Counterfeit Hope is about five weeks from its release date and one thing I always like to do leading up to my release day is to take time to put the spotlight on the authors who endorsed my book. Not only did they sacrifice their time to read it, but they also wrote words that touched my heart and encouraged me. These are authors that I respect and look up to. Authors who know their craft, have been writing far longer than I have, and know what makes a good story. To be endorsed by them is an honor that I cannot express adequately.
For the next eight weeks, I am going to continue to spotlight an endorser, share what they have to say about Counterfeit Hope, share more about them, the books they’ve written, and how you can connect with them, as well as give you a chance to win one of their books. At the end of each post, I hope you will leave the author an uplifting note so they may be encouraged just as they have encouraged me.
I am pleased to introduce to you . . .
Author of What I Would Tell You
Connect with Laura: Website | Podcast. | Facebook | Instagram | Twitter | BookBub | Goodreads | Pinterest | YouTube
What Liz had to say about Counterfeit Hope:
“A round of applause for Crystal Caudill and the fabulous story she penned. The rich, well-developed characters, the plot twists, and Crystal’s unique voice made it a very enjoyable read and kept me on the edge of my seat from the beginning, just waiting to see what would happen. I would highly recommend it for any lover of historical fiction.”
Purchase Links for Counterfeit Hope: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Books-A-Million | Book Despository | Bookshop.org | Christianbook | Logos | Indiebound
Liz has written a TON of historical novels mostly set during the World Wars, and there is no way that I can feature them all here, but I’m choosing to feature her newest one a couple of my favorites from her.
What I Would Tell You (New Release)
DNA Test Unlocks a Family Mystery
Sephardic Jew Mathilda Nissim watches in horror as the Germans invade her beloved city of Salonika, Greece. What angers her most is the lack of resistance her people put up to their captors. In secret and at great risk to her life, she continues to publish her newspaper, calling her people to action. She doesn’t trust God to help them. When she and her husband find out they are expecting a child, Mathilda may have to resort to desperate measures to ensure her daughter’s survival.
Three generations later, college student Riley Payson and her cousin take a popular DNA test only to discover they don’t share any common ancestors. In fact, the test shows Riley is a Sephardic Jew from Greece. This revelation shakes Riley’s tenuous faith and sends her on a journey to discover what happened to her great-grandmother and how all this relates to her faith and her life today.
Purchase Links for What I Would Tell You: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Books-A-Million | Book Despository | Bookshop.org | Christianbook
Held prisoner by all she’s lost, Katarina’s about to lose all she has.
Princess Katarina Volstova barely escaped the Russian revolution, arriving in Paris just before the birth of her twin daughters. With her heart still captive in her homeland, she haunts the Louvre each day, spending hours gazing at one painting, lost in her pain.
Not the man he once was before the Great War, Georges Velvey hides himself away doing janitorial service in the Louvre and watching the beautiful woman whose pain seems riveted on one painting.
When Katarina returns home to find her daughters and their nanny missing, the loss opens her eyes to all she has to lose now.
Frantic to find her girls, her distress causes Georges to offer his assistance. Together they put together clues to a puzzle they must complete before the kidnapper ensures Katarina and her daughters are never reunited.
Slashed Canvas offers a retelling of The Lost Princess that mingles self-centered grief, spoiled little girls, and proof that nothing will stop a mother from saving her children.
The Silver Shadow
Will the reporter and the policeman team up to find the man clubbing women before he strikes too close for comfort?
Denver of 1900 is still a dangerous place to be following the silver crash of 1893. And of out of the dark comes a shadow intent on harming women. Ambitious young Denver newspaper reporter Polly Blythe is searching for the big story that’s going to launch her career. On Friday evening, August 24, 1900, she gets her break when two women are cracked over the head within a two-minute walk of each other. But policeman Edwin Timmer thwarts Polly’s ideas of a serial criminal. . .until the shadowy figure strikes again. Will the reporter and the policeman team up to find the culprit before her strikes too close for comfort?
A Promise Engraved
Can Promises Made in Times of Struggle Endure 200 Years?
Visit historic American landmarks through the Doors to the Past series. History and today collide in stories full of mystery, intrigue, faith, and romance.
