Monthly Archives: May 2014

A Good Name by Donna Reimel Robinson

Donna Robinson author photo“A good name is rather to be chosen than great riches.” Proverbs 22:1 (KJV)

Authors are known by their names.

When I hear the name Karen Kingsbury, I immediately think contemporary Christian fiction, the Baxter family, a prolific writer. Her name represents something to me. In the same way, Kimberly Rose Johnson’s name on a book will represent the type of books she writes. (You are so famous, Kimberly—at least, on this blog!)

Years (and years) ago, authors didn’t have “social media” to let their readers know about their lives. In fact, the only thing those writers had was their name. A book by Charles Dickens or Arthur Conan Doyle or James Fenimore Cooper indicated what type of book it was. If the book was good, their name became good—a representation of entertaining, enjoyable reading.

Today on May 29th, I’m thinking of my grandparents. They were married May 29, 1913, so today would have been their 101st wedding anniversary. When I think of them, I have good memories of spending Christmas at their farmhouse out in the country, helping my grandfather pick strawberries in June, and helping my grandmother shell out peas at the kitchen table with my mom and sister. My grandparents didn’t leave great riches behind them, but they did leave a good name.

How about you? When people hear your name, does a good image come to mind? A sweet, loving, Godly person? Or are you a selfish, complaining, proud person?

Live in such a way today that others think well of you, because a good name is rather to be chosen than great riches.

Donna Reimel Robinson is a member of JOY Writers, a local critique group, as well as ACFW (American Christian Fiction Writers). As a pastor’s wife, she plays the piano for their church and teaches a Jr. High Sunday School class. In her spare time, Donna enjoys sewing and working jigsaw puzzles. She and her husband have four grown children and ten grandchildren (with another on the way!) They live in Denver, Colorado. Visit Donna’s website at DonnaRobinsonBooks.com.

Tumbleweed Weddings(1)Tumbleweed Weddings by Donna Reimel Robinson
True love triples in a tiny Wyoming town
In Tumbleweed Weddings, you’ll meet the Brandt siblings—Callie, Tonya, and Derek—who live on a sheep ranch with their parents near Fort Lob, Wyoming. That part of the country has rolling hills, a sparse population, and tumbling tumbleweeds when the wind blows.
This is a collection of three contemporary romances under one cover, previously published separately by Barbour Publishing.
In For the Love of Books, Callie Brandt thinks she’s destined to be her town’s next spinster librarian. Then a gorgeous newcomer, Lane Hutchins, inexplicably finds her attractive and falls in love with her. But how can Lane marry this sweet Christian girl when he’s been living a double life for years? Can Callie help Lane let go of his bitterness and rediscover his faith in God?
In The Thing About Beauty, Tonya Brandt wants to marry a man who will complement her own beauty. But she has dated every good-looking guy in town without finding someone who truly loves her. When a secret admirer begins sending Tonya gifts and letters, she pours out her heart to him. But who is this mystery man? When she finally discovers his identity, will she reject him? Or will she learn that true beauty is more than skin deep?
In No One But You, Derek Brandt can’t deny his attraction for Cheyenne Wilkins, but his life is good. He’s not getting married until he’s forty. Cheyenne has been in love with Derek since high school, although he never seemed interested. But now time is running out! If only Grandmother didn’t have those stipulations in her will, Cheyenne could wait for the man of her dreams. When a new man enters Cheyenne’s life, she thinks he’s the answer to her prayers. But why does Derek still make her heart race? Will she discover God’s will in time?
To read the first chapter, visit Donna’s website: http://www.DonnaRobinsonBooks.com

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Winds of Freedom

RLyles.WoF.Cover(1)Welcome back Rebecca. Please tell us about your Winds of Freedom.

Thanks, Kimberly, for the opportunity to talk about Winds of Freedom, the sequel to my first novel, Winds of Wyoming. Both books are set on a guest ranch in the Wyoming Sierra Madre Mountains and are about women who found God in prison yet struggle to find their way on the narrow road outside of prison walls.

