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BLOGWORDS – Friday 28 July 2017 – FIRST LINE FRIDAY – MISSING by LISA HARRIS

FIRST LINE FRIDAY – MISSING by LISA HARRIS

 

 

Reading is My SuperPower

Molly’s Cafinated Reads  |   Singing Librarian   |   Bookworm Mama

Faithfully Bookish   |   Radiant Light   |   Encouraging Words from the Tea Queen

All the Book Blog Names Are Taken   |   Fiction Aficionado   |   Bibliophile Reviews

Kathleen Denly   |   Lauraine’s Notes   |   https://joyofreadingweb.wordpress.com/

A Baker’s Perspective   |   With a Joyful Noise   |   Romances of the Cross

Moments Dipped in Ink   |   C Jane Read

Reviews by Van Daniker   |  Iola Goulton

 

 

 If you’d like to join us on your blog for First Line Fridays, shoot Carrie @ Reading is My Superpower an email and let her know!

 

 

 

THE BLURB:  

Nikki Boyd isn’t usually called in on homicides; her forte is missing persons. But when a case with two murdered and two missing pops up on a quiet suburban street, she’s ready to start the investigation and find missing homeowners Mac and Lucy Hudson. When the first clues lead her to the boat of her friend Tyler Grant–and another dead body–Nikki must untangle what ties Tyler to the Hudsons. The clues pull her into a deadly maze of counterfeit drugs and a killer who will stop at nothing to silence anyone who threatens his business–including Nikki.

Christy Award-winning and bestselling author Lisa Harris puts you right into the action in this fast-paced thriller.Lisa Harris is a bestselling author, a Christy Award winner, and the winner of the Best Inspirational Suspense Novel for 2011 from Romantic Times. She is the author of nearly thirty books, including the Southern Crimes series and Vendetta, winner of the Romantic Times Best Inspirational Suspense Novel for 2015. Harris and her family have spent twelve years living as missionaries in southern Africa. Learn more at www.lisaharriswrites.com.

 

THE FIRST LINE:

8:25 a.m., Thursday

Nashville suburb

Nikki Boyd slid out of her white Mini Cooper as two bagged bodies were being wheeled from the one-story house nestled in one of Nashville’s nicer suburbs.

 

MY THOUGHTS:  

On the TBR list…

 

GENRE:

Christian Mystery and Suspense

 

 

#Blogwords, First Line Friday, #FLF, Missing, Lisa Harris

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BLOGWORDS – Thursday 1 July2017 – CHAT THURSDAY – MANLY MAN BLITZ – STEVEN JAMES

CHAT THURSDAY – MANLY MAN BLITZ – STEVEN JAMES

““Steven James gives us a captivating look at the fine line between good and evil in the human heart.” – Ann Tatlock”

 

“When I was young, I grew up on a steady diet of stories. Whether it was my uncle telling us ghost stories around a campfire or the short story collections I devoured in my early teens, or the Stephen King books I later found myself engrossed in, stories have always been a huge part of my life.”

 

 

rem:  Hello, Steven, welcome to my little nest. Tell us a little about yourself. Where were you raised? Where do you live now?

STEVEN:  I’m a husband, father, author, storyteller. I love coffee and trail running and science fiction movies. I hail from the great white north where I was born in Wisconsin, but now live in and love my home in Tennessee.

rem:  Tell us three things about yourself.

STEVEN:  I love Cheetos, I write standing up, and I’ve never been to Liechtenstein.

 

rem:  Cheetos, check; writing standing up—what???; and Liechtenstein? I don’t even know where that is… Cookout—steaks or burgers?

STEVEN:  Burger with cheese, mayo, and ketchup. Medium rare is the only way to go.

rem:  Gimme some tomato on that bad boy! Beatles or Rolling Stones?

STEVEN:  Beatles. My elementary school music teacher was in love with the Beatles, so all the songs we sang were Beatles songs. It became part of the fabric of my childhood.

rem:  Love me some Beatles. If you could have any super power what would it be?

STEVEN:  I’d love to be able to walk through anything.

rem:  Save a lot of time not having to go around everything. Fishing or hunting?

STEVEN:  Fishing.

 

rem:  My grandmother LOVED fishing! What do you think is significant about Christian fiction?  How has being a novelist impacted your relationship with Christ?

STEVEN:  I think it’s hard to define Christian fiction, just as it would be hard to define Christian photography or Christian sculpture. I think that if fiction tells the truth about the human condition of the world, then it’s honoring to God. Writing has helped me to explore many facets of my faith, especially the ideas of forgiveness and justice.

rem:  Steven, this may be the best answer ever! (‘specially since I don’t write Christian fiction, but I write my faith into my fiction) When reading, what makes or breaks a story for you? Your fiction pet peeve?

STEVEN:  Believability. As soon as something happens that I don’t buy, I tune out the story. Also related to this, when things happen without proper motivation, it annoys me and I eventually put the book down.

rem:  Rhyme and reason, right? Which is more important: plot or characters?

