Second Chances

Sweet stories of second chances from a God of second chances. The stories in this collection will warm your heart and encourage you to keep on going when all your circumstances say otherwise. No matter where you are or what you’re struggling with, these stories will touch you where you’re at. Each story stands on its own, but in total, paints a picture of a God who offers second chances, and third chances, and more. Stories include forgiveness, living out your dreams, revising your opinion of others, and finding a forever home. A sweet read. Learn more.

Donna

Sweet Stories

Sweet stories of second chances from a God of second chances. The stories in this collection will warm your heart and encourage you to keep on going when all your circumstances say otherwise. No matter where you are or what you’re struggling with, these stories will touch you where you’re at. Each story stands on its own, but in total, paints a picture of a God who offers second chances, and third chances, and more. Stories include forgiveness, living out your dreams, revising your opinion of others, and finding a forever home. A sweet read. Learn more.

Donna

Jennifer Uhlarik — Author Spotlight

Today we welcome Jennifer Uhlarik back again as she answers some tough questions about her writing process and a sneak peak at her latest novella, Mountain Echoes.

 

Do you have a dedicated place to write, or a nook or corner of a room, or the kitchen table?

I am blessed to have a whole office dedicated to my writing. It contains a small desk and comfy office chair, a two-drawer file cabinet to store my research notes and other important papers in, two big bookcases with hundreds of books I use for research purposes, and a couch where I can sit and read or just relax while I think through plot problems. Oh, and we can’t forget the dog bed in the corner. That’s very important, since I usually have at least one, if not both dogs with me when I write. Three walls are a dusty blue, and one wall is a deep midnight blue, and the artwork hanging on the walls are oil paintings done by my husband’s aunt. Unfortunately, the room is a bit torn up at the moment, as we had a leak in the bathroom that is on the other side of the wall, and it ruined my carpet and bookcases. We’re in the process of replacing everything now, or I’d let you see a photo of the space. L

 

How did you get started writing?

I think writing has always been in my blood. I have photographs of myself as a young toddler with pencil and paper, scribbling away. Then there are the fond memories of sneaking out of my bed at night when I was about five years old and “writing” books about earthworms and other creatures (I use writing loosely, since they were more pictures than words at the time…). But I didn’t really understand my desire to write until I turned twelve. That was about the time when playing pretend with my friends was no longer cool. My friends were getting more into makeup and fawning over the cute boys at school, and I still wanted to play all my made up games. So when a friend of mine announced to me that she was writing a novel, I had a solution to my problem. Rather than acting out the fun stories rolling around in my head, I just had to write them down! And I’ve been doing so ever since—working on my high school literary magazine in college, majoring in writing in college, and keeping myself sane as a single parent by staying up after I put my son to sleep, just so I could have a few hours to write.

 

What is your “go to” routine that helps you get in the mood to write? Special beverage? Music? Etc.

I don’t usually get busy writing until early-to-mid-afternoon. By then, I’ve done my exercise for the day, gotten showered, and had lunch. I’ve had a bit of time to talk with my husband and do a few things around the house. So once I’m feeling settled enough to write, I kiss my hubby, grab a bottle of water, and call my dog Gracie to “come be my writer dog!” Once she bounds into the room and my other dog, Jake, decides if he is going to “help” or not, I settle into my chair and put on my headphones. I can’t write to music—it’s too distracting to me. But I’ve recently discovered that the sounds of rain and thunder from a white noise player help tremendously to drown out the distracting noises and help me focus my mind on the task at hand. So with sounds of a rainstorm pattering in my ears, I read the last scene I worked on to catch the flow of the story, then slip into writing the next scene.

The Courageous Bride Collection

First Page of Mountain Echoes

Chapter 1

 

Virginia City, Utah Territory—late October 1862

 

Lord, I wish he’d brought the boy last night.

A quick tug in Hannah Rose Stockton’s chest stopped her frustrated pacing on the Pioneer Stagecoach Company’s porch. She shot a glance heavenward. “Forgive me. I have no right to be upset when Dr. Tompkins was attending to a dying patient, but would You please make sure he gets the child here before the stage leaves?”

She sat on a wooden bench and scanned the street, burrowing deeper into her cloak to ward off the pre-dawn chill. The hulking silhouette of the empty Concord stagecoach stood a few feet away and silent buildings lined the street. All was still.

She’d been honored to be chosen by the principal of the California Institution for the Instruction of the Deaf and Dumb and Blind for such an important journey—to pick up their newest student, twelve-year-old Travis Alcott. However, the boy would likely be frightened about leaving his home. She needed time to befriend him, earn some trust before they boarded the stage for the three-day journey to San Francisco.

