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Month: December 2016

Life and Work Goals for 2017

This past year has been quite an incredible year. Our family moved last year the week before Christmas. It took weeks to get the house under control enough to be able to sit down and focus on writing – just in time to make the deadline for On The Ropes. I traveled and spoke and taught at a few dozen locations through the year, including going to Hawaii and then to Australia. In the midst of all that, I had some personal things that cropped up here and there and totally took all of the wind out of any sails I hoped to have in the writing department. I actually went weeks at a time without going into my office. I did manage to finish A Harmony for Steve, but those two books were the only things I managed to release in 2016, despite the production schedule I’d established a year before.

Now, I’m looking forward to next week when my kids are back in school. I have a brand new calendar with a brand new production schedule that goes through mid-2019. And, with that, I have come up with some new work goals:

  1. Write every work day for the full six hours of writing time allotted, whether something is trying to take the wind out of my sails or not.
  2. Publish at least one interview with a Christian author a week on my blog, with a special giveaway for my readers.
  3. Consistently write articles for Faithful, ACFW blog, and BookFun Magazine.

And, I also came up with some life goals:

  1. Exercise every day.
  2. Have a garden this year. I haven’t gardened in 3 years, and my soul misses it.
  3. Drink 100 oz of water a day.
  4. Take my kids to see no less than 4 stage productions in 2017.
  5. Send birthday cards to our family — something I always say I’ll do then somehow just never do.
  6. Give myself a little more grace than I usually give.

What kind of goals have you made this year?

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Interview with Author Randall Allen Dunn!

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’d like to welcome Randall Allen Dunn. I LOVE movies, especially action movies. I can tell, as I compiled this interview, that Randall and I have very similar styles in how we process entertainment and let that translate into our own works. Randall is a Christian thriller author, who listens to movie soundtracks to help him dramatize his scenes. I really enjoyed his interview, and am so excited that he’s giving away a paperback to one lucky winner — a reader’s choice paperback. You get to pick from three books he has available! Read below to see how to enter.

Tell us a little bit about yourself.  I’ll be married for 20 years this September. My wife and I have 2 adopted children, a ten-year old daughter and 6-year old son. I’m fifty years old, but I look like I’m about thirty and I think like a teenager. I still enjoy listening to the latest rock music, from both Christian and secular artists, though I spend most of my time listening to movie soundtrack scores that help me think up dramatic story scenes.

I write action thrillers that read more like blockbuster movies than novels. Action-packed, fast-paced & fun, with larger than life heroes facing off against diabolical villains and deep moral dilemmas.

Tell us about your current release. My latest novel is Den, an action thriller that fellow author Thom Reese described as “a one-person Hunger Games.” Amy Raven is a 20-year old basketball star who gets framed for using steroids and expelled. She takes a dead-end job at Grater Gameland, a refurbished theme park, to try to start over.

But it’s all a trap set up by the park owner’s son, Gunther Grater, a brilliant, infatuated game designer who’s rigged every ride to trap Amy for himself. He’s challenged other “Stalkers” to a violent all-night game, competing to win Amy as their prize.

Armed with a backpack of tools, Amy must fight her way through the park to escape the Stalkers, clear her name, and, most of all, survive.

What do you think is lacking in Christian Fiction? I feel the Christian market needs a more open mind regarding fiction and how it can be used. That includes publishers, writers, and especially the readers who set the demand for what’s published. When we look at classic fiction that presented Christian messages, like The Chronicles of Narnia, The Lord of the Rings, A Christmas Carol, and so on, we see that ghosts & witches & elves can be used in fiction to help people discover the gospel. But today, people think a story with those elements can’t possibly be godly. Even classic horror stories like Dr. Jekyl and Mr. Hyde, The Invisible Man, and Frankenstein, teach great morals about good and evil and the choices we make, and can easily be told from a Christian perspective.

Some Christian readers avoid all horror, because they think “horror” means all those gory movies that get promoted at Halloween. They don’t recognize that they’re already reading horror by Frank Peretti about demons invading a town, or that classic horror movies like “Jaws” teach great lessons about taking responsibility for a problem. They denounce Harry Potter, but happily accept the witchcraft of the Enchantress in “Beauty and the Beast” who curses a prince and all the servants in his castle. The value of that awesome Disney movie is that it demonstrates the power of transforming love. The fairy tale witchcraft in it – which we find in tons of fairy tales and cartoons and thrillers – is just a means to tell the story. We can enjoy these stories for the great lessons they teach, without fearing we’ll corrupt ourselves because we read a story like Narnia that involves fictional magic.

