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BLOGWORDS – Thursday 17 January 2019 – CHAT THURSDAY – AUTHOR INTERVIEW – ROBIN E. MASON

 

CHAT THURSDAY – AUTHOR INTERVIEW – ROBIN E. MASON

“Maybe you have to know the darkness to truly appreciate the light.”—Madeline L’Engle

 

“Only I can change my life. No one can do it for me.” – Carol Burnett

 

In honor of Chat Thursday returning next week,

I am pleased to welcome MOI to my little nest.

FAST FAVES

Cake or Cookies?  cookies

Call or Text?  call

Dogs or Cats?  cats

Eggs or Pancakes? eggs

Facebook or Twitter? Facebook (I live there… )

Paperback or Kindle? paperback

Thornton or Darcy? Darcy, specifically as portrayed by Colin Firth

Yoga Pants or Jeans? stretchy pants

 

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

ROBIN:  Thanks, always glad to be here. We moved around when I was growing up. Sixteen years in Colorado—went to high school, got married, had babied, got divorced, and went to college. I moved to the upstate of SC in 1988, and have lived here since. I currently live in Greer.

rem:  Tell us three random things about yourself no one knows.

ROBIN:  I am ambidextrous. I started learning Russian a few years ago (stalled out) and have started learning Gaelic. I was planning to go to college as a vocal music major.

rem:  What is your favourite quotation and why?

ROBIN:  There is freedom waiting for you on the breezes of the sky. And you ask, What if I fall? Oh, but my darling, what if you fly?”  by Erin Hanson

I lived so, so many years believing I was a failure. It crippled me from trying, and instilled a fear, not of failure, but of success.

rem:  What’s the most random thing in your bag or on your desk?

ROBIN:  On the shelf next to me is a tube of glitter. Not sure why it landed there, but there it sits…

rem:  If you could go back in time, what era would you choose and why?

ROBIN:  OY! This is like choosing a favorite! I love history, and would love to visit so many eras, beginning with Biblical times—and work my way to the present.

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

ROBIN:  Can’t pick a favorite any more than I can choose a favorite movie or TV show, but I do have a life verse—Be not conformed to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the Word of God. Romans 12:2

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

ROBIN:  This is akin to choosing a favorite… For the sake of answering the question, I choose Tessa, from my own debut novel. Writing her, writing this story, is what first drew me into my passion for writing, and stirred my appreciation for all the other authors and characters.

 

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

ROBIN:  The stories we write are very much akin to the parables Jesus told. They paint a living picture of life, and with fiction at our fingertips, we have the liberty and privilege to weave Spiritual Truths into our stories, placed as naturally as the air we breathe or the coffee our characters drink. Unbelievers who might never pick up a Bible—or a believer who needs encouragement—finds God’s love and truth wrapped in the words and pages of the stories we write.

As an author, I have realized truths that I might not have ever otherwise recognized. In the writing, the words and lessons are secured firmly in my mind and heart.

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

ROBIN:  Cheesy dialogue.

rem:  What would you do if you weren’t writing?

ROBIN:  My degree is Interior Design. But I love acting, too, and was in theatre all through high school.

rem:  What are you reading right now?

ROBIN:  Just started The Scroll by Miriam Feinberg Vamosh.

rem:  What do you munch on while you write?

ROBIN:  I’m a mood eater (also eat per dictate of my blood sugar… ) so it varies—I do most of my writing in the evening, and usually have cookies on hand.

 

rem:  Tell us a little about your writing journey.

ROBIN:  Stories have always rattled around in my head. The opening of what would become my debut novel, Tessa, came to me while I was out on a walk in July of 2008. I diverted to college, and after graduation in 2013, I devoted my time to finish my story. Without a clue and with the help of an author friend, I released Tessa in March of 2014. I have discovered a

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

ROBIN:  A nest. I write in a nest. My routine, such that it is, seems to be backward to what I most often read as best—to write first thing. I find, however, that until I tend to other tasks, i.e. email and blog stuff, I don’t focus so well on my story. Ergo, I do the bulk of my writing later in the day and evening.

rem:  What makes you struggle as an author? How do you handle it?

ROBIN:  all.the.things an (Indie) author has to do! Staying focused. I created an Excel spreadsheet as my calendar to keep up with my blog schedule, and other details. On it, I have a tab to track my word count.

My greatest struggle, though, is that I have rheumatoid arthritis, and the weakness and fatigue associated with it. I don’t have stamina to do many of the things I need to and want to do.

I handle it by praying, and by doing what I can and [have had to learn to] leave what I can’t till another day.

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

ROBIN:  The community of other authors! Oh, and the stories! I love the stories!

rem:  What was the hardest thing about publishing? The easiest?

