3 Questions Wednesday with June Foster

june-and-her-kindleToday I’m pleased to welcome my friend and author, June Foster, as our guest today.

Hi June! So glad you dropped by so we can get better acquainted. Here’s the first question: 

What inspires you?

June: Interesting question, Jennifer. I get inspired by God’s creation and His hand in our lives. I can see His workmanship in a glowing orange sunset splashed across the sky. I see the Lord’s work when a person I’ve known makes a radical change because he’s asked Jesus into his life.

In writing, I get inspired when I’m creating a character and suddenly know how I can portray him as someone who’s faltered then finds victory in the Savior’s love.

That is inspiring. Now, here’s a scenario for you:

You’re a new addition to the crayon box. What color would you be and why?

June: I love this question. I believe I’d take my place with the others in the box as royal purple. Purple is a color often associated with kings, and since I’m a member of the kingdom ruled by the King of Kings, Jesus Christ, I would best represent Him by wearing a purple.

Purple is a beautiful color. Last question:

As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?

June: Because both my mother and aunt were teachers, I figured that’s what I’d go for. I taught elementary children for 34 years but never realized the Lord would call me to write novels after that.

A noble profession. Thanks so much for dropping by, June!

June has offered a Kindle copy of her latest book, Restoration of the Heart, to one blessed person who leaves a comment.


restoration-of-the-heartThough a Christian, Luke Chamberlain ignored his values and indulged in his beautiful fiancé’s world of alcohol, parties, and nights at her apartment. After rededicating his life to the Lord, he vows never to fall into the lifestyle again. When the state of Idaho’s Tourism Department offers his construction company the contract to renovate Silver Cliff, an 1890’s silver mining ghost town, he accepts.

Janie Littleton studied history in college because life in the past is simpler than the uncomfortable reality of the present. With her extra pounds, eye glasses, and mousy brown hair, no man would find her attractive. When she’s offered the job of project historian at the restoration of Silver Cliff, she accepts. But as Luke Chamberlain shows an interest in her, she doubts his sincerity. To make matters worse, someone claiming to be the miner who founded Silver Cliff in 1890 intimidates her with frightening midnight visits.

Can Luke convince Janie he’s in love with the godly woman she is? Can Janie hold onto her faith as she’s harassed by frightening appearances of old Ezra Barclay who died a hundred years ago?

Link for Restoration of the Heart:   http://tinyurl.com/jad7smk


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An award-winning author, June Foster is a retired teacher with a BA in education and MA in counseling. June has written fourteen Christian romances with more to come. June enjoys writing stories about characters who overcome the circumstances in their lives by the power of God and His Word.

 

Pets: A Connection of Reader to the Story

By Fay Lamb

cat-71494_1280When I sit down to start a work in progress, I rarely have secondary characters in mind. My focus stays on the main characters and building their plots. As the story grows, the secondary characters come onto stage and show me their roles in the lives of the characters. Sometimes those secondary characters are pets or animals that parallel a character’s strength or weakness.

The way a character relates with the animals in their environment tells a lot about them. To date, I have included two cows, some chickens, a dog named Cletus, and a wild bear tagged Bumblebee.

In Better Than Revenge, the heroine owns a small farm. The care she and her son give to the animals shows much about the heroine’s character. She is a hard worker who’s brought up her son, teaching him not to slack his duty. She is caring, and when she is focused on keeping her son safe, he is much in tune with the care of the livestock, showing that his mother’s love has not been lost on him—and that’s a very important part of the story.

In my romance, Charisse, Cletus is a golden retriever. He is responsible for literally having the hero, Gideon, run into Charisse. Cletus’s unconditional love mirrores that of the love that the hero has for his heroine. In attempting to keep her secrets hid and to hold to her anger with regard to her husband’s death, Charisse is not easy to love, but like a dog with a bone, Gideon doesn’t surrender easily. Cletus also becomes a bridge that ties the hero to the heroine’s young son, a boy who, in his sadness, has forgotten how to laugh. At least, until Cletus mowed him over with wet sloppy kisses and a game of catch.dog-1082307_960_720

In my latest novel, Everybody’s Broken, Shane Browne has inherited a valuable piece of untamed mountain. He guards it and the wildlife with vigilance. When Shane begins to include the heroine’s young, twin sons on the hikes he and his daughter take up the mountain, they encounter Bumblebee.

Teaching the boys how to respect nature, Shane shares with the boys what to do in case the old lumbering Ms. Bumblebee advances toward them.

