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Month: June 2019

Monday Morning Coffee and Chat 6/24/19 – Conference Chat and A Melody for James

Hello! Welcome to Monday morning coffee and chat!

Monday Morning Coffee and Chat – today I’m talking about decompressing after the Kentucky Christian Writers Conference and a phone call I received about A Melody for James.


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Interview with Heather Greer 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 bringing you Heather Greer. I met Heather at the Blue Ridge Mountains Christian Writers Conference and LOVED every conversation I had with her. She and I connected, and reading her interview I now know we connected on a fundamental, geeky level as fellow Doctor Who and Sherlock fans. (heh) But more, I love her heart for Jesus and her family, and I am thrilled that she is here with us today. Read on to see how you can enter to win her latest release!

Tell us a little bit about yourself. I am a writer who is passionate about helping believers grow in their faith walks. I’m a pastor’s wife (which I honestly never thought I’d be after growing up as a preacher’s kid) and mother to four wonderful children. Two of my children are married, and the other two are still at home. I have the most amazing five year old grandson who I try to keep supplied with all the best chidren’s books. I love to read, bake, and binge watch my favorite television shows. I tend to geek out about things like Doctor Who, Sherlock, and the Lord of the Rings. And I can’t forget my all-time favorite movie, The Princess Bride.

Tell us about your current release. Grasping Hope is the sequel to my first book, Faith’s Journey. Katie McGowan is planning her wedding to Austin, but that doesn’t mean everything is going smoothly. Katie is struggling with emotional baggage from her first engagement that ended after her fiance was unfaithful. Grasping Hope takes us through Katie’s struggles to learn what hope is and where it comes from. Even after she thinks she has it all figured out, Katie learns circumstances can change in an instant testing the lessons we thought we’d learned.

If you knew ahead of time your book would benefit only one person on their spiritual journey, would you still write it? Definitely. I like to remember that while “God so loved the world”, He would have gone through everything He went through even if I was the only one who would accept His gift. If God is that way, I think we should be too.

What’s the first major news headline that you can remember and what do you remember? I think it would have to be the Challenger explosion. I was ten, and with a teacher aboard, it was a big deal in school. It was the first time I felt like the news was connected to me in some way.

Who was your first Screen/Musical Crush? I actually remember two different t.v. crushes from about the same time. It’s embarassing, but I wasn only around six years old. The first was Greg Evigan from B.J. and the Bear. My two older brothers liked watching the show, and I decided I didn’t mind watching it with them. The second I shouldn’t have known about at six years old! My great-granny would babysit me, and she always had to watch her story at lunch. Her story just happened to be The Young and the Restless. Michael Damian played an older teen or young adult named Danny Romalotti, and I remember thinking he was really cute.

Who were some of your favorite authors as a child? The first books I loved were the Berestain Bears books. I loved library day at school, because I could always get a new one. As I got a little older I remember loving Janette Oke’s Animal Friends story series. In middle school and junior high, I loved the Cedar River Daydreams series by Judy Baer and the Christy Miller series by Robin Jones Gunn. In high school, anything by Lori Wick or Linda Chaikin became favorites. Now, I blog reviews regularly. So, I find new authors to love all the time. My husband isn’t thrilled about that, but I tell him buying new books is now part of my job! However, my favorite writer is Kristen Heitzmann.

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? I’ve wanted to write since I was a child. But I had a love-hate relationship with creative writing assignments in school. I loved to get them. But I had teachers who were less than encouraging at times. I didn’t write what they wanted, and they didn’t hesitate to mark down my grade because of it. I never won the contests our work was submitted to. These don’t sound like much, but to a girl who struggled with self-confidence, they were pretty big blows. But I couldn’t shake the stories in my head. The books I’d read meant so much to me that I wanted to give the same experience to others. So, I couldn’t give up. My ideas come from a variety of places. I’ve written about things I love, things my children’s interests have inspired, lessons that I’ve learned, and situations that sparked an idea. Sometimes a person, place, or Bible verse starts the story for me. It changes with each story I write.

