The Fascinating Life of Debut Author Patricia Beal #WW

The Fascinating Life Of Debut Author Patricia Beal #WW

In late August of 2016, I was sitting at a banquet table in Nashville when a beautiful, petite woman sat next to me. I noticed her name tag and introduced myself. She explained she was Patricia (Puh-tree-sia) Beal and that her debut novel would be released the following May. As so often happens at conferences–we were at the American Christian Fiction Writers Conference–we ran into each other often. She’s a delightful person! I’m so happy to share her interview with you here. It’s hard to believe it’s already May and Patricia’s debut has released!

Let’s get to it!

1. A Season to Dance has the most gorgeous cover! Your experience dancing ballet must have added compelling authenticity to your book. What role does ballet play in your life now?

Thank you! And thank you for having me here.

I started dancing when I was eight after seeing Brazilian ballerina Aurea Hammerli on TV (the one hugging me on the photo—my mom took me to Rio de Janeiro to watch her live after I’d started my studies). I never stopped. My dream of becoming a professional ballerina didn’t work out, but I managed to dance in pre-professional companies in South America, Europe, and the United States.

My love for ballet goes beyond the art though. I have Asperger’s Syndrome, an autism spectrum disorder. One of the hardest aspects of life for us is making small talk and developing relationships. We don’t know what to say when there is nothing important to communicate, and we don’t understand body language, so it’s hard to bond with people. But in ballet, we spend hours in class and rehearsals not talking at all or exchanging only vital information. The gestures are coded. When dancers get together outside the studio, it’s often to watch more ballet—live or on TV. So it’s the perfect environment for someone with Asperger’s to thrive in and make friends—lots of passion, minimal talk.

Last year my husband retired from active duty service, so I’m now working for the Army full-time again. I don’t get to dance as much as I used to, unfortunately. But I still show up to class when I can. I will always love ballet and the ballet studio—a bastion of civility in an everything-goes world.

 

Patricia Beal dance photo

 

2. You’ve lived in many countries, and I’m sure you have plenty of tales to tell from them all. Which country holds your favorite memories and why?

I grew up in Brazil, immigrated to the United States when I was twenty, and lived in Germany twice, first as a public affairs officer for the U.S. Army and later as an Army wife. Every place is special in its own way, and it’s hard to come up with the one that holds my favorite memories. I love Germany because it’s gorgeous—the unsung hero of Europe: natural beauty, gorgeous architecture, castles, the Rhine, the people, the laid-back life style… It’s a fairytale life. I love it, and that’s why I wanted to highlight some of it in the debut.

The United States is still the amazing land of opportunities that draws half the world to its shores. In 1992, I landed in Miami with one suitcase and a million dreams. I fell in love with the English language while washing dishes at a McDonald’s in Indianapolis, learned enough vocabulary to pass the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL), put myself through college working at a BP gas station, and graduated magna cum laude from the University of Cincinnati in 1998 with a B.A. in English Literature. Worked at the Pentagon, was a spokesperson for five general officers, and I now edit class materials for every sergeant in the U.S. Army. And I have a novel coming out. Where else could this happen? Nowhere. I love the American Dream. I love dreams. I love possibilities. This is the place. A field of dreams where hard work still pays, no matter who you are or where you came from.

And then there’s Brazil. A place of lovely people but great suffering and many struggles. Have you seen recent photos of the Olympic facilities? It’s all abandoned, dirty, and overgrown with weeds. Credit card interest rates right now are 50% a month! How do you live like that? It’s hard. And it’s been hard for a long time. But growing up in the south of Brazil in the seventies, things weren’t that bad—not for my family… School was just five hours of my day, my grades were horrible, and I did homework never. Don’t tell my kids! And no one gave me a hard time over any of it. I grew up on my bike, riding through the woods, over hills, to waterfalls, and to unlimited adventures with a pack of girls (half-sisters and friends) who loved adventure as much as I did. It was fun! Maybe those years hold some of my favorite memories because all of the above, the fairytale life, unlimited possibilities, and beauty, lived together in one place and time.

 

Patricia Beal childhood Brazil

 

3. How much danger were you in when you worked for the U.S. Army? Did writing articles help pave the way for you to write novels?

I worked as a public affairs officer for seven years. I was in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, when the first Operation Enduring Freedom detainees arrived, and the stories I filed during the early days of the detention operation there gained national attention. Writing from Iraq in the first year of Operation Iraqi Freedom, I focused on feature stories for Army newspapers, and a feature on a day in the life of “Bad Luck Squad” won a Keith L. Ware award in print journalism.

Was there danger? In Guantanamo no. In Iraq yes. I remember one particular event. I was out in Baghdad with a medical evacuation company. They were responding to a roadside bomb that had stopped one of our convoys. I was taking photos and didn’t realize I was too far from the unit and too close to a large group of Iraqis who were watching the rescue. That had bad news written all over it. I was back in the helicopter within a minute and didn’t venture out for the rest of the day. Very brave. I know.

Patricia Beal Iraq

 

I now work as an editor winning the war on error at the U.S. Army Sergeants Major Academy. No danger.

As for journalism and novel writing, my whole background is in journalism. I studied it in college and was the news editor of the University of Cincinnati newspaper during my junior and senior years. We went to print four times a week. Then I studied journalism some more at Defense Information School at Fort Meade, Maryland, and used it on the field, of course.

