Today I’m happy to welcome author Carole Towriss as she shares about her book, Sold Into Freedom.
I write biblical fiction. My books don’t feature the people everyone knows, like Moses, David, Esther. I like to write about the characters that are mentioned only once or twice. My Old Testament series books were about Bezalel—the man who built the Ark of the Covenant, Gaddiel—one of the ten spies who rejected God’s promise of Canaan, and Acsah—Caleb’s daughter.
Sold into Freedom is the first book in my new series, “Planting Faith.” This series follows the Apostle Paul though his second missionary journey. Each book will focus on two or more little-known biblical characters who came to faith through his ministry. This first one takes place in Philippi, and is based on Acts 16—the story of the slave girl possessed by the spirit of prophecy, and the jailer.
Elantia, a seer, is kidnapped from her home on the coast of Britannia and sold as a slave in Ephesus. Her new owners take her to Philippi, where they put her to work each day in the marketplace telling fortunes. When they take from her the only good thing left in her life, she vows she will take her revenge and find her way home, even if she has to kill to do it.
After a devastating injury and vicious rumors, Tribune Quintus Valerius is forced from the army he loves. Given land in lieu of a cash pension, he settles in Philippi, but a betrayal forces him to become the city’s Keeper of the Prison. At least until the truth comes out.
Everything changes when a simple Jewish preacher visits Philippi. Tia and Quin are both intrigued by Paulos’s message of peace, but it seems too good to be true. Are they willing to leave behind everything they know to experience a freedom like no other?
Paul, Silas, Timothy, Luke, Lydia—they’re all here as minor characters. Come explore ancient Greece with me!
About the Author:
An unapologetic Californian, Carole Towriss now lives just north of Washington, DC. She loves her husband, her four children, the beach, and tacos, though not always in that order. In addition to writing, she binge watches British crime dramas and does the dishes four times in one day.
Amazon Author page: http://www.amazon.com/Carole-Towriss/e/B009ZVHM8I/
January 2019 New Releases
More in-depth descriptions of these books can be found on the ACFW Fiction Finder website.
Seasons of an Amish Garden by Amy Clipston — Enjoy a year of beautiful seasons in this new story collection, as young Amish couples manage a community garden and harvest friendships and love along the way. (Amish Romance from HarperCollins Christian Publishing)
Courting Her Prodigal Heart by Mary Davis — Pregnant and alone, Dori Bontrager is sure her Amish kin won’t welcome her—or the child she’s carrying—into the community. And she’s determined that her return won’t be permanent. As soon as she finds work, she’ll leave again. But with her childhood friend Eli Hochstetler insisting she and her baby belong here, will Dori’s path lead back to the Englisher world…or into Eli’s arms? (Amish Romance from Love Inspired [Harlequin])
Her Hope Discovered by Cynthia Herron — Charla Winthrop, a savvy business woman seeking a permanent lifestyle change in small-town Ruby, Missouri, learns that things aren’t always what they appear when she takes up residence in a house steeped in charm and a hint of mystery. Rumor has it that Sam Packard the town carpenter is her go-to guy for home remodeling, but can Charla convince him to help her—with no strings attached, of course? Alone far too long, Sam’s prayed that God would send him a wife and a mother for his daughters. However, the new Ruby resident is hardly what he imagined. A new place to call “home,” the possibility of what might be, and the answer to someone’s prayers unite this unlikely pair with the help of the town’s residents. (Contemporary Romance from Mountain Brook Ink)
Murderous Heart by Lynne Waite Chapman — Freelance writer, Lauren Halloren pens popular magazine articles extoling the comfort and security of small town America. And Evelynton, Indiana treasures its wholesome small town values. Ask anyone. Streets are safe to walk. People look out for one another. Marriage vows are treasured. Murders are solved. In this third volume of the Evelynton Murder series, Lauren, along with friends, Clair and Anita stumble over another body. The partially mummified remains turn out to be an Evelynton resident. But how, in this close knit community, could a woman be deceased for over six months without being missed? (Cozy Mystery from Winged Publications)