Here’s the blurb for book #2:

Winter storms blast across the Whispering Pines Guest Ranch, and a cold wind blows through Kate Neilson’s soul. Despite her pain, Kate’s well-being takes a backseat to the needs of loved ones: her best friend, who’s been ensnared by evil; her failing great-aunt, whose dementia care keeps Kate guessing; and Laura and Mike Duncan, whose ranch and livelihood are threatened by a land-grabbing neighbor.
Do you have a favorite scene? Why?
One of my favorite scenes is a bit chilling and occurs when a character is being suckered into horrendous evil, despite red flags popping up all over the place. I like that scene because it ups the tension and switches the storyline from threatening to out-and-out treacherous.

When did you first get the writing itch?

Like many authors, I fell in love with reading and writing in elementary school. But it wasn’t until I graduated from college (with an unrelated degree), got married, and birthed our first child that I felt the urge to write on a regular basis and signed up for a community service writing class. Since that time, I’ve taken other classes and writing courses, joined critique groups, attended writers conferences, and read dozens of how-to-write books and magazines.

I also birthed a couple more children. Between diapers, music lessons, ball practices, volunteerism and outside employment, I wrote nonfiction books and articles and short stories for magazines. The Winds series is my first fiction series, but I hope to write more novels set in other western states.

What do you hope readers will take away from this book?

Readers have told me their eyes were opened regarding a disturbing criminal activity through Winds of Freedom. My hope is that they will join oppositional forces, whether through prayer, finances or becoming involved with prevention programs. I also trust the book will solidify readers’ trust in our loving, powerful, faithful God.

What is your favorite season and why?

I love autumn, partly because of the changing colors and the crispness that seeps into the summer air, and partly because I feel a sense of newness and change, which may come from long ago beginning-of-school days. Who knows?!

What is next for you?

I’m so glad you asked. If it hasn’t been released by the time this interview is published, my short-story compilation will debut soon. With the help of critique partners, I wrote, gathered and edited 16 short stories for an eclectic collection titled Passageways.

I’m also working on book three in the Winds series. This one is titled Winds of Change, is again set in Wyoming on the Whispering Pines Guest Ranch, and includes many of the characters present in the first two books. I can’t say much about Winds of Change, except that the action picks up a year or so after Winds of Freedom ends and continues themes from that story.

Thank you for this fun guest-blog opportunity, Kimberly!

It was great having you again, Rebecca!

For a chance to win a copy of Winds of Freedom leave a comment for Rebecca.

Drawing Rules: You must have a USA mailing address to be entered into the drawing. There must be at least ten qualifying comments for the drawing to take place. The drawing ends 6/08/2014. The winner will be contacted by email on 6/09/14 and have until 6/15/2014 to respond or forfeit–no new winner will be chosen. Void where prohibited by law.

Lyles(1)(1)Rebecca Carey Lyles grew up in Wyoming, the setting for her award-winning Kate Neilson novels. She currently lives in Idaho, where she serves as an editor and a mentor for aspiring authors and as a coach for women transitioning from prison to life on “the outside.”
http://www.beckylyles.com
“Contemporary Christian Romance Set in the West & Salted with Suspense”

Slow and Steady Wins the Race?

DSCF0597 The road to publication, at least for me, was not a sprint, but a marathon. In my opinion the business of writing and publishing should be treated like a marathon. I eventually learned that I need to pace myself, and to set realistic goals.

Two weeks ago I shared with you the beginning of my writing journey and this week you will learn about the middle. Have you ever been on a long trip and noticed that in the beginning you’re really excited, then toward the middle the road seems to stretch on forever. The scenery is very uninspiring and often downright boring? I wouldn’t call the middle of my journey boring, but it was definitely a reality check.

After my immediate success selling my short story, my expectations of publication rose. I knew I could write at that point, the problem was finding an agent and book publisher that agreed.J

The Lord was very good to me and sent one person in particular into my life that encouraged me when I wanted to quit and then she invited me to join her critique group. I can be dense at times, but I was smart enough to jump at this offer and this writer and I have been critiquing each others work ever since. She has become one of my closest friends, and I know that she is always there for me. Last summer when my son was fighting for his life and my husband and I were rushing to the Emergency Department while my son was being transported by ambulance, I couldn’t reach my parents, so guess who I called? My long time friend and critique partner. She prayed with me and spread the word for me to our other critique partners to pray. She was so supportive and calm which was exactly what I needed at that moment.

