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Posts Tagged ‘Chat Thursday’

BLOGWORDS – Saturday 18 February 2017 – CHAT THURSDAY – AUTHOR INTERVIEW – ROBIN CAROLL

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CHAT THURSDAY – AUTHOR INTERVIEW – ROBIN CAROLL

 

 

“I love boxing. I love Hallmark movies. I love fishing. I love scrapbooking. Nope, I’ve never fit into the boxes people have wanted to put me in.” ~Robin Caroll is definitely a contradiction, but one that beckons you to get to know her better.

 

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Robin’s passion has always been to tell stories to entertain others and come alongside them on their faith journey—aspects Robin weaves into each of her 26 published novels.

 

 

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

ROBIN:  I was born and raised in Louisiana…now living in Little Rock, AR. I have 3 beautiful daughters and two precious grandsons.

rem:  Tell us three things about yourself.

ROBIN:  I love to scrapbook. I’m a “planner person” and the only birds I like are cardinals & hummingbirds

 

rem:  I’m a planner-type person, too, Level OCD. Coffee or tea? Sweet or un? Flavored or not?

ROBIN:  Sweet tea or white chocolate mocha coffee, but not first thing in the morning

rem:  That truffle bit sounds decadent! What do you do as a hobby?

ROBIN:  I’m a huge scrapbooker and planner person. It’s a way to be creative with actually making something, and letting my subconscious work out plot issues in the background

rem:  I love that plotting / writing happens in the background! Then again, when does it not happen in the background? What’s the most random thing in your bag or on your desk?

ROBIN:  My Edgar Allan Poe and Maleficent action figures

rem:  Hmmm…  Very interesting… Do you use sarcasm?

ROBIN:  It’s my first language. J

rem:  So I suppose that makes you fluent, then? Huh? Does it? Do you have a favorite Bible verse? And why is it a favorite?

ROBIN:  My life verse is Philippians 4:13: I can do ALL things through Christ, who strengthens me.

rem:  We all do well to remember that when Father gives us an [otherwise] impossible task! If you could spend an evening with one person who is currently alive, who would it be and why?

ROBIN:  Stephen King because I admire his body of work, his sense of humor, and I’d love to just sit and chat with him

 

rem:  What a great choice—talented AND prolific! (Can I sit in with you?) What is your favorite bird and why?

ROBIN:  Hummingbird. I’m not a fan of birds, but a hummingbird is like a butterfly on steroids.

rem:  On steroids! LOL They are quite aggressive for their miniature-ness. Do you like to fly? What’s the furthest you’ve ever flown?

ROBIN:  It’s not a like/dislike…it’s more of a “I’d rather fly than drive” option for me. Jamaica is the furthest I’ve actually flown

rem:  Jamaica is also hard to get to if you’re driving. Jus’ sayin’ When is your birthday?

ROBIN:  August 19th

rem:  August is packed with birthdays in our family. What is your favourite birthday memory? All-time favorite birthday gift?

ROBIN:  They’re both the same: the year my husband and I went to Jamaica and for my birthday, we climbed Dunn’s River Falls. Was such a great time.

 

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

ROBIN:  I think Christian fiction is great stories with real characters, but leaving the reader filled with hope. As I’ve been writing for as long as I can remember, I think it’s a part of me and a part of my relationship with Jesus.

rem:  Oh yes, I’ve found that as I write (which is something He gave me) I draw closer to Him and learn more of who I am, which draws me closer to Him, and my writing is stronger for it. When reading, what makes or breaks a story for you? Your fiction pet peeve?

ROBIN:  If I get bored, I stop reading. Life’s too short to waste time reading the boring. J Pet peeve? Oh, I have so many. LOL Probably head-hopping. It bugs me.

rem:  I so agree! ‘specially since I read at bedtime! Which is more important: plot or characters?

ROBIN:  Both because if I don’t care about the character, I don’t care what happens to them. On the other hand, I can love a character, but if they are in a boring plot, I lose interest in them.

rem:  I totally agree, gotta have both. What would you do if you weren’t writing?

ROBIN:  Event planning

rem:  Really! I had thought I’d try that a few years ago—then came the diagnosis (RA) and I don’t have the energy, le sigh… What are you reading right now?

ROBIN:  Trying to decipher my handwritten WIP notes that I jotted at 3am

rem:  pahahahah – unique handwriting, eh? What do you munch on while you write?

ROBIN:  I love Tom’s Hot Fries, sweet tea, and M&Ms

 

rem:  Not so big on the hot fries but I’m right there with you with the M&M’s. Tell us a little about your writing journey.

ROBIN:  I’ve written for as long as I can remember. I’ve always made up stories for characters in my head. One day, I decided to just write everything down.

rem:  The charactersssss, they speaks to ussss… What inspired you to write suspense? You lived in Louisiana, how much did that influence your writing?

ROBIN:  I write Suspense because that’s what I love to read. Louisiana living is a different way of life. The people, culture and food….I like to pull little bits of that into my books.

rem:  I’mma gonna gotta visit there one day. I’ve too many friends who live there or are from there! You are Executive / Conference Director for ACFW (we need to talk). How do you balance that with writing and—life?

ROBIN:  I’m a big multi-tasker. Always have been. I’m a little OCD and organization is a main component to my happiness. I love my spreadsheets and planners and checking items off my to-do list. With my ACFW job, we have an amazing team in place and we all do our jobs well. When one of us are on deadline, we know how to pinch hit for the other. We’ve worked together for years, so it’s a natural flow. My husband works with me, so he understands the craziness at times. And my kids are amazing….they pick up where I leave off so there’s minimal upset in the house, even when I’m on deadline. We laugh…a lot, and don’t take things too seriously.

 

rem:  A fellow spread sheet aficionado! Hi, my name is Robin, and I love Excel spreadsheets! That’s so great your family is so supportive. What is your Writing Routine? Where do you write: In a cave, a coffeehouse, or a cozy nook?

ROBIN:  I don’t really have a routine…I assign myself deadlines when I’m not on one with a publisher and try to stay on task. I usually write in my office at home. Sometimes, for a change of pace, I’ll write in my recliner. Sometimes, if my husband is working his day job in the field, I might ride along with him and write while he does inspections.

rem:  Never a dull moment, that way. What makes you struggle as an author? How do you handle it?

ROBIN:  The constant changing within the industry. [Publishing] Houses going out of business, or no longer publishing fiction…it’s more than just the ebb and flow of changes. It’s the big upsets and how it affects others that I struggle with. I don’t know if any of us handle it…I think we all just do the best we can

rem:  Maybe it’s our creative minds that allow us to adapt… Do you prefer the creating or editing aspect of writing? Why?

ROBIN:  I actually like both, but I guess the creating best. Because it’s new. It’s exciting to get to work on a brand new story. New characters. That’s kind of cool.

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

ROBIN:  Honestly? I’m a bit of a control freak, so it’s really fun to be able to control EVERYTHING in my stories. LOL

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

ROBIN:  Get into a good writers’ group. Go to a conference—more if you can. Study the craft as much as you can. Don’t compare yourself to any other writer. Don’t try to write for the fads of today. Don’t take criticism personally.

rem:  I’m planning to be at ACFW this year—look for me? Where do you get your greatest ideas for writing?

ROBIN:  EVERYWHERE. Literally.

rem:  Exactly! How do you choose your characters’ names?

ROBIN:  I use names I like…I use the Baby Name Survey Book….if I see a cool name on a namebadge

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

ROBIN:  Nope

rem:  Me neither. Tell us a little about your latest book? What is your current project?

ROBIN:  Right at this moment, I’m working on the sequel to Torrents of Destruction because I’ve gotten the most emails from readers asking for it

rem:  Gotta love that kind of reader response! What is YOUR favorite part about the book or why do you love this book? Why should we read it?

ROBIN:  My next release, Weaver’s Needle, releases in June. I LOVED writing this book. With recovery specialists, Native American legends, a hunt for a real treasure in the Superstition Mountains in AZ…what isn’t to love?

rem:  I’ve fallen in love with stories with Native Americans! Please give us the first page of the book.

ROBIN:  The Legend of the Dutchman’s Lost Mine

 

In the rugged Superstition Mountains east of Phoenix, located somewhere in a twisted labyrinth of canyon juts, lies the Dutchman’s Lost Mine. The Apache Indians—Shis-Inday or “Men of the Woods”—had a secret gold cave hidden in the mountains. These mountains were the home of their Thunder God, and they held the area in reverence.

As news of gold in the Superstition Mountains spread, fortune hunters came from around the world to search. The Apaches, fierce protectors of their Thunder God’s Mountain, killed everyone who dared trespass.

As legend goes, in 1871, two German adventurers, Jacob Waltz and Jacob Wisner, came to Arizona. Waltz met and fell in love with an Apache girl, Ken-tee. Her relatives soon became convinced she had betrayed the location of their secret mine. According to their ancient ones, the gold had been placed there by the Thunder God for them to use only in time of desperation. When Ken-tee led Waltz to the mine, and they returned to Phoenix with nearly $70,000 worth of gold, the tribe warriors raided within hours. While they murdered Ken-tee, the Apaches failed to kill the Dutchman Waltz.

When Waltz was eighty years old in 1890, he decided to hide the location of the mine. As legend tells it, when he had completed his mission, he told many that “you could drive a pack train over the entrance to the mine and never know it was there.”

Several months after Waltz hid the mine, he contracted pneumonia. His only reported friend was a bread baker from Louisiana named Julia Thomas. History records the great February 1891 flood, which bore down on Phoenix, as the most ruinous in the American Southwest. It is reported Waltz survived the flood by climbing into a small mesquite tree, where he was stranded until someone cut him loose and took him to Julia Thomas’s home, who was known to take in victims of the flood.

Julia tried to nurse Jacob back to health, only he was so old and his body so feeble, he couldn’t resist his illness. He died in degrees over the summer. In October 1891, he attempted to tell Julia exactly where the mine was hidden. It’s recorded he said, “. . .the northwest corner of the Superstition Mountains. The key is a stripped paloverde tree with one limb left on, a pointing arm. It points away from the rock, about halfway from between it and the rock, and two hundred yards to the east. Take the trail in. I left a number of clues.” After speaking these ominous directions, he died.

All the Dutchman’s clues seem to focus around Weaver’s Needle. . . .

 

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

ROBIN:  That with God, there is always hope

rem:  There surely is. Robin, thank you so much for chatting with us on my blog today!

 

Where can we find you online?

ROBIN:

www.robincaroll.com

https://www.facebook.com/robincaroll

https://twitter.com/RobinCaroll

https://www.amazon.com/Robin-Caroll/e/B001IZXC9C/ref=sr_ntt_srch_lnk_8?qid=1487282309&sr=1-8

 

 

“Caroll has written an engaging whodunit, with scenes that unfold expertly and keep the action moving and suspense alive. And though the romance plot line is sweetly written, the characters’ faith journeys are also deeply explored. Fans of suspense will be pleased with this light but entertaining read.”~  Publishers Weekly

 

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#Blogwords, Chat Thursday, Author Interview, Robin Caroll, Weaver’s Needle, Native American Legends, The Legend of the Dutchman’s Lost Mine, Torrents of Destruction, Framed, Bayou Justice, To Write a Wrong, Bayou Betrayal

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BLOGWORDS – Thursday 16 February 2017 – CHAT THURSDAY – AUTHOR INTERVIEW – ROBIN PATCHEN

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CHAT THURSDAY – AUTHOR INTERVIEW – ROBIN PATCHEN

“I love helping authors polish their work.”

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“If time and money were no object, Robin would spend her life traveling. Her goal is to visit every place in the entire world—twice… so Robin does the next best thing: she writes. In the tales she creates, she can illustrate the unending grace of God through the power and magic of story.”

 

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

ROBIN:  My family moved to Londonderry, New Hampshire, when I was three years old. I went to college in Boston and lived in that area until my husband and I moved to Oklahoma in ’96. We’ve been in in Edmond, OK, ever since

rem:  That’s gotta be some culture shock! Tell us three things about yourself.

