Soar Like Eagles by Terri Wangard

terri-wangardToday we welcome my friend, Terri Wangard, to discuss her latest release, Soar Like Eagles.

Hi, Terri! How long have you been writing?

Terri: I first started writing in the early 2000s. A publisher had my manuscript of a contemporary romance for a year before saying no thanks. I’d started something else, but put it aside at that point. In 2008, I read Debbie Macomber’s Twenty Wishes, about a group of women who fulfill long-held dreams. I bought a laptop and started writing the original version of Friends & Enemies,, my debut novel.

Why did you choose to write in your particular field or genre?

Terri: A stack of letters found in my grandmother’s house came from distant cousins in Germany immediately after the war. My grandparents had sent them care packages.  I found the letters so interesting. When I decided to write again, I got the idea of creating a story for a German family in the war, using all the information I could draw from the letters. I don’t know what they believed regarding Hitler and the Nazis, but I created a family to be proud of.

What are some of the references you used while researching your book?

Terri: For Soar Like Eagles (Book 3 in the Promise For Tomorrow WWII series), I read a lot of memoirs from women who served as doughnut girls in the Red Cross. I also read many memoirs from airmen who served in the Eighth Air Force. Memoirs are my favorite references because of the incidents they describe and how they felt about them.

What did you enjoy most about writing this book?

Terri: I’d never heard of the Red Cross doughnut girls until I was searching for something to involve my main character with. I love researching my topics and figuring out how, or if, I can use all these great anecdotes.

What do your plans for future projects include?

Terri: I’ve written a standalone World War II novel that’s waiting in the wings. Now I’m writing about in 1915 and the Lusitania. I have two other book ideas to go with it.

Thanks for dropping by, Terri!


Soar Like Eagles

soar-like-eagles-2x3She wants to do her part for the war, but struggles to maintain her ideals. He joins the air force, hoping to find peace.

Carol becomes a Red Cross doughnut girl, serving GIs and boosting their morale. Believing wartime romances are doomed to disappointment, she attempts to avoid entanglements and transfers to France, away from Chet, the airman she’s falling for.

Chet’s father always belittled him. Now a well-regarded navigator, he longs to prove him wrong. After he’s ditched in the North Sea, parachuted into France, and been called before a review, his focus changes to staying alive, and winning the Red Cross girl he keeps crossing paths with.


terri-wangardTerri Wangard grew up in Green Bay, Wisconsin, during the Lombardi Glory Years. Her first Girl Scout badge was the Writer. These days she is writing historical fiction, and won the 2013 Writers on the Storm contest and 2013 First Impressions, as well as being a 2012 Genesis finalist. Holder of a bachelor’s degree in history and a master’s degree in library science, she lives in Wisconsin. Her research included going for a ride in a WWII B-17 Flying Fortress bomber. Classic Boating Magazine, a family business since 1984, keeps her busy as an associate editor.

Connect with Terri:
www.terriwangard.com
Facebook: www.facebook.com/AuthorTerriWangard
Pinterest: www.pinterest.com/terriwangard/

Buy link:  http://amzn.to/2dMEDNJ

Soar Like Eagles won the First Impressions contest as a historical, but could be considered a historical romance.

An Austrian Christmas Celebration

by Betty Owens

grunau-1355021_1280In the frigid cold of an Austrian winter, several generations ago, one of my forebears cut down a pine tree, dragged it home, and set it up in the main room. The family typically celebrated Christmas in much the same way as we do, but instead of St. Nicholas, or Santa Claus, the children waited expectantly for the Christkind, or Christ-child. Many Austrians waited until after the children were in bed on Christmas Eve, to set up and decorate their tree, complete with gifts underneath. The children woke to a transformed house—a tree lit with candles, bearing gifts. They believed it was all done by the Christkind.

I’m pretty sure they were warned in advance to be very, very good, so the Christkind would visit them. So I suppose you could say parents everywhere practice a little bit of deception in order to provide magic for their children—Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny, the elf on the shelf. I’m saying this with a smile on my face, remembering those magical years in my life. Until my mean older brother told me there was no Santa. I tried hard to go on believing, but he had planted doubt…

The Christkind was depicted as a cherub. This explains some of our present day Christmas ornaments. Here in the States, many families decorate with a crèche, or nativity scene, that includes the Christ child. But we also have cherubs adorning our trees and mantels.