Young, spirited Josie Wilkins life is about to take a turn when faced with political turmoil and forbidden love in San Antonio of 1836. John Gilbert has won her heart, despite being a Protestant preacher who is forbidden to practice his faith in Texas. Will either of them survive an epic battle for liberty to create a legacy of love?
Nearly 200 years later, Kayleigh Hernandez takes breaks from her demanding job as a refugee coordinator working with Mexican migrants to attend flea markets where she has found a uniquely engraved ring. Enlisting the help of appraiser Brandon Shuman, they piece together a love story long forgotten. But will dangers linked to Kayleigh’s work end her own hopes for leaving a legacy built on hope, faith, and love?
I am giving away one e-book copy of Liz’s Slashed Canvas to someone who leaves an encouraging message for Laura below between January 13th and January 20th. The giveaway ends at 11:59 pm EST and is open to US and international residents legally able to enter (follow your country’s rules). If you would like to earn extra entries, use the Rafflecopter widget below. The only requirement to be entered is that you leave Liz an encouraging note on this post. Thank you for participating.
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Please leave Liz an encouraging message below.
Last year I had the blessing of getting to meet Liz Tolsma when I was on her podcast Christian Historical Fiction Talk, and it was so wonderful to get to know her through an actual conversation instead of just email or Facebook conversations. Today, it is my pleasure to get to introduce you to her and her newest release, What I Would Tell You.
Long-time Wisconsin resident Liz Tolsma is the author of several WWII novels, romantic suspense novels, prairie romance novellas, and an Amish romance and has been an award finalist on several occasions. She is a popular podcaster, speaker, and editor. Together, she and her husband adopted three children internationally. They reside next to a farm field with their youngest daughter. Their son is a U.S. Marine, and their oldest daughter is a recent college graduate. Liz enjoys reading, walking, working in her large perennial garden, kayaking, and camping.
You can connect with her through:
Facebook | Instagram | Twitter | Pinterest | BookBub | GoodReads
Now for the fun stuff! I have to admit I am partial to my Fast Five. 🙂 So settle in as I hit Liz with rapid-fire.
CC: Sweet or Salty?
LT: Both! I LOVE chocolate-covered pretzels!
CC: Print, E-book, or Audiobook?
LT: Ebook. I mostly read at bedtime, and my husband wouldn’t appreciate me leaving the light on or listening to an audiobook.
CC: Coffee, Tea, or Other?
LT: Coffee but only if it doesn’t taste like coffee; otherwise, tea.
Morning Person or Night Owl?
LT: Morning person
CC: Favorite Holiday?
LT: Christmas! I was married on December 23, my husband was born on December 25, and my daughter on December 17.
Oh wow! That is a lot of really important events in December! No wonder Christmas is your favorite. Let’s move into some of the more in-depth questions.
What does your writing process look like from beginning to end?
LT: A big, old, sloppy mess. I start with an idea or a character or a historical event. I do a good bit of research, learn a little bit about my characters, and then I’m off to the races. The characters reveal more of themselves and their stories as I write, which often means I have to go back and change things. Sometimes plot lines will hit me in the middle of the book, which means more rewriting. I spend more time actually reworking a book than I do writing it. That’s why I’m thankful for a good editing team. They really help me clean my mess up and make it presentable to the world.
CC: That honestly makes me feel better as I’m really struggling to wrangle this story into some semblance of an order for a synopsis.
What has been the biggest challenge for you on your writing journey?
LT: Juggling writing, marketing, editing, podcasting, and a family life. I wear a lot of hats, and it can get to be too much at times. I need to stay focused and disciplined, and it’s amazing how much I can accomplish if I do that. I also have to be sure to carve out the time that my husband and children need and deserve. My husband has been known to come by me on a Saturday afternoon, firmly close my laptop, and tell me that’s enough for the week. He helps me to stay balanced, so he’s good for me and my mental health!
That is so important to have a family that helps you stay balanced. I’m struggling with doing it all as well, and last year was pretty brutal. I don’t know how you podcast on top of everything. I feel like I’m drowning with much less on my plate.
How have you seen God working through your writing journey?
