Denise Weimer shares the funny thing about her newest release Bent Tree Bride

Denise Weimer is a wonderful editor and I dearly love her novels, both contemporary and historical romances. I’m  happy  she’s agreed to return as my guest. My specific question for Denise was what surprised her most during her process of writing Bent Tree Bride? Here is her answer.

If I had to pick only one thing that surprised me in writing Bent Tree Bride, I’d mention the rather shocking fact that this novel was researched and written in about six weeks. Before you rule it out as inferior historical fiction, hear me out!

This project came at a time right after I’d really immersed myself in my editing training and my new job as a managing editor with Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas. So first of all, my mind was working in efficient editor mode. I found myself cutting the fluff as I went, writing much tighter, and focusing on the romance and action. Because I was working in my favorite trope, Southern American frontier romance, the story fairly poured out.

The time frame did not mean I skimped on research either. I compiled a 45-page timeline crammed with historical events and topics, maps, and paintings. I watched knife-fighting and tomahawk-throwing videos. I even attended a living history at the site of the battle, Horseshoe Bend, which culminated the Red Stick War (part of the War of 1812 in present-day Alabama).

I’m not sure I’ll ever again match the pace I set when churning out Bent Tree Bride, but that’s okay. It’s a labor of love, and I believe it’s my best writing yet. Will you give it a try?

BACK COVER COPY FOR BENT TREE BRIDE:

Susanna Moore can’t get him out of her mind—the learned lieutenant who delivered the commission from Andrew Jackson making her father colonel of the Cherokee Regiment. But the next time she sees Lieutenant Sam Hicks, he’s leading a string of prisoners into a frontier fort, and he’s wearing the garb of a Cherokee scout rather than the suit of a white gentleman.

As both Susanna’s father and Sam’s commanding officer, Colonel Moore couldn’t have made his directive to stay away from his daughter clearer to Sam. He wants a better match for Susanna—like the stuffy doctor who escorted her to Creek Territory. Then a suspected spy forces Moore to rely on Sam for military intelligence and Susanna’s protection, making it impossible for either to guard their heart.

BIO:

Denise Weimer writes historical and contemporary romance and romantic suspense, mostly set in her home state of Georgia. She’s authored a dozen traditionally published novels and a number of novellas. As a managing editor for Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas, she also helps others reach their publishing dreams. A wife and mother of two daughters, Denise always pauses for coffee, chocolate, and old houses.

Grab a copy of The Witness Tree while it is on sale.

The Witness Tree, on sale April 5-12 for 99 cents in e-book: https://www.amazon.com/Witness-Tree-Denise-Weimer/dp/1645260623/

*The hero of Bent Tree Bride is a boy in the mission school for the children of Cherokee chiefs in The Witness Tree.*

(Cindy here) I’m excited to read my copy of Bent Tree Bride, I loved The Witness Tree and recommend if you haven’t read it first, do so. But Bent Tree Bride can be read as a stand-alone.

Dakota Peace author Megan Kinney shares her story

Today I welcome Megan Kinney. I received a preview copy of her debut novel Dakota Peace. it’s moving and wonderful. We’re going to learn about her journey and how she came up with the idea for Dakota Peace.

I’ve always loved to write, but I started writing fiction when I was pregnant with my first child over sixteen years ago. I was naïve enough to think that just because I had a great idea and the love of writing I’d be able to write a great novel. After my first rejection, I signed up for a correspondence course on how to write fiction, then I went to my first writer’s conference.  There I learned gobs of information about the writing industry, met some amazing people, and got my second rejection, but with it constructive criticism. Five years after writing my first novel, I completed my second and sent it to a publishing company for rejection number three. Four years ago, after a tragedy in my hometown, I decided to write in order to find closure. Two years later I went to another writer’s conference, and this time an editor liked my pitch, starting the two year process from rough edits to published manuscript.

I was inspired to write Dakota Peace after two police officers were killed in my hometown.  At the funerals, the same dispatcher who took the initial call when the officers lost their lives called the officers’ number over the first responders’ radios several times. Then in a ten-code she tells them their free to go home, to rest in peace, and that the other officers would take it from here. This tugged at my heart as I imagined the pain and courage of this dispatcher. In the following months, the story of a dispatcher struggling with burnout emerged.

