Heather Blanton: Standing Up To Negativity

Heather

Everyone’s Story welcomes Christian Western Fiction author Heather Blanton. This is Heather’s first guest appearance on this blog and I hope not the last! Please join Heather this week as she shares from experience why it’s essential to stand up to negativity. Also check out Heather’s excerpt from A Promise In Defiance, her newest release that is Book 3 of the Romance in the Rockies Series. Heather’s offering a great BookGiveaway to 2 commenters so settle back and enjoy! We’re both looking forward to hearing from you.

***Plus, I have exciting news! From August 1-5, my novel Always With You is FREE on Kindle. Help yourself to what reviewers are calling an exciting read! Details on the bottom of Heather’s blog feature.

 

 

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BookGiveaway:

Heather is offering 1 print or ebook of any 1 of her novels to 2  randomly chosen commenters. The winners will be announced here on Friday, August 5th between 5-6 PM EST.

** Please note regarding BookGiveaways: email contact information within comments are no longer required. However, if I have a question regarding yours I’ll leave a comment for you to forward it in order for you to chance winning.

Excerpt from A Promise in Defiance, Book 3 in the Romance in the Rockies series:

 A Promise in Defiance by Heather Blanton

Logan jerked the warped, dilapidated door nearly off its hinges to get inside the Broken Spoke. The door’s resistance was a harbinger. The inside sucked the wind out of his soul.

No part of the saloon had gone untouched by the elements. The canvas walls, anchored to waist-high pine knee walls, were ripped in a dozen places and flapped lazily in the late summer breeze. The roof, all but gone, hung in mildewed tatters. The back wall of warped, graying pine still stood, but leaned inward at a sharp angle. If it fell, it would crash onto the sagging, rough-sawed plank bar. Broken chairs, dead leaves, and shards of glass littered the floor. He wandered in and brushed his hand over a rusty heap of a buck stove crumbling in the center of the room.

Disheartened, Logan exhaled and rubbed his neck. “Lord, I’ll need an army to fix up this place.”

“So why bother?” The sultry feminine voice from behind him made Logan whirl.

A woman stood in the doorway, beautiful, curvaceous . . . dangerous. She had her lovely auburn hair swept up and back in a bun while jaunty little curls ran down her neck. The unusual olive tint to her skin fascinated him. Her red silk dress clung to her tightly, almost like a second skin, and ample breasts fought their restraint. Her eyes, the color of polished amber, glittered like a cat eying easy prey.

Logan removed his hat. He could appreciate her beauty. He could also appreciate the way she wielded it like a sword. “Can I help you?”

She strolled in slowly, smoothly, each movement of her body calculated to entice and mesmerize her prey. “I’m Delilah. You the owner of this place?”

“Yes, ma’am.” Her method of hunting to him was, however, an old, worn-out strategy.

“I’ve been waiting for you.”

In more ways than one, Logan supposed. He sensed his first battle in Defiance had walked right through his door. He scratched the thick stubble on his jaw. “I suppose you want to buy me out?”

Her eyebrows rose almost imperceptibly.

“I’ve heard you’re trying to shut out the competition.”

“Hmmm.” She pondered that a moment before sauntering over to the bar. “Doesn’t that make me a smart businesswoman?”

“I suppose so.”

She turned to him and leaned back on the bar, striking a seductive pose. “I’d rather be friends than enemies, mister. This place is a wreck. It’ll cost you more to fix it up than you’ll make in a year. I’ll give you what you paid for it.”

“Long as I leave?”

“Or at least don’t open another saloon.”

“Well,” he rubbed his eyebrow and meandered over to the bar to stand beside her. “You don’t have to worry about that. I’m not opening a saloon.” He fought to hold back a smile. “But I can honestly say I hope my business will be in direct competition with yours.”

She scowled and stood up to him, her pink lips forming a tight, unhappy line. “What is your business?”

“I’m going to open a church.”

It took a moment, but when his meaning registered Delilah’s mouth fell open. “A church?”

“A church.”

“So, that means you’re a . . .?”

“Preacher. I’m here to share the Gospel with all the sinners in Defiance—professional and otherwise. I hope to win souls for the Lord . . . help make this town a place for decent folk to live.”

“Oh,” she chuckled, backing away from him, “oh, if this don’t beat all.” Delilah shook her head as if she either couldn’t believe her luck or his foolishness. “Preacher, have you got your work cut out for you.”

“So my Boss tells me.”

She rested her hands on her hips and looked up at him through long, dark lashes.

