Category Archives: Author Interview

Author Interview 2: Foy: On the Road to Lost by Gordon Atkinson

FOY:ON THE ROAD
TO LOST
by
GORDON ATKINSON
  Genre: Literary Fiction
Date of Publication: March 1, 2017
Number of Pages: 194

 

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Gordon Atkinson, of the popular blog RealLivePreacher, brings us Foy, a recently- divorced, recently-resigned pastor in the midst of redefining personal meaning. As Foy travels to New Orleans, hoping to find a new identity separate from the church, he keenly observes the everyday, rendering ordinary moments unexpectedly significant. Atkinson’s own background as a preacher and blogger inspires Foy’s confessional voice, the voice which characterizes this story about how our own experiences impact the universal search for meaning. 
 ***

 


PRAISE FOR FOY: ON THE ROAD TO LOST:

“If the magnitude of difference between the stars and humankind is the purest of religions, reminding us of our insignificance (so thinks Foy), then that magnitude is collapsed in the hands of Atkinson, whose words elevate the most insignificant of objects, acts, and characters to startling heights. A key shifted on a desk, a communion cup offered to an old woman despite a philosophical mismatch, a baby’s bottle first ignored and then retrieved for a frazzled stranger on a bus. Each commands, each arrests, each persists. And we suddenly remember that what we create with mere words can be as lasting as the luminaries.”
— L.L. Barkat, author of Rumors of Water: Thoughts on Creativity & Writing, twice named a best book of 2011


“Few writers can match Gordon Atkinson’s ability to tell stories about the sacred in our everyday lives. Foy is a work of power, beauty, and clarity–I saw myself and the world more clearly after reading it. I think you will too.”

— Greg Garrett, author of The Prodigal and Entertaining Judgment

“I really, really like Gordon Atkinson’s Foy. I like the character Foy himself. He’s Everyman and he’s me and he’s Gordon, all at the same time. Nice trick. I like Gordon’s writing — straightforward, but with a simple elegance. But what I really like is the no-holds-barred honesty. This feels real because it is real. Foy at his worst, Foy at his best, Foy at his most wonderful/awful. It’s an on-going series, just like life. I look forward to the next chapter.”
— Robert F. Darden, author of Nothing but Love in God’s Water, Volume II: Black Sacred Music from Sit-Ins to Resurrection City

 

AuthorInterview

Gordon Atkinson Author Interview 2

Your writing contains beautiful messages. Does the story come first, or the underlying message/theme?

Story first or the beginning idea for an essay. Most of the time I don’t know where things are going to end up when I begin and am as surprised as anyone when I’m finished. This is especially true of fiction, where I consciously seek to avoid directing the writing in hopes of pulling from the unconscious, which is where all the best stories live.

Do you have any kind of ritual you engage in before you write or during the writing process?

The first task is to get every idea down on paper, even if you write it on a napkin. And save those. The next step is to start a piece and gush without thinking onto the paper. In step two one hopes to capture magic from the unconscious. The third thing is to organize and think through the structure of the piece. This is the one I enjoy the least. The last thing is polishing and it’s more like creating poetry. You don’t have to think about structure anymore. Just listen to the sounds of your words and play with them until they sound right.

How much of Foy is based on your own life? Did some of these stories actually happen to you?

I tore my life down into little blocks and used those blocks to build a new life for Foy. There are a few stories that are very close to something that happened to me. Others are based on events from my life but are skewed or lead the character in the opposite direction that I went. And a good bit of Foy is just made up. I’d say Foy resembles me if my life had turned out differently.

Foy has daughters. Will we meet them at some point?

Yes. There are currently two stories that feature his daughters. They just aren’t in volume one. And I have a story planned for Foy’s mother and father. So in the future we should learn a little more about his family.

Foy sure curses a lot for a minister. Is that realistic?

Most ministers know that the scriptures have nothing to say about coarse language, if that language isn’t being used to hurt people. But ministers also have a certain reputation to uphold. So most of them watch their language in public. But I promise you, many of them cut loose when they can do so safely.

What does “On the road to lost” mean?

