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BLOGWORDS – Thursday 5 September 2019 – CHAT THURSDAY – AUTHOR INTERVIEW – MIKAL DAWN – GIVEAWAY WINNER

CHAT THURSDAY – AUTHOR INTERVIEW – MIKAL DAWN – GIVEAWAY WINNER

“Faith. Fun. Forever.”

 

“When I was younger, I used to think that joy was all about feeling happy, having fun, and laughing a lot. It is that, but it’s more than that when we invite God into things.”

 

WINNER! WINNER!

 

Congratulations to

JODI HASSEL

Mikal will be in touch with you to send your gift!

Thanks to everyone who entered!

 

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Mikal Dawn is an inspirational romance author, wedding enthusiast, and proud military wife. By day, she works as an administrative assistant for an international ministry, serves in her church’s library, runs her kids to all their sports, and drinks lots of coffee. By night, she talks to figments of her imagination as she attempts to write while dinner is burning. And drinks lots of coffee. When she isn’t writing about faith, fun, and forever, she is obsessively scouring Pinterest (with coffee in hand, of course!) for wedding ideas for her characters.

Originally from Vancouver, Canada, Mikal now lives in Oklahoma with her husband, two of their three children, and one ferocious feline.

 

https://mikaldawn.com/

https://www.amazon.com/Mikal-Dawn/e/B071NGN8D5

https://www.facebook.com/mikaldawnauthor/

https://twitter.com/MikalDawn/

https://www.instagram.com/mikaldawn/

https://www.pinterest.com/mikal_dawn/

 

“Enter the Psalms. They refocus me, give me hope, peace. They give me joy. I think more on the Lord. I speak with Him more. I’m more relaxed and less irritable.”

GIVEAWAY

Mikal is offering an e-copy of Once Upon a Christmas Collection.

 

#Blogwords, Chat Thursday, Author Interview, Mikal Dawn, Giveaway Winner, #WINNER

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BLOGWORDS – Thursday 22 August 2019 – CHAT THURSDAY – AUTHOR INTERVIEW – HOPE TOLER DOUGHERTY – GIVEAWAY WINNER

CHAT THURSDAY – AUTHOR INTERVIEW – HOPE TOLER DOUGHERTY – GIVEAWAY WINNER

“Trading guilt and misery for God’s grace and mercy.”

 

“I don’t present the Gospel message in my books, but God is evident throughout the stories. My characters struggle with everyday problems, pray to and receive strength and wisdom from a loving God.”

 

WINNER! WINNER!

 

Congratulations to

LUCY REYNOLDS

Hope will be in touch with you to send your gift!

Thanks to everyone who entered!

 

 

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Hope Toler Dougherty holds a Master’s degree in English and taught at East Carolina University and York Technical College. Her publications include three novels, Irish Encounter and Mars…With Venus Rising, and Rescued Hearts as well as nonfiction articles. A member of ACFW, RWA, and SinC, she and her husband live in North Carolina and enjoy visits with their two daughters and twin sons. Visit her at hopetolerdougherty.com.

 

https://hopetolerdougherty.com/

https://www.amazon.com/Hope-Toler-Dougherty/e/B00X62XX7Q

https://www.facebook.com/AUTHORHOPETOLERDOUGHERTY/

https://www.instagram.com/hopetolerdougherty/

https://www.linkedin.com/in/hope-toler-dougherty-20097834/

https://www.pinterest.com/hopetdougherty/

https://twitter.com/hopetdougherty

https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/13941031.Hope_Dougherty

 

 

“Sometimes the writer’s life borders on the lonely side–unless you count spending time with imaginary characters, that is…   Spending time with other writers, especially Christian writers, is always such an encouragement, and spending that time at a beach (with lots of chocolate)? All the better!”

 

GIVEAWAY

Hope is offering an e-copy of Rescued Hearts, or a print copy to a U.S. reader.

“Can I worship in jeans or shorts or pajamas? Yes.

Have I done it? Yes—beside Niagara Falls, around a campfire, at my desk. The Red Rock State Park in Arizona brought me to tears contemplating our Creator.”

 

 

#Blogwords, Chat Thursday, Author Interview, Hope Toler Dougherty, Giveaway Winner, #WINNER

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BLOGWORDS – Thursday 22 August 2019 – CHAT THURSDAY – AUTHOR INTERVIEW – JOANNA DAVIDSON POLITANO

CHAT THURSDAY – AUTHOR INTERVIEW – JOANNA DAVIDSON POLITANO

“I really love story. Especially from people overlooked or undervalued by the world.”

“Prayer is amazingly powerful, and I’m a serious prayer warrior.”

 

Please join me in giving a feathered welcome to Joanna Davidson Politano.