ROBIN:  Marketing! I don’t have a budget to speak of, and am limited on what I can do to promote.

Easiest? Writing the story! I get so lost in my story world, and enjoy being there.

rem:  What are your top 3 recommendations for a new writer? What 3 things would recommend not doing?

ROBIN:

DO: Read, read, read. Join and participate in writer’s groups. Attend writers conferences.

DON’T: Go it on your own. Skip help where you need it—editing, cover design, etc. Don’t ever compare yourself, your journey, to other authors.

rem:  How do you choose your characters’ names?

ROBIN:  I don’t really, they (my characters) introduce themselves and tell me their names. Only a few do I choose, and to do that, I look at lists of names for the era and nationality or location. Also, sometimes names are rooted in family history.

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

ROBIN:  Nope. I know the beginning, and have a general idea where the story needs to go. I let my characters lead me from Point A to Point Z, or wherever it ends up.

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

ROBIN:  I’ve been floundering lately. There are a few reasons for this. And I only just recognized one of those reasons the other day—I wasn’t sure my main characters’ (two MC’s in this book) major conflict, or where it’s going. Now I’ve identified that much I can move it forward.

And that said, my next book is a change of genre for me—going for a bit more lighthearted mood this time. One for the Price of Two, twins Elizabeth and Meredith are so identical their parents can’t tell them apart. They learn early on how to exploit this, mostly for kicks and giggles. Inevitably, of course, they must discern their own unique identities.

rem:  What is YOUR favorite part about the book or why do you love this book? Why should we read it?

ROBIN:  I’ve only just begun, but the opening is pretty funny—see below. I love this because it’s a new genre for me, and yet still my theme of search for identity. And you should read it because it’s going to be—hold it, it IS an amazing story, with laughs and kisses and swoony (nods to Pepper Basham) scenes.

rem:  Tell us about why you wrote this book.

ROBIN:  The story has been with me for 20-ish years. I’ve always been fascinated with twins / multiples, and with multiple personality disorder (think Sybil.) This is my first story to play with the issue of twins.

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

ROBIN:

 

“YOU!” Elizabeth Elliott skewered her sister with a glare.

“Took a long lunch, did ya?” Meredith shrugged, a smirk streaked across her face.

Bethy jabbed a well-manicured finger in her twin sister’s chest, punctuating each word. “That.Was.Not.Funny.”

“But you had a good time, didn’t ya?” Mere’s smirk burst into a snicker, then a chuckle. She followed when Bethy turned and wove her way through the cluster of workstations in the open office area.

“Well?” Mere prodded. She folded her arms and propped herself against Bethy’s desk.

Bethy unlocked her desktop computer and started clacking away without so much as a glance at her sister.

“You know I’m not leaving till you at least tell me if you liked him.” Mere slid into the blue upholstered side chair next to Bethy’s chair-on-wheels. Mere tipped back slightly, and propped her feet next to the computer.

The keyboard clattered as Bethy’s fingers tripped over the keys. Randomly. On a blank doc. “He.Was.A.Troll.”

“What?” Mere leveled the chair and leaned forward.

“What were you thinking?”

“You haven’t dated since—”

“Don’t say it.”

“C’mon, Beth.” Mere’s confusion ebbed to sympathy. “You need to get back out there.”

“Where did you even find this guy?”

Mere hesitated, sputtered. Her plan had been brilliant. She had anticipated laughing over her sister’s profile on the dating site. Mere had been sure this guy was a perfect match—a match made in heaven, just like the site claimed.

“It was supposed to be a joke.”

“Well it wasn’t funny.” Bethy clacked at the keyboard, and opened her current presentation doc.

“He was cute, at least.”

“Cute? You call pulling his teeth out to bite me cute?”

Mere’s eyes widened and her hand covered her mouth, trying to stifle a snicker. She wasn’t successful.

“It wasn’t funny.” Bethy’s arms tensed and she crossed them over her chest. “It was creepy.”

“I’m sorry.” Mere swallowed another giggle. “He was a hottie in his profile pic.”

“Profile?” Bethy’s eyes narrowed. “What profile?”

“Oh, that.” Amusement stretched across Mere’s face.

“What. Profile?” Amusement was not written on Bethy’s face.

“Match Made in Heaven.”

“The dating site?” Bethy’s chair smacked into the credenza, knocking two books and a plant loose as she launched to her feet.

“What?” Mere stood to match her sister. “It’s a good site. They have the highest success rate.”

“Not with gremlins like the one you found.” Bethy surrendered into her chair. “What were you thinking?”

Mere leaned sideways across the curved work surface, tugged the keyboard. In a few strokes she had opened the website. “There? See?”