It is a play on words based on something my wife said when we left the ministry. She said “I once was found but now I’m lost, could see but now I’m blind.” You might recognize that as a distortion of words from the song “Amazing Grace.” I liked what she said. It describes many people who grew up in insular religious communities. It’s as if never having been lost, their journeys inevitably lead them into the wilderness. That’s Foy. He was safe and secure inside the mythic religious world  of Fort Davis. He takes a journey into the larger world, where he feels lost indeed.

You mention a volume two at the end of the book. Have you started it?

I have, and I am well on the way. There are forty-one stories so far. There are only twenty-five in this volume.

How has Texas influenced your writing?

I don’t know. But it makes sense to me that I wouldn’t know. Your own culture is invisible to you. Its influence is always strong but rarely recognized. I’ve always lived in Texas. My family is from Livingston. I was born in Fort Worth. I spent my early years in El Paso and my adolescence in Houston. I graduated from Katy High School and went to college in Waco. When I was in seminary my wife and I lived in a mobile home in Burleson. And I’ve been in San Antonio for almost thirty years.

I assume, therefore, that the scent of Texas rises gently from out of every sentence I write.


 

Atkinson is the author of the books RealLivePreacher.com (Wm. B. Eerdmans), Turtles All the Way Down, and A Christmas Story You’ve Never Heard.  He was a contributor for the magazine Christian Century and founding editor for the High Calling website, which brought together hundreds of independent writers and featured their work. 
His writing career started on Salon where he was among the most read bloggers on the site.  One of his essays was chosen to be included in The Best Christian Writing 2004 (Jossey-Bass) and his book RealLivePreacher.com won the Independent Publisher Book Award in the creative non-fiction category.

  —————————————
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Grand Prize: Signed Copies of Foy: On the Road to Lost, Turtles All the Way Down, and A Christmas Story You Never Heard
2nd Prize: Signed Copy of Foy: On the Road to Lost

3rd Prize: Signed Copy of RealLivePreacher.com
(US ONLY)
March 1 – 15, 2017

CHECK OUT THE OTHER GREAT BLOGS ON THE TOUR:
 

3/1
Video Guest Post 1
3/2
Review
3/3
Excerpt 1
3/4
Video Guest Post 2
3/5
Review
3/6
Author Interview 1
3/7
Review
3/8
Video Guest Post 3
3/9
Excerpt 2
3/10
Review
3/11
Video Guest Post 4
3/12
Author Interview 2
3/13
Review
3/14
Video Guest Post 5
3/15
Review

 

 

 

 

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Author Interview: A Wife of Noble Character by Yvonne Georgina Puig

A WIFE OF NOBLE CHARACTER
by

Yvonne Georgina Puig

Genre: Women‘s Contemporary Fiction
Date of Publication: August 2, 2016
Number of Pages: 320

 

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Thirty-year-old Vivienne Cally is wealthy in name only. Orphaned as a child and raised by a cold but regal aunt, Vivienne was taught to rely on her beauty and Texas tradition, and is expected to marry a wealthy and respectable man who will honor the Cally name. Friends with Houston’s richest and most prominent families, she’s a beloved fixture at the social events big and small, and suffers no shortage of access to some of the city’s most eligible bachelors. Preston Duffin has known Vivienne and her set since childhood.  He’s never shared their social aspirations or their status but is liked and respected for his sharp wit and intelligence. About to graduate from a prestigious architecture program, he is both fascinated and repelled by this group of friends he sits on the cusp of. He’s long admired Vivienne’s beauty and grace, but isn’t sure he holds any place in such a traditional life. Intrigued by Preston’s ambitions and the extent to which he challenges the only way of life she’s ever known, Vivienne both courts Preston’s attention, and rebuffs his critiques of her predictable and antiquated priorities and values. 
Inspired by Edith Wharton’s The House of Mirth, Yvonne Georgina Puig’s A Wife of Noble Character shares the original novel’s astute social commentary at the same time that it illuminates the trappings and rewards of coming of age that are wholly unique to the twenty-first century. Charming and shrewd at once, this Texas love story takes readers from Houston to Paris and Switzerland and back again, and will speak to both fans of Wharton and anyone who has every struggled to find their way in life.


