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8 Years of Blogging!

8 Years Of Blogging!

I have been blogging for eight years! Can you believe it? I can’t!

Last night I was browsing Feedly, my preferred reader, to catch up on blogs. I came across Elizabeth Spann Craig’s, Long-Term Blogging, Part 1, and I realized she and I began blogging around the same time. I decided to check the date of my very first post, back when I used Blogger, and yep, there it was. August 7, 2008!

For giggles, I’m linking my second post, “If Romance Writing Were an Olympic Sport.”

 

8 Years of Blogging!

I added up all the posts from my Blogger site and from this blog, and I’ve written 1020 posts.That doesn’t include all the ones I’ve written as a guest or for my group blogs. Wow!

Way back when I wrote my first post, I had no idea if I would blog more than a year. Finding an audience took time, and it seemed as though every other blogger had a much bigger following than I did. But I decided I didn’t care, and I forged ahead.

A few bloggers helped me by sharing advice. “Add a Followers button so people can get your new posts.” “Put share buttons in your sidebar.” “Decide on a posting schedule.” And I learned from other bloggers, Jody Hedlund in particular. Within a short amount of time, I’d made online writer friends, some of whom would become my critique partners, and many would remain good friends.

Announcements were made in those years. I cheered as my friends got agents and contracts. But I also fought sadness as my day never came. But I pressed on. And on. And my knowledge grew. I understood about building a platform and was happy to share what I learned. My writing grew as I studied the craft and continued to write book after book.

And then one day it happened. I finally had good news to share. I’d landed an agent! And more years would go by before that wonderful first contract offer. Still, I kept blogging.

But then something happened. A lot of blogs disappeared.

Oh, the blogs were still there out in cyberspace, but new posts? Nope. Many bloggers who I connected with in those early years quit posting for various reasons. I wondered if it was worth it to continue. My comments dwindled, but each post still had plenty of hits. Obviously, people were reading it, so why wouldn’t I keep writing posts?

I love blogging. I haven’t been as consistent this year–sometimes I skip Fridays!–but I still love it.

Here’s to eight years of blogging! Thank you for being a part of it!!

What draws you to a blog? What keeps you coming back?

Have a wonderful weekend!!

What Happens The Day After I Meet a Deadline?

Do you see me smiling? I turned in my fifth Love Inspired this week! YAY!!!

This year has been crazy. I’ve let so many things slide for months. But now that my son has been confirmed, my daughter has graduated from high school and already attended college orientation, and my book is turned in, I can resume normal life! (For a few days, at least!)

 

Happy Planner

 

Yesterday, I woke up and brewed a pot of coffee. Luxuriated in the knowledge I wasn’t on deadline and I had free time on my hands. Of course, I still had taxi duty for my son, bills, appointments, etc… But I followed the rhythm of life on MY terms for the first time in a long time.

So what did I do?

  1. Spent a relaxing hour in our living room, reading my Bible, watching the birds, praying and sipping coffee. The best!!
  2. Cleaned the house. Wait, those words don’t come out of my mouth often, but yes, they are true. I cleaned the house. Because I wanted to, not because we had company coming over!
  3. Chatted with a friend on the phone. So good!
  4. Read a few more chapters of my friend’s debut novel coming out in July. You all are in for a treat with that one!
  5. Dropped my son off at a high school baseball tournament. He wasn’t playing. He was helping take care of the fields between games.
  6. Shopped for my husband’s father’s day present. Hit the Bath & Body Works sale for 75% off lotion, and grabbed a Starbucks while browsing magazines at Barnes & Noble. There really isn’t anything better.
  7. Researched day planners. Mine runs out in two weeks, and I am SUPER PICKY about my planner! For years, I’ve been stuck with a planner plus a slim binder because nothing was customizable enough. But several friends clued me in to different options, and I decided to try a discbound system.
  8. Browsed Michael’s website to get a 50% off coupon.
  9. Made hot dogs and mac & cheese for dinner.
  10.  Drove to Michael’s, drooled over all the Happy Planners, texted a friend for moral support, and bought the planner and accessories necessary to make this planner rock!
  11. Rented a video game for my son who was having a friend over.
  12. Put my Happy Planner together. Got WAY too excited about it!
  13. Read several more chapters of the book I mentioned earlier.
  14. Bedtime!

There you have it! That’s what I did the day after I met my deadline. Not exciting to most people, but to me? The BEST!!

What do you do when you feel free?

Have a terrific weekend!!