 

FAST FAVES

Cake or Cookies ALL OF THE ABOVE

Dogs or Cats  I am an equal opportunity stray adopter ❤

Yoga Pants or Jeans  I’ve always been a jeans girl, but yoga pants are becoming a staple in the homeschooling days at home!

 

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

JOANNA:  I’ve always lived in the Chicago area, from the northern suburbs to the city itself. Now I live over the border in Indiana, and I LOVE the country! Especially living in the woods with so much nature around us. I worked as a medical writer for years, then in nonfiction publishing, and now I’m pursuing homeschool teaching with writing novels as a side hobby.

rem:  I love being in the woods, surrounded by nature—not so sure about living way out in the country…  Tell us three random things about yourself no one knows.

JOANNA:  1. I gave birth twice without medication, with the help of some Scripture (see upcoming question!) and I’m a pain wimp.

  1. I own (and often refer back to) over 4,000 books, and 1,800 on Kindle
  2. I once dove off a 40 foot cliff while white water rafting—and bellyflopped.

rem:  1.  Yeeps / Awsome! 2. Holy Moly Batman, that’s a LOTTA books! And 3. Ouch, just ouch!  Do you have a favorite Bible verse? And why is it a favorite?

JOANNA:  I really like the book of Isaiah for the full picture it gives us of God’s character—all sides of it. (rem: too many people, I think, dismiss the Old Testament as irrelevant… )  Favorite verse—either Matthew 6:33, which is my life verse, (But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you) or the verses in Isaiah 43 that talk about God being with us through the fire and flood. I recited those when having both my kids, and they are precious verses to me.

rem:  It’s so subtle, isn’t it? Such a “simple” thing to do, and yet so overlooked—to seek Him first, to walk in His ways and will… What is your favourite quotation and why?

JOANNA:  I think you’ll find my heart somewhere between “Not all who wander are lost” and “be kind, for everyone you meet is facing some kind of battle.”  Also, “Not all of us can do great things, but we can do small things with great love.” There are so many quotes I adore—Especially from Mother Teresa. I could make a quote board just from her.

rem:  Hmmm… mayhap, we wander to meet someone who is facing some kind of battle for a reason—to do some small thing with great love… What’s the most random thing in your bag or on your desk?

JOANNA:  Probably a half-finished sucker that I wrapped up and was ordered not to throw away… because I promised to return it to the owner when she finished some vegetables. That has not yet happened.

rem:  Such a mom-of-small-kids thing!! ha!  If you could spend an evening with a fictional character, who would it be and why?

JOANNA:  Emily of New Moon! I feel like we’re kindred spirits. Or…. Maybe Aslan.

 

rem:  Haven’t met Emily of New Moon, but I’d adore the chance to spend a day (or longer) with Aslan!  What do you think is significant about Christian fiction?  How has being a novelist impacted your relationship with Christ?

JOANNA:  Oh goodness, this is a huge question, and a great one to ask. Christian fiction has the ability to, like Jesus’ stories, convey truth in a deeper, more memorable way than simply stating it. Stories trigger and excite something in our brains, and we interact with the truth in a much bigger way. How as it impacted my relationship? Well, that could take hours. To be honest, it’s become a sacred time of connection with God that is more personal to me than any other way almost. I ask Him questions, and we untangle the answer together as I write, and I come away with a lovely duet to remember our time together.

rem:  Oohhh! I love that—lovely duet!! And yes, it does become a sacred time, when it’s just us and Him, collaborating to create a story. When reading, what makes or breaks a story for you? Your fiction pet peeve?

JOANNA:  I think all my favorites in a story can be encapsulated in one word—authenticity. This applies to the characters, and to the layers the writer was willing to peel back while writing. I love when someone enters vulnerably into a story to discover, rather than setting out to give a lesson.

rem:  So true. Stories that aren’t authentic are like a balloon—they might bob in the wind for a short while, but in the test of time they don’t hold up. What are you reading right now?

JOANNA:  A Night at the Opera by Stacy Henrie and Fortune Hunter by Daisy Goodwin (one electronic, one hard copy)

 

rem:  And both sound quite intriguing. I particularly loved a post on your blog from April of this year, Going Deeper—A Vineyard Study. Tell us about that.

JOANNA:  This came about from some readers who enjoyed “A Rumored Fortune,” my second book, and asked me to walk readers through the vineyard research I did that had such spiritual depth. That research completely changed me during the writing of the most stubborn novel to date. I had such a rough go of it with that novel, but God used that desperation to draw me to him. (rem: THIS right here gives me such hope for my current WIP! I have not had such a struggle with any of my other stories!)And it was glorious. He gently taught me, through vineyard research, what it meant to connect to the True Vine, and just how vital it was for life—despite how healthy an unconnected branch might appear.

rem:  And now I must dig deeper into this myself. You have such a powerful ministry of hope. What inspired your post (May 2016) on Broken Glass?

