Monday, October 27, 2014

Register to win Jennifer Slattery's "Beyond I Do"



We're happy to have Jennifer Slattery with us today talking about Beyond I Do. She'll be giving away an ebook copy to one lucky person. Please leave Jennifer a comment for your chance to win!


Beyond I Do:
Will seeing beyond the present unite them or tear them apart?

Marriage . . . it’s more than a happily ever after. Eternally more.

Ainsley Meadows, raised by a hedonist mother, who cycles through jobs and relationships like wrapping paper on Christmas morning, falls into a predictable and safe relationship with Richard, a self-absorbed socialite psychiatrist. But as her wedding nears, a battered woman and her child spark a long-forgotten dream and ignite a hidden passion. One that threatens to change everything, including her fiancé. To embrace God’s best and find true love, this security-seeking bride must follow God with reckless abandon and realize that marriage goes Beyond I Do.

Read a free, 36-page excerpt here:
http://issuu.com/newhopedigital/docs/beyond_i_do_sample?e=6362996/8842858


1) How long were you writing before your first publication? How many manuscripts had you written by that time? 
I’ve always enjoyed writing and was one of those students teachers often asked to shorten their papers. (Hm… my editor frequently requests I do the same to my manuscripts. Yes, I’m a tad verbose.) But I didn’t start pursuing writing as a career and calling until maybe six years ago. This might seem like a short period of time but as I’m blessed in that I’m able to devote a large chunk of my day to writing, which gave me plenty of time to learn and grow. And rewrite. Then rewrite some more.

By the time I received my first contract, I’d written a total of five novels, and they asked to see them all. They offered two additional contracts since, and hopefully, more are to come.

2) What’s your favorite setting for writing -- at home, in a coffee shop, on the front porch, sitting cross-legged on the living room couch, etc?  
If you’d asked me a few months ago, I would’ve said on the living room couch but lately I’ve been camped out in my office. This is mainly because I’m working on numerous projects at once, and my office allows me easy access to all necessary materials. Plus, it’s easier to tune out the television when I work late into the evening. 

3) Are you a morning person? A night owl?  
Um… neither? I get up early but absolutely don’t function until I’ve had a large amount of coffee and some quiet time with God. Without either, my day falls apart really quick.

4) When working on a manuscript, what do you do when you get stuck? 
This varies. Sometimes I’ll grab my smartphone with my Pandora app and go for a long walk. Other times I’ll do more research to help generate ideas. There are other times when I simply push through as I’ve found many times the block is a mental thing. 

5) Do you ever read your dialog aloud to see how it sounds? Have you ever performed
an action you want one of your characters to carry out in order to help you visualize or
describe it?  
Yes to both, much to the amusement of my neighbors.

6) How did you come up with the idea for your latest release? 
Many times plots and characters just pop into my brain and flow out. In fact, that’s usually when I know a story idea is one I should focus on—when it continues to unfold.

However, two aspects of this novel arose from very personal portions of my journey. One, the novel deals with homelessness, and I went through a period of homelessness as a teen. Second, the novel touches on surrendering to God’s call, something the heroine struggles with, as did I, when I first sensed God calling me to write. I felt certain I should be doing something much more logical. (grin)

7) Do you model characters after people you know? Are any of them (the real people, not
the characters) aware of it? 
Visually, sometimes, and there’s hints of my husband in every novel. But other than that, no.

8) Are your protagonists a lot like their creator? Or do you try to make them as unlike you as possible?  
In this novel, in some ways, mainly in terms of spiritual walk. As I referenced before, my heroine feels resistant to God’s call on her life, largely because she’s pursuing a safe and predictable life-plan. But she loves Jesus as much as I do, so I have a feeling she’ll surrender eventually. If she could slow her brain down long enough to actually hear Him!

9) Do you also write short stories, nonfiction, articles, devotionals, or other things, or are
you strictly a novelist?   
Oh, my! Um… yes. I think I dabble in a little of everything. Must. Slow. My. Brain. Down. Hm… It appears Ainsley, my heroine, and I, share yet another commonality.

10) If you felt the Holy Spirit urging you to quit writing, would you do it? 
Absolutely! I fought Him long enough when I first sensed Him calling me to write to know that’s not a place I ever want to go again. Though my salvation is secure, I know my intimacy with Him is largely dependent on my obedience, and I’ve come to cherish—deeply need—His daily abiding presence.