My Heart Belongs in the Blue Ridge: Laurel’s Dream by Pepper Basham — Journey into the Blue Ridge Mountains of 1918 where Laurel McAdams endures the challenges of a hard life while dreaming things can eventually improve. But trouble arrives in the form of an outsider. Having failed his British father again, Jonathan Taylor joins is uncle’s missionary endeavors as a teacher in a two-room schoolhouse. Laurel feels compelled to protect the tenderhearted teacher from the harsh realities of Appalachian life, even while his stories of life outside the mountains pull at Laurel’s imagination. Faced with angry parents over teaching methods, Laurel’s father’s drunken rages, and bad news from England, will Jonathan leave and never return, or will he stay and let love bloom? (Historical Romance from Barbour Publishing)
The Homeward Journey by Misty M. Beller — Finally free from her dead husband’s addicted lifestyle, Rachel Gray and her young son set out for a new life in the wilderness of the Canadian territories. She is reluctant to accept help from another man, but after a bear threatens her son’s life, she agrees to accompany two God-fearing brothers who are traveling to the same area. Slowly, she begins to trust the one named Seth. Despite Rachel’s best efforts, she can’t seem to fight her attraction to Seth—until a secret from his past proves he had more in common with her husband than she thought. When a new peril threatens her son’s life, she must choose between trusting in what she can control, or the man who her heart says is trustworthy, no matter his previous sins. The path she chooses just may determine whether she can step into the new life God has in store for them all. (Historical Romance, Independently Published)
Stepping into the Light by Candee Fick — With war looming and a madwoman in their midst, the only hope for a peaceful future may lie in a marriage alliance between a disfigured recluse of the Gunn clan and the overlooked second son of Clan Sinclair. (Historical Romance, Independently Published)
Under the Midnight Sun by Tracie Peterson and Kimberley Woodhouse — Tayler Hale is ahead of her time as one of the first women naturalists. She has always loved adventure and the great outdoors, and her remote job location also helps keep her away from the clutches of the man to whom she once made a foolish promise. It seems she must keep running, however, and in secret, her boss from Yellowstone arranges for a new job . . . in Alaska. The popular Curry Hotel continues to thrive in 1929 as more visitors come to Alaska and venture into the massive national park surrounding Denali. Recent graduate Thomas Smith has returned to the hotel and the people he considers family. But when a woman naturalist comes to fill the open position and he must work with her, everything becomes complicated. The summer brings unexpected guests and trouble to Curry. With his reputation at stake, will Thomas be able to protect Tayler from the danger that follows? (Historical Romance from Bethany House [Baker])
Devotion by Olivia Rae — Injured and unable to make his living by the sword, Sir Theo de Born needs to secure his keep by becoming an educated man. As he finds himself falling for his reluctant teacher, he learns of her plan to leave England before the winter sets in. How can he convince her to stay and fulfill her promise while protecting his heart? Denied her true love and sent away to a convent, Lady Rose de Payne has no choice but to accept to become Sir Theo’s teacher. However, she has a plan to escape the confines of her new prison and start fresh in a different country. As the chilly winds blow, her resolve begins to waver. Will she abandon Sir Theo to a miserable fate or will she give up her dreams to make his come true? (Historical Romance from HopeKnight Press)
Today I’m happy to welcome author B. J. Thompson as she shares insights into her writing.
All stories have climaxes and endings where a character in a literary work evolves or devolves. But I’ve always asked myself, what if the pinnacle of realization as a living human being comes not at the apex of one’s journey, but at the end, in those very final moments before death?
Yes, it’s not a comfortable thought, for we can greedily say, what’s the point of experiencing any apex if afterward your very existence fades to black?
Yet, I feel I must travel down this literary road in order to meet face-to-face with those very seconds in every work I have ever undertaken. The Plan: I choose a real life icon or event or ideal and wrap fictional characters and a side story around said and have they and it play out to that final moment. Now, you could assume all my tales have a mortal ending, and to some extent they do, but I entertain the idea that life is cyclical, renewable, regenerative, and those life lessons put on display by the dead help we, the survivors of such tales, move on to better understand the possibility of ever-lasting life.