LT: He has really used this process to grow my patience. I’ve had to trust his timing to be perfect for my first contract. I’d been writing for almost ten years when that first came along. I’ve had to place myself in his hands with each subsequent contract and not allow my fear of never getting a contract again to take over if I don’t have a deadline. I’ve also learned so much from my characters’ story arcs. As they learn things about the Lord and about the Christian life, there are lessons in there for me as well.
CC: Amen and amen. What a blessing it is to see how you lean into Him for the whole writing life.
Do you have any advice for those who want to write their own stories?
LT: This sounds so simple, but my advice is to write. You can’t be a writer if you don’t have words down on paper. If I had a nickel for everyone over the years who has told me they want to be a writer but never wrote a word, I’d be able to write from my private Caribbean island! Even if it’s only a couple of hundred words a day, it’s amazing how fast they add up and become a book. Once you have them down, then you have something to work with and to improve on.
Now I’m really excited to talk about your newest release, What I Would Tell You.
Determined to resist the invading Nazis, a Greek Jewish woman’s greatest dream has become her worst nightmare, and now she faces an impossible choice whose consequences echo across the generations.
1941—The pounding of Nazi boots on the streets of Salonika, Greece, reverberates in Mathilda Nissim’s ears, shaking her large community of Sephardic Jews to its core and altering her life forever. If only her people would rise up and resist their captors. At great risk to herself and those around her, she uses the small newspaper she publishes to call them to action, all to no avail. Her husband encourages her to trust God to watch over them, but God has once again deserted His people. Amid the chaos, Mathilda discovers she’s expecting a longed-for child. Still, nothing stops the occupiers’ noose from tightening around their necks, and she may have to resort to desperate measures to ensure her daughter’s survival.
2019—College student Tessa Payton and her cousin take a popular DNA heritage test only to discover they don’t share any common ancestors. In fact, the test reveals Tessa is a Greek Sephardic Jew. This revelation threatens her tenuous faith. Always the overlooked child in her family, she empties her savings account and jets off on a journey to Greece to discover where she belongs and which God demands her allegiance. The enchanting curator at the Jewish museum guides her as she navigates life in Thessaloniki, helps with her genealogical research, and loans her a fascinating journal written by a Jewish woman during WWII. Tessa’s search, however, may open old wounds and uncover long-hidden secrets that could fracture her family forever and leave her with more questions than when she started. Based in part on true accounts of Jews in Salonika, Greece, What I Would Tell You traces two women’s journeys, delving into what faith looks like and where it leads us as they navigate difficult circumstances and impossible choices that have ripple effects across the years.
Split time fiction: WWII and 2019
Approximate book length: 91,000 words
Includes author’s notes
Purchase your copy at Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Books-A-Million | Christianbook
CC: Where did you get the idea for What I Would Tell You?
LT: I can’t prove this because I can no longer find the source anywhere, but I read an article about a Greek Jewish woman faced with an impossible choice during WWII. I know I didn’t make it up because I knew nothing about WWII in Greece before I read that article. I didn’t keep the source anywhere, but the kernel of an idea that became this book never left me. It’s been so wonderful to finally get a chance to write it and to see it out in the world.
CC: I hate when I lose my sources, but what a neat thing. I love how the real-world inspires fiction.
What about this story drew you to it? Does this story have any special meaning to you?
LT: The compelling nature of the story drew me to it. I just couldn’t imagine what I would do if I ever found myself in my heroine’s position. I can’t say too much more without spoilers, and I wouldn’t want to do that! The story really took on flesh when I was able to travel to Greece to research it. It was 2021, Covid was still raging, and my daughter was waiting to hear about a missions trip she hoped to take to Greece that summer. Just about the time Greece reopened to US citizens and she knew she’d be going, I got the contract for What I Would Tell You. I knew I needed to go. Alyssa and I had a fabulous two weeks together researching the book. She traipsed all over the city of Thessaloniki without complaining, took notes for me, and was a fabulous navigator. It helped that she’d been in the country for almost three months at that point, so she was familiar with the culture.
CC: Wow! I love how God aligns things so beautifully! And what a special time with your daughter that was. I can’t imagine all the special memories you two have stored up.
What was some of your favorite research you discovered while preparing for What I Would Tell You?
