Tag Archive | journey

Writer Wednesday: LoRee Peery

Please welcome author LoRee Peery to Writer Wednesday!

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

Back in the mid-80s we were on I-80 in western Nebraska, driving back from vacation. I slapped a magazine on my lap and spouted, “I could write better than this.” My husband challenged, “Why don’t you?”

The Lord wouldn’t let me put that out of my head. I started with short magazine romances. So pitiful, I submitted them without rewrites. I tried different things, piled up rejections, and learned as much as I could. I didn’t get the call until going through three editors in 2009-2010. I have learned notebooks full and gathered more cyber friends than I could have ever imagined. And I can’t forget the blessings!

What’s your pet peeve?

I’m sure they’ve changed over the years. I was always good at English grammar and worked as a proofreader/editorial assistant for 20 years.

I remember someone using sense for since. The irksome it’s / its.

Transposed ending punctuation, as in quotation marks before the period.

There had to have been many, but I must have overcome the bothersomeness (made-up words are not a pet peeve).

Right now the words after, before, and when signal passive writing to me, indicating that the order is backwards. If any of my sentences start with those words, they’ve come from someone else.

What was your most embarrassing moment as a writer?

Oh, boy. I remember sending off for some kind of journal kits, those were the days before the Internet. I probably read something in a Writer’s Style Manual. Oh, it just came to me. They were called press kits. I later pictured whoever opened those requests roaring and/or shaking heads over my stupidity.

What has been your most difficult challenge as an author?

Voicing the mechanics of story. I’ve heard all the terms, and understand them. But if someone asks me to describe my character’s journey with plot pinches and turning points, I go “duh.” For a while there was psychology of character as in taking some kind of test for those made-up people and incorporating that into story. I’m sorry, but that stuff just goes over my head. I’m all for simple, though my characters meet tough real-life situations, and they somehow grow, overcome, and change. As in life, they can’t do those things without the Lord.

How do you process rejections and/or negative reviews?

It’s been a while since I received actual rejections. My White Rose Publishing editor has asked for rewrites. She didn’t care for the heroine of one of my upcoming releases, so I changed her backstory and motivation. A reader’s comment from my first Christmas story bothered me for a long time. This person didn’t like that I referenced God, yet one of the main characters worked in a bar. (She or he obviously doesn’t know that in small-town Nebraska, many restaurants are housed in the town tavern.)

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

How does a person measure success? It sure isn’t money for me, or a number of sales. I always think of the words from my publisher’s editor-in-chief. My calling as a writer is just as legitimate if I never make a dime. This call to write is a sacred invitation. A soul is a good return for my writing investment.”

I’ve had highlights. Finally, after decades of writing on the topic, I self-published the story that haunted me, based on my father’s unsolved homicide. I solved the crime in fiction. Once Touches of Time released, peace concerning the event filled my soul.

I petulantly mentioned to a writer friend that I felt left out that no other author had invited me to be part of a boxed set for release on Amazon. Within a few months, I received an invitation and couldn’t be more tickled to have been asked to take part again.

What is your current work-in-progress?

I’m waiting for a critique partner to return my Christmas Extravaganza story. I’ll edit it and submit by the end of April. Here’s what I call my 40 working words for “A Cup of Christmas Kindness”: Violet returns home. Her twelve days of kind Christmas deeds to help Heath through his grief instead churns bitterness. His daughter is intrigued by the Advent tributes, grows close to Violet, and seeks to draw the old lovers back together.

The title and setting are clear for my next story, but at this time, that’s all I know. Brainstorming will kick in soon.

Thank you, Susan, for letting me visit on Writer Wednesday.

