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Month: October 2015

Christian Fiction Friday: October 30th

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’ve returned to Christmas Star Sapphire, which is second generation novella from the Jewel Series. This book releases November 1st! (Which is tomorrow for many of you!) You can find it at this link.

christmas star sapphire smallJOE took the offered mug of coffee from Larry Grant. Larry pastored at Joe’s church and the two men had become fast friends despite a forty-year age difference. He enjoyed the company and the quaint little house every single time he visited, which he often did after church services or church functions.

Today, he had knocked and Larry had answered with a countenance that anticipated a door-to-door salesman. Upon seeing Joe, his expression transformed into one of initial joy then to contemplation before he greeted, “Well, happy Thanksgiving, young man of God. You missed dinner, but there’s pumpkin pie and coffee.”

They moved into the now familiar den. The two story brick house had originally been constructed in the early twentieth century with small rooms, tall ceilings, and a wraparound porch. Larry had often recruited Joe as his assistant in various home improvement projects. While maintaining many original fixtures, the entire house had been rewired, all the windows had been replaced with modern vinyl clad glass, and the plumbing had been updated, though the cast iron claw foot bathtub had survived. Larry had also contracted installation of central air conditioning, which certainly made the southern Alabama summers a bit more bearable and probably accounted for Joe’s frequent visits.

“Where were we?” Larry tossed another piece of split wood onto the fire before sitting down across from Joe at the chess board and lifting his own warm mug of coffee.

“Let me see if I can remember. Oh, yeah. It’s been your move for two weeks.” Joe leaned back and took a sip of the strong brew. From the kitchen, he could hear Larry’s wife, Ana, washing dishes.

Larry studied the board and finally moved a bishop. After about three seconds, Joe moved his knight out, putting the bishop in jeopardy. “Something’s on your mind, son,” Larry observed, his eyes studying the board. “You haven’t once mentioned the beating the Patriots handed the Titans last week.”

Joe took another sip of coffee, thought about ignoring the insight, then rejected the thought. He really needed to talk with someone, to get out of his own head. It was the reason he had come here in the first place. “There’s this girl.”

“I see.” Larry sat back and interlaced his fingers over his stomach. “Is she in some kind of trouble?”

Joe shook his head. “I don’t think so. I think I might be.”

Larry grinned. “Oh, it’s like that.” He pointed a finger at him. “You know, young man of God, there’s an old saying that goes, ‘It always starts with a woman.’”

“I don’t know if that’s in the Bible,” Joe replied with a smile.

“Paraphrasing. Read Proverbs, boy. Half that book backs up that quote. Heck, so does Genesis, come to think of it.” He settled back into his chair and Joe knew that the chess game was not going to continue tonight. “Tell me about this girl that troubles you so.”

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.
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Interview with Author Connie Pease

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 happy to have author Connie Pease as my guest. Because I can’t hear music, I am always so impressed when I meet someone who not only hears music, but writes music and musicals! I’m in awe of that talent. And, she’s a writer of books, too! Check out her release – the premise sounds absolutely fascinating and fun!

Tell us a little bit about yourself. I’m a Minnesota girl who loves the beauty of lakes and woods but could do without the cold of winter and frozen toes. I have four adult children who I love and worry about aConnie Miller Peasend am proud of and treasure. I’ve been married for 28 years to a nice guy I met in college. Writing was never on my radar. I started writing music after my fourth child was born, then started writing musicals and fiction. To be at this place in my life as a published author just goes to show the truth of the proverb that tells us how we might plan out our lives, but the Lord directs our steps.

Tell us about your current release. Mrs. Covington’s Sunday School Dropouts follows the adventures to Cathy Covington and her drop-dead gorgeous cousin, Andi, as they track down her former Sunday School students who have dropped out of church. Subplots along the way (including a town parade Cathy is unwillingly elected to organize, found money, and a small-time swindler) add to the fun.

Who was your first Screen/Musical Crush? Oh this is going to date me, but I don’t care – he’s darling! When I was a little girl, I remember watching Andy Williams on television and his voice was like happiness and goodness swirled with smooth chocolate. We lost a good one when we lost him.

What is your personal, most effective way to get past writer’s block? Ha ha. Wouldn’t it be wonderful to find something that worked and market it? You could make a bundle! When I’m stuck, I do a lot of ineffective things like getting up to get another cup of coffee, bake cookies, straighten up a room – in other words I become the procrastination princess. Honestly, the most effective thing for me is to just plow through and write horribly until I start coming up with something decent again.

covingtonWhat advice do you have for aspiring writers? Be willing to write a few books before you get one published. Those first books might be your favorites, but you will be a better writer if you put in time to write more than just one. Secondly, persist. You must keep going even when your work gets rejected. Thirdly, ask God to bless your work with His direction.

