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Month: April 2017

Interview with Author Eva Marie Everson 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, and the authors visiting my blog answered them! This week, I am so happy to have Ann Marie Everson as my guest. I met Ann Marie at a writer’s conference, and she is so absolutely wonderful to speak to and so dynamic of a personality that I fell in love with her. Plus, I L-O-V-E World War II romances — and that’s what she’s giving away to one reader! Enjoy the interview and at the end, see how you can enter to win a copy of her latest release!

Tell us a little bit about yourself: I am first and foremost a believer in the Lord Jesus Christ. I love God so very much I can’t imagine my life without Him. I am a wife (37 years in February), a mother, and grandmother–joy on top of joy! Professionally, I’m a writer and speaker … I am the president of Word Weavers International, the director of Florida Christian Writers Conference, and I truly enjoy working with new writers as a coach and freelance editor. Friends and family are extremely important to me.

I am owned by my dog.

Tell us about your current release: Oh, I’m so excited about this book! The One True Love of Alice-Ann is my first WWII novel and one I’m extremely proud of. Allow me to share the back cover copy:

Living in rural Georgia in 1941, sixteen-year-old Alice-Ann has her heart set on her brother’s friend Mack; despite their five-year age gap, Alice-Ann knows she can make Mack see her for the woman she’ll become. But when they receive news of the attack on Pearl Harbor and Mack decides to enlist, Alice-Ann realizes she must declare her love before he leaves.

Though promising to write, Mack leaves without confirmation that her love is returned. But Alice-Ann is determined to wear the wedding dress her maiden aunt never had a chance to wear―having lost her fiancé in the Great War. As their correspondence continues over the next three years, Mack and Alice-Ann are drawn closer together. But then Mack’s letters cease altogether, leaving Alice-Ann to fear history repeating itself.

Dreading the war will leave her with a beautiful dress and no happily ever after, Alice-Ann fills her days with work and caring for her best friend’s war-torn brother, Carlton. As time passes and their friendship develops into something more, Alice-Ann wonders if she’ll ever be prepared to say good-bye to her one true love and embrace the future God has in store with a newfound love. Or will a sudden call from overseas change everything?

If you knew ahead of time your book would benefit only one person on their spiritual journey, would you still write it? Absolutely.

What do you think is lacking in Christian Fiction? Sometimes I think we are lacking complete honesty about what the Christian goes through today. We have enormous issues to face and we don’t always want to talk about that in Christian fiction. Let me give you an example: a dear, dear friend of mine came to me not too long ago and said, “My daughter came home and told us she is gay.” My friend cried. She asked me, “Do you think she’s going to hell?” I saw the desperation. My friend is a Christian. She loves the Lord. She raised her kids in the Word … “How did this happen?” she asked me.

We don’t like to talk about those things, I think.

Or about biracial relationships. Or a whole lot of other things. We’ve grown a lot in the nearly 20 years since I’ve been doing this, but I think we’ve got a ways to go.

Whats the first major news headline that you can remember and what do you remember? Ha! Well, I remember Kennedy being shot … but I laugh because recently discovered a diary from my childhood. On July 20, 1969 I wrote:

Went to the pool with Margaret. Had fun.
Man walked on the moon.

So apparently the pool with Margaret was more interesting and exciting than man walking on the moon! But I do remember watching it.

Who was your first Screen/Musical Crush? Peter Tork!

What inspired you to start writing, or did you always want to write? I always wanted to write, but I took the road to nursing instead. At almost 40 years of age (really, really close to 40!) I took a walk one day and had an idea. I went home, started writing and stopped a year later (I took breaks!). One year later I signed a contract; it became my third book.

What advice do you have for aspiring writers? Enjoy the journey!

What is your preferred method of writing? (computer, pen & paper, etc.): I character-sketch and plot out using pen and paper. I write on the computer.

