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Archive for June, 2015

Please give a big welcome to JAN THOMPSON!

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rem: Thank you for joining us today, JAN. Tell us a little about yourself. Where were you raised? Where do you live now?

JAN: Raised on a tropical island in the eastern hemisphere, I now live and write in the western hemisphere. I’ve been a transplanted resident of the new south for over 25 years, and I love Georgia, from its landlocked piedmont metropolis to its ocean-flanked coastal islands, and all the little towns in between. My background allows me to write with a different perspective on things, and I enjoy that a lot.

All my Contemporary Christian Romance (with flavors of Women’s Fiction) are set in the south. I just started publishing two new series, Savannah Sweethearts (novellas) and Seaside Chapel (novels), and both are set on the coast of Georgia. Sun and sand, y’all!

rem: Georgia! We’re practically neighbors! Tell us three things about yourself.

JAN:

  1. I write in four different genres! I’m trying to cut them down to two.
  2. I’ve been writing fiction since 1996, but didn’t publish until 2014.
  3. I love talking about God and mentioning verses in my books.

rem: Four genres has to be challenging! I think, as Christians, God’s Word, or some mention of faith in some form ultimately shows up in our writing.

You have an unusual middle name. Can you tell us what it means and where it comes from?

JAN: First time an interviewer ever asked me that question, but it’s a good one, Robin! My mom coined the name Edttii. It’s pronounced “Ed-Tee.” It took some of my school friends a dozen years to learn how to spell it.

About a year ago, I blogged about my middle name: http://www.janthompson.com/a-cup-of-chai/edttii.html

rem: I love the unusual and unique! What is your most treasured possession?

JAN: The Bible, for sure. I love reading the Word of God. My life verse is John 3:16.

“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life” (John 3:16).
rem: No greater treasure indeed! What is your greatest fear?

JAN: As an author, one of my fears is not writing well. As they say, it’s easy to start well, but it’s harder to finish well. However, my assurance is that there is no fear in Christ. As a Christian, I can rest assured that God is with me at all times, and is sovereign even over punctuations in manuscripts!

Incidentally, I just published KNOW YOU MORE, the first book in a 7-novella series. In this novella, Heidi fears losing her brother due to the dangers of his profession. Diego, the hero of the story reminds her that Psalm 56:3 says, “What time I am afraid, I will trust in thee.” That’s a good reminder!
rem: I agree, no fear in Him! What is your favourite quotation and why?

JAN: Let’s see. There are so many interesting writerly quotations that it’s hard to think of just one. I pinned a bunch of funny ones to my Pinterest board:

Accessories to Writing:
https://www.pinterest.com/ThompsonAuthor/accessories-to-writing/

However, when you ask me about my “favorite quotation,” inevitably I would think of Bible verses because they are more meaningful to me than any manmade quotes. And then it goes back to who I am in Christ and why I write in the first place. In my Savannah Sweethearts series, I have a theme for all 7 books, and it is this, so let me share it here because this verse is on my mind this week.

“Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins” (1 John 4:10).
rem: I love how so many of your answers turn to Scripture! A gal after mine own heart! What do you most value in a friend?

JAN: I have to say truthfulness. These days it’s hard to know who is telling the truth or not, and there’s so much information to process. My friends who speak the truth (hopefully in love and not harshly LOL) are treasures indeed!
rem: I despise and loathe dishonesty and deceit. Truthfulness is a gold nugget! What quality do you most admire in a woman?

JAN: Definitely the last verses of Proverbs 31 come to mind. For example, this: “Favour is deceitful, and beauty is vain: but a woman that feareth the Lord, she shall be praised” (Proverbs 31:30).
rem: Dogs or Cats? Which do you prefer?

JAN: Both! Our last dog was a black lab named Henry, and I was very attached to him. It is still awfully painful for me to talk about him because we had to give him up to new owners when we moved to a house with no fenced yard. It has been 13 years since he left us, and I will never, ever get over him. Today we have a cat, and I call him our Literary Cat because he sometimes sits on my keyboard when I am trying to edit or proofread my books.

 

rem: I’m so sorry about Henry. I do understand about pets long gone, and bittersweet memories. What is your Writing Routine?

 

JAN: I write whenever I can. Wearing many hats means I have to be very scheduled but I don’t always stick to my schedule. I try to be flexible because of family and other non-writing obligations.
rem: Honestly, I think flexible is the name of the game for Indie writers! What are your Top Writing Tips?

 

JAN: That’s a tough question. I get tips from all over the place and sort of mash them together LOL. I think James Scott Bell has great writing tips in “Plot & Structure.” Jody Hedlund has great suggestions in her writing blogs as well. Those two come to mind, but to be sure, I listen to many other authors who are way ahead of me in their publishing journeys. I try to keep my ears open and my heart willing to learn so that I don’t miss anything.

 

So far, the top 3 writing tips I try to keep in mind are these:
1. Write.

  1. Write.
  2. Write.

 

A writer has to write. Every other task comes after that! Now, if can just remember that myself, I’d be writing more books…

 

rem: Them’s some good writing tips! Tell us a little about your writing journey.

 

JAN: I wasn’t sure if I should go all the way back to when I was eight years old, but that was the first time I typed something on an Olivetti typewriter. I blogged about my long and meandering writing journey. But to keep it short, I’ve been writing on and off throughout school and college, and then sat down to seriously write publishable fiction in 1996. Been at it ever since.

Journey of a Thousand Steps:

http://www.janthompson.com/a-cup-of-chai/journey-of-a-thousand-steps.html

 

 

rem: My journey is about as “long and meandering” as yours, it seems. What do you enjoy most about being a writer?

 

JAN: Lots of things, particularly creative freedom. As an indie author, there are more things that I enjoy, including veto power over my own book production process. But in both cases, the final say-so about what I write is a big deal to me. I get to choose what I want to write, when I write, how I write, and to whom I write.

 

rem: What is the hardest aspect of being a writer?

