About Me

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Clare writes inspirational romance, usually of a suspenseful nature. Her books are available through her publisher Pelican Book Group and Amazon. She is married with three kids and lives in the UK. She loves watching sci-fi, crime drama, cross stitching, reading and baking.

Tuesday, 31 July 2012

It's holiday time

We're all going on a summer holiday... First proper break in years. The parentals, me, hubby and four teenagers are off to Scotland. Driving...
Stopping overnight in Carlise on the way up and Gateshead on the way back down.

Anyway I will be off the grid and Netless for two weeks. I have a couple of posts scheduled so just cos I'm posting on here - posts automatically go to FB - doesn't mean I'm around. Not til Aug 17th

The Bridge of Earn - taken from where we'll be staying again

J, R and C back in 2004. Not sure what R did to C but must have been bad lol

Where we always stay. Brilliant place. Can't recommend it enough. (this is our 5th time so must be good)

Yes, tartan fabric does come from tartan sheep. Here's proof.

Saturday, 28 July 2012

Review: Found in the Woods by LoRee Peery

Today sees the release of Found in the Woods by LoRee Peery, book 4 in the Frivolities series.

How did you come up with your premise? Is there a story behind your book? How did the story evolve?
When I was writing Moselle’s Insurance, the first in the Frivolities series, a writer friend said, “I love the ex-wife.” I tucked that away, picturing Beth as going through a metamorphosis, wild child to Christian woman who seeks to deal with abuse and fear. I took a few notes and found pictures for collage while I wrote Geneva and Lanae’s stories. A wolf calendar was on a wall in my kitchen, drawing me to wonder more about that magnificent creature each time I passed. Somehow I knew my next story would be set in the woods. When the time was right, we brainstormed at writer’s retreats. Along the way, Aiden Holt came to be the hero who detested wolves. Threads and more threads intertwined when Beth wondered what in the world she was going to do with the rest of her life. Meeting a little girl in need helped her see clearly. I’m drawn to suspense, one of my favorite genres, so the abusive ex-husband had to be one of the characters. I think a lot of inspiration comes from listening to the Spirit. “Amazing Grace” kept running through my thoughts. Bingo! A woman, a wolf, a man, lost in the woods. Thus my title: Found in the Woods.

For those who are not familiar with this story, would you please give us the blurb?
Beth Phillips returns to Platteville, Nebraska in order to begin a new life and to hide from her abusive ex-husband. The secluded cabin offers a chance to stay hidden and to draw closer to God, but Beth quickly discovers she is not alone in the woods. She befriends a curious, displaced wolf, but instead of fearing the animal Beth finds comfort in his company.

When field biologist, Aiden Holt, follows up on reported wolf sightings, he finds the animal and Beth Phillips. With emotional baggage of his own, Aiden usually prefers animals to people, but Beth's passion to keep the wolf draws Aiden in. Experience tells him the wolf needs relocation. His heart tells him he needs Beth Phillips. He camps nearby to capture the wolf, but can he capture Beth's heart, too? 

Two souls, each lost in their own way, are brought together by one of God's beautiful creations. Will the Lord's path to their destiny be found in the woods?
Are there any fun tidbits about this story you can share with us?
When I called Nebraska Game and Parks Commission to speak with Sam Wilson, Nongame Mammal/Furbearer Program Manager (quite a handle, hm?), I was told he was on paternity leave. That made me feel so warm and fuzzy that I used it for the reason Aiden investigated the wolf sighting. When Sam returned, he answered technical wolf questions.
And something I’ll always cherish is meeting Carol Eager, Lead Keeper, at Lee G. Simmons Conservation Park and Wildlife Safari at Ashland, Nebraska. I had visited the park before. On my first visit I had no glimpse of the wolves. Later, I saw a couple from afar. When Carol and I met I commented on a piece of artwork that looks Native American. She smiled humbly and said she had made it. She fed the wolves at Wolf Canyon, talked to the wolves, and told me wolf stories. She’s even raised wolf pups. One wolf at the park was named Lakota, which I didn’t know when I named “my” wolf. Lakota has since expired.
How did you decide on the setting?
Since it’s a Frivolities, the town is fictitious Platteville, Nebraska. I believe I mentioned I knew the book would be in the woods. I’ve done my share of camping over the years so know a little about campsites amongst trees near a river.

The fourth in the series doesn't disappoint. It has a heroine who is struggling to overcome her past and refusing to let it control her. A hero who has his own problems yet is willing to set them aside to protect someone else. And a wolf! Lakota is as much a character as any of the others and brings a depth to this story that you don't expect.
Certainly a book to curl up with on a warm summer evening in the woods. Because you never know what you might find there.

When will it be released?
July 27, 2012

LoRee offered to answer ALL my questions :-) So you get half now and half later…

Where were you born? Norfolk, Nebraska

If you could live anywhere in the world, where would it be? In a log home high on a hill looking over green pastures with a view of sunrises and sunsets. That’s probably the Nebraska Sandhills.

What is the funniest thing that ever happened to you or you witnessed that made you laugh so hard you couldn’t catch your breath?
Do you answer with the first thing that comes to mind? Alcohol, unfortunately, has taken its toll in our family but we have to keep a sense of humor as well. I think my sister asked, “Did Al call yet?” and one of my brothers thought she was asking for alcohol.

What hidden talent do you possess outside of writing... something you do for fun, but are good at?
I notice things in nature and take pictures that I’m told are artistic.

What’s your favourite colour?
Love those British spellings. Green. Sometimes I’ve preferred red, yellow, and purple. But I always come back to green.

What music groups/artists blast from your CD player while you write?
This changes. Sometimes I need the moods produced by lilting Celtic or the intensity of dramatic movie scores. If I really need to think, I don’t listen. When I’m proofing or adding edits I play country. I’ve found I can’t play hymns or praise songs because I catch myself singing and typing what’s going through my head.

What are you most passionate about, other than writing?
I want the genetic hold of alcohol to lose its grip on my family. I know choice is involved as well, but four generations and countless lives have seen the effects. I pray the pull is replaced by the Holy Spirit.

Name some of your most favourite things.
The smile of a child. Rainbows. Butterflies. Unbroken landscape.