ROBIN:  I’ve been told I’m a good cook, I love to entertain, and I desperately hate to clean.

 

rem:  We have more in common than our name then. What is your favourite quotation and why?

ROBIN: “A man can no more diminish God’s glory by refusing to worship Him than a lunatic can put out the sun by scribbling the word, ‘darkness’ on the walls of his cell.” C.S. Lewis. I’m not sure that this is my favorite quote, but it’s the one that comes to mind. I love it because I’ve known a lot of folks who’ve spent their lives scribbling “darkness” in their self-imposed prisons.

rem:  It’s a good quote, and very true, and I’m guessing that someone who reads the interview needs to hear it. If you could go back in time, what era would you choose and why?

ROBIN:  I’d like to experience America in the years between the Revolution and the Civil War when we as a nation were discovering who we were and what we were about. I would especially like to experience the Second Great Awakening. I’ve been thinking a lot about revival lately—and praying for another great revival in America—so perhaps that’s why I would like to see it firsthand.

rem:  Don’t see much on that piece of time—can I come with you? Would you bungee?

ROBIN:  Definitely!

rem:  Let’s do it! Favorite season? Why?

ROBIN:  Autumn, because I grew up in New Hampshire, where the leaves explode in indescribable beauty every year. Unfortunately, Oklahoma leaves leave much to be desired.

rem:  Ya, in New England I guess that’s a given. 😉 Do you have a favorite Bible verse? And why is it a favorite?

ROBIN:  Psalm 1:1-3. It was one of the first verses I memorized after I became a believer over twenty years ago, and it helped to solidify for me the need to memorize and meditate on Scripture. Even today, the Lord teaches me from this passage.

Blessed is the man
who walks not in the counsel of the wicked,
nor stands in the way of sinners,
nor sits in the seat of scoffers;
but his delight is in the law of the Lord,
and on his law he meditates day and night.

He is like a tree
planted by streams of water
that yields its fruit in its season,
and its leaf does not wither.
In all that he does, he prospers.

 

rem: So powerful in its simplicity. If you could spend an evening with one person who is currently alive, who would it be and why?

ROBIN:  My son is currently studying at Youth with a Mission in Hawaii, and I’ve learned a lot about the man who started that ministry, Loren Cunningham. I would love to get to know him and to hear his thoughts on revival in America and around the world.

 

rem:  I’ve heard of YWAM. What is your favorite bird and why

ROBIN:  I’m going to have to say the robin, and not just because I’m named after them. There’s something special about a robin bird. They’re not exotic. They’re not particularly special, and they don’t have the most beautiful plumage of the birds, and yet look how God allows those common birds to soar. I feel like a robin bird sometimes—commonplace, but with God’s love carrying me, even I can fly.

rem:  I love your reasoning—and ya, I can fly too! Do you like to fly? What’s the furthest you’ve ever flown?

ROBIN:  I love to fly! My father was an airline pilot, so I’ve done a lot of flying in my life. The furthest was probably to Rome when I was about 15. I was involved in an exchange program, so I went by myself to Rome to stay for a week with a family I’d never met. It was an amazing experience that began on the flight when there were no seats in coach or first class, so they bumped me upstairs to business class. The seat was so big, I slept on it like I would a twin bed. It was total luxury.

rem:  When is your birthday?

ROBIN:  December 12, just 13 days before Christmas.

rem:  We’re close, month-wise if not year-wise. What is your favourite birthday memory? All-time favorite birthday gift?

ROBIN:  Not that they were all birthday gifts, but many of my favorite gifts are the robins I’ve collected over the years. Most were gifts from my mother, but I’ve received some from my husband. A dear friend did a small drawing with colored pencils of a robin, which is a treasure, and my sister-in-law took a photograph of a robin just hatching in a nest. When I was young, I thought the robins were silly, but now that I’m older, I treasure them.

 

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rem:  Oh! They’re all so lovely! And I’m a wee bit jealous! What do you think is significant about Christian fiction?  How has being a novelist impacted your relationship with Christ?

ROBIN:  Being a novelist is hard work. Attempting to write stories that glorify God and reflect truth is even harder. Dealing with rejection can be torture. My relationship with Christ has grown as I’ve learned to trust Him with all of it—the stories, the themes, the rejection. I have become more patient and more faithful as I’ve waited for the Lord’s timing in my writing.

rem:  Robin, you are so right. When reading, what makes or breaks a story for you? Your fiction pet peeve?

ROBIN:  I hate it when heroes and heroines do things that don’t make sense. If you want the heroine to go into the creepy basement all alone (like in every horror movie I watched in my youth) she’d better be on the hunt for a shotgun. When a hero or heroine behaves like they’re too stupid to live, I often don’t want them to.

rem:  Haven’t heard it put quite like that, but great point! LOL Which is more important: plot or characters?

ROBIN:  Yes to all. Without one, the other is irrelevant.

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

ROBIN:  I’d be an editor. Oh, wait, I am an editor when I’m not writing. J

rem:  Touché! What are you reading right now?

ROBIN:  Donald Maass’s The Emotional Journey, Stumbling on Happiness by Daniel Gilbert, and I’m about to start James L Rubart’s The Five Times I Met Myself. I’m a little scattered with my reading these days.

rem:  What do you munch on while you write?

ROBIN:  I try not to munch, but I drink loads of coffee and tea.

 

rem:  Good on you! Such discipline! Tell us a little about your writing journey.

ROBIN:  I wanted to be a writer as long as I can remember, but for most of my life, I lacked the courage to try or even admit that dream. I didn’t start writing my first novel until I was forty, just (ahem) years ago. Once I started, though, I haven’t been able to stop. Through this journey, the Lord has given me the courage to share my work and the ability to do what I’ve done. He gets all the credit for the good things. The bad things—those were all me.

rem:  Yeah, well, you’re ahead of me! I was past fifty when I started… But yeah, can’t stop. What is your Writing Routine? Where do you write: In a cave, a coffeehouse, or a cozy nook?

ROBIN:  I usually write standing at my kitchen counter, though sometimes I sit at the kitchen table. I love to write in coffee shops, but it’s hard to justify the cost when I can write at home for free.

rem:  I love the ambiance of a coffee shop—but I get too distract—squirrel… What makes you struggle as an author? How do you handle it?

ROBIN:  Every aspect of writing is hard. Every aspect of writing is joy. It just depends on the day. Right now, the problem is trying to figure out how to get my hero and heroine into the danger that will culminate in the climax. This isn’t the kind of problem normal people have at work. J

rem:  No, and I wouldn’t trade to normal for nuttin!! You’re a writer and an editor—do you prefer the creating or editing aspect of writing? Why?

ROBIN: I write because you can’t edit a blank page. I much prefer editing.

rem:  Ha! Good point! Which came first, the writing or the editing?

ROBIN:  I’ve always been both a writer and an editor, but for me, editing is much more natural than writing. That’s why I rush through the first draft—because the magic happens in rewriting.

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

ROBIN:  I get to do what I love all day, every day. It get to make up stories for a living. I get to string together letters and words and sentences and paragraphs and create something from nothing. It’s the greatest job in the world.

rem:  So true. What do you enjoy most about being an editor?

ROBIN:  I love to take a mediocre passage and make it sing. I love to take a scene that’s falling flat and make it soar. I love doing that with my own stories and with other people’s stories.

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

ROBIN:  What to do: 1-Read a lot of books, both within your genre and without, and both in the CBA and in the general market. 2-Read craft books and go to writers workshops and then try to implement what you learn. 3-Find some great critique partners. What not to do: 1-Take every piece of advice as gospel truth. 2-Discard every piece of advice because you’re sure you know better. 3-Break rules for no good reason or because you never bothered to learn the rules. Picasso is a great example of this. Before he painted his signature rule-breaking pieces, he spent years and years studying and perfecting the techniques to his art. Only then was he able to break the rules with style.

rem:  Super analogy! (and one of my cardinal “rules” – know the rules so I know how to break them.) Where do you get your greatest ideas for writing?

ROBIN:  I have no idea. The ideas just sort of come. It’s terrifying sometimes, because what if no more ideas come? And then I have to remember that God will provide the next idea when I need it.

rem:  Sheesh, we think a lot alike! How do you choose your characters’ names?

ROBIN:  I’m terrible at names and titles. Often, I’ll start with a nationality. For instance, the hero in the story I’m writing right now comes from a Germanic background, so I looked for German names and chose Garrison Kopp. The heroine’s last name is Messenger. I chose that because at the start of the series, she’s the only Christian in the group of friends—the messenger. I doubt any readers will pick up on that, though.

rem:  I dunno, I rather imagine some will. Do you think of the entire story before you start writing?

ROBIN:  Usually, I have a good idea how a story will begin, I know what the major plot points will be, and I know how it’ll end. I like to follow the plot outline in Save the Cat, so I try to have a lot of those blanks filled in. But even if I plot the stories really well, I always end up changing things around when I’m writing, so I’ve learned that for me, a rough outline is the best plan.

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

ROBIN:  I just released the second book in the Hidden Truth series. It’s a romantic suspense called Twisted Lies. Here’s the blurb:

 

She thought they’d never find her.  And then her daughter vanished.

Marisa Vega’s life as an adoptive mom in a tiny Mexican village isn’t what she’d dreamed while growing up in New York, but as the target of a man who’s convinced she stole millions of dollars from his financial firm, Marisa believes hiding is her only way to stay alive. When her daughter is snatched and held for ransom, Marisa must discover who really stole the money in order to rescue her.

Months after being kidnapped, tortured, and left with PTSD, Nate Boyle is ready to live a quiet life in rural New Hampshire. When the source of his breakout newspaper article—and the woman who haunts his dreams—begs for help, he gets pulled into a riddle that’s proved unsolvable for nearly a decade.

Can Nate and Marisa unravel the years-old mystery and bring her daughter home?

 

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

ROBIN:  The heroine, Marisa, has spent eight years in hiding because she was afraid of the people who had her fiancé killed, the people who believe she stole millions of dollars from them. But now her daughter has been kidnapped, and in order to save Ana, Marisa comes out of hiding to fight for her. I love the courage of a mother willing to face death to save her child.

rem:  Nothing like a mother (bear) fighting for her cub! Tell us about why you wrote this book.

ROBIN:  I started writing it because of the hero, Nate.  He was a secondary character in the first book of the series, Convenient Lies. Here was a guy who endured serious trouble in order to protect a woman who’d dumped him. And what he had to go through for her…well, I won’t give it away, but he captured my heart. He deserved to have his own story told.

rem:  Stories lurking everywhere, even within stories. Please give us the first page of the book.

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ROBIN:

Nathan Walter Boyle had come to New York City with a handful of dreams. He was leaving with a truck full of nightmares.

Well, not a truck, exactly. He stopped at the bay window and looked out front. There in his driveway sat the weird container his father’d had delivered. The Pod was as big as a Dumpster, only shiny and white.

Nate had called his father before the delivery truck pulled away. “A U-Haul would have been fine, Dad.”

“This will give you time to sort it all out.”

Nate had a lot more to sort out than just the paraphernalia he’d accumulated in the fourteen years he’d lived in the city. If only he could figure out how to pack the nightmares away along with the detritus of his life.

He grabbed a packed box from the kitchen table and headed for the front door. He stepped onto the front porch, where he took a deep breath and blew it out slowly, like he did a thousand times a day. All was well. The guys who’d taken him were dead. He was safe.

Tell his pounding heart that.

It was sunny and chilly, mild for late March in New York. Spring had always been his favorite season in the city. The once slushy streets were clear. Trees budded along the sidewalks. Flowers bloomed. Even the people seemed to reawaken after their long grouchy winters. As the weather warmed more, kids would soon skateboard along the sidewalks, cords dangling from their ears. In city parks, the thump-thump of dribbling basketballs would serve as the rhythm for the season, while little children’s laughter would supply the melody.

For just a moment, Nate wished he could stay.

 

rem:  Well that says a lot in a few words—as any good beginning should. What is one take-away from your book(s) that you hope readers identify with?

