A Visit with Denise Weimer: Editor and Multi-published author

Denise Weimer is my special guest today. She is blessed with two books releasing at the same time in different genres. I had to get to know her better. Welcome Denise, please tell me about your writing journey.

My writing journey began around age 11, when my parents would take me to historical sites around the Southeast. My active imagination wondered what kind of people lived in those old houses and towns and what their lives were like. I started scribbling stories in my spiral-bound notebook in the back seat of the car. Then reading them aloud to my mother, who encouraged me to keep writing.

I received a journalism degree with a minor in history from Asbury University. I was almost published by my dream publisher right out of the college—back in the day one could approach publishers directly, without an agent or previous publishing experience—but they’d just committed to a similar series. I set my writing aside as I worked in public relations and as a free-lance magazine writer, then started a family.

When my younger daughter started napping, then attending preschool, I decided I might write a novella. Thus my first book baby, Redeeming Grace, was born. It was followed by The Georgia Gold Series (Eugenia Price-style historical fiction set in Savannah and the mountains during the mid-1800s), The Restoration Trilogy (modern romantic suspense with historical back stories that emerge during a renovation), and Across Three Autumns of The Backcountry Brides Collection.

I loved The Backcountry Brides Collection. My absolute favorite novella was Across Three Autumns.  Your historical imagination kept me engaged. Now, tell me about your latest project.

Backcountry Brides last year was my most recent release, but please check back next month as I share about two novels I’m releasing in September with Lighthouse Publishing, a historical (The Witness Tree – https://www.amazon.com/Witness-Tree-gain-break-heart/dp/1645260623/) and a contemporary (Fall Flip).

While we all wait to hear more about your two new releases and how you research them could you tell us what inspires you to write your stories?

I draw inspiration for my novels from the varied settings in my home state of Georgia—from the mountains to the piedmont to the coast. Add to those all the different time periods, and there are endless possibilities.

For The Restoration Trilogy, watching my parents restore a mid-1800s doctor’s house and apothecary shop provided the nudge. I love the idea of modern characters learning life lessons from history. In the stories, a brooding bachelor and a historical preservation grad uncover artifacts and letters from three different centuries, all while enduring mysterious accidents, fighting about the restoration, and then, of course, falling in love. (https://www.amazon.com/gp/bookseries/B0719FYYLZ/)

There’s another book to put on my TBR pile.  Here is one of my favorite questions to ask authors. If you could go back in time and give one piece of advice for your younger self about writing what would that be?

“You were right, and your professors were wrong. You don’t have to start your writing career at a newspaper!” LOL. Although I admit, my journalism training has served me well.

In general, I’d say that everyone’s path to publication looks different, these days more than ever. And that’s okay.

I agree.  It’s tough to be  a creative in a world that demands so much of our time. Tell me, who is your best support system to keep you focused on your writing?

My author friends, most of whom I’ve not yet gotten to meet in person. It’s such a blessing to know there are so many like-minded individuals out there, even if we are scattered across the county! Most of the doors that have opened in my career have been opened by the grace of ones who have gone before me, like Carrie Pagels and Pegg Thomas, my mentor and co-laborer as managing editor at Smitten Romance.

As writers, we are encouraged to read, what is your favorite genre to read for fun?

Historical romance, although I do also enjoy a fast-paced modern romantic suspense.

Denise, where is your favorite place to write?

At my kitchen island when everyone is gone, with a cup of hot tea at hand and a view out the window of beautiful autumn hardwoods.

Awesome! Denise, thanks so much for stopping by. I’m looking forward to your revisit in September when you share more details about your new releases.

  More about Denise:

Represented by Hartline Literary Agency, Denise Weimer holds a journalism degree with a minor in history from Asbury University. She is the managing editor of Smitten Historical Romance and Heritage Beacon Historical Fiction (imprints of Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas) and the author of The Georgia Gold Series, The Restoration Trilogy, and a number of novellas, including Across Three Autumns of Barbour’s Colonial Backcountry Brides Collection. Fall Flip (Candlelight Romance –order on amazon) and The Witness Tree (Smitten – https://www.amazon.com/Witness-Tree-gain-break-heart/dp/1645260623/) release in September. A wife and mother of two daughters, she always pauses for coffee, chocolate, and old houses! Connect with Denise here:

Monthly Newsletter Sign-up

Website

Facebook

Twitter

If you love author interviews and blogs about writerly things please subscribe to receive these posts in your email. Don’t forget Denise will be with me again in September, you don’t want to miss learning how she does research for her historical and contemporary romances.

