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Month: September 2015

Christian Fiction Friday: September 25th

Welcome to this week’s edition of Christian Fiction Friday brought to you by me and my lovely and talented co-host, Alana Terry! This is a chance for Christian authors to post short snippets from their works in progress! Easy and fun!

This week, I completed the final edits in book 8 of the Virtues and Valor series titled Valor’s Vigil. It follows the story of Leopold Schaffer, and American spy wearing a Nazi officer’s uniform. Here is a snippet from Chapter 6 (you can preorder this novella, releasing November 8th, at this link):

v8_Valor2640“Have you seen your mother lately?” Karl Schäfer asked as he poured tea. The dishes from the shared late lunch still covered the table in the suite of his hotel room. He would have them removed after their meeting. Instead of a military uniform, he wore a tailored suit and a white starched shirt.

“It’s been a few months.” Leo stretched his booted feet out and rested his head against the back of the settee. It felt good to speak English so freely. “Once I got the promotion, we felt the risk was too great. Now I get coded communiqués from time to time.”

Karl sighed as he picked up his cup and settled back in the chair. “I miss her.”

Leo smiled. “I know she misses you, too.”

His father lifted his tea cup. “I can’t imagine how she’s handling her tea without sugar.”

Thinking of the sweet leaves his mother had started putting in her tea, a gift from the Texan pilot, he smiled. “She has resources.”

With a bark of a laugh, Karl replied, “I have no doubt!” His face sobered. “I’m quite ready for this war to be over and for our lives to be given back to us, to return to normal.”

“Given back?” Leo straightened and met his father’s gaze. “Your entire marriage has been fighting a war, preparing for the next one, and fighting that one. We don’t have lives. We have missions. There is no normal for us Schäfers.”

A smirk crossed Karl’s lips. “Perhaps I’m ready for what normal could be.”

On a sigh Leo said, “Me, too.” Would there ever be a normal life for him? Did he have a wife in his future? Children? A job that didn’t require a uniform or deadly weapons? He rubbed his tired eyes. “What can I do for you, Father?”

Now it’s your turn! Just link your Christian Fiction Friday! Here are the rules:

1. Christian Fiction Friday is a blog hop where authors post short (400-ish words or less) snippets from their current works in progress (not published pieces).

2. Keep it PG-13 or lower. No swearing, no sex scenes. If you have a particularly violent scene or deal with a heavy or controversial subject matter, please include a disclaimer at the beginning of your post.


Suggestions:

1. Visit at least some of the other Christian Fiction Friday authors each week and comment on their blogs.

2. Don’t offer critiques unless the author specifically asks for it in his or her post.

3. Please include this blurb at the end of your weekly post:

Christian Fiction Friday is a weekly blog hop where authors post snippets from their current Works in Progress. It is hosted by Alana Terry and Hallee Bridgeman.
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Interview with Author Ginger Solomon

Welcome to Readers Write to Know!  I asked you, my readers, what questions they would ask their favorite authors if given the chance.  This week, I’m so happy to have Ginger Solomon, a fellow Inspy Romance contributor as my guest. I have long admired homeschooling moms who are able to write — I am the type of writer who has to be alone in the house to truly find productivity. Ginger homeschools five children, and still writes amazing romance novels. I hope you enjoy her interview as much as I did!

Tell us a little bit about yourself: Ginger Solomon is a Christian, a wife, a mother to seven, and a writer — in that order (mostly). When not homeschooling her youngest five, doing laundry or fixing dinner, she writes or reads romance of any genre, some sci-fi/fantasy, and some suspense. She’s a member of American Christian Fiction Writers, president of her local writing group, and writes regularly for three blogs. In addition to all that, she loves animals, horses especially, likes to do needlework (knitting, crocheting, and ginger solomonsometimes cross-stitch), and loves to sing in the choir at church.

Tell us about your current release:

–Blurb for Love in Mistletoe Springs:

The Mistletoe Springs animal shelter loses their grant, endangering the lives of countless stray dogs, cats, even birds and turtles. The community attempts to save the shelter by running a Christmas in July fundraiser. Groups of volunteers scramble to get all the details together while managing their personal lives. For ten people, love gets in the way.

–Blurb for Mr. Christmas and Miss Scrooge:

Mitch Silverton agreed to be in charge of decorating for the fundraiser. And he needs his boss, Margaret Holberg, to donate her family’s vast array of decorations to make the day unforgettable. BUT…

She’s not sharing. Christmas is not a holiday she wants to celebrate in July, and saving the animal shelter is not high on her list of important things to do.

