Archives

Writer Wednesday: Carol James

Welcome author Carol James to Writer Wednesday!

When did you decide that you would be an author? Was it something you fell into, felt called to… ?

While I have always loved reading and happy endings, I never aspired to write. I majored in English education in college because I love grammar (weird, I know) and I believed that class would allow me to get to know the hearts of my students better than math or science.

I definitely was called to write. I was teaching part-time in a small private school when my husband suffered a health issue and lost his job. It was up to me to move out into the “real” world to support our family until he could get back on his feet. One morning I was sitting in our local park eating a Chick-fil-a chicken biscuit (some things are worth the calories), when God showed me some verses in Isaiah. Isaiah 43: 18-19

 

18 

“Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past.

19 

See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it?

I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland.

I realized then that He would take this time in our lives and use it for His purposes and glory.

For about ten years, I tried various different ministries and activities, but nothing was the “stream in my wasteland.” Then my boss confessed to me that she was an aspiring author, and asked if I would edit her current work in progress for grammar errors. I did, and a little spark was lit in my heart. If she could do this, I could, too. We could be like C.S. Lewis J.R.R. Tolkien. When I put my first words on the paper, I knew this was it. God was calling me to write as a ministry.

What’s your pet peeve?

Oh, I r-e-a-l-l-y hate to say this, because it’s so unpopular in our relaxed culture. My pet peeve is tardiness. My father was a career Air Force officer, and his mantra was, “If you’re on time, you’re late.” I cannot remember a time when we were late for anything. We were always on time, generally early. This was drummed into me as long back as I can remember. I have come to believe that being on time shows respect for other people, and habitual lateness shows a lack of respect for another’s time and schedule. But, I will love you anyway, whether you’re on time or late.

What was your most embarrassing moment as a writer?

I still remember the first writers’ conference I attended. One of the workshops was about crafting conflict. I’d only been writing for a couple of months. I was working—I was certain—on this world-changing, earth-shattering number one best selling novel. I sat down at the table, so sure the moderator would see the artistry of my writing and the magnificence of the plot. Right? When she started asking me questions about the conflict, the black moment, etc, I had no response. I didn’t even know what she was talking about. Obviously, I had a lot more learning and work to do before I graced the world with my work. LOL

What has been your most difficult challenge as an author?

My most difficult challenge is not to compare my work to that of other authors. It’s easy to compare my success, or lack of it, with contemporaries. I have to constantly remind myself that my job is to be faithful and obedient to the ministry to which I have been called, and the rest will follow. I may never write a number-one bestseller, but as long as my words minister to and uplift those who read them, I am being obedient. And it might be a life-changing book to that one person who needed to hear the message.

 How do you process rejections and/or negative reviews?

You know, as writers we have so much time, sweat, and emotion invested in our work, that rejections feel like someone telling you your brand new, precious baby is ugly. Rejections hurt, and I’ve been known to go to my husband and complain about how thick-headed that reviewer was, how he or she didn’t get it. How they don’t know what they’re talking about. But then, I take a deep breath and ask, why exactly did that person say that? Often, I can see the validity of the critique. Some of what started out as the harshest critiques have ended up being the best and those that taught me the most.

 What do you feel is the best success so far in your writing career?

One of the most memorable moments I have experienced was after my first novel, Rescuing Faith, was released. It’s the story about a woman who’s husband has been unfaithful to her and how she moves past his infidelity and rejection. Not long after the novel was released, a gentleman at church came up to me and gave me a big hug. He said the book addressed exactly what his daughter was currently living through and that reading it had really ministered to and encouraged her. To me, that is success. That is my whole purpose for writing.

 What is your current work in progress?

My current work in progress has a working title of A Time for Singing. It’s a story about two people who have both been left at the altar and how they overcome those rejections. It’s set in an old Victorian Inn in a small Texas town. Several years ago my husband and I stayed at Longfellow’s Wayside Inn in Massachusetts. One of the most exciting surprises was discovering the Secret Drawer Society. The letters we found were sometimes fiction, but other times they were accounts of the writers’ life-changing experiences. I knew then, I would write a novel that included the SDS.

Bio:

Carol James is an author of inspirational fiction. She lives in a small town outside of Atlanta, Georgia with her husband, Jim, and a perky Jack Russell “Terrorist,” Zoe.

Having always loved intriguing stories with happy endings, she was moved to begin writing to encourage others as she’d been encouraged by the works of other authors of inspirational fiction.

Her debut novel, Rescuing Faith, has been a number one bestseller on Amazon.