12 Steps for a successful Live Book Launch Party

 

Book launch party are a great way to grow your platform and meet new fans. It’s a fun way to get the word out about your latest release and of course sell books. Last Friday I had a great time with my latest launch party. So, I thought I’d share some tips for those getting ready to do their first one.

Swag giveaways at live book launches are so much fun. Aspiring writer Isabelle LaPapa won this plague.

 

  • Set the book launch date far enough from the actual release to ensure your book order arrives in plenty of time. Preordering allows them to be mailed immediately on release day. No need to fret about shipping problems.

 

  • Choose a setting that is conducive for book sales. If you choose a restaurant, try to arrange for a private space. The same with the library. If your church supports the arts that’s a great space to use. Some authors have the event at their homes. Decorate your book table to theme that is eye-catching.

 

  • Create invitation cards to pass out to friends and co-workers before the event. Preferably professional made glossy cards. This is not a baby shower. Personal invitations are great not only for those not on social media, but it gives the event some class. Print shops can create what you envision given enough advance notice.

Be sure to create a virtual flyer to circulate on your social media. Build the hype at least a week ahead. If you aren’t tech savvy and artsy find friends or family member to help you. If you’ve hired a marketing person they will do this for you.

 

  • Gather any street team members who are local to lean a hand. It’s less stressful if others are helping with refreshments, decorating and book sales. For those unfamiliar with the term street team, these are fans who support your work through reviews, and talking about your books to others. They come alongside and help promote on social media. And if they live nearby they are often willing to lend a hand for local events.

 

  • Be sure you have bookmarks, postcards and other materials available. There will be those few who come out of curiosity and may buy your book later. Plus adding a bookmark to a book purchase keeps your name before the reader.

 

 

  • Have swag for giveaways. Swag should match the theme, unless it’s a gift card. When I had my historical romance, Secrets & Charades, book launch I gave away handcrafted lavender soap, tea, and a journal, among other things my heroine used during the story. My contemporary romance New Duet had different giveaways such as plaques with verses representing the story and gift cards. My latest release Healing Hearts part of the Smitten Historical Romance Collection: The Cowboys I found a few plaques, a cup and a paperweight with cowboy themes on them. Have a basket to toss the entries in and plenty of pens available.

 

  • Have a signup sheet available for your e-newsletter. While they are filling out their entry they can sign up. Having the two next to each other makes it easy.

 

  • Have a nice pen for autographs. Thin tipped sharpies work well. Decide ahead of time what your signature line will be. Best wishes, a verse or saying, the tagline from your book, your brand tagline. Knowing ahead what you are going to write saves times and less chances for errors. Always ask how people spell their name. Kathy isn’t Cathy and some might prefer a nickname or autographed to someone else.
  • Take lots of pictures of the event to post on social media before, during and after the event. People seeing photos the event on social media may be inspired to purchase a copy online.

 

  • Have a designated time where everyone gathers to hear you tell the what if moment and backstory things, research etc. about your book. Read from your book. Yes, people love it. If you are a poor reader, practice reading the passage in advance so you can do it smoothly. Then have a time of Q&A. This is where your street team comes in handy. They can start the questions. Once someone begins others will follow. Q & A is my favorite part of the evening.

    Debbie is one of my biggest fans. She won a plague and asks wonderful questions during the Q & A time.

  • Have a Square to take debit cards and plenty of change for cash customers. Be sure the locations Wi-Fi or your phones hotspot is working correctly before the event, so sales go smoothly.

 

  • Have fun, interact with your guest, and thank them all for coming.

 

The Cowboys now available click here to order.

Do you have other tips you’d like to add?

 

 

 

 

What’s a Harvey Girl? and a Giveaway

Linda Yezak is the final author I’m featuring from the novella collection The Cowboys. It releases today and I love having Linda round out the collection. She’s a Selah Award winner and loves all things western.

When I asked her to tell us about her research for writing Loving a Harvey Girl she graciously let me repost an excellent one she’d already written on the subject. Her excitement mirrored my own at being ask to be a part of the collection. Take it away, Linda.

When the managing editor for Smitten Historical (a Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas imprint) asked me to join in a collection of historical romances, I got excited. I’ve always wanted to write a historical. I’ve even delved into it a time or two with Slider, published in The Saturday Evening Post’s collection of short stories and an unpublished short story called Masquerade.