Bethy’s eyes widened. “Well, that’s not who I had lunch with.”

“Maybe it’s an old picture.”

“Yeah, like a hundred years ago.” She scrutinized. “Before a spell was cast on him.”

“I was just trying to help, okay?” Mere logged off and made her way back to her workstation.

 

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

ROBIN:  We are each unique, made in the image of God, with giftings and purpose.

rem:  Anything you’d like to add?

ROBIN:  You have an amazing blog! #winkwink  I love all the birds and nests and stuff!

rem:  Why thank you, Robin! You know what they say, great minds and all…

.

 

 

“There is freedom waiting for you on the breezes of the sky. And you ask, What if I fall? Oh, but my darling, what if you fly?” —Erin Hanson

 

 

 

http://robinemason.com

https://robinsnest212.wordpress.com/

https://www.facebook.com/Author.Robin.E.Mason/

http://www.amazon.com/Robin-E.-Mason/e/B00MR5IQ9S
https://twitter.com/amythyst212
http://www.pinterest.com/amythyst212/

https://www.instagram.com/robinemason212/

https://plus.google.com/+RobinEMason

https://www.linkedin.com/in/robin-e-mason-a323b142/

https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7808042.Robin_E_Mason

 

“Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.”  – Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

 

“Break the rules. That’s my number one rule. I know the rules [of grammar] and I know how to break them.”

 

 

#Blogwords, Chat Thursday, Author Interview, Robin E. Mason

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BLOGWORDS – Thursday 17 March 2019 – CHAT THURSDAY – AUTHOR INTERVIEW – RETURNING SOON

 

CHAT THURSDAY – AUTHOR INTERVIEW – RETURNING SOON

“Break the rules. That’s my number one rule. I know the rules (of grammar) and I know how to break them.”

Chat Thursday has been anemic for most of 2018. With only three interviews—count ‘em, THREE—for the entire year!! (by the way, GO VOTE!!!) Truly, the whole of the blog has been anemic.

Till now! The drought is over!! Next week, on Thursday 24 January, we meet the lovely Deborah Raney! In honor of being my first re-interviewee, Ms. Raney has graciously offered to provide a mug from her wonderful collection.

 

“There is freedom waiting for you on the breezes of the sky. And you ask, What if I fall? Oh, but my darling, what if you fly?” —Erin Hanson

 

 

 

 

“Maybe you have to know the darkness to truly appreciate the light.”—Madeline L’Engle

 

 

#Blogwords, Chat Thursday, Author Interview, Returning Soon

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BLOGWORDS – Thursday 10 March 2019 – CHAT THURSDAY – AUTHOR INTERVIEW – RETURNING SOON

 

CHAT THURSDAY – AUTHOR INTERVIEW – RETURNING SOON

 

“Break the rules. That’s my number one rule. I know the rules (of grammar) and I know how to break them.”

 

Chat Thursday has been anemic for most of 2018. With only three interviews—count ‘em, THREE—for the entire year!! Truly, the whole of the blog has been anemic.

 

 

Till now! The drought is over!! In two weeks, on Thursday 24 January, we meet the lovely Deborah Raney! In honor of being my first re-interviewee, Ms. Raney has graciously offered to provide a mug from her wonderful collection.

 

 

 

“There is freedom waiting for you on the breezes of the sky. And you ask, What if I fall? Oh, but my darling, what if you fly?” —Erin Hanson

 

 

 

“Maybe you have to know the darkness to truly appreciate the light.”—Madeline L’Engle

 

 

#Blogwords, Chat Thursday, Author Interview, Returning Soon

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BLOGWORDS – Thursday 30 August 2018 – CHAT THURSDAY – MANLY MAN BLITZ  – DAVID MIKE

CHAT THURSDAY – AUTHOR INTERVIEW – DAVID MIKE

 

“Sometimes, I get feedback from those who read it, other times I will never know if Dishonor made any sort of impact. But, I am so glad that I have an opportunity to share my story. God is constantly at work, drawing people to Himself. To be used in any way in this process is the greatest honor. It blows me away that He allows us to be a part of His mission.”

“Describing me as a high strung individual, is a fairly accurate description… During the day, I often feel as if the entire world is crashing down around me. If I can complete just one of the many tasks I need to do, the entire universe settles in a sense of order and accomplishment.”

 

 

rem:  Hullo David, and welcome to Robin’s Nest. Tell us three things about yourself that no one knows.

DAVID:  1. I can bend both my index fingers backwards rem: OUCH  2. I learned how to swim by watching my children take lessons. 3. Almond M&M’s are my favorite candy.