What got you interested in writing?
I’ve always been a reader. Way back when I harrumphed, “I could write better than this!” And my hubby said, “Why don’t you?”

Why did you begin writing?  How long have you been writing?
No doubt for class assignments. I have an essay I wrote when I was 13, “What Jesus Means to Me.” That was 50 years ago. Oops, now you all know how old I am.

What advice would you give a new writer just starting out?
Never stop reading. Read all genres, but mostly the one you want to write. Get involved with other writers by joining a like-minded group that involves critique. Writers have been my best teachers. And never stop learning.

Do you ever suffer from writer’s block? If so, what do you do about it?
“Life” block, maybe? My family is large, someone is always needy. If my mind is too weary, I know the Lord will provide the words at my next sit-down. My subconscious, when I’m not praying, is always ready to write down snippets that pertain to my WIP or something to use later.

Who is your favourite author and why?
I think I’ve answered this before. Different authors have impacted me at different times in my life. If I’m really into the story, my favorite writer is the one I’m reading. LaVyrle Spencer tops the secular list for emotion. I laugh reading Janet Evanovich, go on an adrenaline high with Karen Robards, cry with Karen Kingsbury, and sigh with satisfaction when I read most of the Pelican Book Group authors.

What, in your opinion, are the most important elements of good writing?
Love that qualifier, opinion. My answer may have been different a year ago and probably will be different a year from now. Today, I want to “see” the fictitious world, and live it through the eyes of the POV character. I want to go, “Wow, I wish I had written that,” referring to the writer’s voice. So I guess that character and being pulled into the scene are big with me. I love it when I wonder how they will ever overcome, and then the ending is a satisfactory one that wraps up all loose ends.

How do you develop your plots and characters?
Each story has been a little different. Most of the time, characters come first. I know Nebraska, not so familiar with the city, so setting is usually small town or rural. I think of the big things first as far as what the characters face, how the Lord will work in their lives, usually know the ending, and then figure out the scenes.

When you write do you start with a plot outline, a character sketch, how do you begin? How do you stay on course?
Character sketch first, the elements as I know them now, a chapter goal. I try to come up with a 40-word descriptor close to the beginning. I keep on course with those 40 words before me, along with verses or godly reminders. I’m an organized person, but my desks are a disaster when I get going on a project.

Are you working on anything at the present you’d like to share with us?
It’s taking longer than I had planned on, but “Unfinished Business” is a fictional memoir I’ve turned into a romance.

What are you reading now?
Right now, a Love Inspired suspense.

To Be Continued next week . . .

Sunday, 22 July 2012

My research trip to Hayling Island Lifeboat Station

Sunday 15th July, the one dry day in weeks, which was just as well, as hubby, 2/3 kids and me set off on a 90 mile trip to the coast (yes that's one way mileage) to visit Hayling Island RNLI station for research purposes. Armed with a notebook and camera and a list of questions 10 miles long, I needed lots of information for Sunday's Child. The hero of that novel, Cal Trant, works on a lifeboat.
The D.A.L - deputy lifeboat authority - Graham Raines MBE spent three hours answering all my questions.

Despite what the TV adverts claim - the AA is NOT the 4th emergency service. That's the coastguard. Not many people know that you can call the coastguard as well as police, fire and ambulance by dialling 999. I did -- and not just because it was a question on Pointless a few months back!

 Hayling Island is an inshore lifeboat station and protects a vast portion of shoreline along with Chichester Harbour. these guys all have full time jobs and carry a pager which can go off at any time of the day or night. The helmsman I spoke to said he even takes the pager into the shower now to save his wife having to bang on the bathroom door when it goes off. He is even tempted to wear his fleece bunny-suit at Christmas now, as the pager has gone off mid Christmas dinner for the past five years.

The larger lifeboat has a crew of four - see above. They posed very nicely for me having just got back from a training exercise. The smaller boat has a crew of three. They are one huge family, looking out for each other, treating the kids to a pantomine at Christmas and so on.

Being an inshore lifeboat, the boats don't have a ramp to go whizzing down on a launch. They are launched and retrieved by tractor - see above. On a launch the engines are already running before the boat hits the water. It always launches forwards, thus on retrieval has to be reversed onto the trailer. Hard enough on a flat calm as above. Very hard in the dark and a force 8 gale.

All the men are volunteers. They do not get paid for risking their lives going out in storms to rescue people.

The minimum age of a lifeboat crew is 17. The max age is 45. The ave age is 20-30. They have three duty shifts at Hayling Island. Red, white and blue, working one week and then two weeks off. But as no one is full time, and some of them work on the main land, the pager could go off on a week off.

They have rescued a horse, a bull and even a swarm of bees.

The Lifeboat Prayer

Merciful Father, all things in heaven and earth are held within Your loving
care, look with favour upon the Royal National Lifeboat Institution. Protect
and bless the crews of all our lifeboats, our lifeguards and all who risk their
own safety to bring help to others.

Guide all who work for the Institution as volunteers, supporters or staff that
they may be faithful to the vision of our founders, so that it may always be
seen as a beacon of hope and light to those who find themselves in peril on
the seas. Through the same Jesus Christ, to whom with You and the Holy
Spirit be honour and glory, now and forever.


Wednesday, 18 July 2012

Homeschooling can be murder by Susan Lyttek

Army wife and homeschooling mom, Jeanine Talbott finds herself in an impossible situation—she would rather ignore her husband’s transfer orders and stay put.  So she lets James pick out the new house and move their goods while she slowly wraps up the life she’s come to love. 

As she pulls up to their new residence, she discovers her darling bought a charming fixer-upper with rather unexpected neighbors—a Civil War graveyard full of them.

As the family, including kids Justin and Josie, gets settled in Gentle Springs, strange noises come from the cemetery.  Then, James goes TDY (temporary duty assignment) to California.  While he’s gone, their dog, Jelly, escapes the yard and finds a fresh body in the cemetery.  Suddenly, the Talbotts have two mysteries on their hands: who killed the treasure hunter, and what secret was he trying to unearth at the tomb of town hero, Captain Cooperton?

Unputdownable is the best way to describe this wonderful novel from Susan Lyttek. Learning about history has never been so deadly or so interesting, when an army transfer moves the Talbott family to a home next to Gentle Springs cemetery. Resisting the move, the scary goings on at the ‘neighbours’ doesn’t make the place any more homely for Jeanine.
Can’t recommend this book enough. Funny, scary, and with charming kids determined to put what they’ve read in books to good use, this book is definitely a keeper.

