Returning to Writing After Life Interrupts and a Giveaway

During this time when life threw us a curveball. I think this guest blog by Norma Gail is very timely.  The time gap between her first novel and its sequel is a lesson for all of us Thank you for joining us, Norma.

In the midst of building your writing career what put the skids on it for a season?

The first book came too easy. I received a contract following my second writer’s conference. The second was to take six years. My debut novel, Land of My Dreams, released in April of 2014. Two years later, the sequel was written, but it was rejected. I set it aside and concentrated on promoting the book I had, fearing more rejection. Sure enough, when I got up the courage to pitch it again, the editor rejected it. Then life got complicated.

About four years ago, I began to make a five-hour trip about every 2-3 months to help my childless aunt and uncle in their 90’s. My mom died halfway through that time period, shortly after my second knee replacement. Within two months, my cousins and I moved our aunt and uncle to assisted living near me. I helped clean out both houses. My aunt died several months after their move, and I had two ablations for atrial fibrillation. I still care for my uncle.

Throughout these experiences, there has been a lot of pain and struggle. I couldn’t write a sentence that didn’t sound hurt and angry. That’s not a heart attitude that allows you to share your words with others.

I understand that feeling. But you did begin again.

When did you know it was time to resume writing and how did you go about restarting?

When you fall off a bicycle, you get back on and try again. Twenty-five percent of the reviews for Land of My Dreams ask for another book. I felt a responsibility to give them one. I also knew that God had given me the story for the sequel, one very dear to me. I started slow, just re-reading the manuscript, which had been edited. Reading it reminded me of how much I loved the characters and the story. I wanted it to be read. I began to write again, and things just flowed. The editor loved it more than the first book.

Add a comment for a chance to win a copy.

I couldn’t blog or write anything after my mom died, exhausted from surgery and emotion. A year later, I attended another writer’s conference and pitched my sequel again. I felt this story was truly what God wanted me to write. A publisher who knew the first book, and believed there was a market for the second one, offered to publish it for me. The result is Within Golden Bands, the story of my heart.

How did it feel to finally get words on paper again?

I had let Within Golden Bands go, but the book wouldn’t let go of me. As I regained strength, the desire to write returned. After I knew it would finally be published, I began blogging again. I’m not doing as much as I did before, that will come with time, but I am writing again. I’ve been through a lot. Sitting down and writing is good therapy. It helps me heal and it’s a good escape.

 I admire your determination. What lessons did you learn during this time?

The biggest lesson is that it’s a mistake to quit writing completely. If all you can do is journal, then journal every day, but never stop putting words on paper like I did. That hurt more than anything else. To not write created a hole in my heart. If I had written, I would have healed faster. Two deaths, four surgeries, and all the family dynamics that surround such major life changes needed an outlet.

Writing is a gift, and God calls us to use the gifts He has given us. After leading women’s Bible studies for over 21 years, I knew better than to ignore a call from the Lord. I also felt the need to minister to someone out of all the things I experienced. Both writing fiction and the devotionals for my blog stem from what the Lord has done in my life, lessons learned from walking with Him for many years. Once I began to write, all the hurt from my difficult experiences began to heal.

Fiction speaks to people who will never attend a Bible study. My feelings come out through the experiences of my characters. Writing allows me to share how the Lord has worked in my own life, even it’s not my personal story. I see writing as a ministry, the same as leading Bible studies. I must write.

About Land of My Dreams:

Alone and betrayed by a former fiancé, American professor Bonny Bryant accepts a position at a small college in Fort William, Scotland. But when she meets a fellow professor, Bonny discovers her wounds may be the scars of healing Kieran MacDonell needs to reach past his own grief. Land of My Dreams spans the distance between New Mexico’s high desert mountains and the misty Scottish Highlands with a timeless story of overwhelming grief, undying love, and compelling faith.

About Within Golden Bands:

Newly married Bonny MacDonell finds the transition from American college professor to Scottish sheep farmer’s wife more difficult than she expected. When her miracle pregnancy ends in a devastating miscarriage, she fears her husband’s reaction will hurt more than the loss of their child.

But Kieran never shows up at the hospital. When found, he is beaten and unconscious. The only memory of his attacker is the words, “Get off my land.” Reeling from the threat to her husband and the loss of their child, Bonny struggles to hold her marriage together. When faith in love is not enough, where do you turn?

Norma, your feelings do truly come out in your words and many women will be touched by them. Thank you for coming. I look forward to having you visit a few more times as the release of Within Golded Bands draws near.

Giveaway:

While we wait were going to have a drawing for the first book in the series: Land of My Dreams.

Tell us about any struggles you are having trying to get words on paper or just say I’d love a copy of the book in the comment section below.

Your name will be entered in a drawing. The winner may choose either a Kindle or a paperback version.

About Norma Gail:

Norma Gail writes Fiction to Refresh Your Spirit. Her contemporary novels, Land of My Dreams, which won the 2016 Bookvana Religious Fiction Award, and Within Golden Bands (releasing May 19, 2020), explore the theme of women whose faith triumphs over trials. A women’s Bible study leader for over 21 years, her devotionals and poetry have appeared at ChristianDevotions.us, the Stitches Thru Time blog, Inspire a Fire, and in “The Secret Place.” She is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers, Romance Writers of America, Historical Writers of America, and the Women’s Fiction Writers Association. Norma is a former RN who lives in the mountains of New Mexico with her husband of 44 years. They have two adult children. To connect with her, you can follow her blog, or join her on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, Goodreads, or Amazon.

