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Month: January 2021

Interview with 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! This week, I am happy to have Gail Kittleson as my guest. Anyone who has known me for any length of time knows how much I LOVE WWII and the era of the late 30s to early 60s. I have always believed I was born into the wrong generation (though my husband and kids disagree! HEH) I love going to thrift stores and finding old books and magazines, looking at advertisements, pouring through pictures. And I always feel a kindred connection with other writers who love that era, too. Gail writes WWII books, so she’s one of those kindred spirits with me! I hope you enjoy her interview. Read on to see how you can enter to win a copy of her latest release!                                                

Tell us a little about yourself: When Gail’s not steeped in World War II historical research, writing, or editing, you’ll find her reading for fun, gardening, or enjoying her grandchildren in Northern Iowa. She delights in interacting with readers who fall in love with her characters.

Women of the Heartland, Gail’s World War II series, highlights women of The Greatest Generation: In Times Like These, April 2016, With Each New Dawn, February, 2017 (Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas, and Word Crafts Press, December, 2017.)

These heroines make do with what life hands them and face great odds with integrity. No easy outs or pat answers for their struggles – it’s the thick of World war II. The same can be said of Dottie in In This Together, Gail’s first historical novel (Wild Rose Press/Vintage Line), and of the women in her memoir, Catching Up With Daylight (WhiteFire Publishing.)

Gail Kittleson taught college expository writing and ESL before writing women’s historical fiction. From northern Iowa, she facilitates writing workshops and women’s retreats, and enjoys the Arizona Ponderosa forest in winter.

Tell us about your current release:

Glenora Keeps Her Heart Under Lock and Key

No one ever accused Glenora Carson of being a breathtaking beauty. Her tall, gangly figure and angular face are more solid midwestern stock than Hollywood glamour. But Joe liked her. He even told her, “You’re the one for me.” He gave her a locket with his picture inside, to remind her of him while he was away, serving his country on the U.S.S. Arizona.

After December 7, 1941, Glenora shelves her dreams of attending college on the scholarship she was offered by Iowa State University, locks her heart away, and focuses on holding down the home front by helping out the family business – Carson’s Garage. The grease-stained overalls didn’t do much to compliment her female figure, but they cover her female heart well enough.

That is, until Hank Anderson, a wounded warrior back from battle, walks into the garage and into Glenora’s life.

What inspired you to write? (and )Have you always wanted to write a book? I always wanted to be a writer, although I didn’t really think I’d be writing fiction some day. At first, I only wrote poetry. Then when I taught college expository writing, I realized how much I liked writing essays. Fiction writing was one of those pleasant surprises in store for me. I recall walking out in my aunt’s pasture as a teen and having a spiritual experience that motivated me to write, but it took a long time to develop the courage.

How did you make the initial step into writing your first novel? What were some of your major roadblocks and how did you overcome them? I had led several groups through The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron, a wonderful motivational workbook. Each chapter has work for the participant to do at the end, and I took part fully in that. After the final group ended, my first character came to me. I suppose my main roadblock was ignorance of fiction techniques, and it took some determination to learn how to put the story together. The other roadblock was hating to delete my precious words. (: But it’s so necessary, and I have become quite good at the editing process—actually enjoy it almost as much as writing. 

Who do you envision your typical reader to be? She’s most likely a woman, and pretty serious minded if she’s into reading the nitty-gritty details of World War II. I hope my readers are younger and younger, but think they’re mostly in mid-life or older, with a strong interest in history.

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? No, I didn’t have these characters in my mind at all. One day, the very first one appeared to me, and it was one of those golden moments. I had no idea how the process would go, that she would open up little by little and her story would develop. Once that first book was history, I knew the ropes—but before that, I really had no idea how it would work.

Do you write your books for your own enjoyment or more for what you think people would want to read? I write them to help readers grasp the incredible tenacity of the Greatest Generation. I think our society forgets what makes true heroes, and desire to reveal some of them to modern readers.  At the same time, I do love this era—I’m hopelessly addicted.