Buy Link: 

I sent Susan my author interview and I've never had anyone answer almost ALL the questions before :) It makes great reading.

How did you come up with your premise? I originally came up with the idea on spec for a mystery series, but they cancelled further publication before my title even came under consideration. On a more positive side, I had always thought there should be books for the homeschooling mom… just for fun. We read all kinds of things our kids to or to prepare to teach them, but very little to kick back.
a.       Is there a story behind your book?  I had the idea of the mom first. I would definitely befriend Jeanine Talbott. I kept thinking about her and talking with her in my head. So she was pretty well-developed when I decided to try NaNoWriMo. The first draft of Homeschooling Can Be Murder was created that month.
Yay another Nano person. My first published novel was a nanowrimo one too.
b.      How did the story evolve? After that, I tweaked it and expanded it a bit until I liked both mysteries. A homeschooling family were my test readers from the get-go. If they didn’t like something, I chucked it!

Are there any fun tid-bits about this story you can share with us? I think the most fun character is 10-year-old Justin. As an amateur taxidermist, he becomes the family’s forensics expert.

How did you decide on the setting? I live in the southeast U.S., which while not as rich in history as Europe, is about as chock-full as you can get on this side of the Atlantic. I wanted two levels of mystery with one being historical so I needed nearby history to pull from. Also, having been in the military and having many friends currently in or priors, too, I wanted to honor them with an ideal post.

When will it be released? July 20, 2012

Where were you born? I was actually born on an Army post in Virginia when my dad was in the service. I only spent a few months there. I grew up near Chicago.

If you could live anywhere in the world, where would it be? Tricky question. I’ve loved many places that I would still call home: the German Rheingau, San Antonio, Texas, Geneva, Illinois, to name a few. I wrote a poem called Homeheart years ago to explain how these places get carved into your life and carve you in turn. I think one of the great wonders of heaven will be that we can see and live in the best of what the world had been meant to offer. 

What is the funniest thing that ever happened to you or you witnessed that made you laugh so hard you couldn’t catch your breath? I don’t know, but I’m sure it had to do with my husband, Gary. One of the reasons I married him was his spontaneous and amazing sense of humor.

What hidden talent do you possess outside of writing... something you do for fun, but are good at? I do have a flair for hand needlework. I don’t do it often (like maybe two hours in the past year), but the presents I make get saved. As hinted in #5, I’m also a black belt in tae kwon do.

What’s your favourite colour? Red. Most definitely. In tae kwon do I teased my teacher that I couldn’t go for my black belt because I liked red too much. I managed to overcome that, though.

What music groups/artists blast from your CD player while you write? I have over 3,000 songs loaded on my iTunes from classical to Celtic to rock to jazz. I need music to write. What I listen to depends on what I’m writing. Currently, I have a 70s and 80s mix in that has both secular and Christian artists: Petra, Rez Band, Kansas, Moody Blues, The Choir, etc.

What are you most passionate about, other than writing? Homeschooling obviously. My husband and two sons.

Name some of your most favourite things. I like playing computer puzzle and mystery games. I need a timer to keep from playing too long! I also can’t fall asleep without reading a chapter of a book. In the Bible, I can get stuck in Isaiah for months because I love it so much.

What got you interested in writing? I’ve always written. My dad was a textbook editor and my mom was a librarian. Enough said?

Why did you begin writing?  How long have you been writing? Post Christ, I’ve been writing since 1987. I burned over 90% of what I had written as a child and teen. I became seriously involved in the occult starting at 13. When I came to the Lord at 23, I sacrificed my writing to Him. It was two years before He brought writing back to me.

What advice would you give a new writer just starting out? Serve. Write newsletters for your church. Write poems for new mothers. Give your writing away to those who need it. We serve the Living Word and He has an abundance more for you to make a living from if you need to. That said, the writer is worthy of his or her hire and you need to know when others receive pay for a service that you probably should, too.

Do you ever suffer from writer’s block? Oh yes. I call it fear block. It always stems from abject terror of success or failure or not measuring up in general. If so, what do you do about it? I’ve handled it very badly. Rather than writing what I’m called to, I’ll write what pays or gets published just to bump up my ego. Or procrastinate on everything.

Who is your favourite author and why? C.S. Lewis. He wrote every style and didn’t worry about platform. Besides, I’ve read Magician’s Nephew at least forty or fifty times.

What, in your opinion, are the most important elements of good writing? Good verbs, natural sounding conversation.

How do you develop your plots and characters? I don’t know. I’m a seat of the pants writer, for better or worse. I have tried, numerous times, to use outlines, plans and whatever else I’ve learned at conferences. I feel totally strangled. Sometimes I get a title first, sometimes a character, sometimes the end, sometimes the opening scene. I often dream a part or parts of a book. Then I note that down. It can be years, as with one book that I’m about three chapters in right now, before it turns into anything. Or it can overwhelm me and I write the rough draft fairly quickly. I try (try is the operative word because I often fail) not to stress about the randomness of it all.

When you write do you start with a plot outline, a character sketch, how do you begin? How do you stay on course? I stay on course by making sure I write at least a couple of hours most days.

Are you working on anything at the present you’d like to share with us? I have three books in progress at the moment. One, a time travel fantasy called Mapmaker is in the research part. It begins in the Middle Ages and I want to make that convincing. Another is a historical romance about the apostle Peter’s wife that I started a long time ago and I picked up again after reading Luke. Lastly, is a sci-fi about evangelizing (and finding) Atlantis. I finished the rewrite of Killer Field Trip, the sequel to Homeschooling Can Be Murder, last week. Cool a sequel.  :)

What are you reading now? Nightmare’s Edge by Bryan Davis. It’s the conclusion of the Reflections from the Edge trilogy.

What books or authors have most influenced your own writing? So many. I read, while not as much as I would like, still quite a bit. I go through about four novels a month.

How do you come up with the titles to your books? If they don’t seem obvious, I ask my trial readers.

When did you first consider yourself a writer? In second grade when my teacher chose to read my story to the class.

