Monday, September 30, 2013

Win a Book!

When you leave a comment on THIS post by 6 p.m. CT Wednesday, October 2, 2013 you'll be entered in the DRAWING for a copy of the book I review below. If you mention in your comment that you’re a follower (see in the left column “Join This Site” and “Follow by Email”), I’ll add your name a second time in the drawing. You must be eighteen, have a U.S. mailing address, void where prohibited. You can read details about my book giveaways at Disclaimers.  


Beautiful Imperfection by Kathryn J. Bain

Kathryn J. Bain began writing more than twelve years ago. Her fifth book, Beautiful Imperfection, released September 29, 2013. She is the former President of Florida Sisters in Crime and is currently the Public Relations Director for Ancient City Romance Authors. To survive and pay bills, she has been a paralegal for over twenty years and works for an attorney who specializes in elder law. She has two daughters and a dog named Gretchen. Her first grandchild, Hope, was born in May, 2013. Kathryn grew up in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho. In 1981, she moved to Boise, but it apparently wasn't far enough south, because two years later she headed to Jacksonville, Florida and has lived in the sunshine ever since.


What fun or unique things can you tell us about yourself that we don’t know?
(1)I have been a paralegal for about 25 years. Currently, I work for an elder law attorney. (2) My first grandchild was born in May. Her name is Hope, and I'm spoiling her rotten. (3) I don't particularly care for inspirational fiction because I find it sappy or unbelievable.
Please describe yourself with three words.
Young at heart. (My mind thinks I'm still 25. Not good with a 52 year-old body.)
What do you enjoy doing when you’re not writing?
Hanging with my new granddaughter or catching up on episodes of shows I've missed. Just finished watching all of Castle and The Closer. Now I’m watching Vera, a mystery out of England.
What novel have you recently read that impressed you that you would highly recommend to others?
John Sanford’s Bad Blood. A lot of excitement.  
I have a list of my 5 favorite novels I’ve read. Please tell us your 5 favorite novels of all time.
I have a hard time naming five favorite novels. So many have been good. But I do have five favorite authors: Janet Evanovich, C.J. Box, Dean Koontz, Robert Parker (The original Spencer author), and Sue Grafton.
If you could have dinner with one person from today or history (except Jesus), who would it be?
Dean Kootnz. I think he's the best at writing suspense, and I'd love to get inside the man's head to see how he does it so well.
How did you become involved in writing?
I used to complain about the endings of movies or television shows. I'd say "That would be better if..." My daughters finally said for me to write one. So I started writing screenplays. That didn't work well. Then I thought I'd make my first million writing children’s books. Thirty pages, how hard can that be? Finally someone gave me some good advice. Write what you read. Now I do mystery and suspense.
Where do you write? Do you have a dedicated office or a corner or nook in a room?
I write in my den. My television is also my monitor so it keeps me from distractions. Also, with it just being my dog and me, I don't have to worry about other people interrupting me.
Please tell us about Beautiful Imperfection.
My book is inspirational romantic suspense. Teddy Federline, a breast cancer survivor witnesses a mass murder, then the other witnesses start getting killed. She’s put in protective custody. Her bodyguard is Sloan Michaels, a guy who dumped her in college.
What takeaway value do you hope your readers receive after reading this book?
No matter what you go through, God will be there with you. And sometimes it's not just God who needs to forgive us, but we need to forgive ourselves as well.
Did you have to do any research for this book?
Yes, I did research on breast cancer and realized I knew nothing. I always thought that as a woman I'd know what it would feel like. I was wrong. Proof that unless you stand in the other person's shoes, there is no way to know how they're feeling or what they're going through.
How long have you been writing? When did you sell your first book?
I've been writing about twelve (12) years now. My first book Breathless came out January 2012.
What advice would you give to writers who have been writing a few years but still haven’t interested an agent or publisher in their novel? Get in a good critique group. They can be very valuable. No matter how good you think you write, others will find ways to make it better. And never stop learning. I've just released my fifth book, but I still take classes and go to workshops to better my writing.
What are you working on now?
I'm working on the third installment in my Lincolnville Mystery Series. It's titled One Last Breath and my hero and heroine are both in their sixties.
Please tell our readers where they can get your book.
Please tell our readers where they can find you online.
You can find information on how to contact me and where I’ll be on my website www.kathrynjbain.com.
Any parting comment?
One thing I've learned writing Beautiful Imperfection is the importance of getting a mammogram. Don't put it off. Early detection could possibly save your life.
Kathryn, thank you for visiting with my readers and me. One of my commenters will win a copy of Beautiful Imperfection.


