Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Lindsay Harrel {Writer Wednesday}

A little bit about Lindsay...

Lindsay Harrel is a lifelong book nerd who lives in Arizona with her young family and two golden retrievers in serious need of training. She’s held a variety of writing and editing jobs over the years, and now juggles stay-at-home mommyhood with writing novels. When she’s not writing or chasing after her children, Lindsay enjoys making a fool of herself at Zumba, curling up with anything by Jane Austen, and savoring sour candy one piece at a time. Connect with her at www.LindsayHarrel.com.

Connect with Lindsay...


Website: https://www.lindsayharrel.com/
Blog: https://www.lindsayharrel.com/blog/
Facebook: www.facebook.com/lindsayharrel
Twitter: www.twitter.com/lindsayharrel
Instagram: www.instagram.com/lindsayharrelauthor

Get to know Lindsay...

You and Writing 

Tell us a little bit about you and your writing journey...


My love of writing began with a love of reading. I read all the time—I even tried to sneak books at the table during dinnertime. Much as my parents encouraged me, they were not okay with that. J As far as writing goes, I was that little kindergartner who asked for stacks of printer paper so I could fold it in half, staple it, and call it a book. In high school, I took creative writing as my elective. But it was then that I decided writing books was too hard and there was too much competition.

Instead, I pursued journalism and became a writer/editor in a variety of positions for about ten years. When I did my master’s program in English, I remembered my forgotten love of writing fiction and decided to try my hand at writing a book. It’s really cool to look back on that dream I had as a child finally realized.

Your Writing 

Tell us a little bit about your book...

What was one thing (or character) that surprised you while writing this book?
When I originally plotted the book, it was going to be about Megan only (she’s the sister who got the heart transplant and decided to fulfill her donor’s bucket list). Her sister Crystal was going to go along, but be an antagonist of sorts. But when I told the story concept to my agent, she said she thought maybe the sister should have her own point of view—that maybe she had a story to tell. And she did. In fact, I ended up relating so much more to her than to Megan. That really surprised me!

Did you get to do any fun research for the book?
Oh yes! It is set all over the world (Paris, London, Greece, Rome, Peru, China, etc.), so I got to do research on all the places I want to see someday! I wish I could have taken a research trip to see it all for myself, but I had a young toddler when I was writing this. Also, I wasn’t making any money from writing yet so I just couldn’t justify it at the time. But I did try to convince my husband! J

Writing

Now let's talk about writing...

How long did you write before you got published?
I got degrees in journalism and English, but I didn’t begin pursuing publication until August 2011. I signed with my agent in November 2013 and got my first contract (for One More Song to Sing) in March 2016. Then I got my two-book contract with Thomas Nelson in late 2016 and signed it in January 2017. (But we all have different journeys!! Don’t be discouraged if your journey doesn’t go as quickly as mine. I have friends on both sides of the spectrum—some who were published before me and some who are still working toward it.)

What’s your encouragement for younger writers aside from “keep writing”? We hear this a lot, but dig deeper. Is there something else that helped you?
I absolutely recommend getting training through My Book Therapy’s Storycrafters Online Program or something similar. Spend time honing your craft and don’t be afraid to invest a bit of money to do so. I 100% believe that part of the reason I was able to learn the writing craft and become published is because I did this and really invested in this. I know not everyone can spend the money; that's okay too. Find ways to learn the craft in a way that works for the type of learner you are, even if it means checking out books or audiobooks from the library. There are plenty of free resources online. Remember, this is a career, not just a hobby. Treat it as such and give it the time and energy it deserves. Stay focused and remember the long game.

How do you balance your writing life with “real” life? Any tips or tricks to share?
I have a baby and a toddler and I stay home with them. If I can do it, so can you. I think the biggest tip I have is to carve time out for it every week. Make an appointment on the calendar and keep it as if it were a doctor’s appointment, Bible study, or one of the million other things you have on your calendar. Set realistic goals too—don’t expect to write an entire scene if you’ve crammed the rest of your day so full that you have no energy at the end of the day.

You

In honor of the fall, what’s your favorite fall treat?
I like the caramel apple spice drink from Starbucks. Oh, and pumpkin cupcakes with cream cheese frosting.

When you were a child, what did you dream of growing up to be?
I did dream of being an author, but also a lawyer. I decided to become an author and married a lawyer, so I think I’m covered!