Describe your writing space. I have a desk in the family room with my laptop and files on it. It takes up about four square feet. But, my laptop, my briefcase, my reading glasses and even the sheers I look out to watch the birds are all red. I keep a stuffed version of Jelly (the Talbott’s bulldog) on my desk to help inspire the mysteries.

What was the hardest part of writing your book? Deciding who did it and why.

What do you like to do when you’re not writing? Spend time with my husband and boys.

Where do you get your inspiration from? The Bible, dreams, people around me, overheard conversations in restaurants (or anywhere), books, or sometimes by playing with combining total opposites.

What did you want to be when you grew up? An archaeologist. My dad arranged for me to go on a dig when I was 12 or 13. I spent the better part of one day digging at a Native American burial site in Illinois. That cured me. Unless you’ve done that, you have no idea what utter tedium and boredom is.

What do you do in your spare time? (Assuming you have any ;-) ) I like to experiment with new recipes on long cold weekends. I’d love to attend a vegetarian cooking school at some future point. I’m not vegetarian, but I like every vegetable. I can’t say that about meats.

What genre would you like to explore that you haven’t tried to write in yet? I don’t think there’s much that I haven’t tried writing.

What would you never see yourself writing? True crime, horror, anything anti-Biblical

Do you really, really want a dog? Not really. I like dogs, but they make me sneeze and I find them too needy. However, I’m miserable without a cat in the house.

Do you hate how you look in pictures? No. Usually they’re kinder to me than the mirror.

Do you have any strange handwriting habits, like capitalizing all your “r”s or dotting your “I”s with heart (or anything like that)? Not really.

What is your strangest habit? Getting my pedometer to turn green. I’m known to march in place about bedtime to turn it green and make my step quota. My three guys laugh a lot about that.

You can erase any horrible experience from your past. What will it be? Unfortunately, I have too many to choose from. But I keep thinking God will put the remainder to use. Then, they’re worth it. After all, I’m still here.

When you looked in the mirror this morning, what was the first thing you thought? Thinking? Who thinks first thing in the morning? I’m stumbling to the coffee pot.

What were you doing at midnight last night? sleeping

What’s a saying you use a lot? Can’t think of one. As I’m sure you’ve noticed, I do use “though”, “after all”, “actually” and other qualifying words a lot. *** My son said “Power of the coupon!” If you see me buy anything without shopping around or trying to save money on the purchase, I’ve been taken over by an alien.

Have you ever eaten a crayon? I’m sure I did. Few things escaped my mouth between ages three and five.

What’s the strangest thing you’ve ever eaten? Raw anemone in the south of France. Yuk.

What is your favourite animal? Cats to snuggle. Horses to watch run. For some reason, seeing a horse run free at full gallop always makes me cry.

What do you want to know about the future? Nothing. It’s more fun imagining than knowing.

What is your heritage? I’m as close to a purebred as you get in the States. Both sides of my family came from Sweden. I do have a French ancestor that a Viking relative stole if the family stories are true.

Have you ever cried during a movie? Many, many times.

Do you sleep with the light on? Only when Gary’s out of town.

What is your favourite pizza? Chicago deep dish with mushrooms, artichokes, spinach, onions, peppers and pepperoni

Are you a morning person or a night person? I work best in the morning. But don’t talk to me and expect me to be conversational until I’ve had two cups of coffee and/or tea.

If you were granted three wishes by a genie, what would they be? Slow each happy moment, speed each painful one, and help me keep learning with a willing spirit

If you could go anywhere to tomorrow, where would you go? On a cruise

If you could see anyone tomorrow (dead or alive), who would it be? Don’t know. I would kind of like to meet one or more of my characters in the flesh!

Monday, 16 July 2012

The Blessing Seer by Paula Mowery

How did you come up with your premise? Is there a story behind your book? How did the story evolve?
One evening I was mulling over a story I’ve heard used as a sermon illustration. The anecdote is about a man who goes to Heaven. He is being shown around by an angel when he notices a large warehouse filled with unopened gifts. He asks the angel what all of the presents are. The angel answers: “Those are all of the blessings God wants to give but haven’t been asked for or haven’t been granted due to lack of obedience.” As I went to bed still thinking about this story, God “downloaded” the outline for THE BLESSING SEER into my mind. I had to jump up and write it down. The next morning I began to read scriptures about blessings and study Bible commentaries.

For those who are not familiar with this story, would you please give us the blurb?
When God sends Addy a special messenger who challenges her to step from her comfort zone, she isn’t sure she’s up to the job. She feels inadequate to take on the task of encouraging others, and when she starts seeing visions, she worries she’s losing her mind.
Yet, Addy wants only to be used by God, even if that means seeing visions and risking relationship with family and friends. By stepping out on a limb, can Addy really accomplish something significant for God? What affect will her surrender to His will have on those around her? And, what affect will it have on her own life?

Are there any fun tid-bits about this story you can share with us?
Because I am a pastor’s wife, many have asked if the main character, Addy, is really me. I can say that some of the happenings are based on experiences I’ve had, but anyone who knows me will quickly say that I am not Addy. She is more shy and doesn’t like to talk to others. Me? I never meet a stranger, and I have the gift of gab.

How did you decide on the setting?
Greeneville, Tennessee is a place I have lived and we have served in ministry. The small town just fit Addy Townsend.

When will it be released?
THE BLESSING SEER released July 6th. You can buy it here 

Where were you born?
I was born in Powell, Tennessee.

What hidden talent do you possess outside of writing... something you do for fun, but are good at?
I am an interpreter for the deaf and sign my husband’s sermons each week for our deaf members. I so enjoy signing and am glad that God gave me another opportunity to utilize this skill in ministry after several years off. It’s something you continue to hone. I like the challenge.

What’s your favourite colour?
I love the color green. In fact, my bathroom walls are now a lovely shade of green which my husband surprised me with when I returned home from a mission trip to Haiti.

What music groups/artists blast from your CD player while you write?
I don’t normally listen to music while I write. But, being a singer, I do listen to a lot of contemporary Christian music like Casting Crowns, Mercy Me, and Selah.

What got you interested in writing?
I am a former middle school English teacher. When I taught in Texas while my husband attended seminary, I was encouraged to hone my writing so as to pass that along to my students. I had a wonderful mentor in my assistant principal who encouraged me.