Remember: leave a comment on THIS post by 6 p.m. CT Wednesday, October 2, 2013 and you'll be entered in the drawing for a copy of  Beautiful Imperfection by Kathryn J. Bain. Some of you forget to leave your email address. Please, please remember to leave your email address. I’ll need your email address so that should you be the winner I can get in touch with you. I’ll announce the winner in Monday’s blog.

The  two winners of last Thursday's blog post for a copy of Poison by Jordyn Redwood are Jude and Jennifer. I'll email you. Thanks all for commenting. Watch for more book giveaways.


Till next time … keep on smiling.

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Win 2 Books!

When you leave a comment on THIS post by 6 p.m. CT Sunday, September 29, 2013 you'll be entered in the DRAWING for a copy of the book I review below. GIVING AWAY 2 COPIES. If you mention in your comment that you’re a follower (see in the left column “Join This Site” and “Follow by Email”), I’ll add your name a second time in the drawing. You must be eighteen, have a U.S. mailing address, void where prohibited. You can read details about my book giveaways at Disclaimers.


Poison by Jordyn Redwood


Jordyn Redwood has specialized in critical care and emergency nursing for nearly two decades. She is a member of both the American Association of Critical Care Nurses and the American Christian Fiction Writers association. 


From the book’s back cover:
Five years ago, Keelyn Blake’s stepfather took her family hostage, raving about Lucent, a being who forced him to commit unspeakable acts. Some of the family made it out alive; the rest did not. Even Lee Watson, the best of the FBI’s hostage negotiators, failed to overcome the man’s delusions and end the standoff peacefully.

Now Lucent is back—and he’s no hallucination. He has kidnapped Keelyn’s niece, and although Keelyn is estranged from her half-sister, Raven, she feels compelled to save what little family she has left. But Raven is nowhere to be found, and when others involved in that fateful day start dying under mysterious circumstances, Keelyn wonders if she and Lee—and their budding relationship—will survive.

Poison follows Proof in the Bloodline Trilogy with another rollercoaster plot that makes it an irresistible and adventure for all suspense fiction fans.  


From Jo:
I love reading Jordyn Redwood’s novels. They are steeped in suspense and keep me turning pages. The plot described above is well written in this book by Redwood. She writes flawless characterizations—you feel you’re alongside them every step of the way. It was difficult to find a stopping point where I could make myself put down the book to read more later.


Remember: leave a comment on THIS post by 6 p.m. CT Sunday, September 29, 2013 and you'll be entered in the drawing for a copy of  Poison by Jordyn Redwood. Please, please remember to leave your email address. I’ll need your email address so that should you be the winner I can get in touch with you. I’ll announce the winner in Monday’s blog.

The 2 winners of last Monday's blog posts are: the winner for a copy of your choice of Sauce for the Goose or Kissing Frogs by D.A. Featherling is maxie; winner of Teaching Diamonds in the Tough: Mining the Potential in Every Student by Cleo Lampos is BonnieR. I'll email you. Thanks all for commenting. Watch for more book giveaways.


Till next time … keep on smiling.

Monday, September 23, 2013

Win a Book!

WE HAVE TWO GUEST BLOGGERS TODAY. The two guest bloggers today are Featherling and Lampos. YOU MAY LEAVE A COMMENT ON BOTH. EACH BLOG POST WILL HAVE A BOOK GIVEAWAY.

When you leave a comment on THIS post by 6 p.m. CT Wednesday, September 25, 2013 you'll be entered in the DRAWING for your choice of either of the books mentioned below. If you mention in your comment that you’re a follower (see in the left column “Join This Site” and “Follow by Email”), I’ll add your name a second time in the drawing. You must be eighteen, have a U.S. mailing address, void where prohibited. You can read details about my book giveaways at Disclaimers.      


Sauce for the Goose by D.A. Featherling
Kissing Frogs by D.A. Featherling


Our guest blogger is D.A. Featherling, author of Sauce for the Goose and Kissing Frogs. Dorothy writes in several genres including mystery, romantic comedy, futuristic suspense, and romance. She has published two books to date and has several more in process. She co-founded the CenTex Chapter of American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW) and served as its president for four years.