The as yet untitled story I’m working on now fits in with my series of contemporary western romances, except it’s a historical western romance. Things aren’t that different—cows, cowboys, and the girls they give their hearts to—but they’re different enough that I need to research. I was flipping through MSB’s Time Life collection called “The Old West,” and found reference to the Harvey Girls. Immediately I had my story idea involving a cowboy and a Harvey Girl. I’ve never heard of the Harvey Girls, so of course I jumped on the internet and did a quick search until I found a great article about them plus a vimeo of an interview with a latter-day Harvey Girl.

Along with these resources, I found one more. Not long ago, PBS did a series called “Texas Ranch House,” in which 21st Century Californians came to run a 19th Century ranch in Texas. Several folks from all over the US came to join the experience. Everything for this ranch was supposed to be authentic to 1867, after the Civil War, when cattle roamed the ranges free of ownership. But Fred Harvey didn’t start his Harvey House hotels and restaurants until the 1880s, so I have to make time adjustments. Still, the PBS series is vital because it shows life on the 19th Century ranch, and as I said, very little has changed. They still needed pens and chutes, range and water, and the men necessary to work it all in 1887 as they did in 1867.

So there’s my research start: books, internet, videos. From these I can learn setting details; character descriptions; clothing, kitchen items, and everyday articles of use; attitudes of the time; hazards of the time—lands, with these three resources, I can learn everything I need to know to write a romance novella set in the 1880s.

Using the resources I have at hand, I study and observe, noticing everything I can in the pictures and videos and looking up terms I’m unfamiliar with. I went so far as to figure out what an 1880 barbershop looked like and what all a barber did, because one scene takes place in a barber shop.

The trick with research is not using in your book everything you learned. Doesn’t that sound odd? But it’s true—as you study your era, setting, and culture, the temptation is to show off your new knowledge for your reader. This kind of info dump (or research dump, as I call it) bogs down the novel and bores the reader. So use of the information is the same as in any novel: you reveal what you’ve learned through the character’s daily activities.

I learned some fun things about the 19th Century barber shop, but instead of describing them to the reader, I let my character, Cal Hardy, do it:

Walter Neville swept up what looked like a half pound of hair and sent a stream of tobacco juice toward the spittoon. “’Afternoon, Cal. Be right with ya.”

“Ain’t in no hurry.” Cal rubbed his jaw and studied the handwritten sign over Walt’s new National cash register. Walt had gone up two bits on both hair cut and shave—three bits on a bath. And heaven help anyone who needed a tooth pulled.

So, on the off chance someone didn’t know that the barbers also served as dentists, now they do. They can also see the progress of technology through the cash register. NCR was founded in 1884, and one of the earliest Harvey Houses was built in Ladonia, Texas, in 1887, and Ladonia is close to Fort Worth, one of the cattle capitals of Texas, complete with stockyards which were built in 1887. Now we know the era of my setting.

I can know all this about when the stockyards were built, when NCR released its cash registers, etc., but it’s not necessary that my reader does. I want my reader to feel immersed in the time and culture, not educated about it. If she learns while she’s being entertained, so much the better. And if I can convince hardcore Texas history buffs that I did my research, so much the better still! But I’m a novelist, not the author of a history textbook, so my goal is to entertain and enlighten through the stories I tell. Research dumps have no place in Historical Romances.

More about Linda:

Linda W. Yezak lives with her husband and their funky feline, PB, in a forest in deep East Texas, where tall tales abound and exaggeration is an art form. She has a deep and abiding love for her Lord, her family, and salted caramel. And coffee—with a caramel creamer. Author of award-winning books and short stories, she didn’t begin writing professionally until she turned fifty. Taking on a new career every half century is a good thing.

 

Website: http://lindawyezak.com

Newsletter: http://dld.bz/CoffeewithLinda

Facebook: Author Page

Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/lyezak/

Twitter: @LindaYezak

Amazon Page: http://dld.bz/LWYAmazonPage

Goodreads: Linda W Yezak

Bookbub: https://www.bookbub.com/profile/linda-w-yezak

Blurb: Loving a Harvey Girl

Eva Knowles can’rt imagine why the local preacher doesn’t like Harvey Girls–women who work serving tables instead of finding a husband and falling in love. But if Eva can get the handsome and wayward cowboy Cal Stephens to join her in church, maybe the reverend will accept the girls. Or maybe she’ll forfeit her job for a husband, hearth and home!