Bio:

Nebraska country girl LoRee Peery writes fiction that hopefully appeals to adult readers who enjoy stories written from a Christian perspective, focusing on the romance. These include novels and novellas for women and men in the Contemporary, Rom

 

ance, Historical, Time Travel, and Mystery/Suspense categories. She writes of redeeming grace with a sense of place. Her Frivolities Series and the book based on her father’s unsolved homicide, Touches of Time, are available on Amazon. She is who she is by the grace of God: Christian, country girl, wife, mother, grandmother and great-, sister, friend, and author. Connect with LoRee through this Website: www.loreepeery.com

Twitter https://twitter.com/LoreePeery

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

Pelican Book Group http://tinyurl.com/kwz9enk

Amazon https://www.amazon.com/LoRee-Peery/e/B004UAGL2W/ref

Latest book release:

Repurposed     https://www.amazon.com/dp/B086J2QDQF?ref

Writer Wednesday: Barbara Britton

Please welcome author Barabar Britton to my blog. I’ve known Barbara for a few years as we attended a writing group together. She is also published by the Pelican Book Group, the publishing house I work for and publish my own work through. 

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

I had no idea that I would become an author later in life. When I was younger, no one mentioned being an author as a career choice. I enjoyed my creative writing class in high school, but the teacher never encouraged me to go further with my storytelling.

Many years later, I was teaching chapel to elementary students at my children’s school. Every week, I would create or mold curriculum to teach the Bible to my students. When I prayed for “creativity” to help me put all my lessons together, I received a prompting to write stories. Eight years later, my fourth story sold to a publisher and wouldn’t you know, it was a take-off of a Bible story.

What’s your pet peeve?

At home, my pet peeve is when people leave their dishes where they finished eating. The dishwasher might only be a step away. When I was pre-published, I avoided telling people that I was a writer because the first question that came out of their mouth was, “Are you published?” It is very difficult to be traditionally published and many readers do not understand the years of rejection it takes to receive a “Yes” from a publisher. Writers need all the encouragement they can get.

What was your most embarrassing moment as a writer?

 I don’t know if it’s embarrassing, but it sure is interesting to gauge people’s reaction when I say that I write Biblical Fiction. I’ve heard:

-my grandmother reads that.

-the sound of footsteps fleeing my table.

-isn’t that a tad redundant? (I didn’t think that was funny, but it was said by an atheist)

 What has been your most difficult challenge as an author?

Marketing consumes a lot of my author time. Authors have been delegated most of the marketing and discoverability aspects of their career. What once was done by a publisher is now done by the author. I am not a tech savvy person, so I have had a big learning curve since my first book debuted. Once you figure out a system, everything changes in the cyber world.

How do you process rejections and/or negative reviews?

Rejections are part of writing. They aren’t fun, but I amassed over 200 rejections before I sold my first manuscript. Negative reviews hurt my feelings—for an instant—and then you have to let them go. I bathe my writing in prayer and I have a Christian publisher, so I am comfortable with my stories. Not every story is for every reader. You never know what a reader is going through in their life. Sometimes a story can be too real for them to read, or it’s simply not their genre or story trope.

 What is your current work in progress?

I am working on another Bible story, but the daughters of Zelophehad have one more book to go before they claim their land. “Claiming Canaan: Milcah’s Journey” will release in April. I have a Historical debuting in June. If you liked “Me Before You” but disliked the ending, then you will like “Until June.”

Bio:

Barbara M. Britton lives in Southeast Wisconsin and loves the snow—when it accumulates under three inches. She is published in Biblical fiction and enjoys bringing little-known Bible characters to light in her stories. Barb is a member of the American Christian Fiction Writers, the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators, Romance Writers of America and Wisconsin Romance Writers of America. Barb has a nutrition degree from Baylor University but loves to dip healthy strawberries in chocolate.

Website: http://www.barbarambritton.com/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/BarbaraMBritton

Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/Barbara-M-Britton-173432342754243/

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/dashboard

Amazon Page: https://www.amazon.com/Barbara-M.-Britton/e/B01C800ADG/ref=ntt_dp_epwbk_0

 

Latest book release: “Heavenly Lights: Noah’s Journey.”

Book blurb:

Noah bat Zelophehad might have broken tradition by being able to inherit her father’s land, but her heart’s desire is to have the finest herds in all of Israel, something an orphaned and unmarried woman has never achieved.