One beautiful and useful custom found in Austria was and is the Christmas Market. They still exist today. In Vienna, it was at one time called the December Market. They believe it began as early as the year 1298. It was the precursor to the modern Christmas Market.

What can you buy at a Christmas market? All sorts of Christmassy gifts, ornaments, and traditional foods and sweets. There are even tours that take you from one city’s market to the next. Is this something you’d like to do? Imagine the scenery as you travel around, soaking up the atmosphere, shopping for that perfect gift. I’d be willing to try it, especially since I know a branch of my ancestry began in Austria. Perhaps I still have distant relatives living there. But I am not as presumptuous as Clark Griswold (Griswold’s European Vacation). I would never walk up to their house and invite myself to stay.🙂

christmas-treeThe Austrian ties to my family ran deep. For years, my mother insisted on putting the tree up on Christmas Eve. I was a teenager by the time she finally agreed to let us get one on December 21 (her birthday). When we were small, she liked to surprise us with unwrapped toys sitting beneath the tree, something else passed down from her family. I’m not sure why they didn’t wrap gifts. It’s quite possible they simply couldn’t afford the wrappings. Or maybe they didn’t want the clean-up.

Austria is only one of many branches on my family tree. There’s also a heavy Scot branch, a smaller English one, and some Irish thrown in for good measure. Some of my Dad’s forebears from Scotland actually originated farther north. They were Vikings, and I don’t suppose they celebrated Christ’s birth until much later—after the move to Scotland.


Writing Prompt: I helped the children make paper chains and snowflakes, while we waited for the long, long day to end. Mama baked ginger cookies to decorate the tree. Would there even be a tree? We were never quite sure when Dad went out early in the day, if he’d find a suitable one. Our hopes were stretched taut and near the breaking point when little brother heard a noise.

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3 Questions Wednesday with Jayna Breigh

headshot-jayna-breighPlease welcome attorney and author, Jayna Breigh, to 3 Questions Wednesday.

Glad you could join us, Jayna. First question:

What books have fortified you as a writer? How?

Jayna: I have a thing for reading the Introductions to books and the Acknowledgement section. Interestingly, I have been fortified by small nuggets of writing advice found in books having nothing to do with the craft of writing. In the Acknowledgments to The Songs of Jesus by Timothy Keller and his wife Kathy Keller, Kathy says she and her husband were behind schedule with their writing right from the start of the project. Been there! Then she candidly admits that the first draft was, “unfortunately, awful−crammed full of information and ideas on every page that it was a dense as a haiku…” Guilty again. Their editor, “rightly rejected it because the format was too complex and not accessible enough.” Imagine, multi-published nationally renowned authors have their works rejected, make massive rewrites, have to start from scratch? The final product of all of their revisions and hard work is a beautiful and fortifying devotional that I have been loving for the past half a year.

The second nugget came as my children and I were listening to the audio book version of Watership Down by Richard Adams. Adams stated he submitted his manuscript, “to one publisher after another as well as to several literary agents. It was rejected again and again (seven times in all), always on the same ground…” Then Adams said this, “I refused to alter the draft in any way, and went on knocking on doors.” Amazing. He decided to believe in himself and what he wrote. How encouraging. Sometimes people just don’t get what we’ve written. If we’ve done our part−had it edited, critiqued, polished−we should have confidence in our effort. There is more in the Introduction, but there is not space here. In any event, Watership Down went on to win, among other prizes, the 1972 Carnegie Medal from the Library Association, recognizing the year’s best children’s book and the annual Guardian Children’s Fiction Prize.

I love the novel Watership Down! 🙂 Such a wonderful allegory. Now…

What secret talents do you have?

Jayna: I am an introvert, but I can talk to anyone and I find almost everyone fascinating. As a lawyer I took hundreds of depositions. Meaning, I sat in a room and asked strangers questions for hours on end. Everyone has done something interesting. And, once you find the right question to determine that thing, you can talk to them for hours about it.

That’s such an encouraging talent. Last question:

If we came to your house for dinner, what would you prepare for us?

Jayna: One of two things would happen if you came to my house for dinner. We would either have takeout, or my husband would bustle me off to the side and commandeer the entire production. I don’t know what you would have. But, either way, I know you would like it.

