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Month: January 2019

Setting Sail!

I’m typing this from the airport as I prepare to board my plane and fly to New Orleans. I have an upcoming book that takes place entirely on a cruise ship; however, I have never been on a cruise ship in my life. So, in order to “write what you know”, I am heading out for the week on a cruise to the Bahamas.

I’m going alone so that I can work. If I’m not interviewing staff and guests, I’ll be writing and writing and writing. As apprehensive as I am about going into the unknown alone, I am looking forward to a full week of absolutely no responsibilities and no time constraints. I want to see how many words I can write in that kind of environment.

I appreciate any prayers for traveling mercies and safety. Also for the words to just pour out of me so that the only reason I have to stop typing is to give my hands a break! 🙂

If you want to experience my journey with me, you can follow #cruisingwithhallee on Twitter, Instagram, or Facebook.

Have a wonderful week!

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Interview with Author Gail Kittleson 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 LOVE WWII. LOVE it. I love studying it, I love reading about it. So, it’s a pleasure for me to have author Gail Kittleson as my guest today. Gail is giving away her WWII era Kiss Me Once to one of you, so read on to see how you can enter to win!

Tell us a little bit about yourself: My husband and I live in northern Iowa, where I used to teach for a community college. Before that, I taught in Oregon, and love cheering people on in their writing and language learning. My degree in ESL is a perfect fit, because I enjoy meeting people from all over the world.

Tell us about your current release: Kiss Me Once Again, my current release, is named by a phrase in a World War II love song my mom used to sing around the house. Glenora, a self-sacrificing young woman, has already given up a lot when she took over the household after her mother died. Then she lost her beau at Pearl Harbor…and her younger brother went to war. Glenora gave up her scholarship to Iowa State University to help her father in the family garage.
She sees Old Maid written all over her life, but the tension of wondering whether her brother survived when a typhoon hit his ship in the Pacific overwhelms every other consideration. This contributes to her father suffering health problems, and the cycle seems unending.
When a returned wounded veteran comes to town and offers to help out at the garage, relief fills her. This man has a way with ornery old trucks and tractors…and also with her father.
With her heart sealed up against romance, Glenora has no idea second chances might await her.

How do you push past the fear of your writing being average and be bold enough to sell it to a publisher? I think age helps with this. I always say I would have started this career much younger if I had believed in myself. But self-confidence grows slowly…for me it took decades. But then came a time when I felt a compulsion to get a story out there, and that got me over the finish line.

Whats the first major news headline that you can remember and what do you remember? (ie. Moon Walk, Watergate, Pope being shot) Ah, I may be older than you think. It was the assassination of JFK when I was in high school. My parents voted Republican, but still, that event affected me…especially when all of the parallels to the assassination of Abraham Lincoln were publicized.

What inspired you to start writing, or did you always want to write? Always wanted to, but had no idea WHAT to write. The lack of confidence I referred to above made it seem that none of my ideas were worth pursuing.

Do you have your plotline and character development already laid out before you begin writing a book, or do they develop as you write? Not at all. A character comes to me and whispers her story in my ear, little by little. As I do historical research, the plot develops around what was going on in the world (the war) at the time. I have no predetermined length in mind, but my novels usually come in at around 100,000 words.

Who do you envision your typical reader to be? People with an interest in history are drawn to my novels, especially those with family connections to World War II. Some of them have their parents’ stories tucked away in their memories, or in their attics…and I learn so much from them when they attend a book talk.

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? These characters have not been with me always. One day, one of them appeared when I was working in a B&B near where I live. I thought, “In WWII, this would have been a boarding house, and somebody would have cooked and cleaned for the residents.” Voila, one of my characters!

What do you do when you hit a roadblock and have NO idea what to write? More research. The more I learn about the war, the more plot possibilities arise. Perhaps I learn of one more that one of my characters might follow.

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? This is not true for me. Because I have no plot laid out, but just keep writing as I research and develop secondary characters, the changes I make come later on, in one of the final edits.