JOANNA:  Thank you! I am glad to offer the hope I was given myself. I’m not sure there’s a specific incident that inspired that blog post, but as my own life story has unfolded, I’ve watched God take shattered pieces of me that I didn’t even know how to get rid of, or what to do with, and he redeemed them the way a friend of mine remakes old furniture into something chic and modern. He took broken shards, infused them with color, and put them together into a stunning piece of art that actually formed an entire picture when you stepped back to look—then He shone through it Himself, and you realize everything you are, even the broken pieces, are redeemed and affixed into a story… for HIS glory. And it’s stunning.

rem:  Yes and Amen! There’s just not any other fitting response! You also have a powerful prayer ministry. Can you share with us one of the most inspiring results or miracles you’ve seen?

JOANNA:  Honestly, I seldom hear the result of my prayers, because most of the people I pray for are strangers who have requested prayer through my site. One of the small but memorable ones in my personal life was when I went apple picking once with a guy I’d been dating. This was the hugest orchard in the state, and we were out there picking for hours. When we came into the store to pay, I realized I’d dropped my car key, which wasn’t even on a ring, somewhere out in the orchard. It was now dark. I had no other key, and I needed my car to get to work the next day—not to mention getting home that night. I talked to God about it, and I walked out through the orchard, through the rows, and directly to the key under a tree that looked like all the rest. To this day, I have no idea how it happened, but I do know the guy I was dating, who had been wrestling with his faith, turned a huge corner that day. And now I’m married to him.

rem:  I love love love those seeming “random” moments, moments that might seem like coincidence—but are truly a Divine touch or whisper!  I love how you equate everyday life to stories, and how they help “untangle and understand” the world. How does this show up in your stories?

JOANNA:  Oh this is my favorite thing about writing. So many simple moments have deep undercurrents that all point back to Scripture. I often ask God big questions when I sit down to write, and they play out in very simple character arcs or actions within the book. For example, the heroine in my first book had such trouble fitting into the family she’d just discovered. She tried so many ways and couldn’t understand why she didn’t, until she realized they were broken and unhappy people—and it was perfectly ok to not fit in with them. In the same way, we often feel at odds in this world when we really follow Jesus, and that’s perfectly all right too—because this is a sinful world and we’re not meant to stay forever. The vineyard symbolism in my second book was amazing to me—the heroine has to learn about how vineyards work and it underscores everything the Bible says about connecting to God—connection had been a longing of her heart, and understanding the vines helped her understand the larger questions about connecting.

rem:  Oh my goodness!!! Not fitting in has been my personal agony—and delight—for as long as I can remember. Only now I know why I don’t fit in…  Tell us a little about your writing journey.

JOANNA:  I’ve been writing for years, and when I started writing novels and actually submitting them, I got nothing but rejections or silence. I was discouraged, but then babies came into the picture. I decided to set aside writing and raise my family, maybe going back to it later. That was about when I realized I hadn’t even asked God. When I did, I found out He had other ideas. I said ok, and took a redeye flight to a conference, stayed about 24 hours, and took another redeye back to my baby. On that trip, I received three offers from agents, and when I chose an agent we got three offers from publishers. What a stark difference from my timing and God’s! The biggest, coolest part of my writing journey, though, is simply the practice of connecting with God. It’s the language we speak, and the way I untangle things I don’t understand.

 

rem:  Oh how we, as humans, fight and buck His timing—only to discover how truly He does know best! What are your top 3 recommendations for a new writer? What 3 things would recommend not doing?

JOANNA:

Top three recommendations:

  1. If you’re not getting traction, or you’re stuck, write a novel purely for fun—every little thing you enjoy in a story, whatever length or mix of genres. No rules, no expectations. That’s more likely to be your success story than endless striving! Rules are important—learn them, but don’t be tied to them so much that you forget the joy of writing.
  2. Trust God. Seriously, it sounds simple, but those two words are really hard to live out at times. Keep in mind, though, that the same God who parted the sea can do anything He wants in your story—and He delights in the impossible.
  3. Connect with friends of the heart. Get to know some other writers, or just people who love books, and have lots of conversations. Show them your work. Respect their feedback, but not above God’s.

Top three things not to do:

  1. Strive—or write anything in your own strength
  2. Compare—If God wants you writing, there’s a hole out there the exact shape of your story.
  3. Lose yourself—fictional worlds are wonderful and mind-expanding, but don’t ever lose sight of the real people for the imaginary ones.

 

rem:  Such wisdom, Joanna. How do you choose your characters’ names?

JOANNA:  After reading lots of Victorian literature over the years, I have a sense of what names were used then, and I go hunting through baby name books! Often I narrow down the choices by a name’s meaning, because meanings are important.

rem:  Do you think of the entire story before you start writing?

