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Thursday, September 22, 2022

Kimberley Woodhouse~ Part II About the Worst Advice!

 

PART II

Kimberley Woodhouse 



What is the worst writing advice you got?

 “Wait for the muse to strike so it will be brilliant.” Worst advice ever.


Between plotting, character development, dialogue, scenes which is easiest for you, and which takes a lot of effort?
 

I’m a bit of an organized-planning-freak. So plotting, developing the characters, research, and all the planning are fun for me. Writing the first draft takes the most of my effort and is my least favorite. And then I absolutely LOVE the editing phases.


What is your schedule for writing? 

I’m a full-time author. I have five full-length novels releasing in 2023 (three historicals, two romantic suspense), four full-lengths in 2024, five in 2025, etc. So, my schedule is pretty consistent. I’m always researching one book, writing the synopsis for another, writing the first draft of another, and editing another. I divide my day/week up into increments for each one. I have a planner for my planners – no joke LOL – and I have one specifically for my writing. In it, I have all my deadlines and plan out my word-count for each day and each project. Most working days, I put in about ten hours.


What do you do if you get stumped? 

Sometimes, I take a fifteen-minute walk to get everything flowing again. Sometimes, I read over my research and notes. But most times, I just keep writing. Find a different scene to start and go from there. Some of my favorite quotes are hanging in my office where I can see them over my three monitors.

“Get to work. Your work is to keep cranking the flywheel that turns the gears that spin the belt in the engine of belief that keeps you and your desk in midair.” – Annie Dillard, The Writing Life

“If you wait for inspiration to write you’re not a writer, you’re a waiter.” – Dan Poynter

“Few things are impossible to diligence and skill. Great works are performed not by strength, but perseverance.” – Samuel Johnson


Did you or do you make any sacrifices to be a writer? 

More than I can count. Especially those first years. I remember a friend of mine—who was a best-selling author—telling me that writing was an occupation where you put in all the work years ahead of time and hoped for the reward about ten years down the road. Makes me laugh to think about it, but there is some truth to that. Right now, I sacrifice a lot of other things (i.e., say “no”) so that I have the time to write (again, it’s my full-time job). But I wouldn’t trade it – I love it.


Did you choose your genre, or did it choose you? 

Hmmmm. I would have to say both. 😊


What is the best way you found to market your book? 

Word of mouth is still the best. Readers are the best. When they get a hold of your book, read it, and then tell people about it? Makes my heart sing.

Did you actively build a network of readers and if so, how? 

I do. My website is a great place for people to find me and sign up for my newsletter and blog. Then on social media, I do my best to stay active and get to know readers there. The biggest thing I want people to know is that I’m just an ordinary, normal person. I want to be real. And my hope is that they feel comfortable being real there with me.

Are you on the Social Media Highway and if so, do you schedule times to post? 

I am! Although I rarely schedule things unless it’s something planned coming up. Most of the time, I like it to be organic and random so I can simply connect with people. My VA makes graphics and things for me, but I still do all my own social media because I want it to come across authentic.


What advice would you like to give new authors that would help them? 

Study the craft. The publishing business isn’t fast. And it shouldn’t be. Take your time. Be patient. Learn all you can and keep on learning—no matter how many books you’ve written! Don’t try to put something out there before it’s ready in the beginning. Be disciplined and diligent in your writing. Persevere. And one more time… be patient. Keep writing!



Kimberley Woodhouse is an award-winning, bestselling author of more than thirty fiction and nonfiction books including THE HEART OF ALASKA series and THE TREASURES OF NOME series.

Kim and her incredible husband of thirty-plus years have two adult children. She loves the gift of story and is passionate about music and Bible study. 

Kimberley Woodhouse has won multiple awards for her
historical novels, which are filled with adventure and romance.
In A Gem of Truth, book two in the SECRETS OF THE CANYON series, Woodhouse plunges readers deep into the recesses of the Grand Canyon in search of a legendary treasure. Themes of honesty, love, and one’s worth regardless of their past are intricately woven together in this captivating historical narrative.

You can connect with Kimberley at
kimberleywoodhouse.com.

Wednesday, September 21, 2022

Kimberley Woodhouse Talks With Suite T About A Gem of Truth

Kimberley Woodhouse


When did you start writing? 


I started writing actively when my son was a baby—more than twenty-seven years ago. As a trained/professional musician—but at home with my young baby—I had all this “creative juice” flowing that I poured out onto the page in story form. I’d always loved to read and my English professor in college had even told me I was an amazing storyteller, but I didn’t take it to heart until years later after my son was born. I kept it hidden for a while, because it was just a creative outlet at the time. But then one of my friends found manuscripts I’d written and challenged me to do something about it.  

 

Who were/are two of your favorite authors?


Tracie Peterson and Colleen Coble were favorites way back before I started writing and they are still at the top of my list. They both have also poured so much into me over the years as mentors.

 

 How do you feel they influenced you?


They helped me find my voice and encouraged me to write for publication.

 

What point in your writing career did you feel like you had gone from amateur to pro?


I was excited about the possibility of being a professional when I signed with my first agent, but it wasn’t until after my first book released that I realized I was an actual author. Now, after more than thirty books, there are days I still feel like a newbie because I feel like I’m just getting started and my hope is to always improve my craft and learn more.