The door to the dimly lit office opened, and her dour silver-haired traveling companion, Edwina Jamison, leaned out. “Hannah Rose, please come inside. It’s hardly proper for a woman to sit alone outside at this time of day. Besides, they will have our breakfast ready shortly.”

Hannah chafed at Mrs. Jamison’s use of her middle name. Papa had been the only one to call her Hannah Rose, though she’d taken to calling herself that in order to draw on his strength and wisdom. It wasn’t worth correcting the woman. “I’ll be in momentarily. I’d like to pray before the day begins.”

“God can hear you just as well inside as out, child.”

 

 

juhlarik-HR-3

Bio:

 Jennifer Uhlarik discovered the western genre as a pre-teen, when she swiped the only “horse” book she found on her older brother’s bookshelf. A new love was born. Across the next ten years, she devoured Louis L’Amour westerns and fell in love with the genre. In college at the University of Tampa, she began penning her own story of the Old West. Armed with a B.A. in writing, she has won five writing competitions and finaled in two other competitions. In addition to writing, she has held jobs as a private business owner, a schoolteacher, a marketing director, and her favorite—a full-time homemaker. Jennifer is active in American Christian Fiction Writers and lifetime member of the Florida Writers Association. She lives near Tampa, Florida, with her husband, teenaged son, and four fur children.

 

Buy Link:

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1634097777/ref=s9_simh_gw_g14_i2_r?ie=UTF8&fpl=fresh&pf_rd_m=ATVPDKIKX0DER&pf_rd_s=&pf_rd_r=QAR282T4DA3Q83XZJA87&pf_rd_t=36701&pf_rd_p=6aad23bd-3035-4a40-b691-0eefb1a18396&pf_rd_i=desktop

 

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/JenniferUhlarikAuthor/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/JenniferUhlarik

Website: www.jenniferuhlarik.com

 

 

Jennifer Uhlarik — Behind the Scenes

This week I’m excited to host author Jennifer Uhlarik as she tells us some Behind the Scenes secrets about her latest novella, Mountain Echoes.

BEHIND THE SCENES OF MOUNTAIN ECHOES

Hi everyone. Jennifer Uhlarik here. Thank you so much for having me today!

As an author, I often get asked where I get my ideas. In the case of my novella, Mountain Echoes, the story idea just popped to mind, fully formed (this rarely happens for me), but it took a lot of research to be sure I could carry it off with historical accuracy.

My publisher requested story ideas to be included in The Courageous Brides Collection. They wanted stories that depicted the heroine getting in trouble, acting courageously in that difficulty, and endearing herself to a male suitor in the process. Instantly, I saw a stagecoach accident where the heroine survives relatively unscathed and must get the other survivors—each injured or impaired somehow—out of the mountains. A harrowing experience, especially for a city-bred spinster.

From the moment this idea came, I knew one of the passengers would be a deaf boy whom the heroine was accompanying to a special school. So my setting had to include a stagecoach route that cut through a mountain range as well as a school for the deaf somewhere nearby.

It’s not my style to fictionalize a setting if I can find historical places that fit instead. So, I looked at the Rocky Mountains in Colorado, as well as the many mountain ranges in Arizona and New Mexico. In each case, there were stagecoach lines, but no school. Then I hit the proverbial jackpot in California. The Sierra Nevada on the eastern side of the state provided the mountain range I would need. There were all sorts of stagecoach lines that traveled in all directions through the state. And to my great relief, I discovered The California School for the Deaf, which was started in the Spring of 1860 to care for the indigent deaf children in the San Francisco area. (To my great excitement, I learned that the school is still in operation today).

So I had the place for my story, but I needed to decide upon a year to set it. Obviously, it must be in 1860 or later. I discovered a tiny detail in my research that said the school originally opened their doors to deaf children from anywhere in the state of California, but by 1862, expanded that to include deaf children from neighboring states and territories. This detail gave my heroine even more reason to traverse the Sierra Nevada to Virginia City, Utah Territory (present-day Nevada).

It was then that I stumbled across an ad in a historic newspaper for the Pioneer Stage Company. The October 1862 advertisement detailed the stage route between Sacramento and Virginia City. Passengers could choose the “Through Line,” traveling roughly 150 miles in 30 hours of almost non-stop travel, or they could take the “Accommodation Line,” which traveled the same route across three days with overnight stays in Placerville and Strawberry.

With that, all the pieces seemed to fall into place, and I couldn’t wait to write the story. But first I had to see if the publisher was interested! Fortunately, after weeks of waiting, I got the wonderful news that my story was one of nine chosen for the collection, and as of July 1, it’s been published! So that’s the story behind the story of Mountain Echoes. I hope you enjoyed seeing a bit of the creative process. Leave me a comment to be included in a drawing for a print copy of the collection.