Why did you begin writing?  How long have you been writing?
My mother worked for Lifeway Christian Stores (even before they were called that) for over 30 years. She would bring me books to read and also supply me with journals. I just really took an interest in writing stories because I loved reading them.

What advice would you give a new writer just starting out?
To a new writer I would say don’t go it alone. Join a group like ACFW. Take courses like Freelancewritingcourses.com (Janice Hanna Thompson). Meet other writers who can share with you and you with them. If you want to publish, write for a magazine first to get yourself established, even if you must do it for free. These are all things I did to learn more and be ready to move into publishing a book. Another tip: don’t stop learning. Writers never arrive – there’s always more to learn.

When you write do you start with a plot outline, a character sketch, how do you begin? How do you stay on course?
My stories usually start out with some kind of scene that sparks my imagination. I normally let me mind wonder and wander for a bit about how I could turn the idea into a story. When I have an idea of how the story might go, I write down, often in list form, scenes in order. I then will take that and make a list of characters – names and descriptions. The next step I have done in different ways. Sometimes I will simply start to write the story out. Other times, I will make an expanded list of scenes in order that I go back and write out later.

Are you working on anything at the present you’d like to share with us?
I’m working on a project with a small group of authors in which our stories are related by a time in history. I am especially excited about my story because it is based on an actual happening in my family history.

What books or authors have most influenced your own writing?
Janice Hanna Thompson has been great through her online courses and her personal mentoring. All of the authors and courses at ACFW have been a great influence. As to a book, I have used FIRE IN FICTION by Donald Maass to revise numerous times.

What do you like to do when you’re not writing?
When I’m not writing, you’ll probably catch me reading. I love to read Christian fiction of all sorts. Now I often read other authors’ new releases and review them.

Do you hate how you look in pictures?
I think this is a given for most people. Now I look at myself and think: “Who is the lady with the gray hair?”

Do you have any strange handwriting habits, like capitalizing all your “r”s or dotting your “I”s with heart (or anything like that)?
Most people are surprised to know that I am old school when it comes to writing first drafts. I write them out in spiral notebooks with a pencil. When the story is transferred to the computer, I print out the pages and place them in a three-ring notebook where I use my pencil again to revise.

When you looked in the mirror this morning, what was the first thing you thought?
I need to get a hair cut and highlights.

What’s a saying you use a lot?
I always sign everything – Your Sis in Christ. I’ve had people comment about it. I usually say that I’m just warning you if you’re a Christian then we’re related and you’ll have to put up with me in Heaven.

What is your heritage?
Praise God I grew up with Christian parents who had Christian parents. My heritage is a Godly one.

Have you ever cried during a movie?
Giggle, giggle. Honey, I cry during movies. I cry while reading books. I’ve even been known to cry during a commercial.

Do you sleep with the light on?
We do have a light on in the hallway in case a trip to the bathroom is in order in the middle of the night. I’m a forty-something female – it happens.

Are you a morning person or a night person?
Much to the annoyance of my family, I am a morning person. I sing. Nuff said.

Author Bio
Paula Mowery is a pastor’s wife and a homeschool mom. She has always been an avid reader of Christian fiction. She began writing in the area of nonfiction creating three Bible studies which were self-published. However, she crafted fiction stories which she shared with friends and family. When one of her readers encouraged her to pursue publication, she joined American Christian Fiction Writers, learning more about the world of fiction. Her debut work of fiction is a novella published by Harbourlight, a division of Pelican Book Group – THE BLESSING SEER.
Learn more about Paula at her blog – paulamowery.blogspot.com
Read more of her writing in her monthly columns on ChristianMagazine.org.

Friday, 13 July 2012

77,7,7 take 3

So as I'm doing the final set of edits on Thursday's Child...  any one want a sneaky look at page 77? Yep, thought you might.

hot off the press blurb:

Thursday's Child chases the whole...

Broken...with bits missing. That's how Niamh, senior prosecutor for the CPS, feels when she wakes in hospital severely injured with no knowledge what happened--for the past eight years. A tall man in a firefighters uniform claims he's her husband. While he's everything she's ever dreamed of in a man and more, she doesn't know the him. And if he was so important why can't she remember? Was there something so terrible, so painful in her marriage, her mind has suppressed it?  

First on the scene at a horrific accident, Jared Harkin is devastated to find his wife one of the injured. He's already lost a child, can he live through this? Niamh survives the crash, but awakens with eight years missing and no memories of their life together. Determined to help her remember the past and their love, he sets about wooing her all over again. But are some things best forgotten?

As Niamh struggles to remember, the investigation into the accident reveals foul play. Did her recent caseload have anything to do with the attempt on her life? Or was it someone closer to her?  As bit and pieces of memory return, the attacker strikes again. Can she piece together the whole of her past before it's too late?

and now the page 77, line 7 and following 7 paragraphs.

Her wedding ring hung next to it. At least she was still wearing it. That was some consolation. He’d tucked the engagement ring away in his cufflink box until she wanted it back. If she wanted it back.
As the service finished, Niamh picked up her crutches and turned to him. “It really hasn’t changed much. Aside from the addition of the drums and two new pastors.”
Jared smiled. “Pastor Jack has been here about eight years now. Pastor Bruce about seven and a half. We were married by the previous minister, Steve Austin.”
Niamh giggled. “I remember him. The bionic pastor we used to call him.”
Jared looked at her, barely able to contain his own grin. “Yes, the church as a whole referred to him like that—but never to his face. Although I’m sure he knew. Let me go and catch Daphne, one of the registrars, and see if we can see the marriage register.”
He rose and headed down the aisle, catching Daphne just as she left her seat. He glanced behind to make sure Niamh was following. It wasn’t simply that she thought their marriage was fake; he wanted to show her that they were married in a church. 

Tuesday, 10 July 2012

Be in the novel - the results are in

Ok since I'm now 6 chapters into Sunday's Child, the cast has been sorted a while. I'm just not very good at posting on here.
The short story - bad pun, sorry, - is that Everyone who commented is in the book somewhere :) Either the name you picked or in another way.

And I'm off to a lifeboat station this weekend, hopefully, to see a boat, talk to some crew and take loads of pictures. All in the name of research of course. But hey... Men In Uniform....