From D.A. Featherling:
I’m actually covering two books in the same series today. They are romantic comedies – one of the genres I love to write. I developed the “Second Time Around” series several years ago, believing there is an interest in stories about folks who have had a broken relationship due to death, divorce, or other circumstances. Many men and women have this happen today – in fact, we’ve probably all been there at one time or another (especially those ‘other circumstances’).

Even though the series does not continue with the same characters in each book, the premise is applied to all the books – either through a female or male character.
Book 1 is Sauce for the Goose – Here’s the back cover copy:

“The girl has got to go!

To save her son from a romantic mistake, Laurel Edmonds renews some former relationships of her own. Complications abound when new beau Mike Hudson is added to the mix.

Her romantic dilemmas, her plot to save her son, and worries about her mother, aka the Bus Queen, force Laurel to cope with a fake engagement gone real, a surprise wedding, and a confession she never imagined she’d have to make.”

Book 2 in the series is Kissing Frogs – Back cover copy:

“Until she decides to look for a husband, Em Snider is so-o-o-o in control of her life. But her trip on the internet matchmaking highway soon shows her that she can’t control the journey.

Her first encounter is a warning. There are toads out there! A Christian internet matchmaking service provides Em a chance to discover Prince Charming, if she can survive the shocks.

Em is soon ready to quit, or will true love still come about in a way she never dreamed if she’ll quit stepping on the brakes and let God be in control?”

Both books have a surprise ending (at least I hope it’s a surprise) that readers will hopefully enjoy.

At the moment, I have a manuscript out for critique for Book 1 of a new mystery series I’m writing – the Staged for Murder Series. The series takes home stager Ari Ames and places her in precarious circumstances, complete with dead bodies, as she pursues her staging career. Book 1 is Murder Outside the Box.

I’m also editing two other books – Book 3 in the Second Time Around Series – Double Trouble, and Book 1, entitled Time Out, of the Out of Time Series (a futuristic suspense series).

In my spare time (what spare time?) I tend to pick up a book.  Seriously, there isn’t a whole lot of spare time…but my first choice for a pastime is always reading! (No surprise there?) I try to read in my genres and also re-read some of the classics I’ve enjoyed over the years. Some of those bygone authors told a great story so I can learn from them as well as be entertained.

I also like to spend time with my going-on-9-year-old grandson when possible and with my sisters who all live fairly close by.

Fans can find me on the internet. I have a website and it will keep everyone informed of what I’m working on and what’s published and when.

I’m also on Facebook - please ‘like’ my author page for continuing up-to-date info about what’s going on.

Thanks for having me today. I’ll be happy to let the winner of the drawing choose whichever of the two books they’d like to haveSauce for the Goose or Kissing Frogs.


Remember: leave a comment on THIS post by 6 p.m. CT Wednesday, September 25, 2013 and you'll be entered in the drawing for your choice of a copy of Sauce for the Goose or Kissing Frogs by D.A. Featherling. Please, please remember to leave your leave your email address. I’ll need you email address so that should you be the winner I can get in touch with you. I’ll announce the winner in Monday’s blog.

The winner of last Thursday's blog post for a copy of Xeno Oaks by Marjorie Hill is BarbaraT. I'll email you. Thanks all for commenting. Watch for more book giveaways.


REMEMBER, WE HAVE TWO GUEST BLOGGERS TODAY.

Till next time … keep on smiling.

Win a Book!


WE HAVE TWO GUEST BLOGGERS TODAY. The two guest bloggers today are Featherling and Lampos. YOU MAY LEAVE A COMMENT ON BOTH. EACH BLOG POST WILL HAVE A BOOK GIVEAWAY.

When you leave a comment on THIS post by 6 p.m. CT Wednesday, September 25, 2013 you'll be entered in the DRAWING for a copy of the book mentioned below. If you mention in your comment that you’re a follower (see in the left column “Join This Site” and “Follow by Email”), I’ll add your name a second time in the drawing. You must be eighteen, have a U.S. mailing address, void where prohibited. You can read details about my book giveaways at Disclaimers.


