Author Interview with Robert Valleau

Bob Valleau

Word Salt is pleased to interview Robert (Bob) Valleau once again.  We interviewed Bob after he released his first book Mystic Dreams and Dusty Roads.  Leave a comment today to win a copy of his new book: Black Mesa Magic.

Author Bio: Bob Valleau has over three decades of writing experience for the Christian market. His writing career began, in the 1980s, when he worked for a Christian publishing company for their book department. Since then, he has worked as a full-time staff writer for two international ministries and was once named “Christian Writer of the Year,” San Antonio, Texas, by the American Christian Writers Association. Bob’s credits include writing for Christian radio/television and the Internet. He has written numerous magazine and newspaper articles and is the author of two books.

BLACK MESA MAGIC by: Robert Valleau

Betrayed by a friend. Loved by a stranger. Saved by a man she barely knows. After her best friend abandons her, Savannah J. Palmer’s quest for true love leaves a trail of unanswered questions. A chance meeting with a stranger offers hope of a match made in heaven, but not without consequences. At the end of her quest, an acquaintance rescues her from a disastrous fate…but is he the one she wants to pin her dreams upon? The Black Mesa, in northwestern Oklahoma, is an enchanting backdrop for this action adventure prequel to Robert Valleau’s debut novel, Mystic Dreams and Dusty Roads. It’s an unforgettable story about love, betrayal and redemption during one of the most exciting times in American history — the dawn of the twentieth century.

Black Mesa Magic is your second novel. Why did you write it? My second novel is Book Two in a series of three books that I call, The Dusty
Road Chronicles. After writing my debut novel, Mystic Dreams and Dusty Roads, I didn’t know I would be writing a series. But many readers were intrigued by the relationship that Peep’s father, George, had with her best friend’s mom, Savannah, because they grew up in the same area. Peep is my twelve-year-old main character in Mystic Dreams and Dusty Roads. Readers wondered why George and Savannah didn’t marry each other. So I explored this idea and created a backfill for my debut novel. Not all stories require a backfill, but I felt this one demanded it, so I wrote a prequel.

What about the third book in the series? Initially, I wrote Mystic Dreams and Dusty Roads as a stand alone novel. After Peep grows old, she dies at the end. I could not see how I was going to write a sequel without introducing a new main character and tying her into the story line. The third novel takes place after Peep’s death in 2008, so the story is more modern with a cast of characters everyone will either love or hate. I hope to have it completed by year’s end and offer it sometime next year. I’m really excited about the final book in the series because, I believe, it will be my best work yet. But the third book won’t be the end of my book writing. I have other stories waiting for me to write.

Your covers are amazing, and it seems like you choose the perfect cover model for your main characters. Share a little about this process. Book covers say a lot. They either attract or repel. I have a wonderful friend and photographer, Rhonda Smiga, who takes the images for all of my books. Her work is outstanding, and I wouldn’t have it any other way. She chose Shallan Victoria Marcum, a professional child model, for the cover of Mystic Dreams and Dusty Roads. This cover won first place in 2013 Book Cover Contest in the Biographical/Memoir category. I chose Kelsey Grier to portray Savannah Bluecoat for the cover of my second novel. Kelsey is beautiful. She’s a college student who is majoring in history education and a dedicated Christian athlete. I’m not saying much about the cover model for my third novel yet, but she is equally beautiful and accurately depicts my main character.

Who is Black Mesa Magic written for and what do you hope to accomplish with it? Black Mesa Magic is for ages 14 and above. The book includes some violence because of the time and location of the story. It begins in the early 1900s, in a lawless place, so outlaws freely roamed around doing whatever that pleased them. I don’t know about all authors, but I write for three reasons: to entertain; to encourage; or, to inspire. Sometimes, my stories include all three of these elements or they may only include one or two. For instance, I wrote Mystic Dreams and Dusty Roads to encourage and inspire others that no matter what life throws at you, there is always hope of a better tomorrow. Black Mesa Magic is more for entertainment purposes, but readers can still find some inspirational moments throughout Savannah’s turbulent life that they can relate to and apply what she learned to their own lives.

