Blog Tour: Beyond Her Calling

 

Welcome to the blog tour of Beyond Her Calling, a new Christian historical romance written by Kellyn Roth. I am pleased to introduce Ena Owen, one of the people who populates the Scottish village of Keefmore.

 

Ena Owen

Bio: Ena Owen is a mother and widow who now runs the general store in the Scottish village of Keefmore. Since she lost her husband and youngest children to an epidemic, she’s become somewhat of a social pariah, but her faith in God and her love for her daughter can get her through the toughest days. Ena loves to read and give inspirational speeches.

 

Fun Info About Ena:

Full Name: Ena Leanne Owen

Personality Type: ????

Personality Info: Ena is a strong, independent individual. Though she doesn’t care what others think, which can make it rather difficult for her to make friends, she loves people and is quite caring in a sensible way. She’s very honest and once you get her talking, she often can go on for an hour.

Appearance: Ena has auburn hair and blue eyes.

Background: Ena was married at sixteen to Robert Owen. They had three children together, but her two youngest as well as Robert were tragically lost to an epidemic.

Family: Keira Owen (her daughter), Bobby and Flori Owen (deceased daughter and son), Robert Owen (deceased husband)

For more information, check out the latest novel she appeared in.

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And we have a giveaway! Enter to win a signed paperback copy of Beyond Her Calling.

 

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And now, the rest of the tour:

Saturday, October 20th

Intro Post // Kellyn Roth @ Reveries

Author Interview // Molly @ A Sparkle of Light

Review // Lisa @ Inkwell

Review & Character Interview (Jordy) // Amie @ Crazy A

Character Interview (Ivy) // Jo @ The Lens and the Hard Drive

Book Spotlight // Annie @ Letters from Annie Douglass Lima

Sunday, October 21st

Theme Day // Kellyn Roth @ Reveries

Guest Post by Character (Ivy) & Review // Grace M. Morris

Book Spotlight // Erika Messer @ Maiden of the Pages

Author Interview // Angela R. Watts @ The Peculiar Messenger

Monday, October 22nd

Ivy Day // Kellyn Roth @ Reveries

Character Interview (Ivy) // Loretta Marchize @ Just Writing

Review // Andrea Cox @ Writing to Inspire

Character Interview (Jordy) // Liz @ Home with the Hummingbirds

Author & Character Interview (Violet) // Julia @ Julia’s Creative Corner

Review & Character Spotlight (Ivy) // Caroline Kloster @ Inside the Autistic Life

Tuesday, October 23rd

Jordy Day // Kellyn Roth @ Reveries

Author Interview // Faith Blum @ Bookish Orchestrations

Review & Guest Post // Cara @ Jessie Bingham

Guest Post // Lindsi @ One Beginner To Another

Character Spotlight (Ena) // Shannon McDermott @ Shannon’s Blog

Wednesday, October 24th

Violet Day // Kellyn Roth @ Reveries

Guest Post // Germaine Han @ The Writing Mafia

Review // Jana T. @ Reviews from the Stacks

Thursday, October 25th

Real Life Day // Kellyn Roth @ Reveries

Book Spotlight // Gabriellyn Gidman @ PageTurners

Author Interview // Sara Willoughby @ Th!nk Magazine

Review // Michaela Bush @ Tangled Up In Writing

Guest Post by Character (Violet) // Peggy M. McAloon @ Peggy’s Hope 4U

Friday, October 26th

Future Day // Kellyn Roth @ Reveries

Review // Abigail McKenna @ Novels, Dragons, and Wardrobe Doors

Review // Gracelyn Buckner @ Literatura

Review // Katherine Brown Books

Review // Bella Putt

Saturday, October 27th

Wrapup Post // Kellyn Roth @ Reveries

Character Interview & Spotlight (Jordy) // Kaylee @ Kaylee’s Kind of Writes

Book Spotlight // Abigail Harder @ Books, Life, and Christ

A Girl and Her Father

Of all biblical stories, Esther is among the best-known and most retold. There is good reason for this. It is a complete and satisfying tale, with peril and victory, with an underdog who wins, a villain who gets his comeuppance, and a brave, beautiful heroine. Its attraction is enormous, but a curious pattern emerges among the re-tellings. Even while staying faithful to the facts of the story, many re-tellings shift the dramatic and emotional center from Esther and Mordecai to Esther and Xerxes. The story of Esther is commonly told as a romance, but in the Bible, the relationship that matters most is the one between Esther and Mordecai.