Will you participate in National Novel Writing Month? If so, what’s your plan to keep your writing on track?
No, because I have a February 1 deadline to turn in my next novel to my publisher, so I’m drafting my book mostly in October! My goal is to write one scene a day, five days a week. If I can do that, then I’ll have finished drafting my book in about 10-11 weeks. Then comes editing!

What are you currently reading?
I just finished Michele Phoenix’s The Space Between Words (highly recommend!) and am about to pick up Lauren Denton’s The Hideaway.

Lindsay has graciously offered an ebook copy of One More Song to Sing as a giveaway! Enter below:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Rule of Law by Randy Singer | Re:View


Riveting and relevant, Rule of Law asks questions we need the answers to today in an engaging, fictional way.

***

This book was good, but it was also hard to read at times. I have long enjoyed fiction that incorporates a military thread or characters and this did just that in such a poignant way (see slight spoiler at bottom of post if you are sensitive to this). I'll admit to having shed many tears as I read this.

Despite the ensuing tears, I really enjoyed Randy's plot, his characters, and his no-nonsense writing voice. It's written in a straightforward way that invites you into the action without too much of the characters emotions clouding the issues. The style is very clean-cut but yet it still digs deep and pulls out reader feelings and creates sympathies for the characters.

I really liked Paige Chambers as a character. She is good at what she does but not an expert. She was vulnerable but not predictable. She was real without being overly emotional. Are you seeing a theme here? More than liking Paige though, I liked how she grew as a character. I won't say much here for fear of saying too much, but I can almost guarantee that you'll be rooting for her as you read through this.

From @createexploreread
As for the plot, it is a little complicated. There are a lot of moving pieces and it's written in a way that doesn't give you all of the answers until the end - something I enjoy. I also feel like it is very relevant. We may not be going through this with our government today, but it feels very feasible for the future. What would happen if...? How will the courts react when...? It's questions like that that made me enjoy this even more because you get to see one persons perspective of what could happen.

I definitely recommend this if you enjoy legal thrillers! Randy is an engaging storyteller and will definitely pull at your emotions while keeping you entertained.

My rating: 5*
Purchase: Rule of Law


Book Description
(from Amazon)
What did the president know? And when did she know it?

For the members of SEAL Team Six, it was a rare mission ordered by the president, monitored in real time from the Situation Room. The Houthi rebels in Yemen had captured an American journalist and a member of the Saudi royal family. Their executions were scheduled for Easter Sunday. The SEAL team would break them out.

But when the mission results in spectacular failure, the finger-pointing goes all the way to the top.

Did the president play political games with the lives of U.S. service members?

Paige Chambers, a determined young lawyer, has a very personal reason for wanting to know the answer. The case she files will polarize the nation and test the resiliency of the Constitution. The stakes are huge, the alliances shaky, and she will be left to wonder if the saying on the Supreme Court building still holds true.

Equal justice under law.

It makes a nice motto. But will it work when one of the most powerful people on the planet is also a defendant?

*Light Spoiler*
For those who are sensitive to reading about loss of life, especially military service members, parts of this may be difficult to read. 
_______________
I received this book for free but was under no obligation to post a review. I do so under my own motivation and the opinions I have expressed in this review are honest and entirely my own.  

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

Tabitha Caplinger {Writer Wednesday}

A little bit about Tabitha...

Tabitha Caplinger is a wife, mom, youth pastor and professed tv addict. It's seriously a problem but she doesn't plan on getting help anytime soon. Mostly because she loves the stories. She can't help but get lost in the worlds created and invested in the lives of the characters. She brings that same passion for the story to her own writing. The first book in her YA trilogy, The Chronicle of the Three: Bloodline, is currently available with the second book releasing in early 2017. Aside from writing and watching tv, Tabitha can be found singing off key and dancing in the kitchen or car with her two adorably sassy daughters and awesome husband who she thinks is kind of cute.

Connect with Tabitha...

Website: tabithacaplinger.com
Blog: tabithacaplinger.com/blog
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/12824805.Tabitha_Caplinger
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/TabCaplinger/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/Tab_Caplinger
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/tab_caplinger/
Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/Tab_Caplinger/
Purchase: The Chronicle of the Three: Bloodline and  The Chronicle of Three: Armor-Bearer

Get to know Tabitha...

