Tag Archive | fiction

Writer Wednesday: Peter Toeg

Today I’m thrilled to bring you author, Peter Toeg who I met recently. I have his book on top of my “to be read pile”. I hope you’ll enjoy getting to know Peter!

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

About the eighth year of the fifteen-year effort to write my first novel. I’ve always loved writing. For those first years, I would get a rush after writing a few hundred words. Like a coffee high.

What’s your pet peeve?

Nothing major. I tend to avoid reading what other writers have to say about writing and the process. Writing skills, yes. Inspiration, style, technique. Not so much.

What was your most embarrassing moment as a writer?

Having my wife read my first novel and a couple of short stories and picking up on my inspiration or word choice. We laugh about it. I steal anything.

What has been your most difficult challenge as an author?

Getting a response from people whom I’ve asked for a beta or book read. I’m discriminating about what I read, but always try to accommodate someone.

How do you process rejections and/or negative reviews?

Depends on the day. I tend to fall back on positives and my editor’s comments.

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

I don’t care for Christian-talk in general, but I know when I am inspired by the Spirit. And I know when I’m not.

What would be your top three pieces of advice to newer, up and coming authors?

Write a lot according to the rules, before breaking them. Get an editor to screen some of your work after no less than two years of writing. Take a lot of showers or walks or find a place where you can catch an idea and run with it.

As a Christian author, what would you like your legacy to be?

My pastor friend told me the answer to that question after reading my second book twice. “I never knew you.” A paraphrase.

What is your current work in process?

I’m on a third draft of a third manuscript I’ve run by my editor. I write shorts during the process. I think I’ve written 20,000 words worth of shorts in three months. Great diversion.

Warriors With Holy Hands published by Westbow Press. On Amazon, different formats.

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Writer Wednesday: Emily Conrad

I want to introduce you to Emily Conrad. I had the pleasure of meeting her at a book signing and discovered that she not only lived not too far away from me – but was also a Pelican Book Group Author. I am an editor for that publishing company but Emily is not one of my authors. Hopefully, you’ll enjoy her words of wisdom!

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

I started writing short stories in eighth grade English class, and by the end of high school, those stories had lengthened into novels. Sometime in there, I decided I wanted to be a writer. In that way, it was something I fell into, but the decision to pursue it as a full-time endeavor in 2014 was more of a calling. I felt God had orchestrated just the right events to make it clear that it was time to give this writing thing my full effort at least for a time.

What’s your pet peeve?

Chewing and crinkling noises. I’ve been known to leave the room if my husband sits next to me with a bag of chips. My whole body buzzes with tension if I hang around. However, my husband’s not the only one who eats (go figure, right?), leaving isn’t always an option, and I recognize that it’s totally unfair to be annoyed with people for eating. I eat, too, and sometimes I’m the one who put crunchy food out! So I’ve developed one semi-successful coping mechanism: I think about puppies. I’d never fault a puppy for chewing loudly. On the contrary, I find it cute. Believe it or not, imagining a cute little puppy eating next to me helps!

What was your most embarrassing moment as a writer?

I’m sure the worst is yet to come, but I did once go up to talk to a couple of authors I respected and got the title of one’s book wrong and probably showed I didn’t really understand the plot of the other writer’s novel—I made a comment based on her title—but to my credit, I did say that I hadn’t read the book yet… They were both very gracious, though.

What has been your most difficult challenge as an author?

Trusting God when things don’t look the way I thought they would. From waiting much longer than I’d hoped to find a publisher to other surprises along the way, I’ve learned that reality usually doesn’t match the dream. That’s when frustration and discouragement pile on, but because I’ve seen God work in hard situations before, I know He’s in control and can be trusted, even when my plans fail.

How do you process rejections and/or negative reviews?

In community. I haven’t yet had negative reviews (that I know of!) because Justice is my debut, but I know my work doesn’t resonate with everyone. Once, a very low contest score combined with some harsh feedback sent me into a tailspin. My writing friends came around me with encouragement that helped to get me through. Not everyone is our target audience. Not everyone will like every story. That’s okay. There are so many different writers and readers in the world, and there’s room for all of us.

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

My debut novel is coming out in two days!

What would be your top three pieces of advice to newer, up and coming authors?

  1. Trust God, even when everything looks bleak. He loves you with an everlasting love, and He will never leave you or forsake you. He’s not just stringing you along. He has a purpose for you and your dreams.
  2. Find writing friends. Friends will give you pep talks, help you improve your work, and, when you get to releasing your first novel, they’ll be invaluable cheerleaders. Plus, you’ll be able to help them along their paths, too.
  3. Have fun writing. Maybe you have your more serious novels and that blog you have to keep up with, but carve out some time for writing fun, too. Dabble in lighter short stories. Write that rock star novel and see where it goes. Read for the fun of it. The variety will help keep the spark for writing alive.

