A Visit from Children’s Author Eve Culley

Eve Culley, author

Today I have as my guest another jubilee writer, children’s author Eve Culley. Her love of storytelling bloomed after her children were grown. I am encouraged you followed your passion, Eve. Please, share with my readers a little about your writing journey.

I started writing while I was in grade school. I continued writing through high school and then I allowed marriage children, college, and missionary work to slowly push my writing aside.  Instead I told stories to my children and grandchildren. There were sporadic times of writing but they were few and far between. The need to put words on paper surfaced when I retired. My joy as a writer and a storyteller bloomed again.

What is your latest published project?

My second book, Further Adventures in Barn Town, is due out the end of Aug. to the first of Sept. 2017. It is to be published by Clean Reads.  Adventures in Barn Town, was published Feb. 2016 by Clean Reads.

How do you research for your childrens book?

I research my stories in several ways. I pick peoples brains about the subject. I read, read, read either on the internet or in books about the subject and I “people” watch for the interaction and resolving of issues.  I say “people” watch when actually I am watching the animals I write about.

What inspired you to write your books?

I have all these story lines bouncing around in my head: main story lines, back stories of the characters. I write more fluidly, I think, than I speak and the stories push/demand to be let out. When the story is on paper, the characters are fleshed out, then there is room for the next story to push to be let out. But you asked what inspired me to write. Hmmm. It would have to be the interaction between my characters. I hear them speak in their own voices and they tell me their stories. I just write what they tell me.

Eve Culley -adventures in barntown cover

When did you realize your calling to create words on paper to share with the world?

I have always been told that I needed to be quiet, that I talked too much.  So I created worlds where I was in control, where I was safe. Writing, putting words on paper did that for me allowing that need to be fulfilled. I write for me, not so much the world. I am very thankful to the good Lord that people like to read my work, but truth be told, even if they didn’t I would still write.

Do you have a favorite verse that resonates with you?

Jeremiah 29:11

For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.

If you could go back in time and give one piece of advice for your younger self about writing what would that be?

Carve out a time between schooling, marriage, kids and continue to write.  What you need, what you desire is just as important as the rest of things.

Who is your best support system to keep you focused on your writing?

My hubby is great about picking up my slack when I am writing, but I have to say that it is the work itself that keeps calling me back to finish, to start a new work, to continue to write.

What is your favorite genre to read for fun?

The “who-done-its”. Erle Stanley Gardner (Perry Mason), Dashiell Hammett (the thin man) and the like.

Where is your favorite place to write?

I have a T.V. tray set up in the living room with my laptop in front of my big recliner, that way I can be with my hubby as I write.  I pretty much tune everyone and everything out but at least I am there. (grin)

More about Eve Culley:

During the 1970’s and 80’s, my husband and I were missionaries working in the United States.  We worked in different church print shops where Bibles, New Testaments, and individual books of the Bible were printed in different languages and shipped around the world.  We traveled across the U.S.  to raise money for paper, ink and shipping cost for the Bibles.  A lot of travel was required to gather the necessary money needed. As we traveled I would tell stories to our two young sons of adventure, heroes, and villains.

Once our sons grew into adulthood the stories stopped.  When our grandchildren would visit, the stories were requested again until they too grew out of them. But the story telling refused to die and go away.  Instead a hunger grew in me to put my stories on paper and books grew out of them. I write adventures for children to read, believe in and take life lessons from.

Story-telling is as much a part of me as breathing. I have found that I have to tell stories and put them on paper. I need to make room for the other stories that are building in my mind and will need to be told soon.  So, enjoy the ride. Stripe, the Sheriff, and even Rooster Cogburn have a lot of fun they want to share with you.

Eve Culley –  blog https://barntown.wordpress.com/

You can order Adventures in Barn Town online at Amazon or Barnes and Nobel

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01KLLEXRS/ref=dp-kindle-redirect?_encoding=UTF8&btkr=1

Barnes and Nobel https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/adventures-in-barn-town-eve-culley/1125994126?ean=9781621355984

I hope Eve’s story inspires you to follow your writing dream. It’s never too late. I’ve been posting a lot of interviews lately because I believe hearing other writer’s stories keeps us all focused on the journey to publication. It reminds us to never give up. If you have any questions for Eve post them in the comment section.