Yes, that was a bit off topic, but the point is during that long journey to publication the Lord provided me with key people who encouraged me along the way. I attended writers conferences and experienced divine appointments that encouraged me to keep writing. God hadn’t given up on me and He used others to show me that I was on the right path.

Next time I’ll share the rest of my story. Until then happy reading.

Author Teresa Pollard and Giveaway

FB Headshot for books-FBThis week Teresa Pollard shares with us about her books Not Guilty and Tokens of Promise.

Before we get to the interview I want to announce the winner from the drawing last week is Jackie L. Congrats, Jackie! Expect an email from me later today.

Welcome, Teresa.

I had two books published by HopeSprings Books in 2013. The first, Not Guilty, was written with my friend Candi Palmer in 1982, and we waited thirty years for its publication. Written in a mystery format, it’s the story of Carrie Shepherd, a minister’s daughter, who was raped and becomes pregnant. The gossip and rumors that grow up in her church threaten to destroy FB-Not Guilty coverher as much if not more than the assault. The second novel is Tokens of Promise, an imagining of the love story of Tamar and Judah from Genesis 38. Judah is immediately attracted to the beautiful young Tamar, but he’s already married, has two sons and another soon to be born. He’s made a vow only to have one wife. So he marries Tamar first to his evil son, Er, and when The Lord slays Er, to his second son, Onan. When Onan dies too, he can’t bring himself to give her to the third son, Shelah, but still doesn’t marry her himself even though his wife is now deceased. Tamar and Shelah hatch a plan, but will that plan cost Tamar her life?
Do you have a favorite scene in either of your books?  My favorite scene from Not Guilty is the one where Carrie breaks her mother’s antique mirror. It’s a pivotal scene where she goes from being a victim to beginning the process of taking back her life. In Tokens of Promise, my favorite scene is when Ruah confronts Judah with his sin in the pitch blackened tent. It’s a very spooky and suspenseful scene. It gives me chills to imagine it.

FB-Tokens cover
How long did it take you to write these books? Each of these books took almost a year to write. Of course that was nothing compared to the time it took to get them published!
When did you first get the writing itch? 1979. My friend, Linda Anderson, had given me a bag of Harlequin romances, and I complained that every one of them had exactly the same plot. “I can write a better romance than these,” I said. She dared me to try. So I did. I even got a BA and MA in creative writing in ’86 and ’89. I’ve been writing ever since, though not published until 2013.
What do you hope readers will take away from from these books? Not Guilty is a pro-life novel so I certainly hope readers will see that all life human is valuable to God, and He has a purpose and a plan for everything (even the bad things) He allows if we will allow Him to work out that plan in our lives. It’s also a reminder that sometimes we may think we know the truth about a situation, but it’s not our job to judge, only to love each other in His name. Tokens of Promise is a story of the redemption of Judah. I personally believe it’s one of the most misunderstood stories of the Bible. Most scholars see it as a meaningless story of “dubious morality.” I just want readers to know that, on the contrary, it has a great deal of meaning.
What is your favorite movie? “The Passion of the Christ”
What is next for you? I am so delighted to announce that I have just signed contracts with HopeSprings Books for two new novels. The first is called Not Ashamed. Again written with Candi Pullen, this is a sequel to Not Guilty, and is the story of Charity Wright who comes home from Africa determined to confront her biological father, but immediately becomes entangled in a murder mystery. Will her anger and prejudice blind her to the truth and cause her to put her life in jeopardy? The second novel is called Woman of Light and is an imagining of the story of Deborah from Judges 4 and 5.

 

Congratulations on your new contract!
If you could meet anyone present day or from the past who would it be and why?

Well, of course I can’t wait to meet Jesus most of all, but I’d be delighted to meet Tamar and Deborah. I hope I did them justice.

Thanks for sharing with us, Teresa!

Teresa is giving away one copy winners choice of either Tokens of Promise or Not Guilty. Please leave her a comment to be entered.