Teaching Diamonds in the Tough: Mining the Potential in Every Student by Cleo Lampos

From Cleo Lampos:
Life for me began in Greeley, Colorado. My father died when I was three years of age which left my mother with a senior in high school son, a kindergarten daughter, and me. She had not worked outside the home and did not receive social security. We lived on savings for a while, but then the money became scarce. My mother married a man who steadily abused alcohol until it overtook his life, and ours.
          Several years during my teens, adults sponsored my way to church camp. A week away from the realities of home bathed my soul with the Word of God and the healing from the Holy Spirit. Many salvation decisions were made at camp. At age 21, at University of Wisconsin-Whitewater, in the library, I committed my life to Jesus Christ to live only for Him. That commitment holds even to this day.
          The verse from Joseph’s life follows me throughout mine. “>>>>>meant it for evil, but God meant it for good.” The years our family endured living in a dysfunctional alcoholic family were difficult, but they prepared me for the work of my life. For twenty-six years, I worked in a school district described as “an urban school in a suburban setting.” Many of my students lived in conditions similar to those of my childhood. Half of my teaching years were spent with behavior disordered boys. Their emotional disturbances reflected the homes from which they came. As a teacher, I related to them and understood why they reacted as they did, but never let their backgrounds be an excuse for bad behavior or failure. Together, we worked on making wise choices on a daily basis. God had prepared me to teach to a group of children who are sometimes written off by society, but who hold great untapped potential.
          While teaching, the stresses of the day played on my heart and mind. By journaling the day’s events, a lot of anxiety was released in the writing and thinking process. Reflecting on the written material sometimes helped me to realize the problem and find a solution. Eventually, these entries became the basis on my devotional book, Teaching Diamonds in the Tough: Mining the Potential in Every Student (Lighthouse of the Carolinas, 2012). Hopefully, the series of vignettes will inspire this generation of teachers to look beyond the surface of a child’s behavior to their heart.
          This summer, Oak Tara Publishing is releasing the first in the series of books Teachers of Diamond Project Schools: Diamonds in the Rough. Second Chances is essentially my story of coming to Chicago and teaching after living my high school years in a small town in Wisconsin. In this romantic contemporary novel, the first year teacher confronts the difficulties of teaching children of poverty, gangs and drugs. Her personal faith is challenged, but she learns to rely on the Lord to make it through each day of teaching. She longs for the unconditional love shown by the fifth grade teacher whose husband suffers from MS multiple sclerosis. Eventually, she falls in love with a police officer who is chaplain in the jail. My personal background prepared me to write this series of books. In the fall, Book Two, Miss Bee and the Do Bees will be released. It is the story of a special education teacher in Diamond Projects.
          My husband of 43 years, Vernon, has shown the unconditional love needed to sustain a marriage. We now are retired, volunteer at the Bible League Thrift Shop, grow produce in our garden for Share the Harvest, pack meals for Children’s Hunger Fund, and teach Children’s Church. I write for the Worship Team in our local church. Three grown children with spouses and ten grandchildren join our two cats for fun. God has been good to me.
          Join me on the web. My blog is Teachers and Other Everyday Heroes. I try to blog once a week, and write about people who are ordinary but have done something extraordinary in their lives. Check out the blog about the Dutch Garbio (or Garbagemen) ) on my blog. They typify so much about the immigrant work ethic. On the blog that is guest written by a mother catapulted into the role of caregiver to her high school daughter.
          Please email me with your comments and concerns.
          Teaching Diamonds in the Tough: Mining the Potential in Every Student is available on Amazon.
 

Remember: leave a comment on THIS post by 6 p.m. CT Wednesday, September 25, 2013 and you'll be entered in the drawing for a copy of Teaching Diamonds in the Rough: Mining the Potential in Every Student by Cleo Lampos. Please, please remember to leave your email address. I’ll need you email address so that should you be the winner I can get in touch with you. I’ll announce the winner in Monday’s blog.


REMEMBER, WE HAVE TWO GUEST BLOGGERS TODAY--Featherling and Lampos. YOU MAY LEAVE A COMMENT ON BOTH. EACH BLOG POST WILL HAVE A BOOK GIVEAWAY.


Till next time … keep on smiling.

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Win a Book!

When you leave a comment on THIS post by 6 p.m. CT Sunday, September 22, 2013 you'll be entered in the DRAWING for a copy of the book mentioned below. If you mention in your comment that you’re a follower (see in the left column “Join This Site” and “Follow by Email”), I’ll add your name a second time in the drawing. You must be eighteen, have a U.S. mailing address, void where prohibited. You can read details about my book giveaways at Disclaimers.     


Xeno Oaks by Marjorie B. Hill

Our guest blogger is Marjorie B. Hill, author of Xeno Oaks: My home is in the small town of Walterboro, the low country of South Carolina. We have four wonderful children, three daughters and a son and have been blessed with seven grandchildren. I have been published in Moody Monthly, Pee Dee Magazine, Mustard Seed Ministries and several newspapers. Xeno Oaks is my first novel. When not gardening, I can be found at the Veterans Victory House in Walterboro, where my husband is a resident. I am a member of the American Christian Fiction Writers Southeast.