Which of your characters most reflects your personality? Probably, Addie, the heroine of In Times Like These. She had to overcome a shame-based worldview in order to believe she was worthy of kindness. For her, learning to embrace hope and joy proved a daunting process. Through it all, her faith grew and she realized how much she was loved, and once she got going, it was hard to stop her. That sounds a lot like moi.

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 don’t have a plot laid out when I begin writing. The character whispers her/his story in my ear and as I research the specific time slot, the story develops. For example, Glenora in Kiss Me Once Again has a kid brother deployed with the Navy. In order to pinpoint his ship and the calamities it encountered, a great deal of research was required. I didn’t plan for it to be hit by a typhoon, but that’s what happened to it in real life. Also, I never intended this book to have a strong romantic thread, but it had different ideas!

Here is where you can find Gail online:

http://www.gailkittleson.com/
www.facebook.com/GailKittlesonAuthor
http://amazon.com/author/gailkittleson
www.twitter.com/GailGkittleson @GailGkittleson
@gailkittlesonauthor (Instagram)

Gail is giving away an ebook copy of Kiss Me Once Again to a reader! See below how you can enter to win:

a Rafflecopter giveaway


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Daisy’s Decision is Now Available!

I always want the last book I’ve written to be my favorite book, and in this case, I nailed it.

Ken was such a complex character to write. I had to get entirely into his head to get anything to come out. Daisy was so much fun to get to know and to bring to life. I don’t make anything easy for them. Their path is fraught with twists and turns and things you’ll never expect to see coming.

I hope you love it as much as I do.

It’s in Amazon’s Kindle Unlimited program — but only until April, then it will be pulled. So, don’t hesitate! Get it on Amazon here:

Daisy has had a crush on Ken since high school, so going on just one date with him can’t possibly hurt, can it? Even if she’s just been painfully dumped by the man she planned to spend the rest of her life with, and whose unborn baby she carries? Just one date?

But wait! There’s more!

Courting Calla, book 1 of the Dixon Brothers Series, is just 99 cents everywhere you can buy ebooks. It’s also free to anyone who subscribes to my newsletter. Click here to purchase it, and click here to get your free copy.

Can Ian and Calla find love together, or will the secret she is keeping rip them apart?

Ian knows God has chosen Calla as the woman for him, but Calla is hiding something big. Can Calla trust Ian with her secret, or will she let it destroy any possible hope for a future they may have?

A reader had this to say:

I couldn’t put the story down! It had a great plot line and connected God to it perfectly.

Valerie’s Verdict, book 2 of the Dixon Brothers Series, is just 99 cents at Amazon for this week only! Click here to purchase your copy.

Semi-finalist for the Serious Writer 2020 Book of the Year!

Broken and battered, Valerie comes home and finds a lifetime of love waiting for her.

Since boyhood days, Brad has always carried a flame for Valerie. Her engagement to another man shattered his dreams. When she comes home, battered and bruised, recovering from a nearly fatal relationship, he prays God will use him to help her heal.

A reader had this to say:

I LOVED this book!! Hallee dealt with a difficult topic that way too many people live with every day, and she did it with sensitivity and grace. She showed that it’s difficult, even for Christians, to accept bad things happen, until we realize that God can use it, and we don’t have to understand all of the whys, as long as we trust Him to use it for our good and for His kingdom.

Alexandra’s Appeal, book 3 of the Dixon Brothers series, is FREE at Amazon for this week only! Click here to get your copy!

Scorned, penniless, and pregnant, Alex must fight for faith, family, and love

Alexandra Fisher and Jonathan Dixon meet in a honky-tonk outside of Nashville and instantly share a mutual attraction. That night, Alex decides to take control of her life while, simultaneously, a horrific news story sends Jon back into a tailspin. They both make bad decisions that result in permanent consequences. Back home, Alex stands up to her father and finds herself alone, pregnant, and cut off. She journeys to Atlanta, hoping Jon can help. Arriving at a mutual understanding of faith while looking through very different worldviews, they cling to each other, uniting as one, and learn to connect with God. But will family strife and all their baggage destroy their marriage before it even gets off the ground?