Your Writing

How I started writing is a common question and I really have no clue how to answer it. I know I didn’t just wake up one day and think being a writer would be cool. As a kid I want to be a paleontologist or equine veterinarian. As I graduated high school my career dreams shifted toward a life doing pastoral ministry. (I’m also a youth pastor.) I have always liked stories, mostly through tv and movies, but I had never considered writing them. Looking back I was always writing them, in my own mind. My imagination was working overdrive most of the time. In college something shifted. I attended Sweet Briar College for a couple of semesters and ended up a Creative Writing major. I wish I knew how but I don’t, honestly. But I had all these writing classes and I fell in love. When I left school to continue to pursue ministry I put writing on the back burner. I had this itch to write but it just never happened. Ten years later I realized it was because I was trying to write non-fiction devotional type books because that is what pastors should write, right? One day I got this idea for a story and it wouldn’t let go so I started writing it down. One YA trilogy later I can’t not write. My imagination still works in overdrive but it’s not random, it’s becoming books. (EEK!) It has become this way I can connect with people, encourage them, maybe empower them a little and remind them that they are never alone.
 
Tell us a little bit about your book...

Why did you write it?
The Chronicle of the Three (TCO3) Trilogy has really become a way for me to connect with students, and adults, and speak something that I hope will remind them that they have a purpose. We all are and can be the chosen one, so to speak. It took me getting 1/3 of the way into it to realize that. I think stories reach people on a deeper level and I want young people to see their value and to understand they are powerful, chosen, loved and never alone. A story can do that.

Do you have a favorite character in this work?
If so, why? Maggie, no Lucas. Ugh. Picking favorites is so hard. Both of these have become faves for me. Maggie, who is also a fan fave, is just the girl you want as your best friend. She’s fun but cares deeply for her little demon slaying family. Lucas is snarky and has layers and who doesn’t love a good redemption story?

What was a challenge you faced while writing it?
Potty training a toddler. LOL. But its no joke trying to write a book while potty training. On a more serious note, it was challenging to be vulnerable in my writing, and to be myself and write the story I loved without worrying what someone would think, especially of the faith aspects. (Was it too much, was it not enough?) Knowing that it’s going to be put out into the world is a very vulnerable thing and so there was fear that had to be faced to get it finished.

What did you learn while writing it?
Writing is hard. It takes time and patience.

Is there a funny story associated with writing the book?
Well, I have a little group of young women, who became my beta readers. I would send them chapters as I wrote them to get feedback on the story and they helped keep me accountable to writing and getting it done. A couple of them would reply to each chapter with these long email rants about their feels over the characters. I know I got a chuckle more than once as they yelled at me about what happened to Michael, or who Claire should and shouldn’t love and why we all hate Meredith. It was entertaining and one day I am going to share those emails with the world.

Was there a passage of scripture you came across or used while writing it that you’d like to share?

Not one in particular but if you look hard enough there are several places within the story where the truths of specific scriptures are woven in.

We're your characters easy to pin down or did you discover them along the way as you wrote the book?
I knew all the characters going in, at least all the main characters. What was surprising is how they changed over the course of the story in ways I hadn’t imagined, or when they would do something I hadn’t planned on. They may have been creations of my own imagination but they were also these friends that I was slowly getting to know while writing.

What made you choose the setting for the book?
The setting, Torch Creek, is inspired by the small town where I grew up.

What's the most random thing you had to Google for the story?
Garden of Eden Location theories

What was one thing (or character) that surprised you while writing this book?
Alex! I had a plan for him and he flipped that plan upside down several times throughout writing.

What’s your favorite snack while writing?
I don’t eat while I write, just drink copious amounts of coffee. Which is weird because there is a lot of eating going on in my books, a lot.

Writing

Let’s talk about your writing life...

What’s your encouragement for younger writers aside from “keep writing”?
Learn your craft, and not just the writing side of it. Learn about publishing and marketing. I wish I had known more about the industry and how it all worked earlier on in the game. Writing the book is only one part of making writing a career.

How many rejection letters did you get before being accepted by a publisher?
Between publishers and agents, at least 50. Every single one of them was disappointing but I kept reminding myself that I didn’t need everyone to want my book just the right one. One a side note, all that rejection helps give you thicker skin to deal with bad reviews.

