Wednesday, April 01, 2015

Me, Myself, and I ~ Good Brainstorm Partners?

No, this isn't an April Fool's Day joke. I really want to know. Can you brainstorm alone? By yourself? Without anyone else to bounce ideas off of? No matter how I played with that last sentence, it was ending in a preposition, so get over it. That's not the subject of this blog post, anyway.

I do my best brainstorming with a couple of people, both writers. However, I've found my beta reader to be a good at this too, as long as she's familiar with the story. I've also recently learned that I'm not so bad all alone. However, I have to get away form my computer and my office to do that. 

Today, I had two meetings. One finished and there was about an hour left until the second one. I stopped by my favorite place, the Sugar Hill Bakery & Cafe, to grab a bite of lunch. Because I was alone, I pulled out my handy dandy ACFW notepad and brainstormed with myself.

I discovered I'm not so bad at it. In fact, I worked out a few things pretty well. I won't replace my brainstorm buddies, but knowing that in a pinch, I can rely on myself is pretty cool.

Now I've got to run those ideas past my crit partners to see if they'll fly. Meanwhile, I'll cross my finger, toes, and eyes.

What's your favorite method of brainstorming?

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Characters Found in Speculator Falls!

Julie Arduini is an author with a passion to encourage readers to find freedom through surrender. Her first Adirondack contemporary romance, Entrusted, gives readers hope to surrender fear.  The Love Boat Bachelor is a Valentine’s release from the authors from Write Integrity Press. A Walk Through the Valley will be available Spring 2015 as an infertility devotional with 5 other authors. She blogs every other Wednesday at Christians Read and is contributing editor, fiction columnist for Imaginate digital magazine. To learn more about her writing and love of chocolate, visit She lives in Ohio with her husband and two children.

Tell us about your releasing book.
Entrusted is the first of three in my Adirondack Surrender romance series. Jenna Anderson produces a lot of change for grocer Ben Regan in a romance that shows God can be trusted when you surrender fear, change, belonging and what others think about you. Coming soon will be Carla’s story in Entangled and then Trish’s story in Engaged.

Where do you get your ideas for your books? What sparked this story?
God definitely is the One with the ideas, and I’m the vessel that types it out. The method is by observing the everyday and asking, “What if…”

Entrusted came about in the early 90’s when I first visited the village I based Speculator Falls on, Speculator. I had instant peace as soon as I entered the Adirondack Park area. As I walked around Speculator and met the people, I envisioned the characters. I was working at the time at a senior center and started questioning. What if a girl barreled into town with a new job that someone didn’t think she could handle? I kept asking myself questions and writing it down. When I moved to Ohio in 2004, I knew Jenna had a place to come from, and the Adirondacks was the destination.

Did anything strange of funny happen while writing this book?
I broke my wrist and it ended up healing wrong, so the 12 weeks typing in a cast were for nothing. I had to go in for surgery. Then, in 2013, once it was finished but under consideration at Write Integrity Press, I won a two night stay at a lodge in the real Speculator. I was able to take my mom and show her all the places in Entrusted. It was surreal.

Did you always want to be a writer?
Yes, but I allowed fear to stop me for years. I wasn’t the best English student and my teachers discouraged me from making writing a career. As God worked in my life I was able to ignore the fear and what others said and trust God with whatever His plan was.

Where do you write, a coffee shop, attic nook, or a cave?
We moved in September and I now have my own office. It is surrounded by bookshelves built into the walls that I’ve also used to store family momentos and amateur nature photos that I’ve taken. I have a sliding glass door that leads to our backyard with landscaping and woods.

Of all your characters, which was your favorite and why?  
That’s so hard because I worked hard to give dimension to all the characters so readers could feel like they met new friends, and they feel that way to me, too. Sara is the spunky matriarch for the village and I love her wisdom and bear hugs. Howard is grumpy but a teddy bear. Roxy can’t help but remind everyone she was a Rockette. Dora Parks is actually a play on words to remind me when I’m stuck in the past there is no future there. The real Idora Park is in Youngstown and although I missed living here when it existed, people still talk about it and the steel mills, longing for it all to come back and missing life as they wait on things to be like they were. I enjoyed the villain, Kyle, because he has a good backstory. Ben, I just adore Ben for his loyalty and vulnerability. But after all that, I have a soft spot for Jenna. I’ve had to leave everyone and everything for something new and it takes faith I didn’t know I had. She jumps in and gives it her all.

Share a few of the techniques you learned that changed the way you write.
The biggest was a mindset, I suppose. I came from a news/publicity background so I “wrote tight” with just the facts. Where most people are over word count, I’m always under. It hit me last year I need to add details. I can have dialogue, it’s not a bad thing. I had to let go of old mindsets.

Now for the fun: Tell us 3 things your readers might not know about you.
I’m a romantic thinker but not necessarily a romantic person. I tend to enjoy action movies and TV shows more than the romantic ones.

I don’t care for dark or white chocolate.

I am a NASCAR fan. Before we moved to Ohio, we lived 7 miles from the famed road course in Watkins Glen, NY. My parents used to have their dates at local tracks where now retired NASCAR driver Geoff Bodine used to race. When my husband told me he loved me for the first time, we were at…a race track.

If you were a musical instrument, what would you be and why?
Percussion. It can be in the background, or the center of attention. Bold, yet quiet if need be. I’ve always been drawn to percussion. Although I stunk at it in school, my husband and son are percussionists.

Jenna Anderson, sassy city-girl, plows–literally–into Adirondack village, Speculator Falls with a busted GPS. She gets a warning from the sheriff but has ideas for the senior center to prove she belongs in town as their director. Town councilman Ben Regan is as broken as the flower box Jenna demolished. He’s grieving and wants to shut down the center before there’s too much change and heartbreak. They work on community projects and build a slow relationship, but the council needs to vote on the senior center’s future. Can Jenna show Ben both her and the center are worth trusting? 

Monday, March 30, 2015

Chapel Springs Survival ~ Coming in October

A mail-order bride, a town overrun with tourists, and illegal art ~ 

can Claire and Chapel Springs survive?

Life is good for Claire Bennett. That is until the mayor's brother blabs that her nineteen-year-old son, Wes, has secretly married a Brazilian mail order bride—one who is eight years older than him. When she tries to welcome her new daughter-in-law, Claire is ridiculed, rebuffed, and rejected. Loving this girl is like hugging a prickly cactus.

Lydia Smith is happily living alone and running her spa—then the widow on the hill becomes a blushing bride. Along with her new husband, she has a dream to expand the spa by adding guest rooms. Things are going according to plan, until her groom's adult son moves in—on everything.

From the first sighting of a country music star in the art gallery, The Painted Loon, to the visit of a Hollywood diva, Chapel Springs is inundated with stargazers, causing lifelong residents to flee the area. When her best friends, Patsy and Nathan, put their house on the market, Claire is forced to do something or lose the closest thing to a sister she’s got.

With her son's future at stake and the town looking to her to solve their problems, Claire isn't sure she can survive this whirlwind of trouble.

Coming in October, 2015