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Welcome to my blog! Please feel free to leave a comment – I love to hear from my readers! Also, check out this week’s interview with a Christian author. There are always giveaways with these interviews!

Monday Morning Coffee and Chat 12/21/20 – Holidays and Writing

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Hello! Welcome to Monday Morning Coffee and Chat! Today I’m answering the question, “How to the holidays affect your writing schedule?”

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Interview with Jennifer Delamere and a Giveaway!

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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 have Jennifer Delamere as my guest. Jennifer’s parents sound like they’d be the starring characters in a contemporary romance novel — the journalist and the Navy pilot. I love it! As an Army brat, I can completely understand moving around a lot, and I think that also inspired my love of reading and traveling. It’s always fun to have a guest that I can relate to. I 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 bit about yourself. I’m the youngest child of a Navy pilot and a journalist. We moved around a lot during my formative years. I credit this for both my love of travel and my love of reading. These days, I live in North Carolina. This affords me plenty of opportunities for day hiking, which is my favorite away-from-the-computer activity. For my “day job,” I’m an editor and project manager for a company that produces educational materials. I love reading history books, so when I became it writer it seemed inevitable that I would want to write historical fiction. My books are set in Victorian England, a time and place I find fascinating. It was a time of great innovation, with many shifts in technology and culture—and in that sense, not unlike our own times!

Tell us about your current release. Line By Line is the first book in my new series about three friends who are telegraph operators in Victorian London. Almost from the beginning, telegraphy was an occupation pursued by women as well as men. Sometimes they worked in separate departments, but more and more, men and women worked right alongside each other. It didn’t escape too many people at the time that this setup could easily give rise to workplace romances. That’s a fun fact that I’ll be pursuing in this series.

Since she was young, Alice McNeil has seen success as a telegrapher as the best use for her keen and curious mind. Years later, she has yet to regret her freedom and foregoing love and marriage, especially when she acquires a coveted position at an important trading firm. But when the company’s ambitious junior director returns to London, things begin to change in ways Alice could never have imagined.

For Douglas Shaw, years of hard work and ingenuity enabled him to escape a life of grinding poverty. He’s also determined to marry into high society—a step that will ensure he never returns to the conditions of his past.

He immediately earns Alice’s respect by judging her based on her skills and not her gender, and a fast camaraderie forms. However, when Alice accidentally angers a jealous coworker and his revenge threatens both their reputations, Alice and Douglas are forced to confront what is truly important in their lives. Will their growing bond give them the courage to see the future in a different light?

If you knew ahead of time your book would benefit only one person on their spiritual journey, would you still write it? Absolutely. My primary aim is always to write books that are entertaining, interesting, edifying, and inspiring. If my book accomplishes any of those goals for a reader, I feel it has been a success. That said, there are always spiritual themes in my books, and I do hope they strike a chord with the reader and help them see some aspect of their lives in a new light.

Do you feel pressured to compromise your standards in order to reach a larger audience or be more successful? It’s quite the opposite, really. I’m always striving to become a better writer, because I feel that’s what will ultimately help me reach a larger audience.

How did you determine whether to self-publish or seek a traditional publisher? I sold my first book in the fall of 2011. Self-publishing was still very new at that time, and I never really considered it as an option. Today, I still prefer traditional publishing. I’m thankful for my publisher’s support in marketing, the art department making fabulous book covers, and most of all for the high-quality editing support. These things help me focus on the writing, which is what I love most, and make me feel I’ve produced the best book possible for my readers.

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 “big picture” elements laid out before I begin writing. I have a synopsis that’s about 8-10 pages long. My books always end up following that general thread (so far!), but there is also room for discoveries along the way. Characters will surprise me at times, and new plot threads will emerge. That’s always exciting! My synopsis is more like a general framework within which the creative process can still thrive.

What do you do when you hit a roadblock and have NO idea what to write? There are times when I struggle to figure out what the next scene should be, despite my synopsis. That’s when I find it really helpful to brainstorm with another writer. Talking it out helps me clarify where I’m going. This discussion helps spark new ideas in my mind, plus she’ll offer suggestions that I wouldn’t have thought of on my own. I love that collaborative process. At other times, when I know what scene to write but can’t figure out the best way to approach it, I’ve gone a different route. I step away from the computer and sit somewhere comfortable with pen and paper and begin writing the parts of the scene that I do know. That seems to free up a different part of my writing brain. Before too long, the scene begins to take shape, and I know how to use those writing scraps I started with.