What is your preferred method of writing? I sit at the desk in front of the computer and type. I sometimes stare into space and sometimes out the window. I drink coffee with a splash of milk. Every once in a while I talk out loud. I tell myself that’s not crazy, just creative. What? Isn’t it? 🙂

Where’s the strangest place you’ve ever had a great writing idea? I’ve had a few story ideas I’ve jotted down up at the cabin. Actually, music is the thing that gets written in my head when I’m out driving or taking a walk. It’s kind of funny and great fun when it happens. The steering wheel is percussion and old receipts get lyrics written all over them. Are you worried yet about being on the same roads as I drive?

Do you write your books for your own enjoyment or more for what you think people would want to read? I write for my own enjoyment. If I didn’t, Mrs. Covington would never have shot at the squirrels in her yard with a BB gun, because a few readers didn’t like that. I wanted it left in, though, because it amused me. (And red squirrels really are very territorial and mean.) It’s only after the book has been published or the musical has been performed that I start getting nervous about what other people think.

I assume when you start a book, you pretty much have the plot laid out. Do you ever change your mind later on in the book, and go in a different direction? Your assumption of my plotting skills is flattering! I’ve yet to write any fiction in which I know where the story is going to go. In fact part of the last chapter of Mrs. Covington. . . was actually the first paragraph when I began that story.

Find Connie online: Facebook and her blog.

Find Connie’s books online: Amazon and Barnes and Noble.

 


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Christian Fiction Friday: October 16th

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’ve returned to A Harmony for Steve, which is the 4th book in the Song of Suspense Series.

cover-front_9781939603-4ah4s_640She’d woken up this morning intending to get some writing done, but after a light breakfast, she went up to her keyboard and found she had absolutely no creative energy. Knowing she still mourned Sherry’s illness and death, she poured a cup of tea and found herself sitting on the deck for hours, watching the wildlife in the woods surrounding her cabin.

As she sat, she thought about the tabloid article – which she’d bought before Franklin had even shown it to her. The speed at which that photograph found itself the headlining story kind of shocked her. The national magazine must have stopped the presses and pushed everything aside in order to get it out to the public three short days after the concert.
A slow burn of anger at the entire incident threatened to interrupt the tranquility she’d sought and found out here on the deck. What a waste of life, she thought, to destroy one’s body and mind with substances. What a waste of talent. She knew Steve Slayer was one of the most celebrated guitarists in the world at the moment, and yet minutes after playing for forty-thousand people, he could barely stand upright. What would bring a person to such a low state of self worth?

She didn’t actually take the incident personally. He likely didn’t even look at her face and maybe might not even remember it happening in the first place. At that moment, she was simply an object. Any woman, young or old, probably would have elicited the same reaction from him. Which, in her mind, made it even more unacceptable.

While she longed to face whatever anger she felt at the incident creating a false rumor designed to hurt her reputation, she didn’t feel the emotional energy to confront it. Instead, she reined it in and tried to stop thinking about it. She set her tea cup down and pulled her legs up to her chest while she watched a doe with two fawns cautiously step out into the clearing of her cabin. Not willing to move, afraid she’d scare them off, she sat very still and watched the beauty of the wild animals as they ate from a patch of wild clover.

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.
halleeLOGOspinefinal


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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Seven Christmas Novellas for Just 99 Cents!

We’re celebrating the release of HOME FOR CHRISTMAS: Seven Christmas novellas by bestselling Christian romance authors. My novella, Christmas Diamond, that was inspired by The Jewel Series and The Virtues and Valor Series is included in it!

hfc

Seven Christian romance tales that bring you Home for Christmas!

Take some time for yourself during the holiday season to enjoy these warm inspirational romances—some long, some short, to fit your busy schedule!

A Cowboy for Christmas by Debra Ullrick:

Trust is hard for Callie Gentry. When Dustin Lockwood arrives at her family’s ranch, she finds herself in grave danger of losing her heart to the cowboy she never forgot. A heartwarming Christian romance by a NYT bestselling author.

Comfort and Joy by Lynette Sowell

When her tree is selected as the Rockefeller Center Christmas tree, a short trip to the Big Apple means a second chance at love for Gwynn Michaud. Professor Theo Stellakis is trying to get through finals and the loud Christmas season, but doesn’t plan to fall for Gwynn—at his age. How can two set-in-their ways people from different worlds build a new one together? Read this sweet Christian romance to find out.

ChristmasDiamond427x640
Christmas Diamond, a Novella

Christmas Diamond by Hallee Bridgeman:

This Christian romance novella proves that Christmas is a time of miracles. Faith Green and TJ Viscolli share the common bond of a love of history and romance blossoms. But an accident during the Christmas Eve air show threatens their hope of a life spent together. Will God provide a Christmas miracle, or will the future look cold and dark like a winter night?