Do you talk out plot lines with others, and if so, who? Sometimes I call an old friend who has much more skill at plotting than I do, to ask if she thinks a certain action or connection is too far-fetched. What often happens, though, is that what really occurred during the war far exceeds anything I could imagine.

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? Usually, they flow. But the manuscript before me right now is about a REAL LIFE WWII nurse, and her exploits so blow me away that I had a hard time getting started. How could I possibly honor her enough for all she risked? Once I began writing, things got better, but I still have that paying enough tribute to her is virtually impossible.

What is the farthest location you traveled to in order to research a book? My husband and I studied French in the early eighties in an isolated French mountain village. At the time, I had no idea I would be writing about WWII some day, but what we saw and experienced there instructed me while writing A Purpose True about the French Resistance.

If only I had known what a significant role that town played in the war, I would have interviewed everything that moved!

Last spring, we celebrated our 40th anniversary in England. Wow…so much came alive for me that I had already written about. Maybe one future novel will take place totally in Great Britain.

How old were you when you wrote your first book? Too old to mention…haha! About fifty-five.

Here is where you can find Gail online: https://www.facebook.com/gail.kittleson https://twitter.com/GailGkittleson

Find Gail’s recent release online:

Gail is giving away readers choice a paperback (US only) or an e-book (anyone) of Kiss Me Once Again to a reader! See below how you can enter to win:
a Rafflecopter giveaway

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Daniel Fast Menu Week 3

The Daniel Fast is explained in detail in this post. Basically, it’s vegan extreme — only fruits and vegetables to eat, only water to drink. We consider whole grains allowable, which is why I’m serving brown rice and homemade crackers, oatmeal, and muesli. Our family also fasts from leavened bread while doing a Daniel Fast.

With this kind of diet and fasting, it’s important to menu plan. Here is my plan for week three:

Jan 16 Mango, pineapple, banana, coconut , cashews smoothie Baked acorn squash

Grilled vegetables

Salad

Vegetable stir fry

Edamame

Brown rice

Jan 17 Fresh fruit

Raw almonds

Veggie wrap in homemade tortilla

Chips and salsa

Mushroom and asparagus risotto

Salad

Jan 18 Oatmeal with dried fruit and nuts Vegetable soup

Homemade crackers

Sweet potato and black bean hash

Salad

Jan 19 Muesli with unsweetened coconut milk Leftover soup Vegetarian spaghetti sauce over whole wheat noodles

Salad

Jan 20 Mango, pineapple, banana, coconut , cashews smoothie Baked sweet potato

Steamed broccoli

Salad with sunflower seeds

Roasted portabella mushrooms and veggies over brown rice

Salad

Jan 21 Fresh fruit

Raw almonds

Tortillas with pinto beans and guacamole Ratatouille

Brown rice

Salad

Jan 22 Oatmeal with dried fruit and nuts Spinach and strawberry salad

Chips and hummus

Taco dinner – pinto  beans, Brown rice, homemade tortillas, guacamole

 

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Interview with Debra Lynn Collins 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 happy to bring you Debra Lynn Collins. Debra is coming to us from one of my favorite states – Alabama – and her new release sounds like such a fun read! And, she’s giving away a paperback of it! So, read on to see how you can enter to win.

Tell us a little bit about yourself.  My name is Debra Lynn Collins I’m an Amazon No# 1 bestselling self-published author. I was born and raised in Georgia, but moved to Gaylesville, Alabama after my 1981 marriage. I consider myself a Georgiabamian. God has blessed me with four children and eight grandchildren. Through the years, I tried my hand at many, many crafts. Everything from quilting, candle making, woodworking, cake decorating, scrapbooking, and the list goes on and on. I’m living my own happily-ever-after ending with my biggest fan and husband, Steve, while writing contemporary Christian romances.  I’m also is a graduate from The Long Ridge Writers Group and an active member of ACFW (American Christina Fiction Writers)

 Tell us about your current release. JUST ONE KISS. (A Runaway Bride Novella) Amber Lexington has to make one of the biggest decisions in her life, and she only has seconds to make it. It’s either jump out of a wedding chapel window or be trapped in a loveless marriage forever.    Rejected and abandoned by his fiancée, Nolan Spearman needs a reprieve to get his life back on track. When his parents offer him the job of remodeling their newly acquired beach house, Nolan gladly accepts. It’s the perfect plan. That is, until his twin sister and her best friend, Amber, show up and throw a wrench into his well-laid plans. Will he be able to keep his heart from falling in love again? Especially with a woman who harbors a secret that could change everything?