What fun or unique things can you tell us about yourself that we don’t know?
We served as missionaries to the beautiful country of Colombia, SA, after a year of language study in San Jose, Costa Rica. I was famous for getting my Spanish words confused…like when I asked the maid to clean the spot on the wall with sopa thinking it was soap, not realizing it was soup. Tomato soup doesn't go well with a white wall.  Also, I am a Master Naturalist and have always been intrigued with the beautiful swamps and swamp life that is abundant in the low country of South Carolina. I grew up in a tiny (small is not an adequate description) southern town--maybe 500 including pets.

Please describe yourself with three words.
According to my husband who suffers from Alzheimer's, I am tall, beautiful, and brilliant. In reality I am tall, love writing and teaching, and making people smile.

What do you enjoy doing when you’re not writing?
I love gardening. I can get out there and yank those weeds (frustrations) from the landscape and feel so much better as I lean back and admire my work. Also enjoy reading and speaking and teaching. Especially enjoy spending time with my family.

What novel have you recently read that impressed you that you would highly recommend to others?
The Wedding Dress by by Rachael Hauck.

I have a list of my 5 favorite novels I’ve read. Please tell us your 5 favorite novels of all time.
The Princess and the Curdie by George MacDonald; George MacDonald by C.S. Lewis; Destined for the Throne by Paul Billheimer;  Down the Long Hills by Louis L'Amour;  Brides of the West by Lori Copeland. My list continues to grow as so many wonderful new authors shine forth.

If you could have dinner with one person from today or history (except Jesus), who would it be?
Simon Peter. I love the fact that he was constantly putting his foot in his mouth, yet he was chosen and loved by our Lord. That gives me tremendous hope.

How did you become involved in writing?
I have always loved stories. My parents were storytellers as well as my grandparents. Each evening the neighborhood children would come to hear Daddy's stories. He would sit them in a row on the back of the sofa, drag up a chair so he would be eye level and weave his interesting tales. There is a wonderful mystery with words and in writing. In seeing your characters come alive and revealing themselves to you.

Where do you write? Do you have a dedicated office or a corner or nook in a room?
I have a desk with bookshelf and computer in my sitting room. But I have to admit that I keep a pad in my purse (my grandkids call it the black hole) to jot down ideas or thoughts before they zip out of reach. Also keep a pad on my nightstand.

Please tell us about Xeno Oaks.
Xeno Oaks. Xeno Love Britton is my great, great grandmother's name. I chose her name for my title. I decided she needed some special treatment bearing that name for her life. (Read more about Xeno Oaks here.)

What takeaway value do you hope your readers receive after reading this book?
God's love and forgiveness surpasses all of our problems. I suppose I want most of all for my readers to see redemption and forgiveness but also humor in our everyday lives. I have a tendency to take myself much too seriously.

Did you have to do any research for this book?
Yes. I included family stories and time related information.

How long have you been writing? When did you sell your first book?
I don't remember when I didn't write. Comments, notes, diary, etc. My first book, Xeno Oaks, was released on June 5, 2012. However it had been a work in progress for many years.

What advice would you give to writers who have been writing a few years but still haven’t interested an agent or publisher in their novel?
I know this sounds redundant but don't give up. God's timing is perfect.

What are you working on now?
A sequel to Xeno Oaks. The story of the older sister, Penny. Also I have a weekly devotional blog, The Front Porch Visit--A Southern Tradition.

Please tell our readers where they can get your book.
I have an author's page on Amazon. Also it's available on the Tate Publishing website

Please tell our readers where they can find you online.
Website and blog.

Any parting comment?
Thank you so much for this opportunity. It is a privilege to be interviewed by you.

Marjorie, thank you for visiting with my readers and me. One of our commenters will win a copy of Xeno Oaks in a random drawing.



Remember: leave a comment on THIS post by 6 p.m. CT Sunday, September 22, 2013 and you'll be entered in the drawing for a copy of  Xeno Oaks by Marjorie Hill. Please, please remember to leave your email address. I’ll need you email address so that should you be the winner I can get in touch with you. I’ll announce the winner in Monday’s blog.

The winner of last Monday’s blog post for a copy of A Ton of Gold by James R. Callan is Maxie. I'll email you. Thanks all for commenting. Watch for more book giveaways.

Till next time … keep on smiling.

Monday, September 16, 2013

Win a Book!

