Spotlight Thursday: Sheri Humphreys

I’ve known Sheri for several years. We’ve been in critique groups together and it was at Sheri’s urging that I finally joined Romance Writers of America® in 2013. I’m thrilled to be a fellow Golden Heart ® finalist this year with her!

Sheri Humphreys

 

Please welcome Sheri Humphreys to Live Vi-Carrie-ous!

 
Tell me about your GH Finalist manuscript, Sheri. Is this your first time entering/finaling?

Another historical, A Hero to Hold, finaled in 2012. I had previously entered different versions of The Unseducible Earl, but I’d revised it and written a new synopsis. Here’s a brief description of the story:

The end of the Crimean War brings Victoria Thorne home to face a society that isn’t ready for a lady with the education and experience of a physician. While nursing a Crimean veteran she proves herself able to deal with medical challenges and discrimination, but she’s dismayed when she develops an attraction to her patient’s betrothed brother, the Earl of Cheriton.

Robb Merrick, Earl of Cheriton, is engaged to a darling of society, yet finds himself drawn to his brother’s nurse. She makes him feel connected with the world instead of cocooned by his title and position. He craves the freedom to pledge his love and loyalty, but ending his betrothal means entangling them all in scandal. How can an honorable gentleman be expected to keep his vow when doing so means destroying all hope of happiness?

Of course, I have to ask: Chocolate or peanut butter?

If we’re talking ice cream or a treat, I’ll take chocolate. If we’re talking food for sustaining life, I’ll go with the pb.

What’s your day job?

I’m a retired ER nurse. And retirement is fabulous!

Tell me a bit about yourself. Family, hobbies, etc. Where you live, in particular.

Last year I moved to Cambria on the Central California coast. It’s a unique village-type atmosphere and retail chain businesses are not allowed, Every business is independently owned. I love the ocean, the weather and the wildlife. It’s a great spot to live.

Who’re your favorite authors? Your go-tos for fiction?

I read a lot of romance. Contemporary, historical, inspirational, romantic suspense, even some erotica. I read books from well established, best-selling authors to debut authors. The only thing I don’t read is paranormal, and the fantasies are few and far between. Right now I’m reading a marvelous book–A Voice in the Wind by Francine Rivers. I’ll be following it with the other two books in the series. It is gifting me with a magnificent reading experience.

Oh, I loved A Voice in the Wind! I agree, it’s magnificent.

 

This one is a toughie, considering you live in a vacation destination, but what’s your favorite or best vacation spot?

Rather than returning to the same spot over and over, I like to go to different places. I’ve never been to the Grand Canyon, and I want to get there fairly soon.

Are you coming to San Antonio this summer and what are you looking forward to most? What are you wearing to the awards banquet?

Yes, I’ll be there! My Golden Heart experience in 2012 was indescribable. Just fantastic. I’ll be enjoying 2014 just as much. I don’t have a dress yet, but I’ve done a bit of looking.

If you were a tree, what kind of tree would you be?

There is a magnificent, live coastal oak in my backyard. It must be over 100 years old. That tree is downright spiritual.

What did you do/think when you got “the call” on March 26th?

The Unseducible Earl is the book of my heart. It’s about a nurse. I’m so happy I didn’t give up on it, and it finaled.

Congratulations, Sheri! Thanks for stopping by today. I’ll see you in San Antonio, if not before!

Book Talk Tuesday: Through the Evil Days

Julia Spencer-Fleming’s tag line says it all: Novels of faith and murder for readers of literary suspense. 

evil-days-new-lg

Through the Evil Days lives up to that description.

It may seem odd to build a murder mystery series around a female Episcopal priest, but Spencer-Fleming is a gifted storyteller whose characters are fully realized and could be real people.

When we left newlyweds Clare Fergusson and Russ Van Alstyne at the end of One Was a Soldier, they had just discovered Clare was pregnant. After they’d agreed to no kids.

Through the Evil Days picks up a few months later. Clare is now five and a half months along. She’s clean and sober. Russ is also clean and sober but he’s not nearly as accepting of the idea of a child interrupting his planned life as Clare is.

Russ and Clare are finally heading to their delayed honeymoon. Both struggle to get out of town and find out at the last minute, their jobs could be in jeopardy. Clare because conception occurred before the wedding, Russ because the town council is considering dissolving the police department and outsourcing law enforcement to the state troopers.

The whole state of New York is gripped by an ice storm for the record books. With Russ and Clare out of town trying to figure out their marriage, the rest of Millers Kill is fighting the weather and the PD is searching for a young kidnap victim who needs anti-rejection medications or she’ll die.

Since this is a Clare and Russ mystery series, they aren’t able to escape either the weather or the kidnappers.

Back in town, Hadley Knox and Kevin Flynn are also dealing with relationship issues. Hadley’s ex-husband is back in town and causing trouble. Just when Hadley and Kevin seem to have sorted out their relationship, life throws them another curve ball.