I do think that all that news and features writing helped shape me as an author. Telling a story is telling a story, no matter the length. You want to know your audience, move in a way that’s both logical and interesting, and give the reader something to think about.

4. A Season to Dance releases May 9! Tell us a little about the story.

A Season to Dance is my debut novel. It’s the story of a small town professional ballerina who dreams of dancing at the Met in New York, the two men who love her, and the forbidden kiss that changed everything. But it’s more than big dreams and dreamy suitors. It’s about a young woman trying to fill the God-shaped hole in her heart with misguided career and romantic pursuits.

Here’s my favorite part: I wasn’t a Christian when I started. The story was initially just about big dreams and dreamy suitors. But the whole time, God had me writing my own salvation story.

I didn’t grow up in a Christian home, and for most of my life I believed there had to be some kind of god out there and that being a good person was important. But in the summer of 2012, an early version of the novel was rejected in three different continents on the same week. I was tired and lonely, and I freaked out. I decided the notion of a loving god was absurd. There was no loving god, if there was a god at all.

Self-gratification became the chief end of my existence, and I looked behind every door for happiness and satisfaction. I didn’t find anything worth keeping though, and at the end of every new pursuit, I was still tired and lonely.

Then Jesus passed by. I was born again in January of 2013, and soon after that, I realized the novel wasn’t complete. I cancelled a trip to a secular writers’ conference and started a 14-month rewrite. This book, A Season to Dance, is the book that wrote me. I journeyed with Ana and pray that now others will journey with us, beyond expectations and suffering and to the very heart of Christ.

Congratulations! What’s next for you?

I wrote a second book, but I’m still editing it. It’s called The Song of the Desert Willow, and it’s a split-time military romance. The contemporary and central part of the novel is the story of a college graduate (Clara) who thought she’d sworn off soldiers forever and of a young Army captain (Andrew) whose first shot at love and marriage imploded on the steps of a West Point chapel on graduation week.

She takes a break from a long and unfruitful job search to travel to Fort Bliss, Texas, to deliver her grandmother’s last love letter, a letter to a retired general Clara has heard about since she was born. When he is delayed in Germany with a weak heart, Clara’s stuck in Texas and Andrew is put in charge of her well-being.

The story has a lot of my grandma’s history in it—life in the German colonies of the south of Brazil before WWII, the beginning of the shoe industry there (still famous worldwide, with women’s shoes always available at stores like Neiman Marcus), the life of the richest family in town, the most influential man (my great grandfather), his death, loss, change. It’s fascinating to me, and I pray I can paint a vivid picture of this most unusual slice of history and get people to care.

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Patricia, thank you so much for sharing your story with us! I enjoyed reading about your childhood, your working years, and especially, your faith journey. God bless you!!

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A Season to Dance

A Season to Dance

Ana Brassfield has her path to the stage of the Metropolitan Opera House all figured out until her first love, renowned German dancer Claus Gert, returns to Georgia to win her back. Despite a promising start towards her ballet career and pending marriage to landscape architect, Peter Engberg, Ana wonders if her dreams of dancing at the Met are as impossible as her previous romantic relationship with Claus.

Then, an on-stage kiss between Ana and Claus changes everything.

Convinced the kiss is more than a one-time mistake, Peter breaks off their engagement. With an old dog crippled by arthritis and dreams deferred but not left behind, Ana moves to Germany to be with Claus. But the ghost of his late wife, Ana’s own feelings for Peter, and the pressure of earning a spot in a large ballet company are a high price for a shot at success. Ana seems on the verge of having everything she ever dreamed of, but will it be enough?

Interested in purchasing A Season to Dance? AMAZON | LPC

 

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Patricia Beal

Patricia Beal is a 2015 Genesis semi-finalist and First Impressions finalist. She is represented by Les Stobbe of the Leslie H. Stobbe Literary Agency, and A Season to Dance is her debut novel (Bling! Romance / Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas, May 2017). Patricia writes from El Paso, Texas, where she lives with her husband and two children.

Connect with Patricia Beal:

Goodreads – www.goodreads.com/bealpat

Facebook – www.facebook.com/patricia.beal.author

Pinterest – www.pinterest.com/patriciasbeal

Twitter – www.twitter.com/bealpat

Web – www.patriciabeal.com

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What is your favorite memory of where you grew up?

Have a terrific day!

The Inside Scoop with Nicole Deese #WW

The Inside Scoop With Nicole Deese #WW

Today Nicole Deese is graciously answering questions about her writing life. Nicole writes sweet romance novels, and I had the pleasure of meeting her at the ACFW conference this summer. Her new release, The Promise of Rayne, just released! Don’t worry–I have all the links and info below.

Let’s get to it!

 

 

THE INSIDE SCOOP WITH NICOLE DEESE #WW

 

1. How did you know you wanted to be a writer?

I’ve always had a love for story and a HUGE love for the written word. About five years ago, after a super intense reading binge, I literally closed my latest read (which was the fantastic Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi), set it on the arm of the sofa and said to my husband, “I want to do this. I’m going to do this.” And just shy of a year later I independently published my debut novel, All For Anna. I’m extremely blessed to do what I love.

2. What is unique about your process?

One of the unique parts of my process is the feedback I rely on from my writing partners. Upon finishing a chapter in my first draft, I send it off to my two faithful pals for an overall content check, and then again for a more thorough critique on the second (or third) draft. I can hardly remember when I used to write “alone”… and honestly, I’d never go back. I love living in community.