Drawing Rules: There must be at least ten qualifying comments for the drawing to take place. The drawing ends 5/25/2014. The winner will be contacted by email on 5/26/14 and have until 6/1/2014 to respond or forfeit–no new winner will be chosen. Void where prohibited by law.

Teresa Pollard is from Richmond, Virginia, and was saved at a young age.  She has a Masters degree in English and Creative Writing from Hollins College, and has served as a Sunday School teacher and children’s worker for most of the last forty years.  Married for forty years, she was devastated by divorce and the death of her youngest daughter, but God has blessed her with a new home and another grandson, and she now resides in Dacula, Georgia.  Her website is TeresaPollardWrites.com

Barnes and Noble Tokens http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/tokens-of-promise-teresa-pollard/1115475023?ean=9781938708145

Not Guilty http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/not-guilty-teresa-pollard/1112801831?ean=9781938708060

Amazon Token http://www.amazon.com/Tokens-Promise-Teresa-Pollard/dp/1938708148/ref=sr_1_7?ie=UTF8&qid=1389905045&sr=8-7&keywords=teresa+Pollard

Not Guilty http://www.amazon.com/Not-Guilty-Teresa-Pollard/dp/1938708067/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1389905045&sr=8-1&keywords=teresa+Pollard

Teresa Website http://teresapollardwrites.com/

GOODREADS Tokens http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/18027695-tokens-of-promise?from_search=true

Not Guilty http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/17329503-not-guilty?from_search=true

HopeSprings http://www.hopespringsbooks.com/

Angie Bashear blog link http://wp.me/p3ATDX-8q

Loving Others Even When it Hurts

Jennifer Slattery is our guest blogger for this week’s devotional. I must say this one really hit me on the head. Thank you, Jennifer for sharing your heart with us.

Panoramic of Yaquna HeadWe were like a combustion waiting to ignite. My goal—to leave the encounter without saying or doing something I’d regret. My preference would’ve been to avoid the individual entirely. She was angry, negative, hostile, and verbally combative. Quite frankly, she drained me. And irritated me something fierce!

Oh, to spend my life in my nice Christian bubble surrounded by those who look like me, talk like me, think like me, and actually like me!

Except early in this encounter, my heart sensed a whisper, one so soft, so gentle, I could’ve missed it. Or ignored it.

But I didn’t. Not at first, anyway.

Rather, I paused to pray, and that whisper grew to certainty. God had me encounter this person for a reason. The reason was simple: He wanted me to demonstrate His love and grace. The same grace He’d shown to me, back when I was angry, negative, and hostile.

I knew this, and yet, by the third encounter, I erected an emotional wall equal to hers. Frowning, I sat with my arms crossed, my words few, my ears closed.

So what happened? When did my surrender turn to avoidance?

The moment I took my eyes off my Savoir and His beloved—the hurting child of God hiding a wounded heart with hateful words—and placed it smack dab on myself, which is sadly where my view tends to land.

It wasn’t long before God called me out. The next day, my husband I attended an Art of Neighboring seminar where we learned how to be, well, good neighbors. We learned about being kind, helpful, compassionate, nonjudgmental…

“Yes, yes!” I thought, “I excel at these things! I take time to deliver meals and clean houses and send text messages…”

But before I got too far in my list of self-accolades, the woman I’d been called to engage but longed to avoid came to mind. Only it wasn’t her scowling or harsh conversation that rushed to the forefront. Rather, it was mine.

I’d fallen short. So very short, and in my self-sightedness, I’d ignored something so glaringly obvious, it’s like a punch to the gut: I ignored the evidence of the deep, deep wounds driving this woman’s behavior. I ignored the evidence of self-loathing and discouragement. Of incredible loneliness, a loneliness so pervasive, it causes her to spurn the relationships she longs for most.

So now what will I do with this new-found clarity?

Hopefully, I’ll begin to look deeper, listening for more than words but for heart-whispers that call out for hope and healing. And then I’ll begin building relational bridges, even if it means taking a few hits in the process, because sometimes relationships get messy, but that doesn’t mean we throw in the towel. Rather, it means we go for reinforcements, and the best reinforcement we’ll find is Christ living in us. If we’re a believer, He’s already there. Our role is simple: to get our eyes—our thoughts—of ourselves and surrender to the One who loved my neighbor and my enemy so much, He gave His life for them.