Who were some of your favorite authors as a child? (Book series, maybe?) I can’t say I remember too many of the authors. I do, of course, remember reading Nancy Drew. Gosh, I loved those books! And I remember reading a book titled Renee that I absolutely loved. I read Mr. & Mrs. Bo Jo Jones by Ann Head when I was about 14 or 15, which led to my sincerest desire to be a novelist. I’d said it before I read the book, but afterward, I knew one day I’d do the same.

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? No … they just pop right in! My husband says that when we are out and I get that far-away look in my eyes, he knows I’m listening in on other’s conversations. He’s right. There are ideas popping up all over the place!

Do you write your books for your own enjoyment or more for what you think people would want to read? In all honesty, I think a little of both.

What do you do when you hit a roadblock and have NO idea what to write? Watch a classic movie.

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? I have the plot pretty much laid out, yes. But then I work very hard on the characters and allow them to tell me the fine details. Sometimes they most definitely change things up! For example, in The One True Love of Alice-Ann, I believed this one pivotal scene would go a certain way. But the character Mack wouldn’t say the words the way I wanted him to. Finally I quit writing and went to lunch. My husband said, “You’re awfully quiet.” I told him that I was having an internal struggle with my character. He just shook his head. But by the time I got home, Mack and I had come to an understanding … meaning, I let him have his way. 🙂 I really like where he took the scene!

Do you remember where you were or what you were doing when you started this story? I actually do! I was working on another project with then title popped into my head. I wrote it down because I thought … hey! I like that title! I kept working, but kept looking over at the title (totally distracting…), so I stopped and had this memory of a WWII story my older neighbors (since deceased) shared with my husband and me about his being shot down over the Pacific and her (his wife) thinking for months that he was dead. From there the story blossomed, so I stopped working on the current project and wrote out the story line. Once that was done, I was able to concentrate on what I needed to concentrate on. 🙂

Find Eva Marie online:

Find Eva Marie’s latest release online!

Eva Marie is giving away a copy of The One True Love of Alice-Ann. Here’s how you can enter to win!

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Release Day Interview with Author Tanya Stowe 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, and the authors visiting my blog answered them! Today we’re celebrating release day with my fellow Romance Writers of America’s Faith-Hope-Love author, Tanya Stowe! Tanya and I have served on the board of FHL for the last couple of years and I have loved every minute of interaction with her. I’m so happy she is visiting us on her release day. Plus – she’s giving away an ebook of the book she’s releasing today! Read on to see how you can enter to win.

Tell us a little bit about yourself: My husband and I are high school sweethearts going strong after 43 years. We have 4 children and 21 grandchildren. My husband just retired. We sold our home, bought a luxurious motorhome and hit the road to travel the U.S. I’m looking forward to this new adventure.

Tell us about your current release: My current release is called That Doggone Baby. It’s part of the latest collection in the Heart’s Have series I’ve written with 4 of my “writing sisters.” We all met when we first starting writing and we love working together so much, we’ve started another series called Love at Christmas Inn. I can see us doing this for years!

If you knew ahead of time your book would benefit only one person on their spiritual journey, would you still write it? Yes, sometimes I write my stories just for myself. The story needs to get out of me and on paper so it will leave me along! Lol.

Do you feel pressured to compromise your standards in order to reach a larger audience or be more successful? No. Not ever. I guess I’ve been blessed.

What do you think is lacking in Christian Fiction? More reality. I think Christian Fiction, romance in particular, should deal with more real-life situations that Christians face daily.

With all those characters in your head screaming to get out how do you write fast enough to get it all down? I don’t! But I have to constantly remind myself that I can’t write about life if I’m not living…and my husband is good about keeping me tethered in the real world.

Who was your first Screen/Musical Crush? Tom Select. I grew up in L.A. and when I was 16 he was all over the billboards. I said, “I’m going to marry that man.” But of course, I married a blond, blue-eyed, tall guy. That didn’t stop me from watching Magnum P.I. when it first came on. I was a big fan and continue to be. I think I like his westerns best of all though.