 

 

 

Bio:

 

Jennifer Uhlarik discovered the western genre as a pre-teen, when she swiped the only “horse” book she found on her older brother’s bookshelf. A new love was born. Across the next ten years, she devoured Louis L’Amour westerns and fell in love with the genre. In college at the University of Tampa, she began penning her own story of the Old West. Armed with a B.A. in writing, she has won five writing competitions and finaled in two other competitions. In addition to writing, she has held jobs as a private business owner, a schoolteacher, a marketing director, and her favorite—a full-time homemaker. Jennifer is active in American Christian Fiction Writers and lifetime member of the Florida Writers Association. She lives near Tampa, Florida, with her husband, teenaged son, and four fur children.

 

Buy Link:

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1634097777/ref=s9_simh_gw_g14_i2_r?ie=UTF8&fpl=fresh&pf_rd_m=ATVPDKIKX0DER&pf_rd_s=&pf_rd_r=QAR282T4DA3Q83XZJA87&pf_rd_t=36701&pf_rd_p=6aad23bd-3035-4a40-b691-0eefb1a18396&pf_rd_i=desktop

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/JenniferUhlarikAuthor/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/JenniferUhlarik

Website: www.jenniferuhlarik.com

 

Tamara Lynn Kraft — Author Spotlight

And today I welcome Tamara back as she answers some tough questions. Don’t forget to read to the end and find out how you might win a free e-copy of her latest book, Resurrection of Hope.

Please describe yourself with three words.

Only three? These kind of questions are difficult for me, so I asked my husband and closet friends how they would answer. The consensus seems to be passionate, fun, and leader.

I am passionate. My first passion is God. I want to pursue Him above all else. I also am passionate about my family, my writing, and about children’s ministry. Basically I’m passionate about life in general.

As far as being fun, I love life. I refuse to allow circumstances and cranky people steal my joy. If you meet me at a party or social gathering, I will be the one laughing loud at other people’s jokes and generally having a great time.

I am a leader. Sometimes I try not to be. I’ll sit on my hands and remind myself to stay out of the situation that needs fixed. Since I’ve grown older, I have more success at doing that, but the truth is I can generally identify problems and know how to fix them. That’s how God has wired me. I’m a children’s ministry consultant, and when I go to churches to help them develop an effective children’s ministry, this skill serves me well. When I’m in a situation where I’m not in charge of anything, I work at holding back and not offering advice. Otherwise I come across as a bulldozer which I don’t want to do since my motive is not to be in charge but to help people.

 

What are your hobbies, besides writing and reading?

I have a number of hobbies. Most are related to my other “career”. I am a children’s evangelist and children’s ministry consultant for a ministry called Revival Fire for Kids. The hobbies I have related to that ministry are gospel illusions, puppetry, and making balloon animals.

I have some other hobbies too. I love traveling, and my husband and I are working at visiting every US state. We’ve made it to 40 so far. When I’m not on the road, I love watching classic movies (preferably from the 1930s to the 1950s). Classic movies are an intense course in characterization and story structure. The writers of that time period were brilliant, and the acting couldn’t be any better. They were able to create great stories without all the smut in Hollywood today and still have that element of adventure. I also love knitting. When I was younger, I took dance lessons (tap and ballet on pointe mostly) for twenty years, and I loved it.

What genre(s) do you write in and why?

I am very eclectic when I read novels. I love anything from a Dean Koontz horror novel to a Steven James suspense to a Julie Lessman historical romance, but when it comes to writing, I only write Christian historicals. I get my ideas from events in history. I start wondering what life was like for the people going through those events. Although most of my stories have a strong element of romance in them, adventure is the main element in all my historicals. I love stories that have an element of adventure and conquering insurmountable obstacles. I think even though I read a lot of genres, that’s what the ones I love all have in common.

What can your readers expect from you next?

I have a lot of projects in the works. My first full-length novel, Alice’s Notions is due to come out in April, 2017 through Desert Breeze.

I have a series of novels written called Ladies of Oberlin. Oberlin College was the only college before the Civil War that allowed women and black to get college degrees alongside white men. Charles Finney from the Second Great Awakening was the president of the college, and many of the social reforms of the time as well as the missionary movement started there.

I wrote a western with very little romance called Forks in the Road that I’m considering publishing independently. Another series I’m currently working on is called Jamestown Brides about women who traveled to Jamestown Colony in the early 1600s to find men to marry. That’s about it for now, but I have lots of ideas rattling around in my head that might eventually find their way on paper including a series of historical children’s novels.