Praise for A Wife of Noble Character

“A fun take on Edith Wharton’s classic.”—Marie Claire
A Wife of Noble Character is equal parts wry social commentary and heart-fluttering romance — an insightful journey for both the head and the heart.” —Refinery29
“This sharply drawn novel about Houston’s oil-money elite strikes a beautiful balance—rollicking at times while deeply felt at others.”—Elle.com
“A compelling and complicated love story…The characters hearken back to Wharton’s while still not feeling like archetypes, and the interior narration matches the introspective style of Wharton’s writing.”—Book Riot
A Wife of Noble Character possesses something that is intrinsically Houstonian: a sense of humor. . . Apparently, no matter how far you move, Houston sticks with you; Puig has the local milieu down cold.”—Texas Monthly
“In this vivid, socially acute novel of manners set in oil-money Houston society, Yvonne Puig charms us with prose and braces us with insight—a masterful, sharp-eyed and eloquent debut.” —Janet Fitch, author of White Oleander and Paint it Black
“A fresh, funny look at what it means to be an adult in the 21st century and a juicy Texan comedy of manners, at its heart, A Wife of Noble Character is a good old fashioned love story.” —Sarah Bird, author of Above the East China Sea
A Wife of Noble Character is a wildly unique creation: A social novel that is simultaneously classic and utterly modern. I found it sharply insightful, lyrically written, and often laugh-out-loud funny; and could barely put it down until the last page. Puig is a talented satirist and a breathtakingly astute observer of character.”—Janelle Brown, author of All We Ever Wanted Was Everything

 

AuthorInterview

Author Interview 1 – Yvonne Georgina Puig

How has being a Texan influenced your writing?

I think growing up in Texas made me a writer. For better or worse, Texas really is outrageous, and I love that about it. You grow up hearing stories, and meeting larger-than-life people from all currents of life—I believe growing up in Texas attuned me to story. Also, my dad, who grew up in Houston, is a great storyteller.

Where did your love of all things bookish come from?

It seems to me it came from many places—from where I grew up certainly, but also from my parents and grandparents, who all love/loved to read. Books and stories were an escape for me. I didn’t much feel like I fit in at school, and so I learned to be an observer. And writing comes out of observation. I also feel I was born loving words – I can’t explain it, but even before I learned how to write, I was filling journals with pretend writing (I remember making little make-believe cursive lines from right to left in a spiral notebook).

How long have you been writing?

As long as I can remember—filling those spiral notebooks with pretend writing before I knew how to write. I didn’t think of it as writing back then. I don’t remember what I thought. I just loved to put pen to paper.

What kind(s) of writing do you do?

Poetry, essays, fiction, and more recently trying to see how I do with screenplays. We’ll see how it goes!

What do you think most characterizes your writing?

I’m curious to hear this question answered from a reader’s perspective. It seems to me writers are too close to their own writing to be able to see it clearly – I just hope that to readers my writing is somehow true or familiar to an experience of their own hearts.

What was the hardest part of writing this book?

It was hardest to make the love story feel true and real, and not too sappy. I hope I succeeded. It was also challenging to take the themes of The House of Mirth and apply them to modern-day Texas. I believe the questions that Wharton poses in The House of Mirth are still relevant today. But on the other hand, things really have changed for women since her time. It was difficult but wonderful to write over that tightrope and let both those things be true at once.

What did you find most useful and/or most destructive in learning to write?

Aiming for perfection is destructive. Comparison is destructive. I think comparison is hardest- when you read something so incredible you just think to yourself, I’ll never be able to do that. And maybe you won’t –but you will be able to something else! And it will be your own.

What is your intention in reimagining The House of Mirth?

I’d like to answer this question because I’ve noticed that people wonder if I thought I could somehow do the The House of Mirth better than or even equal to Wharton. That is not the case. No one can match Wharton. I wanted to write a story that jumped off the premise of House of Mirth and asked similar questions about women, and the extent to which women are free today. What does it mean to be a wife today?

 

 

 


Yvonne Georgina Puig’s fiction and essays have appeared in Salon, Variety, Los Angeles Magazine, and The Texas Observer, among others. She holds a Masters in Professional Writing from USC. She lives in Santa Monica with her husband. 