Carol enjoys spending time with her husband, children, and grandchildren, traveling with friends, and serving in the production department at her church. And most days, in the late hours of the night or the wee hours of the morning, she can be found bringing her newest novel to life.

Website: www.carol-james.com

Facebook: Facebook.com/CarolJamesAuthor

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/caroljamesauthor

Twitter: https://twitter.com/CarolJamesAuth  

Amazon Page: https://www.amazon.com/Carol-James/e/B00IGMW2WI?ref=sr_ntt_srch_lnk_1&qid=1573587965&sr=8-1

Latest book release: The Unexpected Christmas Gift, November 2019

Coming 2020: Season of Hope

Writer Wednesday: Gail Pallotta

When did you decide that you would be an author? Was it something you fell into, felt called to… ?

I’ve written stories for as long can remember, but considered it a hobby until I enrolled in a professional writing class in college. I realized then I could work on a magazine and make a living, so that’s what I did for many years. In the back of my mind I always wanted to write a book. Often when I wrote freelance articles about successful people, I asked the person I interviewed what inspired him or her. Many times they spoke of their faith in God. Most of the magazines took that out. I declared then that I would write books and put Christianity in all of them.

What’s your pet peeve?

As an author who is not computer savvy, I have so many responsibilities, especially online, that have nothing to do with writing that I barely have time to squeeze in time to write.

What was your most embarrassing moment as a writer?

When my daughter was a baby, I answered an ad for freelance writing for a local magazine. The editor asked me to bring my portfolio to his office. I easily arranged for a baby sitter, but I didn’t have a briefcase. I rummaged through our belongings until I found a picnic basket a friend had given us for Christmas. I pulled out the fancy glasses and napkins and tossed in my writing samples. I was frazzled by the time I got to the editor’s office and was quite ready to sit down. I put the basket in my lap and the editor leaned over his desk and stared at it. “Are we having a picnic?”

I explained about the portfolio and ended up writing many articles for him for many years. My daughter eventually visited his office on her career day in high school, The day I met him I had rushed around so much and concentrated so hard on how to carry my samples, the picnic basket had become a briefcase in my mind. I was totally embarrassed when he jarred me back to reality.

What has been your most difficult challenge as an author?

Marketing.

How do you process rejections and/or negative reviews?

I try to ignore them.

What do you feel is the best success so far in your writing career?

It depends on how one measures success. I keep trying to improve my writing to make my books better, so I see my success as a time when I’ve nailed a new technique or when I understand what an editor or agent was talking about when they told me to change something. As far as books go, I’d say Barely Above Water is probably my most popular, and it is a 2017 Reader’s Favorite Award Winner.

What is your current work in progress?

I’m working on a couple of romantic suspense books.

Bio: Award-winning author Gail Pallotta’s a wife, mom, swimmer and bargain shopper who loves God, beach sunsets and getting together with friends and family. She’s a former regional writer of the year for American Christian Writers Association, a 2013 Grace Awards finalist and a 2017 Reader’s Favorite Book Award winner. She’s published six books, poems, short stories and two-hundred articles. Some of her articles appear in anthologies while two are in museums.

Website: https://gailpallotta.com

Newsletter:  https://www.gailpallotta.com/mainphp.html

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/AuthorsandMore

Twitter: Gail Pallotta @Hopefulwords (https://twitter.com/Hopefulwords)

Amazon Page: amazon.com/author/gailpallotta

Latest book release: Stopped Cold, a young adult sports mystery and an Amazon Best Seller in  Teen and Young Adult Christian Mysteries and Thrillers for one month.

Things aren’t what they seem in peaceful Mistville, North Carolina. Margaret McWhorter enjoys a laid-back Freshman year in high school flirting with Jimmy Willmore, swimming and hanging out with friends—until that day. Her brother, Sean, suffers a stroke from taking a steroid. Now he’s lying unconscious in a hospital. Margaret’s angry at her dad for pushing Sean to be a great quarterback, but a fire of hatred burns inside her to make the criminals pay.

Looking for justice, she takes Jimmy and her best friend, Emily, through a twisted, drug-filled sub-culture. A clue sends them deep into the woods behind the school where they overhear drug dealers discuss Sean.

Time and time again they walk a treacherous path and come face to face with danger. Even the cop on the case can’t stop them from investigating. All the while Margaret really wants to cure Sean, heal the hate inside, and open her heart to love.

Buy Links

Amazon – Amazon.com/dp/B07R7RHF5K

Barnes and Noble – https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/stopped-cold-gail-pallotta/1117352035?ean=9781522398578

Kobo – https://www.kobo.com/us/en/search?query=Stopped+Cold+by+Gail+Pallotta

 

Meriwether High School, the fictitious  school in Stopped Cold, has its own Twitter page, Meriwether Christian @MeriwetherCS (https://twitter.com/MeriwetherCS). The heroine, Margaret, would love to have readers follow it.

