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!

Why Research Changes My Stories {Writer Wednesday}

I just started writing the second book in the upcoming Wyoming Cowboys series. I had a strong grasp on the general plot before typing the opening line, but there were many things I didn’t know (and still don’t!) about the story.

As I brainstormed possible scenes and reasons for them to happen, I kept Google open and researched questions as they came up. I always do this when starting a draft. Each article I find gives me insight into the issue and it usually changes my story.

 

The reason? I’m not an expert on anything. I have limited knowledge of many of the themes and situations I tackle in my books. One thing I love when I’m spiraling into research is when I realize I was wrong about something, but the article/book gives me an even better idea. For instance, the plot in my work-in-progress has a church youth mentoring program. My initial thoughts on how this would play into the story weren’t feasible due to the age of the little girl involved, but it allowed me to have the characters agree to a private arrangement, which serves the story better.

This type of thing happens all the time when I’m writing. It’s one of the reasons I really enjoy researching. You’ve probably read the advice to push yourself to come up with unique ideas by coming up with a list and using one of the final ideas you write. I’ve tried this method, but I don’t always find it to be logical. I want the story to be believable! Research helps me push the limits to find believable situations.

Whether you’re a writer or not, how do you feel about research? I love it!

Have a terrific day!

Expense Reports, Plotting Flow Chart, and Project Tips {Writer Wednesday}

Expense Reports, Plotting Flow Chart, And Project Tips {Writer Wednesday}

I recently revisited my For Writers page, and I realized I continue to use many of the writing tools I’ve written about in the past. That’s why I’m sharing a few posts from the archives. I hope they help you with different aspects of your writing, too.

Expense Reports and more #ww

 

Since it’s officially tax season, you might be frustrated trying to figure out your business expenses but having no clue where to begin. The following article will help you create a simple system that works for you. No, expense reports aren’t glamorous, but saving money at tax-time is!

Writing as a Business: Tracking Expenses

Just yesterday I created a new flow chart template to use when plotting a new book. And then I remembered I’d blogged about a similar one a few years ago. If you’re interested in trying something new before you type the opening to your next book, check it out.

Using Flow Charts to Plot

Next up is a topic I’ve learned to master. It has NOT been easy for this one-track-mind lady, but it’s necessary. Every week I juggle at least two projects, usually three.

Tips to Successfully Switch Between Projects

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What writing problem has been on your mind lately? I’d love to hear how you solve it!

 

Have a terrific day!

When You Can’t Focus

Two weeks ago I was pushing hard to meet my daily and weekly goals. I had a book due, and I needed every minute to finish it. I had a three-hour window on the weekend where I was in another town with nothing to do, so I decided to revise a hard copy of my manuscript. I found a corner table at a coffee shop, took out my printed book and red pen and…stared into space.

 

 

The coffee shop was crowded, conversations were loud and I struggled to concentrate. No problem, I’ll just work in my car for a while.

But the car, while quiet, brought no productivity either.

I simply couldn’t focus on the pages in front of me.

Come on, you’re on a tight schedule here. If you don’t get this done today, you’ll be behind. Do you want to meet your deadline or not?

Well, that little pep-talk didn’t help. I grew anxious. Called a friend. Tried to revise again. Failed again.

The little worries started zapping at me until I took a deep breath and told them to stop. Forcing myself to revise wasn’t working, so I read another chapter of a nonfiction book I’d been enjoying. I still had an hour before I needed to pick up my son. Rather than trying to free up brain cells that didn’t want to cooperate, I prayed. I prayed God would bless my upcoming writing week, that He would help me get my work done and guide me to make the book the best it could be.

The following Monday, my focus returned with a vengeance. I worked hard all week, and I was able to turn in my book a few days early. It felt really good!

Sometimes our plans don’t work out, and the situation is made worse when we can’t focus on what needs to be done. If you’re distracted, try the following:

  1. Take a break. Brew some coffee or tea, eat something yummy and just relax for a while.
  2. Go somewhere else to work. If you’re home, go to the library or a coffee shop. If you’re at a coffee shop, go home. If you’re home and can’t leave, go to a different room.
  3. Take an hour (or afternoon) off and don’t worry about what isn’t getting done.
  4. Pray for God’s favor. Pray for your work to be blessed.
  5. Rest, drink plenty of water, and take care of yourself physically. Sometimes we’re rundown and we don’t know it.
  6. Read for fun. All work and no play can sap the focus right out of you!

Do you ever get so distracted you can’t focus? How do you handle it?

Have a terrific day!

 

Scheduling Creative Sessions {Writer Wednesday}

Scheduling Creative Sessions {Writer Wednesday}

Creative Sessions = Dedicated time to problem solve, plot, explore ideas.

In the past two weeks I’ve read two nonfiction books that made a big impact on me. The first was The Wright Brothers by David McCullough and the second was Deep Work: Rules for Focused Success in a Distracted World by Cal Newport. Although very different books, they shared a common theme–focus. The Wright brothers devoted much of their free time to solving the dilemma of human flight. Their passion helped them focus, and they spent hours, weeks, months and years experimenting and problem solving. In Deep Work, Cal Newport puts forth a compelling argument why anyone who wants to excel in their field needs to be deliberate about what they’re spending their time on. In other words, excellence requires focus.