He wants her to share more than the decorations. He wants her heart. Will he succeed in changing Miss Scrooge into Mrs. Christmas?

If you knew ahead of time your book would benefit only one person on their spiritual journey, would you still write it? Absolutely. I write because I can’t not write. Even if my story only ever helps my teenaged daughter, who reads all my books, then that’s enough for me. I aim to always glorify God in my life, which bleeds into my writing. While I don’t share the salvation message, I do write from a Christian worldview. Even when my characters are struggling with sin, I write them back into the fold of God byMistletoe Springs the end of the book.

Do you feel pressured to compromise your standards in order to reach a larger audience or be more successful? I think this ties in to the previous question, and my answer would be no. I don’t write for the monetary rewards. I write for the glory of One. If He’s not pleased, it doesn’t matter how many people like my book or how much money I’ve made, it was a failure. On the flipside, if He is pleased and glorified, then I’ve done what I’ve set out to do.

What is your personal, most effective way to get past writer’s block? I have a fantasy novel that I play with. I’ve never intended for it to be published. It’s something that I’ve just had fun with. I don’t have to worry about believability, grammar, consistencies, etc. I just write and enjoy the characters as they come alive to me. Amazingly, it is one of my daughter’s favorites, and she often begs for a new chapter. Maybe someday I will publish it, but that wasn’t the goal when I started writing it.

Do you have your plotline and character development already laid out before you begin writing a book, or do they develop as you write? I have a few things researched before I begin—location, weather, and moon phases. I also generate a calendar so I can make sure I keep the days straight. I’ve tried doing the plotline and character development in advance, but it backfired and I found the story stifled, so I deleted it all and started over. And even for my current work-in-progress, I tried to do a character worksheet, but as I wrote the story my heroine revealed herself differently than she did in the “interview.” I’ve decided I just need to write the story. That’s what works for me.

Do you have pre-determined length in mind when you first begin a book? With Mr. Christmas and Miss Scrooge, I had a predetermined length because it was going in the Love in Mistletoe Springs set, but otherwise I aim for 75,000-90,000 words. Typically my first draft finishes in the 65,000 word range, and with edits and extra description, I add the extra necessary words.

What is one thing that you “never saw yourself doing” and either do it now or have done?This answer is not writing related, so I hope that’s okay. Believe it or not, when I was a teenager, I didn’t think I’d ever be a mom. I didn’t really care for children, though I babysat regularly. Maybe that’s why. 😀 Then after I got married, I thought two children would be a good number. My husband wanted five. And in God’s wonderful sense of humor, he sent us seven—five boys and two girls. Ironically enough, I still don’t care for other people’s children after more than a couple of hours.

Find Ginger online: website, Inspy Romance BlogPinterest, Facebook, and Twitter.

Find Ginger’s book on Amazon.




 

 

 

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Autism and Peers

scottWhen we’re in our home and in our environment, you can almost forget that one of my children has a brain that is wired completely differently than the rest of the household. We’re in Scott’s comfort zone, with his smells and his sounds and his lighting. His brother, Jeb, younger by almost 2 years, knows how to play with him and interact with him on his level and with his rules. He seems almost normal.  I’m sorry — those of us with children on “The Spectrum” aren’t supposed to use words like “normal”. I think the term is typical — he seems almost neuro typical.

In our little bubble, parenting him is easy. We have our schedule and our family meals and know how to deal with the no sleeping that comes with the way he’s wired. It’s when we go outside of our bubble and I let him out into the real world that the challenges come.

For two years, we have sought an appointment at a children’s hospital autism clinic. It took over a year to even get on the waiting list, and we finally have an appointment for later this month. In preparation of this appointment, we had to fill out paperwork and his teacher had to fill out paperwork.

I always think I’m steeled against what I’m going to read when I get paperwork back from teachers and professionals, but sometimes, the words are actually painful.

List concerns in the classroom: “Little to no interaction with peers. Seeks one and one interaction with adults.”

Describe the child’s relationships with peers: “Extremely struggles with this. More often than not he is rude and disrespectful.”

With my normal brain neuro typical brain – I can’t fathom a child who has little to no interaction with peers. With my perspective, I tend to think that HE wants it and doesn’t know how to get it. But every parent of an autistic child out there knows that that’s probably not really true. He really doesn’t care. He has his little world. His brother is the one who knows how to play with him on his terms and following his rules and he typically doesn’t need or want anyone else.

