Secrets & Charades by Cindy Ervin Huff

Please welcome Cindy Ervin Huff, multi-published writer and 2014 Editor’s Choice winner for her debut novel Secrets and Charades.

Hi Cindy! Tell us a little bit about yourself and your background.

Cindy: I’ve been married to my soul mate, Charles, for 43 years. We have 5 children and 6 grandchildren.  I’m a pioneer homeschool mom. (By that I mean it was back in the day when people thought it was illegal.)

I grew up a military brat so I am definitely an extrovert. I learned to make friends fast because Dad was usual transferred every few years. Talking to strangers is as natural as breathing for me.

I’ve been writing since junior high off and on. Life interrupted me. Still I managed to get published in a variety of venues. Now that I am in my jubilee years, (over 50- and then some.) I write consistently.

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

Cindy: I write Historical Fiction. I love placing modern day emotional dilemmas in a historical setting. At the same time, my agent is promoting my Contemporary Romance. My romances are full of surprise twists.

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

I am a pantster who jots down ideas and directions as they come to me when I’m not at the keyboard. Lots of scrap paper to collect later. I do a sketchy outline. The characters always take me where I least expect it. And I create a character sketch to keep the basic facts straight on my main characters. My secondary characters are more fluid. They can change a few times throughout the drafting process. Their name, profession, gender aren’t set in stone. Even some scene settings can shift from rough to the final draft.

What is the hardest thing about writing?

Cindy: Believing in yourself. Doubts keep a writer from consistently putting words on the page every day. It clogs up the submission process. And slows the whole timeline for becoming the writer God desires.

Where do you see yourself in five years?

Cindy: I hope to see five more books published.  Lord willing I’d like to teach some classes and continue to be an encouragement for writers. And who knows maybe Hubby and I can take our bucket list trip to the UK.

Thanks for taking time to drop by, Cindy!


Secrets & Charades 

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?


Cindy Huff, a multi-published writer and 2014 Editor’s Choice winner for her first novel Secrets and Charades has a passion to encourage other writers on their journey. Check out her blog Jubilee Writer www.jubileewriter.wordpress.com or visit with her on social media.

Amazon Author page:https://www.amazon.com/dp/1946016144/

Facebook Author page:   https ://www.facebook.com/author.huff11/

Twitter: twitter.com/CindyErvinHuff

Facebook:www.facebook.com/cindy.e.huff.

Will You Find Treasure This Year?

By Tammy Trail

Spring is the time for new beginnings. The birds are out tweeting. Barnyard animals frolic through the grass with younger versions of themselves in the warm sunshine. Humans tend to frolic out of doors also. Yard work calls us into labor. We’ll wear shorts in 60-degree weather because we long for the warmth of spring days.

Cleaning takes on a new meaning in the Spring. Have you noticed any ” Yard Sale”  signs out yet? Not to worry, they’re coming. You can be sure that folks will be going through those closets soon and setting gently used merchandise in the “for sale” pile.

Most likely, there is a community of people in your town or city who love to yard sale. They will either have a sale of their own, or wake up early on a Saturday mornings and drive to them. That old saying, “one man’s trash is another man’s treasure” is surely their motto.

Websites, blogs, and even Pinterest share lots of tips for setting up your own yard sale. Here are a few:

  1. Make your signs attractive and visible to the car passing by your yard. There are some cute ideas on Pinterest with catchy phrases and decorations.
  2. Prices should be easy to read. Putting them on the top of an item is better.
  3. Make sure you have enough cash to make change. Chances are everyone will want to pay with a $20 bill.
  4. Ask a friend or neighbor to help you. While you are distracted, someone could walk off with a potential sale. Another set of eyes can help discourage a thief.
  5. Selling cold beverages will add to your sales.

If you are an early riser on Saturday mornings and love to bargain, here are some tips for you as well.