Jeremiah ben Abishua cannot speak, nor hear. God has made his thoughts captive to his mind. But he can communicate with one shepherdess, a woman who sees his skill with animals and treats him like a man worthy of respect.

When their people disobey God and incur his wrath, Noah and Jeremiah must overcome tragedy in order to change perceptions in the tribes of Israel. Will their kinship desire to care for one another and the four-legged creatures God has placed in their care, be able to flourish in a land filled with enemies of the One True God?

God gave Noah bat Zelophehad four sisters, a way with four-legged creatures, and a strong spirit. She will need all three gifts to thrive in the Promised Land of God and find love with a special shepherd.

 

Writer Wednesday: Kristen Joy Wilks

I’m so pleased to introduce you to Kristen Joy Wilks on this Writer Wednesday! I hope you enjoy meeting her!

When did you decide you would be an author? Was it something you fell into, felt called to…?
In 2001 I was in Canada with my husband while he went to seminary. I took some Bible College classes but he knew that I loved to write and dreamed of doing so professionally. Every time we walked into Safeway, I would see a flyer for an online writer’s course …and ignore it. I didn’t want to take the risk. One day, he saw the flyer. He grabbed it, handed it to me, and said, “You should do this!” I took one less Bible class and enrolled in the writing class that quarter. I have been working on my craft and writing almost every day since then!

What’s your pet peeve?
When someone says or writes that they “felt nauseous” instead of “felt nauseated.” Because if they are feeling nauseous, it means that they are making others ill rather than feeling ill themselves!

What was your most embarrassing moment as a writer?
At a writer’s conference, I was sharing a room with three other ladies. I sleepwalk and I did warn them ahead of time. But I was quite embarrassed to find out that in the middle of the night I sat up in bed. I then said, “You promised!” in an outraged voice and punched one of the other ladies in the arm! Thankfully she was not hurt and I would never have found out about it (I was asleep) if she hadn’t been laughing about it with her husband who immediately told my husband who then proceeded to tease me about it.

What has been your most difficult challenge as an author?
It is really hard to find a way to help readers discover my stories.

How do you process rejections and/or negative reviews?
Some wild weeping, a bit of chocolate, and a sweet kiss from my handsome man! Yeah, they are not fun. But when I think about quitting, I’ll pause a moment and try to think of something else that I would rather spend my creative energy on. I never come up with anything as challenging and fulfilling as writing and so I keep plugging away.

What do you feel is the best success so far in your writing career?
In 2018 my romantic comedy, Athens Ambuscade, won first in its category in the International Digital Awards and also won best contemporary fiction in the Oregon Christian Writer’s Cascade Contest. One of the OCW judges not only gave me a fabulous score, but pulled me aside and told me personally how my crazy story encouraged her and gave her a moment of laughter on a really hard day. That was a high point for sure!

What is your current work in process?

I am writing a RomCom about a young woman who gets talked into moving a trailer full of chickens over the mountains when a little boy’s uncle leaves them behind. Of course, just as she tops the mountain pass, she swerves to miss a bear and crashes, sending chickens everywhere. She must team up with the boy’s annoying uncle to search every forest trail and chicken coop in the remote mountain area until every beloved chicken is found. The problem, chickens of the same kind tend to look alike. It is easy to mistake one for the other and she comes upon a chicken coop with 20 hens that all look like the little boy’s very favorite pet chicken. What’s a girl to do?