What is your personal, most effective way to get past writer’s block? Stop writing and find out where I went wrong. Usually if I have writer’s block I’ve made the characters do something that’s not right and my subconscious is screaming at me to fix it!

Have you always wanted to write a book? I’ve wanted to write for as long as I could remember. I wrote my first book when I was 11.

Do you have your plotline and character development already laid out before you begin writing a book, or do they develop as you write? Plotlines come to me automatically, like movies in my head…especially when I travel. Sometimes my problem is creating the right characterizations for the plot in my head. Sometimes they don’t work out and I have to change that original plot. That’s my biggest problem, learning to let go of that first idea that might or might not work.

Find Tanya online:

Blog

Website

Facebook

Pinterest

Find Tanya’s latest release:

Tanya is giving away an ebook of That Doggone Baby! Enter below!

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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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Interview with Author Andrea Grigg 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, and the authors visiting my blog answered them! This week, I’m so happy to bring you from down under, author Andrea Grigg! AND – Andrea is giving away an ebook of her latest release, All is Bright, to one of you amazing readers – so check out below to see how you can enter to win!

Tell us a little bit about yourself: I was born in Auckland, New Zealand, but moved to Sydney, Australia when I was twenty-five. I met my husband almost immediately, and we married fifteen months later. (Glad I switched countries!) When I was pregnant with our first child, Geoff and I decided to take a punt and move to Queensland’s beautiful Gold Coast. We’re still there! We now have three adult children (two daughters and a son), and two of the cutest granddaughters you’ve ever seen. I used to teach ten-year-olds, but I retired just over four years ago. These days I spend my time writing, mentoring writers, reading, being with my family, and meeting friends for coffee.

Tell us about your current release: All is Bright is my first novella, a Christmas one, and my first venture into the Indie world. It was released in October last year as part of a box set entitled ‘An Aussie Summer Christmas’ which unfortunately is no longer available. My novella is though!

All is Bright is about Amy, who has always been a good Christian girl…except for being in love with her brother-in-law. Josh is looking for love again, surprised to find it with his late wife’s sister. But will a mountain of guilt and an unexpected letter stop them from making it to the altar?

All is Bright is a spin-off from my first novel, A Simple Mistake. I’d always felt sorry for Josh – he got the raw end of the deal from Lainey, and needed his own HEA. It was my pleasure to give him one.

I adore my cover. My eldest daughter, Melissa, is a graphic designer and she’s created all my covers, including the ones for my two traditionally published novels. My publisher was more than happy to contract her when she saw Mel’s work.

Do you feel pressured to compromise your standards in order to reach a larger audience or be more successful? That’s a really good question for me. There seems to be a growing audience for sweet, clean romance, and I’m going to try it. That means I’ll be writing about characters who don’t go to church, don’t necessarily believe in God, and consequently have different morals. It’s a really big discussion point, and there’s just not time for it here, but let me say this: I don’t feel called to write so much as to encourage. If I can bring hope and encouragement through my writing, then I’ve done what I believe God is asking me to do. And that doesn’t have to be restricted to the Christian market just because I’m a believer. Debbie Macomber does it very well, so why can’t I? There’ll be challenges, but I’m excited for this next part of my writing journey.

Who was your first Screen/Musical Crush? David Cassidy <sigh> I was eleven, had the biggest poster you could find of him on my wall, and faithfully watched all the episodes of the Partridge Family. I still know most of the words to the songs, haha.

What inspired you to start writing, or did you always want to write? I used to write when I was a child. Crazy little stories, like ‘The Day in the Life of a Coin’. Oh dear. I even rewrote the ending to Little Women because I was so upset when Beth died. You could say the signs were there, right? But then music took over my life, and it was another four decades until an idea for a romance story just grew and grew and grew, and I had to write it down. Halfway through Chapter One, I was hooked!

