Friday, September 30, 2011

Friday Friend - Karen Wiesner

Please give a warm welcome to Karen Wiesner, today's Friday Friend.

Karen is an accomplished author with 85 books published in the past 13 years, which have been nominated for and/or won 114 awards, and has 13 more titles under contract. Karen's books cover such genres as women's fiction, romance, mystery/police procedural/cozy, suspense, paranormal, futuristic, gothic, inspirational, thriller, horror, chick-lit, and action/adventure. She also writes children's books, poetry, and writing reference titles such as her bestsellers, First Draft in 30 Days and From First Draft to Finished Novel {A Writer's Guide to Cohesive Story Building}, available from Writer's Digest Books.

Her previous writing reference titles focused on non-subsidy, royalty-paying electronic publishing, author promotion, and setting up a promotional group like her own, the award-winning Jewels of the Quill, which she founded in 2003. Jewels of the Quill produced two award-winning group anthologies per year published by Whiskey Creek Press from 2005-2011. All were edited by Karen and others.

Additionally, Karen is a member of Infinite Worlds of Fantasy Authors and World Romance Writers. Along with her writing, Karen enjoys designing Web sites, graphics, and cover art.

Congratulations on the publication of the fifth book in your inspirational romance Family Heirlooms Series! Please tell us about your featured release, Shards of Ashley.

In order to reconcile her past, she must face the terrible truth she buried long ago...and, in doing so, she gambles with her heart and the salvation of her own soul. 

Ashley Savage grew up in a troubled home with a competitive, pampered sister and an abusive, ridiculing mother who played at being a Christian when she needed to...and led Ashley to more addictions than one child could handle. As an adult, Ashley tells herself she's put the extreme fears of the past behind her, but she spends most of her time repairing the crumbling wall holding back the horrors she's not willing to face ever again. She's become a woman against the world. 

The one man who has the annoying habit of getting through her defenses is Jay Samuels, a military chaplain and soon-to-be pastor. Much as Ashley wants to leave him behind like she believes she has the rest of her past, Jay is ambitious to a fault where she's concerned. He hears only what he wants to hear--and he doesn't want to hear that she doesn't love him as much as he loves her. 

But even Jay doesn't realize the extent of all she's buried deep inside her own subconscious...and what keeps her from giving herself willingly to the God she knows is drawing her inexorably to Himself, to the one place she can't run, where she can no longer hide... 

What's next in the Family Heirlooms Series? Could you give us a peek?

Worlds Collide, Book 6, will round out the series with medical missionaries Marcus Samuels and Keiko Oichi. But I fell in love with so many of the secondary characters in my Family Heirlooms Series that I came up with book ideas for two of those characters from Glass Angels, sold them as non-series novels, but then realized I had a lot more tales to tell that connected with but didn't really fit in as part of the first series. The Friendship Heirlooms Series was born. Here's some more information:

Return to the quaint little town of Peaceful, Wisconsin, from Karen Wiesner's award-winning Family Heirlooms Series, where you first met and fell in love with these colorful, lovable friends. Now you can read the stories of those secondary characters in an all-new spin-off series. Nuggets of faith can be passed down as heirlooms from friend to friend, heart to heart, soul-mate to soul-mate.

Clumsy Girl's Guide to Falling in Love, Book 1 of the Friendship Heirlooms Series

Coming December 2012 (with clumsy girl Zoë Rossdale from Glass Angels, Book 4 of the Family Heirlooms Series)

Michael's Angel, Book 2 of the Friendship Heirlooms Series

Coming July 2013 (with LeeAnn Wagner from Glass Angels and Shards of Ashley and Michael Fremont also from Shards of Ashley)

Four more books will follow with secondary characters from the Family Heirlooms Series. Check out this upcoming series (including back blurbs, cover art, and details) here: 

Karen's websites:

If you would like to receive Karen's free e-mail newsletter, Karen's Quill, and become eligible to win her monthly book giveaways, send a blank e-mail to  

An excerpt from Shards of Ashley:
© Karen Wiesner

Chapter 1
Jay Samuels knew exactly where to find his girlfriend. Not in the waiting area, eager to throw herself in his arms the minute he deboarded the plane and appeared. No, Ashley would be in the gift shop, trying to convey blaringly that picking him up was an afterthought. She'd act like coming to get him from the airport (twice a year or so) was a major inconvenience to her. Maybe it was. Maybe he'd prefer to have her tackle him with enthusiastic love. But he'd always delighted in Ashley's mystery, her unfathomability.

He smiled eagerly, making his way around other passengers in the tiny La Crosse airport. Even knowing he and Ashley would spend the entire week he was on leave butting heads, he couldn't wait to see her. Since she'd moved to La Crosse when she was seventeen, he'd had to take charge to get what he wanted. She never made it easy, never fell in line with his plans, without a good argument. He had a big one on his hands tonight, but he was up for it. He was spoiling for it.