ROBIN: Nate is suffering from PTSD and feels like he can never play the hero—he tried that, and he failed. At the end of the story, his friend says something like, “A hero is someone who’s scared but does what he has to do anyway.” I hope the reader leaves with the truth that heroism isn’t the absence of fear but the courage to face yours fears and do what you have to do.

rem:  Face the enemy and don’t back down. Anything you’d like to add?

ROBIN:  It’s been a pleasure. You ask some hard questions!

rem:  Well, ya know, gotta dig a little to know you better. Robin, thank you so much for joining us today!  It has been my pleasure to have you here!

Where can we find you online?

ROBIN:

 

https://www.facebook.com/RobinPatchen

http://robinpatchen.com/

https://robinsredpen.wordpress.com/

https://www.amazon.com/Robin-Patchen/e/B00A289790/ref=sr_ntt_srch_lnk_5?qid=1486665139&sr=1-5

And for regular updates and occasional freebies, join my newsletter:

http://robinpatchen.us10.list-manage1.com/subscribe?u=a8941bcf8b7c1f9b43c22164b&id=9937d87af3

 

 

“Robin’s red pen is the best thing that ever happened to my writing. Her grammar and punctuation edits are right on target, and her content suggestions always make my stories flow just a bit smoother. If you’re looking for an editor who’s unafraid to tell you what’s wrong, while freely praising what’s right, you’ve come to the right place.” – Sharon Srock, author of The Women Women of Valley View series.

 

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#Blogwords, Chat Thursday, Author Interview, Robin Patchen, Robin’s Red Pen, Twisted Lies, Convenient Lies, Chasing Amanda, Finding Amanda

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HAPPY BIRTHDAY KNEWBIE KNEE

Knee replacement was one year ago today and I couldn’t be happier.

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BLOGWORDS – Thursday Saturday 11 February 2017 – CHAT THURSDAY – AUTHOR INTERVIEW – ROBIN E. MASON

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CHAT THURSDAY – AUTHOR INTERVIEW – ROBIN E. MASON

 

“I’ve always had stories in my head. And . I once said I should write them all down so someone could write them someday. I had no idea at the time that someone was me!”

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“I lived with depression for many years, and the inherent feelings of worthlessness and invisibility; I didn’t want to be who I was and struggled with my own identity for many years.  My characters face many of these same demons.”

 

rem:  Hullo Robin, and welcome to, uh, my blog… Tell us a little about yourself. Where were you raised? Where do you live now?

ROBIN:  If you call me normal I’m offended.  😉  I was born in Mississippi but we moved a lot as I was growing up. I went coast to coast and back again—in utero! I now live in the upstate of South Carolina with my four feline fur babies. (Mama is now an outdoor cat, her choice.)

rem:  Tell us three things about yourself.

ROBIN:  I have three knucklehead – I mean wonderful grown children, and two beautiful grandgirls whom I love most dearly. My blood type is A-T+ (A-tea-positive). I am a pluviophile (lover of rain) and an ailurophile (lover of cats).

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rem:  Coffee or tea? Sweet or un? Flavored or not?

ROBIN:  Yes. Un. Coffee to start the day, cinnamon hazelnut. And tea, iced and not sweet the rest of the day. (thus A-T+)

rem:  What is your favourite quotation and why?

ROBIN:  There are so many that I identify with but this one speaks to me deeply: “What if I fail? Oh, but my darling what if you fly?” attributed to Erin Hanson

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rem:  What do you do as a hobby?

ROBIN:  Yes. I paint and draw, but I also sing, act, and play the piano—and will have a piano in my possession again soon! I also enjoy cooking, and not sure is this counts as a hobby but go for walks as often and as far as I can.

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

ROBIN:  Ha! My “desk” is more like a nest—the area immediately around me. The most random thing probably is a broken paint brush that I use to dust my keyboard.

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

ROBIN:  Movie, The Sound of Music. TV show… hmmm… Friends comes readily to mind. Gilmore Girls, Castle… guess that’s “a” favorite though

rem:  Your movie snack of choice?

ROBIN:  I’mma go with the classic popcorn but I don’t do the packs, I buy the old fashioned kernels; I do pop it in the microwave though.

rem:  What’s your favorite recent discovery?

ROBIN:  GoFundMe. I’d heard of it, but a friend suggested I start a campaign (for a car.) Slow going (so far) but it’s going. The link if you’d like to check it out is

https://www.gofundme.com/robin-needs-a-car

 

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

ROBIN:  Yes. (I use that snarky answer a lot, don’t I?) It would have to be a tour of different eras. I love history and would love to visit a bunch of different times. There’s something “romantic” about Medieval Ireland, but if I had to choose one time it would be when Christ was with us in the flesh.

rem:  Are you named after someone?

ROBIN:  Yes and no. My middle name, Elizabeth, was my mother’s name. But Robin came from a dream she had before I was born.

rem:  Do you use sarcasm?

ROBIN:  Who me? Never.

rem:  Would you bungee ?

ROBIN:  Absolutely!

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

ROBIN:  Their smile or countenance.

rem:  Favorite season? Why?

ROBIN:  Spring. It’s a, er, robin thing.  😉

rem:  Hugs or kisses?

ROBIN:  Yes. (please)

rem:  Rolling stones or Beatles?

ROBIN:  Beatles à Paul McCartney

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

ROBIN:  Can’t choose a favorite, but Romans 12:2 has been my signature Scripture for years. Seems the whole of the Bible is about knowing Father God and becoming like Him.

rem:  If you could spend an evening with one person who is currently alive, who would it be and why?

ROBIN:  This question always stumps me but in light of current events, I would love to spend an evening with our new President. I’m fascinated by the press (both sides) and intrigued by his charisma—and impressed with his action. And did I mention, no more PC talk!  #MAGA

rem:  What is your favorite bird and why?

ROBIN:  Really? You need to ask this?

rem:  Do you like to fly? What’s the furthest you’ve ever flown?

ROBIN:  LOVE to fly! I’ve been to Trinidad three times on mission trips, roughly 3000 miles.

rem:  When is your birthday?

ROBIN:  tomorrow

rem:  What is your favourite birthday memory? All-time favorite birthday gift?

ROBIN:  Eight years ago, my 50th. My kids love to rag me about how old I am, so I donned my best actress-granny persona and an extreme old lady costume. My oldest at the time was manager of a restaurant where we gathered for birthday dinner. He held the door for the dottering old woman—didn’t even realize it was me! Best gift—my new knee, one year today.

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

ROBIN:  I think Christian fiction is comparable to Biblical parables. I don’t market at CF but I am a Christian who writes fiction. It’s such a God thing, as I began to “dabble” in this passion that has always been in me, I began to see who I am, and the more I saw who I am, the clearer I can see who Father is; and the more I can see who He is, the better I can know who I am.

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

ROBIN:  Unrealistic dialogue.

rem:  Which is more important: plot or characters?

ROBIN:  I quote DiAnn Mills again, “They are inseparable.” (from my interview with her on 28 January 2016) The way I see it, one feeds the other.

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

ROBIN:  Bang my head against a wall, striving to be something I’m not—oh, wait, I did that for years. I do have my degree in Interior Design, and I do love designing. It’s something I can do when opportunity comes along. But writing is my love and my passion.

rem:  What are you reading right now?

ROBIN:  The Scarlet Coat by Angela K. Couch, [another] new favorite author

rem:  What do you munch on while you write?

ROBIN:  Chocolate is an easy go-to, but I love cashews and I try to eat fresh fruit when I can. Or cookies. (now I want cookies…)

rem:  Tell us a little about your writing journey.

ROBIN:  Actually I stumbled into my writing. I’ve always had stories in my head but didn’t know I was the writer until 1995. Fast forward to 2008 and I was out for a walk when my mind conjured up the beginning of Tessa. I went home and started writing. I also went back to school a few months later. After graduation and the big design career didn’t happen, I turned to writing. I haven’t stopped and I haven’t looked back.

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

ROBIN:  In my “nest.” I am sitting on the couch, all my writing accoutrements within easy reach. I can even reach the printer if I stretch. I have to get through my emails and messages before I can focus on writing. If miscellaneous things are dangling in my mind, I get distracted until they’re quelled.

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

ROBIN:  Discipline / time management. I have my necessary docs open to serve as a constant “look at me” reminder. Once I get into my story, whatever point I’m at, the story takes over and I get my work done.

I take that back, my greatest struggle is the fatigue and weakness I experience with RA. I have the dubious luxury of staying home all day (disability) but I’m tired almost all the time. And that takes a great toll on writing.

rem:  Do you prefer the creating or editing aspect of writing? Why?

ROBIN:  I know I’m breaking a cardinal rule but I edit as I go. I love both aspects of writing, the creative part is the music on the page, and the editing is the fine tuning—and relentless practicing to make it the best it can be.

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

ROBIN:  The stories, the people—both fictional and real. The network of friends. I’m a total Pantzer and I love seeing a story come together.

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

ROBIN:  DO: 1. Just do it. And keep doing it. 2. Network, get to know other authors. Build your writing community. 3. Know what works for you (trial and error) There is no “one size fits all” formula. BONUS: 4. Read. And read some more.

DON’T: 1. Don’t skimp on professional services: editing, cover design, headshot. No one can do it all. 2. Don’t compare yourself to other writers. Just don’t. 3. Don’t be afraid to share your work with others—and don’t eschew critiques from other writers.

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

ROBIN:  All.over. Seriously, random thoughts, phrases, quotes—anything can turn into a new story.

rem:  How do you choose your characters’ names?

ROBIN:  The major characters introduce themselves to me. Supporting characters (I don’t like to say minor characters, I don’t want to hurt their feelings… ) I sometimes look for the right name—era, nationality, family names, etc, and on occasion I have posted on FB asking for suggestions.

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

ROBIN:  Nope. I jump in and know basically where it needs to end up. Other than that, I really don’t know.

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

ROBIN:  The Long Shadows of Summer is the first of four in my new series, Seasons. Set in 1912, it’s a cross between Upstairs Downstairs and Gone With the Wind. It’s one story arc told from the perspective of four different characters, all friends, and each with their own twist.

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

ROBIN:  [so far] I wrote my first good kissy scene. Haven’t attempted that before. Read it because it’s a story of discovery, of learning her (Mercedes) true identity, which is parallel to learning who we are in Christ.

rem:  Tell us about why you wrote this book.

ROBIN:  Um, ‘cause they (the characters) started talking to me. And they were louder and more insistent than other characters waiting their turn.

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

ROBIN:

The Long Shadows of Summer – Mercedes Renaldi – July 1912

 

She looked so familiar to me, but I couldn’t place her. Sitting on the bench like she was outside Hooper’s Market. Her hat was at a rakish angle, her cocoa colored hair perfectly coiffed. Seemed there were tears in her green eyes. I was certain I had never seen her before. But she reminded me of someone…

It couldn’t be her, though. She was dead, we all watched her die. Floating away like that in the swamp. Her lavender dress billowed up like a balloon, her dark hair fanning out on the black water. We had made a pact, Pearl and Scarlett and me, never to tell anyone what happened.

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            I was the oldest of the bunch of us and we did everything together. As much as our elders would allow. My mother worked for Simone’s grandmother, Madame Antoinette Dubois. I helped Mamá most times, but sometimes I was allowed to play with Simone and her friend Pearl.

It happened in 1897, the summer I was eleven. Mamá didn’t make me help her as much in the summers and I was allowed to go outdoors with Simone and Pearl.  Scarlett’s Mamá, though, made her help with dusting the upstairs rooms, but she was permitted to come outdoors after luncheon was served.

Simone always was most daring, walking atop fences and climbing trees and such. That summer, though, it seemed she didn’t have a care. She wasn’t just daring, she was indifferent. She climbed higher than we had ever seen her climb. She would swing from the branches, like the monkeys we read about in our lessons, and then drop to the ground. She jumped right in the black water of the Santee River that day.

And floated away, pale as death.

