Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Doing a #Giveaway!

Laura Hilton is spotlighting me on her blog and we're doing a giveaway of Home to Chapel Springs. Come on over and enter to win a copy!

A homeless author, a heartbroken daughter, and a theatre ghost. There’s trouble in Chapel Springs.

There’s always someone new in Chapel Spring, either coming home or stirring up trouble.

Bestselling author Carin Jardine’s latest book is a flop. While the reviewers are happily skewering her, her racecar-driver-husband walks out on her and she’s evicted, because he hasn’t paid the lease on their condo for the last three months. Then she discovers he also he drained their bank accounts. Homeless and broke, she and her little boy have no choice but to retreat to the house she inherited from her nana in Chapel Springs—the house that’s been gutted. Then, a stranger knocks on her door. One that will change the course of her life.

After the residents thwarted Howie Newlander’s plans for a Miami-style resort on Chapel Lake, he’s running for mayor and spreading rumors about diverted water and misused taxes. The Lakeside Players want to remodel the town’s old theater, but it’s rumored to be haunted. When Newlander and Mayor Riley go head-to-head, Claire gets caught in the middle.

Claire’s youngest daughter is in love with a young man whose daddy is none other than Mayor Felix Riley…the man who man who blames Claire for every wrong in Chapel Springs. Having him part of her family isn’t in Claire’s plan. The years of her heartache should warn her daughter off this boy. So far, her daughter’s heart isn’t hearing the warnings.


With hearts pulled in all directions, will they find a home in Chapel Springs?

Monday, July 25, 2016

Another Sneak Peek

No, it isn't one of my books. It's by one of my critique partners Michelle Griep, and another good friend Kelly Klepfer. Yes, Kelly of Novel Reviews fame and of CFOM and TBCN. 

You're going to love this book. It's got mystery, romance, and a huge dose of humor. Top that will really great writing, and you've got a winner!! Be watching.


Saturday, July 23, 2016

Closing in on the End

I'm closing in on the end of Life in Chapel Springs. I know what the last chapters contain, so writing them will be relatively easy. 

The hard part will now be writing the back cover copy and the hook or the tag line. My thoughts are running to this:

1. What if you woke up one day with a new face?

or

2. What if one day when you woke up, you weren't you?

or 

3. What if you woke up one day and you weren't you?

Then, of course, I have to balance that with the problems Chapel Springs has and Claire's problems, which are monumental.

Gold fever has hit Chapel Springs and Claire has a health crisis. 

So you see how the blurb for a book is harder to write than the book.

Now, weigh in on the 3 for which you like best. It may be combined with something else, I don't know yet. 


Friday, July 15, 2016

Tamara Lynn Kraft Loves Adventure

Tamera Lynn Kraft has always loved adventures. She loves to write historical fiction set in the United States because there are so many stories in American history. There are strong elements of faith, romance, suspense and adventure in her stories. She has received 2nd place in the NOCW contest, 3rd place TARA writer’s contest, and is a finalist in the Frasier Writing Contest and has other novellas in print. She’s been married for 37 years to the love of her life, Rick, and has two married adult children and two grandchildren. You can find Tamara on her website, at the Word Sharpeners blog, Facebook, and Twitter.

Tell us about your releasing book.

My new novella, Resurrection of Hope, is set in post-World War I in rural Western Ohio. There’s a blurb about it at the bottom.

Where do you get your ideas for your books? What sparked this story?

I get my ideas from historical events. I love studying history. When I read about an event in history, I wonder what it would have been like for the people living during that time. For Resurrection of Hope, what sparked my story was reading about the Palm Sunday tornado outbreak in 1920. My pastor preached a sermon that week about women needing love and men needing respect.

I thought it would be interesting to throw a couple who were having problems communicating in the middle of that storm. I made it even more interesting by making it a marriage of convenience where both the husband and wife are in love with each other. Neither one knows how the other feels because the husband has a hard time showing love and the wife has a hard time showing respect.

Did anything strange of funny happen while writing this book?

Nothing funny happened, but while I was editing, I did have an attack of pancreatitis that put me in hospital for a week. Three weeks later, I had shoulder surgery that put me on pain meds and in a sling for 4 weeks. Needless to say, the editing process went very slowly.

Did you always want to be a writer?

Yes, I did, for as long as I can remember. I’ve always loved reading, and I wrote my first novel when I was ten years old. It was awful. In high school, I took all the English and literature classes I could to prepare for my career in writing. I even major in English in college in preparation of being a writer.