Writer’s Life: Mary Ellis

Welcome to another edition of Writer’s Life, my interview series with authors of sweet or inspirational romance. Today I have the pleasure of introducing Mary Ellis. I met Mary several years ago at a book signing in Toledo, Ohio. She and Jody Hedlund signed their latest releases, and it was so delightful to spend time with both of them! Mary is so warm and kind. I wish everyone could meet her. I’ve enjoyed watching her career–she is a very prolific and terrific (hey, that rhymes!) author. Her new mystery series, Secrets of the South, kicks off with Midnight on the Mississippi. More details to follow!

Let’s get to it.

1. What about writing makes your heart sing?

When characters take the initiative and change the direction or tone of the story. I love characters that become larger than life for me. It makes the daily word count so much easier.

 

2. What is the biggest hurdle you’re facing right now as a writer?

Stepping back a little and not working such long days. Due to commitments, I had geared up to be uber-productive for the past several years. Now I need to slow myself down and let life return to a more normal pace. My husband insists on this, and I’m more than ready.

 

3. What do you do to fill your creative well?

I work in my yard or take long walks with my dog. It does both of us good! I talk to Miss Chloe about my characters, while she wags her tail in support or sympathy. But the time we get back, I’m ready to tackle my story again and Miss Chloe? She’s ready for yet another nap.

 

4. What are you working on now?

I’m putting the finishing touches on book 2 of the Secrets of the South Mysteries. Set in Memphis, What Happened on Beale Street is about the death of a talented blues musician and a pair of old friends who come to town to solve his murder. It will release in February.

 

***

Wow, Mary, your new series looks amazing! I love what you said about letting the characters take over. That’s a great feeling. I’m glad you’re ready to slow down a bit, but I have to say I’m so impressed with how productive you’ve been. You have so many published novels!! Congratulations, and thanks for being my guest!

 

***

Midnight on the Mississippi

 

 

What lies beneath the black water of the bayou?

Hunter Galen, a New Orleans securities broker, suspects his business partner, James Nowak, of embezzling their clients’ money, but he’s reluctant to jeopardize their friendship. After James turns up dead, Hunter realizes his unwillingness to confront a problem may have cost James his life.

Nicki Price, a newly minted PI, intends to solve the stockbroker’s murder as she establishes herself in the career she adores. As she ferrets out fraud and deception at Galen-Nowak Investments, Hunter’s fiancée, Ashley Menard, rubs her the wrong way. Nicki doesn’t trust the ostentatious woman who seems to be hiding something, but is the PI’s growing attraction to Hunter—the police’s only suspect—her true reason for disliking Ashley?

As Hunter and Nicki encounter sophisticated shell games, blackmail, and death threats both subtle and overt, danger swirls around them like the mysterious dark water of the bayou. Only their reliance on faith and fearless determination give them hope they will live to see another day.

 

Interested in buying Midnight on the Mississippi? Click here!

 

 

***

Mary Ellis

 

Mary Ellis has written twelve award-winning novels set in the Amish community and several historical romances set during the Civil War. Her latest, Midnight on the Mississippi, first of a new mystery series, Secrets of the South, is set in New Orleans. The second set in Memphis, What Happened on Beale Street, will release in Feb. 2016. Before “retiring” to write full-time, Mary taught school and worked as a sales rep for Hershey Chocolate, a job with amazingly sweet fringe benefits. Mary enjoys traveling, gardening, bicycling and swimming, and lives in Ohio with her husband, dog and cat. She can be found on the web at: www.maryellis.net or Facebook.

***

Have you spent time down south? Do you live there? What about it appeals the most to you?

(For me, it’s warm weather. I get tired of winter!!)

Thanks so much for stopping by!

 

Writer’s Life: Serena Chase

Writer’s Life: Serena Chase

Welcome to another edition of Writer’s Life, my interview series with authors of sweet or inspirational romance. Today I have the pleasure of welcoming Serena Chase! Serena and I connected through her fabulous blog, Edgy Inspirational Romance. If you haven’t checked out her Wednesday feature, “The Author’s Casting Call,” you need to. I mean, who doesn’t enjoy seeing pictures of cute guys cast as heroes in our favorite books? That can’t be just me! Oh, and the heroines get cast too… 🙂 Serena also reviews novels for USA Today‘s Happy Ever After blog and is the author  of The Eyes of E’veria series,  more info below. A new edition of the third book in the series, The Seahorse Legacy, is available now!

 

Let’s get to it.

1. What about writing makes your heart sing?

Every once in a while a line or passage slips through your fingers and you realize that little nugget is speaking to your own heart as much (or more) than your audience. Those are magical moments!