 

FUN FAVES

rem:  Cookout—steaks or burgers?

DAVID:  Turkey burgers. Turkey tastes better than beef!

rem:   I’ll take your word on that… Coke or Pepsi?)

DAVID:  I am a fan of Coke, however I just recently quit drinking soda and have switched to unsweetened tea. (Lowering sugar intake, trying to stay alive longer…)

rem:  Coke for me too—but only when my blood sugar dips and only for the sugar. Otherwise, it’s unsweet tea 24/7. Over or under or monster?

DAVID:  Over of course.

rem:  Ten points!! Fishing or hunting?

DAVID:  I don’t eat seafood and I am forbidden from owning a gun by the federal government. So I have to say neither.

rem:  I shall claim your portion of seafood. Vacation: beach or mountains?

DAVID:  Beach

rem:  Such a soothing sound.

 

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

DAVID:  Romans 8:1 So now there is no condemnation for those who belong to Christ Jesus.

This is my favorite verse because to me it means that we are totally forgiven from our past and that we belong to Him!

rem:  YES and AMEN!! (Romans is my favorite book in the Bible!) If you could spend an evening with one person who is currently alive, who would it be and why?

DAVID:  I had to really think about this one. I really enjoy Craig Groeschel’s writing and sermons so maybe him or Francis Chan. Either of those guys. I would love to catch a just a little bit of their passion and conviction.

rem:  Seems to me your passion and conviction shows up loud and clear in what you’ve written. Are you a reader? Fiction or non? What are you reading right now?

DAVID:  I listen to books on Audible because it’s more convenient for me. Most of the books I read are bios and memoirs, especially stories about overcoming great obstacles in life. Many are military in nature, however I just finished The Sun Does Shine: How I Found Life and Freedom on Death Row by Anthony Ray Hinton from a recommendation. It was very good.

rem:  I can see why those powerful stories would appeal to you. When reading, what makes or breaks a story for you?

DAVID:  What makes a story is the ability of the author to pull me into the story so well, that I am visually there. What breaks a story is when I feel like it’s dragging along and I am getting nowhere.

rem:  True on both counts. You have a different writing journey to most authors I interview, but you have an invaluable message. What is the essence of your message?

DAVID:  What I want people to take away from my book is that, we don’t have to be defined by our past. We can find total forgiveness in what Christ did for us on the cross.

rem:  YES and AMEN times two! How did your book come about?

DAVID:  As a military child and having moved around my whole life, I have always been a storyteller. When the fact that I had been in prison came up in conversation, people wanted to hear more. After sharing details, almost everyone would say, “You need to write a book!” I was given the advice to blog first, then compile the blog posts into a book. So I wrote and posted my book on my blog a thousand words a week for three years. It was such good advice because, my story developed a following which assisted in the success of my launch. (Of course God had His hand in the whole thing.)

rem:  I’d say it worked well indeed! You are a living and vivid example of Romans 8:28, “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.”

What was the turning point for you?

DAVID:  There were several turning points for me. 1. After a drug relapse in prison, I got a letter from my dad stating he would risk his job, reputation and life on the fact that I would never do drugs again. God showed me that I was hurting the people that loved and cared about me. I swore off drugs forever. 2. Hearing a preacher on the radio say that God forgave all my sins 2000 years before I was born. I didn’t have to beg for forgiveness anymore because I was already forgiven. I just needed to rest in this truth.

rem:  Powerful—there are no words [to respond.] What would you do differently?

DAVID:  Just say no to drugs.

rem:  You said in a phone call to your parents, “They said that they were praying for me but, I wasn’t really listening, I just wanted to let them know I was fine.” As a mother of grown children, I have watched them make foolish decisions and understand a degree of the angst your parents must have felt.

You turned a deaf ear to their faith, but could you feel or sense the Power of their prayers? How so?

DAVID:  It is hard to explain but at one point, I felt a very clear physical pressure surrounding my body to turn myself in to the authorities. I had my mind made up that I would even die through suicide by cop, rather than go back to jail. So I know that the feelings I felt were not my own. I was being guided and directed by the Holy Spirit because of all the people praying for me.

rem:  Powerful. (and encouraging to this mother) Father has brought you into a fulfilled and very different life. You said you told your wife (then fellow student) “not to even get close to [you.]” Clearly she didn’t heed your warning. How did your relationship develop?

DAVID:  My wife was actually a student of mine; I was her instructor. At that time, I was not planning on staying in Omaha. I was working on moving back to a previous job in England. I feel like God placed Lindsay in my life. We fell for each other and God has kept us together. My life has been better ever since.

rem:  Gotta love when God places people in our lives—for whatever reason. Before we go, I gotta speak to your “Humorous Life Lessons.” (Making people laugh and smile seems to be one of my gifts.) I read your “Skullnelly” bit—love it! What is your favorite “Humorous Life Lesson?”

