Wednesday, September 21, 2016

3 Things to Be Grateful For

TODAY, SEPTEMBER 21, IS NATIONAL GRATITUDE DAY

Maybe I'm getting the jump on Thanksgiving, but I've been thinking about the many things I am grateful for in the 'here and now' . . . one day at a time.

Things like:

*It's a beautiful day up here in the nortwest corner of Wisconsin. It's bright and sunny with temperatures in the balmy 70° range. And even though there are T-storms predicted for later today, with flash-flood warnings, I can enjoy this nice weather for as long as it lasts.

*I'm so thankful for good health, despite the usual aches and pains that go with being a septuagenarian.

*I'm so very grateful for the talent God has blessed me with, and for His calling to me to be a writer, enabling me to tell His stories in a way that is uniquely mine.

So, what about you? Use the comment section below to share the 3 things you are grateful for right now!

Oh, and here's a link to a song that has been around for a long time, and still touches hearts today.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hz2L1v7Wkx8

Enjoy and be blessed


Monday, September 19, 2016

Author Barbara M. Britton on Clash of the Titles Blog Tour ♦ Giveaway




Today we welcome debut author Barbara M. Britton and get to know a little more about what makes her tick. Barbara, welcome!


What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?


I write on a paper notepad with a pen or pencil. Yes, I write everything long hand and then I type it into a computer. I’m not the best typist (I was one of two freshman put in biology class instead of typing) so it is easier for me to scribble what is going on in my head and transcribe it later.


What makes this book special to you?


“Providence: Hannah’s Journey” was my first Biblical Romantic Adventure and my first story to win a writing contest in the inspirational category. I had to chuckle when judges said they liked my “modern Biblical voice.” What is that? I really do talk normal. Okay, I use a few Wisconsin words like bubbler and brat (this is not a nasty kid, but a sausage). Hannah’s story was the fourth book I wrote, but the first to be published.


Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?


The dreaded middle is the hardest part for me to write. I have a good idea where to start my stories, and I know there will be a happy ending, but all those chapters in-between have to be structured just right. Attention spans are getting shorter, so I try to keep my pacing fast and my dialogue interesting. And of course, there has to be a point to the scene I’m writing, or the middle will “sag.” Writing is a lot of hard work and perseverance.


Do you have any advice for other writers?


The best advice I received as a newbie writer was to join a professional writing organization and attend conferences centered on writing. Since my first book was a romance, I joined Romance Writers of America and got involved in the local chapter, Wisconsin Romance Writers of America. I served on the WisRWA board for five years and made several friends, one of which is my critique partner. A group of us meets once a week to write, brainstorm, and talk shop. I also take online courses and attend workshops on the craft of writing. I also would encourage writers to never give up. I was told my writing was “too clean and wholesome” but I stuck to my beliefs and eventually sold a story. I also belong to the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI) and American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW).


Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?


Yes, a huge thank you for reading Hannah and Gilead’s story. With so many books to choose from, I am grateful they chose mine to read. Please leave a review if you enjoyed the book. Some books don’t get “seen” at online book stores unless they have fifty reviews.

Thanks to Barbara for stopping by today. Be sure to pick up her debut Biblical fiction, Providence: Hannah's Journey.


>>>For the Giveawy:  Barbara & COTT are offering two (2) free eBook copies of PROVIDENCE to two readers of this blog post. Simply leave a comment below with your name and contact information so we can notify you via Email should you be one of the winners.
  This giveaway ends one week from today on Monday, September 26 at Midnight, Central. Don't miss this chance to read what promises to be a great book. AND, be sure to view the book trailer below..






Visit all the stops along the tour




Saturday, September 17, 2016

COTT Olympia Winner Announcement!


Many deserving competitors entered the fray. One became the victor!

Congratulations Jennifer Uhlarik, 
2016 Olympia Award Champion.

We took a few moments to get to know Jennifer a little better, and now here's your chance to do the same:

Jennifer Uhlarik discovered the western genre as a pre-teen, when she swiped the only “horse” book she found on her older brother’s bookshelf. A new love was born. Across the next ten years, she devoured Louis L’Amour westerns and fell in love with the genre. In college at the University of Tampa, she began penning her own story of the Old West. Armed with a B.A. in writing, she has won five writing competitions and finaled in two other competitions. In addition to writing, she has held jobs as a private business owner, a schoolteacher, a marketing director, and her favorite—a full-time homemaker. Jennifer is active in American Christian Fiction Writers and lifetime member of the Florida Writers Association. She lives near Tampa, Florida, with her husband, teenaged son, and four fur children.