JOANNA:  Oh sure, but then it changes! I never plot out an entire book before starting, but I have some general ideas. Those always change, though.

rem:  So much yes!! My non-writer friends just don’t get it when I say, “They [my characters] told me thus and such!” LOL  Tell us a little about your latest book? What is your current project?

JOANNA:  My newly released book, Finding Lady Enderly, is a rags-to-riches story about a lost countess, and the rag woman who temporarily steps in to take her place. There’s a great romance thread that weaves classic literature through it, which was so fun to write! My current project is a novel about a lost love letter that’s discovered years after it was written, and the impact it has on the finder and an entire household.

rem:  Shameful confession: I have not yet read your books… #hangshead  They sound so wonderful and intriguing, though, and they definitely are on my TBR list…  What is YOUR favorite part about the book or why do you love this book? Why should we read it?

JOANNA:  Oh, the love story! It was so wonderfully unique and fun to create. It was a challenge, but it ended up becoming one of my favorites. There isn’t the usual will they/won’t they or things like that keeping them apart, and the hurdles they face are fun to play with. The way they overcome their hurdles, though is just so fun. The romance wove perfectly into the twists of the story—which were the most twisty I’ve written to date.

rem:  Please give us the first page of the book.

 

Chapter 1

I do not truly wish for all my dreams to come true. After all, nightmares are one type of dream.

~Diary of a Countess

 

Spitalfields, London’s East End, 1871

For one blessed moment I was actually beautiful. I rested one smudged hand on the bodice of the luscious gown given to me by Mrs. J. B. Hollingsworth and waltzed like a princess down Church Street, the little jeweled shoes twinkling in the moonlight as I lifted my hem and spun on the broken cobblestones. Gowns had a sort of magic hemmed into their cloth, enough to change a girl’s heart just by the wearing of them.

I paused under the flickering gaslights to glimpse my reflection in a window, gasping at the vision of loveliness framed on the grimy pane of Bryn and Saunders Textiles. I twirled my hair up and looked with wonder at the whole of me—shapely, trim, and utterly feminine. For the first time in my life, my willowy body was fitted in a garment with shape and form.

Mercy gracious, I looked like a normal girl.

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

JOANNA:  It’s so easy to become defined by circumstances, or changeable elements, and we often never understand the core of who we are. So much can be changed—our friends, our job, our economic status or marital status. Yet there’s something in our nature that makes us uniquely who we are—and it points to our purpose. What defines us, and why do we let it? What is truly at the core of us? The heroine wrestles with her identity as she peels back and discards many layers of who she was to become someone else, realizing much about herself and her Creator.

rem:  Oh, Joanna, you have hit on exactly what my life used to be! But God… Thank you so much for chatting with us at my little nest today!

JOANNA:  It was my pleasure!

 

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Joanna Davidson Politano writes historical novels of mystery and romance, including her debut Lady Jayne Disappears. She loves tales that capture the colorful, exquisite details in ordinary lives and is eager to hear anyone’s story. She lives with her husband and their two babies in a house in the woods near Lake Michigan and you can find her at

 

http://jdpstories.com/

https://www.amazon.com/Joanna-Davidson-Politano/e/B06WVQRFDC

https://www.facebook.com/joannadavidsonpolitano/

https://twitter.com/politano_joanna

https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/16355029.Joanna_Davidson_Politano

https://www.bookbub.com/profile/joanna-davidson-politano

 

 

 “[Stories] are not an escape from the world, but a way to untangle and understand it.”

“Because in truth, no one wants their life to be invisible or forgotten.”

#Blogwords, Chat Thursday, Author Interview, Joanna Politano

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BLOGWORDS – Thursday 15 August 2019 – CHAT THURSDAY – AUTHOR INTERVIEW – VIKKI KESTELL – GIVEAWAY WINNERS

 

CHAT THURSDAY – AUTHOR INTERVIEW – VIKKI KESTELL – GIVEAWAY WINNERS

“Faith Filled Fiction”

 

“Writing is the best job ever… and the most demanding.”

 

WINNER! WINNER!

 

Congratulations to

BRANDI DAGWAN

 and

TONYA HAMILTON

 and

ASHLEY SAPP

 and

DYAN LYNESS

Vikki will be in touch with you to send your gift!

Thanks to everyone who entered!

 

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Vikki Kestell’s passion for people and their stories is evident in her readers’ affection for her characters and unusual plotlines. Two often-repeated sentiments are, “I feel like I know these people,” and “I am right there, in the book, experiencing what her characters experience.”

Vikki holds a Ph.D. in Organizational Learning and Instructional Technologies. She left a career of twenty-plus years in government, academia, and corporate life to pursue writing full time. “Writing is the best job ever,” she admits, “and the most demanding.”

