Skip to content

Month: September 2019

Interview with Regina Rudd Merrick 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 happy to bring you fellow Kentuckian Regina Rudd Merrick! Like Regina, I LOVED the Little House on the Prairie books and dreamed of being a pioneer. When I read them the first time, I lived in Oregon and had recently been to the Pioneer Museum – which just added fuel to my brain’s fire. I hope you enjoy Regina’s interview as much as I did. Read on to see how you can enter to win a copy of her book Coastal Promises!

Tell us a little bit about yourself. First, thanks so much for hosting me today! I am a writer, church musician, wife, mother, former librarian, and grateful follower of Jesus Christ. I’ve lived most of my life in Western Kentucky, but I dream about the sound of crashing waves and sandy beaches. I’ve been married to my husband, Todd, for 36 years, I’m the mother of two grown daughters, and the keeper of a 100-year-old house where I live in the small town of Marion, KY. I’ve written and published three books, Carolina Dream (Apr. 2017), Carolina Mercy (July 2018), Carolina Grace (February 2019) in the Southern Breeze Series, and my newest story,“Pawleys Aisle,” a Southern Breeze novella in the Coastal Promises collection, published by Mantle Rock Publishing, LLC. I’m excited to be a part of the Mosaic Collection, and will release the first novel in my new “Reno-Vations” series June 2020!

Tell us about your current release. Coastal Promises is a novella collection from Mantle Rock Publishing, LLC, featuring four authors and four beachy romances set along the Southeast Coast. My story is “Pawleys Aisle,” and is a Southern Breeze novella, connected to my Southern Breeze Series!

Here’s a little bit about each story!

All Yours, Art and Soul by Diane Turpin (debut author!). Beth Kindall’s desire to discover the anonymous buyer of her watercolor painting is complicated by the arrival of architect, Trevor Garrett. Their instant spark upsets Trevor’s realtor who already had her eyes on the newcomer. Can Beth unravel the mysterious buyer, sort out her own commitment issues, and thwart the realtor’s advances on Trevor?

For the Love of Dolphins by Kathy Cretsinger. Sadie Miller inherited one of the dolphin tour boats when her father passed away suddenly. She was determined to make the tour as successful as her father had, even with the problems with her dad’s brother Uncle Joe. When her old middle school flame. Ian Glover returns from England, and her life takes her places she’d never dreamed.

Pawleys Aisle by Regina Rudd Merrick. Leaving a lucrative position in the banking world for the creative world of weddings, Chelsea Prince finds the perfect venue, Pawleys Island Chapel, next door to the perfect walled garden. Her elderly neighbor and partner-in-planning have an agreement, but when the unexpected happens, she has to deal with the cranky grandson who wants to be left alone to write the next great American novel. Since Chelsea has sworn off men, it shouldn’t be a problem to ignore him and go on her way hosting weddings in the chapel. But when Marc McCallum offers up a compromise, she wonders if maybe there is one man out there that can be trusted.

Surf Song by Pam Harris. Dreams don’t always work out as imagined, a fact country music singer Rachelle has learned all too well. Burned out by the demands of her singing career, she flees from Nashville to a quaint inn in the Outer Banks of North Carolina where she hopes to find peace and clarity. Registering under her real name of Holly Bellamy and sporting a new hair color and style to disguise her true identity, she revels in being just a “regular person.” When she and the inn’s owner begin to develop feelings for each other, however, her life takes a turn she never expected.

What do you think is lacking in Christian Fiction? Humor! I love a romance that can make me LAUGH more than I cry! I know conflict is what drives a plot, but honestly, I couldn’t handle some of the relationship issues I read about – I’d be too depressed! I try to throw a little humor in when I can, but I know why it’s lacking – humor is HARD!

Who was your first Screen/Musical Crush? My very first screen crush was Fess Parker in reruns of “Daniel Boone.” Yes, you read that correctly. At age 6, I thought he was an absolute dreamboat! LOL My first musical crush was David Cassidy. I have several “Partridge Family” albums, and have, in fact, memorized every song in “The Partridge Family Greatest Hits.” Sigh . . .

What made you take the plunge and finally do it? I began this writing thing by writing fanfiction. I found kindred spirits there, and ended up with somewhat of a following on a forum-style website with several other authors who were writing with a Christian bent. After a bit I was invited to join a group of authors seeking publication, and one of those authors invited me to room with her at my first ACFW conference in Indianapolis. I had completed my first original manuscript while writing about 40 fanfiction pieces, several of which were short-novel-length. The rest, as they say, is history!