If I pitch a story to a Christian publisher about a cruel man who learns to be kind and selfless by a conversation with a pack of ghosts, they would never publish it because their readers would be too offended. Yet those same editors and readers would praise A Christmas Carol for its message. We need to learn how to discover the value of great stories now, not several decades from now. The church needs to take a leap forward and stop judging things by their outward appearance and the package it comes in, so they can find out what’s actually inside that package.

Who was your first Screen/Musical Crush? I grew up reading comic books in the ‘70’s, so my natural crush was Lynda Carter as Wonder Woman. I used to feel bad about that, because she is often seen as just a sexual fantasy character, until I learned more about what sets Wonder Woman apart from other heroines. She’s one of very few heroes who shows genuine mercy to her enemies, to the point that she has reformed some of them. The only other hero I have seen demonstrate this quality consistently is the Doctor from the “Doctor Who” series, always ready to forgive and restore villains who were trying to kill them and everyone else.

I’m so excited about the new Wonder Woman movie coming out next year, and how perfect Gal Gadot is for the part. After all the Wonder Woman bashing and failed attempts by writers and producers who didn’t get what the character was about, it’s great to see that they’re doing it right. Gal Gadot is stunning, but no one would watch those film previews and consider her a sex object.

What is your personal, most effective way to get past writers block? I don’t believe in Writer’s Block. If my mind and hands work, then I can physically write my name and address and other random things, so I’m never “blocked” from writing. However, I believe many people suffer from Perfectionist’s Paralysis, which makes them believe they can’t write because it won’t be good enough.

I learned to lower my expectations after reading Joel Saltzmann’s book, If You Can Talk, You Can Write. The first time I write anything, I expect it to be awful. So I’m not disappointed or afraid when it turns out bad. Because it’s normal for a first draft to be bad. That’s why we re-write, to fix the problems.

When I get stuck on what to do with a part of a story or I need to do more research for it, I make a note of what is needed, mark the spot with three asterisks so I can easily find that spot later, and keep writing.

I also don’t start a new story until I have a good idea of how most of it will come together. If I don’t feel I’m generally ready to write the whole story, I wait on it. I have such a big pile of stories waiting to be written that I can pick and choose that way.

What made you take the plunge and finally do it? A few years ago, I asked God what I could do to make extra money. Writing wasn’t working out for me and I even wondered if I was wasting my time doing it. I felt that God told me to do 2 things: get up at 5am in the morning, and do e-books. I wasn’t too consistent with getting up at 5am, but when I did, I had time to read my Bible and do some solid writing.

At that time, an agent felt sure she could sell my Indiana Jones-style adventure thriller, High Adventure, so I held off on self-publishing it. She shopped it to every major Christian publisher I had ever heard of, and it sat with them for almost a year before they all rejected it.

Meanwhile, I had another idea for a story about a 16-year old Red Riding Hood fighting werewolves. I was inspired by the “Red Riding Hood” movie and by “Once Upon a Time”, which turned Snow White in a Robin Hood-type outlaw living in the woods. The agent loved that idea, but I already planned to self-publish it. Even if a publisher contracted it the next day, they wouldn’t release the book for a year. I couldn’t wait that long, because I knew some other writer would land on the same fairy tale action thriller idea and claim I was stealing their concept. So I started self-publishing.

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 get an idea and make notes of scenes and aspects of the story. I also create my own pseudo-soundtrack CD’s for my novels and listen to them while I’m driving around, using the music to write out scenes in my head.

When I gather enough scenes and ideas that I feel ready, I start writing the first draft from the beginning, inserting the scenes I’ve already written and revising them to fit.

After I finish the draft, I create character profiles for all the main characters, and at least some of the minor ones. This helps me figure out their background, and most importantly, their relationship to other characters in the story.

Then I write the 2nd draft, using the details I’ve learned from my character outlines to fill out the story, making it more real. Then I find people to read it and give feedback. I tweak the story based on their responses, proof it some more, and then I’m done.

Who were some of your favorite authors as a child? I didn’t read much growing up. I watched movies and TV and read comic books.

I started reading more in high school and especially after college. My favorite author is Ian Fleming. People who have only seen the James Bond movies don’t realize how good a writer Fleming is. He uses a lot of symbolism and he’s a master of suspense. I’ve applied some of his techniques to my own writing.