STEVEN:  A character with a meaningful pursuit is always the most interesting. Plot is the map that a character takes, so there will always be a journey, but a journey without a character can’t exist, and a character without a quest isn’t interesting.

rem:  Oooh, I like that—“plot is the map…” What would you do if you weren’t writing?

STEVEN:  I think I would be a family entertainer and tell stories for a living.

rem:  When the stories is there they finds a way out. What are you reading right now?

STEVEN:  The next book on my pile is the Marsh King’s Daughter.

rem:  Looks so intense—and it’s in my TBR mound also. What do you munch on while you write?

STEVEN:  Cheetos. Or Kit-Kats.

 

rem:  Both yummy choices but gimme the chocolate and no one gets hurt. Tell us a little about your writing journey.

STEVEN:  I started writing for magazines and then nonfiction books in the late 90s, but eventually found my wheelhouse when I began writing novels in 2006.

rem:  And never looked back! You spent time in Kazakhstan. Tell us about that experience.

STEVEN:  Over the years, I’ve had a few opportunities to teach ministers and children’s workers around the world on principles of creative teaching and storytelling. My visits to Kazakhstan have always been positive and I love the enthusiasm of the pastors and educators I’ve met there.

rem:  Gotta admit I’m a little envious, combining the two elements of storytelling / creativity with teaching and ministering! What is the strangest or most peculiar research or interview you’ve ever done for research?

STEVEN:  For my book The Pawn, I consulted with one of the three people who was still alive who had survived the Jonestown massacre in the 1970s. That’s one interview I’ll never forget.

rem:  Color me duly impressed! What is your Writing Routine? Where do you write: In a cave, a coffeehouse, or a cozy nook?

STEVEN:  Mostly, I write in my basement listening to electronica or trance music. I work from a printed page, typically stand, and do most of my best writing in the morning or late at night.

rem:  Late into the night here, every time! What makes you struggle as an author? How do you handle it?

STEVEN:  There are so many obligations to being an author that have nothing to do with storytelling. For instance, marketing or social media posting. All of these end up distracting me and making it harder to focus on my work-in-progress.

rem:  Oh.my.goodness.YES! (like this interview?) Do you prefer the creating or editing aspect of writing? Why?

STEVEN:  Creating. At my heart of hearts I’m a storyteller, not an editor. I like coming up with and expressing ideas, and while editing is important, it’s definitely not my passion.

rem:  Without a good story (created) there’s not much point to editing is there? What do you mean by “Story Trumps Structure,” the title of your book on the craft of writing?

STEVEN:  Story actually trumps everything—grammar, structure, all of the rules that we’re taught about plotting or outlining. Every great story breaks at least one of them. Rather than teach people formulas that might not work, I like to teach storytelling principles that always do.

rem:  My motto is, I know the rules—and I know how to break them. What do you enjoy most about being a writer?

STEVEN:  God made me to be a storyteller and I can’t imagine feeling fulfilled doing anything else.

rem:  A to da MEN! What was the hardest thing about publishing? The easiest?

STEVEN:  Over the course of my career, I’ve worked with many editors, some who were excellent but many who were not. Fixing the mistakes of poor editors is the most exasperating thing for me in the world. The easiest thing about publishing is coming up with ideas for books.

rem:  So.many.ideas. So.little.time. What are your top 3 recommendations for a new writer? What 3 things would recommend not doing?

STEVEN:  1) Keep everything believable. 2) Don’t fall in love with your first draft. 3) Tell stories that explore moral dilemmas. Three things I would recommend not doing: 1) Plotting out or outlining your story. 2) Joining a critique group. 3) Publishing your work before it’s ready.

rem:  Pantzer here! (don’t think anyone has ever said to NOT join a critique group before!) How do you choose your characters’ names?

STEVEN:  In a sense, I feel like while I work on the book the names reveal to me. Some names just feel right for some characters and there’s no logic or specific process that I know of behind it.

rem:  My [main] characters “introduce” themselves to me. Do you think of the entire story before you start writing?

STEVEN:  Absolutely not. I write completely organically. I typically don’t even know how a scene will end when I start writing it, and I’ve never started a book that I’ve known the ending for beforehand.

rem:  And it works very well for you. Tell us a little about your latest book? What is your current project?

STEVEN:  Every Deadly Kiss released this summer. FBI special agent Patrick Bowers grapples with a baffling series of murders in Detroit—and discovers a terror plot with roots that stretch back centuries.

rem:  Interesting enough—and then there’s that hook, “… with roots that stretch back centuries.” What is YOUR favorite part about the book or why do you love this book? Why should we read it?

STEVEN:  The plot twists and turns are one of my favorite aspects of Every Deadly Kiss. If readers like suspense and enjoy a story that they can’t predict the end of, I think they’ll really dig Every Deadly Kiss.

rem:  Go ‘head, readers, go get your copy! Tell us about why you wrote this book.

STEVEN:  I was intrigued by placing a story in Detroit and one of my trips overseas helped me see the bigger picture, and the geopolitical storyline emerged.

rem:  Love how seeming random, disconnected things come together [in our brains] to form a story. Please give us the first page of the book.