It’s only been the last two years that Scott has been able to distinguish boys from girls. From his viewpoint, classmates were just a sea of loud noises and indistinguishable characteristics. He couldn’t even pick his sister out of a group of teenaged girls — we believe they all looked the same to him.

boysLast year, toward the end of the year, his brother had a friend come home from school with him. Scott said to me, “Why can’t I have a friend home from school with me?” I said, “Do you have a friend?” He said, “Yeah, of course.” The friend who came over is also autistic, and the two of them kind of went into separate corners and played apart. At the end of the day they both claimed that it was the best day ever and wanted to do it again.

Scott is starting to be aware of his differences, and he’s starting to not want to be different. I think this is what contributes to the “rude and disrespectful” — he realizes he should have peer relationships because everyone else has them, but has absolutely no idea how to accomplish that and really doesn’t want it. So in trying to establish that relationship, he likely gets a little manic and gets a lot rude. At the end of the day, he’s much happier not seeking out peer relationships and staying on his own.

I don’t know what to do about it. I don’t know how to smooth that out for him. I don’t even know if I should. The only thing I know to do is to continue to provide that safe haven home for him – the place where he knows how it will feel and smell and sound — a place for him to continue to develop coping skills against that great big bad world out there.
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Christian Fiction Friday: September 11th

Welcome to this week’s edition of Christian Fiction Friday brought to you by me and my lovely and talented co-host, Alana Terry! This is a chance for Christian authors to post short snippets from their works in progress! Easy and fun!

This week, I completed the final edits in a second generation Jewel Series titled Christmas Star Sapphire. It follows the story of Madeline Viscolli and Joe Westcott. Here is a snippet from Chapter 2 (you can preorder this Christmas novella, releasing November 1st, at this link):

christmas star sapphire smallShe ran her tongue over her teeth. If she felt stupid a minute ago, she set herself up to feel really dumb now. “Redheaded Westcott, from Providence, Rhode Island, living on a big boat. Are you by chance a ‘Westcott Marine’ Westcott?”

The angry flash in his eye surprised her. “How would you know that?”

Max laughed out loud. “She pinned you down, brother.”

Unsure of the source of the unnatural vehemence she heard in his tone, she held up a hand. “Just curious, honestly. My father once bought and sold a boat manufacturing company in Boston. He used it to help me see the paperwork trail of the flipping of a company like that. I remember that, in Boston anyway, they like to think they’re somewhat of a business rival. That’s all. I know there’s a couple of sons among the brothers who own Wescott Marine. Are you one of the sons?”

“Viscolli.” His eyes narrowed. “Madeline Viscolli. So that would be the same Viscolli Enterprises that saved Elohim Boats from bankruptcy?”

With a grin, she confirmed. “Yes! It was just Walters Watercraft when Papa bought it. Small world, huh?”

“Oh, yeah. Small world.” His voice lacked any detectable emotion. Then his eyes softened a little. “Elohim makes very nice boats. Sleek and elegant but sturdy and sound. Walters built solid boats but Elohim creates distinction.”

“So does Wescott, Mr. Joe Wescott.”

He cocked his head. His voice went back to monotone. “Think so? I guess. Maybe.”

While he stared at her as if examining something fascinating, a thought occurred to her. “I don’t get it. If you’re a Westcott Marine Westcott, then you should have plenty of access to transport for your boat that’s too large to get out of the water. Right?”

“You’d think so, wouldn’t you?” He asked rhetorically, his voice remaining even, his smile forced. Then he stepped back and glanced at Alana and Max. “I am going to call it a night, friends. Alana, beautiful brochures. Everyone who picked one up opened it. I watched.”

“Wonderful!” She squeezed his upper arm. “You be careful biking out there in the dark.”

With the sudden attitude change, she thought he’d ignore her as he left, but he did turn back to her. “It was a pleasure, Miss Viscolli. As always. Have a good night and I’ll see you in small groups tomorrow.”

With a frown, she looked at Alana. “What was that all about?”

The older woman stepped closer to her. “That is for him to tell you, lovely girl. I don’t gossip even on a bad day and today was a wonderful day.” She gestured at the food table. “Let me see what kind of fruit I can scare up. Baby Max is craving some watermelon! And I swear I feel like I could drink a gallon of water.”

Now it’s your turn! Just link your Christian Fiction Friday! Here are the rules:

1. Christian Fiction Friday is a blog hop where authors post short (400-ish words or less) snippets from their current works in progress (not published pieces).