 

 

Writer Wednesday: Kim McMahill

Welcome author Kim McMahill to my Writer Wednesday here! 

When did you decide that you would be an author? Was it something you fell into, felt called to…?

I’ve always loved to write. In a high school creative writing class, I wrote a short story. The teacher commented on my paper that with a little more character and plot development, I had a novel. I packed that paper around for years and eventually turned it into my first novel. While finishing my first novel and trying to find a publisher I started writing travel and human-interest pieces for magazines and piled up quite a list of credits. But when I really started writing fiction in earnest was when my husband started fighting wildfires. We lived in a remote cabin with no tv or phone and he would be gone for up to twenty-one days at a time which gave me the opportunity to really explore my craft, and I’ve been writing adventure and suspense novels ever since.

What’s your pet peeve?

It’s not writing-related, but my biggest pet peeve is when I see someone who is texting while driving. It is one thing to endanger yourself, but totally unacceptable to endanger those around you.

What was your most embarrassing moment as a writer?

I write action, adventure, and suspense. In Shrouded in Secrets, the adventures take place all over the world. When I wrote the book it never dawned on me that I might need to do a reading someday. Needless to say, it’s pretty embarrassing to not be able to correctly pronounce words in your own book.

What has been your most difficult challenge as an author?

My most difficult challenge as an author is in marketing my work. I’m a bit of an introvert and technologically challenged, so promoting my work is not easy, especially in the age of social media.

How do you process rejections and/or negative reviews?

I remind myself that everyone is entitled to their opinion and everyone has different taste in reading material. If someone doesn’t like my work, it doesn’t mean that no one will.   

What do you feel is the best success so far in your writing career?

By sheer numbers, Marked in Mexico has been by far my best seller, but the marketing arena has changed since then and the promotions that yielded good results don’t necessarily work anymore. I hope each book I write gets better as I learn and get more experience, so each time a book gets accepted for publication I consider that my best success.

What is your current work in progress?

I have recently submitted the fourth book in my Risky Research Series, A Measure of Madness, to my publisher. While waiting to hear back, I’ve started outlining book five.

Bio:

Kim McMahill grew up in Wyoming which is where she developed her sense of adventure and love of the outdoors. She started out writing non-fiction, but her passion for exotic world travel, outrageous adventures, stories of survival, and happily-ever-after endings soon drew her into a world of romantic suspense and adventure fiction. Along with writing novels Kim has also published over eighty travel and geographic articles, and contributed to a travel story anthology. Kim currently resides in Colorado, and when not writing, she enjoys gardening, traveling, hiking, and spending time with family.

Blog: http://www.kimmcmahill.blogspot.comTwitter: https://twitter.com/kimmcmahill   @kimmcmahill

Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/KimMcMahillAuthor/

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/kimmcmahill/

Goodreads author page: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/849945.Kim_McMahill

Amazon Author Page: http://www.amazon.com/Kim-McMahill/e/B007IK0EJW/

Latest book release: A Foundation of Fear

FBI Special Agent Devyn Nash is obsessed with taking down Coterie, a deadly group out to control the multi-billion-dollar diet product industry. The FBI’s plan to expose Coterie places Devyn’s best friend and her partner’s fiancé in the crosshairs of this ruthless organization. Can Devyn protect her friend and bring the coldblooded killers to justice before they strike again while distracted by injury, a sexist bully, and a long-distance relationship with a handsome Wyoming sheriff?

Lobbyist and Coterie assassin Sofia Wilks wants nothing more than to regain control of her life. Sofia knows Agent Nash is nipping at her heels, but the FBI agent isn’t the worst of her fears. She is drawn to a man who has the power to destroy her.

Writer Wednesday: Penelope Marzec

Please welcome Penelope Marzec to Writer Wednesday! She’s written some fabulous books and I’ve had the honor of working with her on several of them.

When did you decide that you would be an author? Was it something you fell into, felt called to… ?

I decided to be an author at the age of nine. That summer I wrote a book—in green ink on yellow legal paper and I illustrated it, too. In the story, the heroine came from another planet and could fly, which wasn’t a very original idea. However, the experience of writing enthralled me and I vowed I would eventually become a published author. Still, I didn’t want to suffer from starvation so I went to college and became an early childhood educator, which was a terrific job because I got to read and reread all my favorite children’s stories, sing songs, play, do craft projects, and teach the alphabet to lots of youngsters so they could grow up to be readers. Though I came home exhausted everyday, I wrote. It may have taken me longer to get published than some writers, but in the meantime I collected plenty of ideas for stories.