Is there anything else that you would like your readers to know about you that would give us even more of a glimpse into your personality and passions. I enjoy watching movies and listening to music. And, like the books I read, I’m open to many genres. You’ll find me watching a movie about the old west, World War II, comedy, horror, romance, sci-fi, drama, etc. Same is true for the TV shows I watch. I’ve always admired people who can act and bring stories to life. As far as music is concerned, I’m all over the place. I grew up listening to country, but I also listen to pop, classic rock, jazz, blues, classical, gospel and contemporary Christian.  I feel that great music touches our souls and taps into our emotions — something every author should strive to do through his or her characters on paper.

Do you have a “life verse” that you have claimed? If so, what is it and why is that verse so meaningful to you? I praise the Lord for giving us a life map called His Word. Without His Word guiding me every day, I don’t know where I would be. My favorite Bible verse is Isaiah 41:10. “So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” I came across this verse when I was in a very difficult situation. Whenever I’m fearful or find myself facing the impossible, I turn to this verse.




Leave a comment for your chance to win a signed copy of Robert Valleau’s latest book!

Book Review: The Truth: Salvatore’s Revenge by Ta’Mara Hanscom

The Truth: Salvatore’s Revenge by Ta’Mara Hanscom

What just happened? After reading the first four books of the Caselli Family Series, I was expecting a tender wrap-up of the Caselli story, not the roller coaster, suspense driven, crime drama in this book! After, what some saw as harsh criticism on my part of the fourth book (The Gift), I realized that the fourth book was merely the “lull before the storm” that was necessary in order for the story to play itself out in high impact and page- turning drama in the fifth book. I was pleasantly surprised.

The focus of the story now turns towards the Caselli children who have grown into young adults, each trying to find their place in the world. They have all been influenced by their parents and grandparents to follow God’s calling in their lives but when that call differs from parental expectations, there are natural clashes between parents and their children. It is an interesting form of rebellion. They are doing what they feel God wants them to do, which is what their parents have taught them to do, and yet because the parents do not happen to agree with their choices, there is tension. For example, Noah’s son Ty discovers that his biological father (Roy) needs a bone marrow transplant in order to survive cancer. Ty decides to turn down a lucrative baseball contract with the Orioles so that he can donate the marrow. He feels strongly that this is what God would want him to do. Noah, who despises the ne’er-do-well Roy, is upset that Ty would have anything to do with the man.

The other four books have alluded to a long-standing mystery that has plagued the Caselli’s; a curse that has one family seeking revenge on another. Now the entire mystery is played out with enough twists and turns that makes this book a page turner from beginning to end.

I thought the series ended on a definite high, with a good, solid conclusion to the story line.

Book Blast – Betrayed by Lillian Duncan

TITLE: CrossReads Book Blast With Lillian Duncan



By Lillian Duncan

About the Book

Witness Protection Program claims they can keep anyone safe if only they follow the rules so Maria follows the rules–every rule. She’s given up everything–her friends, her family, her past, even her name to ensure her daughter has a future.

Reborn as Veronica Minor in the sleepy little town of Sunberry, Ohio, she struggles to rebuild their life amid the beauty of her flower shop. A life where her daughter can have a happy normal childhood. A life where her daughter will never know that her father was a monster.

When a child disappears, Veronica prays it has nothing to do with her past, but what if she’s wrong? Not knowing who to trust, she trusts no one…and that’s her first mistake


lil2011dLillian Duncan

Stories of faith mingled… with murder & mayhem.

Lillian is a multi-published writer who writes the type of books she loves to read—suspense with a touch of romance. Whether as an educator, a writer, or a speech pathologist, she believes in the power of words to transform lives, especially God’s Word.

To learn more about Lillian and her books, visit: She also has a devotional blog at: as well as her personal blog, Tiaras & Tennis Shoes at

Follow Lillian Duncan

Website | Facebook | Twitter

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Book Review of The Gift: the Story of Annie Laurie by Ta’Mara Hanscom

Book Four of the Caselli Family Series continues the story of the love “triangle” between Noah, Tillie and Alex, however in the six years where Tillie tried to make her marriage work with Alex, and Noah staying completely out of the picture, the opening storyline hints that those six years have not been the easiest for Tillie. Although Alex seems to have spent more time at home and more attentive to his wife and family he is beginning
to be drawn away again and falling under the spell of his own prideful ambition.