Still grinning, he entered the gift shop and saw her immediately. A woman as elegant and breathtakingly gorgeous as Ashley Savage was hard to miss. She wore an utterly feminine, utterly sophisticated, expensive business suit that she couldn't have imagined even touching a decade ago. The suit she wore today was in shades of pink, a floral print, with a form-fitting jacket that followed her exquisite curves and a little skirt. Three inch pumps showed off deeply tanned, mile-long legs. She was five-ten, only a few inches shorter than him, but taller than most women, especially in the heels. As usual, she wore her waist-length, champagne blond hair in a twist at the back of her head. Wisps hung around her delicate face. He had the feeling she thought tying up her hair the way she did made her unapproachable and unattractive to men. She couldn't have been more wrong. While she didn't need the make-up she wore, he had to admit she applied it with an expert hand. She looked completely natural, as if she wore no cosmetics at all. He wondered if she had any idea how beautiful…and intimidating…she was to men. Heck, she probably intimidated women just as easily. But he expected that was her goal. She didn't allow anyone or anything to get to her.

An ache started inside him that he knew would only get stronger with every minute they spent together in this short time. Does she have any idea what she does to me? For him, no other woman could come close to her. That had never been what she intended, of course, and he'd well known it after they graduated high school and started independent lives. She'd purposed for them to become separate from each other in every conceivable way.

She'd met rich-from-birth humanitarian Amanda Grant, who'd hired Ashley at her interior design company and taught her the ropes. In a very short time, Ashley had obviously learned a lot from her mentor--she'd mastered how to dress and talk properly, but she'd also designed her own style and it was worth gold. Amanda's clients had fallen for Ashley left and right, and she'd become a success in every sense of the word.

Since then, Jay had to concede that what they'd shared no longer fit--she'd been right about that, in not so many words. He'd ceased to harbor any more illusions about befriending someone who'd seen so much pain. Plain and simple, friendship could no longer satisfy him. Not when he'd seen her strength, the way she'd picked up the pieces of her shattered life and rebuilt herself from scratch. Wanting their relationship to move into something more romantic had become a priority to him, but she hadn't made it easy for him. To this day, getting anything from her was a never-ending battle, but a worthwhile one that he hadn't and wouldn't tire of, not when she allowed him to be with her despite “the inconvenience.” I never made it easy for her either. Just the opposite. I was hell on her when we were younger--just because I enjoyed our sparring so much. Unfortunately, he couldn't deny that he still derived pleasure from that. But sparring wasn't all he desired anymore.

Jay's hands clenched. He loved her, wanted her. While that desire felt old and familiar, the torture in his longing was new and nearly unbearable. The feelings between them used to be so light and fun. The last time he'd come home… Being with her constantly wasn't enough. Having her next to me, allow me to touch her…the ache to kiss and hold her won't be satisfied until she belongs to me wholly. At the time, he hadn't been sure how to make that happen. He'd wondered countless times what she would do if he told her the only future he could envision beyond being a chaplain and a minister outside the military was all about her. If his life didn't include her forever, he wasn't interested. This time, he'd discover one way or another what she would do when she learned he'd already taken a step into a permanent life with her. He planned to ask her to take a step of her own.

Looking at her guarded face now, he already knew the answer to that. She saw him standing here, aware he was watching her, but she wouldn't admit it a moment sooner than she willed. She wanted to make him wait for her. That was all right with him. Her control issues had given him a chance to look at all he'd missed for months on end.

In a calculated move, she glanced up from the magazine she was perusing, pretended she'd just now realized he'd arrived, and murmured, “Oh, you're here. Let me pay for these, then I'll take you home.”

She dropped another fashion magazine into the basket she carried. Jay followed her to the checkout counter, stepping right in front of her just before she got there. Her expression was irritated, just as guarded as before, and it should have reminded him of something hard as ice or stone. Ashley's intentions to keep everyone away no longer worked on him. Everything about her spoke of soft femininity to him.

“Not exactly the hello I was hoping for,” he said under his breath. He pressed up against her, and she glared at him.

“Can I help you?” the clerk called pleasantly.

Ashley stepped around him, effectively dodging his embrace to put the basket on the counter. Undeterred, Jay put his arms around her from the back. She stiffened defensively, but he held her a little tighter. He put his mouth right against the shell of her ear while the clerk went about the business of tallying her purchases. Breathing in her expensive, mesmerizing perfume, he murmured, “I'd rather not go to my parents' right away.”

“They miss you.”

“I miss you.”

Impossibly, she stiffened even more. He nuzzled her neck, becoming increasingly intoxicated by the scent and feel of her so close. He wanted to get out of here. Now. I need to be alone with her. This wasn't the time or place, but he couldn't get himself to back off. Instinctively, his counselor brain started to analyze both of their actions, but he shook off the need to do that with her. When he was home, he wanted to relax and enjoy his time with her.

She paid and took the bag the clerk handed her. Gently, she nudged him away, turning to ask, “Have you gotten your luggage?”

