Interview with Lynn H. Blackburn 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! I’m always excited when a friend is my guest. As I type this introduction, Lyn is at the Blue Ridge Mountains Christian Writers Conference with me.  Our paths have crossed many times over the years and she has always been a very dynamic presence. I really enjoyed this interview and am so excited that she’s 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. I live in South Carolina with my husband, three children, and a spoiled rotten mini goldendoodle. When I’m not writing, you can frequently find me cheering for one of my kids on a baseball field or basketball court. And if it’s a Saturday in the Fall, I’ll be cheering for the Clemson Tigers.

Tell us about your current release. In Too Deep is the second book in the Dive Team Investigations series. When the Carrington Sheriff’s Office dive team discovers an encrypted laptop that is linked to an open murder investigation, white collar crimes Investigator Adam Campbell turns to the only person he can trust—cybercrimes expert Dr. Sabrina Fleming—to help him with the case. But when their investigation uncovers an unsettling connection to Adam’s family, they will face a choice between loyalty and the truth.

Have you always wanted to write a book? Not at all! I was a reader for decades before I ever attempted to write anything. I had always had stories in my head but it was a long time before I decided to try to write one down and see what would happen.

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 very organic writer. I know the general idea of how the book will end, and the general idea of what the suspense plot is, but how I’m going to get from Chapter One to The End is always an adventure. I’ve tried to outline and plan it all out in advance and it just never works for me. So I write the first scene and then see where the characters and story take me.

Who were some of your favorite authors as a child? There are too many to list, but the ones that jump to the top of the list are always L. M. Montgomery (Anne of Green Gables and Emily of New Moon) and C. S. Lewis (The Chronicles of Narnia). But my first favorite (as evidenced by the photographs my parents have) was definitely Dr. Suess. 🙂 

Do you talk out plot lines with others, and if so, who? The first person I contact is my friend and mentor, Lynette Eason. She can usually fix any plot disaster I’ve created. 🙂 I’m also blessed to have a group of writer friends who are amazing brainstormers. 

I often wondered….when you sit down to write that first line/paragraph in a new book/novella, is it difficult to get that started or do the words flow easily? For me, it’s BRUTAL! I can stare at the first blank page for hours before I ever get things moving. I’m a very slow starter, but once I get a few chapters written, that’s when the words begin to flow.

What do you do when you hit a roadblock and have NO idea what to write? I pray! I also have found that watching something like sci-fi or fantasty – which is nothing like what I write – always inspires me. Live theater or live concerts do the same thing. And if none of those things are an option, I take a shower. I get some of my best ideas there! 🙂

Find Lynn online:

Lynn is giving away a copy of her newest book along with a bookmark (within US only). See below how you can enter to win:

a Rafflecopter giveaway



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Monday Morning Coffee and Chat 5/20/20 – Talking About Writing and Revelation at the #BRMCWC

Hello! Welcome to Monday morning coffee and chat!

Today, I’m talking about how a keynote of “Perhaps God” versus “God will definitely” completely affirms my writing ministry and mission statement, my definition of success, and how it inspired and encouraged me during the Blue Ridge Mountains Christian Writers Conference.


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Interview with Deb Gorman 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 pleased to have Deb Gorman as my guest. I always love meeting people from the Pacific Northwest. Both of my parents were born and raised there, and to me, despite being an Army brat who has claimed first Florida then Kentucky as hers, the Pacific Northwest will always be “home”. I loved Deb’s writing purpose statement, and hope you enjoy her interview as much as I did. Read on to see how you can enter to win a copy of her latest release!

Tell us a little about yourself: Hi! My name is Deb Gorman and I was born and still live in the beautiful Pacific Northwest. I actually live in the town where I spent my childhood—a medium-sized metropolis of about 100,00 if you count the surrounding county—in central Washington.

I did live in southern California between 1972 and 1980, where I went to college. I was married to my first husband and had three children while living in the LA area. We moved back to my hometown in 1980, just in time to experience Mt. St. Helens.