Don’t forget this is the last chance to enter to win a $10 Amazon card. You simple post here who your favorite cowboy is or anything you’d like to say about cowboys. If you haven’t commented on the other three posts about this collection go to mine, Jennifer’s and Sandy’s to add your comments for more chances to win and learn more details about the collection. I’ll be posting the winner next Thursday, August 22nd.

 

Sandra Melville Hart shares a bit of History about Abilene, Kansas

In case you missed my previous posts my latest release is part of Smitten Historical Romance Collection: The Cowboys. I’m one of four authors in this collection that releases August 15th. Today I’ve asked Sandra Melville Hart, another author from the collection to give us a peek into her story Trail’s End setting.

Trail’s End set in Abilene

by Sandra Merville Hart

My brother married a Kansas girl and moved to that beautiful state soon after their marriage. On a family vacation to Kansas, we visited Abilene.

The town had been a wild Cowtown in its early days. Wild Bill Hickok was the marshal of Abilene in 1871. My sister-in-law had ancestors who lived there. One of them was friends with Wild Bill—what a surprise!

I learned a little history of the wild western town and wanted to learn more. Who knew that a family vacation would spark an idea for a future book? I had put aside my dream of writing years before. When my editor asked me to write a cowboy story set in the West, my imagination flew to Abilene.

Research held many surprises. The town was so wild that it had a hard time keeping a marshal. Some hired at breakfast left by suppertime.

When town leaders offered the position to Tom Smith, the lawman rode the streets. He then accepted the job on one condition—the cowboys had to be disarmed.

In 1870, Marshal Smith asked storekeepers, saloon-keepers, and hotel owners to post signs and collect their customers’ guns. His rule made the town a safer place.

This strong man so inspired me that I set my story in 1870 and gave him a small part in it. I love using actual historical characters in my stories. It brings them to life for me—and hopefully for my readers.

Sandra’s bio:

Award-winning and Amazon bestselling author Sandra Merville Hart loves to uncover little-known yet fascinating facts about our American history to include in her stories A Musket in My Hands, a Civil War romance where two sisters join the Confederate army with the men they love, is 2019 Serious Writer Medal Fiction Winner and a 2019 Selah Award Finalist. A Rebel in My House, set during the historic Battle of Gettysburg, won the 2018 Silver Illumination Award and second place in 2018 Faith, Hope and Love Readers’ Choice Award. Her debut Civil War Romance, A Stranger On My Land, was IRCA Finalist 2015. Her novella, Surprised by Love in “From the Lake to the River” is set during the 1913 flood in Troy, Ohio. Trail’s End, in “Smitten Novella Collection: The Cowboys” released August 15, 2019.

Find her on her blog, https://sandramervillehart.wordpress.com/.

Trail’s End Blurb

Wade Chadwick has no money until his boss’s cattle sell, so he takes a kitchen job at Abby’s Home Cooking. The beautiful and prickly owner adds spice to his workday. Abby Cox hires the down-and-out cowboy even though the word cowboy leaves a bad taste in her mouth. Just as she’s ready to trust Wade with her heart, money starts to disappear … and so does her brother. Buy link

Don’t forget I’m having a giveaway of $10 Amazon Card from one lucky commenter. Answer my question who’s your favorite cowboy or make any comment about cowboys you would like. The comment has to appear on the blog to qualify. You can go back to my blog post and Jennifer’s and post and read more about The Cowboys and have two more chances to enter. Thursday is release day Yahoo!! and I’ll have a repost from Award -winning author Linda W. Yezak the fourth contributor to our collection. That will give you one more chance to enter my giveaway.

 

Cowboys, Cattle Drives and Romance

Today, I’m sharing more about the upcoming release of Smitten Historical Romance Novella Collection: The Cowboys, all four novellas feature adventure and fun romance with hunky cowboys. Jennifer Uhlarik, award- winning author and lover of all things western set her novella Being Brave on a cattle drive. It is so exciting and swoon-worthy. Jennifer is sharing her knowledge of all things cattle drive and more about our novella collection.

The Jobs on a Cattle Drive

One of the most enduring and iconic images of the Old West is the cattle drive—where cowboys moved several thousand cattle from Texas to a rail town in Kansas. There, the herd was sold and transported to stockyards in the east. This major undertaking happened yearly after the spring roundup, and typically, several ranches pooled their cattle into one large herd and hired men to drive them north. But what were the specific jobs or positions on a cattle drive?