What’s your pet peeve?

I get very annoyed when someone who is not a writer informs me that if I want to be a famous author then I should write a bestseller. There are people who will not read books unless they are on the bestseller lists. They are missing a lot.

What was your most embarrassing moment as a writer?

I’ve endured several embarrassing moments as a writer, but I suppose one of the most humiliating occurred at a conference. I intended to take notes at a workshop with my trusty iPad, but for some reason the keyboard wasn’t working. I fiddled around with several settings until several of the other writers in the room called out my name. I glanced up at the presentation on the screen. Somehow, I had tapped into it. I turned off my iPad and wished I had an invisibility cloak handy.

What has been your most difficult challenge as an author?

When my daughters were younger and I was working, my most difficult challenge was carving out time to write. When my youngest joined the Explorers so she could become an EMT at an early age, I drove her back and forth twice a week so she could become certified. During her two hour lessons, I sat on the floor in the hallway writing. It turned out to be worth every minute of sitting on that cold, hard floor because I sold the book and it won an award.

How do you process rejections and/or negative reviews?

Getting rejections never bothered me much. As a member of RWA and the local NJ chapter, I learned about the process of submitting and the odds of getting rejected. A rejection to me seemed more like a badge of honor—proof that I possessed the determination to carry on despite the obstacles. After all, some writers had far more rejections than I did. However, negative reviews hit me hard at first. I found it difficult to understand how someone could read my book and decide it didn’t measure up to their personal standards. Sometimes, I wondered if the reviewers actually read the book. They could be so cruel!

My writing friends helped me get over the hurt. One of them pointed out how some of our favorite books had gotten terrible reviews. When I looked up the reviews on many of my most loved classics, I was appalled. There’s no accounting for taste as the old saying goes. Now I treat negative reviews with far more aplomb.

What do you feel is the best success so far in your writing career?

Being published by Pelican Book Group has been the high point of my career as a writer. Before that, I went from one small publisher to another. Several companies folded and I was left with orphaned manuscripts. I consider myself very fortunate to be writing for a company with solid Christian values.

What is your current work in progress?

I’m still debating with myself what to use as a title for my current work in process, but I’ve enjoyed writing it. It’s the story of a young woman who grew up in the Pine Barrens of New Jersey where nobody knew her mother was a once-famous, award-winning actress. When the young woman gets a job in New York City and helps save a man’s life, she is caught up in a media frenzy. One of her new coworkers comes to her aid, but his own dark secret will threaten them both.

Clear as Ice (Christmas Holiday Extravaganza) by [Marzec, Penelope]Bio:

Penelope Marzec grew up along the Jersey shore. She started reading romances at a young age and fell hopelessly in love with happy endings. Two of her inspirational romances won EPIC’s eBook Award and another was a finalist in that contest. Her paranormal, Irons in the Fire, was a nominee for a Romantic Times Reviewers Choice award.

Website: www.penelopemarzec.com

Newsletter:  Sign up at http://penelopemarzec.weebly.com/contact-me.html

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/penelopemarzecbooks/

Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/penelopemarzec/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/penelopemarzec

Amazon Page: https://www.amazon.com/Penelope-Marzec/e/B002BLQGA4

Latest book release: https://www.amazon.com/Clear-Ice-Christmas-Holiday-Extravaganza-ebook/dp/B07YSXW85Q

Thankful for Our Readers

Readers, we are so thankful for YOU! Your support and encouragement mean the world.  To show our appreciation for all you do, we are hosting a HUGE giveaway!


Don’t miss your chance to enter to win a $100 Amazon gift card and over 40+ books. Click here to enter: https://promosimple.com/ps/efda/thankful-for-our-readers

The collection includes a copy of my own novel, Donuts and Detours!

Ten Years

Ten years ago, I listened to a still, small voice telling me to write a novel during NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month for more info go to http://www.nanowrimo.org).

So I did.

The first novel I ever wrote, finally released in November of 2017.

I wrote 117,000 words in 21 days. The goal was 50,000 words in 30 days. I had a blast. I was hooked.

I wrote and wrote and wrote. By the time I published my first novel in 2015, I had written my complete 5-book Gothic Regency series as well as four other novels. I had published a flash fiction and a short story. I was working as an editor for a small publishing house, Prism Book Group, which was eventually bought out by Pelican Book Group.