I am now married to my second husband (thirty-one years!) and we have twenty-three grandchildren. I recently retired from my career in healthcare and am busy building my writerly business. My husband has been retired for ten years and has his own business also. We have a very lively four-year-old German shepherd named Hoka.

Tell us about your current release: I have three books released. They are written in the devotional style, with study questions. The books contain stories of biblical characters, some well-known, some not. The stories are fiction, but based upon real events in the Bible.

Currently, I’m working on two novels—my first! The first novel—The Master’s Inn—is presently with my editor, the lovely and talented Dori De Vries Harrell. The second—the sequel to the first—is in first draft stage. I hope to write a third in this series. We shall see.

The Master’s Inn is the story of three families who are stranded together in a freak blizzard in northeastern Washington State. Tom and Bill are Marine combat veterans from the Vietnam era and Iraq, respectively, and who still chase their demons. They and their families meet the God who planned the storm and brought them together, learning that no tragedy, no deep secret, and no loss is beyond his capacity to forgive and heal.

What’s the first major news headline that you can remember and what do you remember? I was nine years old when President Kennedy was shot. I remember my teacher gathering all of us on the playground to tell us. I remember watching the news that night with Mom and Dad. And I remember days and days of headlines, grownups talking and arguing about it. Not much different than today!

What inspired you to start writing, or did you always want to write? I’ve always been a voracious reader, since about age six. I didn’t think about writing books until about 2013. I decided to try writing a Christmas play the year before. I worked on it most of that year and in December of 2013, my church produced it with me as the director. What a hoot! It was very well received. The characters in that play—the imaginary ones in my head–then started hounding me to put them into a novel. I’ve been working on it ever since, with three devotional-style books published in 2016, 2017, and 2018.

What made you take the plunge and finally do it? I’d had some ideas for stories half-written on my laptop for a long time. I wrote them just for my own pleasure. We have two published authors who attend our church, so one day I looked up their websites. One website mentioned the name of her editor, so I looked up her website. I sent her a sample of my writing and she replied saying she’d like to work with me. That’s all it took!

Where’s the strangest place you’ve ever had a great writing idea? The Master’s Inn—the play—was outlined on the back of the church bulletin, character and scene sketched, and cast while I was sitting in the worship service one Sunday at my church. I’m sure my pastor was very proud of how vigorously I was taking sermon notes!

Do you have a particular character that you fell in love with and keep them alive in your mind? My favorite character is from the first chapter of my first book—”Who Are These People?” Her name is Ariella—meaning Lioness of God in Hebrew—and she is the heroine in the story of the little girl in 2 Kings 5:2-3 who was stolen from Israel and taken to Syria as a slave. She appears in just those two verses. Her story in my book takes place between those verses. The reason I wrote her story is that I was curious what would make a little girl who was ripped from her family and taken to a foreign country compassionately tell her captor about the man of God who could heal him of his leprosy. Such bravery! Her story captivated me, so I had to write it.

What do you think is lacking in Christian Fiction? I’m not sure it’s a lack, but I think Christian writers must begin to tackle the encroaching evil of our times—and tackle it loudly. There’s nothing wrong with writing novels that are light-hearted and entertain us, that help us to escape this dark world for a while, but we are called to be Kingdom-bearers. If our fiction writing doesn’t point clearly to Jesus, Messiah—and denounce the enemy loudly and unapologetically—then what is the purpose? If God has given me the gift of storytelling, I’d best be using it to lay another brick for eternity, not just another buck in my bank account.

Here is where you can find Deb online:

Deb is giving away a copy of one of her ebooks (readers choice) see below how to enter to win:
a Rafflecopter giveaway


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Nurses Are The Rockstars

When I was 29 weeks pregnant with my son Scott, I started having contractions that would not go away. Eventually, I asked my husband to take me to the Labor and Delivery at my hospital. The triage nurse put the blood pressure cuff on my arm and my contractions left, never to return. My blood pressure was super scary high. High enough that they admitted me that night and I stayed in the prenatal ward of the hospital for the next ten days.

