An Interview with the Hero of New Duet Dan Sweeney

As promised, I have Dan Sweeney, the hero of my latest novel New Duet. And once again we’ll be talking about some interesting factoids that may not have made it into the novel.

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Welcome Dan, or should I call you Daniel?

No ma’am, the name is Dan. Dad never liked long names. Then Uncle Paul told me an Old Testament character was named Dan. I had a heck of a time convincing teachers and the army that Dan was my legal name.

If you hadn’t mentioned the army, I’d have guessed it by the ma’am address. Is that where you lost your leg?

No, ma’am. I left my fingers in Afghanistan and shards from an IED explosion cut my cheek. I lost my leg in the good old USA. You’ll need to read the novel to get the whole story. God only knows why I’m not dead and only lost my leg. I’m grateful for the second chance. I’d planned a career in the army so it’s taking time to readjust to civilian life and my disability. It’s harder than anything I did while in uniform.

Tell us a bit about Brutus.

Even though I tell myself I don’t need a service dog, I do. Brutus keeps my panic attacks at bay reducing my need for meds. He helps me if I fall. Super dog, Brutus knows how to perform tasks beyond my needs. Which is at times annoying. He was trained for a boy with severe disabilities who died. Brutus has bonded with me. He seems to know my thoughts. He’s a great companion but his manners around women need work.

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I understand you have a home in Aurora you’re fixing up. Why Aurora?

My uncle lives in Aurora. I’m not close to my sister, and my folks passed. I graduated from East Aurora High School, so it made sense to find a place there. I’ve been working on it every leave I had for three years. Then I had the accident. My buddy Steve and a few friends rehabbed the bathroom and some doors to make my ranch home handicap accessible. I won’t let them do any more. It’s my house, my project.

How’s your social life?

You sound like Steve. He grilled me on it hard one day. Tried his hand at matchmaking. And I’m not saying anymore, ma’am. Any further reference to my social life is on a need to know basis. Only those who buy New Duet will be upgraded to need-to-know status.

Clever, Dan, very clever way not to reveal too much of the plot. What’s been the hardest thing for you since you got out of the service?

Adjusting to a lost leg and a lost career. I’m back in college with a bunch of kids and it’s not easy. But good friends, a supportive family, my goofy dog and a special someone makes the adjustment easier.

 

Thanks for giving us a peek into your world.

Here’s the link to the book trailer.

New Duet is available in e-book and paperback on Amazon. You can request it at any bookstore and it’s also available to order online at Barnes & Noble. Don’t forget to subscribe so you don’t miss future posts with interviews of real people and information on other writerly stuff.

 

 

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An Interview with My Heroine Isabella Wilson from New Duet

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Today I’m welcoming Isabella Melinda Wilson to my blog. If you’ve read New Duet, you know she is the heroine. I thought it would be fun to learn a little about her. A morsel or two of trivia that may not be in the novel. So, welcome, Isabella.

I’m surprised you wanted to interview me. As surprised as I was in the reporter from the Beacon News who came to my mural reveal.

Take a seat on the couch, and we’ll begin.

Isabella, tell us a bit about your background.

I was born in Nicaragua and spent time as an orphan on the streets. I can’t recall my mother, but I do recall a sweet voice that made me feel safe. I was six when the Wilson’s adopted me. My sister Ming was adopted from China. She was part of the Wilson family three months before I joined them. There was a mix up with my paperwork, and it looked to my parents like the adoption wasn’t happening. They applied for Ming. And when my paperwork was sorted out, they had two daughters the same year. Ming was three. We spoke a combination of Spanish and Chinese the first year. When I was in junior high, my parents went on a mission trip to Haiti and fell in love with a young teen. They adopted Henri when I was in eighth grade.

He was my age. The three of us always got funny looks from students when my dad’s job moved us to a new school. Ming told everyone she and I were twins. She sounded so sincere, people believed her. She is the humorous one and the most caring. I have two older siblings, Ken and Carla. They are my parent’s natural born children. Carla was a great big sister and Kenny was your typical big brother—a pain. My parents encouraged all of us to follow our dreams. Mine was to be an artist so I attended the American Academy of Art in Chicago. Not until I moved to Aurora did I really come into my own as an artist.

That brings up another question. Why did you move to Aurora?

Well, it’s complicated. Much of that story is in the novel. Briefly, as a widow I needed to start over in a new place. My sister Ming had moved to Aurora a few years earlier at the suggestion of a friend. I moved in with her and started over. It was hard finding my true self again. Exploring the art community in Aurora and with help from some great friends, I found my art muse and grew in my faith.

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What was your first impression of Aurora?