 ————————————— 

 

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9/16
Author Interview 1
9/17
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9/21
Review
9/22
Author Interview 2
9/23
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Author Interview: Deadly Encounter by DiAnn Mills

DEADLY ENCOUNTER
(FBI: Task Force)
by
DiAnn Mills
Genre: Romance / Suspense / Christian
Publisher: Tyndale House
Date of Publication: August 1, 2016
Number of Pages: 376
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Airport Ranger volunteer Stacy Broussard expected a peaceful Saturday morning ride around the perimeter of Houston’s airport. What she encounters instead is a brutal homicide and a baffling mystery. Next to the body is an injured dog, the dead man’s motorcycle, and a drone armed with a laser capable of taking down a 747.

Though FBI Special Agent Alex LeBlanc sees a clear-cut case of terrorism, his past has taught him to be suspicious of everyone, even witnesses. Even bleeding-heart veterinarians like Stacy. But when her gruesome discovery is only the first in a string of incidences that throw her life into a tailspin, Alex begins to wonder if Stacy was targeted. As a health emergency endangers Stacy’s community, and the task force pulls in leads from all directions, Alex and Stacy must work together to prevent another deadly encounter.

Praise for the FBI: Houston novels

Deadlock: “This is a fast moving crime story with several interesting twists and turns. [Deadlock] is a page turner.” — Online Reviewer

 
Double-Cross:  
“Mills does a superb job of character and plot development in this faith-filled series.”Christian Library Journal
 
“Mills’ writing is transparently crisp, backed up with solid research, filled with believable characters and sparks of romantic chemistry.” Novel Crossing
 
Firewall:  
“Christy Award–winning Mills skillfully builds a menacing overall tone, and the tension level rises as layers of lies are peeled away in multiple plot twists. This novel, which takes off at a breakneck pace with a narrative arc that could have been ripped from today’s headlines, will greatly appeal to fans of James Patterson’s “Alex Cross” series and readers who enjoy psychological thrillers.” — Library Journal starred review
 
“Mills takes readers on an explosive ride. The terror is all the more chilling because it
could easily be a headline story on the nightly news, and Mills’ characters spring to life
through their fears, strengths, and quirks. A story as romantic as it is exciting, Fi
rewall
will appeal to fans of Dee Henderson’s romantic suspense stories.” —
Booklist 

AuthorInterview

Author Interview #4

DiAnn Mills 

Do you choose the names based on liking the way it sounds or the meaning? Do you have any name choosing resources you recommend? I choose names according to their meaning. This helps me begin the process of physically and psychologically understanding who they are and what motivates them into action. I’ve used Character Naming Sourcebook by Sherrilyn Kenyon for years. I often google a name meanings and origin too.

Is there one subject you would never write about as an author? What is it? Definitely rape and sex trafficking. The subjects are overdone and can be graphic.

Deadly Encounter is one more book that features a dog. Why is that? I’m always searching for a way to get over my fear of dogs, especially big ones. Having my heroine treasure a relationship with her dog helps me.

What book do you wish you could have written? The book is yet unwritten. I’m waiting for the right time. It’s a psychological romantic suspense.

What literary character is most like you? Skeeter Phelan from The Help or Gandalf from Lord of the Rings.

What do your plans for future projects include? I’m putting together a proposal about the Texas Rangers. The idea has intrigued me for a long time.

What is something you want to accomplish before you die? I want to see one of my books made into a movie. And . . . I want to zip line.

What’s something fun or funny that most people don’t know about you?

Fun – I write fantasy with my nine-year-old granddaughter.

Funny – I’m a Texan who doesn’t eat barbecue.

What do you want your tombstone to say? A Daughter of the King

 


DiAnn Mills is a bestselling author who believes her readers should expect an adventure. She combines unforgettable characters with unpredictable plots to create action-packed, suspense-filled novels.