Tillie has never completely forgiven Alex for his wrong-doings throughout their marriage and lives in a state of constant fear that he will leave them again to follow his career.  This inner struggle has dramatically changed her so she has become withdrawn and sickly.  Her family starts to question whether staying with Alex was the best decision for her.  So it comes as a kind of relief to everyone when Alex is killed in a plane crash.  Guilt and remorse leaves Tillie heartbroken at the loss of Alex, not because he is dead but because she continues to struggle with unforgiveness towards the man.

Enter Noah. With Alex out of the picture, Tillie and Noah’s romance rekindles and the majority of the book’s story is about them finally realizing their dreams of getting married and then blending their two families into a “happily ever after” scenario.

Although, after reading the first three books, I had hoped Tillie and Noah would finally be together, I couldn’t help feel that the author had made it almost “too easy” by removing Alex permanently from the picture.  I thought the romance between Tillie and Noah is sweet and beautiful in this book but I missed the tension that was so well done in the third book with Alex being the errant husband.

I thought the book’s ending was a little too perfect until the epilogue and that “hint” of things to come was enough of an interesting cliff hanger to make me want to read the final book in the series and see how the Caselli family story finally plays itself out.

Book Review of A Blackguard’s Redemption by Ta’Mara Hanscom

The third book in the Caselli Family series delivers a poignant story of how pride can destroy a man’s life as well as the family who loves him.

Alex Martin has everything a man could ask for: the love of a beautiful woman (Tillie) and the adoration of his two precious twin children. A remarkably successful man, his ambition knows no bounds until he puts his career and political aspirations ahead of his family. He is not aware that his pride and career has led to his abandonment of his family and that may lead his lonely wife to turn to a man she once loved.

It is a fascinating character study of two men, one who seems absolutely “perfect” (Noah), a “knight” as Tillie’s family calls him, and Alex the “blackguard” who is Tillie’s husband. Despite all of Alex’s faults he is Tillie’s husband and though we are drawn to Noah and at times I actually wished Tillie to leave Alex in order to be with Noah, they are all bound by honouring God and honouring the marriage covenant.

This book was filled with pathos and definitely brought out numerous theological questions on how far is too far when it comes to lust, love, and then forgiveness in that triangle between Noah, Tillie and Alex.

I found this book to be a page turner and definitely one that has left me wanting to know how this story will play out in the next book of this five book series. If you have not read the first two books in the series, this book can still be read and enjoyed on its own.

Purposeful Design – Understanding the Creation by Jay Schabacker

Two Toothpaste Tubes

“In my “Understanding the Creation” project, I studied what God has done for us, including our incredibly sophisticated mouth and its many functions – it contains thousands of nerves or taste buds to judge sensation and taste. Yes, your taste buds can tell you if you are savoring cherry pie or apple pie.

But, I didn’t really get it!

Until one night – I was tired – and to brush my teeth before bed, I picked up the Ammonium Lactate tube (it looks just like my Colgate toothpaste tube – and this night, the tubes were located right next to each other – silly me!) Yes, the Ammonium Lactate, “for dermatologic use only”, was even the same color and consistency of the Colgate – and ended up on my tooth brush.

Big surprise! My brain picked up the dangerous taste immediately – and I spit it out pronto!

Wow! I’m still alive! Miraculously protected by my Purposeful Designer!

God’s goodness to me, every second, really came home to me big time that night!

How have you experienced God’s goodness?”

Jay Schabacker – “Purposeful Design – Understanding the Creation” (see page 79 of free download)

(Revelation 3:15: “So, because you are lukewarm – neither hot nor cold – I am about to spit you out of my mouth.”)

Jay’s book “Purposeful Design – Understanding the Creation” winner of a Bronze medal in the 2013 Illumination Book Award  for Education, beautifully illustrates thePurposeful_Design_Front_Cover principles of science that operate our world. It explains the elements of designs that make life possible, and compellingly presents evidence of a loving Creator God. Within the framework of the seven days of creation, it explains such concepts as the rain cycle, the importance of vegetation, and the ocean tides. Bible verses are interwoven throughout the book reminding us of God’s hand in creation.

Why did you write this book?