 

JAN: As an indie author, the hardest part is marketing. But the hardest part of being a writer, in my opinion, is writing well. It’s easy to write, but it’s harder to write well. However, since that is pretty much relative – everyone has an opinion of what “well” means – the best we can do is do our best as unto the Lord, and that’s that.

rem: Marketing! Ugh! I recently commented on a post about perfection vs excellence. Perfectionism is a cruel task master, while excellence as unto the Lord is freedom. Who is your favorite hero of fiction?

JAN: Oh this is going to be another hard question! In whatever book I am writing, my main characters are the heroes of their story world. In my latest book release, Diego Flores and Heidi Wei are my “heroes of fiction.” Both of them desire to please God and accept His will for their lives, but first they have to find out what that will is for them. They’re not afraid of what God would tell them to do the rest of their lives. That’s brave!
rem: Brave indeed! And challenging! What was the hardest thing about publishing? The easiest?

JAN: To me, publishing is easy. Marketing is not so easy. I have a publishing team that includes two copy editors, but I do all my own marketing. This is probably where a lot of indie authors are at because indie publishing is fluid and we’re often at the cutting edge. Groups like the Christian Indie Authors (CIA) serve to provide a corner café, if you will, for authors to do “indie shop talk” and brainstorm practical ideas to publish and market in the most efficient ways. Sure, we discuss writing also, but the assumption is that everyone is ready to go. So being able to share and discuss what works and what doesn’t benefits everyone in the group. “Iron sharpeneth iron; so a man sharpeneth the countenance of his friend” (Proverbs 27:17).

rem: I am ever so thankful for CIA and all you do as admin! Do you have a favorite book or work that you’ve written? If so, why?

JAN: I do like all the books that I’ve written! (You knew I’d say that.) But I am currently writing two series and I am enjoying researching and writing them. It’ll take me a while to complete the two series but I pray that all will go well and that God’s name would be glorified.

My two current favorite books are these two books I just published in June.

In SHARE WITH ME (Seaside Chapel Book 1), Ivan McMillan, a small-town violinist in a regional orchestra, who falls in love with Brinley Brooks, a twenty-something heiress who collects old violins. Does everything go well? Nope. In fact, Ivan says Brinley has ruined his life irrevocably. What does Brinley say about that? Amazon eBook: bit.ly/sc01ama

In KNOW YOU MORE (Savannah Sweetheart Book 1), Diego Flores has been in love with his best friend’s younger sister since their college days, but his calling to start Riverside Chapel in Savannah takes up most of his time. When Heidi Wei becomes his strongest supporter in his church planting ministry, how does Diego show his interest in her without her getting the wrong idea? Does she see him as potential husband material or just the pastor of their church?

rem: They both sound fascinating! What advice would you give to aspiring authors for writing and/or publishing?

JAN: If they are Christians, I would advise them to seek the Lord’s will for their lives first. There is a bigger picture that’s always there, and writing, to me, is only one aspect of my life. If I am no longer an author, life goes on. But of course, I hope to write for a while, but even so, I try my best to do what I need to do today. Day by day, step by step.

rem: Words of wisdom! According to your website, you write “inspirational international thrillers.” That’s not a combination I’ve seen before. What does that mean exactly?

JAN: Well, one of the genres I write is suspense but the flavor is more thriller than the usual suspense. This is the first genre I started writing in back in 1996 when I could not find a “clean” suspense novel to read. All the top suspense/thriller novels back then were secular at best and R-rated at worst. There were no clean Christian thrillers at that time. So I started writing my own. Took me twenty years and I’m still at it. Since then, many Christian and clean suspense and thrillers have been published, but, yep, I‘m still at it. Stay tuned. You can say it’s basically Christian Suspense/Thrillers. I might rename it to that because several people have asked me the same question!

rem: That’s a good reason to invent a category! What is the most unusual or fascinating factoid or article you’ve discovered in your chronicling of regional history?

JAN: I write about the history of Georgia in my historical works-in-progress. One of the interesting things that fascinated me was the idea that when Britain colonized this area as its thirteenth colony in 1732, they set the rule that lawyers were not allowed in the colony. I thought that was amusing. However, I should add that before the eighteenth century was over, all professions were allowed.

rem: What is one take-away from your book that you hope readers identify with?

JAN: Primarily the love of God and hope in Jesus Christ. Those two things permeate my point-of-view as an author, and I try to convey that as best I can. As mentioned, I currently have two series going. Each series has its own theme, but differentiating Christian romance from secular romance is a task that many Christian authors have to face. So I hope that through my writing, I have tried my best to convey that God’s love — and not the world’s love — is what I’m talking about in my novels and novellas.

rem: That’s ultimately what it’s about for us as Christians, that His life and His presence permeate everything we do.

Thank you so much for this interview, Robin. You asked such thoughtful questions that they require care to reply fully. Since you’re an author too, I pray that the Lord will also bless your writing and publishing to the praise of His name and for His glory. Go indies!

In Christ,
Jan Thompson

rem: Thank you, Jan for joining us today, and thank you for your precious prayer over my work as an author. I pray the same for you.

And GO INDIES!

 

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About Jan Thompson

 

Jan Thompson blends inspirational women’s fiction with clean Christian love stories to celebrate the grace of God and hope in Jesus Christ. Whether they are multiethnic contemporary Christian romance, international romantic thrillers, or regional historical fiction, Jan’s books are for readers who love inspiring stories of faith, family, friends, and yes, happy endings. Always. Jan is also an avid reader and enjoys reading good books on pleasant days. When she is not busy writing and publishing, she is a wife, mother, educator, family scribe, and chief of staff to the family cat.

 

Website: www.janthompson.com

Book News: www.janthompson.com/newsletter

Tweet Jan: www.twitter.com/ThompsonAuthor

Like Jan: www.facebook.com/JanThompsonAuthor

 

#janthompson, #authorinterview, #sharewithme, #knowyoumore, #internationalromanticthrillers, #regionalhistoricalfiction

 

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Please give a big welcome to ELAINE COOPER.