I also enjoy reading classic literature, to discover what made it classic. I started this after an ex-girlfriend told me how shocked she was that I graduated with a theatre degree and wanted to be a writer, but I hadn’t studied much Shakespeare. That challenged me to read more classics and learn from the pros. Not Shakespeare and Jane Austen that she would have considered true classics, but the classic authors that would help me improve, like H.G. Wells and Edgar Allen Poe. Again, some people would dismiss these authors, instead of recognizing that Poe invented the short story and the concept of detective stories, even before Sherlock Holmes, and that H.G. Wells actually dreamed up all the science fiction concepts that are now cliché – time travel, an alien invasion, mutating people and animals, and invisibility – and he did it brilliantly. Those books are still great suspenseful reads.

Do you write your books for your own enjoyment or more for what you think people would want to read? Mainly for myself. I write the kind of stories I would want to read. I love action thrillers and movies, and I was always frustrated when I tried to read an action-adventure novel and found it contained almost no action. I expected an “action” novel to be packed with the same kind of scenes found in action movies.

I use films as my model for writing more than novels, because they do a better job of following the principles of classic storytelling, such as “show, don’t tell”. Movies have no choice but to follow that principle, because you can’t “tell” a movie. You have to show it through action. But many novels detail a character’s life story instead of letting the reader discover those details through action. I want every part of my books to draw the reader along, and I sometimes re-read sections of my stories just for fun. I know it sounds arrogant to enjoy your own work, but why would someone write something they don’t love? To me, writing is like reading your favorite story, except that you’re in control of it.

Which of your characters most reflects your personality? Jack Benjamin, from High Adventure. He’s a cross between Indiana Jones and George Bailey from “It’s a Wonderful Life”, feeling like he’s stuck in life, unable to pursue his own dreams. I’ve felt like that so many times, discouraged at my state in life, the way George Bailey was. But then I ultimately find encouragement, reminding myself that real life isn’t about the big successes but the small ones. Staying loyal to your friends, supporting and protecting your family, living an honest life. It’s easy for me to get caught up in the struggle of publishing success, and forget to spend time with God, with my wife and kids, and with friends. I also have a terrible habit of running late, which I made part of Jack’s character, along with a sense of feeling defeated and trapped in life, not recognizing how much he’s helping others. There’s a part of my personal experience in each of my main characters – times I’ve felt isolated and accused by everyone, felt like a hopeless failure, felt ashamed for how I’ve treated someone or disappointed them. But I think I packed most of my flaws into Jack Benjamin, to culminate his sense of feeling defeated, in spite of his awesome skills.

Which is another way he’s like me. I like to drive fast, and I’m very good at maneuvering through Chicago traffic while staying safe. When I was young and foolish, I drove much faster and more recklessly. I learned in my research that, for a biplane like Jack’s to take off, it had to reach a speed of 80 mph. And I thought, “Heck, I’ve done 80!”

The character I’m least like is Helena Basque – the Red Rider. She’s young, impetuous, daring, and constantly getting in people’s face, with no plan for how to get out of it. Kind of like James Bond, who should be quietly spying in the background instead of walking right up to the head villain and saying, “I think you’re behind all this. Now let’s slug it out.” I love Helena, but she’s a little crazy that way.

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 a very clear idea of how a story will flow when I start it, with a general outline in my head of most major scenes. However, I discover and create some things as I’m writing. I might have planned to do a scene one way, but when I start to write it and see where the characters are positioned, I realized my initial plan doesn’t work and I have to adjust it.

In The Red Rider, the writing flowed more easily than anything I had ever written. I knew what would happen in every scene – except for the final climactic chapters. I had no idea exactly how it would all end, and it made me nervous, because I had so many great scenes in the book, I needed to create something colossal for the ending, and I had nothing. I toyed with two or three different ways to end it, with different types of battles in different locations. I finally got my climactic chase-battle-showdown that I wanted, and I’m really happy with it. But sometimes, you’ve got nothing, and you need to do the best you can and try to improve on it later.

Find Randall on his website.

Find Randall’s latest release online:

One lucky reader will win a paperback of your choice of either Den, The Red Rider, or High Adventure: The Solomon Ring of Kilimanjaro! Check out the Rafflecopter to see how to enter.
a Rafflecopter giveaway
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Interview with Author Terri Wangard!

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 excited to have Terri Wangard as my guest. As a lover of all things World War II, I am so jealous (in an “excited for her” kind of way) to read about her riding in a B-17 Flying Fortress bomber! Gasp! Please, enjoy Terri’s interview as much as I did. AND – Terri is giving away an ebook to one of my readers of her latest release! Read below to see how you can enter to win this awesome prize!