“Nah.” Seeing Ashley had been his first and last thought when the plane landed.

She led the way to the baggage return across the lobby from the gift shop. When they arrived and watched the bags coming through, she said, “I have to drop off this fabric sample book with a client and then go back to the office…”

He didn't care to hear the list of things she'd prepared to keep them apart. He slipped through her defenses and put his arms around her while she was still talking.

“Jay,” she started in alarm.

People milled around the airport. Others sat in the waiting areas. The two of them weren't the only ones embracing. Though he knew she hated displays of public affection, he didn't care if every person here was looking. Her gaze scolded him again, but he recognized she wouldn't stop him. When he took her face in his hands, he noticed that her eyes looked red. Crying? Ashley? Never. More like she isn't getting enough sleep, what with working fourteen plus hour days seven days a week.

Eyes the color of a dark forest shifted to his mouth skittishly, and Jay's pulse soared. She wants me to kiss her. He didn't hesitate. His lips covered her soft, full mouth, and, in that moment, he remembered what heaven tasted like. She didn't struggle despite an initial protest that faded away almost as if forgotten. He pulled her against him, molding her sides, bringing her yet closer as he deepened the kiss. This is how I know you feel the same, Ashley Savage. You need this physical connection as bad as I do. How did I survive so long without seeing you?

As much as it was possible for Ashley to soften, she did, fueling his hunger and hope. He had to have this. Her “errands” would keep them hopping until he made his aggressive bid to take her out to dinner. The reservations had already been made. He didn't dare admit that his baby sister, Samantha, and her fiancé would be dining with them tonight. Ashley wouldn't be able to argue once it was too late. Somehow he'd have to convince her to attend Sam's wedding on Saturday, too. But that was a battle best put off until the very last minute. Getting her to agree to dinner and spending time together at her condo after dinner were all the skirmishes he could handle tonight.

She broke the kiss abruptly, gasping for breath as she insisted a little desperately, “You're going to miss your luggage.”

“Miss you more.”

She looked up at him in confusion as he swooped in for another kiss. What was confusing? He loved her, wanted to immerse himself, body and soul, in her. When he delved his fingers into her silken hair, he felt her body responding to his. He'd concluded long ago that the warrior woman was a kitten under the surface, a kitty craving love and affection--but Ashley would never ask nor take what she really wanted from him. Sometimes I think she just goes along with all this because it's her way. To put up and shut up. To offer no resistance and hope it's over soon. Not because she wants it. Because I want it. If I didn't make contact…she would let it go. Let me go.

The thought was more than a little uncomfortable, but he'd never been able to shake it, not when the conclusion was borne from her unwillingness to let him past her defenses further than a grueling inch at a time.

The fact was, he was losing control. The anchor he'd had since he and Ashley's relationship became romantic hadn't been a bit reliable of late. Since the last time he came home, each encounter with her in his arms, he accepted that he was in danger of drowning in what he wanted with this woman.

He turned just enough to see his sea bag on the luggage return. He scooped it up as if he'd willed it into his hand. His arm still around her, he led her out to the parking lot right out the front door.

“Why do you do that?” she demanded. “In front of everyone.”

He could hear that her teeth were clenched around the mutinous, whispered words. Jay grinned, looking down at her. “Nothing I like better than driving you crazy, babe.”

Read more:

Thanks so much for being our guest today, Karen - and we wish you continued success in all your endeavours!


  1. Hi Karen, thanks for stopping by to tell us about your books. They sound wonderful. I love how secondary characters sometimes demand their own stories! Good luck!

  2. It sounds like Jay has his hands full with Ashley. This is another story I must add to my growning Karen Wiesner book list :).

  3. It seems some people are having problems leaving comments, including Karen! Not sure why - maybe another Blogger glitch?

  4. Test post. Will get back with comment tomorrow!

    I'm on Google Chrome.


  5. Hi Karen, and welcome to HWH.

    The books listed sound fascinating, and well worth reading. Must get around to stocking my Kindle sometime. But in the UK we're having a heatwave and it's manic here on the land, so reading and writing happens to be taking a back seat on the tractor. ;)


  6. Hi Karen,

    Welcome to Heroines with Hearts! Sorry I'm late coming to the party...yesterday was non-stop busy for me.

    My oh my you are prolific...I'm having trouble finding the time to work on one novella at the moment. To have 13 under contract is something I can't even fathom.

    Keep them coming!

  7. Message from Karen:

    Thanks for stopping by, all. I appreciate all the comments and compliments. I, too, was hit by "the glitch" and then, unfortunately, I was away all weekend so missed this event.

    Please be sure to stop by my website and check out the rest of my Family Heirlooms Series and the spin-off series to it, the Friendship Heirlooms Series, coming in 2013 and 2014:

  8. I greatly enjoyed the Family Heirloom Series and so I'm looking forward to the Friendship Heirlooms series! I am especially eager to read Zoe's story. She was a very memorable secondary! :-)
    Lisa Mills