STEVEN:  Here’s a link to the first chapter:

 

http://www.stevenjames.net/wp-content/uploads/2016/12/Every-Deadly-Kiss-Sample-Chapter.pdf

 

rem:  Even better! What is one take-away from your book(s) that you hope readers identify with?

STEVEN:  That redemption and hope are available but they are not cheap. They always come at a cost.

rem:  Nothing worth having is cheap, maybe especially hope, and definitely redemption. Anything you’d like to add?

STEVEN:  Thanks for taking the time to meet with me. I hope that all of your readers will have a great summer full of great books.

rem:  Steven, thank you so much for taking the time to chat with us at my little nest today!

 

 

http://www.stevenjames.net/

https://www.amazon.com/Steven-James/e/B001IU0RQS/ref=sr_tc_2_0?qid=1497465537&sr=8-2-ent

https://twitter.com/readstevenjames/

https://www.facebook.com/sjamesauthor

www.thestoryblender.com

 

 

“Some people outline their books and go through dozens of drafts; some people write organically and hardly have to edit the manuscript at all. Some of it is skill, artistry, intuition.”

 

 

 

#Blogwords, Chat Thursday, Author Interview, Manly Man Interview Blitz, Steven James, Every Deadly Kiss, Story Trumps Structure, Troubleshooting Your Novel, Checkmate, Opening Moves, Curse

 

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BLOGWORDS – Tuesday 25 July 2017 – TUESDAY REVIEWS-DAY – BOOK REVIEW – SECOND IMPRESSIONS by PEPPER BASHAM

TUESDAY REVIEWS-DAY – BOOK REVIEW – SECOND IMPRESSIONS by PEPPER BASHAM

 

Opposites attract. But do they stick?

 

Black and white, no gray area, Ethan Keller.is quite put off by taste-the-rainbow Nora Simeon. Travel weary and utterly out of her element, she does not make a great first impression. Then again, spouting ill-tempered words at the innocent desk clerk, neither does Ethan.

 

Thrust together in a compromising situation, Nora and Ethan both back-pedal their previous foul attitudes. And maybe, just maybe even see the pleasant attributes the other has to offer.

 

As Nora becomes less of an aggravation and problem to be solved, can Ethan taste taste some rainbow in his own life? Does Ethan offer the hand-in-glove solution to Nora’s dilemma?

 

 

 

Ms. Basham has created a colorful masterpiece with her latest Britillachian story. Caught in an unthinkable—and rather compromising—situation, Ethan and Nora run the gamut of reaction and emotion, and Ms. Basham paints their story with skill.

 

 

I received a free copy of this book, but was under no obligation to read the book or to post a review. I offer my review of my own free will. The opinions expressed in my review are my honest thoughts and reaction to this book.

 

 

 

 

 

Pepper Basham is an award-winning author who writes romance peppered with grace and humor. She currently resides in the lovely mountains of Asheville, NC where she is the mom of 5 great kids, speech-pathologist to about fifty more, lover of chocolate, jazz, and Jesus. Her debut historical novel, The Thorn Bearer, released in May 2015 and has garnered awards such as Reader’s Favorites Award, finalist in the Grace Awards, shortlisted for the Inspy Awards, and a finalist in ACFW’s Carol Awards. Her second historical novel, The Thorn Keeper, released in Feb 2016 and her first contemporary romance, A Twist of Faith, released in April 2016 with a 4 star review from Romantic Times. In December 2016, her third historical in the Penned in Time series, The Thorn Healer – released with a 4 1/2 star review from RT and a Top Picks rating. You can get to know Pepper on her website, http://www.pepperdbasham.com, on Facebook, or over at her group blog, The Writer’s Alley.

 

 

 

 

www.pepperdbasham.com

https://www.facebook.com/pages/Pepper-D-Basham

https://twitter.com/pepperbasham

https://www.pinterest.com/pepperbasham/

 

 

#Blogwords, Tuesday Reviews-Day, #TRD, Book Review, Second Impressions, Pepper Basham, Love at First Laugh

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BLOGWORDS – 24 July 2017 – NEW WEEK NEW FACE – GUEST POST – DAVID RAWLINGS

NEW WEEK NEW FACE – GUEST POST – DAVID RAWLINGS

 

 

Americans, a view from a first-time visitor

 

Last year, I went to the USA for the first time and landed in Nashville. Not the first choice of US city by a travel documentary crew, but still – I love BBQ and majored in music at University, so it was a decent enough fit.

 

In the three dozen international trips I’ve made from Australia, none have been in the Americas, North, Central or South.  I’ve always jumped on a plane in Australia and turned left.  This time the pilot turned right.

 

From the moment I came through customs in LAX, the culture that had occupied my TV set for the past forty years was now living and breathing right in front of me. It was strange to hear the accents on people walking past, instead of walking through the set of a sitcom.

 

You see, as Australians we are very aware of American culture – our media is steeped in it – but we’re so far away from it that it’s somehow foreign.