3. What inspired your book?

About a year ago I was meditating on the love your enemies passage in Luke 6. And while I sat pondering one morning, overlooking our property in north Idaho, the beginnings of The Promise of Rayne started to spark. Just a few weeks later those little sparks ignited into a raging fire of conflict, characters, and a story that seemed to grab ahold of my heart until I’d written those last two words: The End.

4. What’s the best writing advice you’ve ever received?

If you make your readers worry… they’ll keep turning pages.

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I’m getting all goosebumpy over here, Nicole! I love that you told your husband you were doing it, and you did. I remember the day I realized I could “try” to write a novel. So exciting! I agree with you on the writing community–how does anyone do it alone? I rely on my writing friends for moral support and writing support. We need each other. And by the way…the advice  you shared is really good advice! Thank you so much for being my guest!

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THE PROMISE OF RAYNE

The Promise of Rayne

Rayne Shelby has spent her entire life trying to earn the approval of her high-powered family, with the hope of one day managing her late grandfather’s prestigious Idaho lodge. But when she makes a mistake that puts her future in jeopardy, she faces an impossible choice: defy her family or deny her dream. The only way to fix the mess she’s created is to enlist the help of her neighbor, Levi, the apprentice of her family’s greatest enemy. And if Rayne gets caught crossing the divided property lines, the consequences will be irreparable.
Levi Harding has never forgotten the August night he shared with Rayne when they were teens—or the way she later rejected him. Despite his warring instincts, he can’t ignore her plea for help or the spark that’s ignited between them. But now, as wildfires bear down on their town and family secrets are revealed, their newfound alliance might just go up in smoke.

Purchase THE PROMISE OF RAYNE HERE!

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Nicole Deese

 

Nicole Deese is a full-time lover of humorous, heartfelt, and hope-filled fiction. She is the author of seven published novels including the Love in Lenox novels, A Cliché Christmas and A Season to Love, and her newest standalone release, The Promise of Rayne. When she’s not writing sweet romances, she can usually be found reading near a window while sipping a LaCroix. She lives in small-town Idaho with her handsome hubby and two sons.

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What’s the best book you’ve read so far this year?

  1. FREE Christmas novella!! Chapters one and two of A Cradle for Christmas are now live on Harlequin.com! Click HERE, and select “Love Inspired” to read them!
  2. There’s still time to enter my November giveaway full of Christmas goodies! Go to my HOME page (linked) and scroll down for the entry options.
  3. I’m giving away two copies of Yuletide Redemption on Goodreads. The entry form is in the sidebar of my blog!

Have a terrific day!

 

The Inside Scoop with Barbara M. Britton

Today Barbara M. Britton is  graciously answering questions about her writing life. Barbara writes for Pelican Book Group, and her new book, Providence: Hannah’s Journey, is available now. Don’t worry, I have all the links and book info below!

Let’s get to it.

THE INSIDE SCOOP WITH BARBARA M. BRITTON

 

1. How did you know you wanted to be a writer?

I didn’t. I took creative writing classes in high school, but I don’t remember any teacher mentioning writing as a career choice. Three decades later, after writing curriculum for elementary school chapel, I had the prompting to write. I asked the Lord to “hit me with some creativity” to write my curriculum and I just kept writing. It has taken me nine years to birth a book into the world as I had a lot to learn about the craft of writing and the business of publishing. Now, I can’t imagine doing anything else.

 

2. What is unique about your process?

I’m so old school. I write on a notepad and then hunt-and-peck my way on the computer to craft a manuscript. I also like to draw maps of the cities and areas where my books are set and tape them to a wall in my office. I tape perfume advertisements above my computer when I see a model that resembles one of my characters. My office walls are an eclectic smattering of pictures.

 

3. What inspired your book?

I taught chapel lessons about young people in the Bible who did brave things, and one of those brave characters was the servant girl in the story of Naaman in II Kings 5. I started thinking about how she got captured and I wondered if she ever received her freedom. Alas, Hannah’s story was born.

 

4. What’s the best writing advice you’ve ever received?

I received the best writing advice from the very first publishing course I attended. I was told to join a professional writing organization and get involved. Also, I was advised to go to writing conferences. I don’t know what I would do without the friends I have made in my writing groups. They are my biggest supporters, brainstormers, and marketing team. I am a member of RWA, WisRWA, SCBWI and ACFW.

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Barbara, I love that you asked the Lord to hit you with creativity! He certainly answered! And you write on pen and paper–I’m very impressed. My hand cramps easily, so the laptop is my best friend. Your book sounds amazing. I enjoy Biblical fiction. Congratulations!!

 

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Providence: Hannah's Journey

Providence: Hannah’s Journey ~

As the sole daughter of the chief priest, Hannah is publicly shamed when the prophet of Israel refuses to heal her.

Determined to restore her family’s honor, Hannah escapes Jerusalem in hopes of finding the prophet and convincing him to heal her deformities. Gilead, a young Hebrew guard sympathetic to her plight, willingly accompanies her. On their way, they are captured by a band of raiders.

Hannah is forced to serve in the household of the commander of the Aramean army, an officer who is in need of healing himself. Meanwhile Gilead is being used as sword practice for the Aramean soldiers.

Hannah must act fast to save Gilead and herself. But survival means coaxing the prophet of Israel to heal and enemy commander.