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The Many Marketing Categories of Your Novel

genre1

Imagine we are in the hallway at a writer’s conference with a group of fellow-writers. We’ve been discussing highlights of the event and throwing out snippets of knowledge. Small incomplete bits that need further information. My post today is a snippet. One I need to understand more fully but thought you might find interesting. Or better yet you might have thorough knowledge and could share in the comments.

Marketing snippet

Here is my factoid about marketing. I’ve noticed it as I complete my second author kit for my upcoming Contemporary Romance. I’ve heard it mention by many publishers. I’m still a bit confused.

Authors define the genre their book falls in before they begin writing. We use that tag to focus our words toward those readers. This is the general category our book would be marketed in. Secrets & Charades is a Romance. More specifically a Historical Romance.

For marketing purposes, it can be placed in a variety of other categories. Because of its faith theme.

  • Christian Fiction
  • Christian Historical Fiction
  • Christian Romance
  • Clean Romance
  • Christian
  • Inspirational
  • Religious

Because of the cowboys:

  • Western Romance
  • American Western Romance

Amazon allows you to list your book under three categories. My understanding (this is where I remind you this is my hearsay in the hall) if you change the listing you could increase your sales. If a historical novel were a secular romance it might be categorized under some additional categories steamy romance, erotic romance, sexy romance.

Some of the categories cross over as far as audience appeal. If a prospective reader loves Historical Romance with lots of heat my novel might not be their cup of tea. But then again, they might love it because the storyline engages them.

My upcoming contemporary romance can be listed under Romance.

And because of its faith theme:

Christian Romance

Inspirational

My hero has a prosthetic leg so we can add Wounded Warrior Romance (yes, it is a thing).

It might even be classified under categories that appeal to dog lovers. My hero has a service dog.

Don’t choose wrong categories

Although we narrow our genre focus while we write our story we want to be sure we are marketing it to as broad a market as possible without missing the mark. My novels are not children’s books or sci fi. Neither contain gratuitous sex. Listing them as erotica will irritate perspective readers. (No need for angry reviews.)

Another example

A YA Sci Fi would be classified under YA fiction

Sci Fi

Fantasy

Dystopian

Again, if it has a Christian theme it might also be listed under Christian Fantasy

Christian Dystopian

Christian Sci Fi

Inspirational and Religious.

If there is a strong romance element it might be listed under YA Romance or Sci Fi Romance.

book genre cloud

Variety of categories draws more readers

Adults could find a YA book in the Sci Fi categories. Adults read YA, by the way. Men might find Secrets & Charades in the Western and my upcoming release in Wounded Warrior.

I’m too new to this publishing biz to have any idea what is the winning category. And some of the categories I mention may not be one anymore. Even so I need to have some alternative genre categories in mind to add in future marketing. And for me I leave the final decision to my publisher and my marketing gal. If your self-pub you might want to ask your successful Indie friends what they would recommend.

Okay readers, any of you have more snippets of information to share about this topic. Curious minds are desperate to know.

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Secrets & Charades book trailer:

Author Jenifer Jennings

Today I welcome another author Jenifer Jennings. My questions are the same as I asked Gail last week her answers are quite different.  Although she is not a jubilee writer  we do share our love for Word Weavers. A critique group that dramatically effected my writing. So, be inspired and check out the giveaway link at the bottom. Jenifer Jennings Head Shot

Tell my readers a little about your writing journey.

I always enjoyed English and Language Arts in school, but it wasn’t until High School that I enjoyed the creative process of writing for myself. Most of my senior year was spent writing poetry. It became the escape from reality I needed.
When I entered college, writing was put on the backburn. There were just too many psychology papers to write and too few hours in the day. After two years, I switched colleges and majors. Writing made its way back into my life through Creative Writing classes and studying the Bible. The more I studied God’s Word, the more it made me curious about the real people behind the stories. What were they like? How did their cultural shape their life style? Why did they make the choices that they made?