At some point in my twenties, my writing career was put on hold for decades. Between raising children and becoming a children’s pastor on staff at my church, there just wasn’t time. I still couldn’t keep from writing. I would write children’s church curriculum and puppet skits for my lessons. Some of it even got published.

Finally about nine years ago, I resigned as a children’s pastor and started a ministry called Revival Fire for Kids where I travel to other churches to do teacher training, kid’s crusades, and children’s ministry consultations. I also am launching Revival Fire for Kids children’s church curriculum in about a year. This keeps me very busy during the summer, but the rest of the time, I have time to write fiction. My writing career is back on track and moving along. I feel like God has brought me full circle. I put Him first in raising my children and ministering to other children, and He is fulfilling the desires of my heart by opening up doors for me to write again.

Where do you write, a coffee shop, attic nook, or a cave?

I don’t really have an office. I have a little desk and filing cabinet set up in the

spare bedroom, the one where the grandkids sleep when they visit. It’s a little tight, but I manage. My son’s Star Trek jigsaw puzzle that he did when he was fifteen is hanging on the wall in front of me for no reason other than we never took it down after he moved away from home.

On the wall beside me is hanging my ordained minister certificate which I worked very hard for. There also a window looking out into my back yard, so I get inspiration from the outdoor.

I have a laptop, but my wonderful husband bought me a large monitor, keyboard, and mouse. They are all plugged into my laptop so I don’t have to work on a small screen and hurt my neck looking down at it. The laptop and a few books are on the grandkids’ toy chest beside my computer desk.

“My office” proves the theory that a real writer can write anywhere.

Of all your characters, which was your favorite and why?

That’s a hard one. I love them all. You’re asking me to choose my favorite between my children. How could I possibly do that? I will tell you what I like about one of my characters in Resurrection of Hope. Vivian is a survivor. She has had to suffer a great deal in her life, but she somehow found the strength to keep going. Another thing I love about Vivian is she is so talented. She is a good cook and a whiz at sewing. I love the quirky way she makes lists even about silly things like what she will do to win Henry’s affections. Even though at times her trust in God is tested to the limits and she almost gives up hope, she never really gives up on God.

Share a few of the techniques you learned that changed the way you write.

That would be a long list. I think the best thing I ever did was learn the elements of plotting and storytelling. When I started out, I was more of a seat of the pants writer when it came to plotting. What I did right was often more luck than anything.

I still don’t outline my entire book, but using the main elements of plotting before I start, I do have a framework of where I want to go. This makes writing the first draft more enjoyable because I don’t keep writing myself into a corner. It also helps the editing process not become as cumbersome.

Some other techniques that have helped me are learning about deep POV, characterization, and keeping the theme of the story in mind. I’ve also learned how to subtlety use imagery and symbolism in my story. The main thing I’ve learned to do is to write more intentionally from the start of my story.

Now for the fun: Tell us 3 things your readers might not know about you.
  • I took tap and ballet lessons for 20 years. At one time, I considered being a Radio City Music Hall Rockette. Then I found out you had to be five foot six at least. I was too short, so I gave up on my career in dancing. 
  • I love roller coaster – the bigger the better. I’ve always loved the thrill of going on a roller coaster, and it hasn’t lessoned with age.
  • I was a children’s pastor for 20 years at two different churches. I resigned to start a ministry called Revival Fire for Kids. One of my most prized possessions is the Shephard’s Cup that I received in 2007 for lifetime achievement in children’s ministry. 
If you were a musical instrument, what would you be and why?

I would be a piano. A piano makes a variety of sounds that other instruments can’t manage. It can hit high notes or low notes, and it can combine notes into chords to make beautiful music. I like to think that I can’t be put in a box. I have a variety of interests, and I enjoy pursuing them. Even when it comes to reading, I’m eclectic. One day I might be reading a Mary Ellis Amish novel, the next day a Steven James thriller, and the day after that a Julie Lessman historic romance. It’s hard to choose a favorite genre.

Resurrection of Hope

She thought he was her knight in shining armor, but will a marriage of convenience prove her wrong?

After Vivian’s fiancé dies in the Great War, she thinks her life is over. But Henry, her fiancé’s best friend, comes to the rescue offering a marriage of convenience. He claims he promised his friend he would take care of her. She grows to love him, but she knows it will never work because he never shows any love for her.

Henry adores Vivian and has pledged to take care of her, but he won’t risk their friendship by letting her know. She’s still in love with the man who died in the Great War. He won’t risk heartache by revealing his true emotions. 

