Jennifer Hallmark: What Seasons and Flavorings Did You Use?

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Everyone’s Story welcomes author Jennifer Hallmark. In one way or another, in one shape or dimension, we all experience different seasons of life. Jennifer brings to us this week a certain brightness despite the agony of darker times, likening these times as different flavors of life. As a writer, Jennifer shows us how these flavors can spice and impact our writing and ultimately how this will influence the reader.  Please check out Jennifer’s BookGiveaway, the blurb of the book she’s offering, and her beautifully, elegant words she shares with us this week. Both Jennifer and I look forward to hearing from you.

BookGiveaway:

Jennifer is offering 1 Kindle version of the book Not Alone to 1 randomly chosen commenter. The winner will be announced here on Friday, January 29th between 5-6 PM EST. To be entered in the Giveaway, please leave your contact information within your comment (you may choose to use the Contact form on the Contact Page to privately send me your email address).

 

Blurb of Not Alone: A Literary and Spiritual Companion for Those Confronted with Infertility and Miscarriage:

Our society understands how terrible the loss of a child is when that child is out of the womb, but what about when a child dies before birth? Or what about the emptiness that comes when a very-much-wanted child is never even conceived?

These quiet, private losses are hard for those who have not experienced them to understand. And these losses leave those who have suffered them feeling alone in their grief.

Not Alone: A Literary and Spiritual Companion for Those Confronted with Infertility and Miscarriage is a resource both for those who have suffered through these experiences and for their friends and relatives, who want to understand what their loved ones are going through.

This collection contains true stories that are:

  • sensitive, and yet honest
  • angry and raw, but not despairing
  • unique, and yet relatable

The contributors to this book are male and female, old and young, some who eventually had children and some who never did, and yet despite their differences, they share a common grief and a common faith.

No experience of miscarriage, infant loss, or infertility is like any other, yet by reading these painful and hope-filled stories, you’ll be comforted by knowing there are others who understand the journey you’re on, the loss you’ve suffered, and you will find that even though your loss is uniquely yours, you are not alone.

 

How Did the Flavors Develop in Your Story?

by Jennifer Hallmark

My story is not unlike yours. Most of us have had times of joy and those of sorrow. We’ve experienced trials, tribulations, and some success. We’re born, attend school, work, and grow old.

Our uniqueness comes to play from the individual flavors added to each story. What are flavors? For me, a hearty spice was stirred in both in high school and college as I pursued art. It awoke my senses to the creative side of me that eventually led to writing.

The saltiness of loss entered early in our married life, with the loss of my husband’s father before we’d been married a year, a miscarriage a few years later, then the loss of my father before our ten-year anniversary. Sweetness came with the birth of each child and an extra portion with the granddaughters.

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Our story is also distinctive among Christians, for we have the added depth of when we come to the knowledge of Jesus Christ as our Savior. I came to that knowledge as a child, then gave my life to a call to minister to others as a teenager. I never sowed wild oats but experienced a bitter seasoning in my late twenties when God turned a mirror on me to expose a Pharisee-like reflection. I’d become arrogant, ignoring deeper issues of the heart that needed a touch of God’s grace.

All of these flavors add together to create me. As a writer, I have a distinct voice when I allow all of the spices to blend and refuse to throw any out. I love the quote by Saint Irenaeus: “The glory of God is man fully alive.”

I want to accept my story, to draw from it and give hope and encouragement to others, as only I can. In the latest book compilation I’m part of; Not Alone: A Literary and Spiritual Companion to Those Confronted With Infertility and Miscarriage, many of us tell our stories, using our distinct voice, of the sorrow and heartache that made us who we are. The stories are designed to first be real, then to give hope to others in the same situation.

A Miscarriage and a Miracle is the story of how I dealt with the miraculous healing of a tumor as well as the loss of a child. I learned so much during that time:

“Through my turmoil, God gave me compassion to help others in their time of loss. God truly does comfort us so we can comfort others.” From A Miscarriage and a Miracle.

Within a few short days, I experienced the saltiness of sorrow, the sweetness of joy, and a plethora of the spices of mixed emotions. These flavors all combined to add another chapter to my life, one that made me stronger and gave me empathy for others that I could learn no other way.

How about you? Do you accept your unique story or try to blend into other stories? Share one part of your story in the comment section below.

Jennifer’s Ah-hahs To Tweet:

Author @JenHwrites shares about a miscarriage, a miracle, and how she helps others. (Tweet This)

Everyone’s Story: @JenHwrites asks how did the flavors in life develop in your story. (Tweet This)

@JenHwrites offers #BookGiveaway of Not Alone to help others through infertility & miscarriage. (Tweet This)

Author’s Bio:

Jennifer Hallmark is a writer by nature, artist at heart, and daughter of God by His grace. She’s published over 200 articles and interviews on the internet, short stories in several magazines, and been part of four book compilations: A Dozen Apologies, Sweet Freedom A La Mode, Unlikely Merger, and Not Alone: A Literary and Spiritual Companion for Those Confronted with Infertility and Miscarriage. She is currently shopping her contemporary southern fiction novel, When Wedding and Weather Collide.

