Category Archives: Author Interview

Playlist & Giveaway: An Inconvenient Beauty by Kristi Ann Hunter

AN INCONVENIENT BEAUTY
Hawthorne House, Book 4

by
KRISTI ANN HUNTER
  Genre: Regency Romance 
Publisher: Bethany House
Date of Publication: September 5, 2017
Number of Pages: 384
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Griffith, Duke of Riverton, likes order, logic, and control, so he naturally applies this rational approach to his search for a bride. While he’s certain Miss Frederica St. Claire is the perfect wife for him, she is strangely elusive, and he can’t seem to stop running into her stunningly beautiful cousin, Miss Isabella Breckenridge.

Isabella should be enjoying her society debut, but with her family in difficult circumstances, she has no choice but to agree to a bargain that puts her at odds with all her romantic hopes—as well as her conscience. And the more she comes to know Griffith, the more she regrets the unpleasant obligation that prevents her from any dream of a future with him.
As all Griffith’s and Isabella’s long-held expectations are shaken to the core, can they set aside their pride and fear long enough to claim a happily-ever-after?

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Praise for An Inconvenient Beauty:

“With the latest superbly written installment in her Hawthorne House series, RITA award-winning Hunter once again proves she has the key to inspirational-romance and traditional-Regency readers’ hearts as she gifts them with another gracefully executed love story that delivers all of the richly nuanced characters, impeccably researched historical plotting, and sweet romance they could ever crave.”
Booklist
“The final book in the Hawthorne House series brings Hunter’s saga to a sigh-worthy conclusion. These family members have become like real people, and although readers will celebrate that the characters have found love, it is bittersweet to say goodbye. The plot moves briskly, yet the romance never feels forced. The period details are, as always, charming, and entrench the reader in the culture and traditions of the era.”RT Book Reviews

 

“Hunter’s final installment in the Hawthorne House series will delight those already invested in the series as well as any reader who enjoys stories set in Regency-era England. . . . As the London Season plays out, secrets are revealed, past loves return, and hearts align—despite a fair amount of underhanded conniving–to create a fitting finale to the series and a lovely addition to the Regency genre.”Publishers Weekly starred review
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Playlist

Stories have the ability to touch our souls and inspire our minds, no matter what form they come in. Books, movies, songs all of them can transport us into another person’s world for just a little while.

When I work on a story idea, I frequently look to music to inspire the story I’m constructing. I’ve found nothing else that can encapsulate a theme or emotional arc in a nutshell better than music. Today, I’m sharing with you the inspiration playlist for my most recent novel, An Inconvenient Beauty. Apparently when I was plotting this book, I was going through a phase of listening to country music from my high school days. Hopefully that means you’ll find some old favorites in this list as well as a few new-to-you songs you can add to your own music library.

  1. Must Have Done Something Right by Relient K
  2. I Don’t Dance by Lee Brice
  3. Heart Don’t Fall Now by Sawyer Brown
  4. Haven’t Even Kissed by Moriah Peters
  5. Remind Me Who I Am by Jason Gray
  6. Forever by Third Day
  7. Get Back Up by tobyMac
  8. You’re Beginning to Get to Me by Clay Walker

For me, playing these songs together paints the story of love sneaking up on a man who had other plans and a woman who thought she’d given up her chance. In the end, they both learn that God has had a better plan in mind for them all along and that love can change their lives in ways they never imagined.

Click to listen on Spotify

Click to listen on YouTube

Kristi Ann Hunter graduated from Georgia Tech with a degree in computer science but always knew she wanted to write. Kristi is the author of the Hawthorne House series and a 2016 RITA Award winner and Christy Award finalist. She lives with her husband and three children in Georgia.