Friday, July 08, 2016

Character Interview from Through Raging Waters

Raised in Louisiana and Wyoming, Renee started writing poetry in junior high school. After having her son, a desire to attend pharmacy school sent her small family to the University of Wyoming in Laramie, and she's been counting pills ever since. While writing's her first love, well, after the Lord and husband, she also likes to fish and hunt as well as pick away on her classical guitar. Nestled in the foothills of the Wind River Mountains with her husband, crazy dogs and ornery cat, she continues to serve her community as a pharmacist while penning her Christian stories any chance she can get. She loves to interact with readers and invites you check out her website, blog, and social media. You can find Renee on her website, her blog, or the Diamonds in Fiction blog.

SFF: Renee has a free e-book to give away. To be entered in the drawing, just leave a comment and don't forget you email addy.

Here's a fun character interview!

[Music fades into the background] Radio Host: Hello everyone, this is Stevie Hixson. Welcome back to KTMB, your Music in the Pines! Now I’d like to introduce you to one very special lady, Melissa Hampton. Welcome, Melissa, how are you this fine, but cloudy morning?

Melissa: I’m good. Busy as always. How are you, Stevie?

Stevie: Absolutely awesome—[static breaks through her headphones and she waits for it to stop before continuing]. Sorry about that. I guess there was a bit of interference. Anyway, what’s it like to work with one of the founding fathers of our town?

Melissa [rolls her eyes]: Oh, give me a break. The man isn’t a founding father. Yes, the Parker family founded Timber Springs but Benjamin Jackson Parker wasn’t a glimmer in his grandfather’s eye when he built that first lumber mill . . . no matter what he may say to the contrary.

Stevie: [laughs] Do you actually talk to your boss like this? I would love to be a fly on the wall in your office!

Melissa: I’ve known BJ since I was a child. In fact, I don’t remember a time I haven’t known him.  He treats me more like a daughter than his assistant.

Stevie: How exactly did you start working at Timberline?

Melissa: [sits back in the chair and sighs] How much time do you have left on your show?

Stevie: [snickers and points to the lights blinking on the desk phone] This is something our listeners may want to know.

Melissa: Oh, I bet they would, especially since BJ seems to be the talk of the town. Well, let’s see. I began work at Timberline as a secretary in junior in high school. I think he gave me the job out of pity. Mom had just been diagnosed with cancer that year. She passed away a few years later and I stayed on. Now I’m his executive assistant. Things haven’t really changed that much except everyone’s a bit older. And maybe more cranky.

Stevie: [a tense silence settles on the air and the radio host clears her throat] It’s time to take our first caller. This is Stevie with KTMB, your Music in the Pines. What question do you have for our guest today?

Caller: Yes, I was wondering how such a fine woman could stand working with all those guys every single day? I mean, a bunch of lumberjacks?

Melissa: [forces a laugh] I have the company of several women at Timberline. True, the lumber mill is a male dominated environment but I’m well protected . . . uh, taken care of. [adjusts her earphones with shaky fingers]

Stevie: [covers the microphone and leans close to Melissa] Are you all right?

Melissa: [nods] Can we wrap this up? I should return to Timberline.

Stevie: Absolutely . . . thank you, Melissa Hampton, for coming in today. It’s nice to know we have someone like you at Timberline. A strong person who knows how to hold their own against Mr. BJ Par—[static broke in, terminating the broadcast]


If Mother Nature has her way, Timber Springs will never be the same... 

A warm spring and early rainstorms melt the snowpack. Spring runoff compounded by the storm of the century sends Timber Springs into a tailspin. 

Tossed into the role of rescuer, local pharmacist Paul Fitzgerald must face his past before the whole world falls apart. While he fights to contain the beast around him, he finds his steadfast control slipping through his fingers. And life…everyone’s life…hangs by a thread once again. 

She isn’t a hero. Melissa Hampton has her own demons to battle. After she learns of her mysterious beginnings amidst her mother’s keepsakes, she faces more than just the river rushing outside her door. Now, she must discern friend from foe…but as waters rise and tension climbs within Timber Springs, she needs to rise to the challenge or lose the only man she's ever loved. 

Can two people find each other through raging waters? 


Thursday, July 07, 2016

Is Research Never Done?



I'm entering the final stretch for the final book in the Chapel Springs series. It's been the most difficult book I've written. I did a lot of research up front, speaking with doctors, and surgeons. 

Yes, I did my research. I spent time in a plastic surgeon's office, going through photos, talking about the plausibility of what I wanted to do. It all passed muster. 