How did you determine whether to self-publish or seek a traditional publisher? I didn’t know anything about self-publishing when I started writing back in 2008. I just wanted to know if my writing was good enough, and the big test was to see if a publisher liked my work. When that happened, a load came off my shoulders. Now the indie world has opened up like it has, I’ve taken the plunge and tried that too. I’m going to try it again with my next book. At the moment, I guess you could say I’m a hybrid author.

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’m a plotter through and through. I know my characters inside out and back to front before I start. Who they are and what they do pretty much shapes the plot. At the same time, I’m open to changes, just like I have to be in real life. It’s a fascinating process.

What advice do you have for aspiring writers?

  1. Just get started. You can learn as you go. I’m one of those people who likes to know as much as they can before they start something. If I’d realised how much there was to learn about writing, I probably would never have started. But, as I tell the group of newbie writers I mentor, you can’t edit a blank page.
  2. Join a writing group. They’ll encourage you along the way, help you keep going when it’s tough, and answer your questions.
  3. Read lots of books in the genre you’ve chosen to write. That’ll give you a clear idea of the style you’re aiming for.

Who were some of your favorite authors as a child? I learned to read on the Famous Five series by Enid Blyton. Children’s stories have changed a lot since then! I also loved Madeleine L’Engle, Louisa May Alcott, and L.M.Montgomery. Also, any books with horses in them, although I’ve never wanted to own one myself, or have barely ridden. Strange but true!

Find Andrea online:

Website: www.andreagrigg.com
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/author.andreagrigg/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/andreagrigg
Email: andreagrigg@live.com
Find Andrea’s latest release online:

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Andrea is giving away an ebook copy of All is Bright!

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I’m so grateful for your visit, today.
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Interview with Author Rachel Good 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, and the authors visiting my blog answered them! This week, I am so happy to have author Rachel Good. I found myself thoroughly enjoying this interview — especially the part about her trip to China. Rachel is also giving away a copy of her latest release, Buried Secrets. Read on to see how you can enter to win!

Tell us a little bit about yourself: After spending several years in Africa, where my father helped start the first Christian radio station, I lived in New York, New Jersey, and then Pennsylvania. Our home in PA was close to Lancaster County, the setting for my Amish novels. Later in life, my husband and I moved to North Carolina.

I had several jobs before I became an author: teacher, mother, cake decorator, and librarian. I’m now a full-time author, editor, and illustrator. I have 36 books in print or forthcoming under several pen names. As Rachel J. Good, I write Amish series for different publishers – Sisters & Friends, Hearts of Amish Country, and Love & Promises – as well as some Amish anthologies, and the Amish Quilts Coloring Books. Angels Unaware, the first book in my contemporary inspirational series, Hope Chapel, came out recently.

Tell us about your current release: Buried Secrets is Book 2 in the Sisters & Friends Amish series. In Book 1, Change of Heart, Lydia tries to keep her younger sister Emma from getting into trouble during Rumpschpringa, the Amish running-around time. She’s not as successful as she hopes, and Emma’s rebellious ways cause her family terrible heartache.

Book 2 is Emma’s story. Following an accident, Emma has no memory of her wild teen years. After she recovers physically, she moves to another town to stay with her sister Lydia, who’s expecting twins. Emma falls for their handsome next-door neighbor Sam, but then her memory slowly returns. Faced with some devastating secrets from her past, Emma becomes convinced she’s not only unworthy of Sam’s love, she’s also unworthy of God’s love and forgiveness.

Buried Secrets is a story of forgiveness and God’s unfailing love.

Here are two quotes from readers about Buried Secrets:
“I found myself reading this book as quickly as I could so I could solve the mystery of Emma’s past. The author was fantastic at grabbing your attention….There was also a twist near the end that really tugged at my heart.”
“If you like Amish stories…this one will surprise you with all the twists and turns….I really liked this story of secrets, family, faith, and recovery.”