 

What do you look for in choosing a setting for your book?


Fascinating history or something unique about the location. There are so many different things that inspire me for settings. The people that lived there, events, and yes, the visual aspects often draw me in to write about them. When I teach at writer’s conferences, I always say that the setting needs to be strong enough to be another character.


What steps are involved in research for your book? 

Such a great question! I do months of research for each book. I go to the location, visit museums, libraries, historical societies, and talk to the people who know the most about the area and its history. And I read five to ten books (at least) on the subject matter/location. One step is to find a few people that are experts that I can email and speak with via phone. They are invaluable. 


In writing your new book, what do you feel makes it stand out?


A Gem of Truth is a unique story as it’s set at the Grand Canyon at the El Tovar Hotel. The hero is a jeweler, and the heroine is a Harvey Girl. The story also involves a legend (fictional) that goes back to when the Spanish explorers really did come to the Grand Canyon in 1540 as they were looking for the Cities of Gold. There’s suspense, romance, and what I think is a fun setting.


In your new book, what would you like the reader to walk away with? 


A sense of belonging, acceptance, and love. The thrill of the adventure and a passion for the amazing history of our country.


What is the best writing advice you have received so far? 


To make it a discipline to write. As creatives, we authors can easily get distracted or want to wait for inspiration to strike. But in the very beginning, I was given the advice to write, write, write, write, write. A little every day. Making it a discipline and a habit to focus the creative energy into the story.




Continues tomorrow: See what the worst advice was Kimberly received.



Tuesday, September 20, 2022

Can We Rewrite Our Own History?


Randy Ruiz

Award-winning San Antonio author Rudy Ruiz will release his latest book, “Valley of Shadows,” on Sept. 20 with Blackstone Publishing, just in time for Hispanic Heritage Month. The novel pays tribute to his family’s cultural background and puts a soul-stirring Latinx spin on three classic American genres: Western, Southern gothic and horror.

Rudy Ruiz, the son and grandson
of Mexican immigrants, was raised around ranches and horses, reared on tales of the Old West and the Mexican Revolution, but then he moved on to Harvard and success as an award-winning author of literary fiction.

Now he brings his brand of polished storytelling, cultural immersion and magical realism to a visionary novel that explores and upends classic American genres: Western, Southern Gothic and Horror.


The results are pioneering, poignant and powerful. The novel, “Valley of Shadows,” will be released by Blackstone Publishing on Sept. 20, 2022, just in time for Hispanic Heritage Month.


Steeped in heritage, “Valley of Shadows” shifts back and forth through time, kicking off in West Texas in 1883, but slowly revealing its protagonist’s past in sections dating back to the mid-1800’s, when the Rio Grande became the new border between the U.S. and Mexico, and the 1860’s, when Mexico battled the French Imperial invasion. The hero of the story is Solitario Cisneros, a former Mexican lawman who lives up to his solitary name. He lost his wife, his family, even his country when the river shifted course. He has resigned himself to a life of solitary regret, communing with spirits and whispering to horses. But a gruesome series of macabre murders and abductions, along with the friendship of an unlikely ally, present him with an unexpected second chance at life, or death.


Through its intimate story, and the perspectives of its lead characters, which include newly minted Mexican-Americans, Anglo settlers, and Mescalero Apaches who had long before called West Texas home, “Valley of Shadows” sheds light on the dark past of injustice, isolation, and suffering along the U.S.-Mexico border. Through luminous prose and soul-searching reflections, Rudy Ruiz transports readers to a distant time and a remote place where the immortal forces of good and evil dance amidst the shadows of magic and mountains.


As readers follow Solitario and his Mexican-Apache friend Onawa into the desert, they join them in facing haunting questions about the human condition that are as relevant today as they were back then: Can we rewrite our own history and shape our own future? What does it mean to belong to a place, or for a place to belong to a people? And, as lonely and defeated as we might feel, are we ever truly alone?

Friday, September 16, 2022

A Peek At DiAnn Mills -Concrete Evidence-Video and Book Sample

DiAnn Mills




Join DiAnn Mills as she presents a peak at her newest book which releases in October, 
Concrete Evidence

Below you will also find videos and a book sample for your reading pleasure.






A FAULTY CONSTRUCTION JOB
THE DISCOVERY OF A DEAD BODY
A SINISTER PLOT

As they search for answers, Avery Elliott and FBI Special Agent Marc Wilkins must decide if they can trust each other or if trust is the most dangerous choice they can make.


VIEW BOOK SAMPLE




Barnes and Noble , Google Play , GoodReads


Christian Book , iBooks


 https://diannmills.com/books/concrete-evidence/



About the Book: 

On the family’s Brazos River Ranch in Texas, Avery Elliott helps run her grandfather’s commercial construction business. Raised by Senator Elliott, Avery has never doubted her grandfather is the man of integrity and faith she’s always believed him to be …. until the day she finds him standing with a gun over the body of a dead man. To make matters worse, Avery’ just discovered a billing discrepancy for materials supposedly purchased for construction of the Lago de Cobre Dam.

Desperate for answers, Avery contacts FBI Special Agent Marc Wilkins for help. As Marc works to identify the dead man Avery saw, threats toward Avery create a fresh sense of urgency to pinpoint why someone wants to silence her. With a hurricane approaching the Texas coast and the structural integrity of the Lago de Cobre Dam called into question, time is running out to get to the bottom of a sinister plot that could be endangering the lives of not only Avery and her loved ones but the entire community.