Yes, I know, all very airy-fairy there, B. J., but why, you may ask, delve into and ever dwell in such dark corners? Well, I’m Canadian of North Irish descent and you cannot be Northern Irish and not accept the marriage of death with life as an everyday and natural thing. Back in the day, the Irish were known for the 3-day Olympic-class funeral wakes. There wasn’t anything in those rites of passage that were distant or sanitized for your protection. You had a front-row seat to death. You kissed the corpse before the coffin was closed. The men, after the respectable daytime luncheon, would hold a darker version and stuff a drink in the dead man’s hand and party alongside the coffin until dawn. We are a people who look at death head-on and choose to see it as a renewal, of lessons learned in this life that we take to the next.
In my first novel, No More Blood, I examined the last three hours of the iconic celebrity author, Truman Capote, to see how he wrestled with his own demons after his explosive rise to fame and fortune from his reportage of the Kansas Clutter family murders of 1959, depicted in his non-fiction novel, In Cold Blood. In my second work, a political thriller, I examined the death of an ideal through President Nixon and the Watergate scandal, and how those acts forever tainted our view of politicians and democracy. In Eighteen Minutes to the Beast, I tell the reader what was said on the infamous 18 ½ minute gap of the Nixon Watergate tape #342 which today is housed at the Washington D.C. National Archives. And in my third work, a psychological noir, entitled, Sessions, I examine the death of the soul through the eyes and acts of an imaginary sexually sadistic female serial killer, who is related to a real life killer, and who chooses to spend seven sessions with a psychiatrist at the end of her life.
For me as an artist, death must be faced in order to appreciate life. Grab a pint of Guinness, won’t you, and come along for the ride.
About the Author:
B. J. Thompson was born in the Lake Country District of southern Ontario, Canada and is a retired public relations liaison, and currently a Calgary-based novelist of historical literary works. An only child to an RCMP Constable father and industrial accountant mother, B. J. grew up very Anglo-Saxon, very Northern Irish. B. J. has done extensive travelling and now lives to swim, hike and fish in the Rocky Mountains, enjoys her friends and family, leads an avant-garde writers group likened on the 1920s Montparnasse, Paris “Lost Generation,” and pens her tales on either side of Cocktail Hour. B. J.’s upcoming historical epic, entitled, AIR, tells of six US Navy sailors on December 7, 1941 as they try to hold on to life in the capsized USS Oklahoma after the Pearl Harbor attack. All six, trapped below the sea, find out there can be far worse things in life than death. AIR is due to be released on December 7, 2020.
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Today I’m happy to welcome author Donevy Westphal as she shares some great tips for dealing with the clutter of life.
“Human History is the long terrible story of man trying to find something other than God which will make him happy.” C. S. Lewis
2018 is now history. We have arrived in the New Year. That should not be surprising, but I have begun sixty-five New Years, and I’m as ill-equipped this year as I was on the very first one. I wonder—when will I get it right?
I spent several weeks cleaning, painting, and renovating my office, which quite a few years ago was our youngest son’s bedroom. Last week he began cleaning out his closet, a long overdue project, but he left the junk he didn’t want on the floor of my newly cleaned office.
Sometimes my life and undertakings seem to be like that. It is like finding my way through someone else’s clutter.
Sorting through the clutter of life, be it clutter we make or clutter we inherit, is a challenge. In this stage of my life some things I’ve discovered are:
• If it isn’t broken, give it away
• If it is broken, throw it away
• If you don’t need it, sell it or give it away
• If your heart needs repaired take it to God
• If you have a broken relationship take it to God
• If you need to forgive, take it to God
• Never lose faith, take it to God
The New Year will bring its share of problems, we can be sure of that. As each problem raises its ugly head remember to take it to God in prayer. Then become content with His answer.
Ecclesiastes 3:14 “I know that, whatsoever God doeth, it shall be forever: nothing can be put to it, nor anything taken from it; and God hath done it, that men should fear before him.”
What genre(s) do you write in and why?
My favorite genre is historical fiction. I’m fascinated by the early 1900’s through the early 1960’s.
What is your favorite part of writing?
I enjoy research, although I’m not as proficient at it as need be, I end up chasing rabbits and finding dead ends.
What kind of books do you write: what is your next book and when is it going to be published?
I’m currently working on a series that is set in the Vietnam era forward. That is slightly out of my preferred range, but it is part of a family puzzle that begins in my preferred range. It is currently in a (hopefully) final edit, and should be published by October(?) this year.