In that timeframe, the people who cared for me hour by hour were the nurses. They communicated with me, encouraged me, ministered to me. They relayed information to the doctor and back to me.

I saw my doctor every morning for about five minutes. The rest of my care belonged to the nurses.

After ten days, my body started crashing and Scott’s body started crashing and it became a race to see who the doctor could save first. I don’t think both of us were expected to actually survive the day.  While the doctor made surgical arrangements, one of my nurses came into my room.

She tried to talk to me but was overcome with emotion and just patted my shoulder and cried. I was really concerned for her, so I asked her if I could pray for her and she just started crying harder.

I had an emergency C-section a couple hours later. A nurse held my hand and walked me through the spinal block, making sure I stayed still and calm. She actually had me bent over her, hugging her while the anesthesiologist worked. I will honestly never forget how steadfast she was, how calm, how reassuring.

Once Scott was born, I was put into ICU. But, they’d given me magnesium, and I’ve learned that magnesium turns normally stoic Hallee into a very emotional Hallee. I was hyper, upset, frantic about my 3 pound baby. Finally, a nurse came up to me and grabbed both of my cheeks in her strong hands and put her face close to mine. “Your baby is fine. You are not. If you don’t calm down and trust us to take care of him, you’re going to die.”

I believe very sincerely that she saved my life.

During the next two weeks, we only ever talked to nurses in the NICU. We never saw the doctor. He never talked to us. He was present in the NICU, but wouldn’t come around when the parents were in the rooms. I thought that was very funny. But, we talked to the nurses all the time. My stoicness had returned, and I got to know the nurses caring for our little 3-pounder as if sitting next to them in a coffee shop. I wasn’t the panicked mom who needed reassurance. I was the calm mom who needed information as plainly as possible so that I could process it. They got that. They never condescended to me.  They never made me feel like I should be something or some way that I wasn’t. They just loved on Scott like nothing you’ve ever seen.

Two weeks later, we were transferred out of the NICU and into a room in the PICU. This was wonderful for us because I could room in the PICU with Scott instead of having to go home. The nurses in the PICU were fantastic. They’d come into my room in the middle of the night and watch television with me, hang with me, chat with me. They made me feel REALLY OKAY about our circumstances, almost as if what we were experiencing was normal.

Again, the entire time in the PICU, I did not talk to the doctor except during rounds. I don’t even know if was the same doctor that we had in the NICU or not.

I realize the doctors gave all the orders in these almost six weeks of hospital stay. I’m sure a doctor gave the order to admit me. I know my doctor was on top of my health and well-being during my prenatal stay and that he rocked the surgery and saved us both. I know a doctor gave orders and instructions during the NICU and PICU stays.

However, the rock stars were the nurses. They were the ones in the spotlight, being the face to me of  mine and our baby’s life-giving care. They never faltered. They never wavered. They never acted like the point of their 12-hour shift was a paycheck at the end of the week. Every nurse made me feel important, cherished, a joy to care for and to know.

I will never forget the nurses who were there for us during this unfathomable time. I am so in awe of what nurses do and the way God gifts them to do it. I am overwhelmed at the care that pours out of nurses day after day.

Love on nurses this week. They have so earned it.

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Monday Morning Coffee and Chat 5/6/19 – Modern Day Parables

Hello! Welcome to Monday morning coffee and chat! Today I’m talking about my mission statement and spreading the gospel through my fiction.


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Interview with Jude Urbanski 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 have Jude Urbanski as my guest. I LOVE the fact that her mom wrote sweet love stories in the 1930’s. That just speaks to my heart and soul! I also love that she is a southern girl — I am married to a southern gentleman and I love living in the south. I hope you enjoy Jude’s interview as much as I did. She is giving away a copy of her latest release – read on to see how you can enter to win!