Also an accomplished speaker and teacher, Vikki and her husband Conrad Smith make their home in Albuquerque, New Mexico.

 

http://vikkikestell.com/

https://www.amazon.com/Vikki-Kestell/e/B007OLYM0M

https://www.facebook.com/TheWritingOfVikkiKestell

https://www.bookbub.com/authors/vikki-kestell

https://twitter.com/FaithFilledFic

 

 

“A genre to me is more the setting than the objective. My characters are real to me. I could put them in any genre and they would thrive..”

GIVEAWAY

Vikki is offering five free Kindle copies of Laynie Portland Spy Rising.

 

#Blogwords, Chat Thursday, Author Interview, Vikki Kestell, Giveaway Winners, #WINNERS

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BLOGWORDS – Thursday 1 August 2019 – CHAT THURSDAY – AUTHOR INTERVIEW – JENNIFER MAJOR

CHAT THURSDAY – AUTHOR INTERVIEW – JENNIFER MAJOR

“Redeeming History. Restoring mercy.”

 

“I write about grace, history, justice, and what happens when you put all three together.”

 

Please join me in giving a feathered welcome to Jennifer Major.

FAST FAVES

Eggs or Pancakes  CARBS, BABY!!  (rem: YESSS!)

Paperback or Kindle  Kindle, I have arthritic hands and books are hard to hold

Thornton or Darcy  Darcy

 

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

JENNIFER :  I was raised in Vancouver, BC, which is the most beautiful city in the world. It’s also the most expensive! We left years ago! Now my husband and I live in a little ‘burb outside Fredericton, New Brunswick.

rem:  Oh! Vancouver is gorgeous country! Tell us three random things about yourself no one knows.

JENNIFER :  I despise pepper. I never wear polyester shirts. I think red looks ridiculous on redheads.

rem:  Ya, I’m not a fan of polyester, either. But I do like red… Do you have a favorite Bible verse? And why is it a favorite?

JENNIFER :  Micah 6:8, “He has told you, O man, what is good, and what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?” It lays out how one should live and leaves no room for the “Yeah, but” role of humans trying to add their own spin.

rem:  Yes! Yes! Yes! Essentially a concise image of God Himself, and how we are to imitate that. (sounds so easy, doesn’t it?) What is your favourite quotation and why?

JENNIFER :  “Don’t sacrifice the permanent on the altar of the immediate.” It teaches us to strive and stay steady when giving up, or in, is so tempting.

rem:  I’ve also heard that called “the tyranny of the urgent.” Such a valuable lesson to keep our focus and not be distracted by all.the.noise around us. What’s the most random thing in your bag or on your desk?

JENNIFER :  My book of Navajo medicinal plants.

rem:  Now, that sounds fascinating. If you could spend an evening with a fictional character, who would it be and why?

JENNIFER : Ohhh, great question!! Anne Shirley would be a fine conversationalist. I’d interrupt her and suggest that she accept her beautiful hair, and go easy on poor Marilla, and keep Matthew close to the house on that fateful day.

 

rem:  Great choice! What do you think is significant about Christian fiction?  How has being a novelist impacted your relationship with Christ?

JENNIFER :  In its essence, Christian fiction picks up the use of parables (rem: YESSS!)

and continues the importance that Jesus placed on a good story that had an impact and taught without heavy-handed preaching and guilt-tripping. Writing has made me so much more aware of how smart readers are, and how deep they will go with a character. It’s also made me lean fully on Him, because this is a hard gig.

rem:  So true, Jennifer. Readers are smart creatures. I know I don’t appreciate it when I’m reading to have the author oversimplify or overstate something—like I’m / we’re too dumb to get it.  When reading, what makes or breaks a story for you? Your fiction pet peeve?

JENNIFER :  Preachy characters who turn every, single, solitary conversation into a sermon and deeply profound theological life lesson. (rem: YESSSS!!!! UGH!!!)  Seriously, most 20-somethings do not have the levels of seminary knowledge that I’ve seen some characters display in some books. That, and fictional homesteading men who smell like fresh-mown hay. Come on. They smell, all right…

rem:  Exactly! What are you reading right now?

JENNIFER :  A pile of books (opens arms wide) that thick!

rem:  Bahahahah!! Looks like my TRB, um, pile, list, catalogue…  Borrowing a question from your website, “What exactly is a Canadian doing writing about Navajo history?”

JENNIFER :  Well, that’s a really good question! When I made the choice to finally start writing fiction (after decades of my husband telling me to give it a try) I looked up ‘New Mexico history’. The first story was on The Long Walk of the Navajo and the prison camp known as Bosque Redondo. I could not fathom how such a horrible event could happen, and then I had fiction writer’s light bulb moment of “what if…” . I’ve done years and years of research, and interviewed all kinds of people, including the grandchildren of survivors. This is their story, I just wrote it down.

rem:  Now, that’s dedication! What is the most fascinating bit of Navajo history have you discovered?