Yet Shane has a sense that Bumblebee is drawn to the boys. She deliberately steps into the clearing, always staying a respectful distance from them. If possible, he believes that she performs for them, but she never seems a danger to them. At least not until …

Bumblebees reaction to and her actions toward the boy mirror the feelings of protectiveness growing in Shane, and when Bumblebee does the unthinkable, Shane must trust that the bear knows what’s best for her adopted “cubs.”

In the two series that are written now, unless they come onto stage of my imagination and surprise me, I do not expect to have another animal. While I used Bumblebee to heighten the suspense for my readers, I can state that the one thing I will never do is to bring an animal into a story simply to play upon the emotions of a reader. An animal must always connect to the lead characters and advance the story forward. It is only then that they can become an emotional attachment.

A cheap shot for me, as an author, would be to take the rug out from under the reader and allow that connection to sever. Like it or not, most people will become attached to a four-legged character more readily than they will a two-legged one. As a reader, when a pet or another animal dies in a book, that’s all for me. Even if I continue to read, the message of the story is lost on me. My heart is broken. I feel I have been played, and I’m not delving too deeply into that story to have the author rip out the remaining pieces. Therefore, a reader might experience a suspenseful moment or two, but they can take a breath and relax. The animals in my stories aren’t going to die.

Now, the two-legged creatures …?


Fay LambFay Lamb is an editor, writing coach, and author, whose emotionally charged stories remind the reader that God is always in the details. Fay has contracted three series. With the release of Everybody’s Broken, three of the four books in the Amazing Grace romantic suspense series, which also includes Stalking Willow and Better than Revenge, are currently available for purchase. Charisse and Libby the first two novels in her The Ties That Bind contemporary romance series have been released.

Fay has also collaborated on two Christmas novella projects: The Christmas Three Treasure Hunt, and A Ruby Christmas, and the Write Integrity Press romance novella series, which includes A Dozen Apologies, The Love Boat Bachelor, and Unlikely Merger. Her adventurous spirit has taken her into the realm of non-fiction with The Art of Characterization: How to Use the Elements of Storytelling to Connect Readers to an Unforgettable Cast.

Future releases from Fay are: Frozen Notes, Book 4 of the Amazing Grace series and Hope and Delilah, Books 3 and 4 from The Ties that Bind series.

Fay loves to meet readers, and you can find her on her personal Facebook page, her Facebook Author page, and at The Tactical Editor on Facebook. She’s also active on Twitter. Then there are her blogs: On the Ledge, Inner Source, and the Tactical Editor. And, yes, there’s one more: Goodreads.

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3 Questions Wednesday with Jennifer Slattery

biophotocroppededited2016Welcome back to 3 Questions Wednesday,  author and speaker, Jennifer Slattery. Jennifer and I have been friends for a while and we try to meet at conferences when we get a chance. I love all her books and I know you’ll love them also…

First question, my friend:

What inspires you?

Jennifer: I’d have to say Jesus Christ as I seem to get a great deal of writing ideas and feel a strong pull to write on Sundays. This makes me chuckle as I always take Sunday off—except for one time when something urgent came through I needed to deal with as an editor. I suppose I could also say down time inspires me, too, as that might be a reason my creativity gets charged on Sundays.

I also tend to get ideas as I research. So, I’ll start with an idea, and honestly, I’m not sure what sparks it, and then I begin to research. The more I research, the more my imagination flows, which in turn requires more research, with leads to more ideas, which leads to …

Kind of a never-ending cycle. Great answer. Now…

You’re a new addition to the crayon box. What color would you be and why?

Jennifer: Oh, my. This is hard. I’m trying to think of my wardrobe. Right now I seem to be in a dusty pink or blush phase, though I suppose those aren’t new additions. Honestly, I can’t think of a color that hasn’t already been included in the large packs. Maybe your readers can help me out on this one. Haha!

Dusty pink sounds like a good color for you. 🙂 Last question:

As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?

Jennifer: This might make you laugh, but an Olympic gymnast. I was convinced if I worked hard enough, I could make that happen. (And I wasn’t even that good, so I suppose that says a lot about my imagination and ability to live in a make-believe world. Haha!) After that—this dream died by seventh grade or so—I don’t really remember having any dreams. Except maybe meeting Bon Jovi or George Michael. Yes, I had a slight infatuation with both.

I could picture you as a gymnast. Thanks for stopping by!

Here’s more information about her latest book:


Restoring Love

Mitch, a contractor and house-flipper, is restoring a beautiful restoringlove_n174111old house in an idyllic Midwestern neighborhood. Angela, a woman filled with regrets and recently transplanted to his area, is anything but idyllic. She’s almost his worst nightmare, and she s also working on restoring something herself. As he struggles to keep his business afloat and she works to overcome mistakes of her past, these two unlikely friends soon discover they have something unexpected in common, a young mom who is fighting to give her children a better life after her husband’s incarceration. While both Mitch and Angela are drawn to help this young mother survive, they also find themselves drawn to each other. Will a lifetime of regrets hold them back or unite them and bring redemption along with true love?