Thank you for having me on your blog, Donna. I enjoyed getting to know your readers better.

 

About Tamara:

Tamera Lynn Kraft has always loved adventures. She loves to write historical fiction set in the United States because there are so many stories in American history. There are strong elements of faith, romance, suspense and adventure in her stories. She has received 2nd place in the NOCW contest, 3rd place TARA writer’s contest, and is a finalist in the Frasier Writing Contest and has other novellas in print. She’s been married for 37 years to the love of her life, Rick, and has two married adult children and two grandchildren. You can purchase her latest novella, Resurrection of Hope at most online stores including Desert Breeze. Join Tamera on her website at http://tameralynnkraft.net, her blog at http://tameralynnkraft.com, Facebook http://facebook.com/tameralynnkraft or Twitter http://twitter.com/tamerakraft.

Tamera is giving away an e-Book version of Resurrection of Hope to one person who comments answering the following question: What period of history do you love reading about?

Tamara Lynn Kraft –Using Historical Events to Create Fiction

This week I’m excited to host Tamara Lynn Kraft as she talks about one of my favorite subjects: history. Be sure to read through her post as she is giving away a free e-copy of her latest book, Resurrection of Hope.

I am sometimes asked why I write historical fiction. I usually answer that I find so many stories in history. Many times, reading about historical events will get my creative juices flowing when I think about the lives and stories of people who lived during these times.

For instance, Resurrection of Hope, my novella that has just been released, the historical backdrop of the time helped me create the characters and the events in the story.

At the beginning of the story, Vivian is depressed. In the last year, her fiancé died in the Great War (World War I), her family died of influenza, and she was evicted from her family farm because of gambling debts of her alcohol father. This would be enough to depress anyone, but many post WWI families were going through the same turmoil during 1919.

The Great War had just ended, and many men had died in Europe. At the same time, over twenty million people had died from the great influenza pandemic. There were very few families that hadn’t suffered loss from one of these events. Some families were completely wiped out. Another tragedy of the period was the rise of alcoholism and gambling addiction during the early years of the 20th century. A number of men lost everything and left their families destitute. That was one of the major reasons for prohibition.

Henry, the male main character in the story, had been a doughboy in World War I. He had just returned from the war with all the baggage that came with fighting warfare in the trenches. Many of the problems he had with Vivian stemmed from his experiences fighting and losing his best friend in the war. The stoic tough guy image most men tried to live up to during that period of time made things worse.

Another event I used in Resurrection of Hope was a tornado. In 1920 on Palm Sunday, one of the deadliest tornado outbreaks in history swept across the Midwest. People in Indiana and Western Ohio were most affected.

Every story I write starts with reading about the events in history and imagining people’s lives during that time. I’ve read historical fiction that could have taken place in any time period, but the writer loses an opportunity to make the stories of history come alive. Every good historical uses history, not just as a setting, but as a main character in the story.

 

About Tamara:

Tamera Lynn Kraft has always loved adventures. She loves to write historical fiction set in the United States because there are so many stories in American history. There are strong elements of faith, romance, suspense and adventure in her stories. She has received 2nd place in the NOCW contest, 3rd place TARA writer’s contest, and is a finalist in the Frasier Writing Contest and has other novellas in print. She’s been married for 37 years to the love of her life, Rick, and has two married adult children and two grandchildren. You can purchase her latest novella, Resurrection of Hope at most online stores including Desert Breeze. Join Tamera on her website at http://tameralynnkraft.net, her blog at http://tameralynnkraft.com, Facebook http://facebook.com/tameralynnkraft or Twitter http://twitter.com/tamerakraft.

Tamera is giving away an e-Book version of Resurrection of Hope to one person who comments answering the following question: What period of history do you love reading about?

Need A Great Summer Read?

Sweet stories of second chances from a God of second chances. The stories in this collection will warm your heart and encourage you to keep on going when all your circumstances say otherwise. No matter where you are or what you’re struggling with, these stories will touch you where you’re at. Each story stands on its own, but in total, paints a picture of a God who offers second chances, and third chances, and more. Stories include forgiveness, living out your dreams, revising your opinion of others, and finding a forever home. A sweet read. Learn more.

Donna

Deanna Klingel – Author Spotlight

Today I am excited to welcome Deanna Klingel back as our special guest as she answers some tough questions. Read through to the end to learn how you can win a free copy of her latest book, Blue-Eyed Doll.

 

What do you most enjoy about writing?