Her titles have appeared on the CBA and ECPA bestseller lists; won two Christy Awards; and been finalists for the RITA, Daphne Du Maurier, Inspirational ReadersChoice, and Carol award contests. Library Journal presented her with a Best Books 2014: Genre Fiction award in the Christian Fiction category for Firewall.
DiAnn is a founding board member of the American Christian Fiction Writers, a member of Advanced Writers and Speakers Association, Sisters in Crime, and International Thriller Writers. She is co-director of The Blue Ridge Mountain Christian Writers Conference and The Author Roadmap with social media specialist Edie Melson where she continues her passion of helping other writers be successful. She speaks to various groups and teaches writing workshops around the country.
DiAnn has been termed a coffee snob and roasts her own coffee beans. She’s an avid reader, loves to cook, and believes her grandchildren are the smartest kids in the universe. She and her husband live in sunny Houston, Texas.
DiAnn is very active online and would love to connect with readers on any of the social media platforms listed at http://www.diannmills.com.
 
 ————————————— 

 

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8/10
Review
8/11
Author Interview
8/12
Review
8/13
Promo
8/14
Author Interview
8/15
Excerpt #1
8/16
Review
8/17
Guest Post
8/18
Review
8/19
Author Interview
8/20
Excerpt #2
8/21
Review
8/22
Promo
8/23
Author Interview
8/24
Review

 

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Author Interview #2: Every Bride Has Her Day by Janice Thompson

EVERY BRIDE HAS HER DAY

 

(Brides With Style #3)


by 


Janice Thompson
Genre: Contemporary Christian Romance
Publisher: Revell
Date of Publication: May 17, 2016
# of pages: 352
Scroll down for Giveaway!

Another Delightful Romance from the Queen of Romantic Comedy
Katie Fisher is ecstatic. Pro basketball star Brady James has proposed, and she can’t wait to start planning their life together. She’s confident she’ll make it down the aisle this time–but it still may be easier said than done. A high-society Houston bride has Katie and the Cosmopolitan Bridal team scrambling to get the perfect dress done in time for her spectacular wedding. Meanwhile, Katie finds herself bombarded with everyone’s competing visions regarding her own special day–and she’s beginning to worry that her own ideas will get lost in the crossfire. Will she ever manage to settle all of the details for her perfect day? Or will bridal shop chaos and overzealous friends and family make a mess of everything? Fan favorite Janice Thompson gives readers what they’ve been clamoring for: another funny, romantic romp with a Texas twang.
PRAISE FOR THE BRIDES WITH STYLE SERIES:
“Readers will fall in love with Katie.”–Library Journal

 

 

“A feel-good romantic comedy of subverted expectations. . . . Readers will laugh and sigh along with Katie as she comes into her own, discovering a life and love beyond her dreams.”–Booklist

 

 

“Romantic comedy at its best. I highly recommend it!”–Cara Putman, award-winning author of Shadowed by Grace and Where Treetops Glisten

 

 

“A delightful mix of romance, inspiration, and humor.”–Judy Christie, author of Wreath, A Girl in the Wreath Willis series 
 

  PURCHASE LINKS:

  AMAZON        BARNES & NOBLE

 CHRISTIANBOOK.COM       BAKER RETAIL

AuthorInterview 

Interview #2 with Janice Thompson,

Author of Every Bride Has Her Day

 

What kind(s) of writing do you do?

Because I’m a full-time freelance writer, I’ve crossed genre lines to write contemporary romantic comedies, historicals, cozy mysteries, inspirational romances, and even non-fiction devotionals. I’ve also written dozens and dozens of magazine articles and hundreds of blog posts. I’m perfectly at home in every genre, though I tend to thrive with romantic comedy.

 

What cultural value do you see in writing/reading/storytelling/etc.?

Story-telling is an art-form that has been passed down from generation to generation. I recently spent time with a good friend who’s eighty-four years old. She has the most amazing family stories. Wow! I love listening to her share about her great-great-great grandfather and her four-times great grandmother, etc. She tells her stories with such effervescence that I can’t help but be drawn in. That’s that I hope to do with my stories, too. I share about loud, wacky families, and most of my books deal with culture clashes (what fun!). If nothing else, these stories explore very real (albeit funny) issues that crop up when you throw a ton of VERY different people into the same scene/situation. In my case, humor abounds. Craziness abounds. Good times abound.

 

How does your book relate to your spiritual practice?