How did you come up with the idea for this book and what made you want to write this particular story?

While working with a few other authors on some novella collection ideas, I came up with the idea of three adult siblings who reunite after being separated by adoption in their youth. This story and the two that follow it are the result of that idea—three strong siblings devoted to law and justice, each in their own way.

What does winning the Olympia Award mean to you?

It is such an honor! I love the Olympia since the first round is judged by readers. That is probably the truest group of judges one can have. And I know the competition is always stiff in contests, so just to final is quite humbling. To win is indescribable (and I’m an author, so that says a lot. I’m speechless. LOL)

How can people find you online/contact you?

I can be found in the following places:






Thursday, September 15, 2016

3 Rules to Follow When Co-authoring a Novel


How Much is Too Much?
a guest post by Michelle Griep @MichelleGriep 


Writing a book is hard enough when you’re the sole author. Teaming up with another writer is a whole other ballgame—but it can be done. And the successful release of OUT OF THE FRYING PAN is evidence.

I teamed up with my good buddy Kelly Klepfer years ago as a critique partner. Our personalities clicked . . . okay, so sometimes we actually butted heads, but hey, iron sharpens iron, right? It does, especially when you agree to co-write a novel. Here’s how we worked out the details and how you can go about penning a story with a buddy of yours.

Too Many Authors Spoil the Novel-Soup
After brainstorming together, choose one of you to write the synopsis. Only one. Then follow that synopsis without veering off onto tangents, otherwise you’ll never finish the book.

Too Many Heads Makes a Reader’s Head Explode
Divvy up the point-of-view characters, then stick with it. For instance, in OUT OF THE FRYING PAN, I only always wrote the scenes as seen by one of the sisters-in-law (Zula) and the niece (KC). Kelly always wrote the detective scenes and the other sisters-in-law perspective.

Too Many Plotholes is Confusing
Lack of transition is the biggest bugaboo to avoid. You’ve got to connect all the scenes with seamless segues or the reader will be confused. Do that at the beginning of each scene. A simple sentence will suffice.

And there you have it—three handy dandy rules to follow when co-authoring a novel. Be sure to check out our latest release to make sure we followed our own guidelines.


 
ABOUT THE BOOK ~ OUT OF THE FRYING PAN

Murder in Paradise whips life into a froth for FERN and ZULA HOPKINS. When the retirement center’s chef is found dead, the two ladies get folded in with the case. Their zany attempts to track down the killer land them in hot water with Detective JARED FLYNN. Should he be concerned about their safety—or the criminal’s?

But there are deadly ingredients none of them expect. Drugs. Extortion. International cartels. And worst of all…broken hearts, especially when the Hopkins sisters’ niece KC arrives on the scene.

Life at Sunset Paradise Retirement Village will never be the same.



ABOUT THE AUTHOR ~ MICHELLE GRIEP

Kelly Klepfer & Michelle Griep
Michelle Griep’s been writing since she first discovered blank wall space and Crayolas. She resides in the frozen tundra of Minnesota, where she teaches history and writing classes for a local high school co-op. Her latest release is OUT OF THE FRYING PAN, but historical romance is her usual haunt. THE CAPTIVE HEART releases in October. Follow her escapades at www.michellegriep.com or www.writerofftheleash.blogspot.com or stalk her on Facebook, Twitter, or Pinterest.


Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Writing Series Books

Please welcome author Janet K. Brown as she tells us how she started to write series books.

Fellow author, Peg Phifer, asked me how I came to write series.

I thought about that. I didn’t remember making a decision to write a series, yet here I am on the road with two separate series. Perhaps, series latch onto me.

My debut novel was a young adult, published by 4$V Publishing in 2012.


****At fifteen, Victoria, a city girl, loses her mother’s love and copes with country isolation, no friends and no one who cares, until she meets a ghost.


I loved the idea of the reverse problem, Victoria’s country nemesis moves to the city. Problems arose on its publication. We’re hoping now for a December, 2016 release.