Christmas Grace by Rose McCauley:

Grace Buchanan needs to show herself and others some grace this Christmas before she leaves Tennessee to return to Chicago. This Christian romance set in Gatlinburg, Tennessee is a reunion story about two friends whose friendship grows into love.

A Christmas Bond by Lee Tobin McClain:

Take one handsome, jaded veteran. Add a nervous, beautiful crime victim. Throw them together to help an old woman locate the baby Jesus doll that’s missing from her lawn crèche, and they just might find the greatest gift of all: love. This inspirational story kicks off the Sacred Bond series of Christian romances.

More Than a Tiara by Valerie Comer:

Marisa Hiller’s interest in competing in Miss Snowflake Pageant for the city of Helena, Montana’s, 150th anniversary is at zip zero zilch when she discovers the official photographer is Jase Mackie. Can Jase make amends for past mistakes and offer her, not only a tiara, but a partner in her crusade to help needy children and families? Read this heartwarming inspirational novel for a wonderful dose of Christian romance when you need a lift.

Believe in Me by Autumn Macarthur:

Can a Hollywood actor, in London to play a department store Santa, convince the stressed Ms Scrooge accountant to believe that God’s gifts of love and forgiveness last all year round? Humor and a heartwarming ending make this inspirational romance novel a winner!

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Interview with Author Laura Hilton and a Giveaway!

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 author Laura Hilton. As the mother of three, who can only write when she is alone in the house, I am always SO impressed with homeschooling authors — especially homeschooling authors who produce such great content as Laura. Please read on and meet this amazing woman — and, she is giving away a copy of her latest release! Read on to see how you can enter to win.

Tell us a little bit about yourself:  Award winning author, Laura Hilton, her husband, Steve, and their five children make their home in Arkansas. She is a pastor’s wife, a stay-at-home mom and home-schools. Laura is also a breast cancer survivor. Her publishing credits include three books in the Amish of Seymour series from Whitaker House: Patchwork DreamsA Harvest of Hearts (winner of the 2012 Clash of the Titles Award in two categories), and Promised to Another. The Amish of Webster County series, Healing Love (finalist for the 2013 Christian Retail Awards). Surrendered Love and Awakened Love followed by her first Christmas novel, A White Christmas in Webster County, as well as the Amish of Jamesport series, The Snow Globe, The Postcard,  and The Birdhouse. Other credits include Swept Away from Abingdon Press’ Quilts of Love series. Laura is contracted for another three book Amish series set in the Jamesport area, with the first book, The Amish Firefighter, planned for April 2016. She has indie published a Christmas novella, Christmas Mittens. Laura is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers and a professional book reviewer.

Laura HiltonTell us about your current release:

Twenty–year–old Greta Miller’s daed has been injured in a farming accident during the summer. The supportive Amish community tries to help out, but Greta and her sister must work outside the home to make ends meet, and so Greta rents a booth at the farmers’ market. Because Greta is still in her rumspringa and free to explore the world, her family selects her to sell her homemade jams, jellies, and preserves to Englischers. Josh Yoder wants to court Greta, but years ago, he made the mistake of rejecting her during a seemingly innocent game; which resulted in him leaving the Amish. Three years later, he’s back, but Greta wants nothing to do with him. Josh struggles to fit in and rebuild relationships he destroyed. Knowing Greta’s family needs help, he steps in, hoping to win her back. When Greta admires one of his birdhouses, he gives it to her, hoping that it will open the door to more. But as their friendship begins to grow, a series of unfortunate events pull Greta away from the Amish, leaving her rejected by those she loves. Will Greta get beyond her family’s distrust and return home? Will she prove her innocence? Or will she remain outside her Amish community?

If you knew ahead of time your book would benefit only one person on their spiritual journey, would you still write it?  Yes, because that one person is important to God and He wants that person reached with His love and care.

Do you feel pressured to compromise your standards in order to reach a larger audience or be more successful? No. I’m writing for God, I gave my life to Him to be used as He saw fit. I am not going to compromise myself to become more successful. He knows who He wants to read my books and will make sure the book gets to that person.

Do you have your plotline and character development already laid out before you begin writing a book, or do they develop as you write?  In my case, they develop as I write. I might have  a basic idea (paragraph length) in mind, and know the characters names, but that is all I know. God tells me the story as I write (I pray a lot.)

Do you have pre-determined length in mind when you first begin a book?  Depends. The publisher generally gives me a maximum and minimum word count and I shoot toward that.

lhbirdhouseWhat advice do you have for aspiring writers?  If God’s given you a passion for it, He’s given you permission for it. Read a lot. Write. And don’t give up.

