A Visit with Author Lindsey P. Brackett

BrackettLWEB(1)Today I welcome Lindsey Brackett to talk about her debut novel Still Waters. The setting is the same as a favorite mystery writer of mine. So, I had to have her as a guest. Love the story. Made me want to visit Edisto Beach. Welcome Lindsey. Tell us about your novel.

My debut is Still Waters, a Lowcountry story about the power of family and forgiveness. The novel released in September with LPC Books and is enjoying great reviews—including 4 Stars from the Romantic Times! It’s the story of Cora Anne Halloway who has just graduated from college. Cora Anne had a plan that didn’t involve her grandmother’s ramshackle beach cottage or Tennessee Watson, the local builder dedicated to the preservation of Edisto Island—and her heart. But as tends to happen, life has sent her back to the one place she doesn’t want to be, even though it’s the one place where she may find her peace

What inspired you to write your book?

This novel really started with a place—Edisto Beach, where my family spent most summers of my childhood. When I first decided maybe I could actually do this, write a book, all I knew was I wanted a story set on Edisto. From there I began to build characters and to discover what brings them back or makes them stay away. As I grew as a writer, and began to understand how little I knew about novel structure, the plot changed many times, but ultimately it has always been a story of homecoming, relying on the power of family that ties us to a place.

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There is a sprinkling of a faith message throughout Still Waters. Do you have a favorite verse that resonated with you as you began this project?

My prompt for Still Waters was 2 Corinthians 4:18. I just love that “focus on the unseen… for what is seen is temporary but what is unseen is eternal.” I really need to stick it on my laptop for all those times social media wears me down.

Love that verse. Now tell me who is your best support system to keep you focused on your writing?

My husband is my rock. He’s always encouraging about anything I’m doing. Specific to writing, I have a small group of friends who have banded together to push and uplift one another. I know I can send them chapters or scenes and they’ll read and offer me feedback. I also know they’ll answer if I call in tears on a random Tuesday because things just aren’t going my way.

Every writer is always told to read extensively in the genre they write in. What genre do you read for fun?

I LOVE to read. Southern literary fiction is my favorite and To Kill A Mockingbird is my favorite book. Right now I’m reading a lot of Joshilyn Jackson, Karen White, Charles Martin, Kristy Woodson Harvey, and Julie Cantrell. I’m a sucker for a good romance, too, and I like Susan May Warren, Rachel Hauck, or Pepper Basham for the best kissing scenes on paper.

Where is your favorite place to write?

On my back porch with a glass of sweet tea (or a cup of coffee right now). I also tend to get up before the rest of the house, and I tuck myself into an old wingback chair of my grandmother’s, put my feet on the ottoman and write before I do anything else. With four kids, my days can get hectic, so it’s a relief to know writing happens when I’m at my freshest—and most open.

 

Share with us the quirkiest thing you’ve done to promote your book?
This year I’ve been tapped (pun totally intended) to participate in my local community’s biggest fundraiser: Dancing with the Stars for Hope which benefits our domestic violence shelter and the Rotary Club. This event pairs well-known community figures with “professionals” and we have a dance competition. People vote for their favorite teams (only $1 a vote) and there are lots of opportunities to win great raffle prizes. I’m paired with my friend, Jeremy, the high school theater director. We’re both theater nerds, so we’ve done several shows together and while we haven’t made a concrete decision about our routine yet, no doubt it will be epically theatrical. Right now, through November 30, our fundraising promotion is a donation of the proceeds from my book sales. So, there’s no better time to buy, support a local author and a great cause! Voting and prizes are not limited to North Georgia—anyone can go online and support us or enter to win raffles over on my Facebook page, Lindsey P. Brackett.

Want to help support our team_For every copy of Lindsey's book sold November 15-November 30, a portion will be donated to our team's fundraising efforts forDancing with the Stars.(1)

I love it and know you’ve given my readers a new way to look at marketing.

What a great way to discover a new author and support a worthy cause. Purchase Still Waters and do both.

Thank you so much for stopping by, Lindsey. You are an inspiration.

Dancing with the Stars Link: http://www.dancingwiththestarsforhope.com/vote-for-teams.html

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

Bio:

Award-winning writer Lindsey P. Brackett once taught middle grades literature, but now she writes her own works in the midst of motherhood. A blogger since 2010, she has published articles and short stories in a variety of print and online publications. In both 2015 and 2017, she placed in the top ten for Southern Writers Magazine Best Short Fiction. Previously, Lindsey served as Editor of Web Content for the Splickety Publishing Group, and currently she is a general editor with Firefly Southern Fiction, an imprint of LPC Books. In addition, she writes a popular column for several North Georgia newspapers.