Much of this story is from my own experience as a law enforcement wife and a foster parent as the main characters are searching for a kidnapped foster child. I ask lots of questions to experts I know whether they are dispatchers, police officers, nurses, or social workers. I had the unique opportunity to take a citizen’s dispatch course for four hours one night. That gave me firsthand knowledge of what a dispatcher does during a shift. Then lots of research is done looking things up online.

My favorite verse is Zephaniah 3:17. “The Lord your God is mighty to save. He will take great delight in you. He will quiet you with His love. He will rejoice over you with singing.” God delights over me whether the words are flowing or I’m struggling with edits or I’m just having a rough day. This verse says nothing about what I’ve done to earn His love because He loves me first.

If I could go back and give my younger self advice I’d tell myself to take every opportunity to learn about the craft of writing, start networking with other writers sooner and build a platform as soon as possible.

My favorite place to write would be either in my bedroom where I can look out over the neighborhood or at the lake, depending on what I’m working on and how much I need to concentrate.  Although I write modern-day women’s fiction, I love to read historical fiction. I love stepping into another time period through the pages of a well-written book.

Back Cover for Dakota Peace:

She went looking for peace, but trouble found her.

After a traumatic call, emergency dispatcher Natalia Brynner flees the city, desperate for some distance from her stressful life. Her peace is short lived when a flat tire strands her on the other side of South Dakota with nothing but her high heels and a speeding ticket. State Trooper Travis Wilkins offers to keep her company while she waits for a new tire, but the quick fix turns into an overnight stay which turns into an extended stay. She soon finds herself in the middle of a foster child’s kidnapping case helping the handsome law man. His presence doesn’t quite settle her anxious heart. With the support of her new friends and her blossoming relationship, Natalia starts to believe she could finally experience a peaceful life … until an armed madman threatens it all.

Facebook launch party is live today. 6-8 MST (& CST and 8EST) Here’s the link:

https://www.facebook.com/events/618959645602534/

 

More about Megan Kinney:

A foster mom and police wife, Megan Kinney combines her experiences and love of writing in her debut novel. When she’s not behind a book or computer, she’s enjoying the Black Hills of South Dakota with her husband and four daughters.

Social media links:

megankinney.net

m.facebook.com/megankinney.net/

instagram.com/megan_kinney_author/

Buy links:

shoplpc.com/dakota-peace/

amazon.com/Dakota-Peace-Megan-Kinney/dp/1645262553

Also, Megan is offering a free e-copy of Dakota Peace to one lucky commenter. This is your chance to ask her about South Dakota, who resembles her police hero and dispatcher heroine. Or just to ask to be put in the drawing. The winner will be drawn on Friday.

 

Researching to Write a Contemporary vs a Historical Romance

Today, Denise Weimer returns to share some helpful insight into research. She writes in both historical and contemporary romance which means taking a different track to gather background nformation for each genre. Take it away Denise.

 

Hi, readers! I’m delighted to be visiting on Cindy’s blog, sharing about my TWO novels that release this month through Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas, one a contemporary with Candlelight Romance imprint, and one a historical with Smitten Historical Romance imprint.

 

Fall Flip, Candlelight contemporary romance, set in the river town of Augusta, GA

The tragic death of Shelby Dodson’s husband—her partner in a successful Home Network house flipping business—stole love, status, and career. Now a bungalow redesign thrusts Shelby into the company of a new contractor. Scott Matthews remembers high-and-mighty Shelby from high school, and her prissy, contemporary style goes against his down-to-earth grain. When the house reveals a mystery, will its dark secrets—and their own mistakes—cost a second chance at love? https://www.amazon.com/dp/1645261883/

The Witness Tree, Smitten historical romance, set in Salem, NC, and Cherokee Indian Territory (now NW GA)

Past betrayal has turned John Kliest’s passion to his work as a builder and surveyor in the Moravian town of Salem, North Carolina. Now, to satisfy the elders’ edict and fulfill his mission in Cherokee Territory, he needs a bride. But the one woman qualified to record the Cherokee language longs for a future with his younger brother.

Clarissa Vogler’s dream of a life with Daniel Kliest is shattered when she is chosen by lot to marry his older brother and venture into the uncharted frontier. Can she learn to love this stoic man who is now her husband? Her survival hinges on being able to trust him—but they both harbor secrets. (https://www.amazon.com/Witness-Tree-gain-break-heart/dp/1645260623/)

 

As you can imagine, researching for these stories looked very different.