Soon after graduating, I joined my first writers group. There, I learned about sharing my ideas and building a strong support network of other writers. The leader introduced me to NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month). It’s a challenge to write 50,000 words in the 30 days of November. I had never written that much in such a short amount of time. My group leader suggested I start easy by writing short stories for my first challenge instead of focusing on an entire novel. I spent one month planning and researching each short story. When November came, I wrote 50,001 word in 13 days. That experience lit a fire in my soul. I wanted to make writing a priority in my life. I cleaned up those short stories and they became “The Hope Chest.” I never thought my writing would be good enough for a traditional publishing house, so I decided to start my self-publishing journey with that book. Jenifer Jennings The Hope Chest Cover

Sadly, that writers group was forced to disband. I still keep in contact with a few of them and I know they are always there for me. A few years ago, I found Word Weavers. We have local chapters that meet regularly for critique sessions. The organization also hosts retreats through the year where all the members can come together in one place to fellowship, encourage, critique, and be inspired.
As my life has roller-coastered up and down, I’ve found ways of making writing more of a priority. After a short absence from writing, I got the guts to submit a short story to a publishing house. To my shock and delight, they placed my story in an anthology. It was the motivation I needed to get back to writing.
Since publishing my first novel in 2011, I’ve self-published a collection of the poems I wrote in High School, a two-week devotional on the women in the Bible, and a Biblical Fiction novel about Rahab.
Writing has been a wonderful journey and I feel I’m only just beginning. It helps me feel closer to God because writing Biblical Fiction forces me to continually go back to the Bible for inspiration and research. I want to come alongside others on their journey of faith to encourage them and show them the God of the Bible

.What is your latest published project?
I released “Crimson Cord” in January of this year. It’s a Biblical Fiction novel about Rahab from the book of Joshua. Rehab’s story has always fascinated me. I really wanted to get into her sandals and find out why she made the choices she made.

Jenifer Jennings Real Women Cover

How do you research for your books?

For “Crimson Cord”, and my other Biblical Fiction novels, I always start with the Biblical account itself. I read the passage, study commentaries, and draw out event timelines. I want it to feel real to the reader and for it to be familiar enough to really draw them into the story. My goal is to stay as close to the original story as possible with historical and fictional details added for enhancement. I do love it when someone finishes one of my books and then says, “It made me go back and read the Biblical story.” Getting people to go searching for God in His Word makes my heart happy.

What inspired you to write your book?

“Crimson Cord” came from studying the book of Joshua. Many times, preachers and teachers gloss over Rahab’s story. The focus is on Joshua and the Israelites and she gets swept up in their story. I wanted to give her a story. I wanted readers to see the world from Rahab’s perspective and give a possible backstory to her life. The very first chapter I wrote came when I was listening to the song “Whom Shall I Fear?” by Chris Tomlin. There is this moment when Rahab sees the angel army that is standing guard at Jericho before the Israelites arrive. Every time I hear the line, “The God of angel armies is always by my side,” I can feel Rahab looking down on the sand and seeing the army of God coming to fight for her. It gives me goosebumps.    Jenifer Jennings Crimson Cord Cover

 When did you realize your calling to create words on paper to share with the world?

It’s only been the last few years that I’ve really realized my calling to write. When I sit down to write, I can feel everything in my being shouting, “Yes! This is what you are supposed to be doing.” Honestly, I believe when God knits us together, He puts something in each person that is their absolute passion. When you find it, it feels like everything else falls into place. Writing is that for me.

Do you have a favorite verse that resonates with you?

My favorite verse is Hebrews 11:6 which says, “But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.” In Bible College, one of my favorite classes was studying the book of Hebrews. I love some many of the lessons I learned in that class, but when I came to this verse it really resonated with me. My writing goal is to encourage people in their walk of faith. I want to inspire them to diligently seek after God.

If you could go back in time and give one piece of advice for your younger self about writing what would that be?