 

2. What is the biggest hurdle you’re facing right now as a writer?

Summer vacation! With two kids still at home and a husband who is an elementary principal, summer vacation is great for them . . . but not so much for me, since I work from home. I love my family, truly, but when school breaks, so does my sanity, via my usually quiet writing space. It is really difficult to keep the flow going, to focus, with constant interruptions, noise and activity about the house and the yard, the need for transportation to the pool, practices, friends’ houses, driver’s ed . . . And don’t get me started on the guilt that results when I’m working and they’re all home and I feel like I should be with them, but I also need to play with my imaginary friends so I can meet a deadline . . . Oy!

 

3. What do you do to fill your creative well?

I am energized by travel–which I don’t do nearly enough–and by interacting with other fiction authors. Also, taking a break from reading for review (I review books for USA Today’s Happy Ever After blog and for the Edgy Inspirational Romance blog) and instead reading for pure enjoyment is good for me. Honestly, that is a treat! Since I couldn’t afford a real vacation this summer,  I took July and August off from reviewing (mostly) and I’ve been reading through the backlog of books I’ve wanted to read for a while, but couldn’t fit it with my review schedule. It’s been so much fun!

 

4. What are you working on now?

I just released a new edition of Eyes of E’veria book 3: The Seahorse Legacy, and I’m finishing up The Sunken Realm (Eyes of E’veria, book 4) It should release within the next couple of months, and once it’s out . . . I’m taking a break from that world (E’veria) to get after a contemporary paranormal romance series I’ve had on the back burner for a while. I am sooo excited to further develop this new project!

***

Summer truly is a challenge. I don’t envy you the driver’s training. We survived that last year, and we moved on to college visits this year.Yikes! I feel guilty for all the reasons you listed every day during the summer. We have to meet deadlines, but we want to be there for our family. It’s really hard.

Congratulations on wrapping up your gorgeous series this year. I’m intrigued by the contemporary paranormal romance series, too. Mmm! Thank you so much for being my guest!

 

***

The Seahorse Legacy

THE SEAHORSE LEGACY ~

 

a Pirate, bound by a centuries-old oath

As Keeper of the Seahorse Legacy, Cazien de Pollis is a King among pirates, divinely appointed to dispense justice on the seas. Bound by the sacred oath of a long-dead ancestor, he must fulfill a contract to wed the green-eyed Oracle’s Daughter named therein—or risk losing everything he and his people hold dear. But at nineteen, with the identity of his betrothed only recently revealed, Cazien resents the contract—and the urgency within him to see it satisfied.

a Knight, determined to prove her calling

Erielle de Gladiel returned from the quest for the Remedy, changed. Not only are her formerly-blue eyes now a brilliant shade of green, but she must don gloves to hide inky evidence that her prophetically-bestowed title, the Oracle’s Daughter, demands more from her than the task already completed. Erielle’s dearest-held dream is realized when she is knighted by her King, but unbeknownst to her, that very honor jeopardizes the prophesied purpose to which she and Cazien have been called.

a Legacy, demanding surrender

Just as Cazien summons the courage to collect his bride, dark rumors and darker deeds crawl up the coasts, calling its guardians, the Seahorse Pirates, into action—and Cazien away from Erielle. But even though the Oracle’s Daughter knows nothing of the contract to which she has been consigned, Cazien’s enemies have somehow learned of his interest in Erielle. And if they reach her before his ancestor’s weighty oath is executed, the Seahorse Legacy will be forfeited . . . and darkness will be given reign.

 

 

The third book in this series-within-a series, The Seahorse Legacy begins an epic tale of piracy, adventure, and romance. Giving subtle nods to several fairy tales, including an unexpected twist to the story of The Twelve Dancing Princesses, this romantic adventure will conclude in Eyes of E’veria, Book 4: The Sunken Realm, coming in 2015.

Want to dive deeper into the world of E’veria? Look for the first two-book set in the Eyes of E’veria series by Serena Chase! The Ryn (book 1) and The Remedy (book 2) retell the classic Grimm fairy tale Snow White & Rose Red on an inspirational and epic scale.

 

PURCHASE THE SEAHORSE LEGACY

***

Serena Chase

ABOUT SERENA ~

SERENA CHASE lives in Iowa with her husband, two teen daughters, and a big white dog named Albus. A frequent contributor to USA Today‘s Happy Ever After blog, Serena is an avid reader of young adult fiction and inspirational romance and has become a respected influencer within those communities. When not engaged in her varied roles within the publishing industry, Serena can be found watching action movies and dreaming about someday living in a cottage by the sea. Connect with Serena Chase on Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, and Twitter (@Serena_Chase) and visit www.serenachase.com to subscribe to her newsletter and gain access to exclusive, subscriber-only content.