The ice storm in this book is a character all its own. It bucks and calms, drives the action, and generally makes a bad situation even worse.

I love all these books. The only thing I don’t like is that the last few books have ended with cliffhangers and Spencer-Fleming doesn’t write fast enough for me. I want to know what happened next and I want to know it now.

Media Monday: I’m a Lowbrow

Last week I reviewed the Veronica Mars movie. What I didn’t say was that we started the evening watching The Master with Joaquin Phoenix and Phillip Seymour Hoffman. I had DVR’d it and knew it had been critically acclaimed and received some Oscar nods.

The Master
The Master

We lasted about 45 minutes. Stud Muffin was done after 7 minutes, but I refused to quit. Finally even I had to admit defeat. Depressing. Slow pace. Nothing redeeming. Ugh.

If I could say this was the first time Hollywood and reviewers has done me wrong, I could forgive and forget. But their reputation has preceded itself. JFK, the Oliver Stone movie. Black Swan.

I do like some critically acclaimed films too though, so maybe there’s hope for me yet.

Spotlight Thursday: It’s All About ME!

I’ve been shining the spotlight on my fellow Inspirational Golden Heart® finalists and today is the fourth and last Inspirational finalist: ME! (Starting next week, we’ll be meeting finalists in the other categories.)

I knew finaling in the Golden Heart® was a big deal, but I have to admit, I was caught off guard by how busy it is, being a finalist.

I’ve been popping up all over the internet lately.

Here, on the Ruby Slippered Sisterhood blog.

And here, on fellow Golden Heart® finalist Jillian Lark’s blog.

Then there’s the USA Today romance blog, Happy Ever After which you can see here.

The USA Today blog generated a tweet from Riverhead Books quoting me! And I got my first Google alert for the USA Today HEA article. I’ve gotten a few other Google alerts on my name but they came from my own blog or comments posts. This was my first bona fide Google alert from an outside source.

And finally, I have a short story up in a contest here. If you have just a couple of minutes, would you mind clicking through, giving it a read and clicking Like? If you do like it, that is!

Anyway, between writing blog posts, reading and responding to blog posts, and all the email generated, I’m busier than a cow dog at a roundup. And I’m loving it! So far this spring, I’m a finalist or semi-finalist in three different contests with two different stories. Plus the short story link above. Open-mouthed smile 

Thanks for stopping by today. Come back next week for a look at another Golden Heart® finalist.

Woe! It’s Wednesday: The Best Laid Plans

There’s a verse in Proverbs that says:

Many are the plans in the mind of a man,
but it is the purpose of the Lord that will stand.

Proverbs 19:21 (ESV)

pathI’ve been reminded of this verse several times in recent weeks.

A member of our local church collapsed while playing volleyball and died. He was in his early-fifties and athletic and fit.

My mom stumbled and fell recently. She’s okay, but she took a good blow to the head. It could have been much worse. Instead of rearranging my plans for a day, it could have been a week or even a different kind of plan I’d be on.

There’s a saying evangelical circles: God is good.

The listener responds: All the time. And all the time …

And the original speaker finishes with: God is good.

He is good. He is just. He is.

May we all rest in that knowledge.

Book Talk Tuesday: Dangerous to Love

I don’t often read books that can be labeled “Hot,” or “Steamy,” but Elsa is a friend so I dove right in.

dtl

From the Amazon description:

Emma Spencer had anything but a normal childhood. It encompassed foster parents, biological parents and several years at a convent boarding school. Now her foster parents have been murdered and she may be next. When she falls in love, searching for answers becomes more devastating than she ever imagined.
Buck Hill had a crush on Emma at seven years old and when they are reunited he realizes she is the one he has been waiting for. As the two lovers search for the reason Emma is in danger, Buck finds he is a piece of the puzzle.

***

I enjoyed the chemistry between Emma and Buck and the mystery/suspense is good. At first, I had a bit of a problem sorting out how Emma fit into the story and with the foster parents, but Elsa did a good job bringing it all together.

Media Monday: Veronica Mars, the movie

Hmmm … I just realized I don’t even know if this has a name other than the Veronica Mars movie …

marsOkay, I paused to check and nope, it’s just Veronica Mars. Whew. I watched the television series fairly recently and enjoyed it a lot.

Veronica is a Nancy Drew for the new millennium. Each of three seasons of the show focused on one over-arching mystery that Veronica was working on. The individual episodes often had a smaller case that she took on to help out a friend or a friend of a friend, or an occasional client of her dad’s PI firm.

It’s hard to talk about a mystery show or series without giving spoilers and I couldn’t bear to ruin Veronica for anyone, so I’ll just say the movie is every bit as good as the series and I recommend them for anyone who loves a good mystery combined with snappy dialogue and real characters.

Even Stud Muffin liked the movie and he never watched any of the shows. Oh, and the extra feature, “The Making of Veronica Mars,” is well worth the viewing.

I would totally support and see another Veronica Mars movie.