Concrete Evidence is recommended for fans of the following:

Romantic Suspense
Christian Fiction
FBI Crime Solving Novel
Clean Romance

If you enjoyed this novel, you may also be interested in DiAnn’s other stand-alone reads!



Endorsements
* VERDICT Mills ... delivers another action-packed novel that offers intrigue and an adventurous ride. Recommend to fans of Dani Pettrey, Lynette Eason, and Carrie Stuart Parks. - Shondra Brown for Library Journal
Library Journal

The confident plotting keeps the mysteries coming, and red herrings will have readers guessing the culprit through to the satisfying conclusion. Fans of Colleen Coble and Susan Sleeman will savor this thrilling standalone.
Publisher's Weekly




Bulk Ordering Link
Chapter Excerpt
Discussion Questions PDF



Be sure and go to https://diannmills.com/books/concrete-evidence/ to see the reviews.


Thursday, September 15, 2022

Is There A Possibility for a Second Chance at Romance?



Lisa H. Catmull author of . . .

An Inconvenient Grand Tour


If you love sweet contemporary and historical romances you will love 
Lisa's books. Her books have been nominated for Swoony, Rone, and Whitney awards.


This is Book 1 in her Victorian Grand Tour series.

She needs to hide. He’s tired of being overlooked. It’s going to be a long two years.

Eleanor Barrington has one rule: don’t draw attention to yourself. Her father does that far too often. She has one goal: marry a Peer with enough social status to protect her family from embarrassment. When her father decides on a last-minute Grand Tour, Eleanor finds herself spending time with the one man who cannot help her: a younger son who draws attention to himself everywhere they go. Her brother’s best friend.

As the younger son of an earl, Percy Hauxton has to fight for everything. A Grand Tour is the perfect opportunity to pursue his ambition to work for the Foreign Office. But traveling with Eleanor and her parents wasn’t part of the plan.

When circumstances draw them apart and a secret from the past threatens to unravel everything, Eleanor has to rethink her goals and decide one thing. Can she marry for love, or does she need a marriage of convenience?

Here is the newest book in that series, book 6 . . .

An Unintended Engagement

Lord Arthur Yelverton hasn’t forgotten the woman who refused his first proposal. He’s no longer the eager young puppy who fell in love with every woman in London. He’s devoted himself to his work as an ambassador in Paris.

When Lady Agatha arrives in Versailles with her friend, Mrs. Phillips, she hardly recognizes the man she once knew. He’s the complete opposite of everything she expected. Mature, thoughtful, serious, and as handsome as ever.

But her refusal to reconsider him is just as ironclad as the resentment Isabella Phillips feels for Mr. Rushworth, who spurned her years ago.

Rushworth did not dare stand up to his father and marry the woman he loved, and Isabella has never forgiven him. Now she’s widowed with a young child, burdened with the care of an estate, and she has no inclination to forgive the man who deemed her unworthy so long ago.

Is there room in the cramped hunting lodge for a second chance at romance? With a meddling Duchess busy at matchmaking, a Duke determined to help his hapless undersecretaries, a toddling baby, an oversized Great Dane and her litter of pups, and a whole host of misunderstandings, it could be a very, very long two weeks.

Sounds intriguing!


Lisa H. Catmull Bio:


She earned a Bachelor of Art in English from Dartmouth College in New Hampshire and a Master of Education in Elementary Education from Utah State University in Logan, Utah.

Lisa taught Middle School English and History for seven years before pursuing screenwriting and writing. She currently lives between a canyon and a lake in Utah with her husband, two cats, and two rambunctious children.

Wednesday, September 14, 2022

Do You Live to Write Or Do You Write to Live…



Sara M. Robinson


And does it have to be an “either/or”? How do you approach your life as a writer, and in this case, an approach to poetry? What is your mindset when you sit down to start composing?


I don’t think I live to write, but I think writing is a vital component to my living. When I observe what is going on around me, perhaps taking notes, and letting my mind and hand wander, I feel like I am inside the life I am living. My words are my portal to the outside so I can then see what I am feeling or seeing.


All poets have their reasons for writing the way that they do. Some notable poets wrote to help them deal with mental illness, such as depression. Examples are Anne Sexton, Sylvia Plath, and Robert Lowell. They belonged to a group, the Confessional poets. In their case, I could make the point that they were “writing to live.” They were encouraged to get what was inside their troubled minds out on paper so they could examine themselves and perhaps find ways to cope.


Other poets, such as Mary Oliver, wrote about the joys of nature and faith. Perhaps she lived to write about how this joy gave her life purpose. Still others, have written about horrors of war, racial divides, and social inequities. These poets of witness could be considered “bridges” between the two approaches.


We don’t have to conform or place ourselves in either category, but it is a meaningful question to ask as a way for us to understand ourselves better. What motivates us? What is provocative enough to start us to write? Does that mean we are living? Of course not. We live no matter what we write. But when we are aware of our surroundings and of our inner workings, we have hints of what may give us a reason to write. And it doesn’t have to be complicated.