LT: So much of what we saw and did on the trip made it into the book. I mention many of them in the author’s notes at the end. It was very sobering to visit the Jewish sites in Thessaloniki knowing that less than 2000 of the city’s 50,000 Jews survived the Holocaust. The Jewish museum brought me to tears, as did the train station where they were transported to Auschwitz. I did end up falling in love with Greek food, and a good bit of that made it into the contemporary storyline. If you look at my pictures from that trip, there are more of the food than there are of my daughter. Of course, my favorite part had to be when we did some research in a nearby beach town. It was tough, be we did it so the story could be the best possible story LOL!
CC: LOL more pictures of food than your daughter! I can relate. I love eating foods unique to the culture I’m visiting. I love how so much of your research made it into your story.
What do you hope readers will take away from your story?
LT: This is a story about where we belong and who we belong to. I hope that readers will take away that our identity and belonging ultimately lie in Christ. Even if the entire world should forsake us, He never will. He will be with us to the end of the age. If they come away from the story with nothing other that, I hope that will be what stays with them long after they finish the last page.
That is such an important and powerful message. As my final question, I have my usual “Fun Question”.
What animal is most like you?
LT: I’ve always said that if I believed in reincarnation, I would want to come back as the cat of an old woman who has no grandchildren. I know that’s super specific, but that way I could just curl up and sleep without anyone interrupting or bothering me.
CC: LOL, that would definitely be the life. As a previous author once said, I tend to live as a sleep-deprived pigeon, so a life of napping sounds amazing.
Readers, I hope you’ll check out What I Would Tell You, and come back next Friday to learn more about what stories Liz has written, what she has to say about my upcoming release Counterfeit Hope, and for a chance to win an e-book of Slashed Canvas from Liz Tolsma.
Reader, what do you know about Greece’s experience during the World Wars?
We’ve finished the fourth month of the Unlocking the Past 2022 Reading Challenge: Around the World. This month we traveled to Eastern Europe, and with me being on deadline, my partner Among the Reads shares her review of The Refrain Within by Liz Tolsma. Once you read the review, don’t forget to comment to be entered for your chance to win a copy.
*Want more interaction and/or suggestions each month? Join the Facebook Group. Want a bookmark with the monthly themes? Fill out this Google Form. Need a reminder on the details of the challenge? Go to the Unlocking the Past Reading Challenge page.*
The Refrain Within
by Liz Tolsma
Just between you and me, I can’t read many books dealing with the Holocaust. Or read them often. Reading about that terrible time in history tears me up inside!
A few years ago, I came across The Melody of the Soul by Liz Tolsma and was so intrigued by the synopsis, I decided to give it a chance. When the next book in the Music of Hope series came out, When the Heart Sings, I read that as well, this time with no hesitation. Though these stories stand alone, I still knew that I wanted to read The Refrain Within when it came out! I love that this series revolves around music during such a bleak time.
Patrick’s love for Éva and for music blends so beautifully! It is very touching the way she is his muse. The songs he composed that sprang from his affection, as well as his grief, were described so perfectly I felt that I could hear them!
I greatly admired Éva as she courageously sought her missing student, who was said to have been taken by the Nazis. She then did her small part to help ease the suffering there. Her struggle whether to trust Patrick was portrayed so well.
My heart ached as I read of the injury that was done to various characters. The author balanced telling the facts and not giving too many details well. Considering the cruelty that was inflicted on the Jews at this time, it was still painful to read – that is not the author’s fault.
Éva’s faith, understandably, was weak in the face of the destruction of lives and her beloved city. It was so precious to see her truly grasp the truth, first from her father and then from Patrick, that when God is our foundation, we cannot be shaken.
If you enjoy historical fiction with a strong Christian foundation, I recommend The Refrain Within.
Amazon Barnes & Noble Books-a-Million Book Depository Bookshop.org Christianbook.com Indiebound.org
For your chance to win a print copy, comment with what book YOU read for this month and you will also be entered into the year-end Grand Prize Reader Basket. Use the Rafflecopter below for extra entries and to mark that you left a comment. Entries end on May 7th at midnight EST, and the winner will be drawn sometime that week and notified by email. The winner will be announced don’t the Rafflecopter widget. *Open to all residents of the contiguous USA, legally able to enter, and an e-book format or Amazon Gift Card will be awarded to those outside that range who are legally able to enter.
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What did you read for April’s Challenge? What do you hope to read in May?