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rem: Tell us a little about yourself. Where were you raised? Where do you live now?

ELAINE: Thanks for having me as your guest, Robin! I was raised in Massachusetts but, when I was sixteen, my Dad’s job transferred him to California. It was so difficult a move and quite the culture shock, but the Lord used that time to eventually draw me to Him. I currently live in Iowa, which is the state where my husband’s job took us to many years ago.
rem: Tell us three things about yourself.

ELAINE:

  • I love both tea AND coffee
  • I LOVE the color purple!
  • For me, learning obscure details about American History is akin to discovering buried treasure!

rem: We’re practically twins!! LOL What is your most treasured possession?

ELAINE: My family is my greatest treasure, but if I had to choose a “thing,” it would be my mother’s tea set that she received from her future stepfather when he returned from WWI. I even crafted a story around it for the romance anthology entitled, “I Choose You.”
rem: You are so right about family! What is your greatest regret?

ELAINE: Not becoming a Christian sooner. I was 21 when I got saved.

rem: I fear I took my faith for granted until much later in my life than twenty-one. What is your favorite quotation and why?

ELAINE: “Those who don’t know history are destined to repeat it.” — Edmund Burke
rem: That is so true! What do you most value in a friend?

ELAINE: Loyalty. Someone who is there in the bad times and who can be trusted.
rem: I’m with you on that, if a friend is not loyal, they’re not so much a friend. What quality do you most admire in a woman?

ELAINE: Godliness, seasoned with a sense of humor.
rem: Gotta have a sense of humor! Dogs or Cats? Which do you prefer?

ELAINE: I have both. J

 

rem: I have cats, but I want a huskey-pom mix! Who is your favorite hero of fiction?

ELAINE: Atticus Finch from “To Kill a Mockingbird.”
rem: Classic! Good choice! What is one take-away from your book that you hope readers identify with?

ELAINE: The importance of forgiving others—it is truly life changing.

 

rem: First Scripture that ever ministered to me was Matthew 5:43-48 – the essence of forgiving. Do you have a favorite book or work that you’ve written? If so, why?

ELAINE: No favorites. They’re all my “babies.”

 

rem: I’ve only one published thus far, but I hear ya! What advice would you give to aspiring authors for writing and/or publishing?

ELAINE: (See Below)

 

rem: Did you start out as an Indie author? What made you decide to go Indie?

ELAINE: I started out self-publishing, at a time when it was “not cool.” Now, it seems, everyone is self-publishing! I discovered that I prefer going to writer’s conferences and connecting with acquisitions editors, pitching a book idea and getting contracts with small publishers. All of my books are now with small independent publishers.

rem: Where do you get your greatest ideas for writing?

ELAINE: Almost anywhere, but usually actual historical events are the inspiration for my fiction.
rem: I do love historical fiction! What is your Writing Routine?

ELAINE: I try to write early in the day when my head is the clearest.

 

rem: YEEPS! Definitely not twins there! My mind is NOT clear at all in the early morning! LOL What are your Top Writing Tips?

ELAINE: 1. Pray; 2 Read about the craft; 3. Connect with other writers; 4. Decide that editors are your friend who try to help your words, not hurt them; 5. Join a local writers group; 6. Attend writers conferences; 7. Write from your heart; 8. Read writer’s blogs like Edie Melson’s “The Write Conversation”; 9. Have a separate area just for writing; 10. Write, don’t just talk about it. J

 

rem: That’s a great list! I like you have pray first, I think we overlook the value in that and/or take it for granted… Tell us a little about your writing journey.

ELAINE: It started when I was a child and I’m still at it. I think if God has put writing on your heart, you simply HAVE to write.

 

rem: I agree! I’ve stories all over in my brain! LOL What do you enjoy most about being a writer?

ELAINE: Allowing all those creative thoughts to pour out. Whether fiction or non-fiction, the way words are crafted can either draw a reader in or make them do something else. I love writing words that will hold a reader’s attention.

 

rem: Well said! What is the hardest aspect of being a writer?

ELAINE: Although I love doing research for my books, it can get very difficult. My latest manuscript (“Saratoga Letters”) brought me to 1977 and, since the internet was not in existence, I had to contact so many sources, including a newspaper journalist and a PR person at an airport. It was a challenge that was rewarded with time, patience and finding just the right source!

rem: We’re back at the twin thing again, I love doing research! Tell us a little about your latest book? What is your current project?

ELAINE: My latest book is “Bethany’s Calendar,” which is my only non-fiction. I call it “the book I never wanted to write,” yet truly felt compelled to do so. It is the journey of discovering my only daughter had a terminal brain tumor, the impact her illness had on her and our family, and the many things we learned and wanted to share with others. Numerous suggestions to help other families going through a serious illness of a loved one are made, along with tips for caregivers to help them survive.

 

My current manuscript entitled “Saratoga Letters,” has been contracted and is due to release in 2016. It is a fictitious tale that takes place in two separate centuries—1777 and 1977—and connects the characters through the generations. It is historical romantic suspense. J It was a real challenge to research two entirely different eras but it was satisfying to get it accomplished. I am looking forward to its release!

 

rem: Elaine, I am so sorry for your loss. But to turn that into something that can benefit others on the same horrific journey is truly inspiring. In Bethany’s Calendar, you tell of your story and your daughter’s journey, and your “unwavering faith in God.” Share a little more with us about this unthinkable time in your life.

ELAINE: Thinking back to that time, I realize how, at just a moment’s notice, our life changed completely. Everything was going along as planned, when that terrible detour occurred. It reminds me of those verses in James 14: 13-15 that says: “Now listen, you who say, ‘Today or tomorrow we will go to this or that city, spend a year there, carry on business and make money.’ Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes. Instead, you ought to say, ‘If it is the Lord’s will, we will live and do this or that.’” (NIV)

 

The point is not to look at our life in fear and trepidation, but to be prepared for that day that we all know is coming. Knowing where our eternal destination is as believers and followers of Jesus Christ is a comfort and encouragement, no matter what occurs in our lives. He is our ultimate hope.