Buy it on:

Christian Book Distributors

Barnes and Noble

Amazon


biophotocroppededited2016Novelist and speaker Jennifer Slattery has a passion for helping women discover, embrace, and live out who they are in Christ. As the founder of Wholly Loved Ministries, (http://whollyloved.com) she and her team put on events at partnering churches designed to help women rest in their true worth and live with maximum impact.

She writes devotions for Internet Café Devotions, Christian living articles for Crosswalk.com, and edits for Firefly, a Southern fiction imprint with Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas. When not writing, reading, or editing, Jennifer loves going on mall dates with her adult daughter and coffee dates with her hilariously fun husband.

Visit with Jennifer online at JenniferSlatteryLivesOutLoud.com and connect with her on Facebook , Twitter, or Pinterest.

Cats Vs. Dogs: The Debate Begins

By Jennifer Hallmark

Grumpy cat on Facebook.

Cutest Dogs pins on Pinterest.

Pet Videos on You Tube.

In today’s social media driven world, the debate of cat vs. dog has only intensified. Are you a dog person, a cat person, or both?

During the month of February, we’ll take a look at our favorite pets, how writers can incorporate pets in their work, how to be a foster parent to a pet, and much more. So whether Grumpy cat makes you giggle or you prefer babies & puppies, you’ll find fun articles and photos every Monday and Friday. Maybe even a possum…

A possum?

0426161731Yep. It all began when Mom moved next door to my daughter. Granddaughter Sadie loves cats so mom adopted two outdoor cats who Sadie christened Smokey and Kissy Kat.

Mom made the new pets a nice, warm home beside the steps at the back of the house, complete with cushioned bed and heat lamp for those cold days.

She also set up a feeding area for the cats on top of a table so the dog couldn’t reach it. But she soon found out a local possum could, so she would give the cats just enough time to eat before retrieving their food dish.

One bitterly cold night, she placed the cat food in their little home and went back inside to give them time to eat. Shortly, she returned, reached in the house and grabbed the bowl, encountering a fur-less tail.

The possum had chased the cats away and was enjoying his supper in a heated home. Sadie thought he was cute and wanted to keep him. 🙂

possum

Writing Prompt: A possum in her cat’s home? She backed away and reached inside the shed for…

Save

3 Questions Wednesday with Gail Pallotta

portrait-shot-gail-pallottaToday, we welcome my friend, author Gail Pallotta, to 3 Questions Wednesday. She’s published five books, poems, short stories and two-hundred articles and is graciously offering a copy of her latest e-book, Breaking Barriers, in either mobi (kindle), epub (nook) or PDF (winner’s choice) to one person who leaves a comment.

So let’s get to the first question:

What inspires you?

Gail: I find inspiration from many sources for different aspects of life. If I hear a great sermon and beautiful music on Sunday, it inspires me to try harder the next week to do God’s will. Courageous people inspire me to live life to the fullest. Kind people inspire kindness, and so on and so forth. Lots of these same things inspire me to write blogs, articles and books. Sometimes I see a need and write about it. Usually, if I devote a book to a subject, it’s something that nagged me, or I saw the need repeating itself.

Breaking Barriers, the book I’m giving away today, nagged me. It hit me in the face for the first time in the 1960’s, when I read a newspaper headline proclaiming “God Is Dead.” I wrote an article about that and stuffed it in a drawer. However, the shock that anyone would print such an outlandish statement never left me.

Many years later I married and had a daughter. In the 1980’s she started grammar school, was chastised for wearing a cross to school, and told school wasn’t a place for God. Not long afterward, nativity scenes were banned from public places and people stopped saying “Merry Christmas.” One small town, either trying to please everyone, or trying to maintain a semblance of Christianity, declared the courthouse could put out the animals in the nativity as long as they left off Mary, Joseph and baby Jesus. Each declaration snipping away a little more of Christianity pierced my heart. I couldn’t help but wonder where all of this was headed. I penned a book about a faction trying to destroy Christianity. Once again I stuffed it in a drawer.

When I learned Joan Bauer Alley would publish a Love Is…Series based on I Corinthians 13: 4 – 8, I wanted to be part of it. I studied the passage and pondered whether or not I could write something worthy of the series. I was led to “it is not easily angered” and imagined how angry some people must be at Christians to have whittled away at our faith for so long. I remembered the writing I’d stuffed in a drawer in the 1980’s, pulled it out and based Breaking Barriers on it.