 

For a contemporary romance:

  • My research emphasis falls heavily on the careers of the characters or things that happen during the course of the story, like home renovation. Sometimes I interview experts or visit job sites.
  • A trip to the setting proves imperative. Where do the locals eat? What smells and sounds predominate? How do the people talk? And what do the neighborhoods look like? When researching for Fall Flip, I’d picked out online a specific historical neighborhood to be the upscale spot where the parents live, only to discover in person that the neighborhood had fallen into disrepair.

 

For a historical romance:

  • I tend to start with the real history, poring over web sites, books, and microfilm, funneling pertinent facts into a timeline. From what really happened in history, I salvage bits and pieces into my fictional plot. I need to know what’s realistic before I can begin to picture the story.
  • I add to that timeline maps that help me figure distances, terrain, and travel time.
  • And I add portraits and drawings of real historical figures, fashion plates, and buildings. And yes, sometimes the handsome actor who helps me picture my hero just right.
  • A visit to the location can be extremely helpful, though it’s important to remember that time may have significantly changed the landscape. Even with a building, like Chief James Vann’s house in The Witness Tree, the elaborate interior trim-work was only added after my story by the chief’s son. You can’t assume anything. The other people in my tour group were probably rolling their eyes behind my back at my many questions by the time we reached the detached kitchen. LOL!
  • I’ve also been known to attend or participate in the select living history event. Great for sparking sensory detail.

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. A wife and mother of two daughters, she always pauses for coffee, chocolate, and old houses! Connect with Denise here:

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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:

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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.

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/

 

Southern Fiction Writer Jennifer Hallmark Shares Jessie’s Hope

I’m excited to welcome Jennifer Hallmark to Jubilee Writer today. She’s going to taught about her new release Jessie’s Hope and tell us a bit about herself and her writing journey.

 I’m a Yankee through and through and until I was published I had no idea Southern Fiction was a genre. Tell us what is Southern Fiction?

Jennifer: True Southern fiction has to be lived. You need to feel the humidity, spend a summer working in a vegetable garden, and fish in a pond surrounded by cattle. Southern fiction is about family, not just one generation but how past ancestors shape each and every character.

My publisher, Firefly Southern fiction says on their website: “Southern fiction is about story, driven by characters who are distinctly southern and/or characters who move to southern settings (which are also characters). Southern characters fall into several categories and should not be stereotyped.”

That’s such a fun definition. I’ve read some of Fireflies offering and I enjoyed the quirky characters and the southern charm.

What is your latest published project?

Jennifer: Jessie’s Hope is a Southern fiction novel about a young woman who has overcome great odds in her life and is engaged to be married. She’s decided to try and find her absentee father first. Her Papaw, Homer, who helped raise her only wants to provide for his family. But he finds giving his beloved granddaughter a wonderful wedding with a specially designed dress is harder than he ever thought possible.

I’m excited to see a book with a handicapped heroine.

What inspired you to write your book?

Jennifer: Jessie’s Hope started with three writing prompts during a writer’s club meeting: a wedding dress designer, faded coveralls, and a dusty baseball cap. But my inspiration really came from my parents. I never remember my dad walking. He’s been in a wheelchair since I was a young child with a spinal disease he contracted in his early thirties. Witnessing my dad remain hopeful and encouraging throughout the rest of his life and my mom sacrifice much to take care of my Dad, brother, and me had a great impact. I melded these experiences with my life lived mostly in rural Alabama.

True life experience always add so much to our fiction stories. On that note you must have a have a favorite verse that resonates with you.

Jennifer: Romans 15:13 is the verse that best goes with my novel, Jessie’s Hope. “Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that you may abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.” (NKJV) Not only is God a God of hope but He urges us to believe and abound in hope. I’m not quite there but I long for that abounding hope inside of me.

Love that verse. Thanks for sharing. I think we all strive to experience that abounding hope.

Because writers are encouraged to read I’m always curious to know what authors read. What is your favorite genre to read for fun?

Jennifer: Beside Southern fiction, I love classic mysteries. I never figure them out, but I enjoy following the clues and wondering whodunnit. All my stories have a thread of mystery in them. In Jessie’s Hope, the reader needs to discover the mystery of the green shed.

A love a bit of mystery with a bit of romance.

Authors always have a favorite place to write. Sometimes it’s more than one location. Where is your favorite place to write?