What is your preferred method of writing? (computer, pen & paper, etc.)  I write on the computer, edit as I write, and when I finish, the manuscript is ready to go to the publisher.

Who were some of your favorite authors as a child? (Book series, maybe?) I was raised on my grandmother’s Grace Livingstone Hill books. I devoured them. But really, I read anything back then, even cereal boxes.

I’m always intrigued by how writers get started…did you always have these books inside you and knew that you wanted to write them or did the idea just pop into your head one day and you decided to put pen to paper?  I always wanted to be a writer.  When people asked me as a child what I wanted to grow up to be, I said a wife, a mom to five kids, and a writer. They laughed, told me I’d never have five kids, and maybe I should become a librarian, because only certain types of people write (not sure about that!)  I did marry, we’ve been married almost thirty years now. We have five kids. And I write.

What do you do when you hit a roadblock and have NO idea what to write? Kill somebody. J Seriously, I pray a lot when I write. But I have been known to wander around the house muttering, “Somebody has to die.” My children assure me, “Nobody has to die, Mom.

I assume when you start a book, you pretty much have the plot laid out. Do you ever change your mind later on in the book, and go in a different direction?  No, I don’t have a plot laid out. I know nothing except a basic blurb, maybe about three sentences, about the idea. I just pray and write.

Find Laura online: book blog, personal blog, Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest.

Find Laura’s books online:

 



On Barnes & Nobile:

On Kobo:

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No More Candy for This One?

I am teaching tonight on how our family follows a Biblical diet, and was on my Hallee the Homemaker site pulling up some reference materials. I haven’t been over there in over a year, and found myself caught up in reading a few memories. Among them was this post.

Because this blog gets so much autism parenting traffic due to a few posts that have been shared in an amazing way out there in social media world, I thought I’d bring this post over here. It was published June 30, 2014.

No More Candy for This One?

emerilWe were in a museum in Washington D.C. this week, at the end of a long day. We’d started the day out standing in line for 2 hours, waiting to get a 30 second moment with Emeril Lagasse while he signed a cookbook, and it ended with this museum. Scott was overwhelmed with the day. Well, I don’t know if that’s accurate. Scott’s overwhelmed with the last 2 weeks. He’s not been home, he’s not been eating “normal to us” food, and he’s not in his secure little bubble. So, at the end of long days, we start losing him.

Meltdowns aren’t *really* a problem. They come and go, but they aren’t the norm. What Scott has been doing lately is muttering to himself and occasionally squawking, really loudly, while jumping up and bugging his eyes out. Then he goes back inside himself and starts muttering, then squawks – over and over again. What he’s doing is some scene from (I *think*) The Lego Movie, but I can’t be certain. It’s really loud, and people look at him like he’s lost his entire mind. But what it is, is HIS MIND protecting him from whatever stimulation is overwhelming at the time so that he doesn’t actually lose his mind.

So, the other day, at this museum, at the end of this long day in the midst of these long weeks, we were in a room that was wall-to-wall screens showing a beach landing in WWII full of lights and sounds and battle, and Scott did his thing. The guide in the room we were in glared at him at a moment of loud squawking and then looked at me and said, “No more candy for this one, right?”

I have to say, while I’m sure this Marine Corps vet wasn’t trying to hurt or anger me, he very much succeeded in me feeling a very sharp knee-jerk reaction (which I did not follow up on, that I just ignored while I grabbed Scott and tried to break into whatever world he’d sent himself into.) Instead of reacting or not reacting, I just sent him back to the hotel with Kaylee while Jeb and I finished the museum.

on the train in DC going back to the hotel after a day of site seeing
on the train in DC going back to the hotel after a day of site seeing

Dear world: It isn’t misbehaving. It isn’t hyperactivity. It isn’t too much candy. Or too much soda. Or too little discipline.

It’s called coping.

It’s called an autistic brain coping with this incompatible world the best way that it can.

It’s called a REALLY GOOD kid in a REALLY OVERWHELMING situation who doesn’t know what else to do but go into a world where he is in control until we get him to a place that is dark and quiet and he can plug headphones into his tablet and escape all the way away while he watches some familiar show and resets to the point that he can deal with this world some more.

I KNOW that there are people who will read these words who have no idea what it’s like – and that’s fine. Make snap judgements all you want. But I urge you to keep sarcastic comments about apparent misbehaving kids to yourself. Because, as the mother of that boy, I’m fully aware of how it appears – as much as I’m fully incapable of putting a stop to it quickly enough so that it doesn’t bother you.

I also fully know that he isn’t deaf. Nor is he stupid. He hears everything — even in the midst of a meltdown — and understands every word that’s said.

And so do I.
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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.
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