  1. Wear comfortable shoes. You may need to park some distance away from the yard, or stand in line before taking your treasure home.
  2. Check the box before purchasing an item. There may be something entirely different inside when you get home.
  3. When buying something electrical, ask if you can plug it in to check it. If it takes batteries, make sure the battery compartment is not corroded.
  4. Never buy used car seats for babies or toddlers from a garage sale. Once they have been involved in an accident they are useless.
  5. Purchasing your items with smaller bills will make your seller smile. She or he won’t need to worry about making a lot of change.

My favorite garage/yard sale item was found by my parents. As a young girl, I had a portrait of Jesus hanging on my wall. I talked to him every night before I went to sleep. When I grew up and moved away, I left that picture behind. Through the years, I assumed my parents had gotten rid of it, or it was lost in a move from one house to another.

Last year, I went to visit my Mom to help her get ready for a yard sale. In a corner of her basement, behind a couple of boxes, I found my old friend. He is with me now in my home. One of these days, I will get my picture of Jesus re-framed and hung on the wall in my bedroom.

Click to tweet: Have you noticed any ” Yard Sale”  signs out yet?

Here’s a good prompt: Free puppies today.

Save

3 Questions Wednesday with Jennifer Hallmark

Today’s 3 Questions Wednesday guest is Writing Prompts’  founder and editor-in-chief, Jennifer Hallmark.

Welcome to 3 Questions, Jennifer. You know the drill–

What inspires you?

Jennifer: When I think about what inspires me to write, I go back to my youth. As a shy introvert, books meant so much. I read books like The Pilgrims Progress and Quo Vadis and dreamed of writing books some day that would mean as much to someone else as these and others meant to me. When I get tired of moving forward, I remember.

Most writers know that feeling and would agree with you. We all want to create stories that will touch lives and leave a lasting impression.

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

Jennifer: A light shade of pink. When I was a kid, it was a draw between purple and pink but eventually pink won out. My study is painted a super pale shade of pink and I love it. I wear a lot of pastel colors and often get my toenails painted bright pink. 🙂

Pink is such a happy color! And bright polish on the toes makes everything better. Final question…

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

Jennifer: First, a ballerina. Then I moved on to a singer, singing Donny Osmond tunes into my hairbrush. Then a writer and an artist. The artist won out in my early adult years as I tried all types of arts, crafts, and drawing. After my dad passed suddenly when I was twenty-eight, writing became therapy for me and eventually morphed into more than a hobby.

Jennifer has graciously offered a $10 Amazon gift card to one reader who leaves a comment. 


Jennifer Hallmark is a writer of Southern fiction and also fantasy; a combination that keeps the creative juices flowing.

She’s published over 200 articles and interviews on the internet, short stories in several magazines, and been part of three book compilations: The Heart Seekers Series, Sweet Freedom A La Mode, and Not Alone: A Literary and Spiritual Companion for Those Confronted with Infertility and Miscarriage.

Jennifer’s website, Alabama-Inspired Fiction, and the group blog she co-founded, focus on her books, love of the South, and helping writers. She sends out a monthly newsletter, which you can subscribe to at her author page. You can visit her on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest.

Jennifer and her husband, Danny, have spent their married life in Alabama and have a basset hound, Max. Their daughter Mandy is married to Tim and they have two beautiful daughters, Ava, and Sadie, and a handsome son, Zeke. Their son, Jonathan, is married to Kristie and they have two beautiful daughters, Phoebe Jill and Rozlyn Claire, and a handsome son, Cohen .

Jennifer loves to read detective fiction from the Golden Age, watch movies like LOTR, and play with all her grandchildren. At times, she writes.

Save

I Can’t Work With Clean

By Gail Johnson

Are you a planner or a free-spirit? Organized or messy? Plotter or pantser?

Now, you may be wondering what my questions have to do with organizing your writing. Well, for starters, one man’s idea of organization is another man’s idea of a mess. And the more you know about yourself, the more productive your life will be.