About me: I was born into a large Southern family, grew up in the North, but retained a southern heart. I have used the South as the setting for my novels. So, last May, in year four of my unexpected journey as a new widow, I made the decision to move to the beautiful Cumberland Plateau area of Tennessee. Seven generations of family had descended from this area. I returned to my roots and keep contact with my scattered kids and grandkids via phone, texts, Face time, email, snail mail, and visits.

My Current Release: The book is called New Beginnings, a title with which I relate, but one which heroine Savannah Banks sought with a passion. She never wanted to see her runaway groom again, especially after discovering her pregnancy with his child. Until meeting a father figure in ill-and- aging artist, Alberto Patagalia, she never wanted to see anything again. Together they heal while awaiting her baby’s birth.

A dream job takes the three to Jamaica, where Savannah works with the islanders as a nurse practitioner. Renewal of faith in God and entrance of two handsome doctors promise new beginnings, but all too soon idyllic life becomes turbulent and everything she holds dear is threatened.

What inspires you to write? I’m convinced several family members possess a DNA art gene and it is played out in music, painting and writing. My mother wrote sweet, love stories in the 1930s and used the same setting I used many years later-the community of Chanute where we both were born. My daughters write. My grandson writes as does my nephew. Others paint and make music.

The usual childhood things captured me, like the high school newspaper, but two specific things led me later to write. My oldest daughter had a tragic auto accident in which her six- year-old son died and she suffered a forever traumatic brain injury. Eventually, writing that non- fiction book helped both of us heal from a very dark period. The book is over ten years old and still sells- because grief is evergreen.  Secondly, several years ago I received a cancer diagnosis, which made me pick up my pen again. I didn’t know how long I had. That was three novels ago and five years of writing for a magazine as well as editing jobs.

What advice do you have for aspiring writers? Know that writing is a hard job, but one which gives satisfaction and worth the effort. Think rewrite, not just write for there will be many edits. Learn all you can. Buy books on the subject, take classes (many are available many places), invest in conferences, and an editor. Join critique groups. Be courageous enough to submit to contests even if you are rejected. It means you are working. Securing a writing mentor can be very helpful. But know you must find your own voice, your own way of building your words. Publication does not necessarily validate you.

Through my years of writing I have gained some of my most valuable friendships. You will too.

How did you determine to self publish or to seek a traditional publisher? I wanted a publisher initially and at that time self publishing was not as common. With my first book, I called the small publishing house because they did not have their guidelines on their website. Well, the publisher answered! We had a long conversation and at the end she asked me to submit my manuscript. That was my beginning.

My two novels were also with a small publisher and there for over five years. After that I had the option to receive my rights back, which I did. I went on to self publish those two books, as I also did the third novel, New Beginnings. I find pros and cons to both traditional and self publishing and an author must give a lot of thought to that personal decision.

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 thought about this and don’t consider my writing method to be strictly either pantster or outliner. I mix up both and throw in a lot of thinking. One technique I have found helpful is to do thorough character sketches. I will say I have a general plotline in my head, but funny things always happen ‘on the way’ and I am often surprised. When I have writer’s block, I leave the manuscript for a few days and do some thinking.

I do not necessarily have a predetermined page length because that is sometimes determined by the publisher or whether you are writing a novella. I think excessive description loses the reader. It is harder to effectively write cleanly or simply.

What’s the first major news headline that you can remember and what do you remember? These will date me, BUT I remember in grade school being dismissed in order to see on TV the coronation of Queen Elizabeth! I also remember first hearing the news of Kennedy’s assignation. I was a college student and was studying as the news came on TV.

Here is where you can find Jude online:

Jude is giving away an ebook or signed copy of her book (signed copy US only) to a lucky reader! See below how you can enter to win:

a Rafflecopter giveaway



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