What does your writing process look like?
I make coffee. Then I sit in my comfy chair, in my pajamas and scroll through Pinterest and Twitter for way too long. Reheat my coffee. Stare at my manuscript for longer than I realize. Reheat my coffee. Write some words. Delete those words. Write some more words. Reheat my coffee.

What is your favorite and least favorite part of the writing process?
I LOVE when a character surprises me. It’s this weird, slightly insane, moment but it’s also the coolest.

Where do you find inspiration for your story/characters?

Somethings are just my weird imagination. But somethings come from other influences in my life like tv. I love tv a little too much so much of my style points back to my favorite shows and what I love about them.

Do you listen to music when you write? If so, have a favorite artist or playlist to share?
I make playlists that share the vibe I want the book or characters to have and listen to that while writing, and especially when I’m stuck. My two go to songs for TC03 were Demons by Imagine Dragons and Hard Love by Needtobreathe. (You can listen to the full TCO3 playlist here, https://play.spotify.com/user/briancaplinger/playlist/2qT3dj67CtRK8I2KLXHp7N)

How do you balance your writing life with “real” life? Any tips or tricks to share?
The thing that has helped me the most has been setting goals. I read somewhere that Ted Dekker, I think it was Ted, writes 2000 words a day. When I first started and had two small kids that felt like an impossible task. But I could do 2000 words a week. So that became my goal and I would work to achieve it weekly. Sometimes I wrote more, sometimes I feel short, but it gave me something to keep me focused and motivated.

You

When you get an idea for a novel, what is the first thing that you do? 
I don’t usually get a plot idea to start, but an image or line. For TCO3 I got an image of the Chronicle itself and started asking myself questions about what it could be, who it could belong to, what does it mean? For my new WIP I got the first line of the book. But whatever it is I jot it down and then as it develops I keep scribbling little notes until I have enough to work into an outline.

September is Classical Music Month (who knew?). In keeping with that theme, do you have a favorite character from a classical novel?
Does Aslan count as classic?

What is your favorite fall snack food?
I don’t have a fave fall-specific snack per say but I love pie and there are a lot of great fall pies. However, can I take this time to confess that I do NOT like pumpkin spice anything? Cuz I don’t. There I said it. LOL

What are you currently reading?
Unraveling by Sara Ella and I am loving this series.

Anything else you'd like to share with my readers? 
In October I will be hosting a read a long of my books. See information below on how to join:

Join us in Torch Creek! They have tons of small town charm if you can handle slaying a few demons. 😉 Beginning October 8th, we will be reading The Chronicle of the Three: Bloodline and The Chronicle of the Three: Armor-Bearer. Along with bookish fun there will be live Q&As with the author, special guests and some giveaways!
Join:
https://www.facebook.com/groups/1987117684866278/

Thursday, September 14, 2017

Crown of Souls by Ronie Kendig | Re:View


Riveting and thrilling, Ronie Kendig delivers a truly epic adventure with Crown of Souls.

***

I eagerly awaited this book after finishing Conspiracy of Silence and I was definitely not disappointed!

I really enjoyed this second installment of the Tox Files and getting to know more about Cole “Tox” Russell. I think one of my favorite things was the fact that we got to see a bit more of the depth of his character in this book. He was already a fully-fleshed character in Conspiracy of Silence but even more so in this book you could see sides of him that he’d kept hidden in book one.

I also loved the blossoming and deepening of his relationship with Haven, whom I love. She's such a sweet and steady character and creates a perfect foil to Tox's internal turmoil. I loved that there was still a lot of tension present as well as a greater depth that can only be found in the midst of dire circumstances.

Ronie is so good at creating emotionally charged situations as well as increasing the intensity of any (and all) relationships whether that be romantic or those based on the brotherhood of the team. We see a lot of this in Crown of Souls, but in the context of an overarching plot that barely lets you breathe. It all makes for a wild and thrilling ride.

Speaking of wild and thrilling, the search for the Crown of Souls artifact is so fantastic. It was such a intriguing yet complex idea (very Indiana Jones) which made for a lot of questions asked and guesses made leading to a good bit of misdirection. I felt like I was on the edge of my seat through the whole book, just waiting for something else to happen – which it always did!

I highly recommend this book to any and all who love suspense, thrillers, military action, tension-filled romance, and excellent writing!