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? For me, that assumption would be wrong, at least most of the time. Whatever starts the idea in my mind usually brings me to the opening scene. From there, I don’t necessarily know where the characters are headed. My first book, Faith’s Journey was born out of the idea of what someone deals with when they’ve been betrayed and how it would affect them if they didn’t have faith to help them through. The book begins with the betrayal. Several chapters into the book the end made itself clear. In fact, I actually wrote the first third and then the last third of the book before finishing the middle! But it wasn’t until I was into the story that I figured out where it was heading. I had to let Katie develop and decide where she would go. With so much of the story already written and the characters developed, I had a better idea of the plot details for the sequel, Grasping Hope, but even then there were some surprises as I wrote. With the third book, I know what I want to show and where I want Katie’s story to end up, but the details of how to get there are still working themselves out.

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, I find it easy to get started. I either come to it with an idea, scene, or person that’s really grabbed my attention. I’m excited by it, and like a child with a new toy, I don’t want to put it down. It’s further into the story that I usually have more trouble. I’ve made it through the beginning, and I know where I want to end up. But there are times when the events in the middle leave me anxious to get where I’m going. When that happens, I struggle to push through.

Here is where you can find Heather online:




Monday Morning Coffee and Chat 6/17 – What Do You Like About Writers Conferences? And a Giveaway!

Hello! Welcome to Monday morning coffee and chat! Today I’m answering the question, “What do you like about writers conferences?”

Also – I mentioned the The Eric and Joe Show — look at the bottom of this page for their videos they wrote for our 2018 conference:

AND – don’t forget to share this video to enter to win the coffee cup!


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The Second Yes is Now Available!

First they said yes to their guys, but now it’s time for the second yes–the dress!

Five of today’s Best-selling Christian Authors weave five unique, connected stories where wedding dresses come with unique adventures and touching “I do’s.”

Season of Surprises by Alexa Verde:
The maid-of-honor and best-man embark on a journey to recover an heirloom wedding dress that was mistakenly sold. Along the way, the former high school sweethearts unexpectedly encounter danger, surprises, and a second chance at love.

Something Borrowed, Someone Blue by Chautona Havig:
A borrowed dress, half-completed marriage counseling, and a last-minute theft lead up to the big day. Face it. Weddings equal stress for the families involved. Preachers, however, have it easy. Or so everyone thinks.

Black Belt, White Dress by Hallee Bridgeman:
Deputy Sheriff and full time tomboy Traci Winston agrees to marry Taekwondo Master Travis Seaver, provided they exchange vows at 2000 feet while skydiving over the Grand Canyon. However, Traci’s mother has more conventional plans, and she finds herself trying on dresses and planning an elaborate ceremony in their hometown church complete with butterflies and cummerbunds. Can Traci manage to smile while walking down the aisle? Or will she collapse under the weight of girly ribbons and bows?

Sewn Together by Alana Terry:
A family torn apart. A pregnancy that’s expected to end in heartache instead of joy. Despite hardship and trial, hope abounds in this heartwarming and inspirational novella full of love, faith, and miracles.

The Second Yes by Amanda Tru:
For top fashion designer London Hutchins, life so far sums up in her closet full of wedding dresses—one for each guy she’s ever dated. Moving back home to Crossroads seems so right, especially when she finds her high school sweetheart waiting there. London soon discovers that local bridal shop owner, Rhonda Snow, isn’t as nice as everyone says. A little harmless meddling to help a few of Rhonda’s clients couldn’t possibly hurt anything, right?

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Interview with Christine Dillon 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 have Christine Dillon joining us again! I had the amazing opportunity to speak at the Omega Christian Writers Conference in Australia a couple of years ago, and doing so opened my network up to so many amazing Australian authors. Christine is a missionary who is the child of missionaries.  I love seeing service to Christ going back generations. Read on to see more about her writing process, her heart for her stories, and to see how you can win a copy of her book!

Tell us a little bit about yourself. I’m a missionary and the child of missionaries and have had the privilege of spending most of my life in Asia (Taiwan, Malaysia and the Philippines). This has meant that many Australians think I’m a foreigner but has reminded me that I’m a citizen of heaven first and will always be alien here.I have spent the last twenty years telling God’s story in southern Taiwan.

My writing journey started with poetry and non-fiction and now I’m working on book three in a contemporary Australian series.