Esther and Mordecai were cousins, but their relationship is defined by the fact that Mordecai adopted Esther after her parents died, taking her in and raising her. (Somewhat-irrelevant side note: This phenomenon – family members of the same generation but of vast age differences – occurred more frequently in ancient times than in modern, for various reasons.) Mordecai was, in effect, Esther’s father. This relationship drives forward the story: Mordecai’s concern for Esther leads to his vigils at the palace gate, through which he both saves the king’s life and incurs Haman’s animosity; it is Mordecai who explains to Esther (cloistered in the palace) the plot to annihilate the Jews and persuades her to act; Mordecai and Esther together save the Jews and later establish the celebration of Purim.

Esther and Mordecai are also at the heart of the story’s spiritual and emotional power. Esther commands the fasting and prayer in preparation of her bid to save the Jews; Mordecai makes the immortal statement that she became queen “for such a time as this.” It is their lives, their family, and their people brought beneath the shadow of ruthless slaughter. It is their relationship – and emphatically not the relationship between Esther and Xerxes – that is demonstrated to be one of mutual affection: Mordecai walked in a courtyard of the palace every day to find out how Esther was after the king’s officials took her; Esther was “in great distress” at the news of Mordecai’s distress.

Esther’s relationship with Xerxes was, of course, marriage – but marriage to a despot of ancient Persia, and that is a very qualified thing. He practiced, and pretended, no sexual fidelity toward her; consider that he slept with all her rivals for the queenship and then kept them as concubines within his palace. It is evident, too, that Xerxes and Esther didn’t really live together. They only visited at such times when Xerxes wished it – and he could go whole months without wishing it. No detail more sharply illuminates their relationship than the fact that Esther was deathly afraid to go to Xerxes without his summons. In the pivotal moment, Xerxes treated her with regard, but to the end their interactions were those of an absolute sovereign and a favored inferior. Esther was Xerxes’ queen more than she was his wife (though that also, to be fair, had its privileges). It should be noted, too, that Xerxes was an alien to the spiritual concerns of Mordecai and Esther and wholly safe from the death that threatened both of them. Xerxes is an ambivalent figure at best, and a hero on no consideration.

Why, then, do interpretations of the story so often fix on the supposed romance between Esther and Xerxes? The answer is simple, a truth that has long frustrated readers who prefer fantastical stories: People would rather hear about romance. To many people, a romantic relationship – even one as distant and asymmetrical as the marriage of a Persian despot and his queen – is inherently more interesting than a father-daughter relationship, even if it saves a nation from genocide.

A St. Valentine’s Poll

So I was thinking about what might be a good or at least passable topic and suddenly I realized: this post will go live on St. Valentine’s Day. It seemed appropriate, then, to write a post themed on this great holiday of love, and anyway I was having trouble scraping up passable topics. Whether this post will be pro- or anti-Valentine’s Day will be up to you.

First of all, we should consider how ironic it is that the holiday of romantic love is named after a Catholic priest, a class of people who are ideally preoccupied with other concerns. Second, we should consider the intersection between romance and speculative fiction. As a fan of SF among other fans, I’ve seen a fair share of hostility directed toward the romance genre. Christian fans, at least, seem sometimes to regard it as the (regretfully ascendant) rival of Christian SF. But romance looming so large in human nature and human experience, it inevitably finds its own place in speculative fiction.

Yet a place shaped by the contours of the genre, and not always a proud one. Science fiction, in its young days, was a man’s genre, and the woman of the old stories was inevitably young and inevitably beautiful and inevitably belonged to the hero; she was also the daughter of the sage old man, and the sage old man and the strong young hero spent all kinds of time explaining things to her. In another vein, not a very deep one but at least bright, girls were tossed in along with all the other things a healthy-minded boy could desire: a quest, an adventure, a cool weapon, a fast ship, a righteous cause.

Fantasy, molded by the ancient traditions of fairy tales, has been less male-centric but not necessarily more sensible. Even moving away from the eternal puzzles of the archetypal fairy tales (could the prince really not identify Cinderella except by her shoe size?), certain ideas have thrown long shadows over the genre – true love that is instant and unmistakable, fated love that can’t be thwarted or resisted. Being rescued from a tower or a dragon or an evil wizard may seem like a clear sign, but on sober reflection, it may not be the soundest basis for a lifelong relationship.

When it comes to balanced and realistic portraitures of romantic love, speculative fiction has not, as a genre, clothed itself with glory. Neither has romance, but that is not our topic, just an aside I couldn’t resist. Over the years, science fiction and fantasy have made progress away from the old tropes and stereotypes. I’ll offer no predictions on where the genre is going. But on this Valentine’s Day, I wonder – where do you want it to go? What, in your ideal book, is the intersection between romance and speculative fiction?

So on this St. Valentine’s Day, cast a vote for or against romance in speculative fiction.

Do you want romance in sci-fi/fantasy?

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Prism Tour: Christmas, Actually

A themed tour through Prism Book Tours.