My faith journey is integral to my life. I could no more leave it out of my novels/stories than I could stop breathing! I hope it leaks through on every page. In every situation the characters face I have an opportunity to share nuggets of truth. Oh, what fun I have doing so!

 

What did you enjoy most about writing this book?

I love the (very real) town of Fairfield, Texas and I LOVE wedding planning. To set a wedding in Fairfield was a dream come true. I especially loved the outdoor wedding reception on the courthouse lawn. Boy, oh boy, did I ever have fun coming up with all of the vendors, etc. What a blast!

 

If you had a superpower, what would it be?

I would heal disease. We’ve struggled with a lot of it in my family. My youngest granddaughter has a neuro-muscular disease. My mom, as I said in the prior interview, has Alzheimers. I have autoimmune arthritis. I’d love to snap my fingers and make all of the pain go away.

 

What do your plans for future projects include?

I hope to write a dog rescue series soon and I plan to keep the Bella novellas going as long as the readers are interested in hearing about Bella’s wacky wedding-planning adventures!

 

What is something you want to accomplish before you die?

I want to go to Italy.

 

Janice Thompson is an expert at pulling the humor from the situations we get ourselves into and offers an inside look at the wedding business, drawing on her own experiences as a wedding planner. She is the author of the hugely popular Weddings by Bella series, the Backstage Pass series, and the Weddings by Design series, as well as Every Bride Needs a Groom and Every Girl Gets Confused. She lives in Texas.

WEBSITE      FACEBOOK


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Prize 1: Box of Texas Treats & Signed Book
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Check out the other great blogs on the tour! 

 

5/17       StoreyBook Reviews            Review              
5/18       Book Crazy Gals                    — Author Interview #1
5/19       Forgotten Winds  Guest Post #1   
5/20       Country Girl Bookaholic      Review              
5/21       Books and Broomsticks       — Excerpt
5/22       The Crazy Booksellers         Promo               
5/23       All for the Love of the Word             Review              
5/24       Missus Gonzo        — Author Interview #2       
5/25       Blogging for the Love of Authors and Their Books— Promo        
5/26       Byers Editing Reviews & Blog             — Review              
5/27       Hall Ways Blog      — Author Interview #3       
5/28       A Novel Reality     — Guest Post #2   
5/29       The Page Unbound              — Review              
5/30       Margie’s Must Reads           — Promo               
5/31       It’s a Jenn World  — Review              

 


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Author Interview: With THIS Ring?

  With THIS Ring?
A Novella Collection of Proposals Gone Awry
by
Karen Witemeyer, Mary Connealy, 
Regina Jennings, and Melissa Jagears
Genre: Romance, Humor
Publisher: Bethany House Publishers
Date of Publication: January 5, 2016
# of pages: 368


Love isn’t always a fairy tale, and it doesn’t always go as planned. Sometimes the best stories, though, are the ones that are the most unexpected. Join Karen Witemeyer, Mary Connealy, Regina Jennings, and Melissa Jagears for novellas that celebrate the power of love to triumph . . . even when circumstances go awry!

 

The Husband Maneuver

 

When ranch foreman Daniel Barrett seems ready to leave her life forever, Marietta Hawkins decides to grab the reins on their relationship. But to have any hope of maneuvering him into a proposal, she has to act fast or risk losing him completely.

 

Her Dearly Unintended

 

Josiah Huckabee just wanted to make sure Katie Ellen Watson was safe, but when the only bridge to her farm is washed out, the two find themselves alone. Alone, that is, until a menacing stranger appears. Maybe by pretending to be newlyweds, they’ll save their reputations–but can pretending to be in love turn into the real thing?

 

Runaway Bride

 

Hired to help Carrie Halsey escape from a dangerous man intent on making her his wife, Big John Conroy never expected the job to interrupt his solitary Texas Ranger life. But now that he’s promised to keep Carrie safe, he discovers he may just want to make a few more promises.