My rating: 5*
Purchase: Crown of Souls

Book Description 
(from Amazon)
Six months after stopping a deadly plague, Cole "Tox" Russell and his team are enjoying a little rest. That peace is short-lived when a sniper shot hits Tox. The enemy is discovered to be one of their own, a rogue Special Forces team operator.

Alec King is perhaps the only person as skilled as Tox, and he's out for justice. Furious with orders that got his men killed, he intends to make those responsible pay. And he insists Tox join him, believing they are the same breed of soldier.

Afraid his old friend is right, Tox battles a growing darkness within himself as he and his team engage in another deadly encounter with antiquity. It appears Alec is cheating--he's using a mysterious artifact, a crown that history has linked to some of the worst slaughters in humanity. Racing to stop Alec before his vengeance is unleashed, Tox must fight the monster without becoming one.
__________________
I received this book for free but was under no obligation to post a review. I do so under my own motivation and the opinions I have expressed in this review are honest and entirely my own.  

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Shelly Roark {Writer Wednesday}

A little bit about Shelly...

Hello! My name is Shelly Roark—wife, mom, sweet tea aficionado, lover of old wives’ tales and writer. My husband Geoff and I have been married 26 years. We have three kiddos—all teens now. Katie is 17, Ethan is 15, and Gracie is 13. Our family also includes a black lab named Rosie and a kitten named Tigger.

Connect with Shelly...

Website: http://shellyroarkauthor.com/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Shelly-Roark-Author-263783447351979/
Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/Shelly_Roark/

Purchase: The Bubble Who Would Not POP! 

Get to know Shelly...


You and Writing

Tell us a little bit about yourself and your writing…

I loved writing stories as a child. But when I joined the newspaper staff in high school, I was hooked! Out of college, I worked for a local newspaper. After about 10 years, I began writing for ministries and nonprofits. I have been blessed to share the stories of so many absolutely incredible ministries that feed the hungry, save babies, shelter children, distribute Bibles and more. Today, I’m a senior writer for Focus on the Family. I absolutely love telling stories of people and for people . . . people are so interesting!

Your Writing

Tell us a little bit about your book…

My debut children’s book combines two of my loves—storytelling and children’s ministry. The Bubble Who Would Not POP! was originally written to share a simple message about prayer with kids in children’s church. I told it to my own children when they were very young before I even wrote it down. Some of the parts I made up as I went along. When all three were still, quiet and paying attention during the story, I knew it was a winner! I quickly wrote the early version down before I forgot it!

I love the character Billy Bubble—he’s brave and shows compassion toward the little girl who asks him to take her prayer up to God in heaven. He faces challenges but learns some very important lessons about the power of prayer on his journey, including that God ALWAYS hears our prayers. In fact, God knows our needs before we even pray about them! We are never told what the prayer need of the little girl is in the story . . . but it doesn’t really matter. I didn’t want to put boundaries on what children might need to pray about and thought the kiddos might just insert their own needs into the story. God hears our prayers no matter what they are. Now, that doesn’t mean that we always get the answer we want when we pray for something. But the first step in living a life of prayer is to believe that God will hear you when you talk to Him. He really does! It is as simple as that. One of the Scriptures that inspired this simple lesson is “Before they call I will answer; while they are still speaking I will hear” (Isaiah 65:24 NIV).

Writing

Let’s talk about your writing life…

How long did you write before you got published? 
I’ve been writing since I was a kid. But, professionally, I’ve written for about 26 years. The first decade, I wrote for a newspaper. Since then, I’ve been a ghostwriter for nonprofits and ministries. I write fund-raising copy, newsletters, articles, and even some books. For much of that time, I’ve helped out with children’s ministry at church just for fun. In that capacity, I’ve written little stories here and there, puppet scripts, skits, etc. One day a friend of mine encouraged me to send one of my kid stories to a new publisher. I did and God took it from there!

What’s your encouragement for younger writers aside from “keep writing”? 
From a faith perspective, just know that God has your plan. He knows the desires of your heart, your giftings and talents . . . He gave them to you! So, be patient with His timing. Maybe you need to have some specific life experiences before He gives the green flag on your writing career in order to share lessons and encouragement with others. Just keep following your heart, ask His guidance and He will work out the details.