It’s the MISTLETOE KISSES TOUR Grand Finale for
Christmas, Actually
By Anna Adams, Anna J. Stewart, and Melinda Curtis
Three Harlequin Heartwarming novellas, where a sweet kiss takes place under the mistletoe.

Did you miss any of the excerpts, guest post, or reviews on the tour?
Feel free to go back and check out all the stops now!

Launch – Intro to the Collection

Christmas, Actually – three holiday stories about three siblings living in Christmas Town, Maine, where tradition has it that a kiss on Christmas Eve in the town square gazebo will lead to wedding bells in the new year!

Christy’s Cozy Corners – An Interview with Anna Adams

How was it decided that the story would take place in Christmas Town, Maine?

We were looking for a setting that spoke of the holidays, and I’d lived in Maine in a town that decorated the green for Christmas. I described it, and someone suggested Christmas Town as a name for our fictional village.

Coffee Books & Art – Excerpt

Snowflakes hit the windshield and splayed into star shapes while Bing Crosby crooned his dreams of a white Christmas. Sophie Palmer tried to sing along, but her mind was already racing up the icy interstate to Christmas Town, Maine, where the father of her unborn child now lived.

The Book Lovers’ Lounge – Christmas Town by Anna Adams

And I imagined my own broken hero, Jack Banning, watching from the sidewalk, there in the town, but watching from the boundaries because he doesn’t belong any more.

Getting Your Read On – Review

“Yeah, I really loved my time in Christmas Town with the Banning family. Each story was unique and romantic. I loved all the characters. They were real and identifiable. It is the perfect book to curl up with as the days get colder and we get closer to Christmas.”

Colorimetry – The Power of a First Kiss by Anna Adams

He’s at her house, killing time because he can’t go home and face his brother’s happiness when another friend calls to offer him an investment opportunity. Mary is leaning against George, also listening on the phone, when finally, he admits to his feelings. He takes her in his arms for a kiss he clearly doesn’t want even as he desires nothing in the whole wide world more than the hometown love of his life.

Southern Chelle – Review

“I don’t think I’ve read anything by any of these authors before, but these novellas have me falling hard for their work! I used to receive the Harlequin Heartwarming books monthly, but I didn’t have room for anymore paperback books in my house and had to give it up. I’m so glad they’ve continued these offerings!”

Kelly P’s Blog – An Interview with Anna J. Stewart

5. What do you hope readers will take with them after reading your story?

There’s nothing better than a happily ever after–that’s why I write (and read) romance, but that’s kind of the easy answer. I think at its core, the story is about learning how to be open with others, to tell them how you’re really feeling about situations that are emotionally damaging them. Dean, Callie and Eliza all have to do this at some point during the story and once they do, the happily ever after is possible.

My Love for Reading Keeps Growing – Excerpt

“Is this a bad time?” The combination of sympathy and amusement shining in green eyes, along with the tamed Irish lilt, called to mind fields of clover dotting rolling hills. She’d spent many a night and more than a few days dreaming of traveling to the Emerald Isle. Now it seemed as if Ireland had come to her.

Shoulder-length, golden-streaked hair brushed the worn leather of the bomber jacket he wore over snug jeans, the hint of a plain white T-shirt peeking from under the collar.

The Wonderings Of One Person – Dream Cast for The Christmas Wish

There are some actors who just “hit” from the second I lay eyes on them. When looking for images of my Dean, I did not have to look much further than Chris Hemsworth.


Casting my heroines has always been problematic for me. Typically, I use another medium for inspiration (I’m a doll collector), but when I saw this picture of Nina Dobrev (Vampire Diaries), I knew that was Callie.

Christian Chick’s Thoughts – Review

“The Christmas Date: The instant I started reading this story, I knew I was going to love it. There’s just something about those You’ve Got Mail-esque stories that I love. Nick and Gina are both so likeable, and their chemistry lept off the page. This was easily my favorite of the three stories!”

Bookworm Lisa – Review

“Each of the author’s did a great job in telling their story. I liked the descriptions and the characters.

This book is a fun way to get into the holiday season and find a little clean Christmas romance.”

fundinmental – My Top Ten Christmas Traditions by Anna J. Stewart

I LOVE Christmas time. Truly, from about Halloween on, I’m all about the tinsel, the trees and the music (why do they have to stop the Xmas carols on the 26th?!). For years now it’s just been my mom and me during the holiday season, but we’ve got our traditions…and they start early…even before we carve the Thanksgiving turkey.

Beck Valley Books – An Interview with Malinda Curtis

What’s your favorite aspect of the story?

One of my favorite aspects is Gina’s parents. They’ve tried for years to do what they thought was right and it strained their character and their relationship. This year, they rejoin the pageant and the town’s festivities in a very public way. It’s a small part of the story, but a set of vignettes that I love.