 

Engaging the Competition

 

Harrison Gray and tomboy Charlotte Andrews have been rivals for years. With Charlotte intended for someone else, it seems they’ll never settle their differences until an accident changes things completely. When Charlotte breaks Harrison’s glasses–without which he’s nearly blind–she must help with his teaching position, and working together forces these former adversaries to reconsider everything.
PRAISE FOR WITH THIS RING:

“This quartet of authors consistently write with hilarity, warmth, and toe-curling romance. Their individual contributions to this entertaining collection hold true to form. Connealy tips her hat to long-time fans with a grin-inducing reunion and clever word-smithing. Witemeyer’s ingenious story-within-a story adds even more humor and drama to her contribution. Jennings and Jagears perfectly complete the ensemble with witty tales of friendship and breathless kisses.”—RT Book Reviews Top Pick

 

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Karen Witemeyer: Winner of the HOLT Medallion and the Carol Award and a finalist for the RITA and Christy Award, bestselling author Karen Witemeyer writes historical romance to give the world more happily-ever-afters. Karen makes her home in Texas, with her husband and three children. Visit her website or connect with her on Facebook.
Mary Connealy: Mary Connealy writes “romantic comedies with cowboys” and is celebrated for her fun, zany, action-packed style. She has over half a million books sold. She is the author of the popular series Wild at Heart, Kincaid Brides, Trouble in Texas, and many other books. Mary lives on a ranch in eastern Nebraska with her very own romantic cowboy hero. Visit her website or connect with her on Facebook.
Regina Jennings: Regina Jennings is a graduate of Oklahoma Baptist University with a degree in English and a history minor. She is the author of At Love’s Bidding and four other novels, and contributed a novella to A Match Made in Texas. Regina has worked at the Mustang News, along with time at the Oklahoma National Stockyards and various livestock shows. She now lives outside Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, with her husband and four children. Visit her website or connect with her on Facebook.
 
 Melissa Jagears: Melissa Jagears, an ESL teacher by trade and the author of A Bride for Keeps, A Bride in Store, and A Bride at Last, is a stay-at-home mother on a tiny Kansas farm with a fixer-upper house. She’s a member of ACFW and CROWN fiction marketing, and her passion is to help Christian believers mature in their faith and judge rightly. Visit her website or connect with her on Facebook.
GIVEAWAY! FOUR COPIES OF THE BOOK!
February 5-18, 2016
(Winners must have US mailing addresses)

 

AuthorInterview

SPOTLIGHT: Author Interview: Melissa Jagears

 

What literary character is most like you?

I am a female Mr. Darcy. I remember totally understanding him and wondering what was wrong with all the other characters who thought he was awful. Then one day, a friend asked me who I was character-wise from Jane Austen’s novels and I was trying to mesh Lizzy and Elinor and finally gave up and picked a male character, Mr. Darcy. Later, I learned that my Myers-Briggs personality type is the one attributed to Mr. Darcy (and Jane Austen herself!). I was just so excited to find my first INTJ character in literature who was NOT the villain…well, at least the people who mattered most figured out he wasn’t the villain before the end. 🙂

 

What did you find most useful in learning to write? What was least useful or most destructive?

The most useful tool I found in learning to write was serious, professional writers who exchanged work with me in a group. Having a critique group was very eye opening to things I couldn’t see myself. I could read writing craft books, understand the examples even, but having someone point out where I failed and how to fix it was beyond helpful. Plus, in a group, after I critiqued someone’s work, I’d read what others had to say and see what they caught that I didn’t, which honed my eye even more to finding craft problems in my own work.

 

I think the least useful was putting my story into a critique group one chapter at a time without having a clear idea where I was going with the story or having written the entire thing first. For when someone suggested a fix to a problem, I’d feel compelled to go that way and so, it began to feel like it wasn’t my story. The next book, I did a fast rough draft of the whole thing first before putting it into the critique group. Then when a critter gave me a suggestion, I could either disregard it because I knew my way was better or the advice didn’t mesh with my vision, or I would snatch it up and use it because it was way better than what I had come up with myself!

 

Are you a full-time or part-time writer? How does that affect your writing?

I’m a part-time writer. I’m a stay-at-home mother and homeschooler to little ones. That’s why I write after everyone goes to bed; it’s the only time I have to myself, so I’m writing from 10pm to 2am. Sometimes I’m up until 4am on deadline! I’ve always wondered if I’d write better if I slept more. Hopefully someday I’ll find out!