As of present, I am working on a series ‘Ebenezer’. The first book, If I Should Die, follows detective, Julius Armstrong, part of an elite group, on his last case as he tracks a crime boss.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Donevy is a primitive artist who has worked with raw materials in many different mediums. An artist with paint, canvas, clay, etc. and a mother, a teacher, a Bible class teacher, and a writer. She has homeschooled seven children; writes a blog at deborawephraim.blogspot.com; has an author website at https://deborawephraim.wixsite.com/donevywestphal and you can reach her on her facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/DonevyWestphal/ . Donevy is a member of ACFW. ~When you only have words~
Today I’m happy to welcome author Sharon Wilharm as she shares some writing tips for authors. Read through to the end to find out how to enter her giveaway.
As a filmmaker who teaches at writing conferences, I’m often asked how writers can give their novels a cinematic touch. I teach them visual storytelling and the concept of Mise-en-scene.
Mise-en-scene is a film term that refers to everything you see in the shot. Nothing shows up randomly. It’s all planned ahead of time so that each detail contributes to the story. It can include cast, costumes, location, set design, blocking, and props. So how does mise-en-scene relate to novelists? Everything in your scene needs to be there for a reason, and it needs to help tell your story.
Cast – Casting directors know the importance of selecting the the right actors for each role. Not only do they need to look the part, but they need to work well with the cast as a whole. When casting your novel, give much thought to who you choose for each role. Don’t limit yourself to cliches. Stretch yourself to include diversity so that each character is distinctive. Include short and tall, dark and fair, beautiful and homely. Most importantly, make them interesting and unique.
Costumes – People wear clothes. Characters wear costumes. Everything your character wears reveals something about their personality. So don’t just clothe him in jeans and a t shirt. Put her in a bohemian dress, a canary yellow raincoat, or a pair of worn sneakers with a hole at the toe. Use costumes to define personality and to show character change.
Location – Location sets the tone for a scene. Your readers need to know where a scene takes place and what it looks like. They love to be transported to exotic locations, bu this doesn’t have to be a foreign country or another time period. It can be as simple as a a small town drugstore, a frozen lake in the midst of a forest, or a dilapidated shack on the wrong side of town. The importance is including details that allow the reader to feel they’re there.
Set Design – Furnish your sets with furniture and decor that enrich the story. Instead of just a couch, have an overstuffed leather sofa, a floral couch from the Truman era, or a burgandy velvet settee. Insert wallpaper, artwork, appliances, and flooring.
Blocking – Avoid talking heads. Talking heads refers to scenes where people sit and talk without doing anything. Most often talking heads scenes take place in restaurants where they eat their meal and talk, but nothing else happens. Get your characters moving. Stand up. Sit down. Walk around the room. Keep it active rather than stagnant.
Props – Give your characters items that reveal character traits. If they’re going to write a letter, pick out a writing utensil that tells us something about them – a pen that never writes, a pencil with a perfect point, an engraved gold fountain pen.
Filmmakers have a limited time to tell their stories. Novelists have more freedom. However, each word you choose should be there on purpose, not to fill up space. Make the most of your mise-en-scene.
Readers, leave a comment below to enter her giveaway for a copy of “Summer of ’67”.
About the Author:
Sharon Wilharm is a filmmaker, blogger, and speaker who teaches screenwriting, visual storytelling, and marketing at film and writing events. . Her films have screened in theaters around the country, amassed dozens of festival accolades, aired on multiple television networks, and sold in bookstores throughout the U.S., Australia, and Canada. Her awards include the “Shibboleth Award” for Visionary Leadership in the Field of Christian Film Making”. Her latest film Summer of ’67 is available at Amazon Prime, Christian Cinema, Google Play, and other online outlets.
Connect with Sharon:
Sharon’s website – www.sharonwilharm.com
Sharon’s blog – www.faithflix.com
Summer of ’67 website – www.summerof67.com
Today I’m happy to welcome author Janet Grunst as she shares insights into life as an author. Read through to the end to find out how to enter her giveaway.
Ideas for stories can come from a variety of sources; historical or current events, people, a news story, personal-spiritual-social-political issues, something we’ve seen or read about—and even dreams. Even as our stories take form, rabbit trails we meander down offer new ideas.