 

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

ROBIN:  That we are all royalty in God’s eyes. These stories make the analogy (like a parable), all four girls (I say girls, they are young woman, in their twenties) learn something of who they really are.

rem:  Anything you’d like to add?

ROBIN:  I love what I do!

rem:  Thank you so much for chatting with us on my blog today!

ROBIN:  Any time.  Hee hee

 

rem:  Where can we find you online?

ROBIN:

 

http://robinemason.com

https://robinsnest212.wordpress.com/

https://www.facebook.com/pages/Robin-E-Mason-Author-Artist/224223274404877
http://www.amazon.com/Robin-E.-Mason/e/B00MR5IQ9S
https://twitter.com/amythyst212
http://www.pinterest.com/amythyst212/

https://plus.google.com/u/0/108929134414473292325

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

 

“I write stories of identity conflict. My characters encounter situations that force the question, “Who am I, really?” For all who have ever wondered who you are or why you’re here, my stories will touch you in a very real—maybe too real—and a very deep way. I know, I write from experience.”

 

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#Blogwords, Chat Thursday, Author Interview, Robin E. Mason, unsavory heritage series, Tessa, Clara Bess, Cissy, Seasons Series, The Long Shadows of Summer

 

BLOGWORDS – Saturday 11 February 2017 – WHAT’S COOKIN’ IN YOUR KITCHEN – RANDOM RECIPES – ROBIN’S CINNAMON SWIRL CHEESECAKE

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WHAT’S COOKIN’ IN YOUR KITCHEN – RANDOM RECIPES – ROBIN’S CINNAMON SWIRL CHEESECAKE

 

I like to cook. And I like to invent my own recipes. And I like to try other people’s recipes. And now, I’m going to share them with you.

slide1note: not the work of my hands—my oven is out!

 

ROBIN’S CINNAMON SWIRL CHEESECAKE

Preheat oven to 325°

 

INGREDIENTS

Crust

1 ½      cups     graham cracker crumbs

¼         cup      brown sugar

½         teas      cinnamon

1          stick     butter, melted

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Filling

4          pkg      PHILADELPHIA Cream Cheese, softened (8 oz each)

¾         cup      granulated sugar

1          teas      vanilla

4                      eggs

 

Swirl Filling

½         cup      brown sugar

1          tbsp     ground cinnamon

 

Topping

½         cup      flour

½         cup      brown sugar

1          tbsp     cinnamon

¼         cup      butter, softened

 

 

DIRECTIONS

Combine ingredients for crust till mixture loosely crumbles.

Press into 9” spring form pan.

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In mixing bowl, beat cream cheese till creamy.

Add granulated and vanilla, and mix till well blended.

Add eggs, one at a time, and mix on low speed. *Do not over beat.

Pour mixture over crust.

 

Combine swirl ingredients and sprinkle evenly over cream cheese filling.

With toothpick or table knife, swirl through the batter till desired pattern is achieved.

 

Combine topping ingredients to form a soft crumbled mixture.

Sprinkle topping over the top.

 

Bake for 55 minutes, or until center is set.

Run knife or small spatula along rim of pan to loosen.

Allow to cool before removing rim.

Refrigerate for 4 – 6  hours.

 

Serve with cinnamon hazelnut coffee. Delicious.

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If you’ve a recipe you’d like to share leave a comment below or email me at robinemason212@gmail.com

 

NOTE: All recipes must be used with permission.

 

#Blogwords, What’s Cookin’ in Your Kitchen, #RandomRecipes, #AuthorsEat #AuthorsCook, Robin’s Cinnamon Swirl Cheesecake, Philadelphia Cream Cheese, Cinnamon, Hazelnut

 

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BLOGWORDS – Thursday 9 February 2017 – CHAT THURSDAY – AUTHOR INTERVIEW – ROBIN JOHNS GRANT

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CHAT THURSDAY – AUTHOR INTERVIEW – ROBIN JOHNS GRANT

“…from an early age, I was fascinated by my fascinations—how a fictional world could invoke such longing in me…”

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“She’s always had way too much of [imagination.] She started making up stories before she could write them down (dictating them to her mother) and always had her head in the clouds.”

 

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

ROBIN:  I was born and raised in a fairly small town in Georgia, on a little piece of woodsy land that I love like Scarlett loved Tara. And even though I moved away to Atlanta for about 20 years, had a long-distance romance with a guy living in Louisiana and married him, God brought the two of us back to my home town. Then this past year we built a little house in the woods on that same plot of land where I was raised. My mother and sister are still there in the house I grew up in.

rem:  I love that story! And we’re close, I need to come visit you! Tell us three things about yourself.

ROBIN:  I thought for many years I would make a living as a writer so I just took jobs to support myself until I became a rich and famous author. Which meant I had a lot of jobs I hated. I eventually decided—since overnight success seemed to be taking forever—that  I had to do something different. So I went back to school for my master’s degree and became a librarian. I’ve been married for 27 years next month. My mother is 97 and still lives at home, so my sister and I are her main caregivers—and my husband gets pulled in too, of course.

rem:  I know, what’s up with overnight success taking so long? What do you do as a hobby?

ROBIN:  Way too many things! I love knitting, quilting, and some other kinds of sewing (although nothing practical like clothes, of course).

rem:  I used to knit, also used to sew—who has time??? What’s the most random thing in your bag or on your desk?

ROBIN: Used batteries. Lots of them. I brought them to work to put them in the battery disposal box where I work and yet, there they still are.

rem:  At least there’s a logical reason… What’s your all-time favorite movie? Favorite TV show?

ROBIN:  Favorite movie is The Empire Strikes Back. Favorite TV show is probably one hardly anyone has heard of—Alias Smith and Jones. Hmm, both of those titles are from the seventies. Can you tell I’m old?

rem:  :-O  I remember that show! And I loved it! Do you use sarcasm?

ROBIN:  No, never. Duh.

rem:  Me either! Favorite season? Why?

ROBIN:  No contest, it’s spring. Mostly because I hate January and February so much. I have post-Christmas letdown, I hate the cold, everything is gray and ugly and dark. Suddenly there’s light and flowers and warmth and birds singing. That feeling of rebirth and hope never gets old for me.

rem:  Not to mention the robins… If you could spend an evening with one person who is currently alive, who would it be and why?

ROBIN:  Lately I’ve really come to like the actress Patricia Heaton. I loved her on Everybody Loves Raymond and I’ve just started watching The Middle. I already thought she was a wonderful comedic actress but lately I’ve learned how outspoken she is in support of pro-life issues, and that takes so much courage for a celebrity. I’d love to talk to her about how she handles being a celebrity, and how she works faith and family into her shows so well.

rem:  I like her. What is your favorite bird and why?

ROBIN:  This is a trick question, right? (Smiles!) Actually, I always have loved robins and when I was a kid would get really excited when I saw one because I had read in so many books that seeing a robin means spring is coming. Then my daddy pointed out we lived in the south where robins go for the winter, so they lost a little of their thrill for me.

rem:  Do I look like I ask trick questions? (see question above on sarcasm… ) Do you like to fly? What’s the furthest you’ve ever flown?

ROBIN:  I hate flying. It terrifies me. But I do it because I like to go places. I have flown to England and to Hawaii—I think from Georgia, Hawaii was actually the longer trip.

rem:  Ya, those are not short little hops! When is your birthday?

ROBIN: In April.

rem:  What is your favourite birthday memory?

ROBIN:  I actually really enjoyed my fiftieth, because I decided to act like a big kid and just have fun. I had just developed a love for all things Harry Potter and had a Harry Potter-themed party, cake and film festival and all. Then my husband took me to Zoo Atlanta to see the giant panda and her cub. Yes, it’s sad to get so mature and serious-minded. (See earlier question on sarcasm.)

rem:  I gotta tell ya, I changed my own answer to this question, ‘cause my 50th was da bomb! What do you think is significant about Christian fiction?  How has being a novelist impacted your relationship with Christ?

ROBIN:  I think of Christian fiction largely as a form of encouragement. When you read secular fiction, it can feel discouraging, particularly if you read a lot of it. You start to feel you’re the only person in the world who believes a certain way or behaves a certain way. You start to feel alone. Christian fiction reminds you you’re part of a family, reminds you what and who you stand for.

rem:  I can see that; I know as an author I’ve certainly witnessed that. When reading, what makes or breaks a story for you? Your fiction pet peeve?  

ROBIN:  Predictability—and that goes for plot or for characters who always behave exactly as you would expect. I’ve put down lots of books after reading three-fourths of them because I know exactly what’s going to happen in the last fourth.

rem:  Makes for dull reading. Which is more important: plot or characters?

ROBIN:  Definitely characters. If the characters aren’t at least interesting—even if I don’t particularly like them—I don’t care very much about the plot. But I can forgive a slow plot for characters I love. Jan Karon’s Mitford books are a great example. I read those again and again just to hang out with some of my favorite people.

rem:  I’ve read more than a few that after I was done reading, I wanted to check back in a few days to see what’s up. What would you do if you weren’t writing?

ROBIN:  Everything else that I’m doing right now—being a librarian, a wife, a caregiver, sewing and quilting—only I would be a lot more relaxed as I did all that!

rem:  And doing more of it, probably. What are you reading right now?

ROBIN:  I’m between books at this moment. Last week I finished up one of a long line of psychological suspense audio books. I would have a hard time telling you which one, they’re all so much alike. I’m about to start a re-read of The Town House trilogy by Norah Lofts, my all-time favorite writer, because I just discovered her fan group on Goodreads (after decades of being the only one who ever heard of her!) and that’s our next group read.

rem:  Well, now I think I’mma have to check her out. What do you munch on while they write?

ROBIN:  I try not to munch on anything. I gained a LOT of weight during college by developing a habit of eating while studying or writing papers, so I had to break myself of that habit. I do, however, drink loads of coffee. You can’t give up all your vices!

 

rem:  Give up your vices? I know not what this means. Tell us a little about your writing journey.

ROBIN:  It’s been LONG. I decided to be an author when I was seven. I sent my first manuscript to a publisher when I was 18. I actually published my first book about 35 years later, after actively writing and trying to publish all that time. So needless to say, there have been a lot of days when my faith has been tested. In fact, I had a whole blog for a while called The Queen of Perseverance about all that!

rem:  Perseverance, oy. On your website, you say you “explore spirituality in [your] writing.” Tell us what that looks like.

ROBIN:  To me, my books are very Christian, and they’re definitely from a Christian worldview. (My answer to the next question tells a little more about that). But they aren’t necessarily as overt as other Christian novels you might read.

rem:  What do you mean when you say, “intersection of literature, spirituality, and imagination?”

ROBIN:  I answered a similar question in another interview, so I’m going to repeat a bit of what I said there.  One book that’s made me think about this subject is called The Slumber of Christianity, by novelist Ted Dekker. He talks about the importance of imagination and story, even going so far as to say things like, “Humans have an actual dependence on various forms of fiction to understand truth. This is how God made us. Our minds explore all truth using the imagination first and foremost.” I hope my writing can help spark that good kind of imagination, to help us feel the truth of eternity and God.

rem:  In my interview I mentioned the fact that Jesus Himself talked in parables, basically fictional little vignettes. Talk a little bit about writing stories that involve evil elements (something a lot of Christian fiction avoids.)

ROBIN:  This is a big issue for me right now, because my sequel to Summer’s Winter that I’m working on now (Summer’s Fall) is taking me down some very dark paths. Sometimes I’m afraid of how people will react to the storyline, but then I think about that favorite writer I mentioned—Norah Lofts. She had a knack for covering some dark, disturbing events and characters, and she could make you feel the enormity and terror of what was happening. And yet she never went graphic with her violence or with details that glorified evil. That’s the balance I think we need to be able to hit—to not shy away from the existence of evil in our stories, but also not to be so graphic that we glorify it. After all, the Bible accomplished that very thing!

rem:  There is darkness in our lives every day. Fiction that glosses over it is not realistic. What is your Writing Routine? Where do you write: In a cave, a coffeehouse, or a cozy nook?