Purchase Providence: Hannah’s Journey: Pelican Group * Amazon * Barnes & Noble

 

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About Barbara ~

Barbara M. Britton was born and raised in the San Francisco Bay Area, but currently lives in Wisconsin and loves the snow—when it accumulates under three inches. She writes Christian Fiction for teens and adults. Barb has a nutrition degree from Baylor University but loves to dip healthy strawberries in chocolate. Barb kicks off her Tribes of Israel series in October with the release of “Providence: Hannah’s Journey.” Barb is a member of the American Christian Fiction Writers, the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators, Romance Writers of America and Wisconsin Romance Writers of America.

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Have you read any Biblical fiction? What is your favorite book?

Have a terrific day!

 

The Inside Scoop with Alison Stone and a Giveaway!

The Inside Scoop With Alison Stone And A Giveaway!

Today Alison Stone is graciously answering questions about her writing life. Alison writes for Waterfall Press and Love Inspired Suspense, and her new book, Pointe and Shoot, is available in stores and online. Alison is graciously giving away one paperback copy. Don’t worry, I have all the links and book info below!

Let’s get to it.

THE INSIDE SCOOP WITH ALISON STONE

1. How did you know you wanted to be a writer

I didn’t realize I wanted to be a writer until after my first child was born. I kept seeing those ads in women’s magazines about writing children’s books. Remember those? I’m talking twenty years ago. Anyway, I signed up to take an online creative writing class. From there, my love of writing grew. I switched my focus from attempting to write for children to eventually getting published in novel-length fiction with both Harlequin and Waterfall Press.

 

2. What is unique about your process?

I’m not sure my process is unique. As a former engineer, I want more than anything to be able to plot out the entire book and then sit down and write it. But, that never seems to be the case. I have a general idea, a few plot points, and then I start to write. I get some of my best ideas while writing. So, even though I can’t seem to plot everything out beforehand, my process seems to work. I also do a lot of rewriting. That’s okay, too. By the time I have a rough draft, I finally know the entire story and I really enjoy the editing process at this stage.

 

3. What inspired your book?

Pointe and Shoot is what we writers like to call “the book of my heart.” I broke into fiction writing romantic suspense for Harlequin’s Love Inspired Suspense line. I enjoy writing for Harlequin, but I knew Pointe and Shoot wouldn’t work for this line. It’s what I like to call my “Dance Moms” meets “Blue Bloods” book. (You know, the cop show with Tom Selleck?) Anyway, both my daughters were competitive dancers at the time. (One still is!) If anyone knows what it’s like to take their children to any activity five or six days a week, you also start to live and breathe the activity – whether it’s hockey, gymnastics, dance or whatever. The idea of setting a murder mystery in the dance world wouldn’t leave me. My dance-mom friends even helped me brainstorm titles long before the book was written. Finally, when Amazon Publishing announced they were looking for proposals for their new Christian imprint, I knew this was my chance to submit my dance book idea.

 

4. What’s the best writing advice you’ve ever received?

Despite not working in the corporate world for eighteen-years, I am still an engineer at heart. This means I want everything to have a clear-cut answer. You know, 2 + 2 = 4. However, writing doesn’t work that way and it was difficult for me to adjust. I am a perfectionist at heart (but hardly perfect.) The best advice I’ve ever received is that “you can fix a crappy draft, but you can’t fix a blank page.” (I’m paraphrasing here because the advice I received was much more colorful.) Like I mentioned above, some of my best ideas come during the process of writing, so I’ve learned to get out of my own way and allow myself to “just write.”

 

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Oh, Alison, I could relate to ALL of your answers! Yes, I do remember those commercials for writing children’s books. I’m impressed you signed up for an online course, unlike me who decided I could write one of those romance novels I so enjoyed reading (those early attempts were burn-worthy). And Dance Moms meets Blue Bloods! Perfect!! I’ve been a sports mom for many years, and yes, you can’t help but get immersed in the world. Thanks so much for being my guest!

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Pointe and Shoot

 

Pointe and Shoot ~

Jayne Murphy has always put family first. That’s why she abandoned her dream of joining the police force to run her ailing mother’s dance studio.
When one of the studio’s most talented instructors dies in a car crash, Jayne isn’t convinced it was just an accident. Relentlessly pursuing her hunch, she teams up with Officer Danny Nolan, the best friend and partner of her brother Patrick, who died in the line of duty. Haunted by Patrick’s death, Danny has begun to question whether he should still be a cop at all.
As Jayne digs deeper, suspects emerge, including the victim’s clingy ex-boyfriend and a jealous foe from the cutthroat dance world. Her evolving insights into the case rekindle Jayne’s passion for police work. Danny, too, feels a renewed sense of purpose…and a definite attraction to his unofficial partner, which seems to be mutual. Now, if Jayne can only keep herself out of harm’s way, she and Danny both might get a second chance—with their careers and each other.

Purchase Pointe and Shoot HERE!

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Giveaway time! Alison is giving away one paperback copy of Pointe and Shoot! Entry form is below.

 

 

(US Residents 18 and older. Giveaway starts 10/12/2016 at 6:00am EST and ends Sunday, 10/16/2016 at 9pm EST. See entry form for complete rules.)