Do you have your plotline and character development already laid out before you begin writing a book, or do they develop as you write? Great question! No, and yes! For the first book, I didn’t know what I was doing, so I just WROTE. It all came together in rewrites as far as plot and structure. After that, since I was writing a series, I had to be cognizant of continuity, so I actually plotted my stories and interviewed my characters. That’s not to say things do not change as I go – they most certainly do – but I usually have a general idea of how it will end. Note that I said a GENERAL idea! 😉

Who were some of your favorite authors as a child? I’ve loved books all my life. My first favorite author was Laura Ingalls Wilder. I dreamt of being a pioneer girl. My fourth grade teacher introduced me to her books, and I still re-read some of them! Other series I loved were the Trixie Belden series, Nancy Drew, Hardy Boys, etc. By the time I was twelve or thirteen I was reading Grace Livingston Hill, Phyllis Whitney, Victoria Holt, and just about anything that was a mystery or a clean romance!

What do you do when you hit a roadblock and have NO idea what to write? This question actually came up in a writing group I met with this week. That’s tough, especially when you’re just starting out. The best advice I can give when you hit that wall is to go back to your characters. Interview them. Get to know them like they’re your best friend or a relative. What DON’T you know about them that would help you write their story? It’s also a reason I like to have more than one point of view (POV). When I run out of one POV ideas, I can move on to the other POV and look at it from their perspective! It helps!

Here is where you can find Regina online:

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Regina-R-Merrick-512257938964888/?ref=aymt_homepage_panel

Twitter: https://twitter.com/trmerrick64

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

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

Website: https://www.reginaruddmerrick.com

Publisher Website: https://mantlerockpublishing.com/

Regina is giving away a Kindle version of her book to a lucky reader! See below how you can enter to win:a Rafflecopter giveaway

halleeLOGOspinefinal

Pin It
11 Comments

Interview with Sherrinda Ketchersid 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 pleased to introduce you to pastor wife and romance writer Sherrinda Ketchersid! I really love how I can see Sherrinda’s heart for her stories and for her readers in her answers. I hope you enjoy her interview as much as I did. Sherrinda is 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’ve been married to a preacher for 34 years, have 4 grown children (3 boys and 1 girl), and am momma the cutest mixed terrier, Phineas. I love to read, paint and journal in my Bible, and tend-er, try to keep alive-a flower garden in my backyard. I’ve been writing medieval romance, but may try my hand at another era like Regency in the near future.

Tell us about your current release. Lord of Her Heart is about Jocelyn Ashburne, who had been sent to a convent for an education after her mother died and her father remarried. When she is forced to choose between taking her vows or marrying a lewd old man, she disguises as a boy and flees the convent to return home to find the reason for her father’s silence. Accosted by ruffians along the way, she is rescued by Malcolm Castillon, a knight seeking a reputation in order to approach the king for land of his own. He takes pity on the scrawny lad and allows him to be his squire at the next tournament at Ramslea Castle—Jocelyn’s home. Faced with danger, deception, and intrigue along the way, they must learn to trust God and each other in the process of finding their true “home”.

Do you feel pressured to compromise your standards in order to reach a larger audience or be more successful? This is such an interesting question. When my publisher said they were moving toward more clean fiction, rather than overtly Christian fiction, I wrote my second novel with that in mind. I don’t have a problem with that. Many great books have been written that are not overtly Christian—The Chronicles of Narnia and Lord of the Rings come to mind. Yes, there is great allegory to Christian doctrine in those books, but they are not overtly Christian. The problem for me was that my story fell flat without a Christian base. The theme of my story is significance and as a Christian, I know our significance comes from who we are in Christ, not who we make ourselves to be. So I am now in the process of rewriting my story to include the faith factor, because it is right for this particular storyline.

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)? Ah, the fear that comes with writing is ever-present. I just read a book called Big Magic that addressed the creative life and how to create alongside fear. While you allow fear to be present on your journey, you just don’t allow it to have a deciding vote along the way. I think that you have to know that God has called you to be creative and live in the joy of the process, knowing that you are fulfilling His desire as you put words on the page. He is in charge of the outcome. My job is to create and release it into His hands to do as He sees fit. This is a continual learning process for me, but one I strive to incorporate daily, this creating and releasing.