Jennifer: I do a lot of writing in my study on a desktop computer. I also write on my laptop at times, in the living room or the local coffee shop. Occasionally, I use a gel pen, especially when I’m waiting at the doctor’s office or when inspirations strikes and I’m not at home. I always carry a small notebook 😊

Here’s the blurb about Jessie’s Hope

Can a sliver of hope lead to everlasting love?

Years ago, an accident robbed Jessie Smith’s mobility. It also stole her mother and alienated her from her father. When Jessie’s high school sweetheart Matt Jansen proposes, her parents’ absence intensifies her worry that she cannot hold on to those she loves.

With a wedding fast approaching, Jessie’s grandfather Homer has a goal to find the perfect dress for “his Jessie,” one that would allow her to forget, even if for a moment, the boundaries of her wheelchair. But financial setbacks and unexpected sabotage hinder his plans.

Determined to heal from her past, Jessie initiates a search for her father. Can a sliver of hope lead to everlasting love when additional obstacles—including a spurned woman and unpredictable weather—highjack Jessie’s dream wedding?

Order Links for Jessie’s Hope

Goodreads

Amazon

Barnes and Noble

 

More about my guest:

Jennifer Hallmark writes Southern fiction and her website, Alabama-Inspired Fiction, and the group blog, Inspired Prompt, she co-founded, focus on her books, love of the South, and helping writers. She’s published 200+ internet articles and interviews, short stories in several magazines, and has co-authored three book compilations.

Her agent is Cyle Young of the Hartline Literary Agency. Jennifer sends out a monthly newsletter, which you can subscribe to here. You can visit her on Facebook, Facebook author pageTwitter, and Pinterest.

Jennifer and her husband, Danny, have spent their married life in Alabama and have a basset hound, Max. When she isn’t babysitting her grandchildren or gardening, you can find her at her desk writing fiction or working on one of her two blogs.  She also loves reading detective fiction from the Golden Age and viewing movies like LOTR or Star Wars. Sometimes you can even catch her watching American Ninja Warrior.

Lots of places to connect with Jennifer.

www.jenniferhallmark.com

www.inspiredprompt.com 

Jennifer Hallmark, Facebook

Twitter

Pinterest

Instagram

More wonderful interviews to come along with some writerly insist you might enjoy. Subscribe to this blog to receive them in your email or RSS feed as they become avaiable.

A Peek into the Writing life of Author Susan G. Mathis

Susan G. Mathis is my guest today. Her journey from journalist writing to historical fiction is an encouragement to all writers that there is a season for everything. And she has had many seasons. Welcome Susan, let’s get started with one of my favorite question.

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

I can’t remember not writing. I’ve taught Language Arts for nine years to 4-8 graders, had my own newspaper column, wrote missions curriculum, and have written just about anything God put in my path.

Before I jumped into the fiction world, I served as the Founding Editor of Thriving Family magazine and the former Editor/Editorial Director of 12 Focus on the Family publications. My first two published books were nonfiction, co-authored with my husband, Dale. I also authored two picture books and am published in various book compilations including five Chicken Soup for the Soul books, Ready to Wed, Supporting Families Through Meaningful Ministry, The Christian Leadership Experience, and Spiritual Mentoring of Teens. 

I swore I’d never write fiction, but never say never! My hubby and I went to a book talk/signing, and after we left, I jokingly said, “I could write a story about a quilt!” I then proceeded to tell him the entire story, and he said, “Well, write it!” Thus, began my journey of writing historical fiction. I currently have two published historicals, The Fabric of Hope: An Irish Family Legacy and Christmas Charity.

I love hearing the diversity of your writing journey. What is your latest published project?

Katelyn’s Choice is the first in the Thousand Islands Gilded Age series releases March 15, 2019 with Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas.

Katelyn's Choice by Susan G Mathis cover

Katelyn Kavanagh’s mother dreamed her daughter would one day escape the oppressive environment of their Upstate New York farm for service in the enchanting Thousand Islands, home to Gilded Age millionaires. But when her wish comes true, Katelyn finds herself in the service of none other than the famous George Pullman, and the transition proves anything but easy.

Thomas O’Neill, brother of her best friend, is all grown up and also working on Pullman Island. Despite Thomas’ efforts to help the irresistible Katelyn adjust to the intricacies of her new world, she just can’t seem to tame her gossiping tongue—even when the information she’s privy to could endanger her job, the 1872 re-election of Pullman guest President Ulysses S. Grant, and the love of the man of her dreams.