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CHECK OUT THE OTHER GREAT BLOGS ON THE TOUR:
25-Sep
Video Interview
26-Sep
Excerpt 1
27-Sep
Review
28-Sep
Playlist
29-Sep
Review
30-Sep
Guest Post
1-Oct
Excerpt 2
2-Oct
Review
3-Oct
Promo
4-Oct
Review
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Character Interview: The Eldridge Conspiracy by Don M. Winn

THE ELDRIDGE CONSPIRACY

Sir Kaye the Boy Knight, Book 4

by

Don M. Winn

  Genre: Children’s Chapter Book / Adventure / Medieval

Publisher: Progressive Rising Phoenix Press

Date of Publication: June 16, 2017

Number of Pages: 166, B&W illustrations

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Kaye’s father is in danger! The young knight, Kaye, and his friends Reggie and Beau enter Eldridge in search of the only man who can save Kaye’s father. During their journey, they encounter and make a powerful enemy of Baron Thomas—the self-proclaimed heir to the throne of Eldridge—who also has his sights set on ruling the country of Knox. Together, the boys dodge the baron’s henchmen and race against time to stop an assassination that would plunge the two kingdoms into war in this exciting conclusion to the series.

PRAISE FOR THE ELDRIDGE CONSPIRACY:

“This set of books just gets better and better. Yes, it’s a non-stop adventure, packed full of nasty barons and battling knights. But it’s also a story which is strongly-themed and where the bond between the characters is highly prized.” —The Wishing Shelf Awards Book Review

“Books of adventure and challenge that still offer an emotional component are hard to come by for middle-grade readers—and even more so for middle-grade boys—yet Don M. Winn hits the mark dead center with The Eldridge Conspiracy.” —Patricia Reding, 5-Star Readers’ Favorite Book Review

“This is more than just a fictional story; it teaches children about life, about friendship, making decisions, and about not putting too much stock in pride all the time – sometimes pride gets in the way of making the right decision. Great story. I would recommend that the whole series be read in order to get the most out of it and I think all kids will enjoy this tale.” —Ann-Marie Reynolds, 5-Star Readers’ Favorite Book Review

“The Eldridge Conspiracy was a rewarding read due to a wonderful writing style of incorporating dynamic characters, humor, relevancy, and the thought that even without superpowers, children can be heroes.” —Stacey Waltzer, Urban Mommies 

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GuestPost

Author Don Winn Interviews Reggie Stork: A Dyslexic Hero of Self-reference

from the Sir Kaye Children’s Book Series

Although Dyslexia was first documented about 130 years ago, the condition has probably been around for as long as the written word. In my Sir Kaye the Boy Knight medieval adventure series, Reggie—Sir Kaye’s best friend and the narrator of the stories—is most definitely dyslexic. Despite Reggie’s struggles with the complications associated with dyslexia, he also has many strengths, and eventually becomes one of the greatest storytellers in the land of Knox as well as one of its official Royal Chroniclers.  But Reggie’s journey is not an easy one: it takes grit and determination. He constantly works at developing a strong sense of self—that is, believing in himself regardless of what others say, think, or expect of him.

In the following fictional interview with Reggie, we get a glimpse into his personal journey of discovery.

Don: Would you please tell our readers a bit about yourself?

Reggie: My name is Reggie. Well, actually it’s Reginald Stork, but only my parents call me that, and only when I’m in trouble. My friends call me Reggie. I love to explore, solve mysteries, have adventures with my friends Kaye and Beau, ride horses, and eat! My favorite room in the house is the kitchen, but I like being outside best. I’m also a Royal Chronicler of Knox now. That still surprises me when I think about it.

Don: Why is your appointment as Royal Chronicler a surprise?

Reggie: Because writing is really hard for me. I like to talk—people tell me I talk a lot! But even though I can think and say all kinds of things, it’s really hard for me to write it down. It takes too long, and my writing is bad, and I can’t tell even half of the things I want to. It’s frustrating! Reading is hard for me too. I guess at words a lot and use pictures as clues so I can pretend to other people that I can read as well as them.