Maybe hubby needs to bring his lab coat home one evening, then I'd have my very own man in uniform in the house. :D

Sunday, 8 July 2012

Review: Healing Love by Sophie Dawson

Cottonwood, Iowa
Lydia Walcott is on the run. With a broken arm and a wounded spirit she is escaping the hands of her cruel brother and the marriage he has arranged. She's running to the unknown, praying God will lead her steps. Seeking shelter from an ice storm in a livery stable, Lydia goes to sleep hoping that in this small town of Cottonwood, Iowa she’ll find a job, a place to live, friends, and a future.
Dr. Sterling Graham, having just delivered a baby, rides back to town over ice covered roads. He's confident and secure in the knowledge that he is loved and respected by the people of the Cottonwood. Exhausted from the long night, he decides to sleep on the cot in the livery.
Sterling’s reputation and career, along with Lydia’s hope for a new life, are put in jeopardy when gossips spread the news that, "Doc spent the night in the stable with a woman." The story grows as ‘facts’ are added.
Without money to travel on west, Lydia feels trapped by her sense of responsibility for the doctor’s good name. Even with his practice at risk, Sterling’s compassion for the young woman whose physical wounds he treated stirs his heart.
Something needs to be decided that will repair the damage to Sterling’s career and give Lydia the home and safety she needs. The unwelcome solution is that they marry.
How do they learn about each other and mesh two lives into a successful marriage which honors God, while coping with issues of trust, pride, epidemic and injury, along with the fear that Lydia’s brother will find her?

This book draws you in and keeps you hooked from the get go. The characters are so lifelike the reader immediately bonds with them. It's not the best start to a marriage, as Lydia is unsure if she can trust anyone, never mind the man whose house she now shares. The secondary characters take on a life of their own, bringing an additional depth to the story, which lingers on after the last page is turned. Well worth reading.

Buy links:
Amazon US
Amazon UK

Sophie Dawson has been making up stories in her head ever since she was a child. She lives with her husband on the family farm in Illinois. Two grown sons, a daughter-in-law and granddaughter round out her immediate family. Sophie does all kinds of needlework and was a professional machine quilter in the past. She loves to travel, read, garden and now write. In her books, Sophie shares the wisdom God has taught her in stories of faithful living. Her hope is to demonstrate how acting and reacting in the way the Bible teaches can bring a positive impact on her readers.

Find her at

Monday, 2 July 2012

Perfect on Paper by Patty Froese. Review and author interview

Anne Stanborough, a well known mystery writer, inherits her maiden aunt's book store, Perfect on Paper. The lawyer handling her aunt's estate is none other than the handsome Jake Harrison, but despite his attraction to the beautiful author, his painful divorce has made him wary of a marriage between two driven professionals. Anne can't let go of the career she's worked her entire life towards, and he isn't willing to make a second mistake in marriage. It looks like they should call the whole thing off until Anne discovers that her late maiden aunt might not have been so "maiden" after all… A love story from the past tugs this couple back together again, but will it be enough to prove that a love founded in God really can overcome anything?

Every so often an author comes along whose work I’m not familiar with. This is the first I’ve read from Ms. Froese and it about blew my socks off. (Well if I’d been wearing socks it would have.) Drawn in from the get go by the intriguing black and white cover and beautiful writing style, the lifelike characters keep the reader’s attention glued to the pages.
With settings so real you are almost walking the streets and smelling the coffee, the mystery surrounding Anne’s late aunt just serve to pull you in further.
This book is most definitely a keeper and I look forward to reading more of Ms. Froese’s work.

How did you come up with your premise? Is there a story behind your book? How did the story evolve?
The premise just occurred to me one day. I wish I recall the eureka moment, but I wrote this book several years ago  and then took it through several editing sessions. Long story short--here it is!

Are there any fun tid-bits about this story you can share with us?
This book follows a mystery about Anne's late, "maiden" aunt. As it turns out, she wasn't so maiden after all, and as Anne and Jake dig up the old story... I used a lot of old family stories in this book... Some of the old tales are made up, and some are absolutely true from my family history. It's a nice little tangle of fact and fiction.

How did you decide on the setting?
The setting is actually quite personal... I was a starving artist in the middle of Toronto, Canada's largest city. So when my heroine moves from downtown New York City to the itty bitty town of Charity Falls, the culture shock she experiences is very close to my own when I came out to my current small town.

When will it be released?
This book came out April 2012.

Where were you born?
I was born in Canada. Born and raised.

If you could live anywhere in the world, where would it be?
England... but with money. I've always dreamed of an English garden, a little cottage and a trusty umbrella.         (You definitely need one of those LOL. It’s rained solidly for months now.)

What is the funniest thing that ever happened to you or you witnessed that made you laugh so hard you couldn’t catch your breath?
You know, I have those times when I laugh and laugh, and for the life of me I can't remember what triggers it! Normally it's just something small that strikes me as absolutely hilarious and I giggle over it for days.

What music groups/artists blast from your CD player while you write?
I'm one of those people who needs absolutely silence. I'm happiest when I can hear a pin drop, whether I'm writing or just puttering.  I married an African man who could live with music blaring 24 hours a day. We found our balance--he has a headset! LOL

What got you interested in writing?
I've always loved to write, ever since I was little. So it's my blood. I can't remember ever not writing.

What advice would you give a new writer just starting out?
My advice would be to keep at it. It's hard work, but if you enjoy the process, you'll keep getting better and better and you'll end up published. You just have to want it enough.

Do you ever suffer from writer’s block? If so, what do you do about it?
I just leave the writing for a day or two and focus on things like my neglected housework or taking my four-year-old boy out for the day. By the time I get back to it again, I'm good to go.

When you write do you start with a plot outline, a character sketch, how do you begin? How do you stay on course?
I'm a big planner. I always start with a complete chapter outline so I know exactly how things are going to go. That doesn't mean I won't go back and change the outline, but I don't start unless I have one.

Are you working on anything at the present you’d like to share with us?
Oh, I'm always working on something! Right now, I'm writing a Christmas workplace romance about an overworked assistant and charming boss...

When did you first consider yourself a writer?
I've always considered myself a writer, but when I got my first book accepted, I could call myself a novelist. That was huge!