I wrote this book because I want everyone to have an immensely positive view of themselves, of this world that we are in, and of others, mostly through understanding our own astounding and loving creation.  It concerned me that newspapers continually remind us of the negative. On the contrary, this book is my attempt to impart a healthy belief system and lifestyle to both teens and adults that will better serve them for the rest of their lives.  I hope you and others can aid me in getting this book out to as many people as possible!

Who is the targeted audience for this book?

Targeted Audience for this book are homeschoolers and those of school age (and their parents), Bible-believing, elementary and junior-high readership, and seekers of a gift coffee table book intended as a conversation starter on a living room table.


Praise from the Head of Heritage Christian Academy

“Purposeful Design – Understanding the Creation was so purposefully designed that it is appealing to all ages. The illustrations are part of the explanation making the concepts easier to understand. Everyone will learn something from this book. We often go through life without truly understanding the details of our creation that continuously point us to a purposeful design. Thank you, Mr. Schabacker, for helping to give the next generation a solid foundation. This is perfect “Coffee Table” material because everyone should stop and ponder.” Debbie Rogers


Jay_Schabacker_-_Photo_for_bookJay Schabacker, once part of the Apollo Moon Program, and then founder of a financial investment management firm, now devotes his time to educating children and adults on God’s wonderful and purposeful design of this world – and each of us. His passion includes videos, speaking engagements, and now the new coffee table book, “Purposeful Design – Understanding the Creation”. Jay’s activities over the years have included the chairmanship of Romanian Christian Enterprises helping to bring at risk orphan children out of distress; and the chairmanship of Ken Ham’s 1992 “Back to Genesis” Washington, DC Seminar sponsored by the Institute for Creation Research.;;

Leave a comment for a chance to win a copy of this book!





Book Review – Pit of Ambition by Ta’Mara Hanscom

My review of Pit of Ambition (Book 2) of the Caselli Family Series by Ta’Mara Hanscom

A story of intrigue, secrets and cover up.  A continuation of the storyline from Book 1 of the Caselli Family Series (Blackguard in Disguise), Angel’s father is wracked with guilt having kept Noah and Angel apart.  Having prayed for Noah for many years and knowing he was once a rebellious young man, Guiseppi refuses to accept the fact that his prayers were answered when Angel and Noah start seeing one another and Noah turns his life over to the Lord.  Thwarting God’s plan, Guiseppi decides to keep Noah and Angel apart and allows Angel to marry the ambitious Alex Martin instead.

Realizing that Angel is not coming back to him, Noah moves on with his life and marries his former girlfriend, Carrie, who is pregnant by another man.  Rather than have her abort the child, he decides to provide a house and home for the troubled girl and in the years that follow, their friendship grows into love.  Unfortunately Carrie’s family has mafia ties and she keeps this hidden from Noah with tragic consequences.

Angel’s marriage to Alex is at first happy, but when he spends more and more time away from home on business, even when they learn she is expecting twins, Angel (Tillie’s) family begin to have severe reservations about her husband.  It is even more complicated when Alex starts to handle all of Noah’s business ventures with his construction company with none of them aware that Angel and Noah used to be sweethearts.

The storyline was fast paced for the most part and kept me engaged throughout the telling.  I enjoyed this second book more than the first book and found the characters more believable and true to the era and setting of the book.

This is a story of consequences when one does not believe or accept God’s will and direction in life.

Looking forward to reading how the saga continues in Book 3.

CrossReads Book Blast, Timothy Phillips by Cliff Ball

CrossReads Book Blast, Timothy Phillips by Cliff Ball

Timothy Phillips

Timothy Phillips
By Cliff Ball

About the Book:

Can a nineteen year old stay true to the faith he was brought up on when he’s under the spotlight?Timothy Phillips dreams come true when he’s discovered by the producer of a national talent show. So what’s the problem? The recording contract is not in the Southern Gospel he would prefer to sing. As he begins recording and performing the music, he encounters increasing hostility towards Christians. Can he stay true to his faith, or will he end up compromising his beliefs little by little the more famous he becomes?

When his world comes crashing down, will he have anything left to help him stand as the end times approach?

cliff41Cliff Ball
lives in Texas, born in Arizona, is a Christian and is Baptist. Has two BA’s, and a Certificate in Technical Communications from the University of North Texas. Has published ten novels and four short stories in multiple genres, but is currently writing a Christian fiction series called “The End Times Saga.” Cliff’s first taste of being published was when he won third in high school for a short story written in Creative Writing class for a young adult magazine.