11) Do you read your reviews? Have you ever replied to one? Do you find they influence
your writing when you work on subsequent books?  

I do, and my editor often sends my work to early readers. Though I don’t always agree with everything, I’ve found I can learn from every review. And yes, I do think of them when I write my next novel. That doesn’t necessarily mean I’ll change anything, but I do consider all feedback.  

12) What question do you find most annoying on author interviews? 
I haven’t encountered any yet, and I kind of doubt I will as I know bloggers mean well and are truly do their best to help us authors out. Plus, I assume they know their readers better than I do, so their questions are most likely very applicable to their blog or magazine. 

Jennifer Slattery writes soul-stirring fiction for New Hope Publishers, a publishing house passionate about bringing God’s healing grace and truth to the hopeless. Her debut novel, Beyond I Do, is currently discounted in e-book format for under $3! You can find it here: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/beyond-i-do-jennifer-slattery/1118903211?ean=9781596694170 
She also writes for Crosswalk.com, Internet Café Devotions, and writes and edits for Christ to the World Ministries. When not writing, Jennifer loves helping aspiring authors grow in their craft, and has editing slots open beginning in November. Find out more here: http://wordsthatkeep.wordpress.com/
Visit with Jennifer online at JenniferSlatteryLivesOutLoud. 


Monday, October 13, 2014

Sandra Ardoin's "The Yuletide Angel"


Title: Sandra Ardoin’s The Yuletide Angel


Published by Heritage Beacon/Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas


Cover blurb:It's Christmastime in 1890s Meadowmead, and someone is venturing out at night to leave packages at the homes of the needy. Dubbed The Yuletide Angel, no one knows the identity of this mysterious benefactor. 

No one, except Hugh Barnes, a confirmed bachelor who finds himself drawn to the outwardly shy but inwardly bold Violet Madison, a young woman who risks her safety to help others. 

When Violet confesses her fear of eviction from her childhood home, Hugh longs to rescue her. His good intentions are thwarted, however, when Hugh's estranged brother shows up in town ... and in Violet's company. 

But Violet faces an even bigger threat. A phantom figure lurks in the shadows, prepared to clip the wings of The Yuletide Angel.
1) How did this story come to you?I wanted to write a Christmas novella and had a deadline. I write in the historical genre, but in pondering various ideas, I looked at both historical and contemporary stories. I played around with several plots, writing first scenes and got 1,800 words into an idea for The Yuletide Angel before moving on to a contemporary. Big mistake. I came close to finishing the contemporary and decided I didn’t like it. After struggling with it and receiving a rejection on another project, I decided to lick my wounds with another story, so I went back to this one. The words—the ideas—flowed from my mind and off my fingers, and the story sold in a matter of days. It’s amazing where God will take you when you let Him.
 

2) Tell us about the journey to get this book published.My agent had been talking to a couple of the editors at Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas about my work, so she wanted to send it to them. The LPC editor asked for a full manuscript within a few days. Two days later, I received a contract with the news they wanted to put it out this year (in five months).
 

3) Tell me three things about yourself that would surprise your readers.1. I was traipsing through the den one night and stopped to watch part of a Disney movie playing on the television. Lo and behold, taped to a school door (in the movie) was a poster with the quote “Life has rules. Play fair.” My poster! I’d sold the quote to Argus a year or two before.

2. I think I’m pretty outgoing online, but in person … not so much. If we’re ever at the same venue, I’ll be the one hugging the wall and watching the action from afar.

3. I learned the hard way that it’s not a good idea to drive over the top of a skunk when the heat’s running inside the car. **No skunks were harmed in the learning of that lesson.**
 

4) What are you working on now and what’s next for you?Besides promoting The Yuletide Angel, I’m writing a contracted follow up novel (my debut) involving the hero’s brother, a secondary character in the novella. A Reluctant Melody (working title) is scheduled to release in January 2016.
 

5) Parting comments?Thanks so much for letting me be a guest, Dawn. I hope everyone loves Hugh and Violet as much as I do. They’re such a sweet couple.  The Yuletide Angel is available on Amazon. Also, we’ll be celebrating the release of the novella with a Facebook party on the 15th. I’d love to meet everyone there.
 