ROBIN: There is no routine. I have learned over the years to write in short spurts whenever I have time and can grab a few minutes. Lately I’ve even taken that a bit further by setting timers for ten or fifteen minutes and making myself just keep writing for that amount of time, trying to get something down on the page. Because I can be the world’s worst at succumbing to the terror of unfilled white space and not writing anything down!

rem:  Oh I can’t do the dashes or whatever they call them, either. When I writes, I writes, and I doesn’t keep an eye on the time. What makes you struggle as an author? How do you handle it?

ROBIN:  Being too busy. I think my most creative days were when I was younger and had time to just daydream and play with stories in my head. Finding time to write isn’t the only problem; it’s finding the time and energy to dream and imagine.

rem:  Energy. What’s that?? Do you prefer the creating or editing aspect of writing? Why?

ROBIN:  I actually do enjoy editing. Starting out fresh without at least a scaffold of the plot is hard. I like when I have that first draft down—which is always pretty much unreadable garbage, but at least I have an idea where the story is going—and then I can actually start fine-tuning it and making it something I’m proud of.

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

ROBIN:  Having written. Seriously—I love actually completing a story and making it come alive, and reading back through it and being happy with it. The writing process itself can be pretty painful, but the finished product makes it worthwhile.

rem:  Yeah, I will never forget that moment I typed “The End” for the first time—three years and ten days ago! What are your top 3 recommendations for a new writer? What 3 things would recommend not doing?

ROBIN:  I would advise new writers to be careful who they listen to, because not all advice (or edits!) are equally helpful. Try to find joy in the writing itself because the other parts—marketing, submitting, critiques and reviews, deadlines, all that—can steal your joy, if you let it. And if you do want to publish, be really familiar with genres and publishers so you’ll know where your writing fits. When you look in a bookstore or on Amazon, it’s easy to assume that whatever you’re writing will find a fit, but each publisher tends to have their own narrow idea of what they publish. And even if you self-publish, you have to know what audience you’re going for and how to reach them.

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

ROBIN:  I think my greatest ideas grew out of my childhood imagination. I’m still writing about characters and situations I dreamed up a long time ago.

rem:  Ideas are everywhere, aren’t they? How do you choose your characters’ names?

ROBIN:  I have a hard time with names. Sometimes I change them two or three times as I get to know the character better and the other name doesn’t feel right. Sometimes I thumb through baby name books and look at meanings. Sometimes I go through an entire draft of a story typing something like YOUNG BLONDE GIRL in place of a name until I can come up with something.

rem:  Names can be tricky. Biblical names spoke to who the person became; I think it’s true of authors even more so, ‘cause we know who the character is and have to find the name to fit. Do you think of the entire story before you start writing?

ROBIN:  No, not at all. I used to be a seat-of-the-pants writer entirely, just winging it and exploring the story as I went. Which explains why it would take me several years and so many drafts to produce an actual story. Now I do a brief outline, write until either I get stuck or the outline is changing, then outline some more. It’s a back-and-forth thing.

rem:  Part of my wishes I could use an outline, but so far, I’m pantzer all the way. Tell us a little about your latest book? What is your current project?

ROBIN:  My latest published book is called Jordan’s Shadow. Right now, I’m working on the sequel to my first book, Summer’s Winter. Actually I’m planning for a three-book series in all, and I’d like to write both sequels at once so I can release them close together.

rem:  So one of us is copying the other—although I’m not writing all four books in their entirety, I do have the subsequent books started (and book #1 almost complete.) What is YOUR favorite part about the book or why do you love this book? Why should we read it?

ROBIN:  If we’re talking about Jordan’s Shadow, my favorite part is the mystery of this book and the sort of gothic tone. I love a good spooky, atmospheric book, and I think I accomplished that feel!

rem:  Ya got me. I’m hooked. Tell us about why you wrote this book.

ROBIN:  I had an idea, a premise, many years ago that just never would let go of me. A mother gives birth to a baby, and as she watches her grow up and change, she realizes that day by day, her daughter is growing to look more and more like someone she knew and feared when she was younger. In fact, she starts to think her daughter is turning into her long-dead foe. The explanation of the mystery came to me at the same time, but I’m not telling you that right now, of course!

rem:  So basically you’re forcing me to read the book. Please give us the first page of the book.

ROBIN:

CHAPTER ONE

Rose, 1984

The night they found Jordan was the first time Rose had gone back to the old quarry pond in quite a while. She had been trying very hard to avoid the place, but no matter how hard she tried to stay away, the pond seemed to work just as hard to pull her back to it—as though it could brood and feel and scheme. So when Hunter turned the Camaro off the paved road onto the logging trail that ended at the pond’s edge, for a second she blamed the water instead of him. But only for a second.

Turning to glare at Hunter, she braced herself with her hand against the dash. The Camaro’s wheels bumped over the uneven ground, and darkness pressed against the windows as the thick pines shut out the moonlight. Rose tried to keep her voice from sounding hysterical. “You’re going to the pond!”

He turned to glance at her. Even in the dim light, she could see his mouth set in a determined line. “We are going to the pond.”

Rose snapped around and faced forward.  She wanted to argue, but then again she didn’t. She hated it when Hunter was mad at her.

When he spoke again, she could hear the edge in his voice. “That’s okay, isn’t it?”

“You know the answer to that.”  She tried to keep her voice level and calm, the way he liked it.

“True. What I don’t know is why it’s not okay.”

The woods started to thin as they reached the clearing, and the end of the road. As always back here, the radio lost reception and went to static, cutting “Thriller” off in mid chorus. Hunter sighed as he switched off the engine, leaving Rose’s ears ringing in the sudden quiet. Or maybe the buzzing came from rain frogs. She could see the water glittering and tossing in the moonlight, restless in the stiff breeze. They were in for a storm.

In spite of herself, Rose’s words came out loud and sharp. “Of course you know why it’s not okay.”

He laughed. “I don’t think the water can hurt you if you’re just sitting in the car looking at it.” He reached for Rose’s hand—no, it was her wrist he grabbed, pulling her toward him. But his lips and his voice were soft as he brushed her mouth with his. “Maybe it’s not your water phobia bothering you. Maybe you’re just scared to be alone with me back here in the woods.”

Rose giggled, happy that he didn’t sound angry. “Are you kidding? I want to spend my whole life alone with you.”  Running her thumb across the humble diamond engagement ring on her finger, she reassured herself of its presence for about the hundredth time that day.  It was a magic ring, her passage to freedom.

 

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

ROBIN:  I hope they get a sense of life beyond this world—of the eternal. I hope I can give readers a sense of the awe and wonder of God.

rem:  I love how Father uses anything and everything to draw us to Him. Anything you’d like to add?

ROBIN:  No, I think that’s probably more than anyone was hoping to hear!

rem:  LOL Brevity is not in my vocabulary. Thank you so much for chatting with us on my blog today!

ROBIN: Thanks very much for having me! I’m honored to be one of the robins!

 

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

ROBIN:

http://robinjohnsgrant.com/

https://twitter.com/robinjohnsgrant

https://www.facebook.com/robinjohnsgrantauthor

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

https://www.youtube.com/user/robing8300

https://www.amazon.com/Robin-Johns-Grant/e/B00HZPHECU/ref=sr_tc_2_0?qid=1485106121&sr=1-2-ent

 

Now available on Amazon, novels by Robin Johns Grant: 

 

Jordan’s Shadow

Mind-bending mystery…love beyond the boundaries of space and time.

 

Summer’s Winter

When preacher’s daughter Jeanine meets her obsession, movie star Jamie, his dark secrets threaten her faith and her life.

 

 

“Humans have an actual dependence on various forms of fiction to understand truth. This is how God made us. Our minds explore all truth using the imagination first and foremost.” – Ted Dekker

 

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#Blogwords, Chat Thursday, Author Interview, Robin Johns Grant, Jordan’s Shadow, Summer’s Winter, Summer’s Fall

 

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BLOGWORDS – Thursday 2 February 2017 – CHAT THURSDAY – REVIEWER INTERVIEW – ROBIN HENDZEL BUNTING

CHAT THURSDAY – REVIEWER INTERVIEW – ROBIN HENDZEL BUNTING

 

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rem:  I’d like to give a big welcome to ROBIN BUNTING to my blog.  Robin, thank you for joining me today. Tell us a little about yourself. Where were you raised? Where do you live now?

ROBIN:  Born in El Centro, California in 1950.  Raised in California, Florida, Texas, and Arizona.  Currently living in Waller, Texas which is in the Houston area.

rem:  Well, I’ve lived in Texas (don’t remember) and Florida (I do remember) and been to California (before I was born so I didn’t seen anything) but I’ve never lived in Arizona. Tell us three things about yourself.

ROBIN:   Retired, homeschooled our daughter, absolutely a book junky.

rem:  Funny thing about being a reviewer, being a book junky, eh? Coffee or tea? Sweet or un? Flavored or not?

ROBIN:  Flavored Keurig coffee with honey and dairy free creamer

rem:  Never thought to use honey in my coffee! (I drink mine black anyway) What do you do as a hobby?

ROBIN:  Read/review books for authors I have discovered on Facebook

rem:  And we authors appreciate you oh so much! What’s your all-time favorite movie? Favorite TV show?

ROBIN:  Sound of Music, NCIS

rem:  Your movie snack of choice?

ROBIN:  Popcorn with lots of butter and salt

rem:  Oh yes, the more butter the better! What’s your favorite recent discovery?

ROBIN:  Udi’s gluten dairy free tortillas

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

ROBIN:  I have decided that this current time is best for me.  Can’t do without the modern conveniences! lol

rem:  I know right! Are you named after someone?

ROBIN:  yes, my dad and grandfather: Robert Earl

rem:  Do you use sarcasm?

ROBIN:  If I can get it right

rem:  It’s a good tool in the arsenal, don’tcha think? Would you bungee ?

ROBIN:  Absolutely NOT too afraid of falling

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

ROBIN:  eyes

rem:  The eyes are the window to the soul, they say. Favorite season? Why?

ROBIN:  spring.  not too warm and not too hot

rem:  I hear ya – I always say spring, it’s a “robin” thing! LOL Hugs or kisses?

ROBIN:  Hugs:  I am known as the hug lady at my church

rem:  sending you virtual {{{{{HUGZ}}}}} Rolling stones or Beatles?

ROBIN:  neither

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

ROBIN:  John 3:16   because it says it all

rem:  Bottom line, isn’t it. What is your favorite bird and why?

ROBIN:  the Owl.  The look cool and make neat sounds

rem:  Especially the snowy owl. Do you like to fly? What’s the furthest you’ve ever flown?

ROBIN:  yes.  from Phoenix to Baltimore, MD

rem:  When is your birthday?

ROBIN:  3-16-50

rem:  Close to mine. What is your favourite birthday memory? All-time favorite birthday gift?

ROBIN:  60th.  My daughter hosted a jewelry party for me and it was a blast. My St. Theresa gold cross earrings from James Avery Jewelers.

rem:  Sounds like a great time. Hope you got some free jewelry out of it.  😉  What do you think is significant about Christian fiction?

ROBIN:  For me, the significance of Christian fiction is the sharing of the salvation message in each story whether overt of not.

rem:  I agree, Robin. I liken Christian fiction to Biblical parables. When reading, what makes or breaks a story for you? Your fiction pet peeve?  

ROBIN: Whether or not the solution makes sense.  The over use of a word.  currently: Perfection.

rem:  Ya, I’ve read a few that “resolved” and left me scratching my head. And yes, as an author I have to be aware of words I may be using too much. Which is more important: plot or characters?

ROBIN:  Plot

rem:  Story gotta move or it’s not much of a story, right? What would you do if you weren’t reading and reviewing?

ROBIN: playing computer games

rem:  LOL  I do that now (very limited though.) What are you reading right now?

ROBIN:  A Secret Sacrifice by J.E.B. Spredemann

rem:  What do you munch on while you read?

ROBIN: Pretzels

rem:  I used to hate them but I love me some pretzels now. How long have you been reading? When did you start reviewing?