As a Christian author, what would you like your legacy to be?

I often borrow inspiration from Biblical accounts. For example, some elements of the plot in Justice are inspired by portions of Mary and Joseph’s story (though Justice involves a sexual assault, which of course, Mary and Joseph’s story does not). I would love my fiction to inspire deeper faith in the God of the Bible. Today, we serve the same God Mary and Joseph served 2000 years ago, and that’s exciting to me. He is alive and well and active. He’s powerful and loving. His grace is more than sufficient.

What is your current work in process?

Did you notice the rock star mention in point three above? Well, I wrote a rock star romance, and I’m currently writing a second one, about another member of the same band. The stories have been so fun to write while also tackling meaningful questions. I hope someday, readers get to enjoy these novels as much as I’m enjoying writing them.

Links to social media:

https://www.facebook.com/emilyconradauthor

https://www.twitter.com/emilyrconrad

https://www.instagram.com/emilyrconrad

www.emilyconradauthor.com

https://www.amazon.com/Justice-Emily-Conrad-ebook/dp/B0792HGXQN

https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/justice-emily-conrad/1127841580

Biography: 

Emily Conrad lives in Wisconsin with her husband and two rescue dogs. She loves Jesus and enjoys road trips to the mountains, crafting stories, and drinking coffee. (It’s no coincidence her debut novel is set mostly in a coffee shop!) She offers free short stories on her website and loves to connect with readers on social media.

Justice

Jake thought he was meant to marry Brooklyn, but now she’s pregnant, and he had nothing to do with it. Brooklyn can’t bring herself to name the father as she wrestles with questions about what her pregnancy means and how it will affect her relationship with Jake. If Harold Keen, the man who owns the bookstore across from Jake’s coffee shop, has anything to do with it, the baby will ruin them both.

The Metaphor of Steel in Sofi’s Bridge (Blog Hop)

The main theme of Sofi’s Bridge is how people deal with grief and trauma. Can grief make us stronger, or cause us to collapse? Each major character brings their own struggle with grief to create this plot.

Neil: This Irish physician is wanted by the British police for the murder of a man who had previously caused the death of Neil’s father. Neil, still buckling under the guilt of losing control of his emotions on the night his father died, explains how many men deal with grief in this excerpt:

Neil wrapped an arm around Sofi’s shoulders. “From my observation, females tend to worry over their grief, keeping it to themselves. Not like men who battle against their trauma with exploits. Not always the right kind of exploits, mind you. Trying to force things. Make things right. Seeking revenge.” His brows pulled together, and his eyes grew bleak.

Sofi: When Sofi’s father drowns, she takes on the role of savior in her family. By suppressing her own grief, the toxins of Sofi’s sadness are building, and may cause her to collapse. Or perhaps, Sofi will learn in good time to express her grief, and with the Lord’s strength be there for her family in their time of need, and also in time to save the bridge she designed.

Sofi’s Sister: Trina personifies the well-documented syndrome of Post Traumatic Stress. After observing her father’s drowning, Trina becomes almost catatonic, and their Seattle physician wants to treat her at an asylum for the mentally unstable. Seeing this, Neil, who is pretending to be their gardener, cannot ignore his Hippocratic oath. Plus, his overwhelming personality trait to give aid, even while placing himself in danger, is the catalyst that propels Sofi and Neil to flee to the
Cascade Mountains with her sister Trina.

Sofi’s mother Roselle: Another favorite secondary character of mine, reacts to the grief of losing her husband by becoming addicted to physician-prescribed Laudanum.

The metaphor of steel: Throughout these character’s lives, in the center of the story, stands the bridge that Sofi designed, but which her father’s business partner has taken control of. But is the steel being used to build her bridge strong enough? Has the metal been fired long enough in the foundry to refine it so that it is strong enough to convey people to safety?

The steel in Sofi’s bridge is the metaphor for grief and trauma, asking the questions: Does God use our canyons of pain to refine us, make us strong enough for the labor of our heart that He places in our lives?

About Christine:

Irish-born Christine Lindsay is the author of multi-award-winning Christian fiction and non-fiction. Readers describe her writing as gritty yet tender, realistic yet larger than life, with historical detail that collides into the heart of psychological and relationship drama.<br />

Christine’s fictional novels have garnered the ACFW Genesis Award, The Grace Award, Canada’s The Word Guild Award, and was a finalist twice for Readers’ Favorite as well as 2nd place in RWA’s Faith Hope and Love contest.