6) Where can fans find you on the internet?Visit me at www.sandraardoin.com and on the Seriously Write blog. I’d love to connect with you on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Goodreads, and Pinterest. To receive updates, fun facts, and special offers, sign up for my newsletter. 

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Kelly Irvin's "A Plain Love Song"



The Story behind the story
By Kelly Irvin

I had as much fun writing A Plain Love Song as perhaps any book I’ve written. I fell in love with both heroes, I got to write the lyrics for country music songs, visit Branson, MO, with my hubby, and try my hand at playing the guitar (total failure by the way). Having said that, the premise explored in A Plain Love Song is a serious one. For those ofus who aren’t Amish, it’s hard to imagine a faith that prohibits playing music on a guitar. But most Amish see playing instruments as a way of drawing attention to self, something they never want to do. Look at the adulation we pour out upon singers and musicians whobecome celebrities pinned under a microscope by the media. Autographs and screaming teenagers and the red carpet on awards night. For the Amish this is the antithesis of what they believe in. Keep yourselves apart from the world. Be humble. Be obedient to God’s will.

“Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve of what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.”Romans 12:2 (NIV)

Adah Knepp knows what her District and her family expect of her and she wants desperately to be happy where she is. But the songs bubble out of her faster than she can write them down and she doesn’t know how to silence them. She loves her family and shethinks she’s in love with Matthew Troyer. Then she meets a cowboy musician named Jackson Hart who falls in love with her and makes it his mission to help her make her dreams come true. He teaches her to play the guitar. He shows her a life she could only dream of before. Bright lights, sequins, and music on every corner found in Branson, MO.

Adah has to make choices. Just as we all do. Her family and her faith or her dream of becoming a singer-songwriter. I know a little about how that feels. When I was younger I chose to give up a job that had me climbing the ladder to bigger, better market newspapers so I could follow my husband to a new job that would better his career. WhenI had children I chose to give up my newspaper career altogether and get into public relations in hope that the hours and pay would be better for the sake of my family. (Yes, I was naïve.) My husband and I chose to stay in a top twenty TV market rather than taking his career to the next level of a top ten market because San Antonio is a better place to raise children than any of those top ten cities. We sacrificed career dreams for family and time has shown that we made the choices right for us and our family.

Adah has to decide what she’s willing to sacrifice for her happiness and that of the peopleshe loves. That is a challenge faced across all faiths. What are you willing to give up for family and faith?

Monday, September 22, 2014

Angela Meyer's "Where Hope Starts"

Title: Where Hope Starts 
Publisher:  CrossRiver Media Group 

Cover blurb: In a city full of dreams… Karen Marino’s life is a nightmare. The New York City restaurant manager is a professiional success, but her marriage is in shambles. When her husband, Barry shows up drunk at her restaurant, she loses both. She flees The Big Apple and returns to her Midwestern home to sort through her options. But instead of answers, she finds an old boyfriend ready to rekindle romance, a family full of secrets and an angry brother bent on revenge.Still in New York, Barry fights his own demons. He knows he messed up, but is powerless to stop his rage and addictions. A fistfight on the streets of the city lands him in jail and forces him to face the possibility of a future behind bars. Karen knows holding onto her bitterness won’t repair her marriage. But how do you forgive someone when you don’t feel like it? As she searches for the answer, she uncovers the family secret that threatens to tear them all apart. Can she find her way back to the place Where Hope Starts?

1) How did this story come to you?
Although not about my family, my family did inspire the idea. My sisters and I used to talk about what had influenced us to be who we were. It was like figuring out a puzzle. I learned that no matter what, forgiveness had to be part of the equation if we were to become all that God had in mind for us. From there, I thought what if a family of siblings with a messed up childhood came together to figure out how to move beyond their past. And Where Hope Starts was born. 

2) Tell us about the journey to getting this book published.
I wrote Where Hope Starts about 3 years before I found my publisher. It went through several edits/revisions during that time. In the fall of 2011, I planned to attend HACWN writers conference, but had to cancel due to family budget. An anonymous donor provided a full scholarship for me to attend. At this conference, I met the acquisitions editor for CrossRiver Media Group and she invited me to send in my manuscript. They offered me a contract and over the next 18 months, I worked to develop my platform and prepare for my book’s release. It has been quite a ride.  