Where’s the strangest place you’ve ever had a great writing idea? Not sure if this counts, but when I was visiting the Roman Baths in Bath, England, I came across a display in the little museum there that suddenly sparked an idea for an interesting and probably very odd time-travel story. I have yet to write it, but perhaps someday I will!

What advice do you have for aspiring writers? Write the book you want to read. It’s the best way to discover your writing “voice” and allow it to develop and thrive into a style that is uniquely yours. Understand also that writing is a craft, a skill that needs to be developed. Learn from writing workshops, books, and fellow authors. Not every piece of information you get from others will work for you, but much of it will (or can be adapted to your unique writing process). Don’t expect perfection the first time around. Keep working at it. Enjoy the journey!

Here is where you can find Jennifer online:

Webpage : www.jenniferdelamere.com

Facebook: www.Facebook.com/Jennifer.delamere

Twitter: @JenDelamere

Pinterest: www.pinterest.com/jenniferdelamere

Jennifer is giving away two copies of Line by LIne to a reader! See below how to enter to win:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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Winners of the Annual Christian Fiction Christmas Scavenger Hunt!

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Thank you to everyone who took part in the annual Christian Fiction Christmas Scavenger Hunt.

The winners are:

First place, $350 Amazon Gift Card: Deanna at djenni**s31bags@gmail.com

Second place, $250 Amazon Gift Card: Carol at crw**6@gmail.com

Third place, $150 Amazon Gift Card: Lisa at lisaboe**haems@hotmail.com

If this looks like you, check your email!

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Interview with Sherrinda Ketchersid and a Giveaway!

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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 have historical romance author Sherrinda Ketchersid as my guest. I have to say – I LOVE medieval romances – especially Scottish medieval romances. As soon as I saw the cover, I was immediately attracted to his book – and the description even more makes me want to read it! I enjoyed getting to know Sherrinda more and finding a kindred spirit in a Han Solo fan. I hope you enjoy the interview as much as I did! Read on to see how you can enter to win a copy of her latest release.

Tell us about your current release. When Ian McGowan attempts to claim Whitfield Castle as his rightful inheritance, he finds himself barred by a tempestuous lass who is entailed to be the bride of the castle’s new owner.

Claire Beaumont, the orphaned ward of Whitfield, has good reason to hate Scots, and she is not about to let a Scot enter her beloved home. But when the handsome knight steals into the castle and proves his claim on the land, she must face her ultimate nightmare—marriage to her sworn enemy—in order to save those she cares about most.

Restoring the failing Whitfield Castle while wooing his defiant intended proves more challenging than Ian anticipated. His struggles reach a crisis when his nemesis arrives at the castle, and he must overcome his past demons to prove his worth. He must fight for what is his to keep—and it could well cost him his heart.

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 have always been a people pleaser, so this is a struggle for me. I’ve learned over the years to have a tougher skin—you must if you are going to stay in this business. I think what helps is the hope that I can produce a story that readers will enjoy. Reading has been such a joy to me, and I strive to create something that readers can get lost in.

Who was your first Screen/Musical Crush? Oh my goodness. This will tell my age, but Han Solo in Star Wars. I was 12 when the first Star Wars came out on the screen, and while everyone else fell in love with Luke, I fell in love with Han. The tough guy with a tender heart. A hero who has a soft underbelly. And he is hilarious. I love a guy with a great sense of humor.

What inspired you to start writing, or did you always want to write? I loved reading, even as a young child. My aunt got me hooked on romances in high school and that is when the dream to write began. I even started a novel in high school. But life got in the way, and I put my dream aside until I turned 40 years old. I decided then that I would cross that off my bucket list before I died! I’ve been writing ever since.