Follow Cliff Ball

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Book Review: The Pretender: A Blackguard in Disguise by Ta’Mara Hanscom

My review of The Pretender: A Blackguard in Disguise by Ta’Mara Hanscom

I grew up in the 70’s, a time of bell bottoms, rock music and teen rebellion. This book, set in the same era focuses on a loving, but “old-fashioned” Italian family who seem stuck in the 50’s rather than being a family caught in the rebellious turmoil of the 70’s…and that is my only complaint about this book. Their actions and the era just did not mesh. That said…

The Caselli’s are a tight-knit Christian family, who are proud of their heritage and fiercely protective of their own. Angel (Tillie), the youngest at seventeen, goes against her upbringing by falling in love with a n’er-do-well, or as her family would call him, a “blackguard” called Noah. They meet while she is on a school outing and away from her parent’s protection and even though she knows she is breaking all their rules meeting with him, she seems drawn to him like a moth to a flame.

She has no idea that her mother has been praying for this troubled young man for years and while it would appear that her mother’s prayers for his salvation and for him to clean up his life are answered after meeting Angel, the family still does not trust Noah’s intentions with their precious daughter.

There are enough twists and turns in the plot line to keep the reader interested. This is the first book in a series and I am looking forward to seeing where the author takes the Caselli’s in the upcoming books.

Interview with author, Kimberley Payne

Photo of Kimberley PayneI am delighted to welcome author Kimberley Payne and to talk about her new project “Adam’s Animals” – Kickstarter Campaign

 Tell us about yourself, Kimberley

I am an award-winning author and a member of The Word Guild, Inscribe Christian Writer’s Fellowship, and John 3:16 Marketing Network.  I combine my teaching experience and love of writing to create educational materials for mothers and children about family, fitness, science and faith.

What was the inspiration (motivation) behind the book? (Why did you write it in the first place?)

Years ago, my daughter wrote a little book called, “Did you know…fascinating and fun facts about animals around the world” as a fundraiser to go to camp. I helped her with it and loved discovering new things about God’s creation.
How has your faith impacted what you write?

My faith is the reason I write. God called me to write to bring others closer to Him. I like to share my faith through my books.

 What do you hope this book accomplishes?

I hope that “Adam’s Animals” will fuel the desire for children to read the Bible and to also learn more about the animals that God created.

Who is this book written for?

“Adam’s Animals” is ideal for 6 to 9 year olds, for home or school use and classroom sharing in grades 1-3 to supplement the Life Sciences Curriculum on Animal Life. It is the second book in the Science and Faith Mattersis a colourful introduction to trees, leaves and their corresponding Bible stories.

 Who (or what) is your greatest encourager when you write and why?

My church family is encouraging and supportive of my writing. They actively promoted my book, “Trees of the Book”, and have used it in Sunday School programing.

Is there anything else that you would like your readers to know about you that would give us even more of a glimpse into your personality and passions?

I like walking, hiking and biking. Also, I love nature and take photos to capture the beauty of God’s world.

Author Links 



Facebook page:


Kickstarter campaign:

Where can we find your book?

This is the exciting part! The book is still in manuscript form. I am hoping to bring the project to life with the direct support of friends, colleagues and family.

As the book creator, I have set a funding goal of $3500, with a deadline of February 28th, 2014. If you like my book idea, you can pledge any amount of money to make it happen.

As the book backer, you choose from a number of rewards based on the amount of financial support you pledge. For example, backers who pledge a minimum of $5, will receive a choice of one of two of my e-books: 1) Fit for Faith – 7 weeks to improved spiritual and physical health, OR 2) Women of Strength – a devotional to improve spiritual and physical health. Backers who pledge a minium of $15 will receive an autographed copy of “Adam’s Animals”. Backers who pledge a minimum of $175 will be listed on the “Dedication” page at the back of the book PLUS will receive an autographed copy of “Adam’s Animals”.

Backing “Adam’s Animals” is more than just giving money. Writers need encouragement and you would be supporting my dream of creating a valuable resource for children and parents.

To support the creation of “Adam’s Animals” please visit


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