We all have nasty neighbors, those folks that seem to feel a special thrill in making us squirm. But what if that’s not their motivation at all? What if rather, their behavior is but a symptom of something deeper, something broken?

Will we take the time to find out?

What about you? As you read this, I imagine a name or face rushed to mind—that person you’d do anything to avoid.

What if that’s the very person God’s asking you to love? Will you? Not just today, not just for a week or a month, or until you lose patience?

BCheadshot2013

***Jennifer Slattery writes missional romance for New Hope Publishers, Christian living articles for Crosswalk.com, dramas for Christ to the World Ministries, and devotionals for Internet Café Devotions and her personal blog, JenniferSlatteryLivesOutLoud. She also manages the social media and blog for Takin’ it to the Streets, an Omaha Metro ministry for the working poor and homeless. When she’s not writing, she enjoys hanging out at the mall with her teenage daughter, going on long walks with her husband, or losing herself in a great book.

BeyondIDocoverBeyond I Do (available for preorder at a discounted price): (Amazon link: http://www.amazon.com/Beyond-I-Do-Jennifer-Slattery/dp/1596694173/ref%3Dsr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1397064427&sr=1-1&keywords=Beyond+I+Do+New+Hope)

Marriage . . . it’s more than a happily ever after. Eternally more.

Ainsley Meadow’s encounter with a woman, her child, and their abuser sparks a passion that threatens her engagement. Will seeing beyond the present unite her and her fiancé or tear them apart?

Raised by a hedonist mother, who cycles through jobs and relationships like wrapping paper on Christmas morning, falls into a predictable and safe relationship with Richard, a self-absorbed socialite psychiatrist. But as her wedding nears, a battered woman and her child spark a long-forgotten dream and ignites a hidden passion. One that threatens to change everything, including her fiancé. To embrace God’s best and find true love, this security-seeking bride must follow God with reckless abandon and realize that marriage goes Beyond I Do.

 

 

A Season of Change

A Season Of Change coverThis week I’m pleased to welcome Lynette Sowell. Hi, Lynette. Please tell us about A Season of Change.
A Season of Change is an “urban Amish” romance, set in the village of Pinecraft, in the city of Sarasota, Florida. Jacob Miller is an Amish widower visiting family during Christmas time, when his daughter is seriously injured in an accident. He must stay in Pinecraft for an extended time while she recovers, and he’s face-to-face with the world in ways he never imagined. Natalie Bennett, a former circus performer, works at a circus school and volunteers at the hospital where Jacob’s daughter is. She meets the Millers and embarks on a search to find her late mother’s family. Her mother was ex-Amish and had never told Natalie. Sparks fly between Jacob and Natalie, but there’s another woman who makes sure she remains in the picture—and she’s the logical, proper, Amish choice.

This sounds like a good read, and I really like the cover.
When did you first get the writing itch?

I first felt the writing itch in elementary school, when I began to use my (over)active imagination to write stories during class after I’d finished my work. Usually those stories included many illustrations of horses, because I was an extremely horse-crazy kid.

I loved horses as a girl. I even had a good-sized wood stable with plenty of model horses to play with. Sigh, I’m allergic to horses, so I had to settle for the fake one. LOL not that my parents would have been able to get me one anyway. 🙂

What do you hope readers will take away from this book?

I believe there aren’t any circumstances God can’t use and work something beautiful from. Whatever the pain, loss or unseen curveball that comes our way in life, it doesn’t limit God. I hope readers will see that God often works in unexpected ways, in spite of what we’re going through.

Do you have a favorite season?

I love springtime in Texas. The temperature is perfect (mostly) and everything gets lush and green, and flowers like bluebonnets, Indian paintbrush and other flowers are on the sides of the highways and back roads. It’s a beautiful time for a road trip. Otherwise, New England in the fall is my favorite because of the gorgeous colors outdoors and the crisp weather.

I see how location would influence that answer. Both Texas and New England sound beautiful.
What is next for you?