 

So why head to America?  As an aspiring novelist – and finalist in the ACFW Genesis contest and OCW Cascade competition – that’s where my future marketplace is.  (If you think the opportunities for fiction are drying up in your part of the world, we’re in a severe drought in Australia.  Our nation’s bookshelves are lined with lifestyle books from reality TV stars and 21-year-old sport stars telling their life stories.)

 

That desire to break into a market on the other side of the world is what saw me walking The Broadway with new author friends from the USA (and Canada), breathing in the heady aromas of a dozen BBQs to a soundtrack of bluegrass and 70s rock covers.  And talking over coffees (some things are universal) with people from Indiana to Iowa.

 

I found some things that I appreciate about the culture – things that challenged the stereotypes that are out there. I thought it would be good to share them, particularly in a time when the US culture is appearing in the world’s media in a different light. So here’s some positivity – what did I find?

 

  • Your hospitality. Maybe it’s because I was in the south, maybe it’s because I was a visitor in a strange land. Either way, the hospitality of the US folks I met was palpable. It was genuine. It was an honest desire to make a visitor comfortable, and I appreciated it.
  • Your interest in a visitor’s speech. Y’all are entranced by my accent. Single. One. Of. You. I should have charged $20 for every time I had to say “g’day.” J
  • Your entrancement of my country. This is nice, as every single person I spoke to wanted to visit my home, enjoy my country and, in some cases, move there.  People told me proudly that they’d visited and what they had enjoyed. Nothing makes you prouder when you’re abroad than hearing that people love where you’re from.  It was also a source of amusement when you peel back the layers about what some people know.  It would appear some Americans think all Australians own a kangaroo or know Hugh Jackman (these were real conversations). And I’m sorry for trying to convince a few of you we’d converted to metric minutes and now have 100 minutes in an hour.  We don’t. Really. But this guy really does live in the trees in the park across from my house.

  • Your parochialism of the state from which you come. One thing I noticed: in introductions, almost every single person didn’t just say the city they were from. It was always “Birmingham, Alabama” or “Cincinnati, Ohio.”  To me, this was more than helping me out with your geography.  I noticed a sense of pride in your roots. I wish we did that more in Australia.
  • Your patriotism. Leaving politics out of it, I admired the fact you wear your patriotic hearts on your sleeves. This is very different to Australia, where we tend to be very self-deprecating about our own country. We love it, we’ll just never say it out loud. It was refreshing to be a culture where you do.
  • Your respect for those around you. It stood out to me just how much US culture is taught to respect others through speech. I heard “Sir” and “Ma’am” on a regular basis, which was heartwarming. Our culture – to its own detriment – has moved beyond the need for such politeness.

 

So thanks for having me America. It was nice to meet some of you and experiences some of the positives from your culture.  I look forward to being back … maybe on a book tour!

 

 

Based in Adelaide, South Australia, David Rawlings is a sports-mad father-of-three with his own copywriting business who reads everything within an arm’s reach.

 

He writes stories for those who want to dive deeper – inspirational fiction that covers everyday modern issues such as reality TV, the baggage we carry, spirituality, advertising, relationships, the media and technology.

 

His manuscripts have been recognized as finalists in the 2016 ACFW Genesis Contest and 2017 OCW Cascade Awards.

 

 

www.davidrawlings.com.au (and if you sign up to my newsletter, I’ll send you a free short story! And check out my videos while you’re there!)

www.facebook.com/DavidRawlingsAuthor

www.twitter.com/DavidJRawlings

 

 

#Blogwords, New Week New Fact, #NWNF, Guest Post, David Rawlings, Australian in America

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BLOGWORDS – Sunday 23 July 2017 – FRONT PORCH FELLOWSHIP – MERCIFUL and MIGHTY

FRONT PORCH FELLOWSHIP – MERCIFUL and MIGHTY

 

I grew up singing this hymn, and as the word person that I am, each word speaks to me in a personal and powerful way.

 

We sang it last week in church, and the phrase “merciful and mighty” caught my attention. Because He is both.

 

Sometimes we get the image of an iron-fisted ruler, reigning from the sky. He is perfect and unyielding in His righteousness.

But Father is loving and merciful, and has given us access to Himself.

 

Not sure how long ago it was, fairly recently, but Father showed me that His words, from Genesis 1:1 all the way to Revelation 22:21, are His invitation and His direction for us to enter His glory. For us to fellowship with Him.

That is His heart’s desire—relationship. He’s not about the rules or sacrifice or great works. Those all have their place.  But Father’s heart, His reason for all of creation, is relationship.

‘cause when we’re in relationship, with God (or anyone) our desire is to make Him them happy, to please Him, to do what it takes to stay in relationship. Did I mention, He likes to have fun!!!

 

We come to Him through the veil of His mercy into relationship—and dwell with Him in His might.