What does your writing process look like? 
The writing process for a children’s book is a little different than for an adult book I think. The message, setting and plot must be simple and easy to digest. They must work together with the visual to capture and keep small attention spans. So . . . when I get a thought, I let it bounce around in my head for a while before I write it out. I start with a simple lesson that I want to share and try to imagine it from a child’s point of view. It is also fun to start with a silly title and work from there.

Do you listen to music when you write? If so, have a favorite artist or playlist to share? 
I do love to listen to music when I write . . . especially Christmas music. I listen to Christmas music off and on all year long!

What advice would you give to aspiring authors for writing and/or publishing?
Hmmmm. Well, something I’ve learned is that a great story doesn’t go very far if no one knows about it! Ha! Because I’ve always been a ghostwriter, I had no audience of my own to talk to . . . it’s been a little challenging to try and cultivate that. I would recommend anyone who wants to be published eventually to start developing a social media presence now by blogging/posting/tweeting.

You

September is Classical Music Month (who knew?). In keeping with that theme, do you have a favorite character from a classical novel?
Since we are talking about children’s books, can I use The Grinch? It is from a classic children’s book. Hee! Hee! OR, Winnie the Pooh . . . love that little round bear!

What is your favorite fall snack food? 
This sounds so typical, but I LOVE anything pumpkin-flavored or cinnamon-flavored in the fall—pumpkin break, pumpkin muffins, spice bread, pumpkin-flavored coffee.

What are you currently reading? 
Well, my daughter just got Wuthering Heights to read. I haven’t read it since high school so I told her I would read it with her. It’s great because I have forgotten a lot of it (or maybe I just didn’t read it very thoroughly at the time).

Shelly has graciously offered up a copy of her book to one lucky winner! Enter below: 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Friday, September 8, 2017

Jeanne M. Dickson {Writer Friday}

A little bit about Jeanne...

Jeanne M. Dickson was born into an Irish American family, the only girl surrounded by four brothers. Her grandmother lived with them and was a constant source of stories about life in Ireland and the saints and ancestors long gone from this earth. She credits her mother, her aunts, and her grandmother with her love of storytelling.

Connect with Jeanne...

Website: http://www.jeannemdickson.com/
FB: https://www.facebook.com/Jeanne-M-Dickson-660226910801814/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/jmdickson1
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/jeannedickson/
Purchase: Grounded Hearts

Get to know Jeanne...

You and Writing

Tell us a little bit about yourself and writing...

I was born into an Irish-American family. I have four brothers and no sisters. My Irish grandmother lived with us, and she had a way of telling stories that could either make us laugh or scare the daylights out of us. I started writing in sixth grade because I was so angry with my brothers that I wanted to kill them off in a murder mystery. It only took one page. But it was satisfying.

After a brief career as a ballet dancer, I returned to college and earned an undergraduate and masters degree in business administration. I worked in the high-tech industry until I got the writing bug. Once I started my family, I put writing on hold to enjoy motherhood—actually, I was too done-in at the end of the day to write. I admire women who can do both! Once the girls were in grade school, I started working on my writing again. And here I am, finally a published writer.


Your Writing

Tell us a little bit about your book...

Why did you write it?
My father was stationed in England during WWII. Issued with a weekend pass, he decided to fly to the U.S. Army base in Northern Ireland, and then visit family who lived nearby. Once there, he borrowed a bicycle and peddled across the border into Eire, “Free Ireland.” A few minutes into his ride, a member of the Garda, the Irish National Police, stopped him. The officer told him to turn his army jacket inside out, or he’d have to arrest him as a combatant and send him to the K-Lines internment camp. My father did as directed and continued on his way without further incident, which was fortunate because 240 soldiers from both sides of the conflict faced internment in Ireland during the war.

Remembering the story, I started the “what if” game. The more I researched the period the Irish called “The Emergency,” the more fascinated I became, and a WWII romance between a downed RAF pilot and a feisty midwife emerged.

What is one take-away from your book that you hope readers identify with?
When we receive forgiveness from God for our sins, we need to accept His amazing grace and not keep punishing ourselves.

Was there a passage of scripture you came across or used while writing it that you’d like to share?
You have turned my mourning into dance. Psalms 30:11. When my heroine Nan opened the door to flyboy Dutch, she had no idea he would help her escape her mourning.

What made you choose the setting for the book?
There are many books set in Ireland, but not many set during WWII. It was a fascinating time for a newly formed country.