My next book in the series, A Path Made Plain, releases in November. Also, Elizabeth Goddard and I have a co-authored Christmas novella set releasing in September from Barbour, A Grand Teton Sleigh Ride(Barbour Publishing), which is a generational collection of novellas about the Covington family in Jackson, Wyoming.

I love Christmas stories!

Lynette is giving away one copy of her book to a lucky commenter.
Drawing Rules: You must have a USA mailing address to be entered for a print copy. There must be at least ten qualifying comments for the drawing to take place. The drawing ends 5/18/2014. The winner will be contacted by email on 5/19/14 and have until 5/25/2014 to respond or forfeit–no new winner will be chosen. Void where prohibited by law.

HeadshotLynette Sowell is the award-winning author of more than 15 titles for Barbour, Heartsong Presents, and Abingdon Press. When she’s not crafting stories, she works as a freelance reporter and columnist for her local newspaper. She was born in Massachusetts, raised on the Eastern Shore of Maryland, and makes her home on the doorstep of the Texas hill country with her husband, a duo of cats, and a Texas heeler named Mocha. In no particular order, Lynette loves coffee, chocolate, reading, cooking, watching movies, and is always up for a Texas road trip. You can find her on Facebook at facebook.com/lynettesowellauthor and on Twitter @LynetteSowell. She also blogs at NotQuiteAmishLiving.com and InspyRomance.com.

The Good the Bad and The Ugly of This Writer’s Journey Part One

DSCF0956I’m going to change up the Thursday posts for a while. There will still be devotionals posted but, for the month of May they will be guests posts every other week and I will post on my writing journey in between.

It occurred to me that I’ve never really shared with you how I ended up where I am now. My journey started ten years ago, although I had no idea I was on this journey at the time.

In 2004 a story churned around in my head and demanded to be written. At that time I was a stay at home mom and piano teacher, so finding time to write during school hours was not a problem. Once I’ve made up my mind to do something I go for it without looking back. So without any idea what I was doing, I started writing.

I kept to myself what I was up to because I secretly wanted to be published, and I really dislike failing. I figured if no one knew I was writing then I couldn’t fail–crazy logic, now that I think about it.

Over the next year or so I wrote when the mood struck and eventually I had a finished product. I gave it to a few people to read and they encouraged me to pursue publication. I searched online for a publisher and discovered finding a publisher other than paying a vanity-publisher was nearly impossible for a person as clueless as I was.

With the help of my dad my first story went into print. No, I will not tell you what the book was called or what name I used on the cover. Although the story was great, the writing was BAD. That book is no longer available, except for used copies, and I really don’t want to be associated with it–so my lips are sealed.:) How’s that for the UGLY part of my journey?

The GOOD thing that came from that experience was that my publisher taught me about writers groups. I had no idea groups like American Christian Fiction Writers existed. The same summer my book released, I summoned my courage and stepped out of my comfort zone to attended a local Christian writers conference. This was a huge step for me because at that time I was an extreme introvert and I never went anywhere alone. But, at that point I’d learned enough about writing that I knew I needed to go to the conference. While there I took a class taught by Randy Ingermanson where I learned how to craft a scene.

That night after the evening session I went back to my room and wrote. By the end of the conference I had crafted a short story which I submitted to a Suspense and Mystery magazine that I’d heard about at the conference. And guess what? They bought it! That was the confidence boost I needed to keep writing.

If you’d like to read that story, click on Short Stories at the top of this page. Back then I wanted to write romantic suspense, but that genre didn’t work well with my writing voice. That’s a story for another post though.

I met some wonderful people at that first conference, who have encouraged me through the years. In fact, one of those ladies has been my critique partner and mentor since shortly after that conference.

I don’t regret my choice to vanity-publish because it set me on the path I am now on. A path I LOVE. Next time I’ll share about what followed in my journey to publication. The rejections and the glimmers of hope that kept me moving forward.

My second book with Heartsong Presents releases the first week in June. My blogging blitz started today. If you’d like to enter for a chance to win a copy of A Romance Rekindled check out my first stop here and leave a comment. http://lenanelsondooley.blogspot.com/