My first women’s fiction, Worth Her Weight, released December, 2014. This was the book of my heart, bringing forth many feelings and experiences that I lived through in previous years as a hopeless, empty-feeling food addict.


****How can a woman who gives to everyone but herself accept God’s love and healing when she believes she’s fat, unworthy, and unfixable? Can she be Worth Her Weight?


I’ll admit that when I reached the end of Worth Her Weight, I had fallen in love with many of the citizens of Wharton Rock, TX. I began to write a second story situated in that town. Lacey, the protagonist of Worth Her Weight, envied her best friend’s marriage and two children, while Lacey couldn’t even keep a boyfriend.

I wrote the best friend’s story. Though even Lacey knew that Joanne’s marriage was strained, who knew that the problem was a pornography addiction? I researched and I wrote. I submitted it to an agent for critique and learned it needed a total rewrite. Then, true to my nature, I laid it aside and began a totally new story.

When I received my first contract in 2011, I had completed ten unpublished novels. Like I said, true to my nature.

After the success of my only non-fiction, so far, Divine Dining: 365 Devotions to Guide You to Healthier Weight and Abundant Wellness, I decided to edit Worth Her Weight and submit it to Pen-L Publishing, the publisher who bought the non-fiction. I began a new novel, but Kimberly Pennell of Pen-L Publishing asked if I’d considered the women’s fiction being a series. I told her, “Yes, I did.” Duke and Kimberly Pennell encouraged me to finish a second book. That was the start of the Wharton Rock series.

Funny thing, instead of rewriting Joanne’s story, I discovered that Lacey’s sister, Katie, had a story to tell. This book released on Sept. 1, 2016. It’s titled Worth Forgiving.


****Prejudice and mistrust hinders an ex-con, drug addict’s new beginning. Could it be that Katie is not Worth Forgiving?


This comment from a fan after starting to read Worth Forgiving gives the real reason for the popularity of series.

Started reading Worth Forgiving last night. It's like catching up with friends you haven't visited with for awhile. Thanks Janet!!!! ~  Brenda Reitsma, reader


So, Peg, thanks for asking. Brenda’s comment is my “why.” I wish to revisit old friends. Funny thing, that happens in real life, too, and my characters are real life to me.

♦ ♦ ♦

Worth Forgiving

Second in the Wharton Rock Series



Prejudice and mistrust hinders an ex-con, drug addict’s new beginning.

The state of Texas releases from prison Katie Smith. Full of optimism, she sets out to get a job, rent her own place, and make a home for her eight-year-old daughter, but Katie gave away her daughter three years ago. She could use a friend, but her past choices threaten to doom her to continued failure.

Larry Pullman graduated from seminary with high marks, but the fact that he has no wife makes finding a preaching job almost impossible. It doesn’t help that running from God as a teenager gave him a past that he can’t undo. All he needs is an ex-con, drug addict messing up his life, but then why did God lead him to her? Or did He?

Isn’t it enough that Lacey Chandler gave her sister’s daughter a home? Does that mean she has to clean up Katie’s messes forever?



Could it be that Katie is not Worth Forgiving?

Purchase now at: 


“An engaging emotional novel depicting the redemptive power and love of God . . . filled with emotion and drama that will engage you from start to finish. The book depicts the struggles—both internal and external—that Katie Smith faces based on a rocky past that ended up in a prison sentence. It's more than a novel however. This Christian-based work is filled with life's realities and decisions that are made every day. With plenty of twists and turns it brings the reader to the conclusion that no one is beyond the grasp of God's saving hand . . . [it] shares a theme we all face sometime in our own lives—will we forgive others and even ourselves?
“The reader will be headlong thrown in the internal struggle to find peace, clarity . . . and true love. I give it a five-star rating without hesitation.” Valerie Caraotta, book reviewer 

 “Janet K. Brown touches hearts and lives of those with addictive personalities. Exposing the core of problems in her characters, she leads her reader to do their own soul-searching, offering encouragement as her characters find their way through trials and personal crises. I highly recommend Brown's WORTH FORGIVING.” – Bonne Lanthripe, playwright, award winning actress, and author of The Ringleader