2. Keep it PG-13 or lower. No swearing, no sex scenes. If you have a particularly violent scene or deal with a heavy or controversial subject matter, please include a disclaimer at the beginning of your post.


Suggestions:

1. Visit at least some of the other Christian Fiction Friday authors each week and comment on their blogs.

2. Don’t offer critiques unless the author specifically asks for it in his or her post.

3. Please include this blurb at the end of your weekly post:

Christian Fiction Friday is a weekly blog hop where authors post snippets from their current Works in Progress. It is hosted by Alana Terry and Hallee Bridgeman.
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I’m so grateful for your visit, today.
You would bless me if you added me to your Subscribe via any Reader feed reader or subscribed Subscribe via Email via email.
You can also become a fan on Become a Facebook Fan Facebook or follow me on Follow me on Twitter Twitter. I would love to see more of you!


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Interview with Author Kimberly Rose Johnson

Welcome to Readers Write to Know!  I asked you, my readers, what questions they would ask their favorite authors if given the chance.   This week, I am so happy to bring you a fellow InspyRomance contributor, Kimberly Rose Johnson. Kimberly’s new book sounds SO good — and you have a chance to win the first book in that series today! So, read on through the interview and find out what you need to do for a chance to win Island Refuge! I hope you enjoy this interview as much as I did!

Tell us a little bit about yourself. I married my college sweetheart 25 years ago this month. We have two college age boys and are entering the empty nest phase of our lives. I’ve been writing since 2006 and signed my first contract in 2012. I write sweet Christian romance. My writing career began with Harlequin’s Heartsong Presents line and since they have closed the line I am currently writing for Mountain Brook Ink.

Island Dreams CoverTell us about your current release. My current release, Island Dreams, is the second book in the Wildflower B&B Romance series. It takes place on fictional Wildflower Island in the southern Puget Sound area.

Here is the back cover blurb.

Piper Hunt arrives on Wildflower Island to develop family property into an upscale resort knowing this may be her last chance to prove her worth to her father. With grandiose ideas, she soon finds herself at odds with adjoining property owner, Chase Grayson. As she begins to appreciate the simplicity of the island, she struggles to maintain balance between her father’s wishes, preserving the natural beauty of the island, and her attraction for Chase.

Chase Grayson values the peace and quiet of Wildflower Island. That serenity is threatened when Piper Hunt discloses her plans to develop an upscale resort that not only butts up to his property, but will turn the island into a busy tourist destination. In fighting her plans, he also finds himself fighting his attraction to her. If he doesn’t stop her plans for the resort, his life will be altered forever. If he succeeds, it means he will never see her again. Can he live with either choice?

If you knew ahead of time your book would benefit only one person on their spiritual journey, would you still write it?  Absolutely! I consider writing to be a ministry. This question reminds me of the scripture where the shepherded searches for the one lost sheep. If it’s worth it to Jesus, it’s worth it to me.

With all those characters in your head screaming to get out how do you write fast enough to get it all down? LOL, my characters are very polite, but sometimes it’s really difficult to get them to tell me what they are thinking. That being said there have been days when I simply type as fast as I can and pray it will all make sense when I’m finished for the day.

How do you push past the fear of your writing being average and be bold enough to sell it to a publisher(or agent or audience if you self publish)? I’m a positive thinker, plus I listen to my critique group. They are free with their opinions, and I trust their judgment. If they say something needs work, I work at making it better. If they say they like it, I know I have a good story. That being said there have been occasions when one of my critique partners hasn’t been particularly crazy about something, but if my gut says I’m right, I listen to it. So far it hasn’t steered me wrong.

What is your personal, most effective way to get past writer’s block? I’m actually experiencing that right now. I don’t force myself to write, but rather focus on something different. In this case I chose to pull up this interview and work on it. I’m hoping my mind will chew on the story in the background. Another thing I’ve tried that works well is to read for pleasure. For some reason relaxing my brain allows my creative juices to start flowing again.

Do you have your plotline and character development already laid out before you begin writing a book, or do they develop as you write? I have the general ideaLove in Mistltoe cover laid out, but the story evolves as I write it. When I wrote for Heartsong Presents I had to write by outline. At first that was a huge challenge, but I grew to like it. The last four books I’ve written though I did not use an outline. However, I did have a fairly detailed synopsis that I followed.

Do you have pre-determined length in mind when you first begin a book? Yes. My contracts stipulate the length.

