Monday Morning Coffee and Chat 6/1/20 – How Emotional Is Writing For You?

Hello! Welcome to Monday Morning Coffee and Chat! Today I’m answering the question, “How emotional is writing for you?”

Books talked about in this video include:
CHASING PEARL: https://www.halleebridgeman.com/books/chasing-pearl/

What’s Hallee drinking? Hallee’s Brew! Try it today! https://www.halleebridgeman.com/hallees-brew/

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Interview with Sandra Ardoin 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 historical romance author Sandra Ardoin as my guest. I love the title of her new series “the Widow’s Might” – it brings to mind so much character and strength. I hope you enjoy her interview as much as I did! Sandra is giving away a copy of her latest release, so read on to see how you can enter to win!

Tell us a little bit about yourself. I’m a wife and mom living in an empty nest with a retired husband. I’ve been writing and publishing since the mid-1980s (Wow!), but only started writing novels a dozen years ago. I’m a fan of country music, pro football, NASCAR and eating out—not necessarily in that order. 😊

As an author of heartwarming and award-winning historical romance, Sandra Ardoin engages readers with page-turning stories of love and faith. Rarely out of reach of a book, she’s also an armchair sports enthusiast, country music listener, and seldom says no to eating out.

Tell us about your current release. Unwrapping Hope released in October. It’s the prequel novella to the Widow’s Might series about a group of widows finding new love in a growing town along the banks of Indiana’s Wabash River.

In Unwrapping Hope, former concert pianist Phoebe Crain struggles to support herself, her mother, and her small daughter. She can’t afford a second mistake in love, especially when it comes to men with wealth. But will she allow the heir of a department store owner to restore her trust?

The first novel in the series, Enduring Dreams, releases in the fall and centers around Claire Kingsley, an architect in an age when women were rare in the field.

What’s the first major news headline that you can remember and what do you remember? For me, it was the Kennedy assassination. I remember coming home from school, walking through the door, and seeing my mom ironing in front of the TV. She had tears in her eyes. I also remember the funeral procession with the black horse with the empty boots following the coffin. I’ve always been a horse person, so I’m sure that’s why that image imprinted itself in my memory.

Who was your first Screen/Musical Crush? Let’s go waaay back, shall we? 😊 Hmm… I was in elementary/junior high in the sixties, so my musical favorites were The Monkeys, Peter Tork, in particular. (Yeah, I don’t quite understand that one myself.) I also thought Bobby Sherman was adorable.

How did you determine whether to self-publish or seek a traditional publisher? I started out being traditionally published with a small publisher but began to consider going the independent publishing route in 2018. The decision required me to weigh a few factors:

Economics – The bottom-line royalty is greater, but all the costs (cover, editing, marketing) are on the author.

Time – Writing the book and turning it over to the editor at a publishing house is different from writing the book, then finding a freelance editor, cover designer, etc.

Business Creation – Authors are in business. We are creators, but we must manage that creation in a way the reflects proper business decisions. As an indie, those business decisions expand and everything is on the author’s shoulders.

What made you take the plunge and finally do it? When I weighed all of the above, what made me truly consider plunging into the indie waters was the control factor. Yes, it’s more work, more responsibility, but it allowed control over cover and marketing decisions. The latter lets me see what marketing efforts work and what don’t, because no matter how an author is published, marketing is part of the job and marketing can be expensive.

What truly caused me to take the plunge was answered prayer. I spent a lot of time praying about the decision until I felt that peace of knowing I was doing what God had in mind for me.

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 try. I know the general plot with major plot points and what my characters want/need/fear, but I’ve never been able to write an extensive outline. Also, I find I have to write a while before I really get to know my characters, so things sometimes change.

Do you have pre-determined length in mind when you first begin a book? First, I determine whether it will be a novel or novella. Second, I establish a word-count goal. I’m generally pretty good at staying close to that goal while still writing a complete story.

Do you write your books for your own enjoyment or more for what you think people would want to read? Great question. I write the stories from the ideas that intrigue me. At the same time, if I want my books to sell and support my writing habit, I need to keep in mind what readers what to read. What are the commonalities in my chosen genre of historical romance? What size book is popular with readers? If I’m not entertained by the story, I’m pretty sure it won’t be something that entertains my readers.

Here is where you can find Sandra online:

www.sandraardoin.com

BookBub

Facebook

Twitter

Goodreads

Pinterest

Sandra is giving away a copy of Unwrapping Hope to a reader! See below how you can enter to win:
a Rafflecopter giveaway

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Monday Morning Coffee and Chat 5/25/20 – Jeb’s Crazy Birth Story!

Hello! Welcome to Monday Morning Coffee and Chat! Today I’m telling you the crazy birth story of my son Johnathan (Jeb) as we celebrate his 12th birthday today.

If you have a question you would like to ask me, click this link and it will take you to the google form where you can ask me!

What’s Hallee drinking? Hallee’s Brew! Try it today! https://www.halleebridgeman.com/hallees-brew/

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Interview with Kimberly Rose Johnson 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 so happy to have Kimberly Rose Johnson as my guest. I’ve met Kimberly many times over the years at various writer conferences. It’s always fun to have someone I “know” as my guest. Her new book is romantic suspense and it sounds so good! Read on to see how you can enter to win!