 

 

 

#Blogwords, Front Porch Fellowship, #FPF, Sunday Devotion, Merciful and Mighty, Friendship, Relationship, Fellowship

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BLOGWORDS – Friday 21 July 2017 – FIRST LINE FRIDAY – REUNION AT CRANE LAKE by ROBIN BAYNE

FIRST LINE FRIDAY – REUNION AT CRANE LAKE by ROBIN BAYNE

 

 

Reading is My SuperPower

http://cafinatedreads.com  |   Singing Librarian   |   Bookworm Mama

Faithfully Bookish   |   Radiant Light   |   Encouraging Words from the Tea Queen

All the Book Blog Names Are Taken   |   Fiction Aficionado   |   Bibliophile Reviews

Kathleen Denly   |   Lauraine’s Notes   |   https://joyofreadingweb.wordpress.com/

https://abakersperspective.wordpress.com   |   With a Joyful Noise   |   http://crossromance.blogspot.co.uk/

http://momentsdippedinink.com   |   http://cjaneread.blogspot.ca

 

 

 If you’d like to join us on your blog for First Line Fridays, shoot Carrie @ Reading is My Superpower an email and let her know!

 

 

 

THE BLURB:  

Colt’s memory is returning after the accident that ended his career. Now he wants to take over his family’s inn, but he’ll have to partner with his former fiancee to be able to afford it. He’ll need forgiveness to make that happen. Tia’s goal is clear: to return the inn to its former grandeur. And she’ll even work with Colt to do so. But like the inn, their relationship needs a lot of work. He broke her heart…can she ever trust him again?

 

THE FIRST LINE:

Colton Reese propped his leather boot on the gray boulder marking the driveway.

 

MY THOUGHTS:  

On the TBR list…

 

GENRE:

Christian Romance

 

 

#Blogwords, First Line Friday, #FLF, Reunion at Crane Lake, Robin Bayne

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BLOGWORDS – Thursday 20 July2017 – CHAT THURSDAY – MANLY MAN BLITZ – C. KEVIN THOMPSON

CHAT THURSDAY – MANLY MAN BLITZ – C. KEVIN THOMPSON

I like to see the story unfold, picture it in what I like to call “the movie screen of my mind.” Write it as if someone could easily transform it to the “big screen.” That’s what good novels do, right?”

 

“As with any good fiction, the story must be rooted in truth, fact, and details verifiable by someone. Then, with those facts developed and substantiated, the rest of the “story”-however unbelievable it may appear-will at least seem believable, even possible.”

 

rem:  Hullo Kevin, welcome to my blog! Tell us a little about yourself. Where were you raised? Where do you live now?

KEVIN:  I was born and raised in central Florida where I presently live. But I haven’t always lived here. We had a 13 year hiatus from living in this neck of the woods from 1983-1996. Seven and a half of those were spent in western New York where I attended college (not the whole time, mind you J). Then we lived for three years in Jackson, Mississippi, where I attended seminary. During that three years, we spent six months of it living in the Fort Worth, Texas area (Watauga, Haltom City). Then, we moved to Des Moines, Iowa and spent two years there before moving back to FLA.

 

rem:  That’s a bit dizzying… LOL Tell us three things about yourself.

KEVIN:  #1: I am self-taught on the drums. Can’t read a lick of drum music, but if I can listen to a song, I can pretty much figure out how it’s played and have it down rather quickly. I’ve played in a couple of church praise teams over the years. For a guy who doesn’t own his own set anymore (haven’t for about 20 years), I do okay. J I’d love to play with some group like Third Day or Downhere someday. Not forever, just a jam session. (rem: how cool is that)  #2: I had a chance to go to Taylor University in Indiana on a wrestling scholarship out of high school, but I told my coach no because I didn’t know anyone in Indiana at the time. Silly me.  #3: I’m painfully shy and a bit of a loner. If I have to be in large groups or family get togethers, I can handle it, but I am sure drained after it’s all over. I guess that’s why writing feels so comfortable to me. I could cloister myself for days, look like a beach bum, and get a great deal of writing done…and be perfectly happy. I have guard against that, though. Marriage and family are not fans all the time when you do that.

 

rem:  Cookout—steaks or burgers?

KEVIN:  Why do you have choose? Why not steaks AND burgers?

rem:  Your cookout, your menu, Dude. Beer in a bottle or a can

KEVIN:  Bottle. Everything’s better in bottles. Beer. Wine. Coca-Cola.

rem:  I agree! What’s your all-time favorite movie? Favorite TV show?

KEVIN:  Favorite movie? Hopscotch with Walter Matthau (If you can get by Ned Beatty’s mouth). It’s a funny movie, and I love all the classical music in it. Better than the book by the same name, yet both the novel and the script were written by Brian Garfield. (The very first time I saw this movie, it was on TV. They cut out all the scenes with language. So imagine my surprise when I finally received the DVD as a gift and watched it for the first time!)

Favorite TV Show? Wow, that’s a tough one. I’d have to say 24 (The Jack Bauer version), although The Blacklist, Blue Bloods, and Criminal Minds are a close second, third, and fourth.

rem:  Haven’t seen the movie but will have to check it out now; and Criminal Minds¸YES!!! Beatles or Rolling Stones?

KEVIN:  Beatles, although I like much of what the Stones have produced. I love the “dig” The Beatles made about the Stones in their song, I Dig a Pony. They made fun of the Stones by saying they imitated others, which is very true.

rem:  The things I learn in these interviews! Ha! Vacation: beach or mountains?