JENNIFER :  That they traded knowledge and plants with a Spanish noblewoman in the early 1600s and up until 1864, Canyon de Chelly had vast peach orchards.

rem:  That is fascinating, indeed.  You had a bit of an upset in your writing career last year. What happened in 2013 to make you never doubt your calling?

JENNIFER :  Oh my, yes! After an intense week of research (conversation and exploration) in November, I’d been praying for God to let me know if I was doing the right thing, and on the right path. I said goodbye to my hosts and boarded a train from Gallup to Albuquerque. My seat mate was a man named Max Perez. I initially didn’t want to talk to anyone, and he was having none of my exhausted introvert behavior. So, when he asked me what I was doing in New Mexico, I said “well, Max. I’m on a research trip for my writing. But today, I’ve been praying that God would tell me if I’m doing what He wants me to do” thinking that the mention of God would send him running. Nope. Max was a kind and gregarious man, and knew how to draw me out, and long story short, he wanted to hear the about the book. I tried to give him the standard elevator pitch, but noooo…he wanted names, locations, the whole thing. So, first, I told him that the main character was named Nez and had changed his name to Natanii. He blinked, then said “when we’re done, ask me the name of my first school.” I thought, Lord, how is this relevant? What kind of request is that? Anyway, over the time it took to tell the story, yes he’d interrupted and asked a few hundred questions, then he looked me in the eyes and said “Okay, now ask me the name of my first school.”

Okay, whatever, talk about self-absorbed, eh?

I said “Max, what is the name of your first school?”

He got all serious and stoic and said “Jennifer, the name of my first school is Natanii Nez Elementary School. You’re where God wants you to be, and you’re doing what you’re supposed to be doing.”

BOOM. My heart stopped and I had chills so bad that I needed a sweater!

Yes, I repeat that moment to myself A LOT.

rem:  Jennifer, I love this story! Gives me chills! Do you have a new direction?

JENNIFER :  Yes, since the Navajo books are hard to sell, and getting a new agent is proving to be just as hard. I’m currently working on some contemporaries, and a World War Two novel.

rem:  Hard call to make, to put your passion aside, but I can’t wait to see where your stories go. (and I suspect, perhaps, a contemporary Navajo might pop up in a story somewhere.  #winkwink)  Tell us a little about your writing journey.

JENNIFER :  I started out thinking I knew what to do. I did not have a CLUE!! So I wrote, and studied craft and history books and rewrote everything I’d written. That only took a few years.

rem:  GURL! Didn’t we all! What are your top 3 recommendations for a new writer? What 3 things would recommend not doing?

JENNIFER :

3 recommendations: 1) Study the craft. 2)Be humble. 3) Learn that good critiques are not about you, they’re about your work, and listen to what your more experienced mentors are saying.

3 Nos: Never think you’re the one to break the rules and get away with it, only the big names can do that and they earned the right to do stuff a newb couldn’t do. 2) Never ever think that your work is unlike anything ever written and is the next (insert blockbuster here) 3) Do not friend a writer and then 30 seconds later ask them for something. Ever. That is beyond tactless and will get you nowhere fast.

rem:  100% agree, especially that last bit! Beyond rude!!  #petpeeve  How do you choose your characters’ names?

JENNIFER :  I had to learn that Navajo names are different from the names given in other Indigenous cultures, then choose from a list, and then I had to get approval from my Navajo mentor. Oh, there’s another extremely important point. When crossing into a culture not your own, study, study, study, and find a mentor willing to help you. And be ready for correction and always be humble about it.

rem:  Learnt something new! I love learning details like that. (and have a particular fondness for Indigenous cultures—because of a fictional story! Which happened to be set in Navajo territory and culture. #winkwink )  Do you think of the entire story before you start writing?

JENNIFER :  I have an outline of how I want the story to go, but occasionally things change.

rem:  Tell us a little about your latest book? What is your current project?

JENNIFER :  I have a few on the stove, but I’ll tell you about one…it’s a contemporary about an African-American NFL player/social media bad-boy named Carter Trane who falls for a white woman named Maisie Owens who’s in Witness Protection… because her father led a Klan murder.

rem:  Holy oy! Might be a teeny bit of conflict there! What is YOUR favorite part about the book or why do you love this book? Why should we read it?