Describe your writing space.
I write at a little oak roll top desk in the middle of our two bedroom apartment. I can't go hole myself away somewhere, or my little guy will burn the house down. I write and supervise at the same time.

What was the hardest part of writing your book?
Chapter twelve. That's the hardest part about any book. You're over the excitement of "This is going to be the most fantastic book ever! I love this!" and aren't quite close enough to the end to feel like you're really achieving something. Chapter Twelve is the hard part.

What do you like to do when you’re not writing?
When I'm not parenting or taking care of the home, I'm writing. I'm one of those obsessive people who really doesn't stop. When I don't have a book to work on, I feel a little empty. Healthy? Probably not. But true. ;)

Where do you get your inspiration from?
Everywhere! Youtube clips, people I know, conversations, watching people in Walmart...

What did you want to be when you grew up?
I've always wanted to be a writer, but there was a point when I wanted to be a nurse as well.

What genre would you like to explore that you haven’t tried to write in yet? Will you? What would you never see yourself writing?
I've love to try my hand at a mystery.
I'd never write erotica.

Do you really, really want a dog?

Do you hate how you look in pictures?
I hate that I don't look eighteen anymore. Aging is inevitable, but tell my subconscious that!

Do you have any strange handwriting habits, like capitalizing all your “r”s or dotting your “I”s with heart (or anything like that)?
My handwriting is barely legible. If I could find the I's, I'd dot them...

What were you doing at midnight last night?
Waking up when my son came to find me.

Have you ever eaten a crayon?
No, but I have eaten weeds growing in the sidewalk cracks. (Grade 2)

What do you want to know about the future?
Nothing. I worry too much as it is!

What is your heritage?
My father's family is Russian Mennonite, and my mother's family is French Canadian.

Have you ever cried during a movie?

Do you sleep with the light on?
Oh,  yes!

Are you a morning person or a night person?

Sunday, 1 July 2012

Guest Author - Linda Rondeau

Today we have guest author Linda Rondeau, talking a little about her new release America II: The Reformation and answering other questions I threw at her :)

Hi Linda,

 How did you come up with your premise? Is there a story behind your book? How did the story evolve?

I have a career in Social Work that spanned nearly three decades. I saw sociological trends that troubled me. If these trends continued and if the world faced another dark age, what would be the logical outcome? War, pestilence. Then the world would want unite as one. Since religion is currently viewed as outmoded, a future world might very well blame religion as the causal factor for all the unpleasantness. Hence, America II: The Reformation came into being.

For those who are not familiar with this story, would you please give us the blurb?

Following unprecedented climatic changes, resultant pestilence and war brought the world into chaos. Eventually, each nation surrendered its sovereignty to form a global democracy, initially known as The Accord. However, the democratic government proved too weak and was soon replaced by a faux democratic rule. 

The year is 2073, and current governor of Western America Province, Edwin Rowlands, is poised to become the Constitutional Government’s second president. Many fear that the sweeping reforms found in his proposed Preservation Act will set him up as a dictator. If enacted, defection both past and present would become a crime punishable by death, thus bringing all outlands into crushing subjection.

While most believe reform is critical, factions disagree on how to prevent the Preservation Act from becoming law. Ahmed Farid, second President, believes reform can be managed within the existing government. Leader of the Revolutionary Army, Jimmy Kinnear, trusts only in military intervention. However, Jacob Goodayle, Chairman of Western America’s illegal outland government, favors separatism.

As tensions rise, civil war seems imminent. Who will be the voice of reason in a world on the verge of a third dark age?

Are there any fun tid-bits about this story you can share with us?

Many of the predictions in America the Second are already showing signs of coming true.

How did you decide on the setting?

Much of the story takes place in Western America, set in what we now know as Colorado. I chose this setting as the west is identified as a symbol of rugged individualism, something that was lost in the global government and sought by dissidents who formed the Network, an illegal government located in the Western America Outland. 

When will it be released?

The book is already available in ebook wherever ebooks are sold. The print edition is scheduled for July 1.

What is the funniest thing that ever happened to you or you witnessed that made you laugh so hard you couldn’t catch your breath?  I attached a story Angel On a Super Market Bench for your use…a time when laughter saved me from going over the edge.

What hidden talent do you possess outside of writing... something you do for fun, but are good at? I belonged to a community theatre group for thirty years. I have played all kinds of roles…from heroine to villain and points in-between. I love drama and have served as drama coach for several churches. I’m currently investigating theatre opportunities in my new community, Jacksonville, Florida.

Name some of your most favourite things.

Lemon drops, chocolate ice-cream, watching a movie with hubby, taking walks with hubby, golf, and my cat, Duffer.

Why did you begin writing?  How long have you been writing?  I’ve written stories since I was in elementary school and as a hobbyist for years. Not until June 21, 2000 did I pursue professional writing.

What advice would you give a new writer just starting out?
Start small with stories, poems, articles, essay. Don’t be in a hurry to self publish. Though it is a viable alternative, too often writers are desperate for publication but have not honed their craft sufficiently. Like aging cheese and fine wine, quality takes time to develop.

When you write do you start with a plot outline, a character sketch, how do you begin? How do you stay on course?  My stories grow in my head before I write the first word. Then I develop a synopsis, a beginning, middle and end and my primary characters. Then I start my story, and generally my first draft is a very long synopsis, then I layer the story. Second draft I work on plot, characterization, consistency, dialogue and all the elements. Fourth and fifth draft, I tweak and fine tune. I have probably edited several times within each draft or revision.

How do you come up with the titles to your books?
 My first book was written under the title of Dawn’s Hope, an estate within the book. The publisher changed the title based on an important line in the book. America II: The Reformation was titled as I envisioned the spirit of America coming alive again in a post apocalyptic world. The story parallels the development of the original 13 colonies and their struggle for independence.  My current work in progress, another Adirondack suspense, was titled after the translation of Adirondack, a Native American Word meaning Tree Eaters.

What was the hardest part of writing your book?

Describing the settings accurately and determining where settings should be. God was good. I became stuck as to where I should situate a subculture called The Treasure Keepers, those outcast clerics who risked their lives to salvage religious heritage. I happened to turn the television on to the travel channel and there it was…Carlsbad Caverns…which then became part of the Sierra Province in my future world.