Still Waters, influenced by her family ties to the South Carolina Lowcountry, is her debut novel. A story about the power of family and forgiveness, it’s been called “a brilliant debut” with “exquisite writing.” A Georgia native, Lindsey makes her home—full of wet towels, lost library books, and strong coffee—at the foothills of Appalachia with her patient husband and their four rowdy children.

Connect with her at www.lindseypbrackett.com, where she Just Writes Life, on Facebook as Lindsey P. Brackett, on Instagram @lindseypbrackett, or on Twitter @lindsbrac.

 

 

 

 

 

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Blood for Blood’s Creator-An Interview with Ben Wolf

Ben Wolf  is his own hero and villian.

Ben Wolf is his own hero and villian.

Today I welcome Ben Wolf, owner and founder of Splickety Publishing Group, to my blog. I met Ben Wolf at a writer’s conference a few years ago and have watched his career grow from there. After reading his debut novel Blood for Blood I wanted to invite him to take a seat in my very cluttered office to share a little about how he decided on his theme. For those of you who have not read my book review let me give you the one second recap: A vampire gets saved. Kind of weird yet intriguing at the same time. Hey, that kind of describes you, Ben. Let me clear off that chair over there and we can get started.

Tell my readers a little bit about yourself. The normal along with the weird.

Hi, Cindy. I’m both the hero and the villain in my own story, which makes for some interesting sword-fighting duels in my sleep. As you said, I’m the founder/owner/Executive Editor of Splickety Publishing Group, your source for the best flash fiction in the world. When I’m not working on Splickety stuff, people pay me small fortunes (emphasis on small) to freelance edit their writing, whether it’s nonfiction, fiction, or just about anything else.

I’m also the author of Blood for Blood, as you said in your delightful introduction. And yes, a vampire does get saved. The story focuses on what happens to him after that experience, specifically on how he tries to stop becoming a vampire and how other Christians treat him.

It’s obvious to anyone who meets you and follows you on Facebook that you write and love speculative fiction. How does this genre fit in the Christian market?

For readers who don’t know what spec fiction is, it’s anything weird: super heroes, vampires, aliens, fantasy, sci-fi, Steampunk, paranormal, supernatural and much, much more. As to its place in the Christian market…most of us are still trying to figure out exactly what that is. Right now the Christian market is dominated by romance and other inspirational genres (including historical). Suspense/thriller/crime/mystery stories are also up there, probably ahead of speculative fiction.

But that’s rapidly changing. Very, very rapidly. We’re poised to take over, and it’s going to be amazing. Within the next 10 years, I anticipate that you’ll see more and more Christian spec fiction (or just spec fic in general) on your bookshelves, and more on Amazon.com and other online retailers as well. The younger generation doesn’t go in for romance stories like previous generations have—they grew up with spec fic in pop culture, so that’s what they love. That’s what they write, that’s what they read, and that’s what they’ll be buying.

Blood for Blood Cover

Blood for Blood centers around a vampire. Why vampires?

Vampires, in their traditional form as set down primarily by Bram Stoker in Dracula, are diametrically opposed to everything that Christianity stands for. My friend Matt Sheehy, also an author, suggested to me that a vampire getting saved would be hilarious because of all the various vampire taboos he’d have to face as a result. I did a 10-part blog series on the particulars of what my main character Raven endures after he becomes a Christian and why vampires are vexed by Christian principles.

Beyond that, I wanted to explore the question of whether or not a vampire even could be saved. Traditionally, vampires don’t have souls. Therefore a vampire can’t be saved. However, we serve a God who is capable of doing the impossible. He raised Jesus, Lazarus, and others from the dead, and in Psalm 23 King David talks about God “restoring his soul,” so add a bit of fiction to it and hey, maybe this could actually work out.

An Italian evangelist was a surprise to me. Not your stereotypical minister. Talk a little bit about him and his goals.

Luco Zambini is the Italian evangelist in the story. He sort of takes Raven under his wing and tries to help him walk in his new faith. It’s unusual for an Italian in this time period to be non-Catholic, but not impossible, so Luco is an example of an exception. The fact that he’s Italian comes into play when Raven accidentally eats pasta sauce at Luco’s house that contains garlic.