This author’s non-fiction memoir Finding Sarah Finding Me is the true-life story that started this award-winning career in Christian fiction and non-fiction. This book is a must for anyone whose life has been touched by adoption. Christine is currently writing a new fictional series set on the majestic coast of Ireland and loaded with her use of setting as a character that will sweep the reader away. Subscribe to her newsletter on her website www.christinelindsay.org

About the Book:

Seattle Debutante Sofi Andersson will do everything in her power to protect her sister who is suffering from shock over their father’s death. Charles, the family busy-body, threatens to lock Trina in a sanatorium—a whitewashed term for an insane asylum—so Sofi will rescue her little sister, even if it means running away to the Cascade Mountains with only the new gardener Neil Macpherson to protect them.

But in a cabin high in the Cascades, Sofi begins to recognize that the handsome immigrant from Ireland harbors secrets of his own. Can she trust this man whose gentle manner brings such peace to her traumatized sister and such tumult to her own emotions? And can Nei, the gardener
continue to hide from Sofi that he is really Dr. Neil Galloway, a man wanted for murder by the British police? Only an act of faith and love will bridge the distance that separates lies from truth and safety.

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Spatzle Speaks: Alone (Book Review)

aloneAn exciting futuristic novel just released from Edie Melson. Alone is her debut novel although she has written non-fiction.

Bethany is a slave and is fortunate to be alive as Seekers are considered lowly for their belief in God. Her family was murdered and her planet is dying. She is about to be at the end of her rope when the planet is invaded. They claim to be there to save Seekers, but can she believe it’s true? Does she trust these people who teach her about faith and give her every comfort? When an old friend tries to help her escape she becomes even more confused.

What few understand, is that she alone has the key to save the planet’s ecosystem. Josiah saved her life at the start of the invasion and when push comes to shove she sacrifices herself to save the invaders she’s come to care for. But can they save her before it’s too late?

Edie writes with passion and her characters and the world she creates jumps off the page for the reader to embrace. This was an excellent novel and my mom really enjoyed reading it. Because of that and how cool this story is I give it five bones, because I’m a dog. That’s what I do.

Spatzle Baganz, book reviewer for the silygoos blog because that's how we roll.

Spatzle Baganz, book reviewer for the silygoos blog because that’s how we roll.

 

5 bones for blog

Writer Wednesday with Julie Cosgrove

2nd_prof_portrait_crop_267x405I’d like to welcome author and speaker, Julie Cosgrove to Writer Wednesday.
When did you decided that you would be an author? Was it something you fell into, felt called to… ? 
I fell into it, I guess. It brewed in the back of my brain ever since I excelled in creative writing in high school,  but God’s timing played a big part. I began writing devotionals and Bible studies, as well as freelance writing for websites. But slowly, the desire to be a novelist bubbled up and became an itch that needed scratching… a lot.
What’s your pet peeve? 
Rude, self-orientated people. But then, they would never know that because they are too self absorbed.

What was your most embarrassing moment as a writer? 
The time I didn’t have enough books for a vendor booth at a conference because I’d almost sold out the week before at another one, and didn’t have enough time to order any more. Now I always maintain 5 of each in inventory.
What has been your most difficult challenge as an author? 
The initial editing process, but in a good way. It stretches my brain and teaches me to be a better writer.
How do you process rejections and/or negative reviews? 
I am getting thicker skinned about it. SO far, none of my works have rated below a 3 star. I know someday the 1 star will happen, it is almost a right of passage. But ever since I let God be my P.R. manager, since I write for Him, it has been easier. I write to the best of my ability, and He decides whose lives it should touch.
What do you feel is the best success so far in your writing career? 
Being contracted multiple times with a traditional, ACFW recognized publisher. I am excited to see where God leads beyond that because He’s already given me my heart’s desire.
What would be your top three pieces of advice to newer, up and coming authors? 
1. Write! Get it out of your head. You can always go back and edit later.
2. Seek out a supportive critique group which has published authors in it. It can be on line or one that meets in person.
3. Take their advice seriously and pray about it. It may hurt at first to see your writing critiqued, but we only grow through our mistakes, not our successes and every writer has room for improvement.
As a Christian author, what would you like your legacy to be?
That I brought people closer to seeing God work in their everyday lives.
What is your current work in process?
Well…I have several.  A novel which will launch in October called Free to Forgive, which is the story of a preteen’s rescue and redemption from trafficking, two novellas which are based on 1 Corinthians 13 called Navy Blues and Greener Grasses which will be out late 2015- early 2016, and a cozy mystery series.
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The Crash of the Loose Train of Thought

Image courtesy of Tom Curtis / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of Tom Curtis / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

I have come off some busy crazy weeks just dealing with my primary job of being a mom.

It’s kind of sad that when your kids are babies we try so hard to get them to talk. To say “momma,” and “dadda” and then later to “use their words” instead of throwing a temper tantrum to get what they want.