 

Trail Boss—The head honcho of the outfit. This seasoned cattleman plotted the day’s course, including any breaks, watering holes, and the end-of-day campsite. He was also in charge of keeping track of the brands in the herd. Likewise, the Trail Boss’s job was to make decisions on how to handle injured animals, newborn calves, any strangers they came across along the trail, and mediate any disputes that cropped up among the crew.

 

Point Rider—The Point Man rode out in front of the herd, setting the pace for the day and acting to lead the herd in the direction the Trail Boss had told them to go. The Point Rider became the focal point for the herd, and everyone else followed after him. In larger drives, there might be two Point Riders.

 

Swing Riders—The Swing Riders were situated about one third of the way back in the line of cattle where the herd began to widen out. There would be one Swing Rider on either side of the herd. This position helped keep the herd bunched and also helped the Point Riders turn the herd as needed. The men riding Swing would constantly watch for any animals trying to make a break away from the herd. It was their job to catch them before they got too far away and turn them back in with the main group. If, for any reason, the point rider left his position, a Swing Rider would move up to lead until the Point man returned.

 

Flank Riders—Similar to the Swing Riders, these cowboys rode one on either side of the herd, although about two thirds of the way back. Their main job was to back up the Swing Riders and keep the herd from fanning out across too wide an area.

 

Drag Riders—This was the least desirable position in the cattle drive, often reserved for the greenest cowboys. The Drag Rider rode behind the herd, driving the back end of the herd to stay up with the front and rounding up any stragglers or strays who break free from the tail of the herd. The Drag Riders had the unfortunate daily experience eating the dust that the thousands of cattle in the herd kicked up.

 

Wrangler—The Wrangler was in charge of the remuda (or horse herd). An average cattle drive would require some 100 or more horses to keep the cowboys mounted and moving each day. The Wrangler’s job was to drive the horse herd along the day’s course, doctor any sick or injured mounts, as well as help with camp chores, such as collecting fuel for the fire, washing dishes after the meal, and the like.

 

Cook—The cook’s job was to provide the food for the crew each day. He rose hours early to prepare breakfast, then arrived at the evening campsite before the herd to start dinner preparations. In addition, he would cut the crew’s hair, act as a banker, help the Trail Boss mediate disputes, and most importantly, act as doctor for any health issues with the cowboys.

 

Average pay for those on the cattle drive were as follows: the Trail boss earned roughly $100-$120/month. The cook could count on about $60/month. And a typical drover (any of the other positions) would earn roughly $40/month. All were paid at the end of the trail after the herd was sold.

Coy Whitaker the hero of Being Brave.

This photo inspired the character of Aimee Kaplan

It was a load of fun to write about a cattle drive in my latest release, Becoming Brave, one of the four novellas in The Cowboys novella collection. In the story, cowboy Coy Whittaker stumbles across the lone survivor of a terrible attack, Aimee Kaplan, while moving his boss’s cattle through Indian Territory to Kansas. He and the crew band together to get Aimee to safety while defending against the outlaw gang who killed her family. In addition to my story are three other wonderful novellas by award-winning authors Cindy Ervin Huff (our host today!), Sandra Merville Hart, and Linda Yezak. Hope you’ll take a few hours to read these fun romances!

 

 

 

Jennifer Uhlarik discovered the western genre as a pre-teen when she swiped the only “horse” book she found on her older brother’s bookshelf. A new love was born. Across the next ten years, she devoured Louis L’Amour westerns and fell in love with the genre. In college at the University of Tampa, she began penning her own story of the Old West. Armed with a B.A. in writing, she has finaled and won in numerous writing competitions, and been on the ECPA best-seller list numerous times. In addition to writing, she has held jobs as a private business owner, a schoolteacher, a marketing director, and her favorite—a full-time homemaker. Jennifer is active in American Christian Fiction Writers, Women Writing the West, and is a lifetime member of the Florida Writers Association. She lives near Tampa, Florida, with her husband, college-aged son, and four fur children.

 

Buy Link:

https://www.amazon.com/Cowboys-Jennifer-Uhlarik/dp/194601690X

 

Cover Blurb:

The Cowboys

Taming the west—one heart at a time.