She sure has pretty skin. My, if I was a weaker man . . .

“I’ve come here to put Defiance back on the map, Preacher. I’m gonna turn this town back into one hell-raising, hard-drinking boomtown.” Her eyes flickered with heat. Licking her lips, she dragged dainty, manicured hands slowly across the tops of her breasts. “If I were you, I wouldn’t stand in my way.”

Don’t Listen to Negative Nellie by Heather Blanton

I hate it when I hear a parent tell a child, “Stop dreaming. You’ll never make a living at that. You should be more practical.”

Once, my mother was embarrassed I sent a manuscript to the editor of Tiger Beat Magazine—because I shouldn’t bother the person. When I had a shot at an internship with the Dallas Morning News, she voiced concerned about the cost of sending the Fed Ex package. What she was really saying, of course, was I didn’t have a shot at it and I was wasting our money.

My mom has never been much for holding onto her dreams. She didn’t exactly come through the Depression unscathed—her father was an abusive alcoholic who couldn’t hold a job. Later on, she married a mechanic who never made a lot of money. She scrimped and saved and worried about paying the bills her whole life. She’s also buried three children. Hope has always been in short supply for Momma.

My daddy was also the son of an abusive alcoholic. In the 30’s, he bounced around from orphanage to foster family and back again. He was a mechanic who never made much money and had to provide for us six kids and a wife. He was there when those three children were laid to rest. But for Daddy, hope always overflowed. I wish I had a dime for every time he said to me, “You can accomplish anything if you put your mind to it.”

All I’ve ever wanted was to be a writer.

More specifically, I wanted to be a published author. In 2012, I got so close I could smell the ink on the offer. My book, A Lady in Defiance, made it all the way to the contract meeting at a major Christian publisher. This means that every editor at that company endorsed my book. At the same time, I had self-published A Lady with the goal of selling 200 copies for my Relay for Life team.

The publisher turned me down; the marketing department said my sales projections were too low. Talk about a punch to the gut. When I got the email at work, I went into the bathroom, looked up at Heaven and said, “God, this really hurts … but I know you have a plan for me. I trust you.”

I couldn’t see over the hill, but God could. My book went on to sell more than 4000 copies that year. No marketing, no pr, no publisher. To date, it has sold over 40,000 copies. I made enough money to quit my job and start writing full time. I have written five books since then. I have highs and lows in sales, feast and famine, but I also have a husband who believes in me as a writer. God has allowed us to keep the bills paid. There’s not a lot of feasting, but there is never famine.

My point is, if you have a dream and it’s God’s plan for you, he will make a way for it to come to pass; it just may not be exactly what you were expecting. Either way, don’t listen to the Negative Nellies. Listen for God’s voice and keep reaching for the stars until or unless he closes that door. Then be ready for the new path.

If you know someone who is chasing a dream and it seems ridiculous to you, don’t be an Eeyore. Pray for that person, and pray you can be wise counsel. Keep your negative, spirit-crushing comments to yourself. And if the dream slips away, be ready with a hug. God is probably about to do something awesome and if you’re focused on the I-told-you-so, you’ll miss it.

Heather’s Ah-hahs To Tweet:

@HeatherFBlanton: Don’t Listen to Negative Nellie! #BookGiveaway (Tweet This)

Like #ChristianWesternFiction? Visit with author @HeatherFBlanton (Tweet This)

#BookGiveaway of #ChristianWesternFiction by @HeatherFBlanton (Tweet This)

Author’s Bio:

Heather Blanton is the independent bestselling author of several Christian Westerns, including the Romance in the Rockies series, which has sold over 40,000 copies. Intrigued by the concept of three good sisters stranded in a lawless Colorado mining town, a few notable Hollywood producers have requested the script for her first book in that series, A Lady in Defiance. Heather’s writing is gritty and realistic. In fact, her books have been compared to AMC’s Hell on Wheels series, as well as the legendary Francine Rivers book, Redeeming Love.

A former journalist, Heather is an avid researcher and skillfully weaves truth in among the fictional story lines. She loves exploring the American West, especially ghost towns and museums. She has walked parts of the Oregon Trail, ridden horses through the Rockies, climbed to the top of Independence Rock, and even held an outlaw’s note in her hand.

She writes Westerns because she grew up on a steady diet of Bonanza, Gunsmoke, and John Wayne movies. Her most fond childhood memory is of sitting next to her father, munching on popcorn, and watching Lucas McCain unload that Winchester!