 

rem: Elaine, you are so right. None of us knows what tomorrow holds and yet so many of us carry on so blithely, giving little or no thought to eternity. I am blessed by your witness through your loss. Thank you for joining me on my blog today.

 

ELAINE: Thanks so much for having me, Robin.

 

AUTHOR BIO:

Author/Speaker Elaine Marie Cooper is a self-described history geek. Her bookshelves are filled with volumes about the American Revolution, an era she became fascinated with when growing up in Massachusetts.

Her passions are her family, her faith in Christ and writing—usually about the American Revolution, a frequent subject of her novels.

 

Ms. Cooper is the author of the award winning, “Bethany’s Calendar” and the multi-award winning, “Fields of the Fatherless.” (YA historical fiction). Her three-book Deer Run Saga (adult historical fiction) is being re-released with new edits and new covers this coming Christmas. “Saratoga Letters” is due for release in early 2016. Her work has also appeared in Splickety Prime magazine and Prayer Connect magazine. Ms. Cooper is also a contributing writer to Fighting Fear, Winning the War at Home by Edie Melson, and I Choose You, a romance Anthology. Her freelance work has appeared in both newspapers and magazines, and she blogs regularly at http://ColonialQuills.blogspot.com.

You can visit her website/blog at: www.elainemariecooper.com

Twitter: @elainemcooper

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/ElaineMarieCooperAuthor

 

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Fields of the Fatherless is historical fiction based on a true event. Set in Menotomy Village, Massachusetts at the opening of the American Revolution, readers will learn of a little known yet critical battle that took place on April 19, 1775. As seen through the eyes of 18-year-old Betsy Russell, the opening of the war is felt through the women and children trying to survive while the Minutemen fight for independence.

 

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Elaine Marie Cooper’s first non-fiction has now released— “Bethany’s Calendar”

In January of 2002, Elaine’s world flipped upside down. What started out as a beautiful new year for the mom of three, turned into a living nightmare when her 23-year-old daughter, Bethany was diagnosed with a terminal brain tumor.

In the months to come, Elaine not only used her nurse’s training, but she learned to recognize the hand of God on her daughter’s life. Bethany’s Calendar tells the story of Elaine and Bethany’s journey and the many ways God helped their family to survive.

It is a story of fear and faith, commitment and compassion, told with gut-wrenching honesty while sharing unwavering faith in God.

Click here to purchase at Amazon. Available in both ebook and paperback.

 

#elainecooper, #authorinterview, #bethanyscalendar, #braintumor, #fieldsofthefatherless, #historicalfiction, #saratogaletters

 

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* I’ve fallen behind on some of my reviews. So this week I’m playing a bit of catch up. ENJOY!

 

BOOK REVIEW – NOWHERE TO TURN by LYNETTE EASON   

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What a story! When Danielle Harding’s abusive husband dies, she breathes a sigh of relief and looks forward to a brighter future for her and her son. Then she becomes a target and her life is in danger. Again.

 

As Dani flees for safety, the twisted story unfolds. Not unlike a roller coaster, with sheer drops and high speed and dizzying twists, the plot of this story moves like few I’ve read.

 

Characters mingle, and more than one red herring moves through the plot, urging the reader to examine the story. Seems more than one character could be after Dani’s life. And yet, there is reasonable doubt with each one of them.

 

The drama continues to the final pages and doesn’t let up.

 

A master with words, Ms. Eason gives a story that pulls the reader in and keeps you there. Genuine characters, real fears that leap off the page, and confusion that keeps the reader guessing. And wanting more. And Ms. Eason delivers. The second in her Hidden Identity series, I look forward to the other gripping books in the series.

 

lynette eason - books 1 & 3

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About the author:
Lynette Eason is the bestselling author of the Women of Justice series and the Deadly Reunions series. She was a 2013 finalist for the ECPA Book Awards and is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers and Romance Writers of America. She has a master’s degree in education from Converse College and she lives in South Carolina. Find out more at http://www.lynetteeason.com.

 

 

#lynetteeason, #nowheretoturn, #hiddenidentity, #noonetotrust, #nowheretohide

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* I’ve fallen behind on some of my reviews. So this week I’m playing a bit of catch up. ENJOY!

 

BOOK REVIEW – MORE PRECIOUS THAN GOLD by LYNN DEAN

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A real ghost town comes to life in this award-winning story of love, forgiveness, and the sovereignty of God. [taken from the blurb on the back of the book]

Okay, so confession time, right here before I start this review….. I am not a big fan of western romance, nor especially of Amish fiction! There! I said it! I was given a copy of this book by a friend of mine – she happens to be the author – and in spite of personal preferences, I wanted to read her words.

 

All that said, historical fiction is my favorite genre – so imagine my delight to discover that More Precious Than Gold is, in fact, historical fiction. Set in the west. With romance thrown in.

 

The quintessential struggle, find in God a faith more precious than gold [taken from the blurb on the back of the book], is at the center of this story. A turbulent era, post Civil War unrest sends Eliza Gentry to live with relatives in the Sangre de Cristo Mountains to escape the heartache and grief the war imposed upon her: the death of her fiancé.

 

An independent woman in an era when women were still subject to their men, Eliza is accustomed to making her own choices and decisions. She finds in New Mexico a land no less wild and untamed than the home she left in Texas.

Ms. Dean has woven together fictional elements with historical facts to create an authentic story tapestry; she knows her history and she knows her fiction. The characters come to life with genuine crises and believable reactions. My heart ached for Eliza with the struggles life threw at her, and delighted with her as she began to realize her own worth in God’s eyes: more precious than gold.

lynn

 

Author Bio:

Growing up in Texas, I dictated my first stories to my mom before I was old enough to write them down myself. She humored me, for which I am grateful, and I’ve been telling stories in one form or another ever since.

Fast forward more years than I’ll admit to. Children grown. House quiet. Finally more time to get serious about writing for publication, and what an exciting time to write!

I write about the things I know. The things I love. God, family, history, and how those things fit together.