 

Do you have any strange writing habits you wouldn’t mind sharing with readers?

Whenever I’m stuck on what to write next, I take a shower. I can think better there for some reason. It’s dangerous to take a shower right before I intend to go to bed because then I usually have to go “back to work” to put down all the new ideas. Perhaps it’s not more sleep that I need to be a better writer, but a bigger budget for hot water.

 

What is something you want to accomplish before you die?

Raising children to become adults of integrity.

 


Check out these other great blog stops on the tour!

2/5      The Crazy Booksellers – Promo

2/6      Missus Gonzo – Author Interview

2/7      Books and Broomsticks – Promo

2/8      My Book Fix Blog — Review

2/9      The Page Unbound – Author Interview

2/10   Because This is My Life Y’all – Guest Post

2/11   Texas Book-aholic — Promo

2/12   The Librarian Talks – Author Interview

2/13   All for the Love of the Word — Review

2/14   Hall Ways Blog — Review

 
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Author Interview: Mourner’s Bench by Sanderia Faye


MOURNER’S BENCH
by Sanderia Faye
Genre: Historical Fiction
Publisher: University of Arkansas Press
Date of Publication: September 15, 2015
# of pages: 340

 Praise for Mourner’s Bench:
“An absorbing meditation on the meaning of religion in a small town as well as a keen-eyed perspective on the way one African-American community encountered the civil rights movement. An astute coming-of-age tale set against an all-too-relevant background.” 
— Kirkus 

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AuthorInterview

What was your inspiration for Mourner’s Bench?

It was a prompt in a writing class that went something like “write until I tell you to stop about a story you’ve heard before but you are not sure if it is true or false.” I wrote approximately two handwritten pages about two young girls who worked for SNCC registering voters along the country roads of the Arkansas Delta.

After I read what I had scribbled on the pages to the class, we spent the remainder of the class discussing the civil rights movement and the role young people played in it. That story of those girls piqued my interest, so I started asking questions and researching the civil rights movement in Arkansas. I realized that I knew very little about Arkansas and the civil rights movement. The media and historians covered the integration of Central High School, but there wasn’t very much written about Arkansas’s role during the 1960s.

 

I became absorbed in the history, and how, as a fiction writer, I could place these young girls inside that rich history. I wondered who they were, who were their families, where did they live, and along with many other questions, how did they become so brave? Of course, when I started writing, the story took on a life of its own, and although the friendship between the girls is included in the novel, the story became more about the one girl, Sarah, and her family.

 

Why was this time in history important?

It wasn’t just the history, which is extremely important and was what led me to the story, but it became more about the people, their behavior, traditions and language. These things set against the backdrop of the history of the civil rights movement are what made this time important to me. It was a time of discovery, pride, bravery, and ownership for African Americans.

 

What makes this book relevant today?

I don’t believe there would be any time in history where this novel wouldn’t be relevant. The civil rights movement did not end for African Americans in the 1960s. We have continued to fight for justice both privately and publicly. Now, with the consistent brutality by the police throughout the country, the movement has become more public again, but I don’t believe any African Americans would say that they are now or have ever received equal rights and privileges as the dominant culture. This is also a book about a family and a community. If you take out the historical setting, it would still be about relationships between mothers and daughters and church and state.

Do you have a specific writing style?

Voice is important in my writing. I need to hear the characters speak before I began to write. The story has to come alive in my mind where I hear the sounds and see the setting.

 

What is the mission you set out to accomplish with your voice in this book?

I didn’t have a particular mission initially except to learn to write. It was my practice novel; the one that wouldn’t ever get published. Later, I realized that it was important to American history, especially Arkansas history.

 

Check out these other great blog stops on the tour!
2/1 All for the Love of the Word – Promo
2/3 Missus Gonzo – Author Interview
2/5 My Book Fix Blog – Promo
2/8 Books and Broomsticks  — Promo
2/10 Blogging for the Love of Authors and Their Books – Promo
2/12 Because This is My Life Y’all — Review
2/15 The Page Unbound — Promo
2/17 Texas Book-aholic — Review
2/19 Secret Asian Girl — Review
2/22 Hall Ways – Promo

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