KEVIN:  Beach. I love the mountains, too, but there are no mosquitos or black flies at the beach.

rem:  Do you have a favorite Bible verse? And why is it a favorite?

KEVIN:  Romans 12:1-2. Just like Paul was attempting to do when he wrote it, it sums up what the Christian life is all about in two verses.

 

rem:  YESSS!! 12:2 is my signature verse! What do you think is significant about Christian fiction?  How has being a novelist impacted your relationship with Christ?

KEVIN:  Jesus was a storyteller. He wasn’t a theologian. He wasn’t a scholar. He wasn’t a teacher of the law, like the ones living in His day. He used story to convey truth. He used imagery to convey meaning. He always used the things of everyday life so everyone could understand (the birds of the air, the flowers of the field, plants, wheat, weeds, mustard seeds, fish, bread, oil, lamps, money, family, etc.). His stories have resonated with people for over two thousand years in the bestselling book of all time. That’s not a coincidence. When you marry story with eternal truth, life happens. rem: emphasis mine  So being a novelist, I try to do the same thing. When I write stories, there is always an overarching spiritual truth, like an umbrella, spreading over the story. Because of this, it has helped deepen the meaning of truths in scripture in my life as I wrestle with them on the page.

 

rem:  YES and AMEN!! When reading, what makes or breaks a story for you? Your fiction pet peeve?

KEVIN:  What makes a story for me? One that grips me. Makes me care about the characters. One that has a storyline I can believe in. One that has purpose. A story that I think about long after the last page is turned. One that is realistic, but stretches me. What breaks a story for me? Pretty much all the opposites. A story that doesn’t grip me. One where I don’t like or care about the characters. A story that has a storyline that seems forced or has no real purpose for existing, or characters that seem too perfect, or too trite, or too religious.

 

rem:  All of the above, especially too religious. Which is more important: plot or characters?

KEVIN:  Neither. Both are equally important, in my opinion. I know books have been written on this subject. Wars have almost been waged at writers’ conferences. But for me, you can have the most amazing story, with conflict galore, but if I could care less about the characters, the story suffers. On the contrary, I could have the best, lovable, likeable character ever created, but if he or she is in a boring, lifeless story, who cares? For me, as a thriller writer, plot tends to overshadow character, but I try to make sure my characters are ones people can love, hate, and empathize with, depending on the character’s arc. I try not to get lost in that argument of which is more important. To me, it’s like the chicken and egg. Which came first? Who cares? Let’s eat!

rem:  Yup, and DiAnn Mills has a lovely little book on that, The Dance of Character and Plot.  What would you do if you weren’t writing?

KEVIN:  Good question. Probably more yard work. Ugh.

rem:  That’s neverending, isn’t it? What are you reading right now?

KEVIN:  The Killing Floor by Lee Child. It’s the first Jack Reacher novel.

rem:  What do you munch on while you write?

KEVIN:  Depends on if I want to be healthy or not. Chips or fruit or candy or ice cream…

 

rem:  Sooo… mood driven, eh? Tell us about “In the News” feature on your website. What is the strangest discovery you have found in your research?

KEVIN:  When I conduct research for my novels, I like to give the readers a glimpse into some of that background. I post things I have found and used in my novels I think they will find interesting or challenging. The strangest “discovery” I found was when I was writing The Serpent’s Grasp, it seemed the scientific world was working for me. Article after article, new discovery after new discovery was being published in this journal or that news site. They were proving the point behind TSG every time. Still are, by the way.

rem:  Life imitating fiction! You have teamed up with World Hope International. What prompted your interest in their work and mission and how much does this topic show up in your stories?

KEVIN:  As I was writing my Blake Meyer series, I knew where it was heading (into the world of human trafficking). I felt led to pray about what I could do about this problem. Besides exposing it within the story, I found out about WHI. They have a HT arm of the organization that helps women and children (primarily), who have been victims of HT, rehabilitate and get back on their feet while sharing the message of Christ with them. I prayed about it, and decided to give a portion of what I earn as a writer to WHI. I feel like it’s so small, but it was something I could do to start. Who knows where it will lead from here. And also, each year, the monies given are matched through a government grant up to a certain amount. Even more good news.

rem:  Sometimes it’s those small actions and gifts that manifest the most. Tell us a little about your writing journey.

KEVIN:  I’ve been writing seriously since I was college. While in seminary, I had several articles published in a denominational Sunday School curriculum as well as some other articles in missions magazines, pastoral journals, and even a local newspaper. Then, in the mid-90s, I decided to try my hand at fiction. I wrote a novel called A Case of Déjà vu. It involves some characters I am now developing into a young adult series. (Eventually, I plan to work my way back up chronologically to that time period of their lives with adult fiction. I foresee many novels in this entire journey.) Then, I wrote another novel for my oldest daughter. It was strictly a labor of love and never intended for it to be published. My third novel was a young adult novel, as I tried my hand at such. All the while, I was learning the craft and never too serious about getting any of it published. In 2006, I started writing the beginning pages, by hand, of The Serpent’s Grasp. Four years later, it was done. It was published in 2012 and won the 2013 Blue Ridge Mountains Christian Writers Conference Selah Award for First Fiction. I’m pretty proud of that accomplishment. (rem: as you should be!)  It has since been republished in a second edition (it’s in pre-order status as we speak!). Since 2012, I have written three more novels, all part of the Blake Meyer Thriller Series: Book 1 – 30 Days Hath Revenge, Book 2 – Triple Time, and Book 3 – The Tide of Times. The first two are available. Book 3 will be out in late August. Books 4, 5 & 6 will be out just as soon as I write them. J I also have another manuscript in the hands of a publisher right now, being considered for publication titled The Letters. It’s a Christmas novel about a woman who receives some letters in the mail in the most interesting way. The byline of this novel is: The world is a crazy place when the living are dead and the dead are alive.