Bio:
Kristen Joy Wilks lives in the beautiful Cascade Mountains with her camp director husband, three fierce sons, and a large and slobbery Newfoundland dog. She has blow-dried a chicken, fought epic Nerf battles instead of washing dishes, transported a gallon bag of cooked bacon inside her purse, and discovered a smuggled gardener snake in her sons’ bubble bath. Her stories, devotionals, and articles have appeared in Nature Friend, Clubhouse, Thriving Family, Keys for Kids, The Christian Journal, Splickety, Spark, and Havok. She writes romantic comedies for Pelican Book Group, including Copenhagen Cozenage, The Volk Advent, Athens Ambuscade, Spider Gap, and Yellowstone Yondering. Kristen loves to write about the humor and Grace that can be found amidst the detritus of life. Much like the shiny quarter one member of their household swallowed and then found in the pot four days later. If God is good enough to grant us these gems, she figures that someone should be putting them to the page. Kristen can be found tucked under a tattered quilt in an overstuffed chair at 4:00am writing a wide variety of implausible tales, or at  http://www.kristenjoywilks.com . If you would rather enjoy photos of charging bison, Newfoundland dogs, and attacking squid then, by all means, visit her “What I’m Writing About” board on Pinterest https://www.pinterest.com/kristenjwilks7/what-im-writing-about/
Website: http://www.kristenjoywilks.com/
Newsletter: http://www.kristenjoywilks.com/quarterly-newsletter/
Facebook:   https://www.facebook.com/booksdogskissesandfrogs/
Pinterest:    https://www.pinterest.com/kristenjwilks7
Amazon Page: https://www.amazon.com/Kristen-Joy-Wilks/e/B016FREUPM?ref

Latest book release:
Yellowstone Yondering
When a free-spirited wildlife photographer loses her Scottish terrier in a herd of bison, she sets out to rescue her furbaby before he is devoured. But will she succeed when Yellowstone National Park is chock full of boiling, bubbling, and rampaging hazards (both mammalian and geographical) — not to mention a rule-obsessed park ranger whose many rescues thwart her efforts to find her poor pup?

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

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 Human Factor In Root Beer and Roadblocks

rootbeerandroadblocks_300The path to publishing isn’t always a smooth ride. Today Root Beer & Roadblocks finally released in ebook form. A new publisher has meant a learning curve for author and editors alike. (The print version should be available in another week).

This is not the first time I’ve had a book delayed and to be honest- the delay (or roadblock!) was at my request. I wanted extra eyes on the manuscript but that takes time. I’m grateful my publisher didn’t rush to get the book out on deadline only to find it filled with some mistakes.

Funny thing is – even with me going over this with a fine-tooth comb many times, as well as my editor, copyeditor, three proofreaders, and my publisher, none of us found the same things wrong. We all saw things differently. So there is a chance that you could pick up this book and find something wrong as well that all of us missed in spite of the multiple times it’s been evaluated.

But that’s the point, isn’t it? We’re human. Flawed. Even with software programs that can help find errors the human factor can still influence things. My hope is that if you choose to read Johnny’s story, you’ll get so caught up in the journey he takes that anything that crosses your path, will be immediately forgotten as you read on. I wanted to give you a sneak peek into the first pages of the book.

February 2014

          Johnny jogged to his car and grabbed his Bible. Fatigue weighed him down as he locked the sedan, the book tucked under his arm. Heading back toward the church, a movement caught his attention. A little boy from his Sunday school classroom escaped his mother’s grasp and bolted his way, blind to a car backing out of its spot.

       “David, stop!” Johnny bolted and managed to get behind the moving vehicle to shove the child out of the way. The rear bumper struck his own leg and knocked him to the ground.

         The car’s wheels stopped just short of running him over. Thank you, Lord, for big tank cars with huge trunks. The child cried, and a woman picked up the boy. “It’s OK, David, you’ve only scraped your palms. This nice man saved you. How many times must I tell you not to run in parking lots? You are too small for cars to see you.” She hugged the little boy tight.

             Johnny dragged his legs out from under the car and struggled to his feet, bracing himself against the trunk to catch his breath. The elderly woman, who had been behind the wheel, toddled around to him. “Are you OK? I’m sorry. I didn’t see him. You moved so fast.”

          Johnny nodded. “No one would have seen him. It was an accident.” He patted her on the shoulder before he limped across the parking lot. Pain seared through his hip and leg with every step he took. Reaching the curb, he sank down to the cement, thankful it was clear of snow.

           His cousin Niko ran out of the church and knelt by his side. “Johnny, what happened?”

          “He rescued my son from getting run over by a car that was backing out. He took the hit.” A woman wearing a stocking cap and winter coat came up behind Niko with the weepy boy in her arms rubbing his eyes.

              Johnny shrugged. “What she said.”