***

I read a lot of contemporary romance novels, but I love getting lost in a unique story-world like Serena’s! Is there a setting that really stood out for you in a novel? Do share!

Have a terrific day!

Writer’s Life: Danica Favorite

Writer’s Life: Danica Favorite

Welcome to another edition of Writer’s Life, my interview series with authors of sweet or inspirational romance novels. I’m thrilled to have Danica Favorite today! Danica and I met years ago at an RWA conference in Washington D.C. I knew her from the Harlequin forums, so I was especially happy to run into her in person. Since then, we’ve reconnected through ACFW, and I had the pleasure of a long, deep discussion with her over coffee in Dallas. I wish we lived closer to each other! Danica’s second Love Inspired Historical, The Lawman’s Redemption, released July 1! Yay!

Let’s get to it.

1. What about writing makes your heart sing?

I just really love exploring people’s stories and lives, so it’s all about getting to know these people and have their stories come to life, ending on a happy note. Probably the happy note is the most important part. There’s enough depressing stuff in this world going on, so I like to make sure the happy part really comes out.

 

2. What is the biggest hurdle you’re facing right now as a writer?

Finding enough time to do it all. I work about 30 hours a week, have two busy kids, we just moved, and we’re building on to our new house. Did I also mention that I have a book to write? So it’s really interesting sometimes, finding a way to balance it all and finding time to fit everything in.

 

3. What do you do to fill your creative well?

Great question, because the answer is something I’m really passionate about. For writers, and pretty much anyone else, it’s so important to keep that creative well filled. I’ve created a lot of exercises to help people engage creatively with the world. That’s been the key to keeping my creative well full. I do a lot of art journaling, regular journaling, crafts, knitting, outdoor activities, prayer, meditation, creative movement, and a lot of other fun stuff. I think it’s important to shake things up now and then, so I’m always trying something new. I have a page on my website dedicated to my creative practice, so stop by!

 

4. What are you working on now?

I’m in the middle of my third book, which is Emma Jane and Jasper’s story. And wow! It is quite the ride. I’m at the place most people call the “sagging middle” but with the way bullets are about to start flying, this book is doing anything but! I’m also working on some fun creativity books that I hope will help writers (and regular people!) engage in a deeper creative process.

 

***

Danica, I love your art journal! My son and I took some of your tips and have added to our art journals here and there. You’re so right about doing a variety of things to stay engaged. You inspire me!

***

The Lawman's Redemption

The Lawman’s Redemption ~

Lawman on a Mission

Former deputy Will Lawson is fighting to regain his reputation—and Mary Stone is his only lead to the bandit who framed him. Now that he’s tracked Mary to Leadville, Colorado, Will needs the proud beauty to reveal her past. Instead, his efforts spark a mighty inconvenient attraction…

Mary’s only real crime is that she once believed an outlaw’s lies. Still, she fears disclosing the truth to Will may land her in jail—and leave her young siblings without protection. Now she must choose between honesty and safeguarding her family. And if Will does clear his own name, can he convince the woman he loves to share it?

 

Buy The Lawman’s Redemption now!

 

***

Danica Favorite

 

About Danica ~

A dedicated professional in the publishing world, Danica Favorite works as an online moderator for a major publisher where she connects readers and writers with new fiction releases. With four active kids, a devilishly handsome husband and insane dog, Danica’s never short of inspiration when it comes to writing characters for her latest book. She and her family make their home in Denver, Colorado, where they enjoy the mountain lifestyle with the comforts of the city.

***

Have you tried art journaling? It’s fun! Here’s a link to Danica’s Art Journal blog!

Have a great day!

Writer’s Life: Lyn Cote

Writer’s Life: Lyn Cote

Welcome to another edition of Writer’s Life, my interview series with authors of sweet or inspirational romance novels. Today I’m blessed to have Lyn Cote on the blog! Lyn is an award-winning, multi-published author of contemporary and historical romance, and she’s also a generous writer who has helped many new authors like myself. Her new book, Blessing, the second in her historical romance series, Quaker Brides, came out this month!

Let’s get to it.

1. What about writing makes your heart sing?

I love it when my characters “take over” the story and start doing  and saying things I didn’t expect them to!