Paraphrasing Dorothy form the Wizard of Oz, I’m not in Iowa anymore. Although my family moved a lot growing up, the three of us would spend the summer with our grandparents. They lived in a small farming community. I have fond memories. My late husband and I lived in Indiana, but the atmosphere was quite different from Aurora. It has a population over 200,000 and lots of interesting things to see and do. Ming took me on a tour and showed the sights. I loved exploring the downtown on my own. There are museums and art galleries and fun restaurants.

Sounds like you have adapted well to your new hometown. Now we’re shifting directions a bit. What is your biggest fear?

Not being good enough. When I was first adopted, I felt unworthy of these wonderful people. It took me years before I believed all their words of affirmation. After I married Ron, he reminded me daily how I fell short.  His sudden death fed that feeling of unworthiness. It took me a longtime to release all the guilt others had put on me, not to mention the guilt I put on myself.

I can see by your smile that isn’t the case anymore. Do you have someone special?

Yes. But you’ll need to read New Duet for all the details.

Cool segue there, Isabella. Tell my readers why they’d want to read your story.

New Duet is about broken people finding love. A simple statement with a powerful message of hope and renewal. God loves healing broken people. It’s more than a simple love story because life is complicated. But complicated is much easier to unravel with the right person. It’s available on Amazon, Barnes & Noble and your local bookstore. Just ask the clerk to order it. It’s also available in e-book.

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Thanks for stopping by. Thursday it will be Dan’s turn to be in the hot seat.  

 

Click here for link to trailer.

If you’ve not subscribed to Jubilee Writer, then please do so before you exit this blog so you don’t miss meeting the adorable hero of New Duet, Dan Sweeney.

 

 

Why I Set My Novel in My Hometown

 

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Aurora, Illinois has the Fox River flowing through downtown

 

 

The idea for New Duet ruminated in my mind for a while before I chose a setting. During that time, my husband and I went to a First Friday celebration. (Aurora, Illinois has fun events downtown every first Friday during the summer, starting in May and runs until September.)  The theme for that Friday was spotlighting local artists.

 

My husband and I walk around downtown visiting art galleries and stores, bars and restaurants that featured artists and photographers’ offerings from Aurora and surrounding areas.

 

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Isabell Wilson is inspired by this sculpted water fountain called The Dancing Stones

 

When we visited some artist’s studios, I knew my characters would meet in Aurora. Isabella has an art degree from a Chicago art school and yet, she married a music minister and never create art again.

Isabella needs to rebuild her life after her husband’s untimely death. Resurrecting her art muse in a city that supports the arts was a perfect plot twist.

 

Aurora has a diverse ethnic population of over 200,000. Museums, fun restaurants and the beautiful Fox River gave me scene settings—not to mention possible date opportunities in Chicago, 70 minutes to the lake shore by car. The local college and wonderful local architecture play a part in my story.

 

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The Paramont Theater a great place to see Broadway quality productions

 

The biggest challenge for me is I’m directionally challenged. My sweet hubby double-checked all my physical references and made sure they were on the correct street and my characters were headed in the right direction.

An extra bonus to placing my setting in Aurora are local book signings. I’ll be signing books at If These Walls Could Talk this summer.  This lovely framing store is also a gallery for local artists to display their work.

 

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If These Wall Could Talk Framing and Gallery

 

A wonderful scene in New Duet takes place in that shop. The co-owner and gallery manager, Jennifer Rauch was happy to feature me on…drum roll… First Friday in August. What a great cycle of creativity.

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Buy Link Click here

If any of you are in the Aurora area the First Friday in August come by and say hello. I’ll be sharing more behind the scenes things from New Duet in future posts. Don’t miss out. Subscribe.

 

 

 

 

Announcing My New Baby : New Duet

My new baby, contemporary romance, New Duet arrived May 1st on Amazon in e-book format. It already has 5-star reviews. Check out the wonderful cover.

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Here is the back-cover blurb.

Isabella Melinda Wilson has been squeezed into the music ministry model of her controlling husband’s making. Before she can leave him, he leaves her a guilt ridden widow. Her mother-in-law is no comfort and presses the guilt button at every turn. Isabella flees to her sister’s home in Aurora Illinois insearch of her own identity and a new beginning.

Dan Sweeney has one goal. Be as normal as possible. After losing a leg, some fingers and his self-worth, he needs his service dog Brutus to help keep his PTSD at bay. Career-less and clueless about the future, he struggles to put his life back together.

Isabella isn’t looking for a new relationship and Dan feels unworthy of one. Can these two broken people heal into one whole love?

Here’s the buy link for the e-book.

Paperback coming soon.