             “You OK? Do we need to call an ambulance?‛ Niko’s gaze bore into him. The greater unspoken question loomed.

              Teeth gritted in pain, Johnny returned his cousin’s stare. “I want to sit through worship. You’re on stage in a few minutes. Help me inside. I have an appointment with my doctor tomorrow. It can wait until then.” He motioned for Niko to help him rise, and he did. The older woman came up to him and handed him a piece of paper.

                 “Here is my name, phone, and insurance information. Do you want to call the police and file a report? I wouldn’t blame you if you did.” Her arthritic, wrinkled hands were clenched tightly together as if in petition for mercy.

                “I doubt that’s necessary. Thank you, May.” He took the paper and shoved it in his shirt pocket. David’s mom passed him his Bible, which he’d dropped. The leather was brushed clean.

“Are you sure you’re OK? I’m a nurse. I could take a look.” Her face instantly turned three shades of red as she realized her inspection would involve him taking off his jeans.

               Johnny smiled and leaned forward. “In my younger days, that would have been an offer too good to pass up, but I visit my doctor tomorrow. It’ll wait.”

 

Here’s a video – instrumental of Burlap to Cashmere’s song “Dialing God.” The guy on the right is the real-life Johnny that I based this character on. Enjoy!

 

Writer Wednesday: Cathe Swanson

cathesquareToday I want to introduce you to Cathe Swanson. She’s been a valuable member of our ACFW (American Christian Fiction Writer’s) group and just released her first novella! So proud of you Cathe!

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

I was a reader as a child, and being an author was my dream job. I wanted to create stories, preferably in series like Little House in the Big Woods, Anne of Green Gables or the Nancy Drew mysteries. But I didn’t; I just found more books to read. Later, when I was homeschooling my sons, I wanted to write better stories for boys. But I didn’t; I was too busy teaching them.  I wrote devotionals for ministry events and some articles for a boys’ magazine and newsletters for different organizations, but I never wrote fiction. Then, just after my youngest son graduated, I decided to participate in NaNoWriMo. I finished the 50,000 words in about a week, and I kept going. The story fell from my fingertips. It consumed me. I thought about my characters all the time. I wrote bits and pieces on scraps of paper while I was driving (even more dangerous than texting). I wrapped up that manuscript at about 175,000 words, and then I just kept writing more books.

What’s your pet peeve?

I object to man-bashing: memes or cartoons that mock men, implying that women are smarter than men, or television shows in which the men are portrayed as bunglers and the women are more intelligence. This is not sexual equality. It is sexism.

What was your most embarrassing moment as a writer?

My best friend is married to a chief of police in a small town out west. I called her one evening with a question about whether or not a woman could be compelled to testify against her husband in a criminal court case and then more specifically if that woman could be questioned by the police during the investigation and be pressured to answer their questions. She said her husband wasn’t home right then, but she thought it was best to avoid answering any questions without a lawyer there. I thanked her for that non-answer and went back to my story. She called back ten minutes later – she had called her husband out of a city council meeting to ask him what I should do. She thought my question was about ME! Oops.

What has been your most difficult challenge as an author?

Self-discipline and avoiding the “If You Give a Mouse a Cookie” trap. I am easily distracted and have many things I enjoy doing, from gardening to cardmaking, so if I sit down to write and my character has an upcoming appointment, it reminds me that I need to check my planner for the time of my own upcoming appointment. Then I see that one of my grandchildren has a birthday coming up, so I open Amazon to do some shopping. Then I think about party ideas, which is even worse, because I open up Pinterest. Or I might decide to make her a card or go to the basement to get wrapping paper and see a box of Christmas fabric and bring that upstairs and see a piece with holly berries on it and decide to go outside and check on the boxwood tree and pick some branches to make a centerpiece… By then, my husband is home and I need to cook dinner. I love to write, but I am squirrelly.

How do you process rejections and/or negative reviews?

As a brand new author, I’ve been very blessed with encouraging reviews.  When the negative comments and reviews come, as I know they will, I might get discouraged for a while, but I usually bounce back quickly. I am pretty good at weighing the value of other people’s opinions and responding accordingly. I hope I will be humble enough to accept criticism.