Don: Reggie, when did you first suspect that you learned differently than other children?

Reggie: I had trouble memorizing the alphabet—big trouble. And numbers are hard for me too. My father is a wool merchant and he used to ask me to help him count the fleeces in his warehouse. I kept losing track of the numbers, and even after counting them, in the space of time between counting and writing the number down, I’d get confused and have to start all over again. My father would get so angry with me!

And I get lost easily. If a friend gives me directions with more than a turn or two, I can’t remember the order or all of the steps. That’s one reason why I love being with my friends—they never get lost!

Don: How have you managed these challenges to do your job as Royal Chronicler?

Reggie: During all our adventures, I realized that, while reading and writing are always really hard for me, I love stories. I love telling them, hearing them, being part of them. And the only way to keep stories safe and share them with others in a way they won’t change over time, is to write them down. Some of my favorite stories are from before I was born—even from hundreds of years ago–and I would never know them if they hadn’t been written down.

If I take my time, and don’t try to rush, I can write down the truth about my adventures with Kaye and Beau. And that’s important! People need to know that Kaye never deserved to be called Sir Donkey, and that Beau is more than just the queen’s nephew, and that I am not stupid! Writing these things down will always be hard work for me, but remembering how important stories are makes me willing to do the work. Also the queen pays me five gold coins a month to write these things down. That helps a lot!

Don: How do you feel about the fact that you have to work harder than your friends to read and write, or that they don’t struggle with getting lost?

Reggie: Sometimes I’m angry or sad. It’s not fair! But thinking about it makes me unhappy. I like to be happy. So now, when I start getting impatient with my slow writing and reading, I tell myself that I’m good at a lot of things too. I am very observant. I like helping people. And sometimes I can be very brave, although I usually don’t know it until after I’ve been brave. I could keep thinking about the things that frustrate me, or I can choose to say, “What’s next?” and get on with life’s adventures. And I like having adventures better than feeling sad about myself.

Don: What’s been the hardest thing in your life so far?

Reggie: Feeling stupid, and feeling like I am always disappointing people because I don’t do things well or fast enough. My father hired tutor after tutor for me, and every one of them quit, telling my father I was stupid and couldn’t learn. My father wants me to become a wool merchant like him and he is always disappointed in me because I’m no good at it—and because I’m no good at anything that matters to him. Sometimes I’ve wondered if I’ll ever be good enough for anything, or anyone! Thinking that way makes me feel alone and sad.

But in a way, I’m glad I’ve had those thoughts about myself because it’s helped me see the things I do well, which helps me feel good about who I am. When I have new adventures and new experiences, I learn new things about myself, and sometimes I learn that I’m good at something I didn’t expect to be good at. It’s always a surprise, but they are happy surprises.

Don: What are you proudest of?

Reggie: Being a good friend. I’ve learned a lot from being friends with Kaye and Beau. It’s taught me that even when I don’t understand what someone else is thinking or feeling, I need to be patient and not take things personally. I’ve learned that friends always look out for each other. Everyone has different things they’re good at, so even if you’re not good at something, probably one of your friends can help you with it. And it’s helped me be a better friend to myself, because learning to see the good in my friends helps me practice seeing the good in myself. Being a good friend has meant learning to make good choices, and to do what’s right for the group. And we have lots of fun and adventures together. My friends are the best!

Don M. Winn is a multiple award-winning children’s author of eleven picture books and four children’s novels. His Sir Kaye the Boy Knight® series of novels for independent readers include The Knighting of Sir Kaye, The Lost Castle Treasure, Legend of the Forest Beast, and The Eldridge Conspiracy. Don’s picture books include The Higgledy-Piggledy Pigeon; Superhero; Twitch the Squirrel and the Forbidden Bridge; Shelby the Cat; Space Cop Zack, Protector of the Galaxy; and many others. 