♦ ♦ ♦


Janet K. Brown lives in Wichita Falls, Texas with her husband, Charles.
     Worth Forgiving, an inspirational women’s fiction, is the second in her Wharton Rock series. Her only non-fiction is Divine Dining: 365 Devotions to Guide You to Healthier Weight and Abundant Wellness.
Worth Forgiving marks Brown’s fourth book. Who knew she had a penchant for teens and ghosts? She released her debut novel, an inspirational young adult, Victoria and the Ghost, in July, 2012.
     Janet and her husband love to travel with their RV, work in their church, and visit their three daughters, two sons-in-law and three perfect grandchildren.
     Janet teaches workshops on writing, weight loss, and the historical settings of her teen books. The author uses her platform of recovering compulsive overeater to weave stories of hope for addiction, compulsion, or impossible situations.

on Twitter at https://twitter.com/janetkbrowntx
E-mail:  Janet.hope@att.net 

Friday, September 9, 2016

Guest Blogger June Foster ♦ Writing in a Different Genre ♦ Giveaway

Writing in a Different Genre
by June Foster
I'm so excited about my release Christmas at Raccoon Creek. It's a part of the Snow Globe Series published by Lovely Christian Romances. And of co

urse it's a holiday story as you can tell from the title.
I've written romances before. Even stories that have a scene or two at Christmas time. However, that's where the similarity to my other stories ends.
Christmas at Raccoon Creek is a time travel novel where the heroine is magically transported to the 1950's with the wink of a snowman's eye. Since I've only written contemporary romance, this was a stretch for me. But, I loved it!
First, it was a challenge to create characters who lived sixty years before my usual gang. Though I was alive in the fifties, I didn't remember much from that decade, so I had to do a lot of research. I discovered the style of dress, the type of music, and even the cool expressions people used in those days. Like crazy, man. My hero thinks the heroine has a classy chassis, and she loves the Black Cows he creates at the old fashioned soda fountain.
My hero graduated from pharmacy school from Auburn University, but in those days it was Alabama Polytechnic Institute. The heroine is a nurse on the cardiac floor and assists patients who recently had pacemakers. But the hero's never heard of a pacemaker transplant. I tried to bring other contrasts from the 50's to present day into the story as well.
Since the hero is alive in the fifties and owns a drug store, the type of medications he dispenses and products he sells are somewhat different than today. It was fun searching for the specific brands sold sixty years ago. Like Nebs headache relief, Coldene cold medicine, Nujol for constipation, Fasttabs for dieting, and of course Shalimar perfume which the he gives the heroine for Christmas.

If you'd like to take a journey back into time, you might enjoy Christmas at Raccoon Creek, hopefully as much as I loved writing it.


When love spans the decades
 Emily Eason wants to distance herself from her parents' opulent lifestyle in Birmingham, Alabama, and enjoy life in the rural village of Raccoon Creek and her fifties-style home. But after gazing into the little snow globe she purchased from Hardwicke's Drugs and Gifts, she finds herself transported to another time—her grandmother's era.
Lance Hardwicke is the pharmacist and owner of Hardwicke's Drugs. Four years of pharmacy school didn't allow for much of a social life. Gorgeous Emily Eason, nurse and resident of Raccoon Creek, has captured his attention. The next time she comes in the store, he's determined to ask her out. Maybe take her to Birmingham to see the Christmas lights in his brand new orange and white '53 Pontiac Pathfinder.
Can love span the fifty-year gap standing between them?  
Purchase Link: http://amzn.to/2c495oJ  

♦ ♦ ♦

June Foster's bio:
An award-winning author, June Foster is a retired teacher with a BA in education and MA in counseling. In 2013, June's book Give Us This Day was a finalist in EPIC's eBook awards and in 2014 a finalist in the National Readers Choice Awards for best first book. Ryan's Father was one of three finalists in the published contemporary fiction category of the 2014 Oregon Christian Writers Cascade Writing Contest and Awards. Deliver Us was a finalist in COTT's 2014 Laurel Awards. June has written four novels for Desert Breeze Publishing. The Bellewood Series, Give Us This Day, As We Forgive, and Deliver Us, and Hometown Fourth of July. Ryan's Father is published by WhiteFire Publishing. Red and the Wolf, a modern day retelling of Little Red Riding Hood, is available from Amazon.com. The Almond Tree series, For All Eternity, Echoes From the Past, and What God Knew are available at Amazon.com as well. Misty Hollow is published by Helping Hands Press. June enjoys writing stories about characters who overcome the circumstances in their lives by the power of God and His Word. Visit June at junefoster.com.
♦ ♦ ♦

About the Giveaway:
June is offering an e-book copy of Christmas at Raccoon Creek to one reader of this blog. To enter, leave a comment below with your name and contact information by Friday, June 16, at Midnight, CDT. Winner will be drawn and notified via email on Saturday, June 17, so be sure to check your inbox!