Tell us a little bit about yourself. I grew up in Green Bay, Wisconsin. My first Girl Scout badge was the Writer. I’ve always loved books, and going to the library was a favorite activity. No surprise, then, that I have a master’s degree in library science, as well as a bachelor’s degree in history. I’ve lived in Michigan, Utah, and Southern California before returning to Wisconsin. A fun part of my research included going for a ride in a WWII B-17 Flying Fortress bomber.

Tell us about your current release. Carol becomes a Red Cross doughnut girl, serving GIs and boosting their morale. Believing wartime romances are doomed to disappointment, she attempts to avoid entanglements and transfers to France, away from Chet, the airman she’s falling for.

Chet’s father always belittled him. Now a well-regarded navigator, he longs to prove him wrong. After he’s ditched in the North Sea, parachuted into France, and been called before a review, his focus changes to staying alive, and winning the Red Cross girl he keeps crossing paths with.

Who was your first Screen/Musical Crush? Donny Osmond

What inspired you to start writing, or did you always want to write? In first grade the school library had a poetry book with a green cover. It fascinated me, how the words were arranged so beautifully. I scribbled stories in notebooks, which fortunately haven’t survived. By junior high, I’d stopped writing. When I found some Christian romances in a church library, I started thinking of trying to write one. I did, and a publisher had the manuscript for a year before saying no thanks. After reading Debbie Macomber’s Twenty Wishes, I started writing in earnest.

How did you determine whether to self-publish or seek a traditional publisher? A well-known, successful author like Robin Jones Gunn can self-publish, but an unknown? Who would buy my book, or even find out about it? The whole idea of self-publishing scares me silly.

Do you have your plotline and character development already laid out before you begin writing a book, or do they develop as you write? I have the general idea. I don’t write an outline, but I do have notes scattered around that I hope I’ll find when I need them. (No, I don’t have Scrivener). With my second book, No Neutral Ground, I was strengthening the main character right up to the final edit.

Who were some of your favorite authors as a child? I loved the Flicka, Ricka, and Dicka books. Later on, it was the Nancy Drew series.

Do you write your books for your own enjoyment or more for what you think people would want to read? I write what I would like to read. My first book, Friends & Enemies, was inspired by family history on the German side. Knowing very little about them, whether they favored Hitler, I created a family to be proud of. I enjoy the research, learning all I can about topics that interest me.

Find Terri online:

Website, Facebook, Pinterest

Find Terri’s book, Soar Like Eagles!

Enter to win an ebook of Terri’s latest release, Soar Like Eagles!
a Rafflecopter giveaway

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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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Ebook Reader for Christmas? Check Out My FREE Books!

ebook-reader-wrappedMerry Christmas! The first books of all of my series are free in ebook form. Just click the “read more” on each description below, and it will take you to that book’s page and you can choose your vendor. It doesn’t matter if you have a Kindle, Nook, Android, iPad — you can find these books at every retailer.

Enjoy your new ebook reader and enjoy these free reads from me!

SONG OF SUSPENSE SERIES


cover-front_9781939603074_640A Melody for James

Melody and James lead separate lives of discord until an unexpected meeting brings them to a sinister realization. Unbeknownst to them, dark forces have directed their lives from the shadows, orchestrating movements that keep them in disharmony. Fire, loss, and bloodshed can’t shake their faith in God to see them through as they face a percussive climax that will leave lives forever changed. (read more…)


THE JEWEL SERIES


Greater Than Rubies, Book 1.5 of the Jewel SeriesGreater Than Rubies:

Robin Bartlett said yes. Soon, she will say I do. Or will she? Robin is planning her dream wedding to Antonio “Tony” Viscolli. Anxiety hits when she realizes the magnitude of marrying one of Boston’s “Royal Family.” While juggling wedding stress, her father’s legal problems, and Tony’s recent taking on of a ward — forgotten nightmares return reminding Robin of the horrors of her past. (read more…)


Christmas DiamondChristmas Diamond:

Inspired by the Jewel Series and Virtues and Valor series
Written and published as a Christmas gift to Hallee’s readers and fans, this book is a novella that picks up where the Jewels ends. 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? (Read more…)


VIRTUES AND VALOR SERIES


temperancePart 1 TEMPERANCE’S TRIAL:

MARIE GILBERT, code-named is recruited into an experimental all female cohort dubbed the Virtues, a collection of seven extraordinary women with highly specialized skills. Back in her home country of France, Marie clandestinely communicates vital intelligence directly back to Headquarters with a wireless radio, playing a deadly game of cat-and-mouse with the Nazis. (Read more…)

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Interview with Author Karen Jurgens

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 introduce you to Karen Jurgens! Karen has an amazing story of how God actively affected the plot of her book — read on to see exactly what happened with her most recent release, Desire’s Promise. Speaking of — she is giving away a copy of Desire’s Promise! See the Rafflecopter below to see how to enter to win your copy! And now, please enjoy getting to know Karen Jurgens.