Writing

Let’s talk about your writing life...

What’s your encouragement for younger writers aside from “keep writing”? We hear this a lot, but dig deeper. Is there something else that helped you?
Connect with other writers. Find a supportive writing community. Other writers know what you’re going through. I write romance, so I joined RWA and ACFW. Both organizations proved a place to learn and meet wonderful mentors and lifelong friends.

Go to conferences. Listen to what agents and editors are seeking for their lists, and then ask questions. Meet authors and hear their stories.

Above all, learn your craft and trust in the Lord.

How many rejection letters did you get before being accepted by a publisher?
I lost count after twenty. It took me seven full manuscripts before I sold Grounded Hearts. I was in for the long game.

What does your writing process look like?
In my first draft, I allow myself to write junk. I’m the only one who will see it (thank goodness). My second draft is the hardest. It’s where I narrow down character arcs and emotions and plot points, and then I start refining the writing. The next drafts—there can be up to six—I continue to refine and define and improve how the story flows.

Where do you find inspiration for your story/characters?
Family stories and research, plus photographs of people and places.

Do you listen to music when you write? If so, have a favorite artist or playlist to share?

I usually need music in the background so that I can concentrate on writing. Instrumentals only though or I’ll start listening to the words. My go-to is Yo-Yo Ma’s Bach: Unaccompanied Cello Suites.

From
What advice would you give to aspiring authors for writing and/or publishing?
Besides finding a writing community and going to conferences, enter writing contests. It’s a thrill to final and/or win, plus the comments will toughen you up. There’s a lot of rejection in the writing world. Set a goal that’s realistic such as “I’ll finish this scene” or “I’ll write 1,000 words.” Don’t set yourself up for failure with goals that are impossible to meet or you’ll give up and get discouraged.

Are there any books or resources you could recommend to younger writers looking to grow in their craft?
Join RWA and ACFW. Both organizations offer online classes and depending on where you live, these organizations have chapters that meet on a regular basis with outstanding speakers.

How do you grow in your writing craft?

Reading and listening to audio books, I attend workshops from the masters. Margie Lawson comes to mind along with James Scott Bell. And writing is like any other art form. Practice, practice, practice—I show up. Breakthroughs only come to those who work.

You

Have you ever attended a writer’s conference? If so, which one(s) and what were most helpful about it?

I’ve attended many conferences, but two stand out-- Romance Writers of America and American Christian Fiction Writers. Both conferences offer excellent opportunities to meet editors and agents, learn more about the craft of writing, and how to tackle social media. Plus, it’s fun to meet up with fellow writers.

Apparently August 15th is National Lemon Meringue Pie Day (who knew). What is your favorite dessert?
I’m going to pull a Californian reply—Acai Roots Sorbet. See you in yoga class.

What are you currently reading?
I’m listening to In Farleigh Field by Rhys Bowen. I’m reading When Tides Turn by Sarah Sundin.

Emilie here: Thank you so much for being on my blog again Jeanne! Reader friends, don't miss out on getting to know Jeanne better in her Author Chat interview as well. You can read it here. 

PLUS the Kindle edition of Grounded Hearts is currently on SALE for just $1.99 for the month of September! 

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

Out on Epic Adventures

Hello friends! I am, as the title suggests, about to head out on epic adventures! I just packed up everything (all my books *sad face*) and just said "see ya later" to the trailer hauling all of my stuff to California. What now? Well,  I'm headed on one massively epic road trip!

I've been so blessed by my time here in Ohio. My church, Apex, welcomed me with open arms and I am SO thankful for the Springhill House Church for taking me in and making feel like family immediately. I will miss them all so much!

I wish I had time to tell you all of the amazing ways I've seen God work in my life here in Ohio, but for now, I'll share one of the things I've learned:

God is a trustworthy God. 

He is faithful. Always. In any circumstance, whether good or bad, He will see me (and you) through. I've had both good and bad times here in Dayton, and the same can be said for the rest of my life, but ultimately--no matter what happens--I know He will be with me.

All my stuff!
I'll try and keep you all updated here (along with my regular blog posts) but make sure to check out my Instagram stories (in the app under @createexploreread) to follow my adventrues. I promise to share silly faces and random things!

Prayers appreciated for my travels - they are rather extensive and take me through Texas!