Follow her on social media:

Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/AuthorNormaGail/

Twitter – https://twitter.com/Norma_Gail

LinkedIn – https://www.linkedin.com/in/norma-gail-holtman-3b271a42/

Pinterest – https://www.pinterest.com/normagailth/

Instagram – https://www.instagram.com/normagailwrites/

Goodreads – https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7874459.Norma_Gail

Amazon Author Page – https://www.amazon.com/Norma-Gail/e/B00ILHXBAK/

Order her books:

Land of My Dreamshttps://www.amazon.com/Land-My-Dreams-Norma-Gail-ebook/dp/B01ENKEL02/

Within Golden Bands – https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B084TSQ432/

 

Before I sign off, don’t forget to comment below for a chance to win Land of My Dreams.

 

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/

 

Larry W Timm shares His Suspense Writing Journey

Suspense writer Larry W. Timm is my guest today. I always love learning what passion brought an author to write their story.  I’m sure you’ll be encouraged by Larry’s journey.

LarryWTimm pic 2

 

Tell my readers a little about your writing journey.

The power of words has always fascinated me. However, it wasn’t until the last ten years that I finally decided to chase this dream. I joined American Christian Fiction Writers, and that led to some life-changing friendships that fueled the fire. I started studying the craft and business of writing, joined a local writer’s group, finished a couple of novels, started a few more, pitched my two finished manuscripts, refused to let rejections crush me, then signed a contract for my first book to be published with Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas. The road has been tough—with plenty of ups and downs. But, at the same time, it has been a thrill. I’m glad I’m on the journey!

What is your latest published project?

My debut suspense novel is called MURDER FOR EMILY’S SAKE. It’s about three women who are being stalked by a man who believes they are responsible for his teenage daughter’s death. He has convinced himself that had the women not confronted his daughter, Emily, outside of the abortion clinic and convinced her not to end her pregnancy, she would still be alive.

But they had spoken to Emily, and she had listened. Emily had made the decision to let her child live. Sadly, however, a few months later, a rare complication would cause Emily’s death in the delivery room.

Now, her father, sinking deeper and deeper into dark despair, vows he will bury the three women, just like he had to bury his beloved daughter. And he’s sure that after he buries them, they will eventually die…for Emily’s sake.

How did you research your book?

I drew from a variety of sources when working on a story. Like most writer’s, there are tidbits from personal experience that I used with the hopes of adding depth or believability to a scene. I also contacted people who answered my many questions. I also used the internet and the library, as well as various materials I have gathered over the years.

Basically, I do as much research as I think I need to do to make something believable enough that it doesn’t stop a reader from enjoying the story.

 What inspired you to write your book?

MURDER FOR EMILY’S SAKE grew out of an intense desire to write a story that highlighted the gifts that God gives to us, starting with the gift of Life. I wanted to use suspense as the fiction vehicle to both entertain and enlighten. My goal was to paint an engaging word picture of how Life is not only one of God’s greatest gifts, it is also one of the most fragile. I pray that readers will see that the sanctity of human Life is not only threatened before birth, but many times it is threatened afterwards by choices we make.

I was also inspired by my experiences serving with and around others who are on the frontline of the intense work of defending the lives of the unborn.

FrontCoverFinal_MurderforEmilysSake

 

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

My fascination with storytelling goes back as far as I can remember. But a sense of “calling” began directing that fascination after I became a Christian in 1981. At first, I wrote non-fiction (devotional articles, ministry-related articles, etc.), but always wanted to also write novels.

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

I love this question! I would probably go back to the evening of January 18, 1981. That was the evening I became a Christian. I would pull myself aside and say, “Don’t wait to start writing novels! Get started now!”

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

This is easy to answer! My wife, Kristal, (and our family) is my best support system as I stumble my way down the writer’s pathway. She has always believed in me, and made me feel like this was possible. And she’s been willing to sacrifice so I could go to conferences, writer’s groups, buy books, and spend money on various writing-related things. She’s awesome. She understands that writers are “different” and she puts up with me.

What is your favorite genre to read for fun?

Suspense is my favorite, but I will read books from other genres. I suppose I prefer reading and writing suspense because it keeps me engaged in the story.

 Where is your favorite place to write?

Oddly enough, I don’t have a “favorite” place. Or, at least, I haven’t found one yet. The best places for me to write are places with a comfortable chair and room for me to pace. And if Dr. Pepper and snacks are allowed and available, that’s a bonus!

What are your goals for your writer’s journey ahead?

I hope to travel on both the fiction and the non-fiction roads. I have one more novel completed, and a few others started. I also have a series of 10-day devotionals finished, and more on the drawing board. And recently, a good friend and fellow-writer urged me to write a non-fiction book describing my family’s battle with my daughter’s cancer. I will do the best I can to pursue all of these things.

What could readers of this blog do to help tell others about your book?

Since “word-of-mouth” promotion is the most effective form of getting others engaged, I’d be grateful if those who read and participate in Jubilee Writer’s would post my website information on Facebook, Twitter, and any other social media venues they use. My website address is www.booksbylarrywtimm.com

Additionally, if someone reads—and likes—the book, I would appreciate it they would take the extra time to rate the book on Amazon and Goodreads. Obviously all 4 and 5-star reviews are helpful…especially 5 stars (wink, wink, grin).

Your novel sounds intriguing. I enjoyed having you as my guest.

Thank you very much for giving me the privilege of talking about my book, MURDER FOR EMILY’S SAKE.

More about the author:

Larry W. Timm is a husband, father, preaching minister with the Morton Christian Church is Morton, Illinois, and a writer.

Website: www.booksbylarrywtimm.com (the website has links for those who want to buy the book, as well as a “Contact” form for those who want to send a message to Larry.

 

If you find help and encouragement from author interviews like this one, and the writing tips I share don’t forget to subscribe. You can get Jubilee Writer in your email twice a week.