One of my favorite poets is Barbara Kingsolver (Yes, that same Barbara Kingsolver). In her recent poetry book, How to Fly, she has a terrific poem, “How to Love Your Neighbor.” That poem starts off, “All of them. Not just the morning shoppers, / the man who walks his chortling dog, the couples / with strawberry children. These are the given. // …” The poem continues about how diverse our world is, and how close our world is to us. I think she wrote this poem so we could live.


Enjoy life…maybe even write about it.



Until next time…



Sara M. Robinson, founder of the Lonesome Mountain Pro(s)e Writers’ Workshop, and former Instructor of a course on Contemporary American Poets at UVA-OLLI, was poetry columnist for Southern Writers Magazine and inagural poetry editor for Virginia Literary Journal. She has served as guest lecturer at UVA’s College at Wise, Wise, VA. Her poetry has appeared in various anthologies, including We Grew Wings and Flew (2014), Scratching Against the Fabric (2015), Virginia Writer’s Club Centennial Anthology (2017), Blue Ridge Anthologies and Mizmor Anthology (2018). Journals include: Loch Raven Review, The Virginia Literary Journal, vox poetica, Jimson Weed, Whisky Advocate, and Poetica. She is poet and author of Love Always, Hobby and Jessie (2009), Two Little Girls in a Wading Pool (2012), A Cruise in Rare Waters (2013 Stones for Words (2014), Sometimes the Little Town (2016), a finalist for the Poetry Society of Virginia’s 2017 Book Award. In 2019, Needville, her poetry about effects of coal mining on SW Virginia was released and in 2020 debuted as play in Charlottesville. Her most recent publication is Simple River (2020, Cyberwit).

https://saramrobinson.com/

Tuesday, September 13, 2022

God Guides Through Every Lesson

Staci Stallings, author of . . .Little Drops of Sunshine



Staci Stallings, is a USA Today Best Selling Author. She is a stay-at-home mom with a husband, three kids and a writing addiction on the side. 

She has numerous titles for readers to choose from. Not content to stay in one genre and write it to death, Staci’s stories run the gamut from young adult to adult, from motivational and inspirational to full-out Christian and back again. Every title is a new adventure!

That’s what keeps Staci writing and you reading. 

So, sit back, grab your Kindle & something to drink, and settle in for some of the BEST stories in all of Christian Romance.

You will find her newest book, Little Drops of Sunshine a delightful read.

This is the third book in The Imagination Series. You will find it fraught with the trials and turmoil of young love. 

The Imagination Series gives Christian romance readers the emotional ride of a lifetime. 

These young adults trying to figure out life and love will have you cheering, laughing, and crying as they traverse what it means to be friends and maybe even more.

An inside peak...

Lauren Miller wants to fall in love. She has dreamed of falling in love. But watching her very best friend fall in love with the man of her dreams and then have her heart shattered into a gazillion pieces has made Lauren question if this whole love thing is even worth it. 

When Wes Conway, a guy who teases her constantly and thinks of her as not much more than a little sister, starts popping up in her life, Lauren is sure she knows what his intentions are where she’s concerned—and they are definitely not the romantic kind. But how does a girl keep her heart from falling for a guy who is so intent on protecting her and being there for her no matter what?

Wes Conway’s life on the other hand, has been no fairy tale, and finally graduating from high school hasn’t changed that. Stuck working to make ends meet while all of his friends go off to college, Wes doesn’t see his life getting any better any time soon. Then, he starts hanging out with Lauren Miller, a high school junior. Thanks to the differences in their ages, Wes knows Lauren is too young for him to even think about dating. Unfortunately, she’s cute, funny, and impossible to not want to be around. But Wes can’t fall in love with her. He just can’t…


Well, sounds like a must read for me. What about you?


Staci Stallings Bio:

Hailing from a small West Texas town, Staci Stallings never guessed what God had in store for her.

At first, all she knew was that she loved to write, and her second-grade teacher, Sister Adrian, confirmed it when she wrote on Staci’s “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer” story, “Great story! You’re going to be a writer someday!”

Maybe you had to know Sister Adrian, but she was the kind of lady the kids believed knew everything, and if Sister said it, it must be true!

It would be 10 years later that Staci would meet a second God-sent teacher, Mrs. Schulte. This teacher spent time with Staci and her writing. She won her Sophomore year, District News Writing. By Junior year, Staci won Regional in News Writing and Feature writing. Her Senior year, Staci became the 1A State Champ in Feature writing, graduated, and moved on to Texas Tech where she majored in Journalism.

After college graduation and 3 years of teaching, Staci quit to raise her family. With hours and hours and hours to herself, Staci returned to her first love–writing!

That was in 1996–before there was such a thing as Contemporary Christian Romance. At that point a decision had to be made: write what was marketable or write what was on her heart.

In February of 2012, the ebooks began to really take off thanks to the Amazon KDP Select program, and in April of 2012, Staci became a #1 Best Selling Christian Romance author on Amazon.

“It hasn’t been an easy road to get here,” Staci said, “but every lesson God has timed and chosen perfectly to get me where He always knew I should be–a stay-at-home mom, with a husband, 3 kids, and a writing addiction on the side!”