Places to connect with Heather:

Website/Ladies In Defiance

Twitter

Facebook

Pinterest

Amazon

~*~*~*~*~

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Always With You is FREE on Kindle from August 1-5th! Please share the news—thanks May Isabelle and Tyler’s story bless you with hope:

Amazon Link

 

 

Tweet This for Always With You:

FREE on Kindle August 1-5: Always With You by Elaine Stock: Will #faith, #family, and power sway you? (Tweet This)

Heather and I look forward to your comments. The comment area is below.

Click “Comments.”

35 comments to Heather Blanton: Standing Up To Negativity

  • Wow, it feels like coming home to be at your blog again, Elaine, since I’ve been busy w/company and illness this summer. And Heather, I truly enjoyed your heartwarming message about slaying our negative dragons. Thanks so much for sharing it w/us.

  • Connie Saunders

    Heather, as I read this, my heart ached for a mother who buried three children and had no hope to share with her living daughter but I also rejoiced that this same young girl had a father who encouraged her and also took the time to watch westerns on TV as they sat together. That resonates with me because I also watched westerns with my daddy. I am thrilled that you may soon have your own western to watch on television. Blessings to you!
    Connie
    cps1950(at)gmail(dot)com

  • Lucy Reynolds

    Thank you so much for the chance. I loved that you stressed we are to be an encourager to others and their dreams. God bless.

  • Terrill Rosado

    This was a convicting and encouraging post. My 17 year old daughter is an ambitious dreamer and I sometimes feel like Heather’s mom. I try very hard not to verbalize my doubt or fears to my daughter unless they are well-founded. Fortunately, I have a husband (and a Heavenly Father) who helps to quiet my fears and encourages me to be my daughter’s cheerleader. I’m thrilled to hear how Heather has pursued her goals in spite of any discouragement from others. Because of that, we are blessed with her books. 🙂

    • elaineadmin

      Terrill, you’ve really speak to my heart today, and likely everyone else: finding a balance between the doubting (as Heather would say, the negatives) dark of this world and the hopeful of what He promises. I know I do battle with this on a daily basis. So glad you enjoyed Heather’s feature.

    • Aw, thank you, Terri, for saying my books are a blessing. They certainly are intended to be. And I hope you give your daughter the freedom to match her dreams with God’s plans for her.

  • Diane Estrella

    Thank you so much for featuring Heather and her books. Great article!

  • Thanks so much, Elaine, for introducing a new-to-me author. The excerpt intrigued me and I will be reading more of it soon! So agree we need to encourage one another. While my family encouraged me, I knew they thought my desire to be published was a pipe dream. But I kept learning the craft.

    Heather, not getting the contract was probably the best thing for you, even though it didn’t seem like it at the time. I wonder if that publishing house is still kicking themselves. 🙂

    • elaineadmin

      Pat, you made me smile, by both appreciating Heather’s feature, as well as bringing back a memory: I attended a writer’s conference a few years ago and in particular, a well-known agent (the name of the conference and agent will remain a mystery to protect the innocent ). The agent admitted that he/she had passed on a few wannabe authors only to watch these authors get swallowed up by a publishing house he/she would have loved to have sold to and the results were huge sales. The moral of the story (and yes, I’m swallowing my own medicine in the name of hope!) is that some of us won’t get what we thought we really, really wanted to discover that He has different plans for us. And, it’s the same old same Blessed wonderful old: He’s always right.

    • You know, Patricia, the only thing I miss now about not being with a publisher, and that one in particular, is I would have liked the chance to work with a couple of the awesome editors there. I try very hard to always keep learning the craft of writing and hope to never think I’ve mastered it so I really respect a good editor. 🙂

    • Terrill Rosado

      You know, Pat. You and your blog are how I discovered Elaine. I’m glad you kept plugging away at your dream.

      • elaineadmin

        This is soooooo nice to hear, Terrill 😊 I’m going to make sure Pat sees this! Bless your heart.

      • Terril, that makes me so happy that I had a part in you discovering Elaine! And yes, I’m glad I did too. Part of it was that I just couldn’t not write. The stories wouldn’t go away. And even now, when the words are like pulling teeth, I still love to write. Because when they do flow, it’s heaven!

  • KayM

    What an encouraging post and great insight! I just started reading A Lady in Defiance. Oh my goodness, what a great beginning! It took my breath away. I’m looking forward to reading this book and the ones that follow. Elaine, thanks for sharing Heather’s post.