3) Tell me three things about yourself that would surprise your readers.
1) When I was in Junior High, I was in a clown troupe!
2) When I was a Senior in High School, I became a CNA (nurse assistant). 
3) I gave birth to both my kids without any medicine/pain reliever.  

4) What are you working on now and what's next for you?
The second book in the Applewood Hill series, Where Healing Starts, is due for release in 2015. I am currently working on the third book in the series, Where Joy Starts. 

5) Parting comments?
For new authors who are still working on their manuscript or looking for their first contract, get busy on your platform. It is never too early to start. And join a critique group- invaluable for improving your craft. 

6) Where can fans find you on the internet?
Website: www.angeladmeyer.com
Newsletter sign up: http://eepurl.com/Nxrsz  
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/AuthorAngelaDMeyer  
Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/angeladmeyer63/  
Google+ : https://plus.google.com/u/0/100594512535685420838/posts  
Twitter: https://twitter.com/AngelaDMeyer 
YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC6pbnp73dVUxFHTxzrp9zxQOther 
Blogs I am a regular contributor to:www.Wordsowers.com www.puttingonthenew.com 

Bio: Angela D. Meyer is the author of Where Hope Starts, a finalist in the 2014 Grace awards. Her short story, More to the Story, was a genre winner for the 2014 Family Fiction short story contest and she is a contributor to the devotional collection The Benefit Package. You can catch Angela on social media encouraging women in their faith journey and watch her video devotionals on her YouTube channel. She lives in Nebraska with her family and is active in her local Christian writers group.



Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Laura V. Hilton's "White Christmas in Webster County"



1) How long were you writing before your first publication? How many manuscripts had you written by that time?  

Have you published any of your early works since? Do you plan to?  I started writing when I was in third grade. None of those early works were published. My first two books were published by a small press. And I wouldn’t publish any more of my earlier books without rewriting them. I have learned so much about writing since I first began.

2) What’s your favorite setting for writing -- at home, in a coffee shop, on the front porch, sitting cross-legged on the living room couch, etc?  

I sit in the living room, in the hub of the family. I have five children and a husband who like access.  I would love an office – someday. My living room is cluttered with writing books, reading books, homeschool books, notes, etc.

3) Are you a morning person? A night owl?  

More of a middle of the day person.

4) When working on a manuscript, what do you do when you get stuck? 

First, I pray. Then if an immediate answer doesn’t come, I pick up a book and read. Or research something I need to know.

5) Do you ever read your dialog aloud to see how it sounds? Have you ever performed
an action you want one of your characters to carry out in order to help you visualize or
describe it?
  

I have done both. Or had someone do it for me. If I am alone (no children around) I will sometimes read dialog out loud. Usually my daughter reads over my shoulder as I write and she’ll correct me.  As for the trying something to visualize it, I wanted to see what it would be like to kick the backseat of a car in from the trunk, and if they could kick out the tail lights. We didn’t actually kick them out – but it could be done.

6) How did you come up with the idea for your latest release? 

I wanted to do an Amish Christmas story and thought it would be nice to do one around my current setting. But I’m not as talented as some authors who do many different points of views and story lines in the same book, so I picked my latest release in which the hero had a twin brother and prayed about the story and the main points behind it.

7) Do you model characters after people you know? Are any of them (the real people, not
the characters) aware of it? 

Not intentionally. Sometimes I can see certain aspects of someone in my story. But, no, I never went around to the people that I unintentionally wrote about and said “you’re my hero in my story.” Or “You’re the bad guy in my story.”

8) Are your protagonists a lot like their creator? Or do you try to make them as unlike you as possible?  

Not very many of them are like me. A couple may have one of my traits – such as being quiet or shy.  But otherwise, no. They are very different from me.

9) Do you also write short stories, nonfiction, articles, devotionals, or other things, or are
you strictly a novelist? 
  

I have written some articles and some devotionals.

10) If you felt the Holy Spirit urging you to quit writing, would you do it? 

Yes. But it would be hard. Creating and the resulting prayer and Bible study is very much a part of who I am as well as the ministry He has called me to.

11) Do you read your reviews? Have you ever replied to one? Do you find they influence
your writing when you work on subsequent books?  

I try not to read my reviews. I am at the point where people randomly choose to write one star reviews. “I downloaded it not realizing it was a Christian book.” Or “There’s no sex, so it must be a book for early readers.” I do scan the 5 or 4 star ones occasionally, for marketing blurbs to quote.