What I enjoy the most about writing is the creativity. I can be anywhere, be anyone, and experience all kinds of things, in my head, of course. I do a lot of research for historical fiction. As much research is necessary for historical fiction as for non-fiction or biography. It has to be accurate. It’s another part of my job I enjoy the most.

 

What do you least enjoy about writing?

My least favorite part is the process of submission. It’s work! Uncovering the most suitable publisher for the work you’re ready to submit, then following their individual guidelines, writing synopsis, cover letter, and waiting. There is nothing I enjoy about this process other than finally sending it off.

 

Where do you write?

I’m fortunate to have a beautiful office where I write. It’s in the loft of our log home. Everything I need, resource books, file cabinets, pencils and envelopes, it’s all right here within reach. That takes away lot of the mundane frustration of not feeling organized. It has a huge window that looks into the forest. It used to be an open loft that collected all the noise from downstairs, but my thoughtful husband had glassed French doors installed, so I can close out the TV from downstairs. It’s really a writer’s dream room.

 

What are you working on now?

I’m not writing anything new at the moment. I’ve just had three new releases so I’m marketing marketing marketing. I’ve got a couple of teen novels in the editing stage that I’ll submit soon.

I’ve just learned that my picture book nature series is going bilingual in Spanish. I’m excited to see that happen. I’ve got some outlines going for other picture books and a stack of research for the next historical fiction. I’ll manage to keep busy.

 

How can readers help?

Readers might not realize how helpful they can be to their authors. If a reader likes a book, there are ways to promote it, such as a quick review and stars on Amazon or Goodreads. It’s also very helpful if the reader tells the neighborhood bookseller about it and asks to have it in stock. Asking an indie bookseller to order a book for you, if they don’t have it, is a huge help. And we appreciate that.

In fact, I appreciate my readers so much, I’d like to give one of them a book! Blue-Eyed Doll will be coming to a randomly drawn reader who leaves a comment. My pleasure.

Blue-eyed Doll cover Small

Deanna K. Klingel lives in the mountains of Western North Carolina with her husband and golden retriever. Their seven children are married and raising families around the Southeast. You can find her at booksbydeanna.com and on Facebook, Deanna K. Klingel Author.

Deanna Klingel — The Source of the Story

Today I’m thrilled to welcome Deanna Klingel, author, as she shares about where she finds ideas for her stories. Read all the way through to find out how to win a free copy of her latest book, Blue-Eyed Doll.

Whenever I’m a guest speaker, I’m always asked, “Where do you get your ideas for your stories?” The source of ideas for many of my books are stories unto themselves. For instance, Blue-Eyed Doll.

I have YA historical fiction that I sell at Civil War Reenactments. A couple of years ago I was in Buchanan, Virginia. A friend had traveled with me and we were shivering under a metal picnic shelter watching the fog move in and keeping out of the drizzle. It wasn’t going to be a great day, I thought. Then a couple approached my table. He was chatting away, asking questions about my books and being friendly. His wife, a demure Japanese lady, was talking to my friend Chris.

Chris said, “Deanna, are you getting any of this?” She took the lady by the elbow and moved her over to the table. “Tell my friend what you just told me.”

Chris knows a good story when she hears it, and there it was. How she happened to be talking about an event in 1926 on this cold drizzly day, who knows? But I couldn’t wait to get home and start researching this event. How much of it was true? How much would be Japanese government propaganda? Would there be anything available? Who knows about this? It was a fascinating story I’d never heard anything about. I had to write it.

Research is one of my favorite parts of writing history. I learn fascinating things. The problem, naturally, is that I want to share all of it. But for every half dozen things I learn maybe one or two ends up on the page. Writers need to be careful when writing a story, to not overwhelm the story with data that might not really add anything to the story. It’s interesting, it’s informative, but it doesn’t enhance your story.

Don’t discard any of it; it might show up in another work at a later time. Just not this one.

I appreciate my readers so much, I’d like to give one of them a book! Blue-Eyed Doll will be coming to a randomly drawn reader who leaves a comment.

Blue-eyed Doll cover Small

Deanna K. Klingel lives in the mountains of Western North Carolina with her husband and golden retriever. Their seven children are married and raising families around the Southeast. You can find her at booksbydeanna.com and on Facebook, Deanna K. Klingel Author.

A Great Devotional

Sweet stories of second chances from a God of second chances. The stories in this collection will warm your heart and encourage you to keep on going when all your circumstances say otherwise. No matter where you are or what you’re struggling with, these stories will touch you where you’re at. Each story stands on its own, but in total, paints a picture of a God who offers second chances, and third chances, and more. Stories include forgiveness, living out your dreams, revising your opinion of others, and finding a forever home. A sweet read. Learn more.

Donna