For example, in the movie, Yours, Mine & Ours, Rene Russo plays Helen North, a free-spirited artist. Dennis Quaid plays Naval officer, Frank Beardsley, who runs a tight ship. When they decide to marry, worlds collide as Quaid tries to change his wife’s messy ways.

I can't work with clean. I have a deadline

I’m a mixture of both characters. When it comes to my house and yard, I’m a militaristic planner with a to-do list longer than my arm. I get a tick when something is out of place. And when I’m unable to clean or rake… Mama ain’t happy!

On the other hand, when it comes to writing, I’m one of the worst organizers around. I’ve written on restaurant napkins, oil filter box tops—it was all hubby had in the truck, at the time—and the bottom of my shoe. Yep, with my favorite pen.

A Pilot G-2 05 gel pen and a composition book are my choice instruments for the first chapters. Using longhand puts the writing side of me in control. While at the computer, the mouthy critic and finicky editor take over.

Also, writing longhand allows me to write all over the house and the yard.  Personally, when my body is in motion, my brain is in motion. Writing is easy. My characters talk a mile a minute and their words fill the empty pages.

writing-427527_1920

Eventually, I have a good idea where the story is going. Then and only then, do I sit down at a computer. And even then, I don’t hide my notes in documents. Yes, I know about Evernote, Onenote, Who note and all those other notes. But if “I” put my notes in a document, I tend to forget about them. I “need” to see them, at all times. And that makes for a messy desk!

The same goes for my office. I have papers scattered from one end of the room to the other. I have a write-on board for lyrics and a plotting board for scenes. At first glance, one would think it is a mess, but I tell you there is a method to my madness.

Steve MartinThe point I’m trying to make is this: we will drive ourselves nuts trying to be something we’re not. Furthermore, we will waste more time trying to conform to an idea rather than spending time writing. We need to understand what works best for us, and then do it.

Show up. Set longer times to write, shorter times for social media. Set a word count. Spend quiet time listening to characters. But most of all, write!

When we create a personalized plan, our stories will come together. And before long, we’ll be looking at a completed manuscript.

Click to tweet: I can’t work with clean. I have a deadline.

Writing Prompt

Now, for all you mystery lovers. This one’s for you. See if you can finish the writing prompt with three words. Can’t wait to read your comments!

Bakery closed today.

Save

Summer’s Refrain by Sue A. Fairchild

Please make welcome freelance editor, writer, Christian and blogger, Sue Fairchild. She joins us today to talk about all things writing and her latest release, Summer’s Refrain.

Hello, Sue! Tell us a little about yourself and your background.

Sue: I’m a small town girl, but I’m pretty savvy. I have a BA in graphic design, and I love words. I’m a nitpicker at heart and can find the littlest of errors. I think that’s what makes me a good editor, but it is a trait that sometimes makes my husband a little crazy.

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

Sue: I’ve finished two books at this point, one is a young adult and the other is women’s contemporary. I think both look at how woman grow and learn from one another, though. I’m draw to strong female characters. I want to show how woman can support one another, how we can encourage one another and can learn from each other. If we go it alone – it’s so much harder.

Do you work to an outline or prefer to see where an idea takes you?

Sue:  I never use an outline. Not on paper anyway. I usually have a general idea in my head where I want the story to go, but the characters typically start to take on a life of their own, so I just let them guide me. Both of my published novels did not start out the way they’ve come to be, but they are exactly what they should be now.

What is the hardest thing about writing?

Sue: Starting with that first word. I have a lot in my head, but I’m often away from my computer and I don’t like to hand write things. Then, all too often, I get busy with life stuff and it doesn’t get put down. When I commit – it flows.

Where do you see yourself in five years?

Sue: As a well-respected part of the editor community with several more books behind me. I have a non fiction Bible study aimed at negative thinkers in the works as well as a sequel, of sorts, to my YA. I’d love to also be a speaker at conferences.

Thanks for dropping by, Sue!