I love reading (of course) but also hiking, kayaking, cycling and doing genealogy.

Tell us about your current release. Grace in the Shadows is book two of a Contemporary Christian fiction series which now looks like being six books. It is based mainly in Sydney, Australia with a brief excursion to Port Macquarie.

Physiotherapist Esther has survived cancer, but wounds within her family remain unhealed. Is her revived faith the reason for the rift or could a simmering secret be the root cause?

Cosmetics consultant Rachel buried her past – and her father’s God – but the past refuses to stay buried. Will she continue to run or is confronting her pain the way to freedom?

Two women.

One collision course with truth.

Can God’s grace shine even in the darkest of shadows?

Book trailer here:

If you knew ahead of time your book would benefit only one person on their spiritual journey, would you still write it? I started writing fiction out of obedience to an inner urging that had been pressurising me for about seven years. There were so many other (easier) things that I would have preferred to be doing. So in one sense I wrote for the audience of one. Along the way the first person to benefit was myself. However, writing these stories is a ministry. Yes, I’d write for one if that was what God asked but I always hoped that there would be more than one who would benefit.

Do you feel pressured to compromise your standards in order to reach a larger audience or be more successful? This links in with the previous question. The pressure is always there to write for worldly success but I have no intention of giving in. I write for God and myself. I am writing the fiction that I like to read. I don’t mind reading thrillers and mysteries … but my favourite books are life changing ones. Ones that push me to follow more closely after Jesus. I am successful when I chose to be obedient. If God wants to give me ‘success’ in terms of many people reading my books that is his business. I am enjoying the slow and steady build up. I don’t think I would have wanted a sudden ‘success’ in worldly terms.

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)? The key is prayer and being sure what it is that God wants me to do. That gives me confidence that he will help me write a worthwhile book. Many others join me in prayer. I have for two excellent editors. I have been tempted to only have one editor and thus save money but the two have different strengths. I trust them not to let me release the book until it is ready. I also have a team of readers who give me many comments and later a team of proofreaders. Then I also work with an excellent cover designer.

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’m a plotter. I use small coloured index cards both in Scrivener (my writing software) and on a bulletin board. If there are two characters, I use two different colour cards. I first work out the crisis points at the 25, 50, 75% points and then work out one main idea/chapter between those points. Generally it is around 40 chapters. Things also develop as I write and sometimes I have to add extra chapters … 

Do you have pre-determined length in mind when you first begin a book? The general guideline length for women’s fiction is 70-90,000 words. So I set 80,000 in my Scrivener software and I have found that the story fits well into that guideline. (Hint for new writers: Look up on google ‘what length should a X genre novel be?’)

Do you talk out plot lines with others, and if so, who? Over the last three years I’ve been slowly becoming part of a different writing communities. I now have three other authors and we support and encourage each other. That includes beta reading each others work or talking through our plots …

I’m a verbal processor so I’ll often talk through a plot with one of my editors. I can also ask for prayer or ideas on my closed Facebook group. That group also vote on titles, covers … 

How hard is it to come up with names for your characters? What are some of the sources you use? For the first book I chose the names myself. Knowing the personalities of each character I tried to choose an appropriate name. During the first book launch I ran a competition and allowed those attending to choose some of the minor characters names for book two.

For book three, I have asked those who are part of my private ‘storytellerchristine’ Facebook group to suggest names. I always give a summary of the person including personality, age (birth decade) and cultural background. Often people choose a name to honour someone in their life. I do the same.

Involving others in the process increases their excitement about the upcoming book.

Find Christine’s latest release online:

Here is where you can find Christine online:

Christine is giving away an ebook copy of her newest release to a lucky reader! See below how to enter: a Rafflecopter giveaway



Monday Morning Coffee and Chat 6/10/20 – Talking About Write Like a Pro Writers Conference #WLAPWC2019, Kentucky Christian Writers Conference #KCWC19, and JumpMaster Press’ Jump Cards!

Hello! Welcome to Monday morning coffee and chat!

Today, I’m talking about teaching at the Write Like a Pro Writers Conference, the Kentucky Christian Writers Conference, and my new JumpCards from Jumpmaster Press.

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