Long story short, Luco’s intention is to prove to his congregation and his family that Raven is capable of genuine change because God is capable of inspiring that change. It’s his hope that Raven’s soul will be fully restored and that he’ll be able to walk in daylight again, just like normal humans do, and just like raven used to do when he was a human.

I found your theme compelling. This coming from a non-vampire reader. Psalms 23:5 is your focus scripture. The restoration of a soul is a wonderful thing. But taking it to the extreme of a soulless man was genius. Now that I’ve totally stroked your ego tell us what this verse means to you personally.

Thanks. My ego and I will sleep well tonight. For me, Psalm 23 (the entire chapter) was something my parents recited with me every night before bedtime when I was a kid. On some level, it must have stuck with me. The imagery of King David’s poetry is powerful and loaded with meaning beyond just the beautiful prose when you understand the context of some of the things he’s saying.

Suffice it to say that we all venture into that valley of the shadow of death at times, and we all need the Lord to guide us, me included. Psalm 23 is a great reminder of that.

This book is written with the new adult audience (young people in their 20s) in mind yet I haven’t seen that decade in a while and I enjoyed it. Pretend you’re speaking to a room full of people my age and share with us why we would find value in reading this story.

I’ve got two things to say to you on this matter: Blood for Blood may be geared for the “new adult” age range, but the principles of a good story are all there: a solid plot with believable characters, compelling conflict and tense interactions, and twists that you’ll never see coming. Tosca Lee, a New York Times bestselling author, said it best: “Action, humor, romance… Ben Wolf goes for the jugular and dares to ask: is anyone beyond the grace of God?”

As for reason number two, it is beneficial to know what folks of all ages are reading. If you’re not in that new adult range and you’re a YA reader, this book will still appeal to you. If you’re older than that new adult range, then you probably know some younger folks who would get a kick out of this book and other books like it. If you’re a parent or a grandparent to someone in the new adult or young adult range, then read this book to screen it for your loved ones, or just get it for them because it’s bound to be right up their alley.

It’s been great visiting with you and before you go can you share with my readers about Splickety’s magazines and how they can subscribe. Don’t forget to mention the anthology. And please feel free to promote yourself shamelessly.

Ben's Pic 2

Splickety always has some sort of deal going on, and right now so do I. Subscribing to Splickety’s magazines is as easy as visiting our website, clicking a few subscribe buttons, giving us your info, and then paying via PayPal. But there’s a better deal going on that isn’t currently on the website.

Right now, you can get a digital copy of my novel Blood for Blood AND a one-year digital subscription to Splickety’s magazines for $19.95 if you email me with the code B4B1995 at 1BenWolf@gmail.com. I’ll then provide instructions on where to mail the payment (or we can do PayPal) and we’ll make sure we get you signed up.

Normally the subscription alone costs $24.95, and Blood for Blood sells on Amazon for $4.99, so you’re saving about ten bucks with this deal. As Cindy said, our first-ever Splickety anthology is coming out soon as well, and that’ll be available for purchase soon after the new year rolls in.

If you’re looking for an editor, for consulting, or for a great public speaker, check out my website at www.benwolf.com, contact me, and we can talk about those things at your leisure.

I want to add how much I enjoy Splickety magazines. Great flash fiction coming to your email or mail box every month.  As Ben suggested check it out.

If you have any questions for Ben about his writing process, writerly things or vampires leave a comment.

To subscribe to my blog click the button on your right.

 

Interview With Author John Turney And Book Giveaway

Author John Turney

Author John Turney

 

 

I am welcoming to my blog today my friend and awesome author John Turney. I mentioned him in a previous blog as an author who followed writer’s guidelines before pitching a story idea. He got his book contracts at Write-To-Publish so he seemed like someone we should get to know. When he’s not wearing his writer’s superhero cape he works as a CAD Technician for a pharmaceutical company in Ohio. Simply put he is an engineer. He’s had several articles published in e-zines as well as several flash fiction in Splickety Magazine. He attends Liberty Heights Church with his wife. They have two grown sons. Before we get started with this interview John has offered to send a copy of his book to one lucky winner who comments on my blog.

Cindy Huff: John is a delight to have you with us today. I just recently finished reading Innocent Blood and was drawn into the epic story. I felt like a movie playing before my eyes. Now, briefly tell us about your book for those who have not read it.

John Turney: My first novel is Innocent Blood: Reckoning of Equinox and was published by OakTara in 2013. Based on the Celtic legends of Halloween, it’s the tale of a young man—a college student—who has his life mapped out. When events force him to look at his plans, he has to decide if he’s going to pursue his dreams or make the sacrifice to do what’s right.