As I wrote the first draft, I added my usual comments in area. Instead of spending time on the proper verbiage, I type in all caps: GET VERBIAGE or something to that nature.

Now, I'm on the second draft. It was time to gather that information. I went to my medical source, one of Chef Son's best friends, Dan. He'd been a paramedic and even headed up the paramedic team for the Olympics when they were here in Atlanta.

I laid out the scene in an email and sent it. Within a day or two, I had everything I needed to know ... and more. He suggested I look at some images of what I needed so I could describe it realistically. 

Gulp.

Now I had worked for years for an ophthalmic surgeon. I'd gone into the operating room and watched him perform eye surgery. I was fine.

But the images that came up for my search were pretty grim. While I cringed and wanted to look away, I needed to see them. I worried about nightmares after looking at several. 

Then the writer in me took over. I saved a couple that worked and I'm happy to report: no nightmares! Well, except for one about Ollie trying to go through the hinge side of a door. But that's another story.

Tuesday, July 05, 2016

Serious Series Issues

Twenty-five years ago, after a decade of life as a "single-again," author Linda W. Yezak rediscovered God's love and forgiveness when He allowed her a second chance at marital happiness. She is now living her greatest romance with her husband in a forest in East Texas. After such an amazing blessing, she chooses to trumpet God's gift of second chances in the books she writes. Linda's novels are heart-warming hallmarks of love, forgiveness, and new beginnings. You can find Linda on her website 777 Peppermint Place, signup for her Newsletter, on Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter, Goodreads, and her Amazon author page.

Serious Series Issues

I’ve never written a series before. Didn’t know how. I intend to take the course at the ACFW Conference this August in Nashville, but meanwhile, I’m winging it.

It all started when some of the Give the Lady a Ride readers wrote me and asked what happened. The question surprised me. I mean, it’s a Romance novel, what did they think happened? Patricia Talbert and Talon Carlson got together and lived happily ever after–something I couldn’t illustrate in the story because, from beginning to end, it covered only about three weeks. No one decides to get married after only three weeks. Right?

But that’s not all. Other readers caught on to the fact that there’s an unsolved mystery in the novel, and they want me to solve it. Now.

So, what’s a girl to do? In Give the Lady a Ride, Patricia and Talon end the story knowing God chose one for the other. They’re meant to be. I couldn’t rehash what I’d already done, so I had to find a way to put what they have together to the test. Enter Adele Cameron, Patricia’s aunt from New York, and Colton Royder, Talon’s nemesis. Aunt Adele is doing everything in her power to convince Patricia to return to Manhattan, and Colton’s antics are driving Talon to want to ride bulls again–the very thing he promised Patricia he wouldn’t do.

Patricia is in a pressure cooker, and releasing the steam turned the second in the Circle Bar Ranch series, The Final Ride, more into Women’s Fiction rather than Romance.

In the next novel of the series, Ride to the Altar (due out in 2017), I intend to give my readers what they want: to solve the cold case of who murdered Talon’s first fiancée, Janet Parson, which will turn that novel into a mash-up Women’s Fiction slash Mystery that will finally end with a Happily Ever After wedding.

See the problem here? You can understand why I need the course on writing a series. Of course, it’s not entirely my fault. I hadn’t intended to turn Give the Lady a Ride into a series at all.

One thing I know for certain: the readers of the Give the Lady a Ride love the characters enough to follow them through this cross-genre maze. Faith and humor are constants throughout the novels. Old friends return from book to book, and new friends are introduced. The Circle Bar Ranch feels so real, readers want to vacation there. I’m proud to say, none of that changes. 


A Circle Bar Ranch novel

With her duties for her best friend’s wedding finally behind her, Patricia Talbert looks forward to discovering what “normal” will look like at her new home in Texas. She owns a ranch, is in love with its foreman, and is ready to assume her duties. Discovering what those duties entail isn’t an easy feat for a displaced socialite from Manhattan. But when her aunt Adele arrives on a mission to bring her back to New York, Patricia’s primary duty is to deflect the bumbling and bullish attempts–until one of Adele’s tricks takes her by surprise.

All of Talon Carlson’s dreams for the Circle Bar Ranch are coming true, along with another dream he never expected to be fulfilled–a chance to love again. Patricia is everything he ever wanted and more, but he made a promise to her not to ride bulls again, a promise he may have to break. His desire for a better end to his riding career is intensified by vicious rumors about why he quit. If he rides again, he will provide the ammunition Adele needs to make Patricia leave. If he doesn’t, he’ll prove the gossips right.

Patricia or Talon. Which one will take The Final Ride?



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