If I could tell my younger self something about writing, it would be, “Keep writing, even when life gets hard. Writing is part of who God made you and you need to keep doing it.”

Who is your best support system to keep you focused on your writing?

My biggest support system is a combination of my husband and my local Word Weavers chapter. My husband has always been a big supporter of my writing. Before we got married, he only finished one book in his life, “The Last of the Mohicans” by James Fenimore Cooper. Since being married, he has read everything I’ve ever written. He is the first eyes on any of my projects and he is a great grammar editor. My fellow Word Weavers are great at critiquing my work and letting me bounce ideas off them. Knowing that I’ve got a meeting coming up in which they expect to see what I’m working on is a great motivator.

Jenifer Jennings Soul Sparks Cover

What is your favorite genre to read for fun?

When I get to read for relaxation, I read Christian Fiction. I also read a lot of commentaries. They are great for research, but I enjoy reading them for fun too. Call me quirky. Likewise, I’m constantly reading the Bible for encouragement, inspiration, and to grow in my personal walk with God.

Where is your favorite place to write?

When we moved into our new house, there was an empty alcove in the living room that my husband asked the builders to leave bare. Months later, he surprised me with plans to build a writer’s desk. He tailored it entirely for me. It has everything I need to create my novels. When I sit at the desk, I get into writing mode. It’s become my favorite place to write.

Bio:
Jenifer Jennings is a Christian author. She earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Women’s Ministry from Trinity Baptist College and is a member of Word Weavers International. Jenifer uses her writing to grow closer to her Lord. She desires that, through her work, God would bring others into a deeper relationship with Himself. Between studying and writing, she is a dedicated wife, loving mother of two children, and lives in North Florida.

Links:

Facebook: www.facebook.com/jeniferjenningsauthor

Twitter: @authorjenifer

YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCkNIF7y1dIbBzzEZjov5i8Q/playlists (I make playlists for each of my books.)

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

Personal Website: www.jeniferjennings.com

Order Links:

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Jenifer-Jennings/e/B006M2NSUE

Nook: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/s/Jenifer+Jennings?_requestid=1303833

Kobo: https://www.kobo.com/us/en/search?query=Jenifer%20Jennings&fcsearchfield=Author

iBooks: https://itunes.apple.com/us/author/jenifer-jennings/id1146332011?mt=11

Sign up for Jenifer’s reader list: http://www.jeniferjennings.com/reader-list-sign-up

Jenifer is  participating in a large giveaway May 29th -June 2nd through LitRing.com.  Here is the information:

Unicorns vs. Dragons: May 26th-June 2nd

How to Enter: The website page shows all the available ways to earn points. Pick a team and earn points. Unicorns vs. Dragons. Jenifer Jennings is on #TeamUnicorn !!!

Prizes: At the end of the week, one winner from the team with the most points will be randomly chosen and gets to choose between a Kindle Fire or a 5-month subscription to Bookish Box (valued at $200). One person from the other team will get the prize that is left. Win-Win. Plus, one author from the winning team gets a promo package from LitRing. Win-Win-Win!

What part of Jenifer’s interview did you find the most inspiring?

Grammie, Why’s Your Picture On This Book?

20170306_175818

My three granddaughters with Grammie’s book.

You can see by the picture my proof copy arrived. It was a surreal moment. I stared at the cover. Ran my hand over the picture. Turned it over to see my face staring back at me. Opened the pages and read snippets. I wrote these words. Somehow it doesn’t seem possible that the story I labored over is now between the covers of a book.

My granddaughter, Victoria said it best. “Grammie , why is your picture on this book?”

Books are something we have. Something we take for granted. My grandchildren read their stories with no thought of the process involved in writing them. Most author pictures are strangers to the reader.

The revelation comes to us. Books are written by real people when we know the author. People have told me how excited they are to know a “real” author. My minimal celebrity status feel weird.

I’m thrilled to have a book published. But I know this is only the beginning. I don’t want to be a one-book wonder. I know my fame lasts only until the reader finds another author to follow. Unlike movie stars, no one will remember what I look like. They may vaguely remember the title. And in the pool of millions of authors, I am a raindrop in the ocean.