Monday, September 12, 2022

Writing Is A Team Sport

Marilyn Nutter


"May the favor of the Lord our God rest on us; establish the work of our hands for us—yes, establish the work of our hands." Psalm 90:12



My association with team sports included attending required PE classes. Choosing teams in school during recess had the foregone conclusion: I’d be among the last chosen. I was not a fast runner or star batter. And if it rained, that was a dream come true. The class played inside games like 7-Up, or better yet, we could read our favorite book.

Now that I’m a grandmother to six boys, sports are part of our family’s activities. As a spectator for their soccer and basketball games, watching them grow in their abilities and seeing how they offer encouragement to teammates, is a dream come true, too. One grandson told his mother to please “keep Nonni from yelling my name and cheering.” He knows his grandmother is all in.

But writing as a team sport? Isn’t writing a solitary activity? Yes, writers spend hours researching, writing, and editing alone. We search for social media platforms for our personal best fit. And we work hard to develop our platform and discover creativity we didn’t know we had.

We work solo, but we need and were designed for community. “One another” is used fifty-nine times in the New Testament. “One another” looks like meeting new writers over meals at conferences, taking classes, and connecting with editors and agents. Keynotes and worship inspire us spiritually. We may join genre groups on social media, but beyond that, how can we encourage “one another” to make writing a team sport? How can we engage personally and intentionally with other writers? Let’s think about:

· Commenting on blog posts or sharing them on social media. It takes seconds to copy and paste graphics and links to social media.

· Being loyal in our commitment when we sign up to be part of launch teams and do our part to share graphics and quotes to social media to promote a worthy message.

· Writing honest book reviews for several sites. Readers may not only read a summary of the book but look for other readers’ opinions. Reviews are golden for authors.

· Following authors’ pages on Facebook and Instagram.

· Offering guest post opportunities on your site.

· Being a critique partner.

· Cheering for your writing friends and celebrating their successes even when yours are long in coming.

· Encouraging others when a rejection letter comes, or self-doubt sets in.

· Finding other writers to set aside time to pray with them, for their personal needs and fulfilling our calling.

· Considering collaborating on a project.

· Subscribe. We learn about writers, new content, and style when we read newsletters.

Decades have passed since school days and my dreaded participation in team sports. We may have cheered as someone scored points, but comparison and competition were also part of the game. In relishing the team sport of writing, we cheer, but it’s not a competitive race. It’s about each of us achieving our personal best. No comparison or competition, just lifting “one another” up as they seek to fulfill God’s call and purposes.

Think about writers you know or are part of your writing group. How can you be a “one another” for them? How have you been encouraged by another writer?

"Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing." 1 Thessalonians 5:11.


I’m an ordinary woman who loves sunrises, waterfalls, and coffee on the beach. For me, a new sunrise offers hope, waterfalls show us life moves forward, and well, morning coffee with donuts on the beach is a simple gift. My decades have taken me to roles of writer, speaker, speech-language pathologist, Bible teacher, grief support facilitator, wife, mother of three, and grandmother to eight.


Friday, September 9, 2022

Jane Kirkpatrick Talking With Suite T

Jane Kirkpatrick




Bestselling and award-winning author Jane Kirkpatrick has brought the West to life in her inspiring novels based upon true events. Each tale looks at the hidden lives of women whose universal struggles, bravery, indominable spirit, and ingenuity helped form the American West. In Beneath the Bending Skies, Kirkpatrick uses her signature style to delve into the life of Mollie Sheehan, who had to forgo her father’s blessing in order to seek her happily ever after. Her life-altering decision became the catalyst for her movement to aid the Nez Perce tribe during the mid-1800s.

When did you start writing?

I wrote wretched little poems as a child, fascinated by the sounds of words and a rhythm that moved in my head. Teachers were kind throughout my educational life and encouraged me. As the director of a mental health program for several years, I learned that words had power to engage legislators and the community. But for publication, it wasn’t until I was in my forties and my husband and I moved to “rattlesnake and rock ranch,” where I began writing non-fiction books and essays and eventually my first book was published, Homestead. It was a memoir. My first novel came four years later when I was 49.

Who were/are two of your favorite authors?

Molly Gloss and Ivan Doig

Do you feel they influenced you? In what way?

They are both westerners though read world-wide. They have a distinctive rhythm in their writings that makes reading them out loud a joy. Their historial novels are authentic, carefully detailed, prosaic and emotionally engaging. When I finish reading one of their books I sigh and say, “when I grow up, I want to write like them.”

What point in your writing career did you feel like you had gone from amateur to pro? 

Did I? I still feel like an amateur. I’ve been going through my books as we are downsizing our home and find I want to hang on to all the “how to” writing books, to re-read. But I think when I was able to secure contracts for books, that felt like I was a real writer, having convinced a publisher of a great story. My only challenge then was whether or not I could write it!

What do you look for in choosing a setting for your book?

Most of my novels are based on the lives of actual historical women so they choose the setting for me. Landscape – named by Dutch painters, I’m told – is a word that looks to the interior. So the landscape a character spends time in tells me a great deal about their personality, both externally – how they deal with flooded rivers or lost crops but also how they draw strength from the majesty of a Montana mountain.

What steps if any are involved in research for your book?