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Alison Stone

 

About Alison ~
With a degree from Georgia Tech, Alison Stone was an engineer in several industries before trading her corporate career for motherhood shortly after the birth of her second child. She became a novelist in a roundabout way, first trying her hand at writing children’s books and articles for local publications before eventually discovering her love of romantic suspense.
Stone lives with her husband of twenty-plus years and their four children in western New York, where the summers are gorgeous and the winters are perfect for curling up with a good book—or writing one.

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Have you watched Dance Moms or Blue Bloods? Which do you prefer, reality television or scripted?

Have a wonderful day!

The Inside Scoop with Tammy L. Gray

The Inside Scoop With Tammy L. Gray

Today Tammy L. Gray is  graciously answering questions about her writing life. Tammy’s new book, Her Hope Next Door, released last week! I have all the links and book info below.

Let’s get to it.

THE INSIDE SCOOP WITH TAMMY L. GRAY

1. How did you know you wanted to be a writer?

I honestly never expected to become a writer, and the way this whole career has played out is none other than God’s mighty hand. When I decided to write my debut novel, Shattered Rose, it came after a very hard weekend for me mentally and emotionally. I was struggling with a sin that I just couldn’t seem to overcome and was broken over my failure.

I sat down that next Monday and started writing a book with one goal in mind. I wanted to show an analogy between the freedom in Christ and the temptation of sin. How even when we know it’s wrong, we are pulled back in over and over. Eight weeks later, I had a novel. I sent it to a few friends and they adamantly said I needed to publish it. My brother said he’d make me a cover, build me a website and set up my social media. So, with the beauty of independent publishing, my story found its way into the world.

Since then, writing has become more than a one book anthem. It’s about offering high quality fiction that is culturally relevant and includes messages of hope and healing. I believe fiction can inspire us if the message is authentic, which is what I try to be.

 

2. What is unique about your process?

Unlike when I first began, my story process is now very collaborative. I am extremely blessed to be surrounded by several writing friends who not only help me plot, but also take the time to critique my writing along the way. This has made the first/second draft process longer and sometimes more exhaustive, but I feel every one of my books are better because of their honesty and input.

 

3. What inspired your book?

I am one of those Christians who had a very rocky path to Christ, and that means Satan uses shame and regret to consistently make me feel less than. Even years after redemption.

At the same time, I’m now a pastor’s wife, so I’ve seen more masks in the Church than I care to count. The thing is, behind each one of those plastered on smiles is a story. Usually a story of heartbreak, struggle, failure and victory. In Christian circles, we tend to only show people our shiny parts, not the ugly, rusted sin that mars all of us.

I also find that we tend to judge people less when we see things from their point of view. So introducing Katie, a “bad” girl, and pairing her with a man who grew up in the Church allowed me to show how in so many ways we all fight the same battles, but do so with different weapons.

And above all, I wanted to show the amazing healing power of God. So often in Christianity, we only talk about what everyone else shouldn’t be doing, and we have this perception of being judgmental, elitist, and disconnected. What we fail to show is how amazing God is in our life. Because to show His glory, we have to first admit we’re flawed and broken.

My hope is that someone can identify with one of my characters and then desire that same peace each of them find at the end of their journey. A peace that is only possible with Christ.

 

4. What’s the best writing advice you’ve ever received?

Honestly, the best advice I’ve been given came from two different amazing authors. First, Lynne Gentry was gracious enough to invite me into her writing circles and encouraged me to use other authors to help elevate my work. Second, my dear friend and writing partner, Nicole Deese, told me that no matter how many books we have out, we should always work on improving our craft. She encouraged me to take Margie Lawson’s immersion class, and that’s when I truly felt like I transitioned from being a story teller, to be a career writer.

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Tammy, I love your story. I think we can all relate to struggling with sin, pain and regret. I know I certainly do! And what a blessing to have writers you can plot with and who will critique your work. I agree with you that great Christian books help us focus less on what we shouldn’t be doing and more on what God IS doing in us. Thank you so much for being my guest!

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My Hope Next Door

My Hope Next Door ~

Can love grow in the shadow of a broken past?

Former bad girl Katie Stone can feel the weight of her reputation settle over her as she drives home for the first time in years. Feeling deeply guilty about her past mistakes, Katie wants to do the right thing for once. But the small town where she grew up is not nearly as forgiving as she’d hoped. Despite it all, she’s determined to help her parents cope with her mother’s recent illness, and Katie finds a surprise ally in the man next door.

Asher Powell never minded being the son of a small-town pastor until a recent breakup leaves him wounded by lifelong members of his church. He remembers his new neighbor as a mean-spirited high school troublemaker, but he senses that her newfound faith and desire for forgiveness are sincere.

Through an unexpected friendship, two people from different worlds find peace, hope, and a second chance they never dreamed was possible.

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Purchase My Hope Next Door HERE!

 

Tammy L. Gray

About Tammy L. Gray ~

Tammy L. Gray lives in the Dallas area with her family, and they love all things Texas, even the erratic weather patterns. She writes modern Christian romance with true-to-life characters and culturally-relevant plot lines. She believes hope and healing can be found through high quality fiction that inspires and provokes change.

When not chasing after her three amazing kids, Tammy can be spotted with her head in a book. Writing has given her a platform to combine her passion with her ministry.

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Has a book ever helped deepen your faith in God?

Have a wonderful day!

The Inside Scoop with Janice Boekhoff

The Inside Scoop With Janice Boekhoff

Today Janice Boekhoff is graciously answering questions about her writing life. Janice writes for Wild Blue Press, and her debut novel, Crevice, is available now! Don’t worry, I have all the links and book info below!