If you knew ahead of time your book would benefit only one person on their spiritual journey, would you still write it? Yes, definitely. I would consider it a blessing and a privilege to touch even one 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? I usually begin with the plot fairly well laid out and a good idea of the characters and their motivations, goals, and personalities. I also like to know the ending of the story before I start writing. But along the way, my characters often surprise me by taking the story in unexpected directions. Usually they deepen the storyline and make me rethink my plans. Somehow all those detours come together to create a better story than the one I’d originally envisioned. But those inspired parts never feel like they came from me, but from a source outside myself, so I thank God for that inspiration. The odd thing is that, even with all the changes, the story often ends up in the place I imagined.

What advice do you have for aspiring writers? Write the story that’s on your heart. God has placed it there for a reason. It may be to help others, or perhaps it’s to bring healing or comfort to your own life. Write to discover what you need to know, to heal old wounds, to understand and forgive those who have hurt you, to wrestle with doubts and fears, to find your way to a deeper faith. That way, even if you never get published, your writing will be beneficial and therapeutic. I’ve often found when I’m writing, I don’t realize how much of me I’m pouring onto the page. But after I go back and reread it later, I see the connections. And I see that I’ve worked my way through a challenge in my own life, and I needed the answers my protagonists discovered.

Where’s the strangest place you’ve ever had a great writing idea? I don’t know if this was the strangest place, but it was the most unusual experience I’ve ever had. I was standing in the gardens of the Forbidden Palace in China and heard someone say, “You have to write my story.” I whirled around, but I was completely alone. I stood there asking questions and getting answers from the girl who would later star in the book I’d write. I’m sure other tourists wandering the palace grounds wondered at this strange lady standing under a tree mumbling to herself.

I’d gone to China with friends who were adopting a baby and as soon as I got home, I started writing the story. It’s taken me many years to write, but Dragons Unleashed is now out on submission.

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? After having five children in seven years, I turned to writing to keep my sanity. I began by writing magazine articles for children and stories for Sunday School papers. I progressed to writing for educational publishing houses – first articles and then books. I loved researching and writing nonfiction, but in my heart, I really wanted to write fiction.
I prayed about it and spent time learning the craft, but God led me in a different direction. I became an editor and later a publisher. That was a wonderful learning experience and helped me hone my writing and plotting knowledge as well as my editing skills. Looking back, I can see God’s hand in the process. He knew I needed time to grow as a writer before I was ready to have my novels published. Meeting my agent, Mary Sue Seymour, at a writing conference set me on that journey.  She was actually the one who encouraged me and suggested I write Amish novels.

What do you do when you hit a roadblock and have NO idea what to write? When authors have writer’s block, I think it’s because of fear. Subconsciously they know they’re going to need to become vulnerable and transparent; they need to write something they fear facing, something they aren’t ready to reveal, something that exposes a dark or hurtful place or experience, something that petrifies them.

When I come to those places I have a three-step process:

1) I know God has brought me to this place to help me confront a dark place in me that needs to be brought to the light, so I pray for courage.

2) I do visual journaling. I have a 9×12 sketchbook I use, but even blank pieces of paper will work. I close my eyes, ask which part of me is preventing me from writing, and then I try to visualize those parts. When I open my eyes, I choose whatever colors feel right, and sketch or scribble in the sketchbook. Scribbles are actually the most helpful.

3) When I feel like I’ve scribbled enough, I take a blank piece of paper and freewrite about the scribble. It’s amazing what comes up when I do that. Then on another blank paper, I free-write  about the scene that was blocked, and the words flow. Once I’m moving ahead on the chapter, I return to the computer.

Thanks so much for having me, Hallee!!

Find Rachel online:

Website, Facebook, Facebook author page, Twitter, Goodreads, Pinterest, Newsletter sign-up

Find Rachel’s new release online:



At Barnes & Noble:
Buried Secrets

At Kobo:
 

 

Rachel is giving away a copy of Buried Secrets! Enter to win below:

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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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Interview with Author Kimberly Rose Johnson 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, and the authors visiting my blog answered them! This week, I am so pleased to introduce you to Kimberly Rose Johnson. Kimberly writes Christian romances, and is giving away any ebook from her current series to one of my readers! Read on to see how you can enter to win.