With all those characters in your head screaming to get out how do you write fast enough to get it all down? That’s a good question. Sometimes, I have to take a deep breath, grabbed a note pad, and jot down the highlights. Then I can come back to them later.

What inspired you to start writing, or did you always want to write? I’ve always wanted to write. The first story I remember writing is when I was 13 years old. I’d watched a movie on TV, and I didn’t like the way it ended. So, I took my school notebook, locked myself in my room, and rewrote the entire movie with the ending that I wanted. That’s when I knew I wanted to be a writer.

What made you take the plunge and finally do it? I enrolled in a writer’s course after my children were grown, and that’s where my writing journey began.

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 am a seat-of-the-pants writer. I start out with a vision of what I want the story to be, but it develops as I write. It’s almost like watching a movie play out in my head.

Do you have a pre-determined length in mind when you first begin a book? Most of the time I do. However, sometimes, it may be longer than I’ve planned. It’s really up to my characters.

What advice do you have for aspiring writers? Write, write, write, and don’t let others discourage you. If you have a story that burns in your heart. Write it!

What is your preferred method of writing? I prefer to write on my laptop or Ipad. I love to write outdoors sitting on my deck with a tall glass of iced tea. I can also carry either one on the road with me, because you never know when you next scene my strike. 😊 I do have a desktop, but I don’t like being bound to my office.

Where’s the strangest place you’ve ever had a great writing idea? On one of the roller coasters at Six Flags over Georgia.

Find Debra online:

Website: www.debralynncollins.com

Find Debra’s latest release online:


Debra is giving away a paperback copy of Just One Kiss. See below how you can win!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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Monday Morning Coffee and Chat 1/14/19 – The Virtues and Valor Series

Hello! Welcome to Monday morning coffee and chat!

I really appreciate all of the questions that I get from my readers. Today I’m answering the question, answering the question, “I love love the Virtues and Valor Series! Do you plan to write more in that series?”

I hope you learn more about me through my response:

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Daniel Fast Menu Week 2

The Daniel Fast is explained in detail in this post. Basically, it’s vegan extreme — only fruits and vegetables to eat, only water to drink. We consider whole grains allowable, which is why I’m serving brown rice and homemade crackers, oatmeal, and muesli. Our family also fasts from leavened bread while doing a Daniel Fast.

With this kind of diet and fasting, it’s important to menu plan. Here is my plan for week two:

Jan 10 Oatmeal with dried fruit and nuts Tomato, kale, and lentil soup

Salad

16-bean soup

Salad

Jan 11 Muesli with unsweetened coconut milk Leftover soup

Salad

Falafel

Hummus

Salad

Jan 12 Mango, pineapple, banana, coconut , cashews smoothie  Chips and hummus

Salad

Chickpea and butternut tagine over cous cous
Jan 13 Fresh fruit

Raw almonds

Baked sweet potato

Salad with sunflower seeds

Pink beans

Brown rice

Fried cabbage

Steamed veggies

Jan 14 Oatmeal with dried fruit and nuts Sautéed veggies over brown rice

Salad

Vegetarian chili

Salad

Jan 15 Muesli with unsweetened coconut milk Baked potato topped with leftover chili and guacamole

Salad

Grilled Portabella mushrooms, onions, and peppers over brown rice

Salad

Jan 16 Mango, pineapple, banana, coconut , cashews smoothie Baked acorn squash

Grilled vegetables

Salad

Vegetable stir fry

Edamame

Brown rice

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