Saturday, November 23, 2013

Love's Refuge Blog Tour

I am excited to share my first blog tour with you! The book is Love's Refuge by Sandra Leesmith!
Don't you just love the cover!
Anyway, I'll introduce the book, give my review, have an interview with the author, and, finally, have the giveaway!

Skye Larsen loves her peaceful life on Leeza Island in Puget Sound – the tranquility, the friendly neighbors, and especially the safety from big-city dangers. So when cruel pranks start to escalate and changes threaten to overtake the island, Skye is determined to fight for her haven. The presence of a handsome vacationer and the unexpected feelings he awakens can’t distract her from her goal.
Danny Fraser doesn’t realize how desperately he needs a rest until he meets Skye. By allowing him to glimpse her simple way of life, she helps him reorient his priorities – and steals his heart in the process. But his work and home in Seattle keep Skye at bay.
An isolated island girl with painful memories. A dedicated city boy with a wild past. What will it cost for them both to find a refuge from their storms?
My Review
In Love’s Refuge, by Sandra Leesmith, Skye lives on a small island in Washington state. She loves the peace and beauty of the island, but strange things begin to happen. Soon Skye’s peaceful life is shattered, but through it all, she grows—both to love Danny and to overcome her fears from the trauma in her past. Also, she grows to trust in God and His protection of her.
I enjoyed this book! It wasn’t as fast-paced as I’m used to, but it was still eventful and interesting. I loved Skye and Danny’s banter and nicknames for each other! It was just fun and added some positives to a book that had many negative things happen to the characters. It gave the entire book a more positive feel than otherwise.
I also appreciated that Skye grew! She didn’t stay on her lonely little island—even with Danny. Yes, so many things changed that her home would never be the same as before, but Skye still overcame her fears and moved on.
The romance was sweet! Skye and Danny really did seem to love each other. Their relationship wasn’t just infatuation—although they were definitely infatuated! Each of them genuinely cared about the other and spent time getting to know one another, unlike many other romances I know of.
I only wish the author, Sandra, would have been clearer as to what Christianity is. When Skye prayed for safety, she didn’t automatically become a Christian simply because she prayed and trusted God for her safety. Also, Biblically, Danny should not have been dating Skye since she was an unbeliever during most of the story. However, there would not have been a romance if the author simply had the characters wait until Skye became a Christian.
Nevertheless, the romance was sweet and clean—definitely something worth reading!
Things you should know: There was no bad language or sex in this book. There was a little violence, but only memories of such things as murder and rape. There was no gore even in the memories.
About the Author
Sandra loves to hike, read, bicycle and write. She lives in Arizona with her husband and two dogs, a Labrador retriever and a toy poodle. During the hot summers she and her husband travel throughout the United States in their motorhome where she enjoys the outdoors and finds wonderful ideas for her next writing project.

And now, I have asked Sandra to answer a few questions about herself and her books. Enjoy!
Dear Emily,  Thank you for inviting me to join you on your blog. It is a real pleasure.