It’s wonderful that you saved your work. Now…

You’re a new addition to the crayon box. What color would you be and why?

Gail: I’d be purple because I think it’s a beautiful color. Some people say they prefer purple because it’s regal, and that’s true. However, I like that it’s a bright, happy color as well as serene and stately.

Purple makes me happy. 🙂 Last question: 

As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?

Gail: As a child I loved Nancy Drew books and wanted to be a detective. I traveled many routes to arrive at my dream job, but I’m finally solving who-done-its in my books.

I love the Hardy Boys books! Thanks, Gail, for dropping by…

Don’t forget to leave a comment to be entered to win. Here’s more information about the book:


Breaking Barriers

breakingbarrierswebsizeIn this action-packed thriller, gunshots ring out as Ann Jones enters church. She hides in the bathroom until they stop then stumbles into the sanctuary. The congregation lies dead in pools of blood. To rebuild the church, she starts True Light Guardians. At the first meeting she’s attacked by a terrorist but rescued by James Crawford. He melts her heart, cold from her father’s abuse, and they fall for each other. She’s afraid to commit to love that might grow angry later like the type she knew as a child. James yearns to stop other attempts on Ann’s life, but can’t. Tormented by her constant risks, he breaks up with her. When an assault sends her to the hospital, an unlikely ally shares Ann’s plight with James, but he reveals a lead that puts all three of them in even more danger.


portrait-shot-gail-pallottaAward-winning author Gail Pallotta is a wife, mom, swimmer and bargain shopper who loves God, beach sunsets and getting together with friends and family. A former regional writer of the year for American Christian Writers Association, she won Clash of the Titles in 2010. Her teen book, Stopped Cold, finished fourth in the 16th Annual Preditors and Editors readers’ poll and was a 2013 Grace Awards finalist. She’s published five books, poems, short stories and two-hundred articles. Some of her articles appear in anthologies while two are in museums. Gail loves to hear from readers.

Gail loves to connect with readers. To learn more about Gail and her books visit her website at http://www.gailpallotta.com and sign up for her new newsletter.

Visit her Amazon author page at amazon.com/author/gailpallotta

Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/AuthorsandMore

Blog – http://www.gailpallotta.blogspot.com

Twitter – https://twitter.com/Hopefulwords

The Transformation-Deadline Resolution

By Julie Arduini

butterfly-1518060_960_720Resolutions. Honestly, the word conjures up the image of a few years ago when I tried to find a parking spot the first Monday in January for my YMCA swim class. The lot was full with new members with their resolutions. By the third week, the parking lot was back to the regulars.

It’s probably apples and oranges, but I use the new year to have a theme. It’s often a word, sometimes two, that I am constantly on the lookout to see how it applies to my life. Previous words have been activation, chosen, preposterous, fierce, and perspective. This year?

Transformation.

My problem is I always try to define what the word will mean before the ball drops. I knew going into 2017 I was growing my hair out and using a deeper shade of red hair color. I’m hoping to use contacts and be done with glasses. We will become grandparents this year. But I know as true as these things are, God’s got something more for me with this theme.

As an author, I know I have my work cut out for me no matter how I look at the new year. Resolution or word of the year, I want to improve my craft. Find more dedicated readers who can spread the word about my books. Meet and pray with other women who have been impacted. Already I’ve come across readers who are transforming as they find freedom through surrender in Christ. How do I keep that momentum going? What are ways I can bring goals and transformation to my laptop?

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The biggest thing I’ve done is take my *iBloom planner and set some specific deadlines. I realized I didn’t pencil in previous years when a certain chapter should be written, or when I should revise something that was sent back by critique partners. With that kind of vague plan, I can see how I got sidetracked. I had written in goals for other aspects like answering emails and marketing. And before I knew it, those things bled into my writing time.

Will I perfect the process? Probably not. I missed a couple writing goals for one project as I shuffled kids to medical appointments. I need to give myself grace. However, I also need to keep the YMCA emptier-lot-in-late-January visual close in mind. I don’t want to let go of my self-imposed deadlines. The transformation I want to see at the end of 2017 should be a positive one. I really believe creating deadlines for my writing will help me get there.

Do you keep deadlines for yourself? Do you have a difficult time meeting them?