Summer’s Refrain

A refrain can be a repeated action, but also can mean to abstain from doing an action – which will Summer choose?

Summer Stewart is ready to run. Again. 

Running away from relationships and hardening her heart to love—that’s what Summer does best. When her boyfriend, Lou, unintentionally hurts her, she decides it’s time to hit the road once again. But Mrs. Delwich, her eccentric neighbor, intervenes and takes her on a powerful and thought-provoking supernatural trip through Summer’s past. As Summer is confronted with the choices both she and her mother have made, she realizes her life has been repeating for decades—well before she was born.

Now, faced with the biggest decision of her life, will Summer repeat the refrain or will she choose a different song?

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B06XBP4CS2

What You Think You Know

What would you do if your lifelong friend betrayed you?

Fifteen-year-old Emily Forester is sure of one thing: Beth Myers will be her friend forever. Friends almost since birth, they even share the same nervous habit—biting their cuticles. They’re like sisters and nothing can ever change that, or so Emily thought.

Now, Emily discovers Beth displaying disturbing new habits, and begins to doubt how well she knows her best friend after all. When Beth betrays their sister-like bond, Emily is crushed and considers what life would be like without Beth. She’s already lost her mom; will she lose Beth, too?

The one concrete thing in her life, her friendship with Beth, starts to crumble. Longing to talk with her mother, Emily confides in her dad instead and he reveals more shocking secrets. Will these new revelations bolster her relationship with Beth, or tear them apart forever?

What You Think You Know is a young adult novel for every young woman in your life who may be faced with betrayal, broken friendships and the heartbreaks of youth. 

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01MTKKEKR


Sue A. Fairchild is a blogger, writer, and editor. She has been a contributor to the Chicken Soup for the Soul book series twice and has recently published a young adult novel, What You Think You Know as well as a contemporary women’s novel, Summer’s Refrain. Sue also edits professionally for Christian Editor Connection and is a member of ACFW. For more information on her professional services and to read more of her simple snippets, please visit her website Sue’s Simple Snippets: Life, Love and the Pursuit of Happiness. You can also connect with her on Facebook, or Twitter.

A Clean Schedule

by Betty Owens

A clean house. It’s what we all want, right? How many of you have trouble achieving it? (My hand is in the air). You work full or part-time, you have children, you’re a writer on a deadline–you barely manage to keep up with the day-to-day. Your biggest fear: unexpected company. How do you cope?

I love a clean, uncluttered house. I can’t relax if there’s dust on the furniture, fingerprints on the wall, toddler nose prints on the window. But sometimes those things have to wait their turn. So I’ve found a way to get through. I have a schedule.

Laundry happens on Mondays and Thursdays. Even though there are only two of us here, it is simply amazing how many clothes we go through. Mostly the guy who takes two showers a day, of course!

I change the sheets on the same day every week, and vacuum the whole house on Fridays. We have a walk-in shower that takes about an hour to clean, so that gets done on the same day I change the sheets. Having a schedule helps me accomplish these chores. It’s not set in stone. Sometimes I miss a day and have to catch up. Every once in a while, I miss a week altogether. But sooner or later, it gets done, because I’m really not comfortable otherwise.

When I tackle window-washing, I wash a couple of windows at a time (inside and out). Most of our windows are floor-to-ceiling, so it takes a little longer. I schedule the job over three or four days. I do the same thing with the kitchen cabinets. Time is not the only reason I break these jobs into sections. Stamina definitely plays a part. While I used to be able to stay at it for an entire day, now I run out of energy! And right in the middle of a job like that–inspiration seems to hit! I have the idea I need to finish a scene or a story. I have to stop, right?

Absolutely. Right now, my bookshelves are calling me. I honestly can’t remember the last time I unloaded them and cleaned. But it has to be done, so one of these mornings, it’s going to happen. I’d better put them on the schedule.

Click to tweet: A clean house. It’s what we all want, right?