Sounds very interesting. I love the idea of adding actual historical characters to your work.

How do you research for your book?

A few years ago, my husband and I visited Wolfe Island, Pullman Island, and Singer Castle on Dark Island. We met some wonderful people who kept the intriguing Thousand Island history deep in their hearts, and I gleaned all kinds of valuable information and made special friends in the process. My historical editor is the president of the Thousand Islands Historical Association and a Thousand Islands author herself. Seeing and experiencing the area as I wrote made my writing come to life, and my historical editor keeps the history accurate.

I love hearing you have a fact checker for you historical details. This is so important for any writer. Even contemporary genres need those go to people to be sure the descriptions are accuate.

What inspired you to write your book?

I grew up in the Thousand Islands and there are so many wonderful stories to tell. The Thousand Islands Gilded Age is full of wonderful islands and characters like George Pullman, Frederick Bourne, and hundred of famous people like J.P. Morgan, Vanderbilt and others. So, I aim to tell at least some of them.

Sounds so interesting. I’ve read about some of these historical celebrities so it will be interesting to visit them in the pages of your books.

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.”

Quite an inspirational verse for writers. Thanks for sharing.

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

My husband, Dale, is so supportive, loving, and patient. He encourages me, puts up with me spending hours on the computer, and listens to all my crazy creative thoughts. He’s a saint!

Where is your favorite place to write?

I write at my kitchen table overlooking the beautiful Rocky Mountain Front Range. I usually have a scented candle and cup of tea keeping me company.

Sounds wonderful, I’m envious of your view.

Tell us about your next project.

Book two of the Thousand Islands Gilded Age series comes to life in Devyn’s Dilemma. It’ll release in April 2020. Here’s the summary of the story: Twenty-year-old Devyn McKenna is nervous about working on Dark Island in the imposing Castle called the Towers, a 28-room structure complete with dungeons, underground passageways, and castle secrets. Devyn struggles to find the self-confidence she needs to carry out her duties as a housemaid in the summer home of the wealthy president of the Singer Sewing Machine Company, Frederick Bourne. As she serves the likes of Brig. Gen. Cornelius Vanderbuilt III and others, her curiosity for learning grows. But when she is accused of stealing his plans for expanding the NYC subway and learns her brother ‘borrowed’ the plans and the man she loves believes she was the culprit, her faith is tested like never before.

Wow! I’m definitely interested. Thanks for sharing a bit of yourself and your books with my readers. And readers grab a copy of Katelyn’s Choice and if you have a moment post a review for Susan.

Susan’s bio:

Susan G Mathis is a multi-published author of stories set in the beautiful Thousand Islands, her childhood stomping ground in Upstate New York. Katelyn’s Choice, The Fabric of Hope: An Irish Family Legacy, and Christmas Charity will transport you to a time and place few have visited. Susan makes her home in Colorado Springs, enjoys traveling globally with her husband, Dale, and relishes time with her four adorable granddaughters. Find out more at www.SusanGMathis.com.

Buying links:

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Katelyns-Choice-Susan-G-Mathis/dp/1946016721/ref=tmm_pap_title_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=1548078303&sr=1-1

 Barnes & Nobles: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/books/1130536525?ean=9781946016720

Lighthouse Publishing: https://www.shoplpc.com/product/katelyns-choice

 

Connect with Susan at:

 

Website: www.SusanGMathis.com

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

Twitter: https://twitter.com/@SusanGMathis

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

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

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6044608.Susan_G_Mathis

Google+: https://plus.google.com/u/0/108568340293012416399

 

 

 

 

Katelyn's Choice by Susan G Mathis cover

 

Sand Creek Serenade author Jennifer Uhlarik shares her writing journey

I had the pleasure of meeting today’s blog guest, in person, last week at the Florida Christian Writer’s Conference. She’s one of my online critique partners. It was such a delight to spend time with her and hug her neck. Welcome, Jennifer. Could you tell my readers a little about your writing journey?juhlarik-HR-3(1)

How far back do you want me to go? LOL I truly believe that I had the writing bug from the time I was a toddler on. There are pictures of me, still in diapers, scribbling on a pad of paper with the most thoughtful look on my face. By the age of twelve, I really realized I wanted to write when “playing pretend” with my friends was no longer cool. I loved to make up stories and act them out, and once I realized I could make up those stories and write them down instead, then the writing bug really hit me. I wrote all through high school, majored in writing in college, but then my writing life hiccupped when I jumped into adulthood. I married, worked various jobs, had a child…and generally lost track of my writing for a while. It was when my first husband and I separated/divorced, and I became a single mom that I threw myself into my writing again to escape the stress at the end of each day. I published a few things during a 5-year span between 1999-2004, but due to circumstances from my lack of money to promote my work to the publishers folding, none of my projects met with any success.