 

Environmental Design was a relatively new field when Lynn Dean studied at Texas A&M University’s College of Architecture, but earth-sheltered housing is nothing new.

Most of the designs she created for private clients during her 30 year career were more-or-less traditional, but there’s always been a warm place in her heart for sustainable housing featuring small, intimate spaces that nurture the soul.

She’s harbored a warm place for creative writing, too, with the same hand-crafted appeal for small, intimate genres. Lynn writes mostly historical Christian fiction, but it was only fitting that her dual interests should combine in this fictional work of fantasy design.

 

You can connect with Lynn at:

https://www.facebook.com/pages/Wordsworth-PublishingLynn-Dean/161921870546466?fref=nf

 

 

 

#lynndean, #morepreciousthangold, #sangredecristo, #civilwar, #yankees, #rebels, #freedmen, #indians, #discovertexas, #homesweethole

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* I’ve fallen behind on some of my reviews. So this week I’m playing a bit of catch up. ENJOY!

 

BOOK REVIEW – HOPE DEFERRED by ELIZABETH MADDREY

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~ Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but a longing fulfilled is a tree of life. Proverbs 13:12 ~

 

Sisters June and July grew up like most little girls, anticipating the day they would become mommies. And like most little girls, they never thought about infertility.

 

Cold, hard reality is harsh, however, as both sisters face the unthinkable and strive to make the impossible happen. And as the cold, harsh reality sinks in, they both look at the options available to them. Though each of their journeys have been vastly different, the net result it the same: no babies. But can pursuit of a blessing become a curse?

 

One sister faces decisions that challenge her faith and her pro-life stand, while the other sister’s marriage is crumbling.

 

Ms. Maddrey addresses a topic that is not typical for fiction, at least in this reviewer’s experience. Infertility is not commonly accepted in conversation, let alone reading material. And yet, Ms. Maddrey has told a compelling story with compassion, her characters are real and genuine, their hearts splayed on every page. As I read the words of the story, I could feel the angst and the sense of defeat – and failure; does society not expect, as “most little girls” do, that women produce offspring?

 

This story ends neatly, with a happy resolution for both sisters, if not their first choice. It is a journey in faith, trusting Father’s will for our lives and being willing to see things differently, outside the proverbial box.

 

Hope Deferred is the second in Ms. Maddrey’s ‘Remnants’ series. I look forward to reading the others in this series, and any others Ms. Maddrey has or will write.

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About the author:

 

 

 

 

Elizabeth Maddrey began writing stories as soon as she could form the letters properly and has never looked back. Though her practical nature and love of math and organization steered her into computer science for college and graduate school, she has always had one or more stories in progress to occupy her free time. When she isn’t writing, Elizabeth is a voracious consumer of books and has mastered the art of reading while undertaking just about any other activity. Elizabeth lives in the suburbs of Washington D.C. with her husband and their two incredibly active little boys.

 

#elizabethmaddrey, #hopedeferred, #infertility, #adoption, #longingfulfilled

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* I’ve fallen behind on some of my reviews. So this week I’m playing a bit of catch up. ENJOY!

 

BOOK REVIEW – DAUGHTER OF HIGHLAND HALL by CARRIE TURANSKY

highland hall

 


Eighteen-year-old Katherine Ramsey is about to be presented as a debutante in London society. And she’s more than ready. Ready for a match with a proper husband. But is she cut out for the proper form and protocol? Can she discipline her heels long enough to get through her presentation to the kind and queen of England? Or will her impetuous nature be the ruin of her?

 

Kate stumbles through her presentation and is accepted into London’s society elite. With one serious suitor, it appears Kate will be headed to the altar soon. But a family scandal may unravel her hopes.

 

Or, is it the dashing young medical student who unravels her hope of society marriage and a secure life? As the scandal unfolds, Kate spends time volunteering side by side with Jonathan Foster, her heart is stirred and her faith comes alive.

 

Will she abide by society rules? Or will she follow her heart? Will she listen to the voice of her aunt and tradition or will she listen to her new faith?

Ms. Turansky has composed an Edwardian world that comes to life on the pages of The Daughter of Highland Hall. I felt Kate’s struggles and heartache. I felt constricted as she resisted the status quo, and cheered her on as she stepped into her own life. I was fully immersed in the story, and the world Ms. Turanksy has spun and quite look forward to reading more of her worlds.

 

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Author Bio

Bestselling Inspirational Romance Author Carrie Turansky has written more than a dozen historical and contemporary novels. She has won the ACFW Carol Award, the Crystal Globe Award, and the International Digital Award; and been a finalist for the Inspirational Reader’s Choice Award, Gayle Wilson Award of Excellence, and the ACFW Genesis Award. Readers say: “Heartwarming and inspiring! I couldn’t put it down!” . . . “Touching love story. It captured me from the first page!” . . . “Rich characters, beautifully written . . . my new favorite author.”
*** Visit her blog and sign up for her email newsletter at http://www.Carrie Turansky.com
*** Follow Carrie on Facebook at: http://www.Facebook.com/authorcarrieturansky
*** Check out her Pinterest Boards: http://www.pinterest.com/carrieturansky/

 

 

#carrieturansky, #thedaughterofhighlandhall, #edwardianlife, #debutante, #londonsociety #scandal

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* I’ve fallen behind on some of my reviews. So this week I’m playing a bit of catch up. ENJOY!

 

BOOK REVIEW – BREATHING ON HER OWN by REBECCA WATERS           

breathing on her own

 

Sometimes life events converge to challenge our faith. Or is God testing us to draw us closer to Himself?

 

In this compelling story, such events converge. Molly Tipton’s life is cruising comfortably along, she is faithful in her church attendance and Bible study. Two beautiful daughters, Laney and Lissa. Laney is happily married with two young children. Her husband, Travis, faithful and loving, God fearing man. How could this not be the picture of the perfect life?

 

But when Molly’s oldest daughter, Laney, is left critically injured from a wreck, one in which Laney was driving, Molly’s faith is put to the test.