DAVID:  You have to read my story Crappy Day in the Library I really put myself out there in that one. (Here is the link) http://dilemmamike.com/2018/01/22/crappy-library-day/

rem:  OH! MY! GOODNESS! I was rolling on the floor! Poor kid!! One more question for ya—do you think you’ll write another book? Why or why not? BONUS: Fiction or non?

DAVID:  My goal is to take all of the Humorous Life Lessons and compile them into a smaller book than my first. It seems like I write best when it is about myself, so non-fiction.

rem:  Sign me up for that one!! Anything you’d like to add?

DAVID:  “Get off your ask.” I heard someone say this at a conference. It means when you need help, reach out to someone. So many people helped me along the process of writing that I couldn’t have done it without them. Find a community and work together. It’s hard to make it on your own and why would you want to. You will be surprised to find out how many people out there are willing to lend a hand.

rem:  I have and am experiencing this in my life, both in the writing community, and in my recovery (from surgery.) David, thank you so much for chatting with us at my little nest today!

 

 

“One of the things I learned from this whole experience was that no matter what adversity I faced, I knew that I could make it. Not on my own strength or will, but by the grace of God. It was He who’d carried me through this journey.”

 

 

http://dilemmamike.com/

https://www.facebook.com/dilemmamikeblog/

https://twitter.com/dilemmamike

https://www.amazon.com/David-Mike/e/B01KOT6APA/ref=sr_tc_2_0?qid=1534121875&sr=1-2-ent

https://www.instagram.com/dilemmamike/?ref=badge

 

 

 

“1 Peter 2:9 (NLT) …For he called you out of the darkness into his wonderful light.

You do not have to be defined by your past, you have been forgiven and can have a new identity in Christ.

“If you have an incarcerated friend or family member or know someone who is struggling with the guilt and shame from their past, I will send a copy of Dishonor to them. Contact me through social media.

 

 

#Blogwords, Chat Thursday, Author Interview, David Mike, Dilemma Mike, Dishonor

 

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BLOGWORDS – Thursday 23 August 2018 – CHAT THURSDAY – MANLY MAN BLITZ  – NAMELESS & FACELESS

CHAT THURSDAY – AUTHOR INTERVIEW – NAMELESS & FACELESS

HOUSTON, WE HAVE A PROBLEM

 

It appears we have a miscommunication. Which is to say, ain’t no interview today!

 

#Blogwords, Chat Thursday, Author Interview, Nameless & Faceless

 

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BLOGWORDS – Thursday 14 September 2017 – CHAT THURSDAY – AUTHOR INTERVIEW – TOMMIE LYN

CHAT THURSDAY – AUTHOR INTERVIEW – TOMMIE LYN

“Mountains in my heart…sand in my shoes.”

“As a Cherokee descendant and a citizen of the Cherokee Nation, it’s probably not surprising that some of my stories focus on that part of my heritage.”

 

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

TOMMIE:  I was born and (mostly) raised in Dalton, Georgia. I live in the Florida panhandle now, in Milton, near Pensacola.

rem:  Oh my goodness!!! Irma came awfully close to you! Tell us three things about yourself.

TOMMIE:  First of all, I’m a retired grey-haired great-granny. Secondly, I was a PK (preacher’s kid) and that has influenced my life in ways that I’m very thankful for. Thirdly, my husband was a career Navy man, and our travels gave me lots of varied experiences, plus, we met people who have become lifelong friends.

 

rem:  I’m a granny and there’s nothing like it!! ❤ Tell us about your Cherokee heritage.

TOMMIE:  I have Cherokee ancestors on both sides of my lineage, but it is my daddy’s lineage that is documented. His ancestors are listed on various Cherokee rolls. The roll that’s important is the Dawes Roll. His great-grandmother is listed on that roll, which allowed me to apply for citizenship in the Cherokee Nation. I and my sons are all citizens of the Cherokee Nation in Oklahoma.

My gr gr gr grandparents on my daddy’s side were marched off to Oklahoma on the Trail of Tears, along with their two toddler sons. They later sneaked back to the mountains, but the rest of their family stayed in Oklahoma. A cousin I met online has the letters they wrote back and forth from Tennessee to Oklahoma.

On my mother’s side, a Cherokee ancestor hid in a cave and was left behind during the Removal. A white family took pity on her and supplied her with food, etc. She later married Asa Thomason, my mother’s gr grandfather. I used this incident in my latest novel. An eight-year-old Cherokee boy was left behind when soldiers rounded up his family and marched them off to the stockade to be held there until the march to Oklahoma.