ROBIN:  over 60 years.  Started reviewing about 3 years ago

rem:  Where do you read: In a cave, a coffeehouse, or a cozy nook?

ROBIN: My corner of the sofa in the den.

rem:  Sounds comfy and cozy. What gets your attention in a new story? Where do you find / look for new books to read and review?

ROBIN:  The hook of the story needs to be in the first paragraph to really grab me.

rem:  Ya, hard to get into a story with a slow beginning. (or too much backstory right up front) Have you ever read a book you couldn’t finish? Why?

ROBIN:  Yes, the story line was too boggy

rem:  Good word, boggy, and yes, I agree. Without naming names, what’s the worst story you’ve ever [tried to] read?

ROBIN:  dystopian story

rem:  I can only read dystopian if it is well thought out and well written. Without naming names, what’s the best story you’ve ever read?

ROBIN:  A series of books around missions

rem:  If you could be a character in a book you’ve read, who would you be and why?

ROBIN:  A book store owner

rem:  Of course, hobby at your fingertips! LOL Do you ever read a book twice?

ROBIN:  oh yes

rem:  How many books have you read?

ROBIN:  hundreds

rem:  What’s the last book you read and reviewed? Tell us a little about the story and give us the first line.

ROBIN:  A Secret Encounter by J.E.B. Spredemann.  A young Amish woman sees a homeless man and feels God’s call to help him.  “Joseph Bender hung his head, contemplating the implications of his actions.”

rem:  Not a huge fan of Amish fiction but this sounds intriguing. Anything you’d like to add?

ROBIN:  Thank you for interviewing me.  This is a first and I am very honored.

rem:  Happy to have you today, Robin. Thank you so much for chatting with us on my blog today!

 

rem:  Where can we find you online?

ROBIN:  https://www.facebook.com/robin.h.bunting

 

 

 

#Blogwords, Chat Thursday, Reviewer Interview, Robin Hendzel Bunting

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BLOGWORDS – Thursday 26 January 2017 – CHAT THURSDAY – REVIEWER INTERVIEW – CELESTA THIESSEN

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CHAT THURSDAY – REVIEWER INTERVIEW – CELESTA THIESSEN

 

“Being a writer is magical – spinning nothing into stories – stories that can light the way to a different world.”

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“Settings are easy for me because that’s what’s always going on in my mind. I tend to spend very little time in the present in the real world. Most of my time is spent far away in fantastic places. I like my invented worlds because they’re unique and exciting and the dangers are life and death.”

 

rem:  Hullo Celesta and welcome! Tell us a little about yourself. Where were you raised? Where do you live now?

CELESTA:  I grew up in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada. It’s the largest city in Manitoba – near the center of the continent of North America. I really enjoyed growing up there, right across the road from a huge shopping mall. It was a great place to live. Now I live in Steinbach, Manitoba. It is a very small city (more like a town, really) that is one hour away from Winnipeg. I just love it here because it’s so quiet, there’s no traffic and it’s a more Christian community with lots of churches and Christian heritage.

rem:  And not a little bit cold right about now, I imagine! BRRRR  Tell us three things about yourself.

CELESTA:  I’m a homeschooling mom, I have a business with my husband making apps for iPhone and iPad, and I write books for Jesus.

rem:  Books I knew, writing apps I did not! What do you do as a hobby?

CELESTA:  My hobbies are reading, taking photos and LARPing. Live Action Role Play(LARP) is like playing adventures dressed up in costume in a world like in Lord of the Rings.

rem:  LARP’ing sounds like so much fun – I’m an actress don’tcha know! What’s your all-time favorite movie? Favorite TV show?

CELESTA:  Soldier – I’ve watched that so many times. I just love that movie! As for TV shows, I don’t love them as much as movies but I recently enjoyed watching Super Girl. I also really liked Once.

rem:  Haven’t seen that one (Soldier) but will take your recommendation to see it! What is the first thing you notice about people?

CELESTA:  This is the first time I’ve actually thought about that question. But the first thing I notice about people is if they are looking at me. I guess I look to see if they are paying attention to me to see if I should try engaging with them. I find connecting with people hard so if they’re not even looking at me then I usually just go back into my own world in my head.

rem:  Interesting take on it but oh so true! Hugs or kisses?

CELESTA:  Kisses, totally. But hugs are nice too, but only with close family. I’m not a hug-everyone type of person.

rem:  I need some kisses in my life! Hugs too! Do you have a favorite Bible verse? And why is it a favorite?

CELESTA:  My favorite Bible verse is 1 Samuel 16:7b– “People look at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.” I feel like a lot of people don’t understand me or get where I’m coming from. But God gets me. He made me the way that I am and he knows my heart.

rem:  Isn’t that so comforting, that no matter what, God “gets” us!! If you could spend an evening with one person who is currently alive, who would it be and why?

CELESTA:  My super-awesome, brilliant, patient, kind, supportive and attractive husband, Leo. I’m SO lucky ❤

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

CELESTA:  I think Christian fiction is important because it gives an alternative to the soulless, misleading mainstream fiction that is pushing the enemy’s agenda. It can lead people closer to the Truth (Jesus) and help people grow in their relationship with God.

 

I feel like God called me to write. I think being pushed outside of your comfort zone makes you grow. I always hoped I would be able write a book one day. Now I have over 30 books published. I couldn’t have done it without God. Writing has made me tune into him more and rely on him and follow him more closely.

rem:  I agree, well written Christian Fiction draws us closer to Father and to the Truth. And yes, I also believe Father called me to write. When reading, what makes or breaks a story for you? Your fiction pet peeve?  

CELESTA:  I’ll stop reading a book if I don’t care about any of the people in it or if I can’t see it. Sometimes when I’m reading an indie book the description is so sparse or confusing that I have trouble seeing the story.

rem:  Yeah, I tend to go overboard with description… LOL  Which is more important: plot or characters?

CELESTA:  Honestly it’s characters. My favorite genre is sci fi so I love plot and action! But the reality is that I’ll read a good sweet romance if the characters are great and I’ll love it but I’ll drop a sci fi book if I don’t care about the people in it.

rem:  Isn’t that true in life, too, though? If we don’t care about the person we are less vested in what happens to them? What would you do if you weren’t writing?

CELESTA:  If I wasn’t writing I’m pretty sure I would feel way more miserable like I did for the first ten years of my working life – being a round block trying to fit into a square hole. I used to be a schoolteacher.

rem:  Oh how well I know the round block in a square hole syndrome!!  Too many years! And I’ve never been happier with what I’m doing than with my writing! What are you reading right now?

CELESTA:  I’m studying scripts right now because I’m going to write for TV one day. Also, I’m reading, Save the Cat – a book on writing screenplays. I feel like I’m learning a lot about story structure.

rem:  How fun is that! I mentioned I’m an actress, ya’d think I’d want to write scirpts but nope, no interest in that at all! LOL  What do you munch on while you write?

CELESTA:  Nothing. I need to focus and have trouble doing two things at once. I’m one of those people who can’t chew gum and walk J

rem:  LOL  I don’t listen to music (or nothing) at all when I’m writing for the same reason – too distracting. (I do have to eat though, blood sugar… ) Tell us a little about your writing journey.

CELESTA:  I wanted to be a writer since I was twelve years old. The summer when I was sixteen I really tried to write. But I found is SO difficult that I basically gave up on it as a career goal. Then when I was 32 God closed every other door to me so that I was forced to really consider doing this writing thing that I knew he wanted me to do all along.

rem:  Isn’t it “funny” how Father narrows our path like that? What is your Writing Routine? Where do you write: In a cave, a coffeehouse, or a cozy nook?

CELESTA:  I write in my office. My office is the walk-in closet in my bedroom. My routine is that I wake up in the morning by 6am, sometimes earlier. I do some Bible memorization then I start in on my writing. I do most of my writing in the morning before 8am.

rem:  Yikes! And kudos to you, ya morning person you! LOL  What makes you struggle as an author? How do you handle it?

CELESTA:  The constant struggle is battling the enemy’s never-ending barrage of lies. I can’t do it. No one will read my stories anyway. What I do doesn’t matter. No one cares what I do. My stories aren’t any good. I’m not a real writer. I have 20 sticky notes up on the wall in my office. Everyday before I start my writing I read these things out loud to myself. On the sticky notes are Bible verses and other things I believe that God wants me to remember. I also sometimes listen to Christian music to drive away the paralyzing negative thoughts.

rem:  And he’ll do whatever he can to stop us from fulfilling Father’s will and plan for us, won’t he? You keep your focus on Father and His Word and the enemy (and his lies) can’t touch you! Do you prefer the creating or editing aspect of writing? Why?

CELESTA: Making up stories in my head is the easiest part for me. It’s the getting them down AND the perfecting them parts that are hard work.

rem:  Right. I’ve had stories in my head always! What do you enjoy most about being a writer?

CELESTA:  Spinning nothing into stories that can light the way to a different world.

rem:  Beautifully said, Celesta. What was the hardest thing about publishing? The easiest?

CELESTA:  The hardest part about publishing was learning how to do it and publishing my first story. Now the actual publishing of the stories is easy for me. Once you learn how to format them the right way for the different places then it’s easy.

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

CELESTA:

  1. Write what you love.
  2. Just write anything (you can always fix it later).
  3. Do what only you can do – tell the story that only you can tell. rem: love this one!

 

  1. Don’t Compare – Comparing is a trap that makes you lose! à If you think you’re better -that’s pride. If you think you’re worse you’ll just feel bad. Your journey might not be the same as other people. Success is to obey God.
  2. Don’t listen to the voices that tell you that you can’t do it.
  3. Don’t give up. If you don’t give up you will succeed, eventually.

 

 

rem:  You write a variety of stories—sci fi / fantasy, kids stories, inspiration, and a devotional—where do you get your greatest ideas for writing? (And how do you keep up?)

CELESTA:  I haven’t written a devotional. I have written a marriage book, though. After 20 years of marriage and walking a journey from a horrible marriage to a beautiful, fulfilling, God-honoring marriage I feel I have a lot to share on the topic J

 

I get ideas from life, TV, movies, books, dreams and after that I just make random stuff up. I never really know which ideas are the greatest until I start writing them down or sometimes when I hear others respond to the story. As for keeping up I’m still figuring that out. I feel like I’m juggling and I drop the balls sometimes.

 

rem:  Oops, thought it was a devotional!   :-O  What a wonderful testimony, and even more wonderful of you to share what you’ve learned. You’ve co-authored several books with your daughters. How do you balance that and who does what?

CELESTA:  When I write with my daughters I sit at my computer and write while they shout ideas and phrases at me that I incorporate into the story. In our story there is one character that represents each of them so that character usually speaks with my daughters’ exact words.

rem:  Sounds like a fun set up. I’m hoping to collaborate with my granddaughter – she’s eleven. How do you choose your characters’ names?

CELESTA:  To choose characters names I sometimes get help from Facebook friends. I describe the character and ask for help naming them. People tend to like that and I really appreciate their input. Sometimes, when I’m in a rush, I just name them the first name that comes to mind. When I do that, though, half the time I end up changing it because the name doesn’t end up suiting them.

rem:  I’ve done both but my main characters introduce themselves to me so their name is “predetermined.” Do you think of the entire story before you start writing?

CELESTA:  Never. About half of the time I have setting, main characters, problem and the resolution to the problem. But these latest two books I started writing with nothing at all and just pantsed it. (Wrote it flying by the seat of my pants.)

 

rem:  Ya, 100% Pantzer here! Tell us a little about your latest book? What is your current project?

CELESTA:  My current project is THE DREAMERS. It is a sequel to WHISPERS OF A FADED DREAMER – which is currently free on Amazon!

 

http://viewbook.at/Faded_Dreamer

 

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

CELESTA:  I like this book because it shows that God can rescue any situation, no matter how bad it is, if we turn to him.

rem:  I think that’s the saddest thing ever, for someone to feel God cannot reach into their circumstance and redeem it and them for His glory. Talk about lies of the enemy!  😥  Tell us about why you wrote this book.

