name in the #1 slot of the New York Times Bestsellers.

How much of yourself is in your characters?
There’s a piece of me in every character—even the villains. Not that I have a split personality, mind you, but this phenomenon is pretty universal amongst writers. In fact, I’ve got a favorite quote from John Milton that sums it up quite nicely:

“For books are not absolutely dead things, but do contain a potency of life in them to be as active as that soul was whose progeny they are; nay, they do preserve as in a vial the purest efficacy and extraction of that living intellect that bred them.”

But sometimes your heroes are a shade on the dark side. Why?

Most heroes are too good to be true. I like to dress mine in unpredictability. Someone who’s not necessarily safe to be around but always has his loved one’s best interests at heart and will put his head on the chopping block to save them if need be. This reminding you of anyone? The same could be said for Jesus. I hope readers make that connection, subconsciously at least. Heroes are not always what we expect them to look like on the outside.

What type of books do you write?
The kind that keep you awake late into the wee hours, heart pounding, curious to find out what’s going to happen. And long after you’ve read the last page, stories that won’t leave your mind for days. But if you simply mean genre, then historical. My latest release is BRENTWOOD’S WARD

Here’s a blurb:
 There’s none better than NICHOLAS BRENTWOOD at catching the felons who ravage London’s streets, and there’s nothing he loves more than seeing justice carried out—but this time he’s met his match. Beautiful and beguiling EMILY PAYNE is more treacherous than a city full of miscreants and thugs, for she’s a thief of the highest order . . . she’s stolen his heart.

Why write this book? What was the inspiration?
What attracted my interest as an author was an old newspaper advertisement put out by Henry Fielding, the founder of the Bow Street Runners. It encouraged the public to send a note to Bow Street as soon as any serious crime occurred so that “a set of brave fellows could immediately be dispatched in pursuit of the villains.” I wondered about those “brave fellows” and what kind of villains they might come up against, and thus was born Nicholas Brentwood.

Be sure to follow Michelle’s adventures at:
Website: Michelle Griep
And all the other usual haunts: Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Goodreads, and Instagram.

Now that you’ve met this author, who are some of your other favorite authors? Answer in the comment section and your name will be tossed in a hat to win a signed copy of BRENTWOOD’S WARD.


Michelle Griep's novel, BRENTWOOD'S WARD is written in a very similar style to that of the late Georgette Heyer. I don't think I've said that about another book in any of the reviews I've done over the years.
Griep's style also is such that with every turn of the page , you're unsure of what a character might prove to do or say - especially the heroine.

Character depth, setting, depiction of verbage - ALL well-done and the clincher for me in reading BRENTWOOD'S WARD was during a four-week illness where reading has been a very difficult thing for me, comprehension as well as the lack of ability to concentrate well. . .not only did I WANT to read that book completely through, but there were places I found myself gripping the book with more than normal tension, saying to one of the characters (won't tell you which one(s), but there were more than a couple instances) "No. Don't let so and so fool you." - OR -" NO! don't do that or don't go that way." 
That said. . .I read this entire novel in just a few hours and it's sticking with me yet today.
I can't say when I've been so absorbed by a book that I've not had the urge to critique as I read -- until BRENTWOOD'S WARD.

I'll be looking for more of Michelle Griep's stories to see if they compel me to keep reading the way this one has.


 Now that you’ve read JOY'S TAKE, who are some of your other favorite authors? Answer in the comment section and your name will be tossed in a hat to win a signed copy of BRENTWOOD’S WARD.

DRAWING TO BE HELD -- MONDAY - JANUARY 19th - EVENING - WINNER ANNOUNCED HERE and VIA EMAIL - leave your email address WITH the comment.

Thanks for stopping by JOURNEYS TO JOY!

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Christmas With The Rogers ~ By Martha Rogers

Christmas at the Rogers’ Home
By Martha Rogers

Hosting a holiday party can be fun or a dreaded chore. We may cringe and immediately worry that we can’t pull it all together and be a gracious hostess.  The secret is a loving heart and hands.

Whether hosting a luncheon, family dinner, or an open house, have a plan. Three things must be considered. First consider the date and number of guests, then plan the menu and third the decorations. 

After deciding these three things, work out your schedule so as much as possible can be done before the day of the event. Most of us have our homes decorated for Christmas, so we don’t have to go to extra trouble for that. The Dollar Store can be your best friend for paper goods and table decorations, or use your best China and silver for a more festive time if you have the time for the extra clean-up. 

A home doesn’t have to elaborate, expensive, or professionally decorated to be warm and inviting for guests. Let the things you enjoy express the warmth of your heart. Leave family photos on display as well as your favorite accessories. Your friends will be relaxed and in good spirits in a home that expresses the personality of its owner. Here’s an example of one of my tables at a Christmas at my annual Christmas luncheon for friends from church.

Here are a few pictures of our home at Christmas. 

The dinner table is always festive

 I have a Nutcracker collection that began when 
I bought one in Germany about twenty years ago. 

 The music box collection began when my husband gave me one for Christmas when we were first married. Our tree is an eclectic collection of ornaments from all the years we’ve been married and include many from our grandchildren.

The music box on the far left end with the little Christmas tree is the first one my husband bought me on our first Christmas after the birth of our son.

I enjoy giving food such as Cranberry Nut Bread, Pralines, and Chocolate Pecan Clusters as gifts each year. I’ve included the recipes for the Pralines and Pecan Clusters. (Martha tells me these aren't recipes she normally shares, but has decided she wants to see the tradition of these live on through others - I personally can hardly wait to try them tomorrow - Monday - as I bake for our own Christmas celebrations.)

Hope you find time to try them out and enjoy them.

Creamy Pecan Pralines
1 cup brown sugar, packed
1 cup white sugar
2/3 cup evaporated milk
1 tsp. pure vanilla
1 ½ cups pecans

Combine sugars and milk in saucepan and cook over medium heat, stirring constantly. Bring to a boil and heat to 232’ on a candy thermometer or until a small amount forms a soft ball in ice water.  Remove from heat and stir in vanilla and pecans. Beat until smooth slightly cooled and thickened. Be careful not to let it get too thick. Drop by spoonfuls onto waxed paper. If mixture does begin to get thick, add a bit of HOT water and stir into mixture then continue dropping onto
waxed paper. If it doesn’t thicken, return to heat and cook a few more minutes, checking temperature carefully. (I’ve never had to do this, but I’ve had to add hot water lots of times.)

Chocolate Pecan Clusters
1 12 oz bag dark chocolate chips
1 can Eagle Brand Milk
1 ½ to 2 cups pecan halves

Melt chocolate chips in microwave or in top of double boiler. Stir in the Eagle Brand milk until mixture smooth and creamy. Stir in pecans.
Drop by spoonfuls into mini-muffin liners and refrigerate to harden. Makes 75 or so candies.

Thank you for joining Martha and me this week for her Book Review and Author Feature.


 Leave a comment about your favorite Christmas memory - with your email address. . .Drawing is MONDAY NIGHT!