So glad you dropped by! Jayna has graciously offered to give someone a $10 Amazon gift card just for commenting on her interview.  Comment below and be entered…


headshot-jayna-breighJayna Breigh is a wife, home educator, and an attorney who practiced in Beverly Hills and Los Angeles for more than a decade.  Currently she resides in the Southeast with her husband and two children.  Jayna enjoys online word tile games and British period dramas.

Jayna has spoken at women’s retreats, led women’s Bible studies, and has taught and facilitated women’s and parenting seminars on topics ranging from sharing the faith, life skills management, and mother daughter relationships. She is also a member of the ACFW. Her current work in progress is a Finalist in the Inspirational category of the First Coast Romance Writers 2016, Beacon Contest, and took Second Place in the Central Ohio Fiction Writers 2016, Ignite the Flame Contest. You can connect with Jayna at www.JaynaBreigh.com and on Facebook at www.Facebook.com/JaynaBreigh.

We Have November Winners!

winter-1769244_1280Merry Christmas! It’s been a fun-filled time of year on our blog with our Once Upon a Christmas Giveaway II now over. Our winners were Nancy Costello and Caryl Kane. Congrats, ladies!

Now we still have our regular November winners to announce. Did you make our list?

Congratulations to Mimi on Life for winning the $10 Starbucks card given by Bonita McCoy.

The $25 Amazon card gifted by Cynthia Herron goes to GraceMamaof4. Woo hoo!

And Lisa Lickel’s book, UnderStory, has been won by Linda Yezak. Yay!

A big THANK YOU to all our faithful readers for taking the time to stop by and comment.

Disappointed you didn’t win? Next month, we’ll give away more books. See you then!

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Christmas Time’s A-Comin’

by Carlton Hughes

christmas-carI know my fellow bloggers have traveled to exotic locales for their posts this month, but I will be staying close to home. Christmas in the mountains of Eastern Kentucky, where I’ve lived most of my life, is special, and, growing up, I loved spending time with my grandparents during the holidays.

I always knew it was the time of the season when my maternal grandmother Arietta broke out her 45 record (a small round thing, like a vinyl CD, for those of records-1223305_1280you who don’t know) of “Christmas Time’s A-Comin’” by Bill Monroe. We’d play it over and over, pour a glass or two of eggnog, and call my out-of-town uncles to make them homesick. If I was really lucky, she’d make a batch of her homemade gingerbread, which I slathered with peanut butter before devouring.

My paternal grandparents, Clarence and Dema, would put up a small tree in the family room, and aunts, uncles, and cousins gathered on Christmas Eve to exchange gifts. I would get chocolate pie, served up with my grandmother’s favorite drink—green lemon-lime Kool-Aid. The Hughes side of the family is musically inclined, so members would often bring their guitars and play and sing. Unfortunately the musical gene passed me by, as I can play the radio and not much else.

christmas-tree-83122_1280My grandparents have all passed away, but the memories are still fresh and fond. My wife and I and our parents have created new traditions with my sons. One particular year it snowed several inches on Christmas Day, so we were stranded at my parents’ house for a few days. At least we had my boys’ new toys to play with!

I could travel the world over and not find a better place to spend Christmas than in my Eastern Kentucky Mountains.


WRITING PROMPT: Recreate a Christmas scene from your childhood, recalling sights, sounds, and even smells.

 

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Once Upon a Christmas Winner!

The contest is over. It’s always kind of sad when it’s over. But we had lots of entries, so after a random drawing, we’re ready to announce the winner:

bear-1294048_1280Congratulations, Nancy Costello! You have won our Grand Prize of a $40 Barnes and Noble card, and various other gifts, including several books.

We didn’t really advertise a second prize, but one reader set herself apart and drew our attention by having the highest number of entries. christmas-541784_1280So after a quick discussion we decided she needed to win a prize for persistence. Congratulations, Caryl Kane, you have won a $5 Starbucks card, and a beautiful bookmark.

Thanks, all of you for taking part in our Christmas celebration. We appreciate all of our readers and hope you will continue to make the Writing Prompts blog part of your regular reading. And stay tuned for more news about next year’s giveaways!

schutzengelchen-1690676_1280Have a blessed Holiday Season!

Betty Thomason Owens, for the Writing Prompts Crew

Desire’s Promise by Karen Jurgens

picmonkey-photoToday we welcome one of our own Crew members, author Karen Jurgens, to discuss her latest release, Desire’s Promise.

Tell us a little bit about yourself and your background.