Three steps: read what others have written about the character/place/time period that may have affected the character. When I find repetitions, I know I may have exhausted what others knew. If I can interview descendants, I always do! Second, search for documents (spending time in the basements of courthouses looking at old deeds, accessing specialty libraries, census records to discover who lived nearby). Third, “Go There.” I try to walk the places people walked, look at the views they had, compare family stories to each other, often discovering documents when I’ve visited small museums and even descendants. Once I found the actual 1840s marriage certificate for the woman I was writing about. It had been used as scrap paper by the Missouri legislature and an archivist, passionate about history, had permission to collect old documents and she filed them in her basement file drawers! What a find!

In writing your new book, what do you feel makes it stand out?

It’s a coming of age story of a young girl set against the backdrop of the West, Montana and California. Mollie Sheehan is faced with the conflict between honoring her loving but controlling father and being true to hers
elf.

In your new book, what would you like the reader to feel and walk away with?

I hope readers of Beneath the Bending Skies will come away with insights of how difficult it is for those wanting to be faithful, helpful children while needing to branch out and be true to their own callings, taking care of their own young families. I’d like them to cheer for this young girl, wife and mother and how she navigates the challenges of living. And just maybe, a reader might see the importance of family, friends and faith in pursuing one’s passion. That would make me happy.

What is the best writing advice you have received so far?

Don’t write for the market. Write the stories that are calling your name.

What is the worst?

This stumped me! I didn’t see anything as bad advice, just recommendations that might not suit my writing life or style. But then I remembered this: once at a writer’s conference I heard a panelist say pretty negative things about their publisher and suggest that it was an “us against them” scenario. I didn’t have a publisher yet but that was disturbing since I believe in collaboration at all levels. Thankfully, that panelist was followed by another writer who said the exact opposite, that we are a team, we writers and publishers. And that’s how I’ve always looked at it.

Between plotting, character development, dialogue, scenes which is easiest for you, and which takes a lot of effort?

Plotting is the worst! Even though I have the benefit of creating timelines of my character’s actual life trajectory, I still need to answer the questions, what did she want? What is the turning point? Where will I start the story and where might it end (unless the character choses a different path). And how to do that while keeping a reader interested and believing my version of that character’s story. Easiest is dialogue once I’m in the head of the characters.

What is your schedule for writing?

Because I had contracts for books, I always knew when they were due. And because I’ve had a book or two coming out each year, I also knew when I’d need to be free to help promote that book. So I began writing at 5:00am – 7:00 five days a week. We had a working ranch and I had a day job working on an Indian reservation during many of the books, so I focused on that work during the week. At night I could do research. Several years ago, I became a full-time writer! Then I developed this routine: write daily 8-10 hours a day from June- September. Submit book in September. Promote the book coming out in September. Begin research for the book due the next year. Work on edits and changes of work in progress. Hold events (I’m not usually writing then). Keep researching. Gear up to write again full time in June.

What do you do if you get stumped?

This rarely happens because I know people are counting on me to meet deadlines. “I can’t wait for inspiration” says a cartoon I have on my bulletin board. To prevent being stumped, I often end my work for the day in the middle of a sentence so I always have someplace to start the next day.

Did you or do you make any sacrifices to be a writer?

Time with my family.

Did you choose your genre, or did it choose you?

It chose me. I wanted to write biographies of these women I discovered. But I could find things about their husbands, brothers, fathers and sons but little about the women. A biography tells you what someone did and when they did it. But fiction allows one to consider why (motivation) they did what they did and more importantly I think, how they might have felt about it. Exploring the feelings fit in perfectly with my background as a mental health professional. It may also have chosen me because I’ve learned so much about myself with each book. Virginia Woolf wrote that “women’s history must be invented…both uncovered and made up.” I’ve allowed that to let me tell these stories as fiction.

What is the best way you found to market your book?

I don’t do such a good job at this. But I have combined my abilities as a speaker with stories of real people so I developed a career that included speaking for fundraisers, leading retreats, teaching classes around the world and using the stories to help people discover their own desires and motivations and how to live meaningful lives. Word of mouth has then brought new readers to my pages. And I’ve been privileged to meet remarkable people from around the world as a result of my speaking schedule.

Did you actively build a network of readers and if so, how?

I have a newsletter that is an inspirational piece in addition to letting readers know what’s coming, my schedule, and what’s happening in my life.

Are you on the Social Media Highway and if so, do you schedule times to post?

I am on social media and no, I’m terrible about this! I should schedule time to post. Ok, guilt now!

What advice would you like to give new authors that would help them?

Read. Read authors you aspire to be like. And then write. Write the story that is calling your name. It’s the passion for the story that sings through to a publisher. And don’t quit your day job.


Jane Kirkpatrick is the New York Times and CBA bestselling and award-winning author of 40 books, including The Healing of Natalie Curtis, Something Worth Doing, One More River to Cross, Everything She Didn’t Say, All Together in One Place, A Light in the Wilderness, The Memory Weaver, This Road We Traveled, and A Sweetness to the Soul, which won the
prestigious Wrangler Award from the Western Heritage Center. Her works have won the WILLA Literary Award, the Carol Award for Historical Fiction, and the 2016 Will Rogers Gold Medallion Award.

Jane divides her time between Central Oregon and California with her husband, Jerry, and Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, Caesar. 

Learn more at www.jkbooks.com.