A reader had this to say:

This is one unbelievable story. You feel a part of the story and the characters. Laughing, crying, being a part of their life. Don’t miss out.

More about Daisy’s Decision:

Just one little date can’t hurt anything, right?

Ever since the sixth grade, Daisy Ruiz loved Ken Dixon from afar and spent her entire youth pining for him. Ken, the youngest of identical triplet brothers, never even noticed her crush.

Today, Daisy lives her life serving her loved ones and her family’s ministry, Gálatas Seis, where she acts as Executive Director. As the daughter of a youth pastor, she understands the importance of ministry and teaches a women’s Bible study. The sudden discovery that she’s pregnant—and her baby’s lying married father wants nothing more to do with her or the baby—threatens her ministry and her entire reputation.

Solemn, sober, solitary, and silent, Ken grew up in a mission-minded family and consistently seeks ways to serve society in the name of the Savior. He goes to Gálatas Seis with an offer to aid a family in need and recognizes his former youth pastor’s daughter leading the organization. While shocked at the chance meeting, the instant attraction he feels surprises him even more.

When Ken asks her out on a date, Daisy realizes her childhood dreams have literally come true after all this time. Even though she just found out she is pregnant, Daisy tells herself that just one little date won’t hurt anything.

But when they go out again and again, she soon finds herself in a full-blown relationship with hearts on the line. She can’t keep her secret much longer. Does she tell Ken about the baby? Can Ken love her baby, too? Or will he abandon her like the baby’s father did? Daisy has a decision to make.

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Monday Morning Coffee and Chat 1/11/21 – Daisy’s Decision!

Hello! Welcome to Monday Morning Coffee and Chat! Today I’m talking about tomorrow’s release of Daisy’s Decision!

Daisy has had a crush on Ken since high school, so going on just one date with him can’t possibly hurt, can it? Even if she’s just been painfully dumped by the man she planned to spend the rest of her life with, and whose unborn baby she carries? Just one date?

Get your copy on Amazon today!

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Interview with Susan Count 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, as a mom of middle-school boys who love to read, it’s always wonderful to find a new middle school author! I’m so excited to have Susan Count as my guest today. I could just feel her love for God flowing through what she does and how she does it. I hope you enjoy her interview as much as I did. Read on to see how you can enter to win a copy of her latest release!

Tell us a little bit about yourself. Oh what fun it is to be a middle-grade author! What delight to hear the voices and laughter of children come alive in stories. I’m a member of the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators and American Christian Fiction Writers. I take studying the craft of writing seriously and consider revision one of my super-powers. My greater super-power is being a grandmother.

Tell us about your current release. My new release, The Firefly Warriors Club, is a major departure from the horse books I normally write. The story came about after the bushes in the forest surrounding our home came to life with thousands of twinkling lights. We’d never seen such a spectacular show and have not seen one like it since. Then I learned that many children have not only never seen the miraculous firefly, but have never heard of them. God filled our world with delights and clues to His existence. It’s our job to draw young readers near to the light.

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 submitted my first book through the traditional routes. An editor told me the topic of horses was elitist and there were already too many horse books. Then an agent told me she was smitten with the book and wanted it. But the call she promised didn’t happen, and I was done with dancing games. But her wanting it provided the momentum that drove me all the way through the Independent Publishing process. Thank goodness no one had explained to me the hurdles.

Then later, when that voice crept in suggesting they couldn’t be good enough because they weren’t published traditionally; I submitted them for awards. When they won and won again, I asked God to silence the voices of doubt and discouragement. I rest in assurance that my heavenly Father is pleased with my offering.