  • Marilyn R

    Heather, my heart broke as I read about your childhood. Thankful your father encouraged and gave you hope, but tragic to bury three children thinking there was no hope. Isn’t it wonderful God sees the bigger picture in each our lives? The publishing company probably regrets not publishing your book now. So thankful to hear how God blessed you as you hung on to hope and faith in Him. Elaine, thank you for featuring, Heather Blanton, another new author to me. The brief excerpt draws me in wanting to read A Promise in Defiance along with the other books in this series. God bless.

  • Thank you for reading, Marilyn, and thank you for your encouraging words! God bless!

  • Hi Heather:

    As I read the account of your mother’s life all I saw was a heroine — a brave woman who faced incredible hardships, suffering, and pain — only to come back again and again to face the next challenge.

    It is no wonder to me that a woman who had suffered so much disappointment would not encourage the taking of risks which life itself has shown are highly unlikely of success. My mother was much the same way but her ‘discouragement’ was out of love and out of a desire not to see me hurt by rejection and disappointed. That’s just what mothers do from making you wear a sweater when you are not hot to eating things you don’t like because they are good for you.

    Mothers can especially afford to do this when there is a positive father, hero, who is ever ready to play the good cop. I was a junior so there was nothing my father thought I couldn’t do — if I put the work in!

    I would consider it an honor to meet your mother some day on the other side.

    In the meantime, I just downloaded, “Lady in Defiance,” as it must be really good to get such strong sales without marketing!

    Vince

    • elaineadmin

      Thanks for visiting, Vince. I’m curious to see how Heather will respond to your comment. I’ll say this: she struck my emotional chord and I applaud her grit for being able to share about a troubled past… something that isn’t easy to do. All of us are so different… May He bless us all.

  • Heather’s background story struck a chord with me too. When I was a kid my parents always encouraged me to tackle difficult school assignments like geometry and trigonometry by telling me “I could do anything I set my mind to do.” When, as high school graduation approached, I decided to pursue a career in contemporary music by applying to Berklee College of Music, their tune changed, and they advised me to get a Plan B, to major in something responsible and do music ont he side in case it didn’t work out. I wondered, whatever happened to “anything I set my mind to?”

    Were I raising kids of my own, I wouldn’t be trying to insulate them from the possibility of failure and disappointment. I’d be trying to strengthen them to persevere through it.

    In any case, I’m glad you persevered, and very impressed with selling 40k copies over three or four years with no marketing. I hope my first novel does as well; I’ll be marketing the daylights out of it! 😉 keep on writing.

    • elaineadmin

      John, so nice to see you here! I think it takes a very special parent to encourage a child to pursue creative arts. For decades, and possibly centuries based upon what I’ve read, there is awful contradiction when it comes to literature, theatre, cinema, music: everyone seems to want, love, desire to be entertained whether it’s reading or watching a performance or listening to a symphony or band yet it’s rare that a parent will encourage a child to have a career in the arts. I’m not saying all parents discourage their children, but one too many creative children have given up their dreams due to lack of encouragement and it’s sad.

      This crazy, upside down world needs the arts. I applaud Heather, yourself, and all of my writing friends for not surrendering their dreams. I applaud readers for loving Story and for wanting the next great read. I hope your novel does well too! Don’t stop with that one… go on to write the next.

  • Such an encouraging post. Thanks for sharing your heart. I know there are many writers out there who need to hear your message. The writing life is like no other and those negative nellies pop up everywhere. Glad to know there are encouragers like you out there.

    • elaineadmin

      Vickie, you’re so right about how those Nellies pop up everywhere… and from the least expected places/people! I think that’s why it’s essential for writers, especially those writing for the Christian market to stay grounded more than ever in faith and follow His voice. I’m not preaching here, but rather fortifying my own life with daily dosage of vitamins (G, O, D). Thanks so much for visiting! I’m glad you enjoyed Heather’s feature.

  • elaineadmin

    This past week has been a stirring time on Everyone’s Story and thanks, Heather Blanton, for making it so 💗 I think you’ve struck an emotional chord that we can all relate to, either in our past or present. And, if in the future we encounter any Negative Nellies we will surely think of your encouraging words.

    Thanks too for your awesome BookGiveaway!!

    The winners of Heather’s Giveaway, the choice of any 1 of her books, either in print or ebook, are…

    Diane and Connie. Congratulations you two. Happy reading! Both Heather and I will contact you shortly via direct emails.

    Blessings to all.

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