CH: Tell me, why did you choose to use Halloween as the place in time? That day is not very popular within Christian circles.

JT: First, I love the Fall. Foliage comes alive in multiple colors. Football. Warm days blend into cool nights. Football. Wearing jean jackets. Did I mention football?

CH:Okay, okay we got that you love football. You’ve even added a football player as the enemy of your hero, not to mention a pivotal scene taking place on the grid iron. Sorry, I am just so excited about your novel. Continue please.

JT: Second, when the church avoids something—whether it’s a style of music, a people group because they’re not like us, or a particular holiday—it creates a spiritual vacuum. Rather than ignore Halloween, we should embrace it without embracing its darker elements. Give out candy, and not the cheap stuff. You might even have something for the parents as well. Have a Harvest Party at church and invite the neighborhood to your church for the event. Have goodies for the kids, perhaps bouncy houses, face painting, puppet shows and so on. Have fun with it. Instead of being against something, be for something.

So I chose Halloween, introduced some of its Celtic elements and wrote a story where the protagonist stands against the darkness. For the last 2,000+ years, the church has stood against the darkness of its time. We need to do so today. As a writer, this is one way I can do that.

CH: Good point. I appreciate your candor. Now, I have to know. As a mild-mannered engineer where did you learn about karate, sword fighting, police procedure, dwarfs, elves and the walking dead. And let’s not forget believable fight scenes.

JT: One writing motto is “write what you know.” However, if you don’t know something, then you can learn. And we live at a time where learning—or research—can be done by anyone, anywhere at any time. The internet provides a rich source of materials to help learn. For example, the internet offers videos of men and women in armor fighting with various swords. And they give explanations of the various moves. So I spent several hours watching these videos. I may not be able to physically handle a sword, but I learned how it was done. I’m not a cop, but I attend a writer’s conference (Mad Anthony in Hamilton, Ohio) that one year took its conferees to a community college that trains cops. Another year, it had three women from the TV show Police Women of Cincinnati explaining the ins and outs of their jobs. Other years various police agencies have sent officers to explain their duties. I also attended Lee Lofland’s Writers Police Academy and read his blog “The Graveyard Shift.” This weekend, I will be touring the crime lab in Columbus, Ohio with a Sisters in Crime writers’ group. If you don’t know something, go forth and learn. As to the elves, dwarves and the undead, I signed a nondisclosure agreement not to divulge their locations or how to contact them. They’re very private, so I respect that.

 CH: Why base Innocent Blood in Ohio?

I based Innocent Blood in the southwest region of Ohio. At one time, Cincinnati had a large influx of both Irish and German peoples. So with, the Celtic culture comprised of western and northern Europe, it just seemed a good fit to start the series there. Plus I live there, and the cost for visiting potential sites for settings was much cheaper.

CH: The conclusion of Innocent Blood leads right into a sequel without missing a heartbeat. When is that coming out?

JT: I don’t have a date from Oak Tara the publishers of Innocent Blood regarding the sequel. But I will tell you this: Patrick and his friends go into the Celtic Otherworld

CH: You also write flash fiction and have had a few stories published. Why flash fiction?

JT: It’s fun. It’s short, so there is no long time commitment. You come up with an idea. You write it and it’s done. 1000 words makes you focus on using the right words. The plot and character development have to explode onto the story.

CH: What would you tell writers trying to break into publication?

JT: Pursue your dreams…unless your world is being invaded by monsters from the Celtic afterlife. Then do the right thing. Listen to the advice of those who’ve gone ahead of you—and tell them thanks—and help those coming behind you. And never give up. Also, take time to watch a football game.

CH: Wise words to ponder. Well, accept maybe the football. 🙂

Your next book Whiskey Sunrise is coming out in a few months and I plan to have you visit us again.

JT: Look forward to it. By the way Lighthouse Publications of the Carolinas will be having a giveaway in July for Whiskey Sunrise.

Book Giveaway to one lucky commenter.

Today I am offering an opportunity for all those who comment on this post to be entered in a drawing for an autographed copy of Innocent Blood:Equinox of Reckoning. Feel free to ask John any questions you may have on writing, Celtic lore or football. Be sure to leave your email in the comment section so we can contact the winner. ( type it using the word at for @ and the word dot for .) If you are reading this interview via Facebook be sure to go to my blog to comment if you want to be in the drawing.

Innocent BloodI will be drawing the winners name in a week. I have found  not all my comments post right away.