Still, it’s nice to know my efforts are recognized.

I love this story and hope others do too. That would be my greatest accolade. Someday my granddaughter will have enough reading skills under her belt to read this story if she chooses too. I hope the connection will help her understand why my picture is on the back cover. I hope by then to have many more stories with my face smiling at perspective readers.

Secrets and Charades releases March 15th. You can order it on Amazon in either paperback or kindle. Click here.secret-charades-front-cover

Want to keep following my blog? Maybe see some more cute pictures of grandchildren. 🙂 Click on the button in the left-hand column to get started.

 

 

Guest Blog: WRITING FROM PERSONAL EXPERIENCE

Welcome Guest Blogger Tez Brooks as he shares from the heart about writing from personal experience.

Author Tez Brooks

Author Tez Brooks

You want me to do what God?

I was struggling with the concept of sharing my journey as a single father. It placed me in a very vulnerable position and I wasn’t comfortable with that.

Still, I knew God had been gently nudging me toward this for years. There was little out there in the way of self-help books for divorced fathers, let alone with a Christian worldview.

I had written plenty of articles from personal experiences that were amazing or fun. I never had a problem sharing my life stories if they were positive. But when I finally did begin writing about my failed marriage it felt as if I were digging through a box of cat litter for someone else’s car keys.

Everything within me screamed, Why should I have to do this? I found my own keys long ago. It’s up to each guy to dig through this doo-doo on his own!

As I pressed on however, I learned the secret to writing from painful experience. It not only helps others in their journey, it brings healing to the storyteller.

It got easier the more I re-visited some of the memories and as each chapter was completed, I was reminded of 1 Peter 4:10:

“Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms.”

Was my trial a gift?

Somehow it had turned into one. After being removed from that season of life, remarrying, starting a second family—yeah, the recollections I unpacked and wrote about had been transformed into a gift by God’s unbelievable grace.

My critique group and my editors encouraged me onward, impressing upon me the importance of the message I was communicating.

One of the best pieces of advice I received was to include statistical research and stories from other people, enriching the message of hope for dads.

But how was I to handle any of these stories without slandering others? What about facts that included my ex-wife?

One author friend of mine suggested I run those portions by my children, who were now adults, asking if they felt I communicated anything inappropriate about their mother. I found that to be an excellent idea.

When it came to stories of other men, I just changed the name to protect the individual. Before I knew it, I had a very real, authentic manuscript that didn’t cut corners on details but still protected everyone’s reputation.

The Single Dad Detour (Kregel 2015) hit shelves a year later and my head still hasn’t stopped spinning at the wonder of it all. This week alone I have been invited on three radio programs to discuss the book. I was able to minister to a dad who called in to the station asking for help. What a blessing for me.

Although I had been writing for decades, I had no intention of scribing my painful divorce, single parenting days or the mistakes I made as I attempted to navigate through those years. What an honor to be used by the Lord to speak into lives of men who need to be challenged and encouraged.

What about you? What might God be calling you to write about? Are you struggling to re-visit an experience you’d much rather leave well enough alone?

Writing from personal experience may not feel good at first, and God wont force you. But I believe God has beautiful plans for those who are willing to take a risk and watch him turn something mundane or even unpleasant into a testimony of God’s grace.

4360 drive final.indd Tez Brooks latest book the Single Dad Detour is available at Barnes & Noble and Amazon. You can find more help for fathers at EverySingleDad.com

Tez and his wife are full-time missionaries with the Jesus Film Project (a ministry of Cru) where he manages a team of journalists. If you’d like to know how you can contribute to their ministry contact tez.brooks@cru.org

If you have questions for Tez about writing from personal experience leave a comment below.

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My Promised Interview with Carol McAdams Moore Interview

Just as I promised I have invited Carol McAdams Moore to my blog to pick her brain and have a fun giveaway of her devotionals Dare U To Open This Book and Just Sayin’. You can see my reviews here.