Don has been writing for over 20 years. After beginning with poetry, Winn moved on to writing children’s picture books. Almost immediately, his growing young readers begged for chapter books, which led to the creation of the Sir Kaye series. As a dyslexic, who well knows the challenge of learning to love to read, Winn’s goal is to write books that are so engaging they will entice even the most reluctant or struggling reader. Winn lives in Round Rock, Texas.

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Three Sir Kaye #4 ARCs + 1 Sir Kaye Series Study Guide!

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  June 14-June 28, 2017

CHECK OUT THE OTHER GREAT BLOGS ON THE TOUR:

6/14

Book Trailer

6/15

Review

6/16

Guest Post 1

6/17

Review

6/18

Author Interview

6/19

Excerpt

6/20

Review

6/21

Scrapbook Page 1

6/22

Guest Post 2

6/23

Review

6/24

Character Interview

6/25

Educators’ Special

6/26

Review

6/27

Scrapbook Page 2

6/28

Review

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Author Interview: Bending Angels by Jack H. Emmott

BENDING ANGELS
Living Messengers of God’s Love
by
By Jack H. Emmott
  Genre: Memoir / Inspirational / Faith
Publisher: Carpenter’s Son Publishing
Date of Publication: January 1, 2017
Number of Pages: 176

Struck by polio at age six, Jack H. Emmott began learning the difficult spiritual lessons embodied in paralysis, shivering loneliness, and dark despair. Fortunately, Jack had help― people of all ages he calls his “Bending Angels,” those who have spread their wings of love and inspiration to walk the journey of faith as the devastated little boy became one of Houston’s celebrated attorneys, a loyal husband, and a devoted dad. Each chapter of this book will relate the story of a Bending Angel―from Brownie, the pup, to Mr. Ochoa, the baseball coach who understood how much of a heart it takes to win and how much of a soul it takes to lose your most precious dream. This book will inspire and uplift you as Jack H. Emmott, a life-long Christian, shares his spiritual wisdom and lessons learned.




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PRAISE FOR BENDING ANGELS:
“The power of ‘Let go and let God’ is personified in this inspiring story. Also, that we are given guidance in the most unsuspected forms when we but look, and that a flood of grace is behind every surrender. What a joy.”
Lindsay Wagner, actress, author
“With gentle humor and no small amount of faith, Bending Angels: Living Messengers of God’s Love tells the story of Jack Emmott’s life and of the angels who have appeared in his life, just when he needed them the most. 
Do I believe in angels? Absolutely.
Was Jack himself an angel to me during the darkest period of my life?  Absolutely.”
Debbie Adams, Past President, Ronald McDonald House Charities of Greater Houston/Galveston;
Chair, Advisory Council UTHealth School
of NursingTrustee, St. Edward’s University
Bending Angel is a beautiful inspiring book about faith and prayer and the angels that surround us. Jack shared his life journey of trusting in God and drawing strength that was needed to help him. I learned a great deal from this book and have thought about it over and over again since I read it.” 
Amazon reviewer
“If only I could get through a chapter without crying…very moving and touching stories.”
Amazon reviewer

PURCHASE LINKS
Amazon    
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AuthorInterview

Jack Emmott is interviewed about Bending Angels on radio station KSBJ. (3 minutes)

Radio Interview Image

Click to listen to the radio interview.

Author Jack H. Emmott contracted polio at the age of six.  Before polio, he knelt at his bedside with his mother Lucile and said evening prayers.  With paralysis, Jack could no longer kneel.  But he could still pray to God for guidance, comfort and healing.  The grace and love of God transformed all the bad from polio and paralysis into good.  Jack is a life-long Christian and successful family lawyer in Houston, Texas.  He is married to his wife of over forty years, Dorothy, who works alongside him in his calling.  Jack is father to two children and grandfather to three grandchildren.
Jack is the author of Bending Angels: Living Messengers of God’s Love by (Carpenter’s Son Publishing, 2016) a memoir of the living angels that touched his life.  He wrote Prayerful Passages:  Asking God’s Help in Reconciliation, Separation and Divorce (Outskirts Press, 2016) to help couples in struggling marriages ask God’s help through prayer for the same guidance, comfort and healing he has received from our Almighty Father for over sixty years following polio.