Let’s get to it.

THE INSIDE SCOOP WITH JANICE BOEKHOFF

1. How did you know you wanted to be a writer?

When I was a pre-teen, I discovered Stephen King novels. I read his books late into the night, maybe not the best parenting decision by my parents since it gave me vivid nightmares, but it fostered a love of reading. And soon thereafter came a secret desire to craft engrossing stories, to be a novelist. But I was too afraid to try. I wrote a short story in high school that received an average grade, so I was convinced I didn’t have any talent (easily defeated, I know). I put that dream aside and pursued others, including becoming a geologist and a mom.

But as I approached 40, I realized I had one dream yet to be fulfilled. Since I had nothing to lose if I failed, I started writing and fell in love with it. Having a little world at your mercy is somewhat addictive (maybe I have a few control issues). Even so, I still didn’t tell anyone I was writing. What if they thought it was terrible?

After a couple of years of nursing my obsession, I realized it would be more fun if other people joined me in the little worlds I had created. I slowly started to let people read my stuff. Those first pages were pretty awful. I had a lot to learn, but I had taken my first step down the long road to publication.

 

2. What is unique about your process?

I’m a seat-of-the-pants writer, which means I write whatever comes to me at the time, and yet I’m envious of plotters. I have tried and tried to plot more, with some success, but I can’t fully plot out a novel. I get stuck somewhere in the middle, unsure of how to get to the end. So, I plot as much as I can and then start writing, knowing I’ll figure out the middle as I go. My first drafts are the stuff of writer’s nightmares. Seriously, when I attack them with my red pen, the whole page is bleeding. Good thing I like to edit because I’m forced to rewrite and rewrite and rewrite …

 

3. What inspired your book?

For Crevice, it was the historical thread that captured my interest first. I’ve always loved a good treasure hunting story (Indiana Jones, anyone?). A couple of years ago, I saw a television program on the Lost Dutchman Gold Mine. Very little is known about the Dutchman (Jacob Waltz) so my writer’s brain wanted to create a story for him, including reasons why the mine had never been found. I wrote everything on the Dutchman’s life first, before even deciding whom my main characters would be. By the time I was done, I loved the Dutchman, but I knew I wanted this to be more than a historical novel. The Dutchman’s story needed to intersect with a modern day mining geologist, and thus the character of Elery was born.

 

Bonus behind the scenes info: The original name for Elery was Every (from a bible verse James 1:17, Every good and perfect gift is from above …) until my critique partner pointed out that it meant I couldn’t use the actual word every, like ever, in the novel. Oops.

 

4. What’s the best writing advice you’ve ever received?

The best writing advice I ever received came in my first rejection letter from an agent. He said I was overwriting. I was grateful for the feedback because many agents send out merely a form letter, but I was confused. I knew I wasn’t a flowery writer. My prose didn’t describe things in detail or use long poetic phrases. Later, a writer friend helped me understand what he meant. My scenes were telling the reader what happened, showing them what happened, and then telling them again to make sure they got it. For me the greatest advice has been to resist over explaining—trust the reader!

***

Janice, I read my first Stephen King novel when I was twelve. It terrified me so much, I threw it on our back porch before I went to bed!! I think it’s so cool you always had the itch to write but pursued a degree in science and became a mom. My journey was similar. I became an electrical engineer and a mom before I started writing seriously. It’s funny how God works, isn’t it? Congratulations on your incredible debut novel–it’s an emotional page turner, that’s for sure!!

 

***

Crevice ~

 

Crevice by Janice Boekhoff

 

Desperate to save her family’s struggling gold mine, Elery Hearst orders her crew to dig a new tunnel in a last-ditch effort to intersect the original gold vein. Rather than saving her legacy, however, the tunnel collapses, killing one of her men. Initial reports blame the tragedy on faulty equipment—an old machine Elery should have replaced.

Before she can come to terms with the guilt and regret consuming her, Elery’s brother disappears in search of the Lost Dutchman, a legendary mine of vast riches, and what he believes to be the solution to his family’s grave financial situation. To find her brother, Elery must now ask for help from the one man she’d rather avoid—Lucan Milner, the twin brother of the miner who died in the collapse.

Still struggling with the loss of his only brother, rescue tracker Lucan Milner reluctantly agrees to help with the search. But when Elery insists on coming along, her presence forces his emotions to the surface. How can God expect him to forgive her?

Then, Lucan’s tracking dog is injured, bringing the search to a halt. Lucan and Elery realize the only way to find her brother is to find the Lost Dutchman Mine. And Lucan holds the secret that can help—journal pages written by the Dutchman himself.

But sharing them with Elery not only rips open his grief-stricken heart, it puts both of them in the path of a killer. In these deserted mountains, they aren’t the only ones desperate to find the lost mine.

Purchase Crevice Here!

 

 

 ***

About Janice ~

Janice Boekhoff

 

Janice Boekhoff is a former Research Geologist who pours her love of science and the outdoors into her suspense novels. Janice is a three-time finalist in the ACFW Genesis Contest. She writes from Iowa (not to be mistaken for Idaho), where she lives with her amazing husband and three feisty sports-addicted kids. Learn more about Janice at her website!

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Do you ever read scary novels?

Have a wonderful day!