12) What question do you find most annoying on author interviews?  What is the take away you intend for the reader to get from your book? 

 I am bothered by that because what I take away from the book and what God wants a reader to take from it may not be the same thing.  


Saturday, August 23, 2014

Amber Stockton's "A Grand Design"


 Blurb:
A fun getaway on a charming island may be just what Alyssa needs…if only she can let go of her past.

Fifteen years ago, Alyssa Denham stopped taking her annual summer trip to Mackinac Island, refusing to tell anyone the reason she avoided the island she loved as a child. Now here she is, unexpectedly on the island for two weeks with her best friend, Libby, trying to keep her secret buried.
 

Alyssa’s grandmother, who lives on the island, has asked Alyssa and Libby to help piece together a friendship quilt she had started years earlier. Their quest takes them to the homes of some of her grandmother’s long-lost friends, giving Alyssa amazing insight into her grandmother’s life…and attracting the attention of the handsome Scott Whitman.
 

Will memories of her past keep Alyssa from letting go? Or will she finally learn to trust and let God heal her fractured heart?

Amber Stockton’s ”A Grand Design”

Ever since childhood when I first saw the film, Somewhere in Time, starring Jane Seymour (Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman) and Christopher Reeve (Superman), I dreamed of visiting Mackinac Island (pronounced Mak-i-naw). If you want to step back in time and experience a little of life in the past, Mackinac Island won’t disappoint.

Once the writing bug bit me, I searched for a good story to set on Mackinac. It took two years after sending the story to my agent before I received a call telling me I’d just sold the book to Abingdon’s Quilts of Love line. This made me pause for a moment. Then, I replied, “That’s great, but there isn’t any quilt in that story.” She told me she’d added the quilt in order to submit it for consideration.

Grateful, but also perplexed, I now had to rework the entire premise and add in a quilt to be the unifying theme throughout the story. And I needed to do that in less than 6 months. Not an easy task for someone with absolutely zero quilting experience. The closest I’d ever come to a quilt was purchasing one in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, when I was in college. I don’t even know how to sew much more than buttons and a straight line. Add to that having two little ones (ages 3 and 5) underfoot all day, and the time to write becomes quite a challenge. But I’ve never let that stop me before!

A sale is a sale, right? And who was I to balk at having to rework my entire story? So, I set my mind to my task, consulted a friend who I knew quilted as a hobby, and wrote the book. After several months—and writing around a major home project of replacing our carpet with hardwood floors on one whole level—the story once called Adventure Island became A Grand Design and releases August 2014 from Abingdon.

Mackinac Island is vehicle-free, and transportation is limited to bicycles, horses, or walking. Utilizing your footwear allows you to take things slowly and investigate anything that piques your interest. The setting allowed me to bridge the gap between my previous historical novels and this contemporary one without losing the readership interest in all things historical. Though I haven’t walked away from writing historical, I am exploring other options to keep the writing steady. After all, an author is only as good as his/her next book.

Laying aside all this backstory, I had a fantastic time writing this book. Exploring the island, experiencing everything right along with my characters, and seeing the island through their eyes became an adventure in and of itself. Early reviews have come back stating this is my best story yet. But I'll let you decide.  Thanks for stopping by today and taking this journey with me.

For more information, visit these sites: www.mackinacisland.org, www.mackinac.com, www.michigan.org/hot-spots/mackinac-island, and www.grandhotel.com.

Tiffany Amber Stockton has been crafting and embellishing stories since childhood. Today, she is an award-winning author and speaker who has partnered with Nerium International (stutas07.theneriumlook.com) in the anti-aging industry, helping others look younger and live better. She lives with her husband and fellow author, Stuart Vaughn Stockton, in Colorado. They have one girl and one boy, and an Aussie/retriever mix named Roxie. She has sold fourteen books so far and is represented by agent Sandra Bishop. You can also find her on Facebook (www.facebook.com/AuthorAmberStockton) and Twitter (www.twitter.com/AmberStockton) as well as her web site (www.amberstockton.com)


For your chance to win Amber's book, answer either of these questions: 1) Where would you love to go if you could have your choice of any destination? 2) When was the last time you let a fear (either big or small) keep you from enjoying something life had to offer?