CELESTA:  I just started typing and that’s what came out.

rem:  Pretty much my modus operandi. Please give us the first page of the book.

CELESTA:  Okay, how about I give you the first page of the first book in the series. Giving you the first page of the second book would be a major spoiler J

 

This is the story of a faded dreamer for that is what I am.

I was sitting on a large, flat rock on the sandy beach. With the city behind me, I looked out over the calm blue water as the sun shone down on me. But the warmth of the sun and the gentle breeze didn’t touch my soul. I was alone. The horror was fading but tears filled my eyes again. I’d lost everything. I wouldn’t be able to help anyone, ever again. Tears spilled out and coursed down my cheeks. I let myself cry. There was no reason to try to be brave anymore.

“Now, who will dream my dreams with me?” I whispered.

 

***

 

“Cara Pierce, you know I don’t like you helping all the guys all the time.” Dennis stood too close to me in the school hallway. He towered over me, regarding me with his serious blue eyes. He was so sincere but…really? Scolding me and calling me by my full name?

Taking in his lanky features and fair hair, I took a small step back and tried for a smile. “I help the girls too.” I didn’t like where this conversation was going…again.

“It’s just…I’m your boyfriend. I want you talking to me, spending time with me.”

“I know…but you’re not in my Math class. My teacher likes that I help the other students understand how to do the assignments.”

“That’s not the point. I’m a guy. I know what guys are like. You’re a pretty, blue-eyed red-head. I know what they’re thinking. You’re sending the wrong signals, Cara. I don’t like you flirting with other guys.”

I looked at him incredulously. “Dennis…it’s not flirting – at all.”

He had been talking so loudly that people were staring at us. Dennis glanced down at his watch. “Gotta go. The bell’s about to ring.” He turned away from me and walked quickly down the hall.

Reluctantly, I entered the brightly lit classroom. I took my usual place, at a desk beside Jason, someone who appreciated my help. But it really wasn’t flirting.

Our elderly Math teacher went up to the front and droned on for a while about the topic of the day. I tried to pay attention to the examples that he put up on the board. Opening my binder and pulling out a pen, I copied down the problems and their solutions. I wondered if I should feel angry at what Dennis had said or if I should feel guilty. But the truth was that I felt bad about it already and I wondered how I would be able to make things up to him. I’d have to make sure I wasn’t sending the wrong signals. I wasn’t trying to send the wrong signals. Were boys really so complicated? I sighed. Dennis was such a good guy. I really loved him. But I was just never able to do good enough – even when I was really trying. There was an ache in my heart again. It seemed like I’d been struggling with that for a long time. I blinked and tried to refocus on the examples. It would never do to cry in class.

Finally the teacher stopped talking and wrote down which questions we needed to do from the textbook. After re-explaining how to do these problems to Jason, I started on the questions myself.

“How about a little help over here, Angel?” a guy called from across the room.

 

rem:  Um, okay, I’m hooked! What is one take-away from your book(s) that you hope readers identify with?

CELESTA:  I hope they see truth in my books and feel hope.

rem:  And that’s what the life of a believer is all about, isn’t it? Anything you’d like to add?

CELESTA:  If you have kids you might also like to check out these interactive Bible story apps for iPad that my husband and I have made. http://visionsencoded.com/interactive-bible-stories/

 

rem:  Wonderful! I’ll check that out for my grandgirls. Celesta, thank you so much for chatting with us on my blog today!  It has been my pleasure to have you here!

 

rem:  And where can we find you online?

CELESTA:

http://viewauthor.at/Celesta

http://celestathiessen.com

https://www.facebook.com/AuthorCelesta/

https://www.amazon.com/Celesta-Thiessen/e/B0073JA7DQ/ref=dp_byline_cont_ebooks_1

 

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#Blogwords, Chat Thursday, Author Interview, Celesta Thiessen, Whispers of a Faded Dream, Amber Rain, Dragon and Warrior, Salt Eden, Nightcat, Please Fix My Marriage

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BLOGWORDS – Thursday 19 January 2017 – CHAT THURSDAY – AUTHOR INTERVIEW – DANELE ROTHARMEL

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CHAT THURSDAY – AUTHOR INTERVIEW – DANELE ROTHARMEL

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“I pulled my hand back with the dragonfly clinging to my finger, and I remembered my prayer from the day before. A wave of overwhelming gratitude washed over me. This was the sign I had prayed for–the sign I so desperately needed.”

 

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““Lord, if you really sent this dragonfly to tell me that you love me and that everything’s going to be okay, you can let it go now.” Immediately, the dragonfly flew off my finger and zipped over the roof of the house.”

 

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I’d like to give a big welcome to DANELE ROTHARMEL to my blog.  Danele Rotharmel’s life took an unexpected turn when a mysterious illness brought her close to death. Eventually, she learned that a carbon monoxide leak from a faulty furnace was poisoning her. This poisoning triggered Multiple Chemical Sensitivity causing her to be put in quarantine. For seven years, she could only talk to friends and extended family through a windowpane. During this time, she wrote the first six books in The Time Counselor Chronicles.  Although her journey back to health was difficult, it provided her the opportunity to grow closer to God and write her books. For that, she’s forever thankful.

 

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

DANELE:  Hello, Robin! It’s great being here! I was born and raised in Colorado, and I still live along the Front Range of the Rocky Mountains. I really love Colorado, and I can’t envision living anywhere else.

rem:  Oh! I love Colorado, too! Lived there for 16 years before coming to SC. Tell us three things about yourself.

DANELE:

#1. I’m a HUGE klutz, and the scene in Time Search in which Crystal falls and gets her hair trapped beneath a closing door actually happened to me.

#2. On a missions trip to Uruguay, I stood too close to a space heater and melted a big hole in my skirt—I’m lucky I didn’t catch on fire.

#3. In Mexico, I accidently sat down on an anthill, and ended up with ants in my pants. I didn’t discover the little creatures until I was sitting in the church van traveling down the highway.

rem:  Danele, these have to be the funniest three things in all the interviews I’ve done! No wonder I love you so much! What’s the most random thing in your bag or on your desk?

DANELE:  I have a tiny, stone owl on my desk that belonged to my great-great grandfather. It’s so old that part of the carving has been worn smooth. It fits in my palm, and whenever I feel overwhelmed by life, I rub my thumb over the worn carvings and take a deep breath. The owl reminds me to seize each day, to stop worrying obsessively, and to enjoy every moment—after all, life is fleeting.

rem:  That is so lovely. What a special token to have. What’s your all-time favorite movie? Favorite TV show?

DANELE:  I love old movies, especially The Swan with Grace Kelly. The Swan is extremely sentimental, and it’s positively dripping with romance. It’s so syrupy-sweet that it has me yelling “cheese,” but I have to admit that it is a guilty pleasure. I’m still not sure if I like the ending—maybe that’s why it’s made such a deep impression on me. I enjoy The Swan so much that I’ve mentioned it in my latest book, Time Search.

rem:  Would you bungee ?

DANELE:  Are you kidding??? With my klutzy tendencies I’d never survive!  I’d love to be daring enough to try, but I’ve learned my limitations—at least, most of them. It’s far safer for me—and everyone else—if I keep my feet firmly planted on the ground.

rem:  It’s a good thing to know our limitations. What is the first thing you notice about people?

DANELE:  Their smile. I love walking around town smiling at people and seeing who will smile back.

rem:  We surely do need to hang out sometime—and walk about town smiling. J Favorite season? Why?

DANELE:  Autumn is my favorite season because I love skipping through crunchy, crackly leaves. Can I tell you a secret? In some ways, I’ve never grown up, and autumn tends to bring out the kid in me. Even though I can’t resist shuffling through piles of leaves, I have given up rolling in them. I’d like to say that my leaf-rolling days are over because I’m mature and sophisticated, but actually, the last time I rolled in the leaves I ended up with a cricket down my collar. Crickets tend to put a damper on things rather quickly, in my opinion.

rem:  I love crunching things as I walk, too. And I once had a cricket up my pant leg! :-O Do you have a favorite Bible verse? And why is it a favorite?

DANELE:  My favorite Bible verse is Philippians 4:13, “I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength.” I love this verse because it reminds me that God has everything under control.

rem:  I used to think this verse meant I was supposed to do all things. Father showed me not so long ago that’s not true. Rather, He means that what He asks us to do, we are well able. What do you think is significant about Christian fiction?  How has being a novelist impacted your relationship with Christ?

DANELE:  The best thing about Christian fiction is the ministry aspect. When I began writing, I made a deliberate choice to honor God with my books. I pray over my novels, and I pray for my readers. Being a Christian author has brought me closer to Christ because it compels me to put Him first in every sentence that I write.

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

DANELE: I can’t stand it when a story has filthy scenes. To me, it’s like biting into an apple and finding a worm. I love good, clean books that are full of suspense and fun.

rem:  Yes. It is possible to write about what takes place without taking it too far. Which is more important: plot or characters?

DANELE:  I believe that both are very important, but if a story doesn’t have loveable characters, I think it falls flat. When I read a book, I picture the characters as my friends, and I live the story with them. If I don’t like the characters, I won’t finish the book.

rem:  Oh yes! I’ve actually wanted to call after I finish a book and see what’s up before! LOL What would you do if you weren’t writing?

DANELE:  Probably, I’d be going a little crazy. Writing is my outlet. It’s a way for me to shrug off the worries of the day and immerse myself in my own little universe. I can’t imagine my life without writing—I wouldn’t want to even try.

rem:  What are you reading right now?

DANELE: Right now, I’m reading Embracing the Baobab by Reverend Jerry Ireland. It’s a true story about Reverend Ireland’s time as a missionary in Africa. Some of the chapters make me laugh, and others make me think. I really enjoy his writing.

rem:  Sounds fascinating. What do you munch on while you write?

DANELE:  Gracious, Robin! I’d love to say that I munch on carrot sticks, but I’m afraid that’s not true. If I’m going to be honest, I have to admit that I munch on Doritos, cookies, and chocolate …and that’s probably why I desperately need to go on a diet. I keep trying to muster up enthusiasm about carrot sticks, but I can’t manage it. If someone could make a carrot taste like a Dorito, they’d make a million bucks and win my everlasting gratitude!

rem:  I don’t think anybody is truly enthusiastic about carrot sticks! Danele, you have an unusual testimony. Tell us about being quarantined and how that happened.

DANELE:  Many years ago, I became extremely ill and almost died. For a long time, my doctors couldn’t figure out what was wrong, but eventually, I learned that the furnace in my home had a small carbon monoxide leak. This leak had been slowly poisoning me. I didn’t have a carbon monoxide monitor, and the gas can’t be seen or smelled. The initial symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning mimic the flu, but eventually, they escalate into stuttering, staggering, vomiting, fainting, and death. I thought that once the furnace was replaced I would get better, but unfortunately, the poisoning had triggered Multiple Chemical Sensitivity. That meant I became extremely ill when exposed to perfume, car exhaust, cleansers, and the other chemicals that surround our modern-day society. My illness escalated until I was quarantined in my home to keep me away from chemicals. I thought my quarantine would only last a few months—it ended up lasting for seven years.

rem:  Seven years! Danele, that’s horrific! I’m so glad you’re okay.  ❤  And what is the significance of the dragonfly?

DANELE:  During quarantine, I questioned every aspect of my faith because I felt abandoned by God. I had lots of time on my hands, so I would think about my questions until I felt I had answers. Eventually, after time passed, I decided that God is real, God is good, God is intimately concerned with every aspect of my life, Jesus must be kept in the center of my faith, and God is trustworthy in spite of tragedy. Even though I had reconciled my faith, I still had times when I felt discouraged. The thing that kept me going was looking into the eye of a dragonfly. During a very difficult day, I asked God to make a dragonfly land on my finger. I felt the dragonfly would signify that God loved me and that everything would be okay. Through a wonderful chain of events, God answered my prayer. The dragonfly God sent didn’t just sit on my finger for a second; it stayed there for several minutes. The dragonfly incident was one of the most beautiful and defining moments of my life, and it’s why I named my blog, dragonflydanele. If you would like to read the whole story, please feel free to follow this link:

https://dragonflydanele.wordpress.com/welcome/

rem:  Love how the simple things of God have the greatest significance in our faith. Tell us a little about your writing journey.