CHECK OUT THE OTHER GREAT BLOGS ON THE TOUR:
5-May
Radio Interview
6-May
Review
7-May
Excerpt
8-May
Review
9-May
Author Interview
10-May
Character Interview
11-May
Review
12-May
Guest Post
13-May
Sneak Peek
14-May
Review
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Author Interview & Giveaway: Evidence of Things Not Seen by Lindsey Lane


EVIDENCE
OF THINGS NOT SEEN
by
By Lindsey Lane
  Genre: YA /  Mystery / Suspense
Publisher: Farrar Straus Giroux
Date of Publication: December 16, 2015
Number of Pages: 240
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Tommy Smythe is missing.
Fact: Tommy was good at physics and less good at basic human interactions.
Fact: Tommy recorded his thoughts and observations in a notebook.
Fact: Tommy believed in the existence of parallel universes.

Fact: Tommy was adopted.The facts are simple. The conclusions to be drawn from the facts are not simple. Did he run away to find his birth parents? Did he slip through a wormhole and enter one of the multiple universes he believed in? Did he simply wander off? 

Only one thing is certain: until a possibility is proven true, all possibilities exist.

Told through multiple perspectives, here is a story about how residents of a small town seek answers to the mystery of a teen’s disappearance. 

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PRAISE FOR EVIDENCE OF THINGS NOT SEEN:

“In her first novel for teens, Lane offers a gripping and genre bending mosaic.” – Publishers Weekly
“Complex and Rich” – Horn Book
“This is the kind of book you tuck in with and escape into, and it will stay with you long after you finish the last lines.  Haunting and beautiful.” – Jennifer Mathieu, author of The Truth About AliceDevoted, and Afterward
“The narrative jiggers between unexpected opposites—joy and fear, love and violence, grief and hope—all the while holding forth the constant idea that the world offers us credible evidence of what seems impossible if we only know where to look.”  J.L. Powers, author of Amina, This Thing Called The Future, and the forthcoming Broken Circle
“Ever look at a pearl and notice that its one color is, in fact, many colors? That’s the beauty of EVIDENCE OF THINGS NOT SEEN, the stunning debut novel by Lindsey Lane.” – Conrad Wesselhoeft, author of Adios Nirvana, Dirt Bikes, Drones and Other Ways To Fly
Check out the book trailer!
PURCHASE LINKS

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AuthorInterview

Author Interview: Lindsey Lane
This book on the surface is about a boy who disappears; but at closer look it is about the people around him and how their lives are entangled. What kind of research did you have to do to prepare yourself to write Evidence of Things Not Seen?

Hmmm, research is tricky for me. Because I write fiction, I usually do a lot of fact checking after I’ve drafted the story. If I wander off into too much research, I can get really bogged down in it and it takes me away from the character development. For instance with Evidence, I did do research about physics’ principles but I used secondary sources. I needed to stay with the voice of a sixteen year old totally tripped out by physics. I didn’t want him to sound like a professor. So I understood the theories pretty well but I treated them somewhat simply through a journal. When I was satisfied, I had readers’ who were savvy about physics check my facts to make sure I had conveyed the ideas correctly.
How did your studies and experiences in life help shape who you are as a writer?

I used to think my writing career was a bit haphazard but now I can see how writing plays gave me an ear for dialogue and pacing a story so that action and exposition move together seamlessly. Later my work as a journalist was critical to my ability for developing characters. I loved interviewing people and finding out their stories. I got very good at getting them to reveal themselves to me. Even when they didn’t want to. From those interviews, I became aware of the lies that certain characters told. Often times, when I uncover a character’s lie, I will find their emotional arc. Finally, picture books pared down my writing a lot and gave me a new respect for verbs. I like leaving space for the reader to enter in and make connections within the story.
Okay, so I always like to see what authors read. What are your favorite books and why?