Thursday, September 8, 2022

Melody Carlson Interviewing With Suite T

Melody Carlson


Award-winning author Melody Carlson has a special talent for bringing extra joy to the Christmas season. With over seven million copies sold, Carlson has charmed her way into the lives ofromance readers worldwide. She now crafts another heartwarming holiday tale about giving and forgiving and sprinkles it with just the right amount of romance in A Quilt for Christmas.


When did you start writing?

At age five. Seriously, I wrote little booklets as a child. I always wrote—journals, poetry, letters, short stories, etc. whenever I got the chance. I got serious about writing for publishing in my early thirties. Publishing came relatively soon after. That was about 300 books ago.

Who were/are two of your favorite authors?

That’s hard to answer because it can depend on my mood, time in life, etc.. Early in my writing career, I loved Rosemunde Pilcher and Maeve Binchey.

Do you feel they influenced you? In what way?

I loved how they took relatively simple stories of ordinary people (women) and expounded on them with great character development and wonderful description. I still enjoy those kinds of books.

What do you look for in choosing a setting for your book?

Something that makes me want to go there (then I can go vicariously) or a fond memory of a place I’ve been and loved. For this book, setting wasn’t as important as characterization.

What steps if any are involved in research for your book?

Because A QUILT FOR CHRISTMAS is about four women making a quilt, I had to brush up on the steps and tools. I used to make quilts (like 30 years ago) so I was a little rusty. But I live in a quilting town (Sisters Oregon) so there are plenty of resources right here

In writing your new book, what do you feel makes it stand out?

It’s the relationships of four women who were complete and diverse strangers, with some problems, who were brought together for a common goal, but it wasn’t easy getting there.

In your new book, what would you like the reader to feel and walk away with?

First of all a reminder that most people’s lives do not go smoothly (like it might appear on facebook or a Hallmark movie) and the holidays are a good time to reach out to others with grace and nonjudgment.

What is the best writing advice you have received so far?

Ironically, it’s Stephen King’s book ON WRITING because his style is so similar to mine I found it very encouraging and reassuring.

What is the worst?

Don’t give up your day job! You can’t make a living writing.

Between plotting, character development, dialogue, scenes which is easiest for you, and which takes a lot of effort?

I think character development and dialogue come pretty easily, which is probably why I am able to write screenplays too. I am not a plotter. Plotting makes me want to quit.

What do you do if you get stumped?

I don’t believe in getting stumped (AKA writer’s block) but if I do, I just try to step away and get fresh air. Or have a character walk into the room with a bawling baby or let a doorbell ring, something unexplainable to shake things up.

Did you or do you make any sacrifices to be a writer?

It’s a lonely sort of job. I have to watch out from turning into a hermit.

Did you choose your genre, or did it choose you?

I write is a lot of genres. Most recently it’s been more uplifting contemporary novels, but not limited to that.

What is the best way you found to market your book?

Readers and word of mouth and having written a lot of books for several decades.

Did you actively build a network of readers and if so, how?

Newsletters, facebook, interviews.

Are you on the Social Media Highway and if so, do you schedule times to post?

Not so much. I’ve never really had the knack. I usually feel lost out on that highway.

What advice would you like to give new authors that would help them?

First of all, read a lot in the genre you wish to write. Then just do it. Don’t let your interior editor, or anyone else, shut you down. Get your story completely done before you go back to edit. It’s lots easier to edit a finished book than a partially written one.


What are you working on now?

My 2023 Christmas novella, which is quite different. That’s all I’m saying for now. I’ve also been busily adapting some of my books into screenplays.




Melody Carlson is the award-winning author of more than 250 books with sales of more than 7.5 million, including many bestselling Christmas novellas, young adult titles, and contemporary romances.

She received a Romantic Times Career Achievement Award in the inspirational market for her many books, including Finding Alice, and her novel All Summer Long was made into a Hallmark movie. She and her husband live in central Oregon. Learn more at www.melodycarlson.com.

Wednesday, September 7, 2022

Writing as a Ministry

 

Penny Zeller


For me, writing is a ministry. A calling.

It all started when, in second grade, I wrote my own Bible story commentary of sorts for “kids.” Joseph of the Old Testament was my favorite in those days. While it would be over a decade later before I surrendered my life to Christ, God was already placing a passion in my heart to write for Him and use it as a ministry.

The creation of characters is an adventure, and I never know exactly what direction it will take, but it is one of the most exciting parts of writing a book. Faith is an integral part of a person’s character, and I endeavor to include that alongside physical description, personality quirks, hopes and dreams, and strengths and weaknesses. No matter the book, I pen faith-filled, realistic and never-preachy, tender romances full of humor.

Some characters will grow in their faith. Others will surrender their lives to Jesus for the first time. Still others will have seeds planted in their lives with the hope they someday turn to their Savior.

My goal is to weave stories where my characters will learn of love, loyalty, and God’s abundant grace and forgiveness. That said, each book is different. The faith approach and the overtness vary. But one thing is certain: my personal criteria is that every book glorifies Him and can be read by my daughters, my mom, and my grandma.



My most recent novel, Forgotten Memories, is a tender love story with a theme of new life in Christ. The key verse is 2 Corinthians 5:17, “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.”

Caleb Eliason, my lead male character, discovers this life-altering truth in the book. I will admit that as I wrote one of the scenes, and again as I read it before submitting it, I had tears in my eyes. Ask any writer and they will tell you their characters become real to them.