Healing Hearts by Cindy Ervin Huff
Lonnie Holt’s external scars remind him of his failures, his internal scars torment him. Genny Collins seeks safety at the ranch once owned by Lonnie’s uncle. When Lonnie and his brother arrive, sparks fly and distrust abounds. While Lonnie and Genny fight the love growing between them, his past haunts him, and her past pays them a visit.

Becoming Brave by Jennifer Uhlarik
When Coy Whittaker stumbles upon a grisly scene littered with bodies, he wants nothing more than to get his boss’s cattle out of Indian Territory. But when a bloodstained Aimee Kaplan draws down on him, his plans—and his heart—screech to a halt.

Trail’s End by Sandra Merville Hart
Wade Chadwick has no money until his boss’s cattle sell, so he takes a kitchen job at Abby’s Home Cooking. The beautiful and prickly owner adds spice to his workday. Abby Cox hires the down-and-out cowboy even though the word cowboy leaves a bad taste in her mouth. Just as she’s ready to trust Wade with her heart, money starts to disappear … and so does her brother.

Loving a Harvey Girl by Linda Yezak
Eva Knowles can’t imagine why the local preacher doesn’t like Harvey Girls—women who work serving tables instead of finding a husband and falling in love. But if Eva can get the handsome and wayward cowboy Cal Stephens to join her in church, maybe the reverend will accept the girls. Or maybe she’ll forfeit her job for a husband, hearth, and home!

Next week we’ll hear from Sandra Melville Hart and Linda W. Yezak as they share some historical tidbits about their stories. If you missed it here’s the link to my post about Healing Hearts, my novella in this collection. And don’t forget if you post below regarding your favorite cowboy you’ll be entered in a drawing for a $10 Amazon gift card.

 

Adam Blumer Talks about writing and Kill Order

Today suspense writer Adam Blumer is my special guest. When I read a suspense novel I want to be captured. Adam’s really drew me in. The what if scenario kept me glued to the pages. I want to introduce him to all of you. His newest novel Kill Order releases August 15th. Welcome Adam. How did you get into this writing gig and what has the journey been like?

I’ve loved to write stories since I was a kid and studied novel writing in college. I completed five unpublished novels, mostly for youth, before I began Fatal Illusions, my first published novel, in the spring of 2002 in conjunction with a Writer’s Digest correspondence course on novel writing. In January 2006, literary agent Steve Laube, a well-known and respected voice in Christian fiction, responded enthusiastically to my book proposal and asked to see the entire manuscript. Of course, I was on cloud nine. Though he ultimately declined to represent me, he kindly gave me eight suggestions on how to make the novel publishable.

Energized, I followed his advice and got to work, but I still couldn’t find an agent or publisher. A year later, I contacted Kregel Publications, not about my novel but about opportunities to edit books from home. The managing editor noticed on my resume that I had written several unpublished novels and asked to see my latest project. Kregel accepted it for publication in August 2007. God opened a door I never could have opened for myself.

How exciting. What is your latest published project?

Kill Order, my third novel, is being released on August 15 by Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas. Here is a short description:

When he sleeps, the forgotten terrors of the past come alive.

Grammy-winning pianist Landon Jeffers’s brain cancer has given him only a few years to live. But when he sleeps, the forgotten terrors of his past torment him. When he wakes, shameful memories come rushing back. Desperate for answers,Jeffers discovers that a brain implant intended to treat his cancer is really a device to control him. forcing him to commit terrible crimes. Now he’s being manipulated by an evil crime syndicate and a crooked cop.

What if free will isn’t? What if your every move is predestined? If you kill, are you guilty of murder? Preorder link.

This is not the kind of story you read before you go to bed at night.  I made sure to read it during the day. Great premise, by the way.

What inspired you to write your book?

My dad, Larry, passed away from brain cancer in 2011, and several aspects of his cancer journey kicked off the initial story idea. One key detail involved a medical procedure; the doctors agreed to remove as much of my dad’s brain tumor as possible and replace it with medicinal wafers intended to fight the existing cancer. My mind began playing the what-if game. What if the doctor implanted something else, something that could monitor or even control my dad’s life? The story’s premise grew from there.

Only a writer’s mind would go in that direction. When did you realize your calling to create words on paper to share with the world?