DANELE:  During my seven years of quarantine, I began writing as an escape from physical pain and loneliness. Since I couldn’t go out into the “real” world, I created a world of my own. On days when the pain was especially bad, I devised plot twists to keep my mind from dwelling on my illness. When I was sad, I wrote funny scenes to cheer me up. And each time my villain was defeated by one of my characters, I used it as a boost to continue fighting my illness. By the time quarantine was over, I had written the first six books in The Time Counselor Chronicles. Time Tsunami, the first book in the series, was published by Prism Book Group in January 2016. Time Trap, the second book, was published by Prism in June 2016. And Time Search, the third book, was published on January 13, 2017.

rem:  That’s what I call making the best of a tough situation. Kinda like Romans 8:28, ya know??? What is your Writing Routine? Where do you write: In a cave, a coffeehouse, or a cozy nook?

DANELE: When I was in quarantine, I would write for up to 18 hours a day. I was so engrossed in my stories that I would sometimes forget to eat and sleep. Now that I’m feeling better, I write more moderately. Because I still have some problems with perfume, I write at home. My computer has received so much use that some of the letters on my keyboard are worn off. I’m grateful that my high school typing teacher instructed me so well. I’d have no idea where the “D,” “C,” “L,” and “N” keys were located if it hadn’t been for him. I can still remember my typing teacher pounding into my brain that “the quick brown fox jumped over the garden gate.”

rem:  I honestly don’t remember typing class but obviously I took it ‘cause I, too, type by touch—and write many scenes with my eyes closed! What makes you struggle as an author? How do you handle it?

DANELE:  Because of my illness, and because I spent so much time in front of the computer during quarantine, I have hurt my vision. Last year, I was in danger of emergency eye surgery. Because my eyes are a problem, I’ve had to reduce the hours I spend in front of the computer. I’ve found that if I spend too many hours writing, I have trouble seeing the next day.

rem:  If I may, I’d suggest it boosts creativity, too, to be away from the computer—but that’s just me… Do you prefer the creating or editing aspect of writing? Why?

DANELE:  Creating is like flying! It’s exhilarating, freeing, and exciting! Editing is like putting together a treadmill with an instruction manual in one hand and a screwdriver in the other… But both processes cause equal satisfaction when they’re finished.

rem:  Love this analogy! Except that I edit as I go… What do you enjoy most about being a writer?

DANELE:  I enjoy hearing from my readers. Hearing that my books have touched people’s lives makes everything worth it.

rem:  It does indeed. What was the hardest thing about publishing? The easiest?

DANELE:  I’ve always been an extremely organized person, and my illness threw my organizational tendencies into overdrive. Because I couldn’t control many things about my life during quarantine, I tended to obsessively control the things that I could. During the publication process, an author doesn’t always have control. When other people get involved, manuscripts can be changed, favorite lines can be deleted, and deadlines can be altered. I’ve learned that since worrying about every little detail drives me crazy, it’s important to look at the big picture—and  the big picture is a published work that makes me proud. Having other people manipulate your work and schedule is difficult, but most of the time it makes the final product better in the end. The nicest thing about the publishing process is the extra sets of eyes reviewing your work. I’m so relieved when some of the mistakes in my manuscripts are caught. Without my editors, Alex would’ve seen lightening, Nicole’s eyes would’ve sparkled with laugher, and Marc would have complemented Crystal. Sometimes, editors need a big hug.

rem:  And I do love my editor! What are your top 3 recommendations for a new writer? What 3 things would you recommend not doing?

DANELE: I would recommend doing the following things:

#1. Write what makes you happy. Don’t try to change your style to please someone else.

#2. Love your characters and give them realistic flaws and strengths.

#3. Step back and listen carefully to other people’s opinions about your work—then prayerfully decide if their suggestions have merit or should be rejected. Remember that just because someone says “jump,” you don’t have to always say “how high.”

(rem: this kind of goes along with the above-mentioned Bible verse—I can do all things but I don’t have to.)

I would recommend avoiding the following things:

#1. Avoid wearing your feelings on your shoulder—not everyone will like your writing, and that’s okay. Remember that some people don’t like chocolate.

#2. Avoid writing anything that you’d feel embarrassed to read to Jesus.

#3. Don’t sweat the small stuff. Worrying about every detail will give you an ulcer, and usually, things manage to work out regardless of whether you pace back and forth or whether you relax. Give yourself permission to breathe.

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

DANELE:  My greatest ideas have come while I’m laying down, “taking a nap.” I let my mind wander, and I picture my upcoming scenes as part of a movie. I imagine the action unfolding  before my closed eyes. Many times, I hammer out my dialogue during naptime before I ever touch my keyboard. Other times, I simply let the creative process carry me away, and I’m not sure what I’m going to type until I see it popping up on my screen.

rem:  I hear ya, Danele! I’m a complete Pantzer! How do you choose your characters’ names?

DANELE:  I chose Gil’s name because I wanted something outlandish and Gillyflower Meadowlark fit the bill. Some of my other characters’ names haven’t been quite as easy to choose. Originally, Crystal was named Sophie. I changed her name when my mother quirked her brow and said Sophie Stuart sounded like “Soppy soapy.” Because I liked Crystal, I decided to name her after something beautiful. Originally, Nicole Cunning was named Gail. I changed her name when I was editing Time Trap because I felt confused during the scene in which Gail and Gil were talking to each other. I figured if I was having trouble keeping them straight, my readers would be pulling out their hair. I ended up writing a list of names and letting my family and friends choose. They decided on Nicole. As you can see, my naming process isn’t really a process at all—sometimes, it’s a matter of trial and error.

rem:  I realized in my last story I had three dudes names Hugh. None were significant part, which really was all the more reason to differentiate. Do you think of the entire story before you start writing?

DANELE:  Not really. I know how my story will end, but I let my characters determine how they get there. The creation of Sam in Time Tsunami came about because Danny ran next door to his neighbor’s house. Before that, Sam wasn’t in the picture at all. The creation of Poppa and Twinkles came about because Peter said the line, “Gil requires more help than you can give. We need the Facilitator.” After I wrote that line, I sat staring blankly at my computer screen wondering who the Facilitator was and why he was needed. I write to entertain myself, and half of the fun is seeing where my stories take me. It can be a wild ride.

rem:  I think I’ve said that before, not in those exact words, but yeah, I’ve said that before! Tell us a little about your latest book? What is your current project?

DANELE:  My latest book, Time Search, is the third book in my series. It continues the adventures of the TEMCO crew. Since the leaders of TEMCO have been put into hiding, it’s up to Crystal, Marc, and Zeke to discover the reason behind Drake’s recent attacks on the staff. While Drake is trying to dodge federal agents and track down TEMCO’s missing leaders, the remaining staff try to discover his real name and unravel the mystery of his past. I designed Time Search to be full of suspense, and I hope my readers will enjoy it! Currently, I’m polishing up the fourth book in my series, Time Awakening.

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

DANELE:  My favorite part of Time Search is the interaction between Marc and Crystal. I love their complicated relationship. I also love watching them grow individually and as a couple. If you enjoy a suspenseful book that’s full of memorable characters, I believe that Time Search is the book for you.

rem:  You heard her, peeps, go get you a copy!

Amazon Kindle: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01MY7RGFJ/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1484259046&sr=8-1&keywords=danele+rotharmel+time+search

Tell us about why you wrote this book.

DANELE: I wrote Time Search during the middle of my seven-year stretch of quarantine. I loved my characters from Time Tsunami and Time Trap, and I couldn’t give them up. I was eager to write them another adventure. I was also suffering from a severe case of cabin fever—that’s the main reason Angelina travels through Europe. Writing Time Search gave me the ability to travel without leaving my house.

rem:  I wonder how many characters across the ages do things their creators can’t but want to??? Please give us the first page of the book.

DANELE: 

Heavy metal music blared through paper-thin walls. Knowing the noise from the apartment next door was drowning out his actions, Drake yanked open the door to Phoebe’s curio cabinet. With an irritated flick of his finger, he sent her porcelain figurines crashing to the floor. He paused at a white rabbit. He remembered Phoebe’s excitement when she’d bought it. She’d babbled on about it being the good luck charm for their field exam. Eyes narrowing, he threw the rabbit to the floor and ground it beneath his heel.

Bass boomed. A guitar solo shrieked. The music was so loud the pictures on the wall were vibrating. Kicking at stuffing from shredded couch cushions, Drake went to Phoebe’s kitchen and broke every dish he could find. He moved to her refrigerator, dumping food into a revolting, multicolored mess on the floor.

After emptying her freezer, he ground his teeth and clenched his fists. There had to be a clue to Phoebe’s location in her apartment. He just had to find it. Frustration mounted as he stomped to her bedroom, tearing posters from the walls as he went. In a matter of minutes, he’d torn her pristine bedroom to shreds, scattering feathers from pillows and tossing the contents of her dresser onto the slashed mattress. When it became apparent that he wasn’t going to find a clue to her location, he turned to pure vandalism—crushing and ripping anything that wasn’t ruined in the first sweep.

When he tired of destruction, he went back to the living room. His steel-toed boots crunched glassy shards as he stole to the window and peeked through the blinds. He rolled his eyes. The black SUV was still parked across the street.

“Morons.” he muttered.

He backed away from the window with a sneer. Andrew Hamilton’s agents obviously didn’t realize that the steam tunnels beneath NSU led into the basement of the Westbend Student Apartments.

“You’re all so stupid,” he hissed. “You deserve to be flattened like squirrels in the road.”

Next to the window, a plaque caught his attention. Its swooping gold letters proclaimed, God Protects. Rolling his eyes, Drake broke the plaque in half and lit a cigarette.

 

rem:  OY! He is not a very nice person and I don’t think I like him. What is one take-away from your book(s) that you hope readers identify with?

DANELE: Time Search is full of spiritual lessons, but perhaps the most poignant is the fact that when tragedy strikes, we can’t hold onto bitterness. If we want to live in peace, we must forgive those who sin against us.

rem:  That’s a powerful truth, Danele. Anything you’d like to add?

DANELE:  Writing Time Search and the other books in The Time Counselor Chronicles was an act of pure joy. I hope that people enjoy reading my books just as much as I enjoyed creating them.

rem:  Thank you so much for chatting with us on my blog today!

DANELE: You’re welcome, Robin! Thank you for having me! I’ve had a wonderful time!

 

 

rem:  Where can we find you online?

DANELE:

Danele’s Blog: https://dragonflydanele.wordpress.com/

Danele’s Testimony: https://dragonflydanele.wordpress.com/welcome/

Danele’s Books: https://dragonflydanele.wordpress.com/my-books/

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/14782632.Danele_J_Rotharmel

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/danele.rotharmel

ACFW Fiction Finder: http://www.fictionfinder.com/author/detail/1331

 

 

 

Comment on Today’s Post for this Lovely Prize Package!

            * runs through next Thursday, 26 January.

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The Rose Coffee Cup Prize Package Includes:

  1. A pink and yellow rose coffee cup
  2. A “Trust in the Lord” notepad
  3. A pink butterfly “Serenity” journal.

 

 

 

“As you slowly let go of your disappointment and confusion, almost imperceptibly, spring begins to come. Small things.  Little changes. A trickle of water, a blade of green, clouds parting to reveal a glimpse of blue sky.”

 

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https://dragonflydanele.wordpress.com/

https://dragonflydanele.wordpress.com/welcome/

https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/14782632.Danele_J_Rotharmel

https://www.facebook.com/danele.rotharmel

 

 

 

 

 

#Blogwords, Chat Thursday, Author Interview, Danele Rotharmel, Dragonflies, Quarantine, Time Tsunami, Time Trap, Time Search

 

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