While the stories I write are historical, they also deal with human issues, emotions, and hopes that are timeless. I live in Virginia and have always been fascinated with the people and events that led to the founding of our nation. What determination and faith it took for people to travel across the ocean to an unknown land to make new lives for themselves. And, what courage and tenacity it took for colonists, with only local militias, to seek independence and fight the most powerful Army and Navy of that era.
In A Heart Set Free set in 1770, Heather Douglas is an indentured servant who emigrated from Scotland. Indentured servitude was a very common way for 17th and 18th century people to settle in the colonies. After their period of indenture ended, they practiced trades and lived lives like most colonists. But Heather’s path is a bit more complicated The theme of the story is forgiveness.
In A Heart For Freedom set in 1775, Matthew Stewart is a planter who wants to farm his land and manage their family’s ordinary (inn). But as strife intensifies between the colonies and England, he is torn about where his responsibilities lie. Some colonists had valid reasons to maintain ties with Britain, some wanted to avoid conflict, and some believed seeking independence was essential. The Revolutionary War was America’s first civil war. The theme is faithfulness.
Readers, leave a comment below to enter her giveaway for a print or e-copy of either book or an audible of “A Heart Set Free.” (Print copy must have a USA address).
About the Author:
Janet lives in the historic triangle of Virginia (Williamsburg, Jamestown, Yorktown) with her husband. Her love of writing fiction grew out of a desire to share stories that can communicate the truths of the Christian faith, and entertain, as well as bring inspiration, healing, and hope to the reader.
Amazon links to books:
Today I’m happy to welcome author Marilyn Pemberton as she shares some great tips for writers.
My recommendation for getting some quality writing done? Go on a long-distance walk. Here are just a few things to consider before putting on your boots and shouldering that rucksack:
1. Accept that it may take a day or two to clear your mind of your non-writing life. Only then can you lose yourself in what you are currently writing. Even if the weather is foul your head can be in sunnier climes – the imagination is a powerful, and warming, thing.
2. You will have to change your approach to writing. I am a Planner and am the sort that types straight into the laptop and likes to get a sentence right before proceeding, so I take my time and only move on when I think it is perfect. When I am walking my writing approach just has to change, which takes some getting used to. I spend the better part of the day just imagining myself inside my book and thinking about the next few scenes I want to write. I work on phrases, refine my descriptions and get bits of conversation to my liking. I don’t think too far ahead (my memory is not that good) and I don’t dictate into a machine (most people think I am mad walking alone in the first place, never mind talking to myself all day). Nor do I make notes as I walk – it’s hard enough just keeping going in an upright position without stopping to make notes. At the end of the day, I find somewhere to sit (preferably where I can get a cup of tea and a slice of cake) and I just write everything down in a sort of literary diarrhoea. You also have to learn to write again – when was the last time you actually hand-wrote more than a few sentences??
3. One major lesson for me – don’t dither, just move on. With a laptop you can play around with words, cut and paste, use the on-line Thesaurus, Google something. You just can’t do that with pen and paper. I learned, eventually, just to write and if I wasn’t sure of something just put an * and make a note – but move on. I didn’t re-read what I had written, I just wrote what was swilling around in my mind. This is how some people write anyway, but I am a Planner!
4. Switch your ‘phone off and take a break from e-mails and social media. Just use it each evening to assure your family you have not fallen off a cliff.
5. Take your watch off. Not only will you not get a white band if you are lucky enough to get sunshine, but really, what does it matter what time it is?
6. My personal recommendation is to walk alone. How can you imagine yourself to be a character in your book whilst someone is wittering in your ear about the size of their blisters? Note – buy decent walking boots, then you won’t get blisters.
7. Last, but not least, don’t forget to say a cheery “Hullo” to everyone you meet. After all, they may be writers too.
I only started writing fiction six years ago. Before that it had all been academic essays on centuries-old literature, a thesis on Victorian fairy tales and a biography of a Victorian writer, Mary De Morgan. My debut novel, The Jewel Garden, was loosely based on the life of De Morgan, so it obviously had to be historical. My second novel was inspired by a Radio 3 programme, in which the presenter mentioned that in seventeenth and eighteenth-century Italy, young boys used to be bought from their poor families, castrated and trained to sing. So, once again, the topic meant I had to write a historic novel. The basis of my third novel is my love of fairy tales and the re-telling of the same stories through the generations. It will end in the modern day, but the main action will take place in the past, starting in the early 1800s.