2. What is the biggest hurdle you’re facing right now as a writer?

Just keeping up with the demands of working with two publishers and also self-publishing books that don’t “fit” the traditional market but which I want to write.

3. What do you do to fill your creative well?

Where I live feeds my creativity. I live on a lake in the forest. Also I find trips–even day trips–energize my imagination.

Lake, Lyn Cote

Lyn Cote’s view of the lake!

 

4. What are you working on now?

I’m just finishing up work on my Quaker Brides series for Tyndale House. The second book in the series Blessing released July 1st. I’ve just finished a proposal for another series for Love Inspired Romance and also a novella that will come out in November. See I’m keeping busy!

***

Lyn, I’m amazed at how many books you’ve published and continue to publish! Congratulations on all your hard work and success. Living on a lake in the forest would definitely fill my creative well. I love long walks outdoors! Thank you so much for being my guest today!

***

Blessing by Lyn Cote

Blessing ~

An impetuous love swept Blessing Brightman away from the Quaker community, into the highest ranks of Cincinnati society. But behind the glitter of ballroom and parlor, her spirit slowly eroded in an increasingly dangerous marriage. Widowed young, determined never to lose her independence again, Blessing reclaimed her faith and vowed to use her influence to fight for women’s rights and abolition.

Gerard Ramsay, scion of a wealthy Boston family, arrives in Cincinnati hoping to escape his father’s clutches with a strategy that will gain him independence. His plan is soon complicated, however, by the enchanting widow. Never before has a woman spoken as if she’s his equal—or challenged him to consider the lives of others.

In a city nearly ablaze with racial tensions quickly dividing the country, can two people worlds apart possibly find common ground?

Buy Blessing Now! 

***

Lyn Cote

About Lyn Cote ~

Author of over 40 books, award-winning author Lyn Cote writes contemporary and historical romance. Her homepage blog features “Strong Women, Brave Stories.” Visit her website/blog at LynCote.com and find her on Facebook, GoodReads and Twitter.

 

***

If you could live on any lake or ocean, which one would you choose?

Have a terrific day!!

 

Writer’s Life: Keli Gwyn

Writer’s Life: Keli Gwyn

Welcome to another edition of Writer’s Life, my interview series with authors of inspirational or sweet romance novels. I’m so excited to have Keli Gwyn on the blog today! Keli and I connected online years ago, and she was the first person to ever interview me. Since then, we’ve met in person and kept in touch. I love Keli’s writing–her debut, A Bride Opens Shop in El Dorado, California, was one of my top picks when it released. Keli now writes for Love Inspired Historical, and Family of Her Dreams is out now! Keli is giving away a copy to one blessed commenter, instructions below!

Let’s get to it!

1. What about writing makes your heart sing?

Those days when my characters are chatting away, the words are flowing freely and the story is coming together fill me with such joy that I feel like singing, even though my singing voice leaves a lot to be desired. Sometimes I sing anyway. It’s a good thing my cats aren’t music critics, although I have caught the fellows flinging their paws over their ears when I’ve had a good writing day and burst out with some goofy ditty I’ve composed on the spot.

 

2. What is the biggest hurdle you’re facing right now as a writer?

I wage an ongoing battle with the Doubt Dragon. The pesky fellow loves to perch on my shoulder and whisper in my ear.

“What were you thinking? Surely you can do better than this?”

~or~

“Look at this dreck. And you call yourself a writer?”

~or~

“Egads! This is the best you can do? Why don’t you just call it quits?”

I really need to invest in a muzzle and slap it on the noisy naysayer.

3. What do you do to fill your creative well?

I walk. Strolling past the stately Victorian houses in my historic town of Placerville, California can transport me back in time and get the ideas flowing. If I’m working out a gnarly plot issue, my husband and I will often hit our wonderful hiking trail and brainstorm solutions.

Gwynly confessed recently that he likes to get me talking about my stories when we’re walking because I unconsciously up my pace when he taps into my passion for writing. Since he’s a foot taller than I am and has a much longer stride, he likes it when I cover ground more quickly. I’m glad he let me in on his secret. Now I can walk and talk writing guilt free.

 

4. What are you working on now?

I’m preparing the first draft of another historical romance set right here in Placerville. The story takes place in 1872. My main characters are reunited after many years apart. Each has endured loss due to the War Between the State. They both harbor secrets that prevent them from pursuing anything more than friendship, forcing them to fight their growing feelings for one another.

Thank you for hosting me, Jill. I enjoyed answering your fun questions. I’d like to end by asking your blog’s readers a question.