As of today…those totals have increased to 20 completed titles. 15 of those are published, three more are contracted and in the process of getting to publication. Two are awaiting a home. Five are available in audiobook and I’m working on recording some of my novels. I now teach workshops at writer’s conferences and at the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh through their continuing education department.

I have four more stories started.

My first published novel, with a new cover!

Life has changed significantly since God first called me to write.

Writing was initially an escape. A place to go to hide from the pain of my daily life. I wrote the happily-ever-after stories I wanted to read. I wrote about the love that I hadn’t experienced but believed was possible. I poured my own personal pain into the pages of my novels.

Then it happened.

Just as God revealed Himself in amazing ways as I wrote, he finally gave me my own happily-ever-after. After a long time of loneliness, struggling to obey God in my difficult circumstances, and finding freedom from that in 2017, God brought love into my life in 2018.

It wasn’t without obstacles. What good romance goes smoothly? Matter of fact, some of those obstacles remain, but I’ve found a new life to be LIVED, not just on the pages of my novels, but to experience and enjoy. And I found someone to do it with.

I won’t go into details of my struggle here. Those who have walked with me on that path have prayed, listened, encouraged, and even challenged me. I am grateful for their love and support.

Last year I didn’t do NaNoWriMo for the first time (after winning 8 years in a row!) because I was recovering from shoulder surgery, planning a wedding, helping remodel a house, and preparing to move my family. Oh, and all at Christmas-time!

God is good, even in the darkest days when I wondered if He would be good to me, I never doubted that it was His character. I am blessed beyond measure. I look forward to how my new life will impact my writing.

My poor hubby doesn’t understand all I do but is a champion of my work anyway. He’s loved the stories he’s read/listened to. This will be his first NaNoWriMo…so here’s hoping he can cope with this crazy writer. He’s done fairly well so far…

Happy November!

Writer Wednesday: Joanie Shawhan

I met Joanie Shawhan with some mutual friends for lunch several times to talk about our writing dreams, before either of us ever got published. I instantly fell in love with her bubbly personality. She’s gone through the shadow of ovarian cancer and her passion to help others going through cancer is inspiring. I asked her about her writer’s journey.

When did you decide that you would be an author? Was it something you fell into, felt called to… ?

I had journaled for years, but I had never planned to be an author. It wasn’t until I was diagnosed with ovarian cancer in 2006, that I realized I had something to say that would be helpful to others going through chemotherapy. I searched for ovarian cancer survivors, but there were no ovarian cancer support groups. I wondered if there were any other survivors. So, I started writing the book I would have liked when I went through chemotherapy—a book with stories that validated my experience, concluding each chapter with a scripture and a prayer.

What’s your pet peeve?

Book series in which I have to read the next book to find out how the main conflict is resolved.

What was your most embarrassing moment as a writer?

In my first review of a friend’s piece, I gave a one-star when I meant to give 5 stars, but the program used for the review would not allow me to change my stars. 

What has been your most difficult challenge as an author?

Since I had no experience in the writing and publishing world, I needed to learn the craft of writing and the publishing industry so I attended numerous writing conferences and joined a writing critique group.

How do you process rejections and/or negative reviews?

Rejections are hard. How could they not like my book baby? I have to realize that the rejections are not personal, but often related to their business goals. Sometimes negative reviews or comments are just personal preferences. But the reviewer may also make a valid point which I can use to improve my writing.

What do you feel is the best success so far in your writing career?

My new release, In Her Shoes: Dancing in the Shadow of Cancer, which chronicles my ovarian cancer journey and the cancer stories of eleven other women.  

What is your current work in process?

Lessons I learned from my spiritual mother.

Bio: Joanie Shawhan is an ovarian cancer survivor and a registered nurse. She writes articles and encouragement for women undergoing chemotherapy. Publishing credits include The Upper Room, Coping with Cancer Magazine, God Still Meets Needs and In Her Shoes: Dancing in the Shadow of Cancer. She is involved in an ovarian cancer social group, The Fried Eggs—Sunny-Side up and speaks to medical students about ovarian cancer in the Survivors Teaching Students program. When not attending one of her two book clubs or her writing critique group, Joanie enjoys designing jewelry, swimming and knitting.

Find Joanie at these online locations!

Website: www.joanieshawhan.com

Newsletter:  blog on my website: https://joanieshawhan.com/blog/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/joanieshawhanAuthor

Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/joanshawhan/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/jmshawhan

Amazon Page: amazon.com/author/joanieshawhan

Latest book release: March 2019: In Her Shoes: Dancing in the Shadow of Cancer

Available on Amazon https://amzn.to/2TaEiZz