My kids are older now. I’m tired of hearing their words.

It’s exhausting! They want to be fed all the time. This is especially true for my nine year old daughter who I suspect is hitting a growth spurt. I think she eats nonstop from the moment she gets home from school to bedtime. “Mom. I’m hungry,” are words I hear too often.

“So? You’re hungry? Didn’t I just feed you?”

“Yes, but I’m hungry again.”

Of course it is never for leftovers in the fridge. It’s always something that requires me to get up and prepare it for her.

I swear if tragedy comes upon this family, my kids will starve to death rather than get their own food, or refill their water bottles.

What kind of kids am I raising?

So why am I telling you all this?

Because life is full of what a friend of mine once called “the dailies.” The daily stresses we all have to deal with. Throw in demanding children, head lice (yeah, really), science fair projects, regenerating laundry pile and financial worries and the dailies begin to feel too much.

My pastor talked on Sunday about how we have an adversary as we seek to persevere in our faith. Ironically, as he finished his message that was when the adversary whacked me upside the head. Depression is a vicious weapon when aimed at a weary soul. The message?

“Would anyone even miss you if you weren’t here?”

Sounds a bit like “It’s a Wonderful Life,” doesn’t it? Ouch. My heart cracked as my brain sped into overdrive reciting all the things I do to use the gifts God has given me to honor and glorify him. As if my value is tied up in that?

Why would the enemy think he can use that line of attack? Because fellow believers have used it too, only with subtle changes in wording. The enemy doesn’t have to work too hard sometimes to defeat me.

So my day was spent spinning my wheels. I journaled a prayer, tried to watch a movie and couldn’t write. I repeatedly fed my kids. I gave up all attempts at productivity and sat down to read a novel. I started it the day before and struggled to set it aside. I read the last 300 pages of it. Done. Finished. LOVED it.

I wish my heart had a reset button. My computer has a reset to a previous version of a backup. If it gets corrupted, I can reset it and maybe lose some data but overcome perhaps another more damaging issue.

I prayed. I journaled. It wasn’t until I lost myself in the adventure, courage and perseverance of faith of someone else (yeah, fictional people, but still) that my heart recalibrated.

I’m still tired, but not as beaten down as I was earlier. The power of great fiction can be used by God in so many ways we often never realize. What an honor it is to be part of the business of putting stories like that into the hands, and hearts, of readers. Maybe it’s a selfish thing though, because I get the blessing of those words before the general public does.

I guess my train of thought is back on the tracks now. Whew!

 

 

I’m Probably on the FBI and TSA Watch-Lists and other Silliness

Watch lists? FBI? TSA? Well, if I wasn’t before, I probably will be now!

Funny, isn’t it? Authors search all kinds of odd things. I had one story I worked on last year where I had to search on how to defuse a bomb. No intention of ever having to do it either and at this point in time I could not tell you which wires to snip in order to not be blown up. And no, my bomb didn’t have an on/off switch like in Sherlock (The Empty Hearse episode).

Last week I had a delicious breakfast with a friend. Three hours of talking about life, writing, funerals, autopsies, tissue donation and donating bodies for science to save money on burial. You know, the practical stuff of life. Oh, and how I need to ask some questions of a funeral director I know. Won’t that be fun?

I even submitted that bomb book to the FBI for fact checking purposes. See. I’m sure I’m on a watch list with them. The gal who emailed me really liked my story too and that was a really rough draft.

I’m cracking myself up because, well, it’s all true! Now you know why this is the silygoos blog.

Writers can be irreverant but they also are artists at heart who care deeply about the characters we create out of our imaginations. We feel the depth of their pain. So why they may not be real, their words and emotions are very much real in our minds.

That includes the passions of our villans as well.

But then, you want a good story to evoke emotion. Now personally, I avoid Nicholas Sparks because I don’t like crying at the end of every novel. To be honest, I only read three, but that was enough for me to know that he was not a happily-ever-after storyteller.

So if the FBI or TSA show up at my door, please point them to my blog so they know I would never blow anyone up, shoot them, plant a bomb or any of the other horrific deaths I’ve perpetrated on my imaginary villians. Not to mention the torture I’ve perpetrated on my main characters. I don’t even own a handgun or rifle, although if I did, I’ve been told I would be a crack shot. Better than a crack pot. Or would that be cracked pot?

Writers. We’re a despicable lot. Shocking at times, but also fun and hyper-sensitive about imaginary people.

A book is a wonderful friend and escape from the trials of this world. I hope you find many to read and enjoy. Stay tuned because I keep trying to share with you the new and upcoming great authors here, as well as some who have multi-published and become faves of mine.