Do you enjoy singing, or are you hesitant to sing in front of others?

 

***

Keli, I fight the doubt dragon A LOT! I think it’s awesome you sing when you write! I’m not a singer. Well, I do sing in the car, but it’s not pretty. I would love to stroll past the Victorian homes you mentioned. How delightful! The architecture of yesteryear was gorgeous. Thanks so much for being my guest!

***

Family of Her Dreams

A Family to Cherish ~

Headstrong Tess Grimsby loves her new job caring for the children of a recently widowed man. But she never imagined that she’d fall for her handsome employer. Yet Spencer Abbott is as caring as he is attractive, and Tess can’t help but feel for him and his family. Though, for the sake of her job, she’ll keep any emotions about her boss to herself.

Between his stationmaster responsibilities in a gold-rush town and trying to put his family back together, Spencer has his hands full. He soon finds his new hire’s kind personality warming his frosty exterior. But could he ever admit to seeing her as more than just an employee?

Copyright © 2015 by Harlequin Enterprises Limited
Cover and cover copy text used by arrangement with Harlequin Enterprises Limited.
® and ™ are trademarks owned by Harlequin Enterprises Limited
or its affiliated companies, used under license.

Visit Keli’s Victorian-style cyber home (http://keligwyn.com/library/my-books), where you can find purchase links for Family of Her Dreams on many of the major booksellers’ sites.

 

***

Keli Gwyn

Keli Gwyn ~

Award-winning author Keli Gwyn, a native Californian, transports readers to the early days of the Golden State. She and her husband live in the heart of California’s Gold Country. Her favorite places to visit are her fictional worlds, historical museums and other Gold Rush-era towns. Keli loves hearing from readers and invites you to visit her Victorian-style cyber home at www.keligwyn.com, where you’ll find her contact information.

***

Keli Gwyn Giveaway!

Keli is giving away a copy to one commenter! If you’d like to be entered, simply leave your email address in the comments below. The giveaway is open until midnight, June 13, 2015 and is open to U.S. residents eighteen years and older. I will select a random winner and contact the winner via email.

***

Back to Keli’s question:

Do you enjoy singing, or are you hesitant to sing in front of others?

Have a terrific day!

Writer’s Life: Carla Laureano

Welcome to another edition of Writer’s Life, my interview series with authors of sweet or inspirational romance novels! Today we have a special treat. Carla Laureano, one of my fave authors, graciously agreed to answer the big questions. I recently read Five Days in Skye, and I’m still swooning. What a terrific book! It had everything I love, a sassy, hardworking heroine, a hunky, loyal hero, an exotic location and oodles of romance. The second book in The MacDonald Family Trilogy, London Tides, releases June 1! Yes!

Let’s get to it!

1. What about writing makes your heart sing?

 

I usually get inspired by a character idea—whether it be appearance, job, or quirk—but it can take a while to dig into the details of what makes them tick. When I finally get to the heart of a character in a really specific way—hopes, dreams, and biggest fears—it’s an “aha” moment that makes the rest of the book fall into place around it. There’s no better feeling than when that list of traits on the page becomes a living, breathing person.

 

2. What is the biggest hurdle you’re facing right now as a writer?

 

Balance is always my biggest challenge as a person, not just a writer: trying to keep all the balls in the air without dropping anything important and without neglecting my family. 2015 is an extremely busy year, because I have three book releases: two fantasy novels and one romance. That means I’m doing a ton of promotion alongside writing my next book. Plus, I have two elementary school-aged boys who have busier schedules than I do! Some days I’m not sure whether I’m coming or going.

 

3. What do you do to fill your creative well?

 

Anything creative that doesn’t involve books! Cooking, sewing, knitting, gardening, looking at good art, watching dance performances. And music is always a must. I get more inspiration from music than anything else in my surroundings. I’m always upgrading the memory on my phone because of my ever-expanding collection.

 

4. What are you working on now?

 

I’m putting the finishing touches on the last book in my MacDonald Family Trilogy, which will be off to my editor in a few days. Serena MacDonald finally gets her chance at love…and if you read London Tides carefully, you might catch a glimpse of the final book’s hero!

***

You write romance so well, Carla. It’s clear you dig deep to find the heart of the characters. I hear you on trying to balance everything. I’m terrible at it! It’s funny you avoid reading to fill your creative well. I read a lot of non-fiction when I’m writing a draft. Then, when I’m revising or plotting, I fill up on fiction! Thanks so much for being my guest!