I have just finished my second novel, Song of the Nightingale, which is set in eighteenth-century Italy and is told in the first person by Philippe, the secretary to Count De Lorenzo. The Count tasks Philippe with buying some young boys from the villagers, taking them to be castrated and then onto a conservatoire in Florence, where they will remain for many years, learning to become castrati. Although the boys and their lives are a key part of the story, there is also passion, deceit, murderous revenge, love and reconciliation. I have just sent it out to some literary agents and am waiting for the rejections to start rolling in! So I don’t know when or even if it will get published.
Before The Jewel Garden was published I had managed to avoid social media completely. Once published, however, rather than just hand over the manuscript and let someone else worry about it so that I could get on with writing my next novel, I was told that I had to be on Facebook and Twitter (what on earth was that?), I had to have a web page and write a blog regularly. I had to send out press releases, leave cards in bookshops and give talks at libraries. Basically I had to sell myself and my book, something I was not at all comfortable with, but have had to learn to do. Writing this for Donna is all part of the process!
About the Author:
I am in my sixties (not sure when that happened!) and am still a full-time IT Project Manager. I obtained my BA, MA and PhD as a mature student and during my research became obsessed with Mary De Morgan, a Victorian writer of fairy tales. My debut novel The Jewel Garden is loosely based on her life. I have just finished my second novel, Song of the Nightingale and the third is bubbling away in my brain.
You can buy The Jewel Garden on Amazon:
I write an infrequent blog on things to do with writing and am currently sharing the process of trying to get Song of the Nightingale published: writingtokeepsane.wordpress.com
Today I’m happy to welcome author Cindy Huff for an author spotlight.
— What do you enjoy most about writing?
The creative process is my favorite part of writing. Having the characters talk to me and learning more about them as the story comes together. Researching the time period and finding out interesting factoids to sprinkle throughout the story is so fun.
— How did you start writing?
When I was in eight grade I wrote a short story for my English assignment. My teacher entered it into a contest. I didn’t win but I was hooked. I didn’t write for publication until after I was married. I wrote children’s stories and radio scripts when my children were young, and my writing changed with my life. I wrote for newspapers and now as a grandmother I write novels.
— What can readers expect from your next book?
My next book is part of a historical romance collection, The Cowboys, Smitten imprint of LPC releases in August 2019. Zebulon (Lonnie) and Jedidiah (Jed) Collins are identical twins. At least they were before the Civil War changed them. Lonnie and Jed are pacifist. Jed chose to serve in the Union Army as a chaplain, while Lonnie chose to stay on their Texas ranch and not join the war effort. After the war Jed is very thin, weak and recovering from an illness after being held in a Confederate POW camp. While Lonnie has a brand on his cheek. C for coward and a heart burdened with guilt over his brother’s condition. They head to a ranch they inherited from their bachelor uncle. There they are surprised to find a woman living there who has her own burdens to overcome. This is where the story Healing Hearts begins. There are three other novellas in the collection by well-established authors and I feel privileged to be a part of it.
I’m currently working on the first book in a historical romance series set in a town ran by women. Angelina DuBois always wanted to put her architectural degree to use. No one takes her seriously. When her father’s will bequeath the architectural business to her male cousin she is crushed. Together with her two best friend’s help and encouragement she embarks on a quest to build a town in Kansas where women are treated as men’s equals. She brings along women with various skills and a few men to help make her dream a reality. Edward Pritchard interviews for the contractor position in hopes the DuBois name will win him future building contracts from the rich and famous. He wonders as they work together if he may have ruined his reputation before he has a chance to make one.
Jake Marcum’s busy ranch leaves him no time for courting, and his wounded heart has no place for love. When battlefield nightmares disturb his peace and his tomboy niece, Juliet, needs taming, somehow a mail-order bride seems like a logical solution.
Dr. Evangeline Olson has no idea her niece is writing to a rancher on her behalf, and she sure isn’t interested in abandoning her medical practice for a stranger. But when an inheritance threatens to reveal a long-buried secret, she travels west to become Jake’s wife.
Jake soon realizes Evangeline is more than he bargained for, especially when her arrival causes a stir in the community. As the two try to find their way in a marriage of convenience, their fragile relationship is further tested by cattle rustling and kidnapping. Can their hearts overcome past hurts to create a real marriage?