Do you have your plotline and character development already laid out before you begin writing a book, or do they develop as you write? Yes, I like to do character development with the enneagram and figure out their goals, motivation, and conflict. I do like to have the basic plot points laid out but have some leeway in getting to those points. I think it helps to know the character and how they would respond in certain situations before you start writing. Of course, as I write, they will surprise me and act completely opposite, but I figure that is the fun part of writing.

What advice do you have for aspiring writers? I would say to read books on how to write and attend seminars and conferences. But most of all, you need to enjoy the journey and don’t fret over getting published. Keep writing. Keep loving it. Keep telling stories. There are so many paths to take on this journey, but you should have fun on whatever path you take.

Who were some of your favorite authors as a child? (Book series, maybe?) I loved C.S. Lewis’s books, The Chronicles of Narnia. I also loved George MacDonald’s fairytales. Of course, Anne of Green Gables, and The Girl of the Limberlost (my grandmother’s favorite book).

Which of your characters most reflects your personality? I would have to say Fiona, Ian McGowan’s sister,  in His to Keep. She is a peacemaker and that is me … I love harmony. She tries to calm down Ian’s nemesis in the story, as well as point Ian to God’s peace. She is the heroine in my next book, which I am now plotting.

Here is where you can find Sherrinda online:

Website: www.sherrinda.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/SherrindaKetchersidAuthor/

Twitter: https://www.twitter.com/sherrinda

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/sherrinda

Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/sherrinda/

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/19022507.Sherrinda_Ketchersid

Book Bub: https://www.bookbub.com/profile/sherrinda-ketchersid

Newsletter Signup: https://www.subscribepage.com/z2m6x3

Sherrinda is giving away an ebook or print copy of His to Keep to a reader! (Print to US only) See below how to enter to win:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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Annual Christmas Round-Robin Scavenger Hunt — $750 in Amazon Gift Card Prizes!

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Merry Christmas! Welcome to the Christmas Christian Fiction Round-Robin!

Here’s how it works: At each author’s blog post, you will find a question that can be answered by checking out the free Amazon preview of their book. Provide the answer at this form. Note: You must answer the questions for every author in the round -robin to be considered to win the $350 first place, $250 second place or $150 third place Amazon gift cards. These prizes are USD values. If you are not a U.S. resident, you will get a gift card from the Amazon store for your country; however, it will be valued at these USD amounts.)

At the end of my post is a link to the next blog, who will provide a link to the next blog, etc., to the very end, creating a circle (a round-robin) visit through all of the authors’ blogs.

I’m thrilled to get the chance to tell you about my book Blizzard in the Bluegrass. This book is part of the When Snowflakes Never Cease Crossroads Collection and was a joy for me to write.

Jeff is a broken widower who lost his wife and child. Gloria is a single mom to Noah, an eight-year-old boy on the Autism spectrum. The two find each other and everything is perfect until a storm-of-the-century blankets Kentucky under several feet of snow and whiteout conditions on Christmas day, Gloria and Jeff batten down at her father’s house, counting their blessings and basking in the warmth of their love. Until they discover that Noah is missing. Will they find him before he succumbs to the elements, or will this day forever mark a tragedy in their lives?

I loved writing this book, because it allowed my experiences as the mom to a child on the autism spectrum to give readers a glimpse into what that life looks like, and what our mama hearts experience. I gave Gloria my mothering style and Noah my son’s personality. It is a deeply personal book for me.

Let’s begin this scavenger hunt! Go to the book on Amazon at this link. You will be taken to When Snowflakes Never Cease, but Blizzard in the Bluegrass is the first book in this collection, so you will have no problem finding it in the Look Inside.

Find the answer to this question:

What kind of mythology does Noah tell Blondie he’s fascinated with?

When you have the answer, FILL OUT THIS FORM and head on to the next blog!

Thank you so much for visiting! The next author on the tour is Lacy Williams, who is telling us all about her Christmas book A Cowboy for Christmas. You can find it at this link. Remember that you must answer every question from all 36 authors in this collection and that the round-robin will end on December 12th at 11:59 PM EST!

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Interview with Christina Sinisi and a Giveaway!