That pattern of work-by-day/write-by-night went on until I took a job teaching school for several years starting in 2006. That was another one of those hiccups in my writing life. I was far too exhausted to write during those three years, but God had made it abundantly clear to me that, for that season, I was to be a teacher. When the teaching season ended, a lot had changed for me. I’d married my real-life hero Dave in 2007, and our financial situation was such that we no longer needed my income to stay afloat. So, my sweetheart gave me the opportunity to stay home and chase my dream. Starting in 2009, I wrote a novel (still unpublished), found an agent, and plotted out and began writing other projects. During this time, I attended writing conferences and entered writing contests. In 2013, I had the great pleasure of winning my category in five contests! My agent was shopping my completed western novel. Surely I was on my way! And I was…but the journey looked far different than I thought it would.

In late 2013 or early 2014, a call for submissions came across my path for a few different novella collections with Barbour Publishing, so I put in a couple of ideas. To my great surprise, both proposals were accepted—one just a few days before my birthday in June 2014, and the second a month later. Both collections came out in 2015. I still hadn’t gotten any serious interest on my novel. So, I whipped out my first two novellas and went back to work on other (novel-length) projects. Since my first two novella contracts came in, I’ve had at least one novella contract per year, and in between times, I’ve worked on a bunch of other projects. There have been a lot of rejections of those longer projects, but I’ve been bolstered by the smaller successes with the Barbour novella collections. And finally, in March of 2018, I received a contract for my first full-length project! It took nearly a decade from the time I was able to come home and write full time to finally see a novel with my name on the cover out in print. It wasn’t an easy road, nor was it a fast road—but it was all worth it!

All those projects made you the stellar writer you are today.

Tell us about your latest published project.

Today is the official release day for Sand Creek Serenade—my first full-length novel. It is a historical romance set in 1864 Colorado Territory. My heroine, Sadie Hoppner, is a female doctor who practices medicine at Fort Lyon. The hero, Five Kills, is a half-Cheyenne brave who, along with the Cheyenne and Arapaho tribes, has camped beside the fort while awaiting word of a peace treaty promised to them by the Army and Colorado Governor. But not everything is as it appears, and Sadie and Five Kills’ new friendship and burgeoning love is put to the test when the ultimate act of betrayal is committed against the Native tribes.

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What kind of research was needed for Sand Creek Serenade?

This particular story required a lot of research in several different areas. The most obvious is to know the history of the Sand Creek Massacre—the historic events before, during and immediately after the tragedy. I found a couple of great resources that dealt specifically with that—particularly two books. Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee by Dee Brown, and Ned Wynkoop and the Lonely Road from Sand Creek by Louis Kraft. Both were hugely helpful in learning the ins and outs of this historical event.

The second area I needed to research was life among the Cheyenne. What they ate, how they dressed. Details of their camps, their tents, and so forth. Again, I found some wonderful resource books. The main one I used was The Mystic Warriors of the Plains by Thomas E. Mails. This book was invaluable for knowing the fine details of Cheyenne and Arapaho culture.

And the third area where I had to do a lot of research was in the medical details that Sadie might have used. I have any number of great books on my bookshelves on Civil War era medicine, but so much of what I needed to know for this story was when a particular procedure came into practice. For that, I used the internet, learning of the origins of the procedures. Then, when it came to depicting my woman doctor doing a particular procedure, I watched YouTube videos to get a feel for how things would be done. (Thank goodness I’m not the squeamish sort!) LOL

Seeing it all written out like this, it sounds like a LOT of work, but the truth is, I loved delving into these areas as I was writing!

I had no idea there were Youtube videos of medical procedures. Ewwww.

On to something less squeamish, I hope. What inspired you to write your book?