Who was your first Screen/Musical Crush? Because I am older woman, my family used to watch musicals on TV for entertainment. I can remember Gene Kelly in Singing in the Rain, Summer Stock, Brigadoon, and so on. He could dance, sing, and was handsome. My first crush. Then came the big screen. My first PG movie I was allowed to see was Star Wars, and I instantly fell for Harrison Ford as Hans Solo. Manly, handsome, and funny. I don’t know what it is, but a man with a sense of humor gets me every time. Maybe it is because my husband is the funniest man I know! 😉

Do you write your books for your own enjoyment or more for what you think people would want to read? This is a great question. I know if writers want to succeed, they have to treat their writing as a business and be smart in their publishing decisions. On the other hand, I think if you aren’t writing what you love, that shows in the story. I’ve always loved Regency and read that era voraciously, but then I stumbled upon a clean medieval romance writer and fell in love with that time period even more. Medieval is not popular in Christian publishing, except as YA—Jody Hedlund and Melanie Dickerson are fabulous medieval writers in that genre. I was fortunate to find a small press that would publish my medieval, but that is not the norm. I’m still going to write medieval romance, but may try my hand at Regency at some point. It is still an era I love and would enjoy writing about balls, dinner parties, and walks in the park. I don’t want to write just for market. I want to love the world in which I’m creating. That is more important to me at this point.

If you knew ahead of time your book would benefit only one person on their spiritual journey, would you still write it? Yes, indeed! The one matters. Take the parable of the lost coin or lost sheep. The “one” is so important in God’s eyes and should be important to each one of us as well.

How did you determine whether to self-publish or seek a traditional publisher? This is something I am still praying about. Because I am writing in an era of romance that is not popular, I was lucky to find a small press to offer me a contract. I don’t know yet the sales numbers, so I do not know if the publisher will want to pick up another medieval. If it isn’t picked up, I will most likely self-publish medieval romances, while writing Regency romance and try to get those traditionally published. That is my plan at the moment, but who knows what God has in store. I’m going to follow His lead and rest in His guidance.

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
Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Sherrinda-Ketchersid/e/B07Q5Y8QHF/

Sherrinda is giving away an ebook or paperback of her book, Lord of Her Heart! See below how to enter to win:a Rafflecopter giveaway

 

halleeLOGOspinefinal

Pin It
8 Comments

Why Do I Write Christian Fiction?

I saw a blog post titled, “Christian Fiction: What’s the Point?”

And, it got me thinking.  Why do I write it?

When I started writing, I had no direction – no clear intent as to *why* I was writing in the first place.  It basically boiled down to: I had a story in my head and I wanted to get it out. When I finished that story, I was a little surprised that I had another story in my head and I wanted to get it out, too. Once I finished that second book, the ideas just kept coming.  I can barely keep up with the book ideas – they overwhelm me sometimes.

In my writing testimony, I talk about how we cleaned out our entertainment and how I no longer read the kind of books I used to write. I cleaned up, or “redeemed” my books, for the Christian market.  But I could very easily have simply cleaned them up – made them PG-13, taken out the sex and most of the greed and just written clean romances.

So, why Christian fiction?  Why do I add a spiritual arc to my stories? Why is the faith of each one of my characters so important to me? Why do I write about Christians in real situations, about pain and forgiveness, about decisions – made in faith or not? Why am I choosing to be labeled a “Christian” author?

For me, it comes down to this:

Therefore, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God. 1 Corinthians 10:31

I want my writing to glorify God. That is my intent, my mission, my ministry. And, in the end, what I’m doing is ministering to readers.  I have so many reviews and emails like this one:

Just finished The Jewel Trilogy and am so emotionally moved I almost feel drained. I have never read such great Christian romance ever, and I have been reading for years, through hundreds and hundreds of books. All of these books were just as great as the one before, which is rare. So many times I have read a great book by an author, only to be extremely disappointed by the next book. Not this author. I cannot believe these are her first published novels. I loved the way she carried the characters all the way through the trilogy–not just giving them mention, but actually including them in the story. This is the first time I have ever seen a series follow almost 20 years in the lives of all characters and it was so refreshing. Most books just seem to end abruptly. All characters were believable and none were perfect Christians. I liked the way she had so much dialogue and interaction between hero and heroine in each story. Tony and Derrick so represented the love of Christ and had such a heart after God that I immediately loved them. Barry had his struggles but still was a strong Christian influence. I greatly appreciated the backgrounds of each individual and how God moved in their lives. I could go on and on but will just say BUY THIS BOOK!!!! You will not be sorry. Don’t know how anyone could not love each and every story. Happy reading and may God bless!