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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 Christina Sinisi. Not only do we share first crushes (she not only named one of mine, she named both!), my daughter just got a degree in psychology, and since Christina is a psychology professor, I just want to sit down and listen to her talk about teaching such a fascinating science. Christina is giving away a copy of her book Christmas Confusion! Read on to see how you can enter to win!

Tell us a little bit about yourself. First, thank you so much for hosting me!  I’m a psychology professor, wife of 34 years, and mother of two 20-something children. Oh, and I have the best cat in the world in Chessie Mae, no use arguing. I’ve been writing since I was in third grade, published some poems and short stories earlier in life, and just published my first novella last year, The Christmas Confusion.

Tell us about your current release. Reeling from the upheaval of a failed marriage, Annie Hanahan is desperate for a new start—and when she inherits a cottage on Ocracoke Island, she may finally get it. Without a second thought, she packs up and leaves everything behind: her first name, her job, and her ex-husband. But when she arrives in the Outer Banks, she finds the island—and her promised refuge—ravaged by Hurricane Dorian.  As a contractor who has given so much of his time to helping Ocracoke recover, it surprises no one when Trey Kingsley offers to help the beautiful newcomer, but something is holding her back. Life keeps throwing them together, though, or perhaps God’s hand is giving them a nudge. Will a little bit of divine intervention be enough for a Merry Christmas on Ocracoke?

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 skipped a few questions to get to this one because I recently saw another writer post this question to a writer’s group. My answer was that I simply didn’t think about it—until that first book was published. Up until then, I was just so excited to share my stories. Then, when I realized people were actually reading it, I was seized with the fear of what happens if it’s terrible. The first person to talk to me about my book after it was published was a student in one of my graduate classes. And she gushed. She loved it, and all was well. If an agent or a publisher invests in you, it’s good. If your critique partner gives you the go ahead, it’s good. If God puts the passion in your heart, that’s good enough. It’s more than enough.

Who was your first Screen/Musical Crush? I had to include a fun answer. I had two early crushes at the same time—Shaun Cassidy and Rick Springfield. Shaun Cassidy had a song about “Stacy” and Rick Springfield had a song titled, “Kristina.” Close enough (my full name is Christina Stacy). They were writing about me.  It was meant to be, right?

What is your personal, most effective way to get past writer’s block? Sit your bottom in the chair and write. Anything–even if it’s a single sentence or a paragraph—just write. Often, that short amount leads to a little more and so on.  Even if it’s terrible, write. You can edit something bad; you can’t do anything with nothing. I also story board before I write and visualize scenes before I start.  I go for walks. There’s so much you can do, but the most important thing is to put that bottom in the chair.

What inspired you to start writing, or did you always want to write? I’ve always written—whether it’s poetry or short story, research articles or lectures, or novels. My favorite to write is the novel. I love being able to develop the characters and story.

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 started off writing by the seat of my pants, but realized that this led to my wandering  down rabbit holes where I got stuck. Since then, I have taken many workshops about plotting. I now create a storyboard based on Alexandra Sokoloff’s screenplay method before I write. I can’t say I stick to it exactly, but it’s there when I need it. I highly recommend it.

Do you have pre-determined length in mind when you first begin a book? Yes. I don’t think there’s a choice on this one. One of the novels I have sitting on my digital shelf is over a thousand pages. I’m pretty sure that’s not going anywhere.  If you’re looking to publish a novella, it’s around 40,000 words. If you’re hoping to publish a full-length novel, it’s somewhere around 90,000 – 100,000 words. Publishers aren’t so willing to budge on this, for good reason—most readers don’t want to tackle War and Peace for pleasure reading.

Do you remember where you were or what you were doing when you started this story? Absolutely yes. I was on Ocracoke Island. My family and I visited for the first time this past year and the place absolutely captured my imagination and a bit of my heart. The mountains of debris after hurricane Dorian, the stunning landscape of the sand dunes on either side of the road, only getting there by ferry, and the island’s history of being Blackbeard the Pirate’s hideaway—the island was a story waiting to happen.

Here is where you can find Christina online:

www.ChristinaSinisi.com

Facebook

Twitter: @ChristinaSinisi

Christina is giving away a copy of her book The Christmas Confusion to a reader! See below how to enter to win:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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