Karen: I was born with a big imagination. Since there were twelve years between my older brother and me, I grew up as an only child. I spent my days different ways–  acting out plays, (especially about princesses and Knight’s in shining armor), playing school and house with my dolls, and devouring books (the Bobbsey Twin series was my favorite). After I learned how to write cursive, I penned the stories I acted out and have been writing ever since. My innate love of English carried me through a teaching career until I retired two years ago. Now I am a full-time author and blogger. I enjoy angling my writing so as to minister to my readers through scriptural answers to life’s trials.

What genre are your books? What draws you to this genre?

Karen: I write contemporary Christian romance. Not planned—I just fell into it. Last year my local critique group had decided to publish an anthology with a Christmas theme, and I joined in. Since retiring from my teaching career, I miss my interaction with teens and have always wanted to make a difference in their lives for Christ. After re-editing and expanding my original novella into Desire’s Promise, it was clear that this story targets that age group. It was born out of my personal desire to see my daughters happily married to Christian husbands, just as I had set out to do that age. For young adults who are seeking a Christian mate, this story illustrates the miracles God can perform if you trust Him with your future.

Do you work from an outline or do you see where an idea takes you?

Karen: I do some of both. I am a plotter and a pantster. I first map an outline of the entire story’s main plot and characters. But as I create a scene, the characters come alive, like actors on a stage, and show me what they want to say. It’s funny how they become so real to me, even creating their own subplots. If I ever sink into writer’s block, I  give the scene back to the characters, although sometimes we have a tug-of-war. In the end, everyone is satisfied. There’s never a dull moment when the creative juices are flowing.

What is the hardest thing about writing?

Karen: The hardest thing for me was learning how to write fiction. I had always been an expert in non-fiction and editing from my English background, but this is a new animal and harder than I expected. I had to take the time to research and read books about deep POV, beats and tags, and character development arcs. Then I had to learn all the current trends, such as adverbs are a no-no (which distresses me because I love them so), and cook up strong, exotic verbs to replace them. Although I was well acquainted with “show-don’t-tell,” I have to constantly police my writing so as not to violate that rule. I’m no expert yet, but it gets a little easier as I progress.

Where do you see yourself in five years?

Karen: I see myself as an editor working for a publishing company. I have recently begun exploring this option and love it. It is so much more enjoyable for me to help writers to become better at their craft. That is where I have invested my entire career and am at my best. My ultimate dream? To someday even become a publisher.

Thanks, Karen, for the visit!


Desire’s Promise

Carlie Livingston is steering into her last year of college in desires-promise-ebook-1Oxford, Ohio, confident that she and Lance Holloway are headed to the altar after graduation. Those plans are wrecked, however, by her dad’s infidelity, causing her parents to walk through a messy divorce. Will she have the same fate if she marries her college sweetheart who comes from a secular family? Her mother insists she will.

She tests God’s Word by letting Him take the wheel of her life. But if God is in control, why are all her close relationships crumbling?  Nothing makes sense.

Just when it appears hopeless, Clay McKinney two-steps into Carlie’s life, promising to provide everything she’s looking for. But if he’s God’s answer, why can’t her heart release Lance? Where will her final destination be on this journey of trust?


 

karenjurgensharrisonKaren Jurgens, a Cincinnati native, has been a Texan transplant for thirty years and counting. As a lifelong writer, she has written stories since her elementary school days. As an adult, she wrote Christian fiction for her church’s newspaper as well as non-fiction that was published in a national magazine.

Since retiring from teaching in 2014, she has begun a new career as an author, blogger, and speaker within the context of Christian ministry. Her first contemporary romance novella, A Christmas Mosaic, was published in October 2015, and is part of a multi-author anthology, Warm Mulled Kisses. Her second novella, Desire’s Promise, was published in November, 2016.

Karen is the proud mother of two wonderful daughters—Meghan, a dietician, and Caitlin, a journalist. As an avid gourmet cook, she loves to go all out for holidays and family birthdays. She enjoys spin classes, reading the Classics, and playing online word games. Participating in several professional organizations, volunteering, Bible studies, and her invaluable critique group keep her actively engaged in her community.

You can follow her blog about scriptural answers to life’s trials at Touched by Him Ministries at www.karenjurgens.com.

eBook Link: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01M4PPF38

Fb Author Page: http://www.facebook.com/TheKarenJurgens

Twitter: https://twitter.com/karenha00661653

LinkedIn: www.linkedin.com/in/karen-harrison-52aa4071