Talking About Books on Television! Writer Wednesday

I was recently asked to appear on Rebecca Regnier’s local morning television show, Full Plate, and of course I said YES! The episode aired last Sunday, July 31, 2016. Whee! Since I’m not a television personality, I spent time preparing for it. You can read all of my handy-dandy tips– including the ultimate no-no STRIPES!!–over at the Pink Heart Society, “Tuesday Talk Time–Television Tips!

And without further ado, here is the clip!

If you can’t see the clip above, here is the link to it! Full Plate: Local Authors Share Their Summer Reads.

By the way, the books I recommended were Mindy Kaling’s Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? and Karen Witemeyer’s No Other Will Do. Both were excellent books, perfect for the beach!

Have you ever been on television? If yes, did it make you nervous or did you love it? If no, would you jump at the chance or turn it down?

 

Have a terrific day!

The Inside Scoop with Varina Denman

Today Varina Denman is  graciously answering questions about her writing life. Varina writes for David C. Cook, and her new book, Jilted, is the third in the Mended Hearts trilogy, available in stores and online. Don’t worry, I have all the links and book info below!

Let’s get to it.

THE INSIDE SCOOP WITH VARINA DENMAN

1. How did you know you wanted to be a writer?

I think it was because I liked to read so much! When my children were small, I spent a lot of time reading during all those late-night feedings, and I began to wonder if I might be able to write a book myself. Once I started my first rough draft, I was completely hooked.

 

2. What is unique about your process?

I’m not sure how unique it is, but I know many, many of my writer friends don’t write this way. And truthfully, I’m currently undergoing self-inflicted limitations to recover from the tendency. You see, my rough drafts are TERRIBLE. I realize that all writers say that, but my drafts are such a confusing jumble of ideas that my own mother wouldn’t even understand the story line. At all. It’s a bad habit, but that’s how my brain seems to work. I throw the words down on the page as fast as I can, then I spend MONTHS making sense of it all.

3. What inspired your book?

Lynda Turner, the main character, has suffered from depression for years. And no wonder! She was jilted by more than one man, her friends turned their backs on her, and the local congregation shunned her family. Even though I’ve never experienced anything as devastating as Lynda, I can empathize with her pain because I also struggle with depression (though my symptoms are mild in comparison to hers). It’s my prayer that Jilted will be an encouragement to women, whether they have depression or know someone who does.

4. What’s the best writing advice you’ve ever received?

Write every day. The more I try to be successful as this job, the more I believe in this simple advice. I’ve gone through stretches when I didn’t write because I was plotting or editing, but I think that was a mistake because once I started drafting again, it took weeks to get my brain back in the habit of producing creative content. It’s all about training your brain. Right now I’m drafting a new novel, and I’m able to crank out a chapter every morning before I move on to blogging and marketing. But when I’m finished drafting, and I start editing, I’m HOPING I can still write something every morning that is original, just to keep my brain in the habit.

Jill, thank you for having me on your blog!

***

Varina, you are very welcome! Come back anytime! Your process fascinates me. My process can only be described as linear, so I love reading about people who are non-linear. I always think, what would that be like? And could I do it? (The answer is no. I could not!) Your books have gotten rave reviews, and Jilted sounds terrific. I think many of us can relate to those dark emotions when life feels depressing. Your books bring light to many. Thank you for being my guest today!

***

Jilted ~

 

Jilted

 

A heartbroken woman desires to move beyond old memories, but will her past give way to hope?

Lynda Turner has struggled with depression since her husband abandoned her and their young daughter fifteen years ago. Yet unexpected hope awakens when a local ex-convict shows interest. As long-hidden secrets resurface, Lynda must fight for her emotional stability and for a life in which the shadow of shame is replaced by the light of love.

Jilted tells of a woman who has lost the joy of living, of a man determined to draw her back toward happiness, and of a town that must—once and for all–leave the past where it belongs. It is a gentle reminder that all things can work together for good.

Purchase Jilted HERE!

***

About Varina ~

Varina Denman

 

Varina Denman writes stories about the unique struggles women face. Her three-book Mended Hearts series, which revolves around church hurt, is a compelling blend of women’s fiction and inspirational romance. A native Texan, Varina lives near Fort Worth with her husband and five mostly grown children. Her passion is helping others make peace with their life situations. Connect with Varina on her website or one of the social media hangouts.

***

Have you ever been “kicked” when you were down?

Enjoy your day!!

The Inside Scoop with Jessica R. Patch plus Giveaway!

The Inside Scoop With Jessica R. Patch Plus Giveaway!

Today Jessica R. Patch is  graciously answering questions about her writing life. Jessica writes for Love Inspired Suspense, and her new book, Protective Duty, is available in stores and online. I was blessed to read this book already, and it is awesome!! Jessica is giving away one paperback copy of Protective Duty! Easy entry options are below and the contest runs until June 12, 2016!
Let’s get to it.

THE INSIDE SCOOP WITH JESSICA R. PATCH

1. How did you know you wanted to be a writer?

That’s a great question. I suppose my love of storytelling played into it. Stories constantly cropped up in my mind and one day I felt like God nudged me to put it on paper. After that, I just knew.

 

2. What is unique about your process?

I’m not sure if anything is unique. Stories come in so many different ways to me, then I use a huge white board to start plotting. After that I use OneNote and Powerpoint to nail everything down. I guess that might seem boring.