 

***

London Tides

About London Tides ~

 

Irish photojournalist Grace Brennan travels the world’s war zones documenting the helpless and forgotten. After the death of her friend and colleague, Grace is shaken.

She returns to London hoping to rekindle the spark with the only man she ever loved—Scottish businessman Ian MacDonald. But he gave up his championship rowing career and dreams of Olympic gold years ago for Grace … only for her to choose career over him. Will life’s tides bring them back together … or tear them apart for good this time?

 

Buy your copy at: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | ChristianBook.com

 

***

Carla Laureano

About Carla ~

 

Carla Laureano is the author of the RITA® award-winning romance Five Days in Skye as well as the Celtic fantasy series The Song of Seare (as C. E. Laureano). A graduate of Pepperdine University, she worked as a sales and marketing executive for nearly a decade before leaving corporate life behind to write fiction full-time. She currently lives in Denver with her husband and two sons.

 

***

Do you love it when a book is set in another country? (I do!!) What country would you like to visit?

 

Have a fabulous Wednesday!

Writer’s Life: Julie Jarnagin

Writer’s Life: Julie Jarnagin

Welcome to another edition of Writer’s Life, my interview series with authors of sweet or inspirational romance novels. I’m hooting and hollering today because Julie Jarnigin is my guest! Years ago, Julie and I met online, then we hit it off in person in 2012. She’s witty, funny, and loves the same television shows I do! We’ve also been “water buddies” since last December. We both strive to drink a ton of water each day–I guzzle 3/4 of a gallon, while Julie drinks even more. She’s pretty amazing. 🙂 Julie’s new series, Taste of Texas, kicks off this month with Kiss the Cowboy!

Let’s get to it! 

1. What about writing makes your heart sing?

I love when something in the story surprises me. I used to be a full-fledged plotter, but I recently started writing quick drafts without much planning. It has been so much fun and my creativity has increased! It’s neat when a story takes a turn in a direction I’d never anticipated. I’ve learned to trust my instincts more.

 

2. What is the biggest hurdle you’re facing right now as a writer?

My biggest hurdle is definitely a limited amount of time and energy. I work full-time in marketing for a home builder, I have a 1-year-old and a 6-year-old, and we’re currently building a new home and selling our current home. Our family is busy! But writing is important to me, so I figure out how to fit it into my life.

 

3. What do you do to fill your creative well?

As crazy as it sounds, the thing that has been energizing me recently is de-cluttering. It started as an innocent task to help us stage the house for selling. It has turned into a mission to simplify our lives. Our house is still full of toys and normal family messes, but I’m finding that less stuff helps me stay focused on my priorities. Other things that fill my creative well are playing with my boys, reading, and listening to my Pandora station (which is mostly alternative with a little Taylor Swift thrown in for good measure).

 

4. What are you working on now?

I’m currently writing Book 2 in my Taste of Texas series. I’m so excited about this series! It has been a blast to write. The novella, The Art of Falling, and the first novel in the series, Kiss the Cowboy, are available now.

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Julie, I’m always impressed with how much you juggle–small children, a demanding job AND writing. How exciting that you’re gearing up to move into a new home! As someone who has moved often, I can honestly say you’re doing the smart thing by de-cluttering now. It will make it much easier when the big move day comes. I’m with you, too, on letting your story take over in a first draft. That’s part of the wonder–being surprised by our characters. 🙂 Congratulations on your new release and the series!

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Writer's Life Julie Jarnigin

Kiss the Cowboy ~

What if your competition for your dream job…was your dream man?

All Lucy Pickett needs to become executive chef in one of Dallas’s finest restaurants is to pull off the high-profile wedding she’s catering. So what if she’s forced to share duties with Dylan Lawson, a modern-day chuck-wagon cook? So what if he’s got rugged looks and cowboy charm? None of that is going to knock her off her game. Until she learns the restaurateur is considering Dylan for the position she wants. Game on–and it’s a winner-take-all event!

Dylan Lawson finally has the opportunity he’s been waiting for to prove he can do more than just be a ranch hand. The only thing standing in his way is the fiery chef fighting for the same position. Will the heated competition scorch any chance they have for love?

Interested in purchasing Kiss the Cowboy? Buy Here!

Interested in purchasing The Art of Falling? Buy Here!

 

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Julie Jarnigin

About Julie ~

Julie Jarnagin is a multi-published author of inspirational romance. She grew up in a small Oklahoma town where her family farmed and ranched. These days she lives in a not-so-big city with her amazing husband and two young sons who tolerate all her nerdy quirks. Julie earned a B.A. in Journalism / Professional Writing from the University of Oklahoma and is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers.