Writing Prompt:  Chelsea had the mall’s gate nearly closed for the tween store called The Jewelry Box when she heard heavy breathing and footsteps coming in her direction. Chelsea turned and saw a woman with a stroller blazing toward her. The stranger stopped short of the gate, panting. “Please, I need your help. Let me inside the store before…”

*The iBloom link is an affiliated one where I receive a small royalty off any purchase.


december2016daycareJulie Arduini loves to encourage readers to surrender the good, the bad, and —maybe one day—chocolate. She’s the author of the re-release, ENTRUSTED: Surrendering the Present, as well as the sequel, ENTANGLED: Surrendering the Past. She also shared her story in the infertility devotional, A WALK IN THE VALLEY. She blogs every other Wednesday for Christians Read. She resides in Ohio with her husband and two children. Learn more by visiting her at http://juliearduini.com, where she invites readers to subscribe to her monthly newsletter full of resources and giveaway opportunities at JULIE ARDUINI: SURRENDER ISSUES AND CHOCOLATE and the weekly e mail. SUNDAY’S SURRENDER AND CHOCOLATE.

Connect with Julie on Facebook, Twitter, G+, Pinterest, Instagram, Snapchat, Goodreads, and Amazon. Check out her monthly newsletter here.


Entangled: Surrendering the Past

Book #2, Surrendering Time Series

entangledfinal“You need to leave me alone. It’s the least you can do.”

Carla Rowling has been given her dream of attending cosmetology school. The gift is so generous she feels unworthy because of choices she made as a teen. The pressure mounts as Carla juggles school, is a single mom, helps her best friend Jenna plan her wedding, spends time with boyfriend Will Marshall, and deals with the fact that her son’s father is back in their lives. 

Will Marshall is the one Speculator Falls resident everyone can count on. His truck deliveries are reliable. He’s the first to help friends like Ben Regan with boat work or be a card partner with Bart Davis. Will’s ready to settle down with Carla, loving her is natural. He’s bonded with her son, Noah. But when Carla starts cosmetology school, she puts emotional distance between her and Will.

Can Carla release her past and create a future full of highlights, or, will she burn her options worse than a bad perm?

Purchase Link:  Amazon (Kindle and Print):  http://www.amazon.com/Entangled-Surrendering-Past-Time/dp/0692713476/

Entangled is book #2. Although it can standalone, if you’d like to read Entrusted: Surrendering the Present first, click here: https://www.amazon.com/Entrusted-Surrendering-Present-Time/dp/0692709177/

My One Word for 2017: Persevere

By Cynthia Herroncynthia-herron

Welcome!

I’m so glad you stopped by.

Now that another year’s behind us, I’ve reflected on past goals mastered and met, and a few things I didn’t accomplish. I’ve set new goals for the coming year and I’ve realigned priorities.

As I mentioned in my recent newsletter, I rarely (if ever) make New Year’s resolutions, which are too easily broken, forgotten, or made in haste. I opt for “goals” instead.

Goals force us to examine our dreams and desires, usually through a step-by-step process. We might organize a plan to attain our goals and then enlist mentors to keep us focused and on track.

Last year, along with new goals—for the first time ever, I chose one word to ground me and center my thinking. That word was encourage. It fit me. It’s my life philosophy.

This year, as I contemplated my word, the choice seemed obvious. It’s a tough one—a word writers know well.

dont-give-up

My one word for 2017 is PERSEVERE.

As some dreams withered and died, others have been resurrected. Still, this writing journey isn’t easy.

The writing life takes tenacity, focus, and flexibility.

It demands work, self-direction, and wit.

It requires courage.

Balance.

Shoe-leather skin.

Transparency.

Good judgment.

The high road.

A sensitive heart.

An intuitive spirit.

A listening ear.

Drive.

Determination.

Sometimes, tears.

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As one year melds into the next, defeat would seem the saner option.

However, I’m a writer.

Sanity is overrated.

And you know what they say about insanity.

However—I would add this caveat.

We persevere until we get it right.

As we learn, grow, and try new things—while testing what works and discarding what doesn’t—while envisioning success.

“Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything…” (James 1:2-4 NIV)


cynthia-herronCynthia Herron writes Heartfelt, Homespun Fiction from the beautiful Ozark Mountains.

A hopeless romantic at heart, Cynthia enjoys penning stories about ordinary people facing extraordinary circumstances. She has a degree in psychology and a background in social work. She is a member of ACFW, ACFW MozArks, and RWA.

Cynthia is a 2016 ACFW Genesis (Double) Finalist and a 2015 ACFW First Impressions Winner. Her short story Words from the Heart appears in The Story Anthology (Karen Kingsbury/Family Fiction) via Salem Publications, 2014.

Besides writing, Cynthia delights in serving the Lord and spending time with her family and friends. She has a fondness for gingerbread men, miniature teapots, and all things apple. Join her at: http://www.authorcynthiaherron.com/ for weekly encouragement.