Thanks so much, June, for being my guest, sharing your article, and offering a free eBook! God bless.

Thursday, September 8, 2016

GAME ON—Where Do All Those Ideas Come From?

GAME ON—Where Do All Those Ideas Come From?

by Lillian Duncan 

One of the questions I get asked often is how do I come up with my story ideas. My answer is usually the same. From all sorts of places.

Sometimes, I come up with a premise, such as what would happen if a big city lawyer fell in love with a farmer? (Pursued)

Sometimes a scene just pops in my head from nowhere. Like when a woman receives a phone call from a young girl asking for her aunt and she knows it can’t be for her because she doesn’t have a niece. Or does she? (Deception)

Sometimes a story comes about because of characters from another story. Both Betrayed and Redemption happened because I wanted to know what happened after Deception.

My Deadly Communications series happened when my writing life crashed into my other life as a speech pathologist. The series features a speech pathologist who gets way too involved with her clients!

So, like I said my story ideas can come from anywhere at any time. GAME ON is no exception. I got it from watching a TV talk show of all things. Of course, all I got from the show was a germ of an idea.

After that it’s all about the work. First comes the idea and then comes the work. One of the things I do is ask myself a lot of questions as I begin a new story. In Game On, I knew I wanted the two characters to have a past with each other.

Then I had to ask myself questions why it hadn’t worked out with them back then and why it wouldn’t work out now.

That’s how I came up with the fact he was rich (still is) and she was poor (not as much).. Never a good start to a relationship. And as we all know the rich parents had to get involved because they didn’t want their son to get involved with that girl from the other side of the tracks.

But so what? Time has a way of making all that less important. So, then I had to come up with a secret that would come between them. And I did! And it’s a BIGGIE!

Then there was the obstacle of “real life.” He’s a politician who golfs with the president and she’s a private investigator who likes to wear jeans.

After that it’s time to sit down at the computer and see what happens!


I really had fun writing this one! 

♦ ♦ ♦

BLURB for GAME ON

Politics is no game when a stalker nears and there’s nowhere to hide.

A run for the senate is just a step on the road to the White House for Congressman Lucas McMann. But his public profile has put him in the middle of a crazed gunman’s twisted game of stalking. If he wants to win the election and reclaim his life, he’ll need the help of the one person who’d rather leave their past behind them.

Private Investigator Nikki Kent knows how to dig up secrets and discover those who exist in the shadows. She should. She’s good at hiding secrets of her own. Can she risk her own discovery for someone so desperate for her help? For the first man who broke her heart?

With new-found faith, she’ll help Lucas search for the answers. But with the truth comes a danger they must face together.

Check out the book trailer video for GAME ON at  https://youtu.be/t6MK2UGB1P0

♦ ♦ ♦

GIVEAWAY:

To celebrate the release of GAME ON, I’m giving away a virtual basket of goodies at www.lillian-duncan.com including Amazon gift cards. For all the details go to my blog, Tiaras & Tennis Shoes. Simply leave a comment on the blog post GAME ON at www.lillian-duncan.com and you’ll be entered. Be sure to tell me what blog you read about my new book on. Thanks!  

♦ ♦ ♦

ABOUT LILLIAN:

Lillian Duncan…Stories of faith mingled… with murder & mayhem.

Lillian is a multi-published author who lives in Ohio Amish country with her husband. After more than 30 years working as a speech pathologist for children, she believes in the power of words to transform lives, especially God’s Word.

Lillian writes the types of books she loves to read—fast-paced suspense and mystery with a touch of romance that demonstrates God’s love for all of us. To learn more about Lillian, you may visit her at www.lillianduncan.net or www.lillian-duncan.com. She also has a devotional blog at www.PowerUpWithGod.com