Tell us a little bit about yourself. Sure! I live in Oregon with my husband of close to 30 years. We enjoy long walks, reading, and watching shows that are music-centric. I signed my first book contract in 2012 and am what is called a hybrid writer. I am published in contemporary romance, romantic mystery, and romantic suspense.

Tell us about your current release. Direct Threat is the first book in my Protection Inc. series that will begin releasing June 1st. Here is the back cover blurb: One little girl. Two bodyguards. Only one chance to guard their hearts.
Protection Inc. co-owner, Carissa Jones, an ex-cop turned bodyguard, has one goal-keep her young client safe. When her business partner brings in a new guy to help, she discovers her heart desires more. Can she still do her job and follow her heart without compromising her client’s safety?

Marc Olsen, a former Military Police officer, struggles to find his way as a civilian. He agrees to help out an old friend for the summer. He gets more than he bargained for when he’s assigned to work with the feisty co-owner of Protection Inc.

When sparks fly faster than bullets, will the bodyguards be distracted from their task, or will they work together as an even stronger team?

How did you determine whether to self-publish or seek a traditional publisher? When I first started writing in 2006, independently publishing wasn’t what it is today, so it was extremely important to me to prove myself and land a traditional contract. I currently publish my own books as well as write for a publisher. I ultimately decided to indie publish because I felt the Lord directing me to do so. I’m very happy I listened. It’s a lot more work, but I love having complete control over my work.

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 completely. I have a general idea of what the book will be about. I also have a basic outline of my characters.
LOL I don’t recommend writing the way I do, as it’s much more time consuming to figure things out as you go. I generally write several drafts of the first chapter before I’m satisfied with the opening. The opening chapter is crucial to setting the stage and tone for the entire story, so it is critical to get right.

Do you have pre-determined length in mind when you first begin a book? Yes. I need to know how long a story will be for pacing purposes.

What advice do you have for aspiring writers? Read well-written books in the genre you would like to write. Figure out what makes those stories so great. I like to read exceptionally written books. I feel like they help me grow as a writer.

What is your preferred method of writing? When I am in the pre-writing phase of plotting and thinking about what I want to write I use a pen and paper. When I get down to actually writing, I use my computer. The only exception is if I’m traveling and something comes to me. Then I grab a piece of paper and start writing.

Here is where you can find Kimberly online:

kimberlyrjohnson.com

facebook.com/KimberlyRoseJohnson

twitter.com/kimberlyrosejoh

instagram.com/kimberlyrosejohnsonauthor/

Kimberly is giving away an ebook of Direct Threat to a reader! See below how to enter to win:a Rafflecopter giveaway

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Interview with Nancy J. Farrier 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 Nancy J. Farrier as my guest. It’s always fun to have guests who are my friends. Nancy and I served together on the Romance Writers of America Faith, Hope, Love chapter for many years. The last time we were at a conference together, we were able to have dinner together. I hope you enjoy her interview as much as I do! And, Nancy 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 am a best-selling, award winning author of historical and contemporary Christian fiction. I grew up in the mid-west, moved to the Southwest to be close to the mountains and never looked back. I love the people, culture, plants, and animals found in the desert and surrounding areas. I love the sunshine because rainy days are depressing for me, and most days I enjoy the heat—maybe not when it’s over 110 degrees and humid. On my down time I enjoy early morning hikes, spending time with my family, reading, going to church and my plants. I have five children who are all grown, six grandchildren, several cats and a dog.

Tell us about your current release. My upcoming release, The Richest Knight, is a novella set at the Grand Canyon in the early 1900’s and highlights the Harvey House. The Richest Knight was inspired by my grandfather who raised eleven kids on a small, rocky farm in Indiana. He always said he was a millionaire because God blessed him with so my kids—very ornery kids I might add. I wanted to explore the idea of true wealth and what that looks like. Below is the blurb for my book.

She wants the security of riches.

He’s turned his back on the demands of wealth.

Lillian Robinson is determined to marry a man of means. She’s had enough of living in poverty and seeing her family suffer. As a Harvey Girl at the Grand Canyon, her opportunities to meet the man of her dreams should be plentiful. So, why does the lead mule skinner makes her heart race every time he comes around.

Franklin Knight turned his back on his family. He refused to fall in line and bow to their need for money and power. He chose to work at the Grand Canyon as a muleskinner, a place where he can live out his faith in God.

When Lillian catches Franklin’s attention with her beauty and bright smile, he doesn’t count on her clumsiness, or on her desire to marry into the very society he spurned. Still, he can’t forget her. Will Franklin be able to show her the true meaning of love? Will Lillian recognize the value of a heart of God before she makes the worst mistake of her life?

If you knew ahead of time your book would benefit only one person on their spiritual journey, would you still write it? Yes. Yes. Yes! I am a writer because I have to write. Not only do I feel God placed this call on my life, but the stories and characters clamor to get out when I take any sort of a break. Plus, every story I write has a message I need to tell, something God placed on my heart. I would write that story even if no one else ever read the words.