When you leave a comment on THIS post by 6 p.m. CT Wednesday, September 18, 2013 you'll be entered in the DRAWING for a copy of the book mentioned below. If you mention in your comment that you’re a follower (see in the left column “Join This Site” and “Follow by Email”), I’ll add your name a second time in the drawing. You must be eighteen, have a U.S. mailing address, void where prohibited. You can read details about my book giveaways Disclaimers.      


A Ton of Gold by James R. Callan


Our guest blogger is James R. Callan, author of A Ton of Gold. After a successful career in mathematics and computer science, receiving grants from the National Science Foundation and NASA, and being listed in Who’s Who in Computer Science and Two Thousand Notable Americans, James R. Callan turned to his first love—writing.  He wrote a monthly column for a national magazine for two years, and published several non-fiction books.  He now concentrates on his favorite genre, mystery/suspense, with his fifth book released in 2013.

Welcome, Jim. Please tell us a little about yourself.
Jim:  I am married to Earlene Callan. We have four children (one son and three daughters) and six grandchildren (four grandsons and two granddaughters).

What fun or unique things can you tell us about yourself that we don’t know? 
Jim:  I just gave a surprise birthday party for Earlene.  All the kids and grandkids came to stay at our Texas home for four days—big surprise.  Earlene had no idea.  Then, on Saturday another twenty friends and family showed up for lunch.  It was fun.  Unique? Hmmm. I took an undergraduate degree in English. Then entered a Ph.D. program in mathematics.

Please describe yourself with three words.
Jim:  Adventuresome, laid back, confident.

What do you enjoy doing when you’re not writing?
Jim: I enjoy reading, traveling, and working around our Texas property, clearing trees and cutting new trails.

How did you become involved in writing?
Jim: I had intended to write when I graduated from college, but soon found out I could not support a family doing that.  So, I entered graduate school in mathematics. I pursued a career in research in the field of mathematics, which segued into computer science.  Many years later when the kids were all out of college and self-supporting, I thought, “I don’t have to support a family. I can go back to my first love – writing.”  At first, I wrote some non-fiction.  But soon I began to write what I had always intended to write – mystery and suspense.

Where do you write? Do you have a dedicated office or a corner or nook in a room?
Jim: I have a nice office in our Texas home and a nice office in our Puerto Vallarta home.  They are rather different. The Texas office is very quiet – we live in the middle of a forest. The Mexico office is always filled with music – from the happy Mexican people.

Do you always know the title of your books before you write them?
Jim: I always have a working title. But that seldom is the title that ends up on the published book.  For example, my latest suspense novel is titled A Ton of Gold. But from day one, I thought of it as Crystal and Gold.  

Please tell us about A Ton of Gold.
Jim: Crystal Moore is a computer scientist.  Her only living relative, the grandmother who raised her, calls to say someone is trying to kill her. Crystal suddenly finds herself in the midst of murder, arson and kidnapping, all because of an old Texas folktale and the lure of gold.  And as she struggles with these unknown assailants, the man who nearly destroyed her emotionally comes back. This time, he can ruin her career.  Crystal will need all the help she can get from a former bull rider, a street-wise friend, and her feisty, 76 year old grandmother.

What takeaway value do you hope your readers receive after reading this book?
Jim: I hope people are reminded of the importance of family and the need to believe in yourself.

Where did you get the idea for your book?
Jim: I had long wanted to use someone involved in computer research, as I had done that for many years. Then, I read an old Texas folktale. The two ideas percolated in my head for awhile, merged, and A Ton of Gold resulted.

Did you have to do any research for this book?
Jim: This book required little research. I had worked as a computer scientist; I had lived in Dallas and east Texas, and I started with the folktale.

How long have you been writing? When did you sell your first book?
Jim: I began writing about sixteen years ago. I sold my first non-fiction book maybe fifteen years ago.  And my first mystery/suspense book sold in 1999.

What advice would you give to writers who have been writing a few years but still haven’t interested an agent or publisher in their novel?
Jim: First, be persistent.  Madeline L'Engle's masterpiece A Wrinkle in Time received 26 rejections, then went on to win the Newberry Medal.  Second, study the craft of writing. And third, join a writers group (one that is serious about improving writing).

What are you working on now?
Jim: I am putting the finishing touches on a book on the craft of writing, titled How to Write Great Dialog.  This follows my book on character development, Character: The Heartbeat of the Novel, (Oak Tree Press, 2013).  As soon as the dialog book goes off to the publisher, I will begin to polish my second Crystal Moore book, currently titled The Silver Medallion.