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

Um… Snow Angels? Actually, I think my best success is that I have pushed myself to become more open about my work. I’ve written for years without telling anyone or letting anyone read my stories. I tend to be a very private person, almost reclusive, and you just can’t do that as a modern author.

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

There aren’t many authors newer than me, but I would tell them:

1.  Find a supportive writing community. That doesn’t mean a group of people who will applaud everything you do, but they should be encouraging you in your efforts – just as you will encourage them – and celebrating your successes. I prefer a group with a Christian worldview because that defines me and my writing. I like online communities because I can engage from home when I have time to do so, but in-real-life groups are very beneficial.

2.  Never stop learning how to be a better writer. Attend workshops and seminars, read writing craft books, find beta readers and critique partners. I am a podcast junkie. I listen to writing and book marketing podcasts while I garden, clean house, drive, or work out (okay… that’s a lie. I haven’t worked out in months.) Most importantly, read good books.

3.  Whether you eat or drink or whatever you do – including writing books – glorify God. Before we are Christian authors, we are Christians. Not everything you write has to be evangelical, but remember that everything you write is a witness.

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

Like all Christian authors, I would like to lead others to salvation, bring attention to terrible social injustices, end hunger and bring about world peace. Those are impressive goals, but I think I am better at touching people’s hearts on a more personal level. In Snow Angels, I created characters like Hub, a Vietnam veteran. Instead of just showing his sad plight and having him sitting around being homeless, I wanted the reader to see him as a regular guy with his own personality, engaging in daily life in community with others.  I like to write entertaining stories that make readers laugh and maybe cry a little, but I hope that they will also be inspired to see other people more clearly – not as stereotypes, but as individuals, as God sees them.

What is your current work in process?

I am currently working on revisions for Baggage Claim, a book I wrote for NaNoWriMo a few years ago. It’s part of the Great Lakes collection, set about two years before Snow Angels, and will introduce Phoebe. It is scheduled to be released in mid-February.

Christmas Lights novella collection is going to be FREE From Dec 15 to Dec 19. Also, we are having a great giveaway: http://christmaslightscollection.com/christmas-stocking-mash/  The actual giveaway form is here: https://promosimple.com/ps/abb4  but it doesn’t list everything in the stocking.

My new book, Baggage Claim, is available for preorder at http://amzn.to/2gwfFnW It will be released – God willing – on February 14.

christmas-lights-boxLinks to social media:

Twitter: https://twitter.com/CatheSwanson

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

Instagram: https://instagram.com/CatheSwanson

My blog: http://catheswanson.com/blog

My newsletter: http://catheswanson.com/newsletter/

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/CatheSwan…

BookBub Author Page: https://www.bookbub.com/authors/cathe-swanson

Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/catheswans…

Latest Book Release :    Christmas Lights – a novella collection

 

What’s With Your Crazy Titles?

I am often asked why the books in my Orchard Hill series are titled so oddly. It’s a great question! Figured this was a good time to answer it.

PestoandPotholes2I wrote a book and titled it Pesto & Potholes because it was a metaphor for the journey my character was going to take. The pothole was her emotional pain from an abusive past. Getting out is a rocky process but takes help. The pesto was because Tony was an Italian chef and that is a favorite sauce in our home. So a savory and sweet romance was born. The ninjas were added because someone challenged me to put them in so, I did!

SalsaandSpeedbumps copy (2)Then a Facebook friend suggested my next book be called Salsa & Speed Bumps. I figured “Why not?” Challenge accepted. I took Renata’s roommate from Pesto & Potholes and gave her a bumpy journey with an unexpected pregnancy due to date rape and the challenge ripple effects of that. Even the unfair judgments of those in her church toward her and her new boyfriend, Roberto, became speed bumps on their way to happiness. Robbie, my Hispanic hero added some spice to the story.