Do you have your plotline and character development already laid out before you begin writing a book, or do they develop as you write? More so now than when I wrote my first book. The first one was a wing, a prayer, and a joyful ride. Now that I’ve studied more craft, it’s so much harder. Turns out there are rules. Now to save myself a lot of editing grief, I make every effort to make sure the plot works before I set off on the journey. And that the character is one you’d like to spend time with.

What advice do you have for aspiring writers? Don’t let anyone discourage you from chasing your dream.

What do you do when you hit a roadblock and have NO idea what to write? When I hit a roadblock, it’s time to rest and make sure my connection to God has not jiggled loose. The best way for me to be totally in the moment is to take a ride on my horse on the forest trails.

What is your preferred method of writing? (computer, pen & paper, etc.) Sticky notes. I write plot point on sticky notes and plaster them all over a window. That way I can arrange them to lay out rising and falling action. I use a different color of sticky notes to follow the story tension or conflict. Still another color to track the character arc.

Here is where you can find Susan online:

www,susancount.com

www,facebook.com/susancount/

www.twitter.com/SusanCount

Susan is giving away a copy of her latest release! Here’s how you can enter to win:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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Perspective and Verbiage

Last night Jeb said, “Farewell to the worse year of my life!”

So, I pulled my amazing 12-year-old into my arms and we had a conversation about perspective and verbiage.

2020 started with us praying daily for my brother and his family as the wildfires ravaged Australia and that mental stress morphed into the stress of the virus. We mourned the loss of friends’ family members. And, above all, there has been an overhanging fear of the uknown, fear of the virus, fear of doing something wrong and bringing it home. The boys went weeks before they ever left the house, doing virtual school, virtual taekwondo, virtual music lessons, while Gregg and I ran necessary errands. We have to mask up, hand sanitize, not play with friends, not shop and eat out like we used to.

Last night we talked about the fact that they’re living through unprecedented times. This era will be talked about historically the way we talk about the Black Plague and Smallpox eras. They’re observing things their children and grandchildren will want to hear about. They’re processing adults’ actions and reactions to the way the world is reacting to the fear and the stress. They’re listening to commentaries, listening to adults, watching Youtube videos.

Our entire world has suffered an extreme impact from this virus and we don’t even know what the repercussions of that are going to look like in five, ten, fifteen years. Globally financially, globally healthily, globally emotionally – we don’t know.

Domestically, this country is in a state of unrest that is like a tinderbox. Scott will vote for the first time in the next Presidential election, but this one was such a mess, we have no idea what that will look like. Riots and demonstrations came into our local area and the boys observed and listened to us and Kaylee talking about the overwhelming injustice of the Breonna Taylor incident and all of the things going wrong there.

My parents both lost their brothers and our families cannot come together to mourn.

Ultimately, 2020 WAS the worse year of his life, but he’s had a good life and he had a good year. Our family grew closer, our home remained virus-free. Our pantry was stocked, our freezers full, our movie supply will never run out, our games cabinet is full of family board games, and he is the master of Mexican train dominoes. He always wanted to be homeschooled and coming home for virtual school in March taught us that I could indeed homeschool and write at the same time, which has set us on that path – the best path for these boys. We redecorated his room, changed out the furniture, updated his computer, and set him up with two big monitors in his room. He has a new bike, a new hoverboard, read a few amazing books series, generated an online Fortnite community, and will test for his blackbelt this month.

It’s a scary, unknown time, but we all talked about how we believe, how we trust, how we KNOW, that God knew this was coming, knows how we’re doing, and knows what it looks like five, ten, fifty years from now. Nothing is a surprise to Him. As long as we live according to His word, love Him, trust Him, praise His holy name, then whatever happens…happens. And whatever the outcome is…the outcome. And we can lean on that and garner strength in the secure knowledge of God’s hand in our life, in our purpose for Him.

So we toasted to the new year, said farewell to the last year, and tried not to feed into the hype that the year carried with it a stigma that is suddenly gone and everything can now right itself.

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