What did you want to be when you grew up?
I’ve always wanted to be a writer. It just took me awhile to get there.

Do you hate how you look in pictures?  Yes!

What’s a saying you use a lot?  Well there you go!

Have you ever cried during a movie?  All the time. Bambi still makes me cry.

What is your favourite pizza?  Meat lovers

If you could go anywhere to tomorrow, where would you go?  Hug my grandchildren in Washington, D.C area and New York City.

If you could see anyone tomorrow (dead or alive), who would it be? Jesus, of course. 

By Linda Rondeau

I put the misappropriated toy gun back on the shelf. Feigning patience, I corrected my son’s impulsiveness. “No, John. Ask first.” At three years old, he should know better than to put things into the grocery cart without my permission. Then, I continued my grocery shopping wishing for a miracle, to forget, at least for one day, that I was destitute.
A divorced, unemployed mother of three pre-school children, I believed, until that morning, I had already sunk to the bottom. The mail brought with it an eviction notice. Now I faced homelessness on top of despair. I’d achieved the impossible, a new depth from which to wallow.  
Self pity filled me. What had I done to deserve these troubles?
I’d been a model tenant, paying my rent on time, my home spotless. I even waxed my floors on a weekly basis. My landlady claimed she needed the apartment for a family member who would be moving to town and assured me the eviction was due to no fault on my part. No fault except that I lived in space she thought she needed more than I did.
Humiliation pricked me like a thousand sewing needles. I didn’t blame my landlady, at least not intellectually. If in her shoes, I’d have done the same. And I’d have gone on my merry way believing my good tenant should have no problems in finding another place to rent. And, like her, I’d have given that tenant a letter of reference. But finding an affordable apartment with my limited resources in a safe neighborhood posed challenges beyond my scope of solvability.
Tomorrow lay before me like an unwritten movie script, but I knew the logline: A divorced woman and her three children huddle together in a cardboard box.  
I’d despised my life as a welfare Mom, but held some gratitude that the subsidy check had arrived the same day as the eviction notice. At least we’d hit the streets well fed.
I shrugged my shoulders and prayed that God would somehow work a miracle on my behalf. But my sour mood trenched in, disbelief my war buddy.
The luxury of a babysitter was not in my budget. I bundled up my brood and headed to the supermarket, mentally checking my list and laboring over which items I might be able to scratch off – my resources insufficient to cover the long list of needs. I could forego the floor polish. I wouldn’t be able to wash and wax the street.  
Putting the baby in one cart, I lifted the other two children into another and pulled it behind me. I choo-chooed my way through the supermarket, a maternal steam engine with a trailing caboose. Engrossed in my immediate labors, I’d examine an item, look at my list, and put it in the cart only to take it back out and in again. How could I decipher if toilet paper were more critical than toothpaste?
Steeped in my depressive state, I hadn’t given a thought how the sight might appear to someone else. I unglued my eyes from the list just in time to witness John lean over his cart and dump a handful of candy bars into mine.
My howls echoed through the store like canyon winds. “What are you doing! Don’t even think you’re getting candy.”
 Feeling like Snow White’s evil step-mother, I heaved the treats back on the shelf with one huge huff of indignation, letting my anger dam the flood of tears ready to burst through my steeled exterior. Even so, wet trickles slid down my cheeks as John’s little face turned from rosy innocence to gray fright, his wails even louder than my reprimands.
As if pulled out of myself I could see myself screaming. I caught the elongated, disapproving glance of the woman five feet down our aisle. I saw myself in frozen ugliness, the reactions of nearby customer’s disapprovals flickering like flashes from a B-rated horror film.  I wondered if this was what a nervous breakdown looked like.
From somewhere, staccato-like bursts of joy pierced the nightmarish scene. I reeled to find their source. No one around accept a near hysterical, rotund man, a department store Santa type even sporting a long white beard and black boots but sans the red suit.  He bowled over, holding his middle, gifting the floor with his peals of laughter, his antics in sync with my real time while the shadows around us continued in slow-motion.
Initially, I raged within to think anyone could so obtusely enjoy my pain. As I passed from participant to observer, surveying the surreal, I felt a growing pressure in my abdomen.  I fought the emotion as I scanned the absurdity surrounding us.  But, within seconds of the sight of him, my own gurgles of laughter sprayed the atmosphere like a happy geyser.   
I don’t know how long time stood still for the near Santa look-alike and me. But when the bustling resumed and I returned to the here and now, my mood had miraculously transformed from bitterness to hope. In that instant, despair fled and a cotton-cloud of peace hovered over me. I didn’t know how, but I knew we’d find suitable living arrangements. Even if a less desirable neighborhood would be our lot, the God of Love would watch over us.
Nothing life sent our way could take away my faith.  
I gathered up the rejected candy bars and cradled them back to my cart.
“Just because I love you,” I said, and kissed my child on the top of his head. Beams of delight replaced the horror in his eyes. Soon harmonious giggles filled the air as we careened toward the checkout.
But, shouldn’t I thank the large-bellied man for his gift? His amusement, whether intended or not, had brought me from the teetering edge of desperation to an appreciation of all that was still good in my life. Laughter reminded me that my children and our times together should be the stuff of my conscious stream, not the reams of disappointments that would come and go in this life.
Perhaps I might be powerless against a deserting spouse or a greedy landlord, but I did have the power of choice to believe or not believe. I could let circumstances devour my faith, or I could hold onto it as precious gold.
 I’d been taught since childhood that God loved me and had a plan for my life. But I’d never dared believed its truth. I wanted to let him know how much his laughter had changed my world.
I looked for him in the place I last saw him. An empty seat was all I could find. I wandered the aisles, but his pot-bellied frame had evaporated into another realm.
 I’d heard that God sometimes sends his angels to us at odd times, in odd places, and perhaps in the form of an obese elderly man on a supermarket bench. Had I been so graced?
I won’t know this side of heaven for sure. But whenever I drift into a woe-is-me attitude, the image of that jolly, fat elf never fails to turn my mindset back to joy.   

You can find Linda here

Also writing as L.W. Rondeau
The Other Side of Darkness with Pelican Ventures
Coming Soon:  America II:The Reformation with Trestle Press
        Website: http://www.lindarondeau.com
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