FetaandFreewaysCover copyThe challenge was on to continue with a food theme combined with some road-related term. Book three became Feta & Freeways. I wanted to write a story based on a band I’m a fan of, Burlap to Cashmere. I was inspired by their journey. Since the band has Greek roots, I gave that to my character, Nikolos. Burlap to Cashmere is based out in the New York area – but my guys are from Wisconsin. Freeways – they take a journey – emotionally and spiritually as the band travels around the United States.

Not all titles will continue to be ethnically related, however. Johnny is Niko’s cousin and bandmate in Feta & Freeways. Book four is Root Beer & Roadblocks, due to release February 2017. Sprecher root beer is made in Wisconsin and features in the story. While Johnny is Greek, Katie is Irish in her background. I went with a more American theme. Johnny faces several roadblocks to his happiness.

Up after that will be Pastor Dan Wink’s story. He has a Germanic heritage and since Bratwurst is a Wisconsin specialty, that book is called Bratwurst & Bridges. He becomes the bridge to help his neighbor, Skye (Irish) come to know Christ as she becomes the bridge that brings him back to life from his complicated grief.

Book number six is Donuts & Detours. No ethnicity at all. She’s a baker and he’s a mechanic/tow-truck driver and there are a few detours on their way to their happily-ever-after, including a hidden identity. But we all keep secrets, don’t we?

I hope to write Truffles & Traffic this November, because someone has begged for me to have a title with truffles in it! I guess those will have to be a part of any party or giveaway for that book! The basis of the story is based on a real-life romance I watched happen eons ago. Names and careers are changed to protect the lovebirds.

Food continues to play a role in all the stories as does the ongoing challenge to use road terms for metaphors for the journey my characters take. 

I’m open to suggestions for future titles. Since this series takes place in the northwest suburbs of Milwaukee, Wisconsin, only traffic or food that can be found there can apply.

Here are some possibilities – so feel free to weigh in on what you, as a reader, would like to see next:

Cream Puffs & Crossroads (cream puffs are a Wisconsin State Fair specialty!)

Ramen & Roadkill (I put this here as a joke but I do have some friends begging me to write this!)

Lattes and Lanes or Espresso & Expressway  or Coffee & Concrete (similar concepts but which one???)

Pickles & Pavement  (seriously, someone suggested this!) Perhaps Panini’s & Pavement?

Apples & Alleys 

Jellybeans & Junctions

Rocky Road & Round-a-bouts 

Go ahead and be creative! Remember – Salsa & Speedbumps was birthed out of a challenge to write it. As will be Truffles & Traffic. Maybe your choice will be the title of a future story too!

burlaptocashmere_cvr-hi1

Feta & Freeways is up for a Goodreads giveaway starting Tuesday, October 4th. The giveaway includes a print copy of the novel along with a compact disc of Burlap to Cashmere’s self-titled album which was the soundtrack I listened to as I wrote the book! It’s hard to get physical copies of music anymore so this was a rare find and I’m sharing it with TWO lucky winners.

Reviving Jules (Book Review)

reviving julesPeggy Trotter loves to take women beaten down by life and resurrect them and hopping into her stories to enjoy the journey is an adventure. This is no less true than with her latest contemporary inspirational romance novel, Reviving Jules.

Believing marriage was forever, Jules Summers is stunned when her’s falls apart. She runs from her church, family and town to lick her wounds in private. And she runs away from the God she believes let it happen. humiliated, depressed and alone, she struggles to survive day by day. When a little girl appears in her backyard, she has no clue that God is showing her just how little He forgets.

Rhett Carsen is the father of the little girl and strikes up a friendship with Jules. He too has been wounded by love-gone-wrong and has vowed to never remarry. But trying to work full-time and care for his precocious daughter when he needs to travel means he needs help.

He enlists the lovely Jules as a nanny since she to be a teacher and has bonded with his daughter. Her life is moorless and his need for help is so great, what could be wrong with a business relationship to ensure that?

The journey these two characters take is heartwarming. I’m not sure why Jules’s journey resonated so much with me but it did and watching her come alive to God, to love and to forgiveness in the wake of all the challenges she faced was a joy to read.