Anna Sewell’s Black Beauty because it tells the truth about love and cruelty in the human heart.

Neil Gaiman’s The GraveYard Book I love Gaiman’s storytelling voice. Haunting and masterful.

Sherman Alexie’s True Story of a Part time Indian -The honesty of the voice. Also, when I finished this book, I thought, “Man, this is what books are meant to do: open up worlds.”

Kate DiCamillo’s Because of Winn Dixie. Again, India Opal’s voice and honesty and her clear beautiful emotional want makes you turn the page.

Katherine Paterson’s Bridge to Terebithia-Someday I may write a paper about how that book always makes me cry no matter how many times I read it.

Three books inspired the form of Evidence of Things Not Seen: Kathi Appelt’s Kissing Tennesee; An Na’s A Step Toward Heaven and Sandra Cisneros’ House on Mango Street. Kathi’s book is linked short stories around a middle school dance and gives you a glimpse into each character going to the prom. Both Na’s and Sandra’s books stunned me in their spare writing. So much is told with so little. Good writing that breaks form allows us to pad along behind and write the best stories we possible can with greater freedom.
Night owl or early bird? How does it help with your writing process?

Most reliably, the early morning hours are the most spacious and quietest times to write. I will often do a lot of drafting then because my critical mind is still snoozing. But you know what? I’ve discovered a little trick to create morning writing at all hours. I do a reset with a little nap or a shower. I find that those two things can recreate quiet and I can sit down for another couple of hours and work. Even late a night.
Did you always know you wanted to be an author?

I knew I always wanted to be a writer. I thought writers were the smartest most magical people in the world. I could create whole worlds and explain how everything works. Yup. That seemed way better than being President of the United States.
If you could live in one ‘book world’ which one would it be and why?

I’m going to have to go middle grade. Polly Horvath’s Everything on a Waffle. I love that town where everyone watches over you and no one calls the police. I love being by the ocean. I love the freedom and the safety of that world.
And finally, what other projects, if any, are you working on?

I’m close to finishing a pretty good draft of a young adult novel. The working title is Truth Inside. It is about a girl who murders someone and then redeems herself by turning herself in. How do you redeem yourself when you have done the worst possible thing in the world? Here is a haiku I wrote to hone the focus of the novel:

She must trade her life

For the girl she killed one night

No win redemption

 

Lindsey Lane is the author of the young adult novel Evidence of Things Not Seen (Farrar Straus Giroux) and the award-winning picture book and iTunes app Snuggle Mountain (Clarion/PicPocket Books). She is represented by Erin Murphy Literary Agency. Before she received her MFA in Writing for Children and Young Adults from Vermont College of Fine Arts in 2010, Lindsey was a features journalist (Austin Chronicle and Austin American Statesman) and an award-winning playwright (The Miracle of Washing Dishes). Lindsey is a featured presenter at schools and conferences and universities and also teaches writing at Austin Community College, Writers League of Texas, and the Writing Barn. She lives in Austin, Texas but loves to travel, especially to the ocean. She loves books, films, good food and her cadre of dear friends. Her idea of a perfect evening is having a dinner party at her home with friends from around the world and discussing everything under the sun while eating, drinking, and laughing. 
WEBSITE     FACEBOOK    TWITTER    INSTAGRAM
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CHECK OUT THE OTHER GREAT BLOGS ON THE TOUR:
4/12
Video Guest Post
4/13
Playlist
4/14
Review
4/15
Excerpt
4/16
Author Interview
4/17
Review
4/18
Scrapbook
4/19
Review
4/20
Guest Post
4/21
Review


 

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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

 

Scroll down for Giveaway!

 

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. 
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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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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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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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