Tag Archive | Pelican Book Group

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: 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.

Spatzle Speaks: The Mystery of the Disappearing Moonlight (Book Review)

Dale McElhinney returns with a second mid-grade novel, The Mystery of the Disappearing Moonlight

When twelve-year-old Katie and her friend Molly arrive at summer camp, the last thing they expect is to be plagued by some teenage boys. The long for the fun of campfire stories, adventures and horseback rides. But when Katie sees a white horse running in the dark of night she names him Moonlight. Only no one seems to know where this horse is and everyone else doubts it even exists. With boys plaguing her and the vanity of some of her cabin-mates challenging her ability to love people right where they are, God seems to have a lot of work to do in Katie’s heart.

While searching for the elusive horse they encounter challenges and danger, and lessons on what it really means to live for God.

This is a high-spirited adventure for girls and boys alike, especially horse lovers! Dale McElhinney has outdone himself with this mystery to appeal anyone who loves a great mystery – regardless of age. I give this book five bones, because I’m a dog and I don’t have thumbs.

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

Spatzle Speaks: Lamp Unto Her Feet (Book Review)

Paula Mowery’s latest book, Lamp Unto Her Feet, released in September, and I’m a little behind in getting my reviews posted, so please forgive me. Mom’s been busy on the computer so getting my paws on the keyboard has been a challenge. But this is not a novel you want to miss out on as Ms. Mowery writes a delightful inspirational romance.

Kenzi Murrah is fighting against the expectations of her parents. She has her own dreams that don’t coincide with theirs so what’s a girl to do? Take a job in a town farther away so you can establish your own life independent of your parents’ vision for your future, even though they disagree.

What Kenzi does take with her though is a special Bible from her Nana Nita with notes and verses highlighted for her to follow. The strange thing is the verses have an eerie way of becoming extremely relevant to what is happening in her life.

Trevor Wallen is a police officer in a small Tennessee town, trying to restore a tarnished reputation. he desires to cling to God but longs for a woman to share his faith and life.

As love blooms between the two, difficulties emerge that threaten to keep them apart. Kenzie becomes reluctant to read her Bible for fear of the hard times that may threaten her faith and her new-found love. Trevor just might find his career choice a threat as well.

Together and separately the need to learn to depend on God’s word for any chance at a happily-ever-after.

This is a sweet story of the trials and travails of love and the real-life challenges that come to force us to grapple with our faith. Ms. Mowery paints those themes with beauty and grace and I will gladly give this novel five bones. Because I’m a dog and I don’t have thumbs.

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

 

Writer Wednesday: Kimberly Miller

Kimberly Miller is our featured writer today. Even though we’ve not met face to face I feel like she’s become a great friend as we have so many things in common. I’m so happy to have here as a featured writer on my blog.

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

When I was in junior high school a friend said she wrote stories. In them, she’d put herself into situations with famous musicians and actors mostly. We wrote these stories for years and would read them to each other over the phone. I wrote all the time back then- nonstop! Then, in college when my first major fell through (athletic training… what was I thinking?!), I ran back to the safety and comfort of English and writing. I’ve been writing ever since.

What’s your pet peeve?

People who don’t put the shopping carts back in the ‘return’ areas in the parking lot. And people who text and drive.

What was your most embarrassing moment as a writer?

When I first ordered business cards and the lady on the phone asked if ‘freelance’ was one word or two. I had a brain-freeze and said two, and ended up with cards that said I was a ‘free lance writer’. UGH.

What has been your most difficult challenge as an author?

Just finding the time to write! I have a busy schedule with work (as a writing and film professor) and family, so it’s often true that I don’t write on a daily basis at all. But, in the summer, I try to make up for that.

How do you process rejections and/or negative reviews?

I see if there’s something I can learn from them… as in, is there any merit to the critique? Otherwise, I try to file them away and remember why I’m writing—for God’s glory, not mine.

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

First, it was getting an agent, and now it is the release at the end of August of my first novel.

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

Keep writing, continue to learn and sharpen your writing skills, and read a lot of different kinds of books, articles, and many authors.

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

I enjoy keeping people entertained and making them laugh (or even cry when the mood/ tone of the book warrants it). I hope I’ve done this for my readers

What is your current work in process?

Currently, I’m editing a novel tentatively titled ‘Roundabout’. The piece is about a man who is trying to do right for his family but struggling with how to protect them, while still dealing with some difficult truths. It is a story about forgiveness and second chances.

Thanks for checking out Kimberly as she starts her new writing career! You can connect with her at these following links.

Links to social media:

Twitter @K_Miller_author

Facebook https://www.facebook.com/Kimberly.Miller.Author/

Blog https://kimberlymmiller.wordpress.com/

Website-  http://millerkm.weebly.com/