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Cindy Huff
Cindy Huff is a multi-published freelance writer who loves to bring her imaginary characters to life. She a mentor for Word Weavers International and founding member of the Aurora Illinois chapter. Her award-winning Historical Romance, Secrets and Charades debut in 2017 and her contemporary romance New Duet in 2018. Her passion is to encourage other writers in their journey and believers as they grow in faith. Check out her blog Jubileewriter at http://www.jubileewriter. wordpress. com
Amazon URL https://www.amazon.com/author/cindyervinhuff
Twitter: https:// twitter.com/CindyErvinHuff
Buy link for Secrets & Charades: https://www.amazon.com/dp/1946016144/
Available in e-book, paperback and audio
Today I’m happy to welcome author Johnnie Alexander for an author spotlight. Read through to the end to find out how to enter her giveaway.
— What genre(s) do you write in and why?
Several years ago, God gave me a phrase found in Psalm 31:8 during my quiet time at a writers conference: I have set your feet in a spacious place.
At that time, I dreamed of getting “the call” from an agent and of someday seeing one of my novels in a bookstore. I prayed for my spacious place, and as the years passed, those dreams came true.
After my debut historical novel was published, I encountered rocky paths in my spacious place. My next three novels were contemporary romances. A historical short story and novella appeared between those releases and then I switched to cozy mysteries. I’ve recently written my first Amish novel.
The conventional advice is to stick to one genre, but that wasn’t God’s plan for me. I said yes to the opportunities He gave me and now my spacious place includes multiple genres.
— What do you think about when you’re alone in your car?
I’m embarrassed to admit this, but I once ran a red light because I was deep in thought about . . . Lay’s Classic potato chips! (What can I say? I was on the way to Publix for a jerk turkey sub with chipotle gouda cheese and Pepperhouse Gourmaise.)
But my thoughts aren’t usually that frivolous. I like to listen to PBS/NPR radio stations because of the variety of topics discussed on their various programs. Driving is also a great time for plotting and problem-solving, praying and pondering. My mind can wander as long as my tires don’t.
And I remember to stop when the light is red.
— What is your favorite part of writing?
I’m still amazed by the creative process—and I hope I always am! It’s humbling and exciting and frustrating and gut-wrenching fulfilling for an idea to become a story blurb and for the blurb to become a rough draft. And eventually that rough draft becomes a polished manuscript which becomes a novel in a reader’s hands.
I’m thrilled when characters surprise me and when ideas and themes I didn’t plan become an integral part of the story. Wow, that’s fun!
Readers, Johnnie has a question for you…. “What’s your favorite kind of sub?”
Leave a comment below to enter the giveaway for a copy of her debut novel, Where Treasure Hides. A US winner will receive a print copy; an international winner will receive an ebook.
Artist Alison Schuyler spends her time working in her family’s renowned art gallery, determined to avoid the curse that has followed the Schuyler clan from the Netherlands to America and back again. She’s certain that true love will only lead to tragedy—that is, until a chance meeting at Waterloo station brings Ian Devlin into her life.
Drawn to the bold and compassionate British Army captain, Alison begins to question her fear of love as World War II breaks out, separating the two and drawing each into their own battles. While Ian fights for freedom on the battlefield, Alison works with the Dutch Underground to find a safe haven for Jewish children and priceless pieces of art alike. But safety is a luxury war does not allow.
As time, war, and human will struggle to keep them apart, will Alison and Ian have the faith to fight for their love, or is it their fate to be separated forever?
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Johnnie Alexander
Johnnie Alexander creates characters you want to meet and imagines stories you won’t forget in a variety of genres. An award-winning, best-selling novelist, she serves on the executive boards of Serious Writer, Inc. and the Mid-South Christian Writers Conference, co-hosts Writers Chat, and interviews other inspirational authors for Novelists Unwind. Johnnie lives in Oklahoma with Griff, her happy-go-lucky collie, and Rugby, her raccoon-treeing papillon. Connect with her at www.johnnie-alexander.com and other social media sites via https://linktr.ee/johnniealexndr.