Why I wrote a contemporary romance

Writing a contemporary romance after writing a Historical romance was a challenge but so much fun. An editor at a conference asked me why I wrote a contemporary after writing a historican. I told him the  characters called to me. I had to write this story.

The struggles these characters face is in part things people I love have gone through. But the lessons they learn about life and faith are mine.

Stay tuned for some fun upcoming blogs. I’ll be talking about New Duet’s setting. And interviewing Isabella and Dan.

I hope if your purchase New Duet you will leave a review. That would be wonderful.

If you’d like to keep tabs on my upcoming babies, read other author interviews and learn writerly things please sign up to receive this blog so you don’t miss a thing.

 

 

 

The Many Marketing Categories of Your Novel

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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.

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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.

Want to continue following Jubilee Writer. Don’t forget to subscribe before leaving this page. Please and Thank you.

Secrets & Charades book trailer:

Interview with Missionary Author Nancy Kelley Alveraz

Nancy Kelley Alveraz has stopped by for a visit today.  I am happy to have her here. She is serving as a missionary in the Philippines, a place near to my heart. Her novel The Butterfly Impact is set in the Philippines. I love the idea of giving American readers a sense of what the world is like outside our borders while sharing your heroine’s story.  

I’ve got sweet rice and Tang to commemorate the day. Two of the often-served treats when my hubby and I ministered there. So, let’s settle in and get on with our interview.

Nancy, tell us about yourself.

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Nancy Kelley Alveraz

 

I grew up in a suburb of Detroit, Michigan but also lived in Wheaton, Illinois and Orlando, Florida. I came to know the Lord when I was a teenager crying out to God for purpose and love. He responded in a slow and steady way to bring me to the place where I could understand His love and purpose. The church I attended taught me much about mission work and my heart was drawn to helping others know Him.

After college, I was asked to go to the Philippines as a short-term missionary which stretched to 3 yrs. I fell in love with the people and my eyes were opened to how many people around the world live in poverty. I knew God was calling me to continue on this journey. After graduate school and 4 years in Japan I ended up back in the Philippines as a 39 yr old. I struggled as a single missionary but God had special plans for me. And that’s what the book is about.

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Nancy and her husband.

 

Tell us a bit about your novel.

Raina made a mess of her life. Now guilt and grief follow her everywhere. While picking up the pieces of her life God calls her to take His love and truth to others—in a distant land. Can she cope with a new culture, language, home and friends? Or will her insecurities drag her deeper into loneliness.

As a caterpillar goes through the metamorphosis from worm to delicate butterfly so is the journey from a shameful past to living in the freedom God intended. It can be a tortuous process . . . but for Raina, it’s worth it!

Laugh, cry and rejoice with Raina as God’s healing love gives her courage to do more than she ever dreamed possible.

This fictionalized story is based on real life events

 

What prompted you to write Butterfly Impact?

I wanted to give God the glory for the wonderful things He did in my life. I also want people to see how God can take a shy, ordinary girl with weaknesses and failures and use her for His purposes. This is my story, a fictionalized version.

What do you hope readers take away from your story?

When we fall we should not lose hope. Difficulties are God’s opportunity for growth and unexpected outcomes. Don’t be afraid to take risks if God is leading you.

 

Do you have other books or WIP you’d like to mention?

My husband and I are involved in an Oral Bible Story ministry with Cru International (formerly Campus Crusade for Christ) called Story Runners and we bring Bible stories to people of different cultures in Southeast Asia and train nationals to reach out to unreached people groups through this oral culture method. I also have a huge passion for those oppressed through human trafficking and all its ugliness. So I’ve combined the two and compiled stories from the Bible and modern-day stories into a Bible study booklet called Life Hope.

Give my reader’s one piece of writing advice you’ve found invaluable.

Don’t lose the magic of writing by worrying about all the technical do’s and don’ts.

More about Nancy Kelley Alvarez:

Nancy Kelley Alvarez refuses to let her introverted personality keep her from sharing with others God’s stories of love and truth. Starting in college she stepped out in faith to go where God called her and she hasn’t stopped yet.

She serves with Cru International in a ministry called Story Runners, telling God’s amazing stories and training others to share them with those who would otherwise have no access to His Word. Her passion for women, especially those touched by human trafficking, drives her to find creative ways to reach out. She and her husband Al, live in Quezon City, Philippines with their sweet little dog Bingo. Look for the next book in this series, coming soon.

 

I’ve so enjoyed getting to know you. How can my readers find you?

Facebook: Nancy Kelley Alvarez

Email: pnalvarez@yahoo.com

If you’d like to order Butterfly Impact click on the link below.

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https://www.amazon.com/Butterfly-Impact-Unexpected-Courage-Transformation-ebook/

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