Can you tell us a little bit about yourself? 
I grew up in California and moved to Arizona in the seventies after my husband and I took a year tour of Central and South America. I am retired now from teaching and enjoy traveling in our motorhome. My husband and I love to hike and play pickleball.  I also enjoy writing of course. Hubby likes me to write novels because then I’m not writing him a “honey do” list.
What do you do when you are not writing?
I start my day with devotions. I play pickleball every morning and swim every afternoon. A long walk in the park or a good hike are always fun. It is during my walks that I get my story ideas.
Do you have a day job as well?
I am retired. My day job is spoiling my husband. J
When did you first start writing and when did you finish your first book?
I first started writing in the eighties when I was taking an education class at ASU. The instructor told us if we were going to teach writing, we should write. He assigned us to write during the summer. When we asked “What should we write?” He answered “Write what you love to read.”  I love romance novels so decided to write one and finished it that summer.  I discovered writing a romance was even more fun than reading one.
Where do you get your ideas?
I have always been a daydreamer. Whatever I see happening around me ends up being a story in my head.
Do you ever experience writer’s block?
I have learned over the years that writer’s block for me comes when I’ve written myself in a corner. That happens every once in awhile and I just back up and go a different direction. Seems to help.
Do you work with an outline, or just write?
I’m very left brained so I do prefer working from an outline. It helps prevent writer’s block in my case anyway.
Is there any particular author or book that influenced you in any way either growing up or as an adult?
In the eighties Janet Dailey and Katherine Woodiweiss were my favorite romance writers. Janet Dailey wrote a series with Harlequin when she traveled the United States in her RV and set each novel in a different state that she had visited. Since I traveled in an RV every summer when school was out (it was cheaper than staying home and paying for air conditioning) I used her as a role model when I started writing that summer.
Can you tell us about your challenges in getting your first book published?
When I started writing, I had never heard of RWA nor had I met any other authors. My biggest challenge was submitting manuscripts. When they said they didn’t want multiple submissions, I thought they meant they didn’t want me to send more than one book so I submitted to everyone. They also said they wanted a sample chapter. This was before computers and you had to manually type each manuscript, so I sent each publisher a chapter of the same book so one publisher got chapter one, another chapter two, another chapter three and so on. I’m sure editors had a good laugh over those first submissions. 
If you had to go back and do it all over, is there any aspect of your novel or getting it published that you would change?
Not really. I did all the things one is supposed to do. I had a critique group go over it, I submitted to every publisher that might be interested and I made all the changes they asked for.
Have you written a book you love that you have not been able to get published?
I have a whole drawer full of manuscripts that haven’t been published. I love every one of them. 
Is anything in your book based on real life experiences or purely all imagination?
All of my novels and characters are fictional, but they contain elements drawn from real life.
What was your favorite chapter (or part) to write and why?
My favorite chapters were the chapters containing the fun time Skye had teaching Danny about island life. I think they were my favorite because they were based on my own experiences of being taught island life by my aunt and uncle who had a cabin on an island similar to the island where Skye lives.
How did you come up with the title?
I didn’t like my working title and mentioned it to Amber Stokes, my editor. She came up with the idea of tying it into my title of my previous book, Love’s Miracles. They are both emotional dramas and she thought they would be able to brand as such if they had similar titles. She brainstormed with my cover artist, Lena Goldfinch and said let’s do a Love’s ….
To come up with refuge, I brainstormed with my Seeker group and they actually came up with the word refuge. It fits perfectly. 
What project are you working on now?
I’m fine tuning another romance novel. I just returned from a trip to Spain where I did research for a historical novel that has been in my heart for a long time.
Will you have a new book coming out soon?
I hope to have the romance out next January or February.
Are there certain characters you would like to go back to, or is there a theme or idea you’d love to work with?
I don’t usually write with a series in mind, so haven’t really given that much thought. Are there characters you are interested in?
What has been the toughest criticism given to you as an author? What has been the best compliment?
The toughest criticism was when I was told to ditch the first three chapters. Sadly this has happened more than once. They were right, but those were three chapters that I had spent hours on. Do you know what I mean?
The compliment that recently touched my heart to the core was the review on Amazon I received for Love’s Refuge written by Shadowplay. Shadowplay said in the review “The simple yet powerful message that filled the pages of this book whispered countless truths to my heart and surrounded my soul with the lavish love that shone through”. I was not consciously thinking this when I wrote. I was simply telling a story. So what this statement proved to me was that the Holy Spirit did indeed speak through me. That humbles me and is indeed a compliment.
Do you have any advice to give to aspiring writers?
The best advice I can give is to join writer’s organizations and to do whatever it takes to learn your craft. A good critique partner is a real blessing also. Persist, persist, persist. And not to brag, but our blog seekerville.blogspot.com is filled with craft skills and helpful hints for writers. You can find a post on almost any topic in our file on page one.
Is there anything that you would like to say to your readers and fans?
I want to thank all my readers and fans. I am always humbled by the trust they put in me to buy my book and spend their valuable time reading it. I truly hope they enjoy the story and are inspired by the content.
Thank you, Sandra!
Also, she is generously giving away a basic kindle loaded with her books!
Here is the giveaway: 
a Rafflecopter giveaway

I was given a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review


  1. Hello, Emily! You did a fabulous job for participating in your first blog tour! Your review is very thoughtful (love what you said about the nicknames), and we appreciate you sharing your honest thoughts with everyone. :) And fun Q&A!

    Thank you for your time and effort - lovely post!


  2. Hi Emily, Thank you so much for participating in our blog tour. You did a great job for your first one. We really appreciate the time you took and your thoughtful comments. It was fun answering your questions. Thanks again.

  3. I enjoyed your review and Sandra's responses to your great questions.
    I just started reading Love's Refuge and the opening puts me right on the island. Fun!

    1. HI Sherida, I hope you enjoy Love's Refuge.

    2. Yay - happy reading, Sherida! I hope you find it to be a nice escape. :)


  4. Thank you, everyone! I appreciate you stopping by!

  5. Oh how I enjoyed this review and interview. WTG, Emily. Thank you Sandra for your heart and your books. And Amber - good job, as always!
    Thanks for hosting the blog tour too! :D

    1. Wasn't this a great post? And thank you so much for the sweet words, my friend! :)