 

Sure at first that she’s doing what is required of her, Molly maintains her confidence in the status quo. But as every piece of her life comes under assault, she is forced to evaluate it all, including her faith. Can she let go and trust, as she has professed for so many years? Can Molly learn to truly “be still and know” that He is God?

 

Mrs. Waters has set forth a story of triumph in the midst of trial. One that could, with a few details shifted, be any one of our lives. From the opening lines to the final words, the reader is drawn in to the story, immersed in the drama and heartache of the characters. Mrs. Waters is a gifted storyteller and I hope to see many more by her.

 

 RebeccaWaters

 

About the Author

Rebecca Waters – (reh-BEH-kuh wa-ters)

Noun
Woman, Wife, Mother, Daughter

Verb
Writer, Teacher, Believer

Synonyms
Mom, Grandma, His Child

Rebecca Waters draws on her role as a wife, mother, and grandmother as well as her vast experience as an educator and researcher for her writing.

Rebecca sees writing as both a gift and a ministry. Although she has published in professional journals in the field of education, Rebecca now turns her pen to the world of fiction.

She has published in Chicken Soup for the Soul, The Power of PositiveChicken Soup for the Soul, Readers’ ChoiceThe Lookout Magazine (paid registration required); and Home Health Aide Digest. Rebecca is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers.

 

 

 

#rebeccawaters, #breathingonherown, #comfortzone, #faithtested, #bestillandknowthatIamGod

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* I’ve fallen behind on some of my reviews. So this week I’m playing a bit of catch up. ENJOY!

 

BOOK REVIEW – PICTURE IMPERFECT by SUSAN THOGERSON MAAS        

 

 picture imperfect

When a twelve-year-old and her “bestie” go sleuthing into adult secrets, all manner of obstacles manifest. Namely, why was her Aunt Lissa living with them, and why did she lose, er, leave, her job? Mostly, why did she have to share a room with JJ?

 

No longer a child, not yet an adult, Jada Jane – JJ – wrestles with her place in the family and her purpose in life. The child in her climbs on the roof of the school to get a better angle, while the burgeoning adult faithfully tends her great-grandma, visiting the nursing home often. An artiist herself, Gram assures JJ that her passion for photography is no accident, that it is a God-given gift and ability. Ever on the look-out for a better picture, for the best angle, JJ doesn’t disagree.

 

In a deftly woven tale, Ms. Maas, conveys JJ’s pre-teen angst. A new genre for me, and told in first person, it felt light and breezy as I read the first pages. The more I read, however, the more engrossed I became – and entrenched in JJ and Kat’s mystery mission. And the more I read, the more JJ embraced life, and faith in God. In the end, Picture Imperfect is just that, a picture of life which is quite imperfect. And in the end, JJ, matures more than a little bit as she begins to grasp and embrace weighty issues of life.

 

 

I was given a copy of this book in return for my honest review.

 

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Author Bio

 

Susan Thogerson Maas has been a part-time freelance writer for nearly 30 years. She is married with two grown sons living far away, a daughter-in-law, and a beautiful grandbaby. A feisty kitten named Fiona has recently taken over the household. Susan and her husband teach 5th-6th grade Sunday school, and Susan writes regularly for her denomination’s devotional, Pathways to God. She also writes personal experience articles and children’s stories, one of which was published in Clubhouse, Jr., and has written Sunday school curriculum and homeschooling articles. Susan has been a member of Oregon Christian Writers for over 20 years and currently serves as secretary. Her WordPress blog, Sparrow Thoughts, explores the spiritual side of nature and everyday experiences, through words and photographs. Picture Imperfect, from Ashberry Lane Publishing, is Susan’s first book.

 

https://www.facebook.com/susantmaas

www.susanmaas.com (website)

http://sparrowthoughts.wordspress.com (blog)

@susanmaas

 

#susanthogersonmaas, #pictureimperfect, #photography, #pathwaystoGod

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Please give a big welcome to LYNN DEAN.

 

 lynn

 

rem: Welcome Lynn, glad to have you here! Tell us a little about yourself. Where were you raised? Where do you live now?

LYNN: I’m a Texan, born and bred. Lived in the Rio Grande Valley, in Austin, Waco, College Station (whoop!), and Del Rio before hubby’s job took us to State College, Pennsylvania and Spangdahlem, Germany. And then, because God has a sense of humor, we landed right back in Waco for several years where we raised our kids before relocating to San Antonio–the heart of Texas history!

rem: That’s a mini geography lesson on Texas right there!! Tell us three things about yourself.

LYNN: Odd facts are always more interesting, so I’ll go with these three:

  • I love words and speak smatterings of five languages, though I’m only fluent in English…and some days I’m not even sure about that one. 😉
  • When I was a kid, I used to build fairy houses out in the garden–complete with bluebonneted belles in buttercup ball gowns. I was always vaguely disappointed that no other residents moved in…at least, none that I noticed.
  • I was one of those children with such a vivid imagination that I probably spent more time living inside my head than I did anywhere else because it was more interesting there than anywhere else. Except for Disneyland. I came out for Disneyland. 😉

rem: Love the odd-and-more-interesting factoids! And I could claim any or all of these for myself…   Which book have you read the most in your lifetime?

LYNN: Other than the Bible (which is infinitely interesting because I see something new every time I re-read a verse), the most tattered books on my shelves are C. S. Lewis’ Chronicles of Narnia and Laura Ingalls Wilder’s Little House books. Susannah Kearsley’s delightful time-travel stories are solid contenders for 3rd place.

rem: Good choices, all. What is your most treasured possession?

LYNN: I’m more into people than things, but if the house were on fire I’d probably grab the pin drive with our family photos on it and the white monogrammed wedding stocking my great-great-grandmother knitted while her fiance was away fighting in the Civil War. It stays in the Christmas chest, otherwise, and we hang it up once a year just because we like the story.

rem: What a wonderful family heirloom! What is your greatest fear?