How do you get these big jobs done, if hiring help is not a possibility? Are you a stay-at-it-till-it’s-done person? Or an “it’ll be there when I get to it type?”

Three-word prompt: Through clean windows …

Remember–finish the three-word prompt with three words of your own to complete a six-word short story. It should express a complete thought. Submit in the comment section below.

Save

3 Questions Wednesday with Clarice G. James

Today, we welcome author Clarice G. James, to 3 Questions Wednesday. She enjoys writing smart, fun, relatable contemporary fiction with a dash of humor, love, and mystery.  Clarice is also graciously offering you a choice of Double Header or Party of One (print copy) to one person who leaves a comment.

So let’s get to the first question:

What inspires you?

Clarice: Most of my inspiration to write stems from interacting with people. All kinds: odd, serious, funny, sad, bubbly, shallow, super intelligent and not-so-much, and a little bit weird. I love to listen to their stories. Another good chunk of my inspiration comes from the wacky and challenging conversations I have with my husband. He’s a bright man with a quirky sense of humor and a quick wit. We laugh every day. I love our times together.

He sounds like a great source of inspiration, and conveniently close by. Now…

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

Clarice: I would be a neutral color, like “fresh cream” or “warm gray,” because that would allow me to use every other color in the box to make my life pop! I have this thing about colors. I love mixing and matching them to find new complimentary combinations. You should see how long it takes me to match my coffee mugs, cereal bowls, and Tupperware tumblers each morning! (I fall under the “little bit weird” people category. 🙂

Sounds very festive! 🙂 Last question: 

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

Clarice: As a pre-teen, I wanted to be almost every character I read about in dusty library books: Cherry Ames, nurse (Helen Wells and Julie Tatham); Nancy Drew, detective; Peggy Lane, actress (Virginia Hughes); Sally Baxter, reporter (Sylvia Edwards); Kit Hunter, horseman and show jumper (Peter Grey); and Vicki Barr, flight stewardess (Helen Wells, Julie Tatham, and Trixie Bedlen).

That’s certainly a wide variety of occupations, and great imagination.  Thanks, Clarice, for dropping by…

Don’t forget to leave a comment to be entered to win. Here’s more information about Double Header…


Double Header 

After learning she has a brother no one knew existed, a rising Boston sports columnist fears losing the unblemished memories of her father, but soon discovers that God’s playbook is less about her well-ordered plans and more about His. 

Casey Gallagher credits a carefully crafted game plan for her wins: her solid marriage to Sam; her lucrative marketing career in Boston; and her popular sports column, Double Header, which she writes with her brother, Griffin McGee. When Casey discovers that her late father, the one man she idolized, had an affair which produced a son even he didn’t know about, she’s determined to find him before he can do any harm.

She narrows the field to three: two Boston Red Sox rookies who’ve recently befriended her and a rookie state cop who works with her husband. When Casey attempts to fit the changes that life throws at her into her idealistic plan, she’s challenged by the dialogue running in her head. Is it her conscience or her imagination? Or is it the voice of the God she’s not sure she believes in?


After years of writing and editing for business and ministry, Clarice G. James now enjoys writing smart, fun, relatable contemporary fiction with a dash of humor, love, and mystery to keep things interesting.

Double Header [Published by Mountainview Books LLC] was one of three winners in the 2014 Jerry Jenkins Operation First Novel contest. Her next novel, Party of One [Published by Elk Lake Publishing Inc.] has a Spring 2017 release date.

Clarice and her husband, David, live in Southern New Hampshire. Together they have five children and ten grandchildren. She has been a follower of Jesus Christ for over 36 years.

Website: https://claricejames.com

Blog: https://claricejames.com

Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/14592059.Clarice_G_James

Facebook: Clarice Gregoire James https://www.facebook.com/clarice.g.james

Twitter: Clarice G James https://twitter.com/ClariceGJames

 Email: cjames@claricejames.com

Save