Alan survives because of his own tenacity and because people took pity on him.

 

rem:  Oh, how awesome that you were able to gain your Cherokee citizenship. Coffee or tea? Sweet or un? Flavored or not?

TOMMIE:  Coffee. And I like it black, no sugar, unless it’s iced coffee. I like my iced coffee with cream and DaVinci Sugar Free Vanilla Syrup.

rem:  I drink mine black too, even when I drink it cold but that sounds divine. What do you do as a hobby?

TOMMIE:  I write. Before I began writing (after I retired) I loved sewing, knitting, crocheting, macramé, tatting, gardening, orchid-growing…I had a wide range of hobbies. These days, I have one: writing.

rem:  I hear ya! It is all comsuming! What’s your all-time favorite movie? Favorite TV show?

TOMMIE:  Movie? “Overboard.” Television show? “Monk.”

rem:  I love both of those! Your movie snack of choice?

TOMMIE:  Popcorn

rem:  Slathered with lots of melted butter of course! 😉 What’s your favorite recent discovery?

TOMMIE:  Caldo Verde….Portuguese collard soup J

rem:  Are you named after someone?

TOMMIE:  Yes, I’m named Tommie after my daddy and his daddy.

rem:  It suits you… or perhaps, you suit the name. Do you use sarcasm?

TOMMIE:  Unfortunately, yes.

rem:  So do I, and proudly! Would you bungee ?

TOMMIE:  NOOOOOOOOOO

rem:  Moving on… What is the first thing you notice about people?

TOMMIE:  Whether or not they are friendly.

rem:  Yeah, that is important. Favorite season? Why?

TOMMIE:  Fall, because the tourists have gone home, it’s still warm, but the Gulf waters are clearer.

rem:  For where you live, that makes sense. Hugs or kisses?

TOMMIE:  Both

rem:  Meeee toooo…..  Rolling stones or Beatles?

TOMMIE:  Neither

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

TOMMIE:  Yes, Psalm 19:14 – “Let the words of my mouth, and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in thy sight, O Lord, my strength and my redeemer.” It’s the first verse I memorized as a child in Sunday School, so it was always my favorite. Psalm 51:10 is also a favorite — “Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me.”

rem:  Oh, I love both of those. If you could spend an evening with one person who is currently alive, who would it be and why?

TOMMIE:  My hubby, because, even after almost 55 years of marriage, he’s still my best friend.

 

rem:  Tommie, that is so precious. What do you think is significant about Christian fiction?  How has being a novelist impacted your relationship with Christ?

TOMMIE:  There are a few Christian writers whose work I enjoy, but I don’t often read Christian fiction because so much of it is 1) romance, and 2) unrealistic.

I don’t know that being a novelist has impacted my life as a Christian. It would be more accurate to say my being a Christian has impacted my writing.

rem:  As it should be—our life in Christ should filter into every aspect of our lives. When reading, what makes or breaks a story for you? Your fiction pet peeve?

TOMMIE:  Unrealistic actions or responses by a character which I can tell were written to further the plot kick me out of a story. And my fiction pet peeve is when an otherwise good story gets ruined by the insertion of ugly language.

rem:  Yeah, makes the story unbelievable. Which is more important: plot or characters?

TOMMIE:  Characters are more important, because the plot grows out of who the characters are and how they react to life’s circumstances.

rem:  Never thought of it that way. What would you do if you weren’t writing?

TOMMIE:  Probably I’d be doing needlework or crafts or gardening.

rem:  I never did needlework, but I do enjoy crafts and gardening. What are you reading right now?

TOMMIE:  The Shark

rem:  Oooh, sounds interesting. What do you munch on while you write?

TOMMIE:  I don’t eat while I write, because I have to keep my hands on the keyboard J. If I want a snack, I take a break. As to what that snack would be, there’s just no telling…could be leftovers from supper. Could be popcorn. Could be crackers and cheese.

 

rem:  For some reason I’m craving popcorn… Tell us a little about your writing journey.

TOMMIE:  I always did well writing essays in high school and college, so I wrongly assumed I could write fiction. I tried writing a short story when I was in my early 20s, and it was pitiful, just pitiful. I tried again to write fiction when I was in my 30s. I wanted to write a fictionalized account of my grandmother’s coming of age story. It was pitiful, too. I decided at that point that writing fiction required a talent I didn’t possess. But I became friends with someone who told me of the experience of his Scottish ancestor who was a slave on a plantation near Savannah, Georgia. Say what?? No. No way was a white person ever a slave. He assured me that it happened. So I began doing research and discovered that he was telling the truth. There were Scottish and Irish slaves. I wondered why no one knew this unless, like me, they bothered to research it. So I decided to write about it, to let people know what happened. And my efforts were pitiful, as usual. But this topic felt too important to let it go, so I decided to take a couple of classes to see if I could learn how to write fiction. Those classes made the difference, and I was off and running.

rem:  Amazing when the right story grabs ahold of you! What is your Writing Routine? Where do you write: In a cave, a coffeehouse, or a cozy nook?