LYNN: I ain’t skeert o’ much…except if something threatens my kids. Then I hit my kneeler!

rem: That protective Mama Bear personna, I know that well! What is your favourite quotation and why?

LYNN: Oh, so many! The first that came to mind when you asked was, “It is what it is”, because we can’t begin to deal with things until we call them what they are, right?

rem: Can’t argue with that! What do you most value in a friend?

LYNN: Integrity. Like the favorite quotation, I guess I like people who are what they are, too. I also deeply value loyalty and a willingness to think deeply.

rem: Me! Too! If you don’t have your integrity, what do you have? What quality do you most admire in a woman?

LYNN: I admire women who know who they are in the Lord and who are too busy fulfilling His purposes for their life to bother with trying to meddle in anyone else’s.

rem: Identity [in Him] is my platform in my writing. And well, pretty much across the board! Dogs or Cats? Which do you prefer?

LYNN: Cats, though I have one of each. My dog demands attention. My cat is content to “just be.”

rem: Good choice! 😉 What is your Writing Routine?

LYNN: Well, now, that’s a good question, and if I had a consistent routine, there’s no doubt I’d be able to finish more and faster. 😉 I tend to be more productive later in the day…or night, so usually I try to do my mundane chores early in the day so that I can dive into creative projects after lunch without the nagging encumbrance of an unfinished to-do list. Anyone who’s been a daughter, wife, and mother, though, will understand that that list is never truly “finished”.

rem: Lynn, I think you are the first to concur with that “nagging encumbrance of an unfinished to-do list.” Most [or all] guidelines I’ve seen for writing routines suggest writing first thing in the day, before email, before Facebook, before breakfast even! I can’t imagine! What are your Top Writing Tips?

LYNN: Keep it real. That may sound a little strange coming from someone who writes fiction–especially since I love fantasy and time travel as well as historical fiction. But I think readers enjoy stories about people they can identify with rather than some heroine whose biggest problem in life seems to be a broken fingernail. We like to explore why people do the things they do, what they learn, and how they make the best of it.

rem: Fiction, and even fantasy, has to have an element of reality to it to make it believable! Tell us a little about your writing journey.

LYNN: My mom wrote down my first story. (I was 5 and couldn’t write yet.) It was a silly story about a bear named Lumpity-Bumpity who caught a squirrel stealing from his hoard of acorns and turned him over to shake them out of him, yet they parted friends. The story had a beginning, a middle, and an end, and the characterization was strong, though the plot development was somewhat predictable. 😉 It was important, though, because my mother’s enthusiasm convinced me that I could tell stories people would enjoy reading.

My third-grade teacher, Mrs. Cathey, also encouraged my love of story by purchasing a creative writing kit that I absolutely tore through whenever I completed my assignments early. I mention these as my beginnings because you never know what impact your encouragement (or criticism) may have on a child.

So I’ve always told stories, but I treasure these encouragers because there are far more people who will counsel you that you can’t make a living writing, especially if you write fiction, and so you should “get your head out of the clouds and choose something more practical.” And so I majored in architecture (fairy houses, remember?), which, oddly, is often no more lucrative as a profession. I did love it, though, and residential design became a business I could do from home, which allowed me to homeschool our children…which lead me back to writing.

We needed a Texas history curriculum that would be both factual and fun, and I couldn’t find one, so in 2000 I wrote Discover Texas. Students spend a month in each of ten eras (almost like time travelling) where I collected the best resources I could find–unit studies, field trips, library books, websites and the like–and wove them together in a fast-moving story with colorful illustrations. Sixteen years later, it is still my top seller and has opened the door to many other speaking and writing opportunities.

In the course of research, I discovered so many human interest stories that I began to write Christian fiction (history is HIS story, right?) beginning with More Precious Than Gold, the story of a grieving spinster who heads to New Mexico territory to escape her grief and runs headlong into the man who caused it. That story will continue in Stronger Than Mountains and Love Like a River.

And then there’s Home Sweet Hole, which I cannot explain except to say, “Fairy houses, remember?” When the movie version of The Hobbit came out, I was enchanted and began to wonder what those under-the-hill houses behind the stage-set facades might look like. Also majored in architecture, remember? Specifically Environmental Design (earth-friendly architecture), so I knew a thing or two about underground houses and I had a bit of time over Christmas holiday, and voila! I’m pleased to say that many readers have enjoyed it, as well.

I also enjoyed doing the illustrations for Discover Texas and Home Sweet Hole, and that’s led to my illustrating a couple of other books and projects for friends.

 

Texas Civil War Generals John Bell Hood, Sullivan Ross, and Albert Sydney Johnston.

Texas Civil War Generals John Bell Hood, Sullivan Ross, and Albert Sydney Johnston

 

rem: What a great story, from Lumpity-Bumpity to Stronger Than Mountains! I loved More Precious Than Gold, and have a copy of Home Sweet Hole – my favorite design is Hornblower Hill.

hornblower hill

 

What do you enjoy most about being a writer?

 

LYNN: I get to live in my head a lot–it really is very interesting in there–and I get to share the things that go on in my head with other people, which seems to make us both happy. I also like that they pay me for making them happy, sometimes years after I’ve moved on to another win-win project. Turns out, writing isn’t so impractical, after all. 😉

rem: What is the hardest aspect of being a writer?

LYNN: I really have more ideas than I have time. Stories, characters, and projects can be like unruly children squabbling over who gets to be first to come out. When my head gets noisy like that, it’s hard to concentrate on any one of them. 😉

rem: Who is your favorite hero of fiction?

LYNN: Hmmm…of my own characters, I like Jake from More Precious Than Gold. He is “a man’s man”–a strong but gentle leader. In many ways I modeled him after my husband, so that may be why he has my heart.

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In fiction by others, I’d have to go with Michael Hosea, the hero of Francine Rivers’ Redeeming Love, for the same reasons.

rem: What is one take-away from your book that you hope readers identify with?