Do you feel pressured to compromise your standards in order to reach a larger audience or be more successful? I am a multi-published author and after I had several books published, I had a couple of publishers approach me to see if I would write in a genre. It was one I felt didn’t belong in the Christian market for reasons I won’t go into here. I politely refused. I feel that refusal hurt my writing career but I would not compromise my beliefs to do something that would bring monetary profit. I couldn’t do that and still be the Christian I needed to be. God has still richly blessed me and I am comfortable with His approval.

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)? My writing is a calling, or a work God has given me to do. It’s not about me. It’s not about fame. It’s not about wealth. For that reason, I have no problem submitting to a publisher or self-publishing.

I do sometimes struggle with how people see me. They are impressed that I’m an author and they shouldn’t be. I am only doing a job. I am not better then or more special than anyone else. My job is not better than any other. I have told people before that if they do the job God has given them to do, they are on the same level with me. He loves them and sees the work they do, no matter how menial the job is, or how others see that job. Doing what He calls you to do is what counts.

What inspired you to start writing, or did you always want to write? Books were always treasures to me. My mother read to my sisters and I from the time we were born. She took us to the library every week and that was a favorite time for me. I still love our hometown library and visit when I go back to see family.

My fascination with books led me to write from an early age. I wrote stories, poems, songs—anything that came to mind. They weren’t well written, but I still wrote.

By the time I became a Christian, my life had spiraled down and wasn’t very pretty. I gave up everything of my old life, including my writing. At that point I had never sought publication.For the next fourteen years, I raised a family, did gardening, worked hard, but not once did I write anything.

Then story ideas and characters began to appear in my imagination. I fought them. Tried to keep from thinking about writing because I thought that was the old me I had put away. I got to the point where I would wake up crying in the night from the need to tell these stories.

Finally, I begged God to take the ideas away. When He didn’t, I asked him to make it clear that He wanted me to write. If He allowed me to publish something in the next year (this was January) I would write for Him. I sent out two small devotions that year. Two. In December, I received a check in the mail for one of those devotions that was published in a book of kid’s devotions. I knew then my writing was a call from God and I’ve worked hard at it ever since.

What advice do you have for aspiring writers? Write. Practice. Enter contests that give feedback, but only take what is positive and helps you to improve. Read books on writing. Write.

Don’t be discouraged, although that’s very difficult. Still, if you have a gift and a calling, work at it. Don’t write for fame or fortune because most writers don’t receive either. Write because you can’t quit. Write to give your characters a voice. Write because you love having written, even when the process is like ripping your heart out every time.

Also, join a writer’s group. Go to a writer’s conference. Don’t push yourself to do too much, but relax and make connections. Those connections are a valuable tool to keeping your sanity as you write.

What is your preferred method of writing? (computer, pen & paper, etc.) I write on my computer. Scrivener is the program I prefer because I can have all my notes and pictures all in one place. Once I’m done writing the story, I put it in Pages or Word to do the editing and uploading.

When I am writing, I have a table leaf on the arms of my treadmill and use that as a desk. My husband set me up with a large monitor that plugs into my laptop so it’s easier to see. I walk for three or four hours a day as I write and do writing business. I don’t like sitting down, so this works best for me. I walk at a slower pace and it’s pretty easy to type.

I always have my water nearby and usually a pack of gum. I rarely eat snacks. And, I can’t listen to music while I write. I know many authors do listen, but as a musician, I can’t shut out that music to concentrate on writing.

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 am not much of a plotter. I have the characters down. I know where they came from and have an idea of where they are going. I usually know the end of the story. However, there are a lot of events that take place between page one and the end.

There have been so many times, I’ve had characters come on scene and I didn’t realize they would be there. Or, my main character is different than I originally pictured them. If that happens, I have to make the decision to let them express themselves or force them back into the mold I already had. That isn’t always an easy choice.

A few times, the end I had in mind does not make sense by the time I get there. Then I have to reconsider what events have taken place to lead up to this point and the best way to bring everything to a sensible conclusion.

This means, writing isn’t cut and dried. I don’t like over plotting a book because I love the discovery along the way. That makes the writing so exciting. You are on an adventure with your characters and every day you wonder what will happen next. I am so blessed to be able to do this work.

Here is where you can find Nancy online:

http://nancyjfarrier.com/

https://www.facebook.com/AuthorNancyJFarrier/

twitter.com/nancyjfarrier/

Nancy is giving away a copy of The Richest Knight to a reader! See below how to enter to win:a Rafflecopter giveaway

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Monday Morning Coffee and Chat 5/11/20 – What is your favorite thing to do?

Hello! Welcome to Monday Morning Coffee and Chat! Today I’m talking about homeschooling, teaching an autistic child, and answering the question, “What is your favorite thing to do in the world?”

If you have a question, click this link and it will take you to the google form where you can ask me!

What’s Hallee drinking? Hallee’s Brew! Try it today! https://www.halleebridgeman.com/hallees-brew/

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