I was supposed to be plotting a novella for a collection with the theme of “women doing male-dominated jobs.” Thus, my heroine was a doctor at a time in history when very few women practiced medicine in any formal setting. But I needed some kind of an event that would allow her a big platform to use her medical skills. It was late one evening when I stumbled on a brief mention of the Sand Creek Massacre and thought it would make the perfect setting. Immediately, the hero, Five Kills, began to take shape in my mind. But in the days after that, I dug further into the research of the Sand Creek Massacre and realized just how much history there was to cover. It was not the topic for a novella! And I wondered if it was even a good topic for a novel. But the story called to me, and after praying through the idea, I knew it must be written. So—Sand Creek Serenade was born.

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

As I said above, I think I was called to write from the womb! LOL I have always loved stories and books, and I’ve long been fascinated with paper pads and writing utensils. I have memories of sneaking out of my bed late at night when I was four or five years old and “writing books” about earthworms and other creatures. (The “books” were not so much stories and pictures with some scribbly lines underneath—but I was young and hadn’t learned to write yet!). But it was that 7th grade year when the writing bug really grabbed hold of me. I had a friend named Holly who I’d often spend time with after school. We’d spend the night at each other’s homes, and we were always together at school. During one overnight stay at Holly’s house, she showed me a spiral notebook and announced that she was writing a book. My competitive streak came out then, and I thought to myself that if she could write one, so could I! And so, I began writing down those wonderful imagined worlds and characters. When I showed my English teacher what I was working on sometime later, I got such praise and encouragement to keep going! Thankfully, that encouragement egged me to keep on in my pursuit, and by the time I reached high school, I’d been so bitten by the writing bug that I couldn’t wait to share my words and stories with people.

Jennifer, do you have a favorite verse that resonates with you?

Luke 1:45—Blessed is she who has believed that what the Lord has said to her will be accomplished.

This verse, originally spoken by the angel to Mary when he told her she would bear the Son of God, always speaks so strongly to me about keeping faith in the things God says. There have been times that God has promised me things—but then the promise tarries, and my faith begins to wane some. That’s when I go back to Luke 1:45 and refresh my faith. God never goes back on a promise. It’s my job to hold fast to faith and wait it out.

What an inspirational thought for all writers. Thanks, Jen.

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

I think I would tell myself just to be prepared for the wait. The writing industry moves about as fast as a hibernating snail—or it seems so when you’re waiting to hear their answers on a submission. LOL If I could, I’d tell my younger self not to expect anything to happen quickly, but to keep the faith that I would eventually realize my dream of seeing stories I’d written get published. Don’t let the hiccups in my writing life worry me but put on a smile and know that writing is my true calling, and I’ll always return to it, even if a particular season takes me away from it. These are the mindsets a career as a writer requires, and I wish I’d understood that aspect earlier, so I could’ve handled it with more grace at times.

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

Oh, goodness. There are many! But to name the closest ones—my wonderful husband, Dave, who gave me the best opportunity to be a full-time writer and to chase my dream. A friend, Shannon, who I’ve known since my son was just a toddler, and who reads almost everything I write, usually when I’m bleary-eyed from a late-night writing session and mired in self-doubt. She is always full of great encouragement and fantastic constructive criticism. And my critique group, a set of gals who have read at least some of every published story I’ve put out so far (and a bunch of unpublished ones too) and helped me hone and shape the stories into something other people would want to read! I couldn’t do what I do without these handfuls of people. I love them all!

I’d like to ask, what is your favorite genre to read for fun?

Give me a Louis L’Amour western, and I’m a happy girl!

I am not surprised. LOL

Where is your favorite place to write?

One of the things my husband did to bless me when I finally got to come home and write was to help me turn one of our bedrooms into my personal writing space. I’ve got a small desk and office chair for my writing stints, two large bookcases with my myriad of research books close at hand, and a futon for when I want to get more comfortable for reading, researching, or even editing.

I am so jealous. Sounds wonderful. Thank you for joining me today. I am so excited about your novel and it’s next up on my to-read list. Readers grab a copy of her newest release Sand Creek Serenade the link is below the bio of my awesome friend.

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 and lifetime member of the Florida Writers Association. She lives near Tampa, Florida, with her husband, college-aged son, and four fur children.

Social Media Links

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

Twitter: https://twitter.com/JenniferUhlarik

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

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

Website: www.jenniferuhlarik.com

Buy Link:

https://www.amazon.com/dp/1946016853/ref=nav_timeline_asin?_encoding=UTF8&psc=1

If yoou have any questions for Jennifer post them in the comments.