When I was a child, I began writing wildly imaginative pirate and fantasy stories. My first handwritten story was a fantastical tale about Captain Kidd’s spyglass. In high school, I also wrote and finished an unpublished novel called Down with the Ship. It’s such an Agatha Christie copycat that I laugh whenever I peruse it, but emulation is how a lot of authors get to be where they are today. Those were the early projects that inspired me to take novel writing seriously. When I won a high school award for creative writing, I wondered if God wanted to do more with my love for fiction. In college I won more writing awards, and though I studied journalism, I took as many creative writing courses as possible. God opened doors from there, and I’ve never lost my love for fiction writing.

Do you have a favorite verse that resonates with you?

Isaiah 41:10 says, “Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand” (ESV). I’ve always loved this verse, and my wife and I included it in our wedding ceremony.

Here’s one of my favorite questions to asked authors. If you could go back in time and give one piece of advice for your younger self about writing what would that be?

Writing the story is only half of the project. The other half is finding out what readers like to read, crafting the story for them by following publishing standards, and writing the story to the best of your ability. Then remember that publishers can take a very long to decide whether they want your work. Don’t get discouraged. Just keep going and waiting.

So true.

What’s one unusual fact about you?

When I was a kid, for a while I wanted to be a ventriloquist and had a “dummy” named Andy. But then I got braces and could no longer talk through my teeth like I used to. Andy sadly went into storage.

Where would you be today if you hadn’t retired Andy? So fun.

Authors are usually avid readers. What is your favorite genre to read for fun?

Authors write what they like to read. When I was a kid, I devoured Hardy Boys books—yes, even my sister’s collection of Nancy Drew. I read Agatha Christie, Arthur Conan Doyle, C. S. Lewis, J. R. R. Tolkien, Terry Brooks, Ray Bradbury, and Madeleine L’Engle. Eventually I gravitated to suspense fiction by authors like Frank Peretti, Terri Blackstock, and Mary Higgins Clark. I grew weary of whodunits and preferred suspense novels. I like novels that grab me around the throat, keep the pages turning, and never let go until the final period. Suspense novels filled with plenty of action and conflict captivate me like no other books I read, though I also have a fondness for good literature as well as for fantasy, history, biography, true crime, and science fiction.

What are you reading at the moment, and who are a few of your favorite authors and why?

I’m currently enjoying Mind Games by Nancy Mehl. I especially enjoy a good thriller, whether Christian or secular. Some of my favorite authors are Steven James, Terri Blackstock, Frank Peretti, Ted Dekker, and Brandilyn Collins. I like how they weave story threads together and craft their scenes in ways that keeps the plot moving forward. Their books are great examples of what works in suspense writing. I learn so much simply by reading their novels.

 

A book junkie like me. I knew it. 😊 Now back to your writing.

Where is your favorite place to write?

I have been blessed with a wonderful home office. Though I often like to write in other locations, this is by far my favorite place. I can close the door, shut out life’s distractions, pray, and become immersed in my story. Now and then, if I need a break, I can glance out the window and delight in God’s creation.

What is the best part of your author’s life?

I love hearing from readers who went to work tired because they stayed up too late finishing one of my novels. If I kept them immersed in my story, that’s a score in my book.

Name your three biggest frustrations about the writing business.

  1. The amount of time each book requires from start to finish. Included in this is the long wait time from publishers.
  2. The continually changing rules in writing and publishing. Just when you think you know what publishers are looking for, your agent tells you something else.
  3. Book marketing. One cannot guarantee sales. I wish a book release was like the movie Field of Dreams. “Build it, and they will come.” If only it were that easy. There is almost an equal amount of work in just promoting the book.

Your frustrations resonate with me. I’m sure they do other writers.
On the flip side, what excites you the most about the creative process?

I get most excited about the creative process when a plot development I never saw coming unexpectedly presents itself, taking the story in a new but stronger direction. This epiphany has happened to me several times.

Cindy, thank you for the opportunity to talk about my writing life at your blog.

My pleasure, Adam.

Adam is going to giveaway a copy of Kill order to one lucky winner. Follow this link to enter. http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/8d1eaa8d6/

More about my guest:

Adam Blumer is the author of three Christian suspense novels: Fatal Illusions (Meaningful Suspense Press); its sequel, The Tenth Plague (Kirkdale Press); and the upcoming Kill Order (Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas). A print journalism major in college, he works full-time from home as a book editor after serving in editorial roles for more than twenty years. He lives in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula with his wife, Kim, and his daughters, Laura and Julia.