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Where Treasure Hides
The stringed notes of “Rule, Britannia!” grew louder as the crowd quieted, eyes and ears straining in their search for the violin soloist. The patriotic anthem echoed through Waterloo Station’s concourse, and as the second chorus began, sporadic voices sang the lyrics. Travel- weary Brits stood a little straighter, chins lifted, as the violinist completed the impromptu performance, the last note sounding long after the strings were silenced.
Alison Schuyler gripped her leather bag and threaded her way through the crowd toward the source of the music. As the final note faded inside the hushed terminal, she squeezed between a sailor and his girl, murmuring an apology at forcing them to part, and stepped onto a bench to see over the crowd. A dark-haired boy, no more than seven or eight, held the violin close to his anemic frame. His jacket, made of a finely woven cloth, hung loosely on his thin shoulders. The matching trousers would have slipped down his hips if not for his hand-tooled leather belt.
Either the boy had lost weight or his parents had purposely provided him clothes to grow into. Alison hoped for the latter, though from the rumors she’d heard, her first assumption was all too likely. She stared at the cardboard square, secured by a thick length of twine, that the boy wore as a cheap necklace. The penciled writing on the square numbered the boy as 127.
Other children crowded near the young musician, each one dressed in their fine traveling clothes, each one labeled with cardboard and twine. Germany’s castaways, transported to England for their own safety while their desperate parents paced the floors at home and vainly wished for an end to these troublesome days.
“Now will you allow him to keep his violin?” A man’s voice, pleasant but firm, broke the spell cast over the station. The children fidgeted and a low murmur rumbled through the crowd. The speaker, dressed in the khaki uniform of a British Army officer, ignored them, his gaze intent on the railroad official overseeing the children.
“He better,” said a woman standing near Alison. “Never heard anything so lovely. And the lad not even one of the king’s subjects. I’d take him home myself—yes, I would—if I’d a bed to spare.”
Alison mentally sketched the tableau before her, pinning the details into her memory. The officer’s hand resting on the boy’s shoulder; the official, a whistle around his neck, restlessly tapping his clipboard with his pencil; the dread and hope in the boy’s eyes as he clutched his prized instrument. The jagged square that tagged his identity.
Today I’m happy to welcome author Janet Grunst as she shares an inspiring devotional.
When I first felt God’s call to write fiction there was a story germinating in my mind that wouldn’t let me go. I had regular columns in local papers, but I knew nothing about writing fiction. There was so much to learn before I even started.
And, with two active little boys, how would the time to write this story? I promised God if He would give me 2-3 hours a day, I would devote the rest of my time to my husband and sons. He was faithful and provided those hours and I obediently walked away from my work, even when it was hard.
The adage, “God does not call the equipped, but equips those whom He calls,” became much more meaningful to me.
I learned so much in the months spent writing the story that would later be A Heart Set Free, not only about the writing craft but about myself and God’s provision.
“And my God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:19
God prepares us for the work He calls us to do. The Lord doesn’t allow our insecurities to let us off the hook from doing the work He entrusts to us. But He supplies all we need, as we need it, to get the job done. Each day I let the characters tell their story on my word processor. I just tried to keep up with them. At the time, I had no clue about the difference in being a panster or a plotter.
I like structure, I make lists, and prefer to plan things out. By the time, decades later, when I was trying to complete my second novel, A Heart For Freedom, I was more aware about the process of writing fiction with both internal and external goals, motivation, and conflict. Plot points, inciting incidents and where all these were supposed to appear in a novel.
So, I set about trying to plot out the story. With my personality, I should be a plotter, but it didn’t work and I really struggled. The same thing happened with the novella written last summer and the third story I am in the midst of writing.
“But he said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore, I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me.” 2 Corinthians 12:9
“Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.” Psalm 119:105
I believe God was telling me I’m not going to be a headlight for you, Janet. I want you to trust Me to provide everything you need for your stories each step of the way. This isn’t about your plans, but what I want to do through you. Depend more on Me to direct you as you write, in the same way I’m guiding you through the story of your own life.
Are you feeling God’s tug or whisper in your life to accomplish something new?
About the Author:
Janet lives in the historic triangle of Virginia (Williamsburg, Jamestown, Yorktown) with her husband. Her love of writing fiction grew out of a desire to share stories that can communicate the truths of the Christian faith, and entertain, as well as bring inspiration, healing, and hope to the reader.
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