rem:  What is your Writing Routine? Where do you write: In a cave, a coffeehouse, or a cozy nook?

KEVIN:  It varies. I work full-time as an assistant principal at a middle school. That’s my day job. So when school is in session and it works out, I like to get up about 4:00 a.m. and write for a couple of hours before the day gets rolling. If I can, I also write for about half of Saturday. Then there’s holidays, summers, etc. Writing at night is not always the best for me. I’m usually too tired and create a bunch of deleted scenes when I try to write at night. J

 

rem:  Wait! What??? There’s a 4:00 in the A.M. too??? What makes you struggle as an author? How do you handle it?

KEVIN:  Time management. Keeping everything in perspective. It’s a daily fight. As far as how I handle it? One day at a time. Some days, I win. Some days, not so much.

rem:  No.kidding! and yeah, best way to tackle it (or be tackled… ) Do you prefer the creating or editing aspect of writing? Why?

KEVIN:  Creating. Editing is a bear, but it’s worth it, because what you put on the page the first go around (and second and third…) usually says something, but sometimes it’s not what you meant it to say.

rem:  What do you enjoy most about being a writer?

KEVIN:  The creative aspect. Developing stories readers marvel at is fun. I’ve been told by people they are glad I’m on their side. I’d make a scary terrorist, I guess.

rem:  I have a CSI-worthy story that scared a coworker once! I told her I write this stuff, I don’t do it!  What was the hardest thing about publishing? The easiest?

KEVIN:  The hardest thing about being published for me was being good enough to get published. As I stated earlier, The Serpent’s Grasp was my 4th novel. And there had been a great deal of non-fiction writing before that. A close second is building a readership. What’s the easiest? I’m not sure there is anything easy about this business.

 

rem:  True, but it’s still so fun!  Love me my networking!! (and yes, my interviews are work! but I wouldn’t trade them for nuthin!) What are your top 3 recommendations for a new writer? What 3 things would recommend not doing?

KEVIN:  1. Keep writing with an eye on improving and never think you have arrived. (ouch) 2. Read good writers in your genre and learn from them as well as books on the craft. 3. Attend a writers’ conference. What you learn and who you meet will be invaluable.

 

  1. Don’t give up when you get a rejection. It won’t be your first or your last. The only people who don’t get them anymore are people who gave up on writing. 2. Don’t get all caught up in making huge plans “once you get your first book published.” Thinking big is okay, so long as it is tempered with a huge dose of reality. 3. Don’t compare yourself to other authors. It’s never a fair fight because God called you to write something. He also called the other author to write something else. You’re comparing apples and oranges when you fall prey to this.

 

rem:  That’s some good stuff there, Kev! #RevKev How do you choose your characters’ names?

KEVIN:  I try to make the name fit the character. I know who the character is going to be, so finding the proper name is important. Also, sometimes, it’s about cadence. Blake Meyer was designed to be like most of the other thriller, espionage, murder mystery names out there. Most of the popular ones have one or two syllables in the first and last name, but no more. James Bond. Jack Reacher. Jack Bauer. John Ryan. Sherlock Holmes. Not too many famous FBI or MI-6 agents out there called Englebert Kadiddlehopper. In young adult fiction maybe, but not adult fiction.

 

However, I do have a little Thomas Kincaid in me. Like he did with the letter of his wife’s first name appearing in all his paintings, I have used my family member’s names in various ways for character who have bit parts. For example, in The Serpent’s Grasp, there are two characters with the last names Wiggins and Higgins, the married last names of my middle and oldest daughter, respectively. I also have used my grandchildren’s names. In the Blake Meyer series, there is a Wichita County Deputy Sheriff whose last name is Landon, a Texas Highway Patrol Sergeant named Colton Lee, a Coast Guard commander named Addisyn Rylee, and a paramedic named Evyn. In upcoming books, I have a Brantley James planned. These are little things that are cool, in my opinion.

rem:  So cool! I’ve done this too, in different ways—and use my own name, robin, in some form or spelling variation. Do you think of the entire story before you start writing?

KEVIN:  I know where I want to start, and I know how the story ends. I also know several high points in the middle. For me, though, the fun part is the writing journey from point A to point B.

rem:  Sounds rather Pantser-y to me…. Tell us a little about your latest book? What is your current project?