Tell us a little bit about yourself. I was born with a big imagination. Since there were twelve years between my older brother and me, I grew up feeling like an only child. I spent my days different ways–acting out plays about a princess or a bride, playing school and house with my dolls, and devouring books—especially the Bobbsey Twin series. After I learned how to write cursive, I penned my dramatic stories and have been writing ever since. My innate love of English and French sustained me through a teaching career until I retired two years ago, and now I am a full-time author and blogger. I enjoy angling my fiction writing to minister to my readers, offering scriptural answers to life’s trials.

Tell us about your current release. My current novella is Desire’s Promise. Carlie Livingston is steering into her last year of college in Oxford, Ohio, confident that she and Lance Holloway are headed to the altar after graduation. Those plans are wrecked by her dad’s infidelity, causing her parents to walk through a messy divorce. Her mother insists Carlie will have the same fate if she marries her college sweetheart who comes from a secular family.

Carlie decides to put God’s Word to the test by letting Him take the wheel of her life. But if God is in control, why are all her close relationships crumbling?  Nothing makes sense. Just when it appears hopeless, Clay McKinney two-steps into her life, promising to provide everything she’s looking for in a mate. But if he’s God’s answer, why can’t her heart release Lance?

Carlie arrives at an unexpected destination on her journey of trust in Book 1 of the Desire Series.

Do you feel pressured to compromise your standards in order to reach a larger audience or be more successful? Yes, I initially felt pressured to compromise the gospel message this book carries. I attempted to gear it to young Christian adults searching for a mate, showing how seeking God’s answer solves the issue. I didn’t want the story to sound “preachy” not to dilute its biblical principles, so I re-wrote a few parts. At one point, I was ready to upload a new edition with a softer gospel, but my browser crashed. Three hours later I was back online, but it was well past midnight. Before shutting my computer down, I checked social media one last time, and that’s when my first review popped up. Five-star. And the most outstanding thing to my reviewer involved the strong gospel thread. As other reviews soon followed, they expressed that my book is unique because it offers real answers that young people need in this generation. That’s when I realized that writing for the Lord means no compromising. I am praying that the Lord will use this story to minister to anyone seeking a godly mate.

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 do some of both. I am a plotter and a pantster. I first map an outline of the entire story’s main plot and characters. But as I create a scene, the characters come alive, like actors on a stage, and show me what they want to say. It’s funny how they become so real to me, even creating their own subplots. If I ever reach an impasse, I give the scene back to the characters. Sometimes we have a tug-of-war. but In the end, everyone is satisfied. There’s never a dull moment when the creative juices are flowing.

What is your personal, most effective way to get past writer’s block? Prayer always comes first because everything I write is for God’s glory, and He is the real author behind the story. Second is physical activity. Whether I am cleaning the house or riding a stationary bike at spin class, my mind relaxes. That’s when the ideas flow, and I can visualize my next scene and how it will play out. If my ideas become stale, prayer and physical activity get them percolating.

Who was your first Screen/Musical Crush? I first fell in love with the most handsome man I’d ever witnessed on-screen. His dark hair, those darling dimples, the way he scrunched his eyes when he gazed into the eyes of his lover. His disarming smile, half-sarcastic, before those passionate kisses. No wonder a girl could practically faint in his arms. Who could it be? Only the charming Rhett Butler in Gone with the Wind. Clark Gable, that handsome devil, has always been my first Screen Crush.

What’s the first major news headline that you can remember and what do you remember? In second grade, my teacher quieted our class so we could hear our principal make an announcement over the intercom. Although we were very young, we learned a new word that day: assassination. Someone rolled a small television on a cart into our classroom, and we watched the live coverage of the news from Dallas. Everyone was shocked to realize that President John F. Kennedy had just lost his life from the bullets of his assassin, Lee Harvey Oswald. That day will always live vividly in my memory.

What advice do you have for aspiring writers? Follow your heart; follow your dreams. Follow the Lord’s trail of rose petals as he gives you His words to write. Stay true to Him, and He will guide your work to the eyes that should read your message. Never worry about how many readers or reviews you have; only be concerned with God’s review and that you have done your best to please Him.