Social media links:

Website: http://www.adamblumerbooks.com/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/AdamBlumerNovelist
Twitter: https://twitter.com/adamblumer
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/2315682.Adam_Blumer
Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/adamblumer/

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/adamblumer/

 

Who Doesn’t Love Cowboys? And a Giveaway?

It’s coming! Tomorrow will be August. On the 15th The Cowboys will be released. I’m so excited. In this post I thought I’d share the WHAT IF moment behind my novella Healing Hearts that appears in this collection.

Don’t you just want to ride off into the sunset with hm?

My editor Pegg Thomas, from Smitten Historical Romance (an imprint of Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas) asked me if I’d be interested in being in a collection where the main character is a cowboy. Who doesn’t love a good cowboy story? Three other wonderful authors joined me in the adventure: Jennifer Uhlarik, Sandra Melville Hart and Linda W. Yezak, all wonderful, award-winning authors.

In romance the female character is the first character you met. The book starts by introducing her. But The Cowboy starts with scenes of the male lead. So that was an interesting challenge. Kansas was chosen as the setting for all the stories in the collection. After some emails circulating between the four authors we each chose our main characters setting, time period and dilemma. Cowboys rescue damsels in distress. 😊

A cabin in a blizzard Pixabay

My setting

I decided Healing Hearts would be set on an isolated ranch. The year 1866 sets me up for wonderful possibilities with the Civil War barely over.

Lonnie Holt and Jed Holt are identical twins. so this pic serves for both.

 

My Cowboy

I decided I wanted to introduce two cowboys. Identical twins Lonnie and Jed head to the Kansas ranch they inherited from their late uncle. Both brothers are pacifists. When the war broke out Jed chose a chaplaincy in the Union army. Lonnie chose to stay on the family Texas ranch and not take up arms. Both paid a price for their stand. They only have each other and the hope of a new start.

Lonnie is physically scarred and full of guilt and regret. Jed still has strong faith even with his physical weakness due to time in a confederate POW camp. My hero, Lonnie’s focus is helping his brother get well and keeping him safe.  He has no time or patience for anything else. He’s a bit of a grump, and very protective of his remaining family member.

 

The woman who tames him

Now I needed to have a strong female character to become Lonnie’s love interest. Genny Collins grew up in wealth only to live in poverty because of her father’s gambling addiction. Her past is full of secrets and helpful experiences that play into the plot.  She is weary of men and afraid for her future.  The twins come upon her in their cabin and you’ll have to read the story to discover how she got there.

Genny Collins my heroine

 

Add plot twists

Once they met I had to keep the two stubborn characters together long enough to get to know each other. Voila, a blizzard. Now they can’t send her packing.  Then I added illness, a bit of mayhem and personality clashes to create a good start to a sweet romance. Throw in a few twists that tear at their hearts and Lonnie and Genny find their happily-ever-after. I love these characters. They were so fun to write.

 

A few historical tidbits I’ll mention that you’ll find in the book.

  • Beef was growing as a food staple back east since the railroad made it easier to transport cattle from the west. Ranching would become a very profitable business in the nineteenth century.
  • Marriage Licenses did not exist until 1867. This is a year after the setting of my novella. Until that time writing the name and date in the family Bible might be the only record of a marriage.
  • Without refrigeration many ways were discovered to preserve eggs. The best method recommended and still used by those who prefer a pioneer lifestyle today is slat lye. Unwashed eggs were placed in a slat lye water mixture in a crock. It preserved them through the winter.
  • Sourdough starter was the most common leaven for baking. It was easy to create and could be substituted for baking powder and soda as well as baker’s yeast.

If I have your interest:

Links:

Here is a link to the first chapter of Healing Hearts. The Cowboys is available for preorder. If you want to order an autographed copy from me here is a link to that page. You can order autograph copies of any of my books at this same link.

Over the next two weeks I’ll be posting guest blogs from my three co-authors. If you’ve not subsribed do it now so you don’t miss those posts.

Giveaway: Everytime you post a comment and share the posts about The Cowboys on social media over the next two weeks you’ll be put in a drawing for a $10 Amazon e-card. Today I’ll give you something to comment about to get you started. (All comments mjust be in this blog site to qualify.)

Tell me in the comments whose you’re favorite cowboy. I’ll start. Sam Elliot. His look and voice are the epitome of the imagine in my mind of the American cowboy.  If you know a real life cowboy share a bit about him too.

You’ll have three more chances to enter when Jennifer, Linda and Sandy stop by for a visit.