What is your preferred method of writing? (computer, pen & paper, etc.) When I am brainstorming I prefer pen and paper, but the actual writing takes place on the computer. For me it would be too much work to hand write my story out. LOL I probably wouldn’t be able to read my writing one page into the story since my hand usually cramps up when I hand write things.

Find Kimberly’s books on Amazon!


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Interview with Darlene Franklin

Welcome to Readers Write to Know!  I asked you, my readers, what questions they would ask their favorite authors if given the chance.  This week, I am so pleased to introduce you to Darlene Franklin. I loved this interview. I love that Darlene has devoted her talents to God even now, while in a nursing home. She has had an incredible writing career, and I am so blessed to have her with us today.

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Tell us a little bit about yourself: Best-selling author Darlene Franklin’s greatest claim to fame is that she writes full-time from a nursing home. She lives in Oklahoma, near her son and his family, and continues her interests in playing the piano and singing, books, good fellowship, and reality TV in addition to writing. She is an active member of Oklahoma City Christian Fiction Writers, American Christian Fiction Writers, and the Christian Authors Network. She has written over forty books and has written more than 250 devotionals. Her historical fiction ranges from the Revolutionary War to World War II, from Texas to Vermont.

Tell us about your current release:

Becky Patterson escapes the stifling life at her father’s parsonage for an exciting life as a mail-order bride. . .only to learn her potential is a part-time preacher, Jake Underwood. Her dreams of working alongside Jake in his store stall when an itinerant preacher wants to ordain him as pastor of the growing church. Will Becky accept God’s calling on her life—or will she reject Jake’s love and the future God has planned for them?

If you knew ahead of time your book would benefit only one person on their spiritual journey, would you still write it? What a difficult question! If that one person lived a hundred years in the future, then I would say yes. (I have a favorite quote: Don’t write for the 100 books who read your book, or the 10 people who’ll read it in 10 years, but for the 1 person who reads it in 100 years.) But as I get older, with little assurance of how long I will have a mind clear enough to write, the more I realize what limited time I have left to write. Would I write to benefit one—or write something else, hoping to benefit more? Because I might not have time to do both. And we’re talking about benefits and not sales. If a book will only sell one copy, then, no. I lose time and money (expenses).

How do you push past the fear of your writing being average and be bold enough to sell it to a publisher(or agent or audience if you self publish)? At first, I was too inexperienced to know how poor my writing was, and I sent it everywhere. I met with other writers face to face (before digital communications were common) and they encouraged me when I was rejected, yet again. I was encouraged by published writers and editors at conferences, people who read my work, liked it, and said it was good enough to publish. I just might not have my market right. In fact, my first book contract from such a meeting with Tracie Peterson, who represented Heartsong at the time. I also entered contests—and won a few. That encouraged me. I asked God many times (I still do) if I should quit writing—the learning curve took me twelve years before my first book contract. Every time I asked, God said, “Not yet. You need to write . . .” I wrote in obedience to God, trusting the ultimate publication to Him. Most of those early books haven’t been published, BTW. I still believe I’m a fairly average published author. I describe my situation this way: look at professional sports. Only a small handful people get to play pro football and get paid for it. And of them, we mostly only know the superstars. But every single one of them is lucky to play at all. I figure I’m one of the pool of bit players who’s privileged to write Christian fiction.

jacob'sdreamWho was your first Screen/Musical Crush? Oh, Ilya Kuryakin on The Man from U.N.C.L.E. I remember cleaning the church with my mother and my best friend, making up stories about the series. Seeing David McCallum again drew into NCIS right away. After that it was Dr. McCoy on classic Star Trek, Manolito Montoya on High Chaparral. Shall I go on?

How did you determine whether to self-publish or seek a traditional publisher? I’ve always been a huge supporter of traditional publishing, because you have to learn your craft and learn marketing to sell to a print publisher. Also, self-publishing when I started meant paying for the printing costs up front and figuring out how to market to retailers—nothing I was able to do. Having said that, I understand that there are fewer opportunities now. E-publishing is fairly easy. When Heartsong closed, I jumped into self-publishing myself. I still think many writers go into it before they’re ready.

Do you have pre-determined length in mind when you first begin a book? Oh, my, yes. That comes from writing to length for traditional publishers, both fiction and non-fiction. The length of the book determines how long I need to write it, and how I plan it. No, going to another question (plotter or pantser), I’ve converted to more of a pantser than a plotter. I still have a basic story idea, characters, an obvious ending (I do write romance, after all); and I decide the number of chapters and the basic thrust of each chapter.

Find Darlene online: her website and Facebook.

Find Darlene’s books:

 

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