Find Karen online!

Twitter, Facebook, Her Blog, Her Website, Her Amazon Page

Find Karen’s latest release!

Enter to win a copy of Karen’s latest release, Desire’s Promise!
a Rafflecopter giveaway

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I’m so grateful for your visit, today.
You would bless me if you added me to your Subscribe via any Reader feed reader or subscribed Subscribe via Email via email.
You can also become a fan on Become a Facebook Fan Facebook or follow me on Follow me on Twitter Twitter. I would love to see more of you!


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Interview with Author Jenna Victoria!

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, it is my absolute honor to introduce you to my friend, Jenna Victoria. I have served with Jenna on the Romance Writers of America Faith-Hope-Love chapter’s board for many years. This year, I am president of that chapter, and I honestly wouldn’t want to do that job without Jenna by my side. Plus, she likes cake — always my favorite! Please enjoy her interview. At the end, you’ll see the Rafflecopter that will tell you all the ways that you can enter to win a copy of her book!

Tell us a little bit about yourself.

Ever since my grandfather co-created Twinkies, Snowballs & Hostess cupcakes for Intercontinental Baking Company, circa 1959, I’ve yet to taste a cake I haven’t liked.

jennavictoriaI am the author of  “fiction that feeds your faith” – Happily-Ever-After romance & romantic suspense stories with a Christian world view. I also write clean, wholesome romances. My stories emulate those I enjoy reading…with a heroine who is in grave danger & a hero who is smart enough to get out of her way as she takes charge & takes down names… and those that feature the sweetest of fairy-tale-ending love stories.

I write romances that glorify God and His sacrificial love through His Son, Jesus Christ and show how He gives us hope & peace amidst unbearable situations. After my first breast cancer diagnosis in 2012, several reoccurrences and metastasis, I continue to praise God and trust His oversight in my life; and continue to write more books as long as He gives me breath.

Tell us about your current release.

War of the Heart – When a vintage snow globe sends Boston dress designer Louise Martin & British B&B owner George Walker back in time to London, December 1940, they race against the clock to reconcile a feud between their families and solve a 75-year-old mystery. As Louise relies on God; and on George for guidance, friendship then love, will the future George envisions strangle her own dreams? Will their love survive generations of mistrust, the Blitz and being stranded in wartime 1940, possibly never to return to their former lives?

What is one thing that you “never saw yourself doing” and either do it now or have done?

Being diagnosed with metastatic breast cancer over four years ago and experiencing such a rich joy and contentment in God’s provision for my life and through daily struggles.

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

Absolutely, yes. I believe having a writing ability that resonates with readers is a God-given talent to be used for His Glory. As I write fiction with a Christian worldview, it is up to God to determine if and how my words get in front of those who would be blessed. It is my responsibility to write the words.

What advice do you have for aspiring writers?

Something I wished I had listened to many years ago…”Butt in chair, hands on keyboard. Relentlessly.”

war-of-the-heart-1Do you remember where you were or what you were doing when you started this story?

A writer friend told me of a “call for submissions” from a small Christian press, for a Christmas snow globe story that involved time travel. I found the idea intriguing and once I chose WWII London during Christmas 1940 as my main setting, I was off and running to the keyboard. The publisher loved my premise, and here we are!

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 recommend getting involved in real-life events where you meet/greet those in the publishing world. For example, attending conferences where you volunteer as well as participate, or serve on the committee of a local RWA or ACFW event. Once you interact with agents and editors on this other “service” or “volunteer” level, it helps demystify them and makes them more approachable from your perspective when you do pitch your work. For six years I served as chairwoman of a local writer’s luncheon, well before I was published, and it helped me develop confidence and poise around industry leaders.

What made you take the plunge and finally do it?

Although I had published newspaper articles and short stories, it wasn’t until I attended a writer’s conference to hand-hold a nervous friend that I realized my purpose.

The conference was not a Christian author conference; far from it.  I looked over the raffle basket room where there were tables upon tables of romances featuring demons, witches, warlocks, shape-shifters, ghosts etc.  I heard a small nudge from the Holy Spirit at the back of my mind: “These authors are furthering Satan’s kingdom, I want you to use your talent to further God’s kingdom.” Amen!

Find Jenna online:

Twitter, Facebook, Amazon Author Page,  Heroes of Song Personal Blog, Book Review Blog, Instagram, Pinterest 

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