It is as important to me to write of the spiritual side of my books as it is to write the romance or the suspense. I think the word “Christian” before the word romance or the word suspense is the most important factor of what I’m writing. My prayer as I finish a book and publish it is not that it will entertain, but that it will bless a reader in some way. I pray that what I write will enlighten, encourage, uplift, or strengthen. I love that God is using me, and I will continue to write as long as He determines that I should.

I write Christian fiction to serve God.

As I went into writing Valerie’s Verdict and the rest of the books in the Dixon Brothers Series, my prayer and desire has been to pull the same kind of emotional and spiritual reaction from readers that the Jewel Series has for the last seven years. As feedback from beta readers has started coming in, I’m feeling very confident that I’ve accomplished that goal. I cannot wait until the October 22nd release of Valerie’s Verdict! You can preorder your ebook today from Amazon at this link!

halleeLOGOspinefinal


 

 

Pin It
2 Comments

Interview with Shoshanna Gabriel 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 thrilled to have Shoshanna Gabriel as my guest! I first met Shoshanna at a conference a few years ago.  She was wearing a Star of David with a cross necklace. I immediately cornered her and said, “Are you Jewish?” (Nothing like a crazy woman in your face!) My husband’s best friend is a Jewish Christian and Gregg and I are Messianic Christians — which means we worship and observe feasts like Messianic Jews — we just weren’t born Jewish. Since then, whenever we’re at the same conference, we get together for fellowship. I love her testimony and I love that she’s my guest today! Read on to see how you can enter to win a copy of her latest release Second Chances for Trampled Hearts!

Tell us a little bit about yourself. Thanks for having me! I’ve written three small-town Christian romance novels so far as Shoshanna Gabriel. Before that, I wrote about thirty books as Shoshanna Evers. I changed my name when I found Jesus and decided to stop writing secular romance with graphic love scenes.

I grew up in New York and was born and raised Jewish. Converting to Christianity as an adult was one of the most difficult decisions I ever made, because it required going against my family’s wishes and everything I’d learned growing up. They still aren’t happy about it, to say the least. But once I learned the truth about Jesus, I couldn’t unlearn it. There’s just too much evidence that Jesus IS the Messiah I had been seeking as a Jew.

Tell us about your current release. Allie Crawford buys half-ownership of the cowboy’s diner in the small mountain town of Bear Creek Saddle, Idaho. It’s all she can afford, and it’s about as far from Miami as she can get. Will it be far enough?

“Big Bad Bill” inherited the town’s infamous old diner from his great-uncle, who insisted it stay in the family. Bill knows cattle, not the restaurant business—so he’ll foot the bill to get it going again, and let the woman champing at the bit for her own restaurant handle running it.

Then Allie needs his help with renovations, and Bill finds he can’t stay away, after all.

Neither expects the friendship that blooms between them. But even beautiful evergreen trees and soaring mountain peaks can’t soothe the pain of betrayal and loss.

Faith may be the only thing big enough to heal their trampled hearts, and give them both a second chance at love…

If you knew ahead of time your book would benefit only one person on their spiritual journey, would you still write it? Yes, I’d like to think I would still write my books even if they only ended up benefiting one person on their spiritual journey. Every life matters, and if God chose my book as a way to speak to someone through my story or characters, I’d be very grateful and humbled by that. I feel called to write these books, and I’d probably be writing them even if no one ever read them at all.

Do you feel pressured to compromise your standards in order to reach a larger audience or be more successful? I used to feel a lot of pressure, when I was writing sexy books for the secular market as Shoshanna Evers, to deliver what I’d become known for. My readers had certain expectations for my books, and my livelihood depended on me not letting my readers down. There was a period of time where I knew Jesus was my Savior, but also didn’t want to let go of my success as an author to change paths and write for His glory.

It took a couple years before it became too uncomfortable to continue my career as I had in the past. I realized I wanted to write books with a faith element, and to completely change direction with my stories. When I did finally “come out” as a Christian, I lost my agent, speaking gigs, and a six book contract nearly overnight. I had torpedoed my career with one blog post. But then I was free. Free to write whatever I wanted, free to change my name and to start fresh.

What is one thing that you “never saw yourself doing” and either do it now or have done? I never thought, as a Jew, that I’d ever become a Christian! I had a lot of misconceptions about Christians and Christianity, and had never even read the New Testament until I was in my thirties. Growing up in Westchester, New York, I also never envisioned myself living out in the country in rural north Idaho, but here I am, enjoying the simple life with my husband, our children, and our animals. My life is much better than I could ever have planned it to be, thank God. He has always had better things in mind for me than I had in mind for myself!