Connect with Julie: Website | Facebook | Twitter | Newsletter Sign-up

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Do you dread de-cluttering your home?

(I need to drop off a ton of stuff to charity!)

Have a terrific day!

Writer’s Life: Pepper D. Basham

Writer’s Life: Pepper D. Basham

Welcome to another edition of Writer’s Life, my interview series with authors of inspirational or sweet romance novels. Today I have the pleasure of hosting Pepper D. Basham! I met Pepper at an ACFW conference a few years ago, and I was instantly charmed by her down-to-earth personality. Her debut novel, The Thorn Bearer, just released! It looks amazing, and I love the cover! Congratulations, Pepper!

Let’s get to it.

1. What about writing makes your heart sing?

Two things: The entire creative process of watching a story grow! That is always amazing to me. You know that phrase from Chariots of Fire where Eric Liddel says “When I run, I feel God’s pleasure” – well, that’s how I feel when I’m creating a story. When I write, I feel God’s pleasure.

Second thing – I really enjoy watching the characters grow from beginning to end. I’m a happily-ever-after girl for sure, as seeing the struggles overcome, the insecurities calmed, and the fear braved in my characters reminds me of what God is doing in my life from start to finish.

2. What is the biggest hurdle you’re facing right now as a writer?

Time! I’ve always had to etch out time to write, but now that I’ve added deadlines and marketing to my daily dose of writing time, it’s really become more of a challenge to fit everything in. I work a full-time day job and then have my wonderful fam – so the added time crunch makes for a little more stress and whole lot more creativity in etching out the time I need to finish what’s on my to-do list.

3. What do you do to fill your creative well?

I’m sure this is a common answer, but it’s true for me. I pray and read the Word. I usually find verses that pertain, not only to me, but also my characters journeys as I read the Bible. I also find music inspiring, good movies, and re-reading some of my favorite novels. Add a nice, beautiful walk to the list and I have a perfect bag of creativity-inducing activities.

4. What are you working on now?

I’m working on two different novels right now. I have my first contemporary romance, A Twist of Faith, debuting in December 2015. I’m also furiously writing book 2 in the Penned in Time series, my historical romance. It’s title is The Thorn Keeper and I’m really enjoying the characters in this novel.

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You sound busy, busy, Pepper! I love the happy endings, too, that’s why I read so many romance novels. If you have any creative time-crunch tips, we’d sure love to hear them. I’m not a multi-tasker! Your inspiration list makes me smile. Looks perfect to me. 🙂 Thanks so much for being my guest!

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Pepper Basham

About Pepper D. Basham ~

Pepper Basham is an award-winning author who writes romance peppered with grace and humor. She’s a native of the Blue Ridge Mountains, a mom of five, a speech-language pathologist, and a lover of chocolate. She enjoys sprinkling her native Appalachian culture into her fiction whenever she can. She currently resides in the lovely mountains of Asheville, NC where she works with kids with special needs, searches for unique hats, and plots new ways to annoy her wonderful friends at her writing blog, The Writer’s Alley. She is represented by Julie Gwinn and her debut novel, The Thorn Bearer, released in April 2015. You can connect with Pepper on her website, Facebook  or Twitter.

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The Thorn Bearer

The Thorn Bearer

When Ashleigh Dougall’s fiancé leaves her eight months before their wedding, the unexpected blow ignites a battalion of insecurities stemming from her father’s intimate betrayal. Her worst fears are confirmed – who could ever love a soiled woman? In an attempt to escape the shame and disappointment of her past, Ashleigh boards the ill-fated Lusitania to cross the war-torn waters of Europe. Much to her dismay, she isn’t traveling alone.

Sam Miller is always making up for his younger brother’s mistakes. Determined to help his friend, Ashleigh, he offers his compassion and companionship as she ventures across a perilous sea. With the faint hope of renewing his lost love for Ashleigh’s sister, Sam never expects to find the woman of his dreams in his best friend.

As they travel across the Atlantic, neither is prepared for the life-altering and heart-breaking journey of their friendship.

When the truth of Ashleigh’s past explodes in the middle of the trenches of Europe and Sam rejects her, Ashleigh must decide if God is enough – or if the double weight of her betrayal and past will crush her life forever.

Interested in purchasing The Thorn Bearer? Amazon | Barnes and Noble

 

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Confession: I’ve never watched Chariots of Fire. What famous movie have you never gotten around to seeing?

Have a terrific day!!

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