Mel’s Shelves – Review

“I loved seeing the siblings in each other’s stories and enjoyed getting to know them. These stories are quick, easy reads which are perfect to get you in the mood for Christmas. I love that they’re all clean so I can recommend it to everyone! Christmas Town was a fun place to visit!”

Painted Words – Review

“But what I truly loved about this book was that it didn’t feel at all repetitive which can be a big hindrance to books like this especially if written by multiple authors. It was an absolutely beautiful story, one that I look forward to reading again next year at this time and it was the perfect way to start off the season.”

I Am A Reader – Melinda Curtis’s Favorite Treat at Christmas Time (with recipe)

My mom is a fan of Jell-o salad. At Christmas, she’d serve us a slice of Jello salad on a leaf of lettuce with a dollop of mayonnaise on top. The first time Mr. Curtis had this dish, he happily took a big bite, expecting it to be whipped cream on top. Kudos to him for keeping his disappointment to himself.

Deal Sharing Aunt – Excerpt

In the wee hours of Christmas Eve morning, Gina stood at the edge of the town square and traced the deep, jagged scar that ran from her left temple to her jawline with the tip of a gloved finger, as if her touch could erase the past. The small ball of worry, the one that hadn’t let her sleep last night, expanded like bread dough in her chest, pressing against her lungs.

I should have told him.

Wishful Endings – Excerpt (4-star review here)

“Are you kidding? You’re beautiful. Why would he do that?

“You have to say that. You’re standing in my kitchen.” With me practically in your arms. Nevertheless, she hugged his words to her heart. No one had ever called her beautiful before.

JoJo’s Corner – 10 Gifts Ideas for Your Teen/Young Adult & Review

I’m a little bit anal about the holidays. I have a basic list I work from that my kids will enjoy or find useful. They’re all in college now, but that doesn’t mean they want a package of socks for Christmas. Here’s a list of 10 suggested gift giving categories for your teen/young adult…

Review: “Christmas, Actually is the perfect collection of stories to cuddle up and enjoy on a cold wintry night!”

Undercover Book Reviews – Review

“Three stories in one book, a great way to start the Christmas season off! Anna Adams takes you on three separate journeys in the life of Jack, Callie, and Gina as each tells their own story. The plot is good in each one.”

Katie’s Clean Book Collection – Review

What a fun story! The reader is taken on a journey through Christmas Town, Maine and we get to see snippets of what makes this town special through the eyes of three different characters.

Christmas, Actually
by Anna Adams, Anna J. Stewart, & Melinda Curtis
Clean Contemporary Romance
Paperback & Ebook, 202 pages
November 1st 2014 by Harlequin Heartwarming

Discover the magic of Christmas Town, Maine!

Three lonely strangers come to Christmas Town, Maine, and find love with three Banning siblings in the town that celebrates the holidays by decorating its square with lights and ribbons and a holiday pageant on Christmas Eve. Tradition has it that a kiss beneath the mistletoe that night means marriage for the couple in the new year.

The Christmas Gift by Anna Adams:
Jack Banning promised to support the mother of his unborn child… But she doesn’t need money, she only needs him.

The Christmas Wish by Anna J. Stewart:
Callie Banning’s student has declared war on Christmas, so it’s up to her to help the little girl—and her widowed father—believe again.

The Christmas Date by Melinda Curtis:
Gina Vernay is about to meet her online mystery date…and she’s in for the surprise of a lifetime!

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About the Authors

Anna Adams wrote her first romance in wet sand. The Atlantic Ocean washed it away, but Anna kept going. Her stories are of love, like the proverbial stone in a lake, making ripples that spread and contract and involve. From Iceland to Hawaii, and points in between, Anna and her own hero share with children and family and friends who’ve become family. All this living and loving gives Anna plenty of fodder for stories of love set in real life. Come along and live them with her!

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Anna J. Stewart can’t remember a time she didn’t have a book in her hand or a story in her head and credits her mother never saying no to a book for turning her into a writer. Anna lives in Northern California with an overly attentive cat named Snickers and is happiest when setting her heroes and heroines on their road to happily ever after amidst family, fun and laughter.

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Melinda Curtis grew up on an isolated sheep ranch, where mountain lions had been seen and yet she roamed unaccompanied. Being a rather optimistic, clueless of danger, sort she took to playing “what if” games that led her to become an author. She spends days trying to figure out new ways to say “He made her heart pound.” That might sound boring, but the challenge keeps her mentally ahead of her 3 kids and college sweetheart husband.

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Tour-Wide Giveaway

– Gift Card Prize Pack: $20 Amazon gift card and ebook of Christmas, Actually (open internationally)
– US Prize Pack: Paperback of Christmas, Actually and three Christmas ornaments (US only)
– 3 ebooks of Christmas, Actually (open internationally)
Ends November 30th

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