TOMMIE:  I write in my office, at my desk.

rem:  What makes you struggle as an author? How do you handle it?

TOMMIE:  I don’t often struggle, but when I do, I pray for His help in dealing with whatever is causing the struggle. And usually, the struggle relates to truths I’m not ready to write.

rem:  Truly, the best way to handle any struggle, at any time. Do you prefer the creating or editing aspect of writing? Why?

TOMMIE:  I really don’t have a preference. I like both parts of the process for different reasons.

rem:  I’m with you, Tommie. For me, they are integral. What do you enjoy most about being a writer?

TOMMIE:  For me, writing is almost as enjoyable as reading, because I almost never know where the story is going….it’s a process of discovery, like reading. I find out where the story is going as I write it.

rem:  Ah, a fellow pantser! What was the hardest thing about publishing? The easiest?

TOMMIE:  When I first published, writers had basically two avenues to publication…acceptance by a traditional publisher or paying a vanity publisher to print your book. Neither option appealed to me, so I searched out ways to publish my books myself. I even set up my own publishing company, Blackwater Books Publishing (which I later found was unnecessary). I was blessed that Smashwords and KDP and CreateSpace came along about that same time. There were almost no guidelines at that time, so I had to sort of blaze my own trail, to learn as I went along. It was simultaneously the hardest thing and the easiest.

rem:  Yeah, I remember that era. I first tried to publish 20 years ago. (it didn’t happen then) What are your top 3 recommendations for a new writer? What 3 things would recommend not doing?

TOMMIE:  First and foremost…know English grammar. A carpenter can’t build anything without proficiency in using his saw, hammer and other tools of his trade, and neither can a writer write without proficiency an ability to use the tool of his/her trade: a command of the English language. Secondly, don’t compare yourself to other writers. Each of us is different and has different things to say. Third, don’t give up when the going gets tough. Because things will get tough. As far as things not to do? Don’t say to yourself that grammar is overrated, it’s no big deal if I make a little mistake here and there. It is a big deal. Another no-no would be to compare your work to a best seller (guaranteed to discourage you). And don’t discuss your story with others until you’ve finished writing it, or you run the risk of running out of steam and having nothing more to say when you sit down to write.

rem:  I could not agree more on the grammar! I’ve read some that just made me wonder! How do you choose your characters’ names?

TOMMIE:  Sometimes they just come to me. At other times (especially for the historicals), I check sites for names that were popular during the time period I’m writing about.

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

TOMMIE:  No. I rarely know more than the next scene to be written. With the historical novels that I’ve written, I did know the backdrop, i.e., the historical events of the time in which the story is set, but the story itself? No.

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

TOMMIE:  My latest book, “On the Red Clay Hills” is the fourth in my MacLachlainn series. It is set during the mid-1800s, and is about the survival of Alan McLachlan, a little Cherokee boy who was left behind when soldiers took his family members who were working in their cornfield and marched them off to a stockade to be held for the march to Oklahoma. The family members couldn’t speak English and the soldiers couldn’t speak Cherokee, so the family couldn’t make the soldiers understand there was a little boy who wasn’t present with them.

rem:  Oh, the poor boy! ;-(  What is YOUR favorite part about the book or why do you love this book?

TOMMIE:  I love the scenes between Alan and Pharaoh, a slave on Belle Montagne who rescued Alan and raised him in his home.

rem:  Tell us about why you wrote this book.

TOMMIE:  When I wrote, “High on a Mountain,” the first book in this series, I had no idea of ever writing anything else. I had only wanted to tell that story. But one morning when I was sitting in a hospital waiting room while my husband had a heart cath, three additional titles came to me instantly…” Deep in the Valley,” “Across the Wide River,” and “On the Red Clay Hills.” I had no idea what each story would be, I just knew I had to write them. And since I’d written the first two sequels, it was time to write the last one.

rem:  Oh, I love that! Please give us the first page of the book.

TOMMIE:

Prologue

 

North of Chattanooga, Tennessee, Early Summer 1839

 

Michel McLachlan crouched behind the outcropping of rock and listened until the sound of horses faded. He could have watched the group of riders, could have peered through the crevice between the boulder and the rocky face of the hillside, concealed from view by the thick greenery of summer foliage. But if any of those horses had been one of his own that the soldiers had stolen when the Tsalagi were rounded up for the long march to the west, he might have not have been able to contain his rage.