What advice would you give to writers just starting out?
Jim: Read good authors. And write, write, write.
 
Please tell our readers where they can get your book.
Jim: The easiest way to find my books is to check on Amazon.  All are in print and most are also in Kindle editions.  My author page on Amazon is at:  http://amzn.to/1eeykvG

Please tell our readers where they can find you online.
Jim:
My website is www.jamesrcallan.com

Any parting comment?
Jim: Thank you, Jo, for having me on your site today.  I appreciate the opportunity to visit with you and your readers. 

Jim, thank for your your interesting interview. I enjoyed your visit with my readers and me. One of the commenters will win a copy of Ton of Gold, which you’ve graciously offered.


Remember: leave a comment on THIS post by 6 p.m. CT Wednesday, September 18, 2013 and you'll be entered in the drawing for a copy of A Ton of Gold by James R. Callan. Please, please remember to leave your email addressI’ll need you email address so that should you be the winner I can get in touch with you. I’ll announce the winner in Thursday’s blog.


The winner of last Thursday's blog post for a copy of Serenity to Accept by Elizabeth Maddrey is BarbaraT. I'll email you. Thanks all for commenting. Watch for more book giveaways.


Till next time ... keep on smiling.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Win a Book!

THE WINNER DRAWN RANDOMLY FOR A COPY OF CINDI PULLEN'S BOOK NOT GUILTY DID NOT INCLUDE AN EMAIL ADDRESS FOR CONTACTING HER. I HAVE DRAWN ANOTHER WINNER AND IT IS squiresj. I WILL EMAIL YOU.

When you leave a comment on THIS post by 6 p.m. CT Sunday, September 15, 2013 you'll be entered in the DRAWING for a copy of the book mentioned below. If you mention in your comment that you’re a follower (see in the left column “Join This Site” and “Follow by Email”), I’ll add your name a second time in the drawing. You must be eighteen, have a U.S. mailing address, void where prohibited. You can read details about my book giveaways at Disclaimers.     


Serenity to Accept by Elizabeth Maddrey


Guest blogger is Elizabeth Maddrey. Elizabeth began writing stories as soon as she could form the letters properly. Though her love of math steered her into computer science for school, she has always had several stories in progress. Elizabeth lives in the suburbs of Washington D.C. with her husband and two active little boys. 


Welcome Elizabeth, please tell us a little about yourself.

This is one of those questions that make me cringe – it’s like being on a job interview (and I always hated that). Let’s see, I’m outspoken and have a sense of humor that would probably go over a lot better if I was British (or at least lived in England). I’m a mother to two amazing boys and wife to an amazing husband (lots of amazing men in my world). I don’t mind scrubbing toilets but I dislike vacuuming. I love to cook but could do without having to scour the pots and pans afterward. I adore fall, spring, and winter (in that order) and would be perfectly happy if I could find somewhere to live that never got above 80 in the summer.

What fun or unique things can you tell us about yourself that we don’t know?

I’m a science nerd at heart. I have a PhD in computer science, and (until recently) taught programming at the college level (online). I love cats, but my husband is terribly allergic to them so I have to find friends with cats so I can get a cat fix now and then. I have lots of freckles and now that I’m older, I love them (never particularly cared for them as a child). I read in just about every genre and one of these days will probably try to write in all the genres that I love.

Please describe yourself with three words.

Smart, focused, loyal.

What do you enjoy doing when you’re not writing?

Reading is probably the top of the list for any spare time activities. I usually end up reading between 110 and 120 books a year. Besides reading, playing with the boys (or reading to them!), experimenting with a new recipe, and crocheting are high up on the list.

How did you become involved in writing?

My mom gave me a blank book when I was five and at one point (most likely when I was pestering her) told me to go write a story. After that I was hooked.

Where do you write? Do you have a dedicated office or a corner or nook in a room?

My husband and I have our computers in a shared office in our basement. I write there quite a bit, but since I have a laptop, I also write in the playroom while there are Lego wars going on, in the theater while Skylanders are working to defeat evil, and in the living room while train tracks and car races are under way.

Do you always know the title of your books before you write them?  
Not usually, no. In fact, I spend hours talking to my editor and family about the book. We brainstorm titles ‘til we’re all tired of thinking about it. Once we finally came up with a title for the first book in the series, the others fell in place much more easily. Of course, once that series is over we’re back to square one for the next.