 

Scheduling Creative Sessions

 

Writing, like inventing, involves a LOT of creativity. And creativity is a form of problem-solving. Fictional characters don’t always behave, and plots get off track. And then there’s the issue of what to write next.

I have many ideas I’d love to explore, so many books I want to write. Time always feels like the deciding factor. But over the past couple of years, I’ve broken free from my belief that producing a higher volume of quality books requires putting in massive overtime hours.

Last year I was tired of constantly setting aside a pet project to work on my contracted books. It hit me that if I didn’t schedule time for it, I would never finish the project, let alone publish it. I had to figure out how to work on it while fulfilling my contracts. I sensed that I could accomplish far more than I thought possible, but I didn’t know how. So, I read several time management books, prayed, talked to trusted writer friends, and finally decided to go for it.

Through trial and error, my beliefs shifted. I reworked my daily schedule, limited the frequency of social media breaks, silenced my phone and pushed myself to meet daily and weekly goals. I also added more time to studying the Bible and praying each morning which had a direct impact on my day by giving me the boost necessary to believe I could meet my goals.

In 2016, I plotted several books, wrote two category length books, a novella and a nonfiction book, promoted two novels, and organized my writing business. This was far more than I’d produced the previous year, and yes, sometimes this meant working overtime, but overall, I fit these projects into normal working hours. How? By deciding in advance what I would work on each day, devoting 30-60 minutes to my nonfiction book (the one that kept getting neglected), and limiting distractions.

The great thing about revising my schedule? My writing continues to grow. I’m confident about the books I’m writing because I’m making the time to thoroughly plot, write, revise and polish them. If my only goal was to publish more books, I’d be tempted to use shortcuts and skimp on the quality. My goal has always been to write the best book I’m capable of and that means no skimping.

One thing I’m adding this year: scheduling regular creative sessions just to think and jot notes. These time blocks will be used to plot, work through a current book problem, explore ideas for new books, and creatively solve any business issues. Setting aside 2-3 hours a week, or even 30 minutes a day, to just “sit and think” seemed absurd until I realized my brain does so much heavy-hitting for me beneath the surface of my consciousness. Scheduling regular creative sessions is another tool to get more work done in a limited time frame. I’ll let you know how it goes!

Do you ever sense you could accomplish more in the limited time you have? What strategies do you currently use to make the most of your hours?

Have a lovely Wednesday!

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!

 

{giveaway} Where Two Hearts Meet by Liz Johnson

The second book in Liz Johnson’s Prince Edward Island Dreams series is here!! Where Two Hearts Meet features Caden Holt and Adam Jacobs. If you read the first book in this series, The Red Door Inn, you’ll remember Caden as the baker of delicious cinnamon rolls. She’s now working for the Red Door Inn as a chef, and a mysterious guest arrives. I won’t give any spoilers, but I will say this–the romance progresses like a batch of the cinnamon rolls Caden whips up, rising, baking, and filling the room with a sweet aroma! I LOVED this book! I loved it so much, I’m giving away a paperback copy to one winner! Easy entry options are below (US residents, 18+)!

WHERE TWO HEARTS MEET

Where Two Hearts Meet
In her kitchen at the Red Door Inn, executive chef Caden Holt is calm, collected, and competent. But when her boss asks her to show off their beautiful island to impress a visiting travel writer and save the inn, Caden is forced to face a world much bigger than her kitchen–and a man who makes her wish she was beautiful.

Journalist Adam Jacobs is on a forced sabbatical on Prince Edward Island. He’s also on assignment to uncover a story. Instead he’s falling in love with the island’s red shores and Caden’s sweets.

When Caden discovers Adam isn’t who she thought he was, she realizes that the article he’s writing could do more than ruin the inn’s chances for survival–it might also break her heart.

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Purchase Where Two Hearts Meet HERE!

Enter to win a copy!

 

Want to know more about Liz Johnson  and her books? Visit her website, Liz Johnson Books!!

I would love to visit PEI! Where would you love to visit?

Have a wonderful 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!

Articles I Loved This Week – Writer Wednesday

In between my DIY mani-pedi failure and attempting to make decorations for a book event this weekend, I read quite a few blogs this week. We won’t discuss the mani-pedi thing, and I’ll post pictures of the decor and event next week. But in the meantime, I’m sharing links to those fab blogs!

 

Lately I’ve been stretched REAL thin, so Nicole Locke’s post, “Tuesday Talk Time: Time Out, Time In,” was a breath of fresh air. I love her point that when we’re overworked we tend to take a time out, but too much of this and our families suffer. We can find ways to connect with our loved ones AND relax.

For anyone afraid of taking a leap with your career (entering that first contest, finding a critique partner, querying an agent, pitching to an editor, trying a new genre, etc…), this post by Alison Stone on Seekerville, was fabulous! “Things I Learned When I Took a Leap of Faith.”

I always enjoy Laurie Tomlinson’s blog, and she’s sharing her October plans in “October Update.” Check out her super-cute word count tracking method for an upcoming novella!

What’s getting you excited this week? Share with me!

Have a terrific day!!