Tell us a little bit about yourself:  Sure. I am a wife and a mom of two young adults who are in college. I love to read and watch Hallmark movies. My favorite pastime is taking my yellow lab for a walk with my husband.

I began writing eleven years ago and haven’t stopped since. I have had fourteen or fifteen books published depending on how you keep track. I re-published one book that I received my rights back on.

Tell us about your current release. Designing Love is my current release. It is the final book in my Sunriver Dreams series. Here is the back cover blurb:

Someone is framing Sierra. Can Spencer Preston discover the true criminal before he loses her?

Sierra Robbins, single mother and interior design assistant, wants to provide a stable home for her teenage son and become a successful interior designer. She’s well on her way to both goals when she agrees to house sit a home in Sunriver, Oregon. It couldn’t be more perfect. She’ll be close to her job at Belafonte Designs while living rent-free. But things don’t go as expected beginning on day one when a police officer responds to the alarm they set off at the house. Was that alarm a sign of trouble to come?

Spencer Preston, lives for his job as a police officer in Sunriver, but when he responds to a house alarm and finds Sierra and her son there everything changes. Suddenly he finds himself torn between the upholding the law and protecting the woman he believes is innocent.

What inspired you to start writing, or did you always want to write?: I’m not positive what inspired me to write other than I had a story in my head that needed to get out. I enjoyed creative writing as a kid, but never, not once, considered writing professionally. I’m so glad I did. I’ve met many people I never would have otherwise, I’ve grown as a person, and there is nothing more exciting than seeing one of my books beside one of a favorite author’s book.

How did you determine whether to self-publish or seek a traditional publisher? The very first book I published was through a vanity press. I didn’t know any writers or anything at all about publishing. All I could find online at that time were vanity publishers. Things have sure changed.:) Through that process I learned that there are writers groups and writing conferences—I seriously had no idea.

Once I knew they sold books on writing and that I could go to conferences that would teach me how to write I studied the craft of writing and pursued traditional publishing. It took six years to land my first contract. I’m now a hybrid author. I have both traditional and indie published books. In case you’re wondering, I removed my very first book from the publisher and it is no longer available for purchase.

What made you take the plunge and finally do it?: It was something new and adventurous and I really wanted to do it. I needed to prove to myself that I could.

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’ve written both ways. It’s much easier to write when I have the plot laid out in advance, but I never completely know what I’m going to write. I usually have a vague idea and then run with it.

Do you have pre-determined length in mind when you first begin a book? Yes. I shoot for 45,000 words. That is my sweet spot.

What do you do when you hit a roadblock and have NO idea what to write? I relax and do something else. I find if I do something else it usually releases my mind to wander and then something comes to me.

Thanks for having me on your blog. This was fun.

Find Kimberly online:

Website: kimberlyrjohnson.com
FB: https://www.facebook.com/KimberlyRoseJohnson
Twitter: https://twitter.com/kimberlyrosejoh
Pinterest:https://www.pinterest.com/krose1990/
Amazon: http://amzn.to/2jpZj1C

Find Kimberly’s latest release online:


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Kimberly is giving away an ebook copy of any one of her Sunriver Dreams series! See below to see how you can enter to win:

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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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Chatting with Author Suzan Tisdale

I spent the day with the amazing and wonderful author Suzan Tisdale in her home near Peoria, Illinois, last weekend. We cooked all day Saturday, whipping up several Scottish inspired recipes:

Scotch Eggs with Sauce

Meat Pies with Hallee’s “On the Fly” Dip

Chocolate Scotch Bundt Cake with Scotch Caramel Sauce

Orange Chocolate Scotch Mousse with Scotch Whipped Cream

We had a blast! After cooking all day, we spent some time sitting on her patio, chatting about books, writing, audio books, and life. Here is the video:

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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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