LYNN: More Precious Than Gold is about trusting the sovereignty of God, even through painful circumstances. Only He can see the end from the beginning, but when we get to the end of the story, then we will understand why each scene He allowed was necessary.

rem: I got that from reading it, that was her journey all along. What was the hardest thing about publishing? The easiest?

LYNN: I was fortunate to meet up with an extremely encouraging editor at my very first writers’ conference. She read two of my manuscripts and commented that she’d buy “anything you write” if only her company had a place for it, but alas being a writer of historical fiction is rather like being a crippled man waiting beside the Pool of Bethesda. So many wait year after year for a spot to open.

Self-publishing was surprisingly easy! I’m so grateful that we live in a time when there are so many wonderful options. I understand that I write for a comparatively small niche that might not be financially competitive for a publishing company, but I’ve had few troubles finding my own niche and building a mutually beneficial relationship with readers.

rem: Like this reader! Do you have a favorite book or work that you’ve written? If so, why?

LYNN: That question would be nearly impossible to answer, since everything I have out currently is so different. I used to tell our daughter that she was “my favorite oldest daughter” and our son that he was “my favorite young man.” So I may have to stick with answering that I’m proud of Discover Texas because, as my first ebook published when no one even knew what that was, it was a monumental struggle, but I did it! And I love More Precious Than Gold because of the way the characters sprang to life and took the story places I did not expect it to go. And I love Home Sweet Hole because, well, it was just a ton of fun. 🙂

rem: That’s kind of like asking which child is your favorite isn’t it….. What advice would you give to aspiring authors for writing and/or publishing?

LYNN: If you’ve always wanted to write a book, do it! You’ll never know if you can until you try. Someone will enjoy it, even if that’s only you. (I actually have a story in mind about a woman who is terminally ill before her niece discovers that she has a drawer full of unfinished, unpublished stories and how that discovery changes both of their lives.)

rem: That’s great advice; I know a few who are “gun shy” and won’t let themselves get started. Tell us a little about your latest book? What is your current project?

LYNN: I am almost finished with Stronger Than Mountains, but had to take a break from writing to tend to book fair season for Discover Texas and to complete an illustration project for a friend’s book about the Texas Rangers. I’m really eager to get back to it, though, because I left Zeke and his boys in a terrible predicament, and it’s up to me to write them out of there! 🙂 Can’t wait to share it with readers, because there will be many who will find Zeke a more appealing hero than Jake–which, in my mind, is saying something (especially after the way he acted at the start of the story)!

rem: Poor Zeke! Then again, I seem to recall he rather deserves it… You are passionate about Texas history. How did you become intrigued with that and how does it play into your writing?

LYNN: I commented a bit on that earlier, but you should also know that I hated Texas history in school. I was looking for an engaging history curriculum because, as a homeschool mom, I didn’t want to inflict boredom on my children. My husband, on the other hand, loved Texas history because his mom told him the story of the various heroes and their struggles, and then they would visit the various historical sites that were nearby. He and his brother ran around and got covered in the dust of history! When he said that I remembered that wonderful Mrs. Cathey brought an old sheet and some broomsticks and let us build a teepee on the playground when we studied Native Americans. History is more than just the names and dates of dead people. We can make it come alive with stories! And then if we follow through with learning adventures that help students experience for themselves what happened, the subject becomes meaningful and memorable.

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I talk a lot about learning adventures on my blog at http://www.discovertexasonline.com/blog. Right now I’m doing a review of the History Channel mini-series Texas Rising–what’s fact, what’s fiction, and what’s anybody’s guess. Check it out! 🙂

rem: Funny how Father God will take the thing we hate and turn it to our passion! You also studied Environmental Design. Tell us about that.

LYNN: Ah! Well Environmental Design is basically environmentally-conscious architecture. Green building, if you will. It’s not as new as you might think, though people are just now beginning to take a strong interest. My own home is rather traditional, though I’ve enjoyed adding my own touches here and there. Basically, we bought a 40+ year-old ranch and gutted it much like you’d see on HGTV. I especially enjoy finding ways to get a quality, hand-crafted product using affordable, re-purposed materials. For example, the brass chandelier we removed from the old dining room is enjoying a second life in a tree over our outdoor patio.

Home Sweet Hole was fun because, even though it’s presented as fantasy, the floor plans in it are completely build-able using any number of earth-sheltered methods.

Architecture, fantasy, and history are recurring themes in my life, and writing has become a way of tying everything together and presenting it in a God-honoring package. 🙂

 Home Sweet Hole cover_Bonus edition

 

“In a hole in the ground there lived a Hobbit…”
but Hobbits aren’t the only ones with down-to-earth dreams.

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This folio of “feasible fantasy” floor plans gives you a fun-loving peek inside a dozen earth-bermed dwellings in an imaginary borough of burrows–all drawn to scale as if the builder, himself, were offering an open house tour.

 

rem: Lynn, thank you so much for joining us today and for your great answers!

 

 

Author Bio:

Growing up in Texas, I dictated my first stories to my mom before I was old enough to write them down myself. She humored me, for which I am grateful, and I’ve been telling stories in one form or another ever since.

Fast forward more years than I’ll admit to. Children grown. House quiet. Finally more time to get serious about writing for publication, and what an exciting time to write!

I write about the things I know. The things I love. God, family, history, and how those things fit together.

 

Environmental Design was a relatively new field when Lynn Dean studied at Texas A&M University’s College of Architecture, but earth-sheltered housing is nothing new.

Most of the designs she created for private clients during her 30 year career were more-or-less traditional, but there’s always been a warm place in her heart for sustainable housing featuring small, intimate spaces that nurture the soul.

She’s harbored a warm place for creative writing, too, with the same hand-crafted appeal for small, intimate genres. Lynn writes mostly historical Christian fiction, but it was only fitting that her dual interests should combine in this fictional work of fantasy design.

 

You can connect with Lynn at:

https://www.facebook.com/pages/Wordsworth-PublishingLynn-Dean/161921870546466?fref=nf

 

 

#lynndean, #authorinterview, #homesweethole, #morepreciousthangold, #Texashistory, #discovertexas

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