JENNIFER :  Maisie falls hard for Carter, but knows that one photo of the two of them could bring her father’s wrath down on them both, so after a short romance, Maisie leaves a note for Carter and tells him that she can’t stand that he’s black and he makes her sick. Then she tries to escape to New Zealand. His father is with the FBI and helps Carter, who is livid and heart-broken, catch her before she gets on a plane. When Carter finds out who she is, and that the hate-filled note was a lie, and that Maisie tried to sacrifice to her father to keep Carter alive, Carter realizes just how deeply she loves him. I think readers are more than ready to go to hard places and meet people for whom love is about where we go as a person, to laugh and swoon a lot, and to come away from the story ready to go back to page 1.

rem:  #swoons!! And I agree, Jennifer—at least I know I would rather read stories with real issues, tough things we deal with in real life. (It’s what I write, too.) Please give us the first page of the book.

JENNIFER :

Monday, January 13th.

Vancouver, BC.

7:14am

Maisie hit the snooze button before the familiar tinny shrill could blast into her brain again.

She hauled her pillow back over her head and snuggled in the warmth of her bed to wait out the six minutes of peace.

When the ringtone version of Giuseppe Verdi’s opera chorus Va’, pensiero once more trilled beside her head, Maisie sat up, shoved aside the pile of crumpled tissues from last night’s marathon crying-jag, and picked up her phone. She stared at the screen shot of a seagull in flight over Spanish Banks. It’d been a gorgeous day in July and she and Libby were tossing French fries up into the air for the birds.

Va’, pensiero, sull’ali dorate. Italian for ‘fly thoughts, on wings of gold’.

Such a beautiful choral piece and so perfectly suited to her life. Loss, pain, heartbreak, and the undying will to survive. If that was on a t-shirt, Maisie would buy ten of them. Which wasn’t pathetic or maudlin at all.

Maisie balled her fists and punched the covers. She seriously needed to suck it up.

Then again, what did her dear departed foster mother say whenever Maisie tried way too hard to prove that she had titanium nerves and a Kevlar spine? “Maisie, I know you’re strong, but even the bravest soldiers know when to seek cover and wait for reinforcements.”

The chorus trilled again.

 Ah, if only she could fly like thoughts on wings of gold and escape, like the captive Hebrew slaves in the Verdi opera, if only just for a day.

One day—one lousy day—far away from the wet, oppressive chill that was Vancouver in January. Maybe somewhere exotic, with a warm husband who wouldn’t know about her skeletons. Then again, if that were to happen? There’d be some real ones. Starting with hers.

“Get a grip. Just where would you go, huh? You can barely handle life now, running away again won’t solve anything. Be the strong woman you always are. Take life by the horns and live.”

Sure.

Suuuuure.

Live? As if.

“Or? Maybe just get up.”

There was no need to turn on her bedside lamp because it had been on since she’d crawled into bed the night before at the wild and crazy hour of 9pm. She didn’t need to go to bed at such an early hour, but her options last night were to either keep crying or go to sleep. Either way, the pain in her chest was the same, the echoes throughout her big apartment were the same, and as it had been since she watched her foster parent’s ashes float away in the wind off Lighthouse Point, the crippling, soul-gutting loneliness was the same.

If loneliness was crippling, then regret was what kicked away the crutches. The regret of following the Bennett’s s wishes and setting their ashes into the wind over the ocean knocked Maisie to the ground. Oh, to have an actual grave to visit. Somewhere to sit and talk to the only loving parents she’d ever had. But that decision, like most of the other choices in her life, was non-negotiable and out of her hands, at least that what the Bennett’s s lawyers said.

One thing that was in her hands, so to speak, was remaining safely alone. No one could tell her what to do, or when to do it. Which was just an excuse the lonely told themselves in order to stay sane

Although, it might be nice to share a couch on a rainy night and watch a movie with someone special. Or play a game of checkers. Or even learn chess. But the downside to that was always the truth. The truth could set you free. Or it could kill you.

Mostly kill you.

Maisie slammed her palms on the bed. “All right. That’s it. Get off the Pity Train and get it together. Besides, if I’m lucky, maybe Bardon will come by and make me nauseous with his fishy handshake.”

Ugh, maybe a long hot shower would do her good.

So would staying as quiet as a mouse, as solitary as a lone wolf, and as invisible as a faded beige wallflower.

If she could do that? Maisie would stay alive.

Too bad that quiet, solitary, and invisible were already killing her.

rem:  There’s a lot in them there words! Jennifer, I do like your style. (no surprise there, eh!)  What is one take-away from your book(s) that you hope readers identify with?

JENNIFER :  Love takes sacrifice. Sometimes we have to be that sacrifice.

rem:  Not easy, but oh! so true! And so worth it. Anything you’d like to add?

JENNIFER :  Thank you so much for this, it’s been great!!

rem:  So glad to have you visit my little nest, Jennifer. Thank you so much for chatting with us today!

 

www.jennifermajorbooks.com

https://www.facebook.com/JenniferMajorWriter

https://twitter.com/JJumping

https://www.instagram.com/jennifermajor1989/

 

 

“Sometimes when the crowd has left, or never showed up, but you believe in your skills and talents, and you’re standing on the stage, you have to choose to keep the show going because someday the lights will come on. When they do, you have to be ready.”