Carol Welcome to Writer’s Patchwork. After receiving your devotionals to do a review I was so impressed with these delightful books I wanted to have you come and share the how, the why and the inspiration behind these devotionals.  So, please ignore the clutter in my office and let’s get started.

Carol McAdams Moore_Author Photo

What kind of adventures have you encountered on your journey to publication?

Thank you for having me today, Cindy! I have been on the road to this kind of publication for about 12 years. When I attended my first writers conference (Write-to-Publish in Wheaton, IL), I was unpublished. I soon latched on to the idea of building my experience through writing articles, fillers, and curriculum. Now I attend Write-to-Publish every June. It is more than a writing conference for me. It is kind of a check in time with God to make sure I am following His will for this writing journey. That journey, like any path with God, is definitely an adventure. 

 

Just Sayin'

How did you come up with the idea for these creative devotionals?

I teach fourth and fifth graders during the week. Several years ago, I noticed that many of my students came back from the Scholastic Book Fair with books that shared a similar format – something that asked kids a question or gave them a prompt to write or draw about. When I saw how engaged the kids were in the books, I knew that I wanted to write devotionals with the same format. God’s hand was evident in the next step when I contacted Zonderkidz. The editor had been looking at a similar book (Wreck This Journal) and hoped to publish a devo for tweens with the same format.

Cute cover don't you think.

Cute cover don’t you think.

What is it about this age group that intrigues you?

I love that kids who are 8-12 are confident readers, ready to explore the Bible on their own. It is a critical time (just before junior high). I love to watch kids read the Bible and discover its value for their own lives.

What do you hope kids come away with working through these devotionals?

It says it right on the back covers – to follow Jesus. Best. Idea. Ever.

I love your covers. How did you go about choosing the right ones that would reach out and grab kids attention.

Thank you, Cindy! I love the covers, too. They are the work of the awesome design team at Zonderkidz!

I have to know—did you work on these book simultaneously or one at a time?

At any given step, I worked on one of them at a time. For example, initially I chose the Bible verses for one of them, but if something jumped out at me for the other one I would take a little detour and work on that one for a brief time. Then, I followed that process throughout the publication steps.

Do you have plans for more kids devotionals?

I am waiting to hear back on several new ideas. Right now, I can’t say more than that. Stay tuned to my blog or my facebook wall for updates!

Can you pass on a few tips about writing kids devotionals for those who may have the same passion for kids growing in Christ.

I would encourage those who want to write devotionals for kids to spend a lot of time with them. Listen to how they talk. Listen to what they talk about. If at all possible, spend time with kids in different settings. For example, the same child will be different at home, at school, at church, and in the neighborhood.

Another thing I would suggest is to make note of what kids are reading.

Last, invest in some good writing tools. I use a child’s thesaurus, a children’s disctionary, The Children’s Writer’s Word Book, and the Flip Dictionary to name a few.

Great ideas. You really have your hand on the pulse of  tweens and it shows in your devotionals.

Any future books in the works?

Again, I am waiting to hear back on several new ideas. Besides writing nonfiction, I am working on several fiction ideas.

How can we contact you?

I love to hear from readers! Let’s connect!

Facebook        https://www.facebook.com/cmcadamsmoore

Pinterest         http://pinterest.com/cmcadamsmoore/

Blog                http://carolmcadamsmoore.blogspot.com/

Twitter            https://twitter.com/CMcAdamsMoore

Email              carolmcadamsmoore@gmail.com

And for those who don’t win in the drawing where can they order you books.

Dare U 2 Open This Book and Just Sayin’ are available at Family Christian Stores, Lifeway Stores, and at Barnes and Noble. Also, future readers (or their parents or grandparents) can order the books on Amazon or directly from Zondervan.

Okay, here’s your chance. Leave a comment for Carol about writing devotions, tweens or her writing journey or just tell her you want in the drawing. Each name will be entered in a drawing for either Dare U To Open This Book or Just Sayin’.

To be eligible for the drawing you must comment on this blog post not my FB page.