Here is where you can find Shoshanna online:

ShoshannaGabriel.com

https://www.facebook.com/ShoshannaGabriel/

https://twitter.com/ShoshnnaGabriel

Shoshanna is giving away an ebook copy of her book Second Chances for Trampled Hearts to 3 readers! See below how to enter to win:a Rafflecopter giveaway

halleeLOGOspinefinal

Pin It
10 Comments

Interview with Janet W. Ferguson 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 pleased to bring you romance author Janet Ferguson. I love the sound of her newest release and love that she’s tackling some hard subjects. She’s also giving away a copy of her book Magnolia Storms – read on to see how you can enter to win a copy!

Tell us a little bit about yourself. I’m from Mississippi. I’ve had a variety of seemingly unconnected careers. I have a degree in Banking and Finance, but I never worked at a bank. I worked in the brokerage industry, managed property, was a stay-at-home mom, part-time children’s minister, high school librarian, and now I write. I actually really enjoyed all the jobs. We currently have one cat and one dog. I enjoy walking and taking pictures and traveling with my family.

Tell us about your current release. This story is set in lovely St. Simons, Georgia. The moss-covered trees there and the beach are beautiful. The novel deals with the different sides of addiction.

The Art of Rivers

Rivers Sullivan bears both visible and invisible scars—those on her shoulder from a bullet wound and those on her heart from the loss of her fiancé during the same brutal attack. Not even her background as an art therapist can help her regain her faith in humanity. Still, she scrapes together the courage to travel to St. Simons Island to see the beach cottage and art gallery she’s inherited from her fiancé. When she stumbles upon recovering addicts running her gallery, she’s forced to reckon with her own healing.

After the tragic drowning of his cousin, James Cooper Knight spends his days trying to make up for his past mistakes. He not only dedicates his life to addiction counseling, but guilt drives him to the water, searching for others who’ve been caught unaware of the quickly rising tides of St. Simons. When he rescues a peculiar blond woman and her sketch pad from a sandbar, then delivers this same woman to his deceased grandmother’s properties, he knows things are about to get even more complicated.

Tragic circumstances draw Cooper and Rivers closer, but they fight their growing feelings. Though Cooper’s been sober for years, Rivers can’t imagine trusting her heart to someone in recovery, and he knows a relationship with her will only rip his family further apart. Distrust and guilt are only the first roadblocks they must overcome if they take a chance on love.

If you knew ahead of time your book would benefit only one person on their spiritual journey, would you still write it? Yes! I specifically prayed that prayer when I released my first novel Leaving Oxford, and I try to keep that in mind as I keep writing.

Do you feel pressured to compromise your standards in order to reach a larger audience or be more successful? Absolutely not. Writing for me is a calling. I have no desire to write for any other reason but to glorify God. That is not to insult people who write for other reasons, like to make a living.

What’s the first major news headline that you can remember and what do you remember? I remember my neighbor crying while watching on TV when President Nixon resigned. I didn’t understand what was going on, but I knew it was something bad. It’s always something that stood out in my mind.

Who was your first Screen/Musical Crush? I was a HUGE Donny Osmond fan! I had records, magazines, posters, you name it! Puppy Love for sure! 

What advice do you have for aspiring writers? Study the craft of fiction writing. I was a librarian and avid reader for years, but I had no idea how much I had to learn about writing a novel. Join a group like American Christian Fiction Writers and get critique partners. Never stop learning.

What is one thing that you “never saw yourself doing” and either do it now or have done? Public speaking! People often ask me to speak to their church, library, or book club, and I get so nervous! But so far, God has provided me the words and courage!

Do you remember where you were or what you were doing when you started this story? I do! I was sitting on the beach while on vacation with my family on St. Simons Island, Georgia. We’d been on a tour where we’d heard about rescues during high tide. People on a sand bar were swept off their feet by the swift currents both in history and in recent times. I began to imagine two young people, cousins, out on a sandbar. One drowns because they’d been using drugs or alcohol. The tragedy rips the family apart.

Yes, I’m weird! Of course, the story eventually has a happy ending.

Here is where you can find Janet online:

https://www.bookbub.com/profile/janet-w-ferguson

https://www.facebook.com/Janet.Ferguson.author

http://www.janetfergusonauthor.com/

https://www.pinterest.com/janetwferguson/

https://twitter.com/JanetwFerguson

Janet is giving away a copy of Magnolia Storms to a reader! See below how you can enter to win:a Rafflecopter giveaway


halleeLOGOspinefinal

Pin It
12 Comments
WordPress SEO fine-tune by Meta SEO Pack from Poradnik Webmastera