 

 

 

#Blogwords, Chat Thursday, Author Interview, Jennifer Major

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BLOGWORDS – Thursday 25 July 2019 – CHAT THURSDAY – AUTHOR INTERVIEW – DAVID CORBETT – GIVEAWAY WINNER

manly man blitz - giveaway winner banner

CHAT THURSDAY – AUTHOR INTERVIEW – DAVID CORBETT – GIVEAWAY WINNER

 

“What can you learn from a murderer? How one moment of your life can change it for the worst forever. How some mistakes can’t be corrected.”

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“What I discover as I’m writing a given scene or chapter is that the first couple of drafts only descend so far into the emotional, dramatic, and experiential truth of the situation. I sometimes describe the process as working out a preliminary sketch then gradually, slowly, layering on the color.”

 

WINNER! WINNER!

 

Congratulations to

TRACY URSCHLER

and

JODI HASSELL

David will be in touch with you to send your gift!

Thanks to everyone who entered!

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

David Corbett is the award-winning author of the writing guides The Art of Character (“A writer’s bible” – Elizabeth Brundage) and The Compass of Character, which Writer’s Digest will publish in October 2019.  He has published six novels, including 2018’s The Long-Lost Love Letters of Doc Holliday, nominated for the Lefty Award for Best Historical Mystery. His short fiction has been selected twice for Best American Mystery Stories, and his non-fiction has appeared in the New York Times, Narrative, Bright Ideas, and Writer’s Digest, where he is a contributing editor. He has taught at the UCLA Writer’s Program, Litreactor, Book Passage, and at writing conferences across North America and Mexico, and is a monthly contributor to Writer Unboxed, an award-winning blog dedicated to the craft and business of fiction.

 

http://www.davidcorbett.com/

https://www.amazon.com/David-Corbett/e/B001HD3GQY?

https://writerunboxed.com/

https://www.facebook.com/David-Corbett-157804457579661/

https://twitter.com/DavidCorbett_CA

https://www.instagram.com/davidroguedogcorbett/

 

“Those of us who have made major changes in our lives can most likely point to a moment when death or mortality made an indelible, inescapable impression on how we thought about ourselves and our lives. Basically, we found ourselves saying, “I can’t do this anymore. I don’t want to be this person anymore… whether you rise up or give up, it’s your choice.”

 

GIVEAWAY

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David is offering a print copy of The Long-Lost Love Letters of Doc Holliday to two winners.

 

…what makes a journey truly memorable is defined largely if not entirely by what happens that wasn’t or couldn’t be planned.

071819 - david corbett - book images

 

#Blogwords, Chat Thursday, Author Interview, David Corbett, Giveaway Winner, #WINNER

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BLOGWORDS – Thursday 18 July 2019 – CHAT THURSDAY – AUTHOR INTERVIEW – HARRY WEGLEY – GIVEAWAY WINNER

 

CHAT THURSDAY – AUTHOR INTERVIEW – HARRY WEGLEY – GIVEAWAY WINNER

“A climate of suspense and a forecast of stormy weather.”

“I grew up in one America and I’m growing old in another. Nevertheless, these are my times—our times, the times God has appointed us to. In a very real sense, we were born for a time such as this. Neither nostalgic reflection on the past nor fearful focusing on the future are productive.”

 

WINNER! WINNER!

 

Congratulations to

TRACY URSCHLER

Harry will be in touch with you to send your gift!

Thanks to everyone who entered!

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

L. Wegley served as an Air Force Intelligence Analyst and a Weather Officer. In civilian life, he worked as a research scientist at a national lab, publishing in the scientific literature, then developed Boeing computing systems for twenty years before he and his wife retired near Seattle where they enjoy grandchildren, the rugged coast in the Olympic National Park and where he crafts his stories. He is an award-winning author of inspirational thrillers and high-action, romantic-suspense novels.

 

https://www.hlwegley.com       

https://www.amazon.com/H.-L.-Wegley/e/B00B1XMR56      

https://twitter.com/hlwegley       

https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/4460203.H_L_Wegley     

https://www.facebook.com/HLWegley      

https://www.facebook.com/harry.wegley.1   

 

 

“Ours is not a time for retreating, cloistering, or just holding down the fort. It’s a time to risk making our voices heard when it may not be safe to do so. But isn’t that what the prophets of God did in olden times? Some were mistreated, but we look back at what they did and call them people of honor. Isn’t that who we want to be?”

GIVEAWAY

Harry is offering an e-copy of Slanted, or a paperback copy to a US reader.

… but in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect…” 1 Peter 3:15

 

 

#Blogwords, Chat Thursday, Author Interview, Harry Wegley, Giveaway Winner, #WINNER

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