Please tell us about Serenity to Accept.

Serenity to Accept is the third book in the Grant Us Grace Series (Book 1 is Wisdom to Know, Book 2 is Courage to Change) but I think (hope!) it stands alone pretty well. There are some recurring characters, but the main characters were sub-characters in the previous books.

Here’s the blurb:
Is there an exception to every rule?

Karin Reid has never had much use for God. There’s been too much pain in her life for her to accept that God is anything other than, at best, disinterested or, at worst, sadistic. Until she meets Jason Garcia.

After his own mistakes of the past, Jason is committed to dating only Christians. He decides to bend his rule for Karin, as long as she comes to church with him.

As their friendship grows, both will have to decide if they’ll accept the path God has for them, even if it means losing each other.


What takeaway value do you hope your readers receive after reading this book?

There are a number of themes in this book that I hope provide some food for thought. Karin struggles with stepping out in faith, preferring instead to have all the answers about God before she’s willing to commit her life to Him. She also has a very hard time with the problem of evil – and while I don’t think I’ve solved it, I hope there are some things for the reader to consider. I also touch on the problem of being unequally yoked and how much of a relationship between a believer and non-believer is too much. But most of all, I hope readers see the thread of grace and how, at the end of the day, God’s grace is so much bigger than any of our sin.

Where did you get the idea for your book?

The idea for Serenity came to me as I was finishing up the edits on Courage to Change. I’d known I needed a third in the series and had a vague notion, but nothing really concrete beyond a title (since it’s the third book, the title in this case was already pretty well set). When I met the character Karin while writing book two, I realized I really liked her and she needed her own book. Jason has a little cameo as well in book two – and he seemed pretty custom made for Karin. As for the plot – I had a general direction when I started to write, but I’m a seat of the pants girl, so a lot of it just happened as I went along.

Did you have to do any research for this book?

I did a little research about the NICU since Karin is a NICU nurse – I wanted to be sure I described things correctly and had a generally correct idea of what her shifts would be like.

How long have you been writing? When did you sell your first book?

I’ve been taking writing seriously and actually finishing books for about ten years. I sold my first book in August of 2012.

What advice would you give to writers who have been writing a few years but still haven’t interested an agent or publisher in their novel?

First I’d say don’t stop. Just keep working on your craft and getting your stories out. And then I’d say be open to possibilities that are outside the norm. I ended up going with a small press and have been incredibly glad that I did so. I don’t have an agent and so far that’s been working fine. If I hadn’t ended up with a contract with HopeSprings Books, I was seriously considering self-publishing. And I may end up going that route at some point in the future, too. There are a lot of opportunities in the publishing world if you’re willing to step out of the box a little.

What are you working on now?

There are several couples in the Grant Us Grace series I’ve fallen in love with and, while I don’t know that they have enough fodder for a whole book, I can’t just leave them alone. So I’ve been working on some novellas. Our plan is to release one a month (possibly October, November, December 2013) and then bundle them into a 3-in-1 offering once all 3 are out. The novellas will most likely be e-book only, but the 3-in-1 will be print and e-book.

What advice would you give to writers just starting out?

Find yourself a critique partner (preferably not your mom or someone who loves you) who will be brutally honest with you and mark up your work. Not only does that help you build your thick skin, it’s so necessary to get that feedback that stretches you and improves your craft.

Please tell our readers where they can get your book.
The only link I currently have is Amazon, but it’ll be available for Nook as well as on audiobook.

Please tell our readers where they can find you online.
       Website  
◦    Facebook
    Twitter

Any parting comment?
Thanks for having me!

Elizabeth, thanks for being with my reader and me. One of my commenters will wind a copy of Serenity to Accept, which you have offered to one of my readers.


Remember: leave a comment on THIS post by 6 p.m. CT Sunday, September 15, 2013 and you'll be entered in the drawing for a copy of Serenity to Accept by Elizabeth Maddrey. Please, please remember to leave your email address. I’ll need you email address so that should you be the winner I can get in touch with you. I’ll announce the winner in Monday’s blog.

The winner of last Monday's blog post for a copy of Not Guilty by Candi Pullen is ChristinaG. I'll email you to get your mailing address and we’ll get the book out to you. Thanks all for commenting. Watch for more book giveaways.
CHRISTINA G, I NEED YOUR EMAIL ADDRESS TO CONTACT YOU. PLEASE EMAIL ME WITH CONTACT TAB AT TOP OF THIS PAGE.

Till next time …keep on smiling.