He knelt, brought his hands to cover his face and prayed Creator would forgive the anger in his heart, would help him endure the injustice with patience.

To the soldiers, his horses had represented money. They didn’t know or care that he had loved his animals and they had loved him.

As he prayed, the anger faded. But the ache that was ever present grew and filled his spirit. The heartache was most of all for his Nancy, who lay beside the big river in a cold, shallow grave. But he also hurt for his two youngest children, a son and a daughter, who lay in graves far from one another. He could do nothing about that. Just as he could do nothing about the injustice. He must harden himself to the pain, must keep always before him the memory of his two sons who still lived—Alan, who was lost, separated from his loved ones, and Kenneth, who was his companion on this trek to find Alan. Michel’s other family members, his father and his brother Niall, had crossed the big river, and he prayed they were safe on the other side.

As he said a silent ‘amen,’ his stomach rumbled, and he wished he had something to quiet it, even though he was certain the sound wouldn’t carry far enough to betray his presence to the men who’d passed. He hoped Kenneth had heard the horses in time to take cover.

He bowed his head again and prayed for Creator to watch over his two sons, to keep them both safe.

He wiped trickling sweat before it reached his eyes and brushed at the gnats that buzzed about his head while he strained to hear some small sound announcing Kenneth’s approach. Time dragged as the sun lowered toward the horizon, shooting golden rays through gaps in the branches. Kenneth should have reached him by now.

And, with no warning, there he was, his dirt-streaked face solemn. Thinner than it used to be, as was his body. Michel was thankful the boy’s clothing hid the sharp angles of his gaunt frame.

“We will eat tonight,” Kenneth whispered, breaking into a grin as he held up a worn leather bag. “Look.” He pulled out a cloth-wrapped bundle and laid it on the ground. “And there’s more.”

“Where did you get that?”

Kenneth’s gaze dropped from his father’s piercing stare as the smile fell away from his lips. He didn’t answer as he unfolded the cloth and revealed a couple of chunks of hardtack that were discolored with soaked-in grease from the slabs of cold, cooked meat they were packaged with. He licked his lips.

“You stole it.”

“The soldiers have more. They won’t miss this one bag.” Kenneth’s eyes flashed a challenge as his gaze met his father’s. “If we don’t eat soon—” He broke off and grunted. “We’ll never make it back to Ayadoliama. Besides, we’ve only made it this far by taking food from farms along the way.”

“But it’s different collecting eggs from under a hen or gathering food that grew up out of the ground. Things Creator provided. This meat…you took it from someone. And you took his pouch.” Michel laid defeated hands on his knees. “If we desert Creator and forsake His ways, we might as well not make the effort to reach our home.”

“You’d leave Alan there? Alone? Among those…those…” Kenneth’s face twisted into a sneer that expressed the thoughts he couldn’t voice–disdain and hatred of the interlopers who’d stolen Cherokee lands and homes clearly displayed on his face.

“You know I would never desert him. Just as I would never leave you, uwetsi.”

“Then eat.” Kenneth held out a piece of meat. “Creator provided this food because we are hungry and we need it. Do you think I could have taken it if He hadn’t helped me?”

No further argument came to Michel’s lips. His shoulders sagged as he took the morsel, bit off a chunk and chewed. Kenneth was right. How was taking this meat any different from taking food from farmers along the way?
rem:  Wow! I was right there. What is one take-away from your book(s) that you hope readers identify with?

TOMMIE:  I don’t know that I would say “identify with,” but what I hope readers take away is that we are not always told the truth about what happened in the past, and the best way to get a clear idea of it is to research, read writings from that time rather than to accept pronouncements of today’s “historians.”

rem:  So true, Tommie, especially now. Where can we find you online?

TOMMIE:

http://tommielyn.com/home.html

https://tommielyn.wordpress.com/

https://www.amazon.com/Tommie-Lyn/e/B002KGXLWG/ref=sr_ntt_srch_lnk_1?qid=1504978606&sr=8-1

 

rem:  Anything you’d like to add?

TOMMIE:  Thank you so much for your invitation to connect with your readers. I’ve enjoyed it.

rem:  My pleasure. Glad to have you here today.

 

“Only the brave dare step into her world to listen. And sometimes, the voices still whisper…”

 

 

#Blogwords, Chat Thursday, Author Interview, Tommie Lyn, Cherokee Nation, High on a Mountain, Deep in the Valley, Across the Wide River, On the Red Clay Hills

 

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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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