KEVIN:  Well, that’s a tough one because I have two books coming out a month apart. The Tide of Times is Book 3 is a series that will have six books when completed (Blake Meyer series…think 24 with a Christian twist). The Serpent’s Grasp is Jurassic Park in the ocean. If you’d like more details, I’ll just say, head over to my website at www.ckevinthompson.com, and have a look!

rem:  Yes! Always more details! You hear the man, peeps, head over to the website already! (just don’t forget to come back… ) Tell us about why you wrote this book.

KEVIN:  I wrote The Serpent’s Grasp to delve into the topic of Truth from a scientific viewpoint. It seems many in the scientific community no longer wish for truth to be known unless it jives with their beliefs (namely, evolutionary theory). I knew this book would be polarizing, and the reviews have borne that out. But when you are attacking the gates of hell with the truth of scripture, battles abound!

 

rem:  Truth tends to do that, though, doesn’t it—polarize, or maybe crystalize, those very differences. Please give us the first page of the book.

KEVIN:  (I gave you the first two, but unfortunately, the serpent shows up on page 3…)

 

Wednesday, 1:57 a.m.

Atlantic Ocean

Approximately 11 Nautical Miles East/Northeast of Fort Pierce, Florida

 

Tethered to the ocean floor for hours, an eighty-five-foot schooner floated in rhythm with the gentle swells of the Atlantic. The masts, standing vigil in the shadows of the night sky with their sails battened tight, rocked back and forth as solitary sentinels. Under a veil of thin cirrus clouds, the moon beamed a brilliant but dispersed glow upon the vessel whose white underbelly glistened against the backdrop of the watery depths.

A soft breeze, mixing with the smell of salt and sea life, wafted across the deck, carrying the mounting sounds of a quarrel that emanated from the quarters below.

“I don’t care about all that. But obviously you do,” the woman said, putting on her clothes.

The man flopped over onto his back and sighed. “Why does that bother you?”

“It’s becoming clear that our relationship is important when we can have our little trysts, but when it comes to disrupting your cash flow, then whoa, wait a minute. You’ve suddenly got to think it through.”

“That’s not fair, Regina, and you know it. If I divorce Evelyn, she’ll want half. Do you know what that means?”

Regina crossed her arms and shrugged.

“I’d have to sell the business. That’s what it means. All that I’ve worked for would be gone. I’d be left with our rental in Fort Lauderdale, this boat if I’m lucky, and a whopping alimony payment.”

Regina closed her eyes and dropped her chin to her chest. “So our relationship is based on your financial future? Wonderful.”

David Sims sat up on the edge of the bed and snatched his polo shirt off the floor. “Look, this is not what I had in mind.” He thrust his arms through the sleeves. “If we’re gonna fight, I might as well go home.”

“I’ve got to know this is going somewhere.” She lifted her gaze and watched him get dressed. “If you’re not willing to leave your wife, then all I am is a plaything, and I can’t live like that.”

David sat for several awkward moments before speaking. “What about your husband? Is it that cut and dry for you? Don’t you feel a little remorse when we’re together?”

“Sure, I do.” Regina unfolded her arms and slipped her hands into the pockets of her shorts. “You know, you’re not the only one destined to lose something in this.”

“But you’re the woman. You should get a healthy chunk of your husband’s money.” David chuckled. “Maybe that would help make our lives easier after the dust settles.”

“Well, I hate to paint a bleak picture for you, Dave, but I won’t.”

“You won’t what?”

“Get anything from my husband.”

“You didn’t.”

 

rem:  That packs a bunch in them thar words! What is one take-away from your book(s) that you hope readers identify with?

KEVIN:  Good writing that gets you thinking, i.e., “smart fiction.”

 

rem:  Where can we find you online? (provide links)

KEVIN:

www.ckevinthompson.com/

www.ckevinthompson.blogspot.com/

https://www.facebook.com/CKevinThompson.AuthorPage/

https://twitter.com/CKevinThompson

https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5765265.C_Kevin_Thompson

 

 

rem:  Anything you’d like to add?

KEVIN:  I am also a regular contributor for Seriously Write: http://seriouslywrite.blogspot.it/

 

Also, Reader Poll: Should I start a Pinterest Page? Yes or No? I’ll let the readers decide! 

rem:  Ooohhh, fun, Reader Poll!!  Aite, ya’ll, there it is! Whatcha’ll think? Pinterest for #RevKev, yes or no? Kevin, thank you so much for chatting with us at my little nest today!

 

 

I’ll go first n I say GO FOR IT! And share your Pinterest link in comments below!

 

“He believes the Bible is not the best-selling book of all time for nothing. It’s about storytelling, and it’s about truth. And when you couple those two things together, it makes for powerful reading. (Of course, divine inspiration puts the Bible in a class by itself!) There’s nothing like a good story that brings home something concrete which a reader can take with them long after the last page is turned.”

 

 

 

#Blogwords, Chat Thursday, Author Interview, Manly Man Interview Blitz, C. Kevin Thompson, The Serpent’s Grasp, 30 Days Hath Revenge, Blake Meyer Thriller, Triple Time, World Hope International

 

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