 

3. What inspired your book?

My hero, Eric Hale, was a minor character in Fatal Reunion. His wit and humor as well as his complex personality told me he needed a story. And I’m glad because many readers have emailed me to ask if he was getting his own story!

 

4. What’s the best writing advice you’ve ever received?

“Write the book you would want to read.” I hear so many people saying they have to write this genre or that to “break into” publishing. But those genres don’t make them happy. Write what you love. Enjoy the journey. Trust God.

 

***

Jessica, I love that God nudged you to start telling your stories. We’re blessed that you did! Your white board doesn’t sound boring at all–I’ve never used one to plot. You might have to demonstrate this for me at some point! And I fell in love with Eric, so thank you for giving him his own book. Thinking of him makes me think of licorice, and now I am hungry… Great advice! Thank you so much for being my guest!

***

 Protective Duty
HIGH-RISK REUNION

Minutes into FBI profiler Bryn Eastman’s first case since a near-fatal shooting, a brazen serial killer sets his sights on her next. Now her life—and career—is in the hands of her new partner, Detective Eric Hale, the man she once loved and lost. Racked with nightmares of the shooting and regrets for the tragedy that tore her and Eric apart, Bryn doesn’t want Eric to discover the secrets she carries—but she needs him. Seeing Bryn brings back memories Eric can’t control. Memories of a once-in-a-lifetime love. But the tough detective knows their only path to a second chance goes straight through a relentless killer…one who won’t quit until he counts Bryn as his fifth victim.
Interested in purchasing Protective Duty? Buy from AMAZON or HARLEQUIN!

***

Sign up for a chance to win a copy of Protective Duty!

US residents 18 and older. See official rules in giveaway form

***
Jessica R. Patch

About Jessica ~

Jessica R. Patch lives in the mid-south where she pens inspirational contemporary romance and romantic suspense novels. When she’s not hunched over her laptop or going on adventurous trips in the name of research with willing friends, you can find her watching way too much Netflix with her family and collecting recipes to amazing dishes she’ll probably never cook. She’s the author of the Seasons of Hope series, Fatal Reunion, and Protective Duty. Jessica is represented by Rachel Kent of Books & Such Literary Management.

***

Jessica’s advice about writing is to “write a book you want to read.” What types of books do YOU love to read?

 

Have a terrific day!

 

The Inside Scoop with Mindy Obenhaus plus Giveaway!

The Inside Scoop With Mindy Obenhaus Plus Giveaway!

Today Mindy Obenhaus is graciously answering questions about her writing life. I’m blessed to call her my friend. Mindy writes for Love Inspired, and her new book, Falling for the Hometown Hero, is available in stores and online. It’s a terrific book. Don’t be jealous that I got to read it already! Mindy is giving away one paperback copy of Falling for the Hometown Hero. The easy entry form is below, and the contest runs until June 5, 2016 at 9pm! I have all the links and book info below!

Let’s get to it.

THE INSIDE SCOOP WITH MINDY OBENHAUS

1. How did you know you wanted to be a writer?

Actually, I never imagined I’d be a writer. It wasn’t even blip on my radar. Then, as my kids got older and I had more time to read, something happened. Like a switch flipping in my brain. I doubted it at first, but figured the only way I would know if I could write was to actually do it. So I did and it quickly became my passion.

2. What is unique about your process?

Hmm… I’m not sure there’s anything unique, although my husband is amazed that I’m able to keep so many people and stories straight in my head.

3. What inspired your book?

The story changed a lot from its inception, but my original spark was when my daughter served in the U.S. Navy. I thought it would be cool to have a heroine who was former military.

4. What’s the best writing advice you’ve ever received?

Never stop learning. One never gets so good at writing that they stop learning the craft.

 

***

Mindy, that’s wild that you never had the urge to write, and yet you’re such an amazing writer! You do keep a lot of imaginary people in your head straight. Haha! I’m impressed your daughter wanted to join the Navy. I’m afraid of a twenty minute boot camp video. Your advice is terrific. I’m always learning! Thank you so much for being my guest today!

***

Falling for the Hometown Hero

The Soldier’s Second Chance
After returning home wounded from an IED attack, former soldier Kaleb Palmer is hailed as a hero. But survivor’s guilt makes him feel like a fraud. He hopes setting up a business in Ouray, Colorado, will give him a purpose and help him forget. But his new office manager has her own plans. Grace McAllen brings light and hope wherever she goes, and she’s getting Kaleb to open up. As she helps him make Mountain View Jeep Tours a success, Kaleb realizes a happy ending is in reach, if he can convince Grace to stay in town—and his life—forever.

Interested in buying Falling for the Hometown Hero? Purchase from Amazon!

 

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Enter to win a paperback copy of Falling for the Hometown Hero!

US residents 18 and older. See official rules in entry form.

 

 

***

Mindy Obenhaus

About Mindy ~

It took Mindy Obenhaus forty years to figure out what she wanted to do when she grew up. But once God called her to write, she never looked back. She’s passionate about touching readers with Biblical truths in an entertaining, and sometimes adventurous, manner. Mindy is a two-time finalist for American Christian Fiction Writers prestigious Carol Award. She lives in Texas with her husband and kids. When she’s not writing, she enjoys cooking and spending time with her grandchildren. Find more at www.MindyObenhaus.com.

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Have you ever gotten the urge to do something you never considered? Did you go for it? I’d love to hear your story!

Have a wonderful day!