About Forgotten Memories:

Some memories are best forgotten…

The Wyoming Territory is rife with lawlessness and disorder, something Annie Ledbetter and her parents discover when their wagon train is robbed. Seven years later, Annie settles into her lifelong dream as a teacher in the small town of Willow Falls. When she meets handsome rancher Caleb Eliason through a humorous misunderstanding, she is quickly drawn to his kind heart and charming smile.

Former outlaw Caleb Eliason embraces his chance at a fresh start. Gone are the days of robbing stagecoaches and wagon trains. When he falls in love with the new Willow Falls teacher, he doesn’t realize they’ve met before—under much different circumstances. When his past comes to light, will it put the growing love between them at risk?

Can forgiveness and redemption heal two broken hearts or will the past keep them from sharing a future?


I’m currently working on a book that will show how God rescues us and how He works through others to fulfill His plan. That even when He at times seems absent and unaware of the predicament in which we find ourselves, He is always there. Whether the book ever sees publication rests fully in His hands.

For my Montana Skies Series, I received word that the books in the series, McKenzie in particular, had found their way into the hands of many unbelievers. It is in those times that I am given the privilege to pray for my readers that a seed might be planted, and they will desire to know more about Jesus.

I was asked recently if I would be willing to write “heartwarming or sweet romance” books with little to no faith. I was told that genre is a popular commodity. While I appreciate this alternative to the content that is so prevalent in today’s romance novels, I knew without hesitation that for me personally, this wasn’t the route I wanted to take, even if it meant sales. While some of my books are not as overt, God is still a major part of the story. To write something without Him would personally be impossible for me.

Sharing the Good News can be done in many ways. My prayer is that God would use me to share it through my books. Because in the end, there are only a few things that matter: that we made Jesus our Savior and that we spread the Gospel to the far ends of the earth, whether by the spoken or the written word.

. . . Bio

 Penny Zeller is known for her heartfelt stories of faith and her passion to impact lives for Christ through fiction. While she has had a love for writing since childhood, she began her adult writing career penning articles for national and regional publications on a wide variety of topics. Today, Penny is the author of over a dozen books. She is also a homeschool mom and a fitness instructor.

When Penny is not dreaming up new characters, she enjoys spending time with her husband and two daughters, camping, hiking, canoeing, reading, running, cycling, gardening, and playing volleyball.

She is represented by Tamela Hancock Murray of the Steve Laube Agency and loves to hear from her readers at her website www.pennyzeller.com and her blog, random thoughts from a day in the life of a wife, mom, and author, at www.pennyzeller.wordpress.com.



Tuesday, September 6, 2022

How It All Ties Together



Hallee Bridgeman

Love and Honor Series


How do the books in your new Love and Honor series tie together?

Each book revolves around one member of a Special Forces A-Team.

What type of research was required to accurately portray the characters in this branch of service?

My husband served with the 20th Special Forces Group (Airborne) for several years and deployed with them to Afghanistan. In our military community, we have several friends who are still in Special Forces units. I was able to ask questions, glean knowledge, and confirm facts with several sources who actually served or are serving in the Special Forces.

What draws you to writing military fiction?

I am an Army brat (my father was Special Forces) married to an Army brat (his father was a paratrooper). After the Gulf War, my husband got out of the military but reenlisted on September 12, 2001. He deployed to his second war within a few months of our marriage and has served in the military for almost twenty-five years. In media, it’s hard to find where the military is portrayed correctly. I wanted to write a series of books that didn’t cater to stereotype or trope but gave us a realistic view of the men and women who serve in the armed forces and their culture.

What was the inspiration behind the Love and Honor series?

I love the military life and the people in it. I love strong heroes and heroines who are truly self-sacrificing, whose love for their country and families leads them to lay down their lives to protect them.

Is there a character in this series who you particularly relate to?

I think out of all the characters, Bill Sanders is my favorite. I’ve always loved the tortured hero with a past that comes with baggage. It was fun to weave a sense of humor and Southern colloquialisms into his speech. My husband is very Southern and clever with his words. I think a lot of him leaked into Bill.

The theme of honor is present in each book in this series. Why did you choose to focus on this particular quality?

One of the definitions of honor is “adherence to what is right.” Throughout my life, I’ve been surrounded by soldiers who have served in the US Army Special Forces. In my experience, they exude honor and respect. It was a natural trait to give focus to when I was plotting and planning this series.

Are there any lessons that you hope readers can learn from the Love and Honor series?

God is love, but this is a fallen world and there are some pretty scary things going on. God has gifted some people with warrior qualities and special skills, and they’re out there every day praying for the same peace that Jesus promises us in John 16:33: “I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world” (ESV).

What are you working on next?

My husband is no longer in a Special Forces unit; he is now in a cybersecurity/cyber warfare unit. I’m plotting out a series of books that combines cyber and Special Forces and a global hunt to stop some very dangerous hackers perpetrating a devastating attack. We’re crossing paths with Israel’s Mossad, arms dealers, and deep cover agents. I’m very excited for these books.

How can readers connect with you?

Readers can find all of my contact information on my website:
https://www.halleebridgeman.com.

BOOKS:

Honor Bound (available September 2022, Revell)
Word of Honor (available October 2022, Revell)
Honor’s Refuge (available November 2022, Revell)