Places to connect with Jennifer:

Website

Writing Prompts Blog

Twitter

Facebook

Pinterest

Amazon

Since I’ll only have 1 chance to announce a debut novel:

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Additional Fun and BookGiveaways from Elaine to

Celebrate the Release of her novel Always With You

and this new website:

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In addition to Jennifer’s lovely Giveaway, you also have a chance to  enter the BookGiveaway I’m offering to win either 1 copy of my debut novel Always With You (upon its release) or Christmas Treasures. Just sign up for my NEWSLETTER/Mailing List found on the ABOUT ELAINE page–click on the MAILING LIST house icon on the top right-hand column. US entries will receive a printed copy.  Outside the US will receive a digital copy.

I’m so looking forward to this Giveaway!

I also hope that you will sign up to receive Everyone’s Story blog in your inbox. The SUBSCRIPTION BOX is on the top of this page on the right-hand column. Previous subscribers on the former Blogger blog have not automatically been transferred.

Jennifer and I look forward to your comments. The comment area is below. Click “Comments.”

16 comments to Jennifer Hallmark: What Seasons and Flavorings Did You Use?

  • Hi Jennifer:

    I think we are simpatico as far as what goes into making a great romance. I’ve often written that the best analogy for writing romances is not literature but cooking. After all, people read romances because how romances make them feel as they are reading the novel. Fans don’t read romances just to find out how the story ends. They are guaranteed a happy ending! People do read mysteries to find out how they end, before they end. That’s not the case with romances.

    No, fans read romances like they enjoy a gourmet stake dinner at a fine restaurant. First they like the ambiance: that is, the setting in a romance. It’s very important to select a setting readers would enjoy visiting. Fans also want every course to taste great — just as they want each page of a romance to be a rewarding reading experience. No matter how great the desert is, the rest of the meal must also be excellent. You can’t save a bland meal with baked Alaska for desert!

    And here’s something else I find very important: a great romance is a wonderful reading experience as it is read page-by-page. A romance is something to enjoy and savor. It is not something to hurry up and get it over with!!!

    For example: I literally took two months to read Sandra Leesmith’s “Love’s Dream Song” because the reading experience was so good, so enjoyable and so much of what I want most in a romance, that I did not want it to end! I allowed myself only a few pages a night as if it was Sees candy. That is, a special treat for good behavior. : )

    Yes, yes, yes. I am with you. It is wise to flavor your story. It is smart to season your story. It is important to worry about how each course tastes. You taste test it each page of the way. Where it needs spices, you use your innate skill as a cook to add the right spices.

    Once you prove to a reader that you are a great cook, those same readers will come back again and again for more just as they will return to their favorite restaurant to enjoy more of the same.

    Given all this, I think I would enjoy your writing. What do you recommend I read as your Hallmark masterpiece?

    Vince

    • elaineadmin

      Vince, I’m so happy to see you post on Everyone’s Story!!! I love your enthusiasm about Jennifer’s feature. And you’re so right regarding what Jennifer has shared with us–the proper seasoning provides the right flavor, which is essential to all writing, be it fiction or non-fiction.

      I haven’t read Sandra Lenesmith’s novel and will look into it for sure now because of your glowing suggestion.

      Be blessed… and hope you’re safe from the current winter storm.

    • Thanks for dropping by, Vince. Interesting thoughts! My first novel isn’t out yet but I think you’d enjoy “The Miracle Man” by Buck Storm.

  • “I want to accept my story, to draw from it and to give hope to others…” My favorite line from your post, Jennifer. And I enjoyed reading Vince’s take on seasoning romances, too. Now, here’s another genre–this theme of seasoning, including some bitter herbs at a few points, colored my memoir writing as well.

    Engaging in memoir writing–and reading–compels us to a deeper level. Perhaps we’ve always lived at that level inwardly, but to WRITE IT OUT is another thing. By its very nature, this work changes us…I really had no idea until I got into this process, and honestly, until afterward, looking back.

    Wonder what other genres can relate to this post? Thank you Elaine and Jennifer. Here’s a cheer for transparency!

    • elaineadmin

      Gail, thanks for visiting today! I always enjoy seeing you here.

      That’s right–you’ve written a memoir! I imagine there must be a lot of seasoning blended well in memoir writing. I’ve toyed with writing one myself, but perhaps a bit further into the future since I’m having lots of fun with fiction writing.

    • Thank you, Gail. I think any genre can pull the transparent truth from an author. 🙂

  • Just thinking.

    If you want to use the analogy of ‘flavors’ and ‘spices’, then what would you think of using ‘taste’ as being analogous to ‘voice’ when describing the personality expressed in an author’s work?

    Vince

    • elaineadmin

      Yep, Vince. I can see this. Something like: this author spiked my tongue with his wild, peppery humor. Is this what you’re thinking? I’d be curious to know what Jennifer thinks.

  • An authors voice, to me, is the addition of all life’s experiences mingled with their personality…

  • I really admire this post. It is amazing how powerful “humble” can be.

  • elaineadmin

    This past week that has seen a major snow storm/blizzard for many in the US has kept many busy… and I hope curled up with a good book… or visits to blogs. One uplifting one was Jennifer Hallmark’s feature and I’m very grateful she’s been my guest during a rough week for many. Heartfelt thanks, Jennifer.

    Thanks too for your lovely BookGiveaway. The winner of NOT ALONE is…

    Sara! Both Jennifer and I will be in touch with you shortly, Sara.

    Blessings to all.

  • So glad you let me visit! Yay for Sara!

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