Kristy Cambron: What I Learned Since Becoming An Author


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Everyone’s Story gives a big welcome to author Kristy Cambron. A fan of Kristy’s novels, I  was so excited when she accepted my invitation to appear on my blog. While Kristy’s message will resonate with writers, I believe it will also hit home with readers who don’t write since Kristy’s words carry hope in dreams and in believing in yourself. Also, here’s something to be jazzed about: check out Kristy’s BookGiveaway of her soon-to-be released The Ringmaster’s Wife–a novel I definitely want to read! Both Kristy and I look forward to hearing from you.

Plus, after reading what Kristy shares, please check out the information on the fabulous Christian Fiction Readers Retreat at the bottom of this post.

 

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BookGiveaway:

Kristy is offering 1 signed copy of The Ringmaster’s Wife, once it releases in June, to 1 randomly chosen commenter, so please do leave a comment. The winner will be announced here on Friday, May 27th between 5-6 PM EST.

** Please note regarding BookGiveaways: to further protect your privacy, and since email contact info is appearing for “my eyes only” when the comments go into my moderation box, emails within comments are no longer required. However, if yours does NOT appear I will leave a comment for you to forward it in order for you to chance winning.

 

5 Truths About Becoming an Author by Kristy Cambron

I may not be one of those super-hip YA authors out there (I’m a little more of the history-loving, museum type), but I do understand the awkwardness of those formative teenage years. Even as an adult, the first line of Taylor Swift’s Fifteen, always gets me:

“Take a deep breath and walk through the doors; it’s the morning of your very first day…”

I wasn’t fifteen– in fact, I was a 31 year-old corporate America-working wife and mother of two– but I stepped off a plane to attend my first writers’ conference in 2011, through invisible doors that led into the publishing world.

It was the morning of my very first day as an author. I was about as wide-eyed as they come. And in the years that have followed, I’ve released three books, have another in the editing stage, and am researching what I plan to write next. I’ve had book signings, speaking engagements in many cities I’d never visited before, radio interviews and promotional tours… Where I’ve been is worlds away from that conference, but not so far that I don’t remember what it felt like that very first day.

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If I could go back and tell that aspiring author a few things to help make her wiser, a little braver and the journey a whole lot easier, I’d give her some truth to tuck in her back pocket for the road:

  • Embrace Failure – If you want to read about epic failure, spend some time in Acts Chapter 9. Paul’s example in mind, we have to understand that failure can be the harbinger of amazing things to come! I performed poorly in several writing contests early in my career. Though I would have loved to win those contests or avoid rejections, I wasn’t ready for publication. Even as a published author, failure is part of the job. Not every reader will love the stories you write. 1-star reviews and mediocre sales can happen to any writer. Look at failure as an opportunity to learn, grow, and lean on Christ as you keep walking.

  • Make Friends – Networking is a valuable tool in any business, but developing authentic relationships will be critical on your journey to publication. In that first conference, I met a group of aspiring writers who were dream-chasing just like me. I also met many experienced authors. We developed a bond to support through the ups and downs of not just publication, but in everyday things. Now we’re just doing life together. And one by one, we watch (and celebrate!) as another friend receives a contract. It’s been a special tribe to be a part of.

  •  Read – They say that behind every good writer is a stack of books they’ve just read. (More like ten stacks, right?) If you love storytelling, then reading is a pleasure instead of a chore. You’ll cultivate your understanding of plot design, character development, story structure and the mechanics of writing well. You’ll learn what publishers are looking for. You’ll also treat the industry like a business because you’ll be learning and feeding your soul with encouragement for the road ahead.

  •  Step Away – When I transitioned from my old corporate career to the author life, it was new for writing to become more than a hobby. A trusted friend once asked me: “What hobbies do you have?” I was dumbfounded to come up with an answer. I knew I needed to enjoy my profession, but also understand who I am as a child of God – even if I were to be without writing for a while. Slow down in the dream-chase. Relax. Pray. Read the Word. Spend time with family and love every minute of the journey– especially when you feel like it’s taking longer than it should.

  • Carry a Sharpie – It’s an invaluable piece of advice I received from a very wise (also award-winning and bestselling) author. She said that you have to think like you’re an author before you sign a contract. Own your dreams! You’re an author whether you have a book on the shelves or not. And once you are published, carry that marker with pride and get ready to write when you’re asked to sign a book. (It happens all the time!)

So get out there, dream-chasing friends! Step through the doors to your new life. Just like Taylor sang, “Count to 10… take it in… This is life before you know who you’re gonna be.”

I can’t wait to see you on the other side.

Kristy’s Ah-hahs To Tweet:

Kristy Cambron @KCambronAuthor: 5 Truths About Becoming An Author. (Tweet This)

Everyone’s Story: What Kristy Cambron @KCambronAuthor would tell her former aspiring writer self. (Tweet This)

Win #BookGiveaway of Kristy Cambron @KCambronAuthor’s new release The Ringmaster’s Wife. (Tweet This)

Author’s Bio:

Kristy Cambron has a background in art and design, but she fancies life as a vintage-inspired storyteller. Her debut novel, THE BUTTERFLY AND THE VIOLIN, was named to Library Journal Reviews’ Best Books of 2014 and RT Reviewers’ Choice Awards Best of 2014 lists, and received a 2015 INSPY Awards nomination for best debut novel. Her second novel, A SPARROW IN TEREZIN, was named to Library Journal Reviews Best of 2015 list, and received a nomination for RT Reviewers’ Choice Awards Best Inspirational Book of 2015. Kristy’s third historical novel, THE RINGMASTER’S WIFE, was named to Publishers Weekly Spring 2016 Religion & Spirituality TOP 10 and will release from HarperCollins in June, 2016.

Kristy is a Speaker and Design Manager at TheGROVEstory.com, and holds a degree in Art History from Indiana University. She lives in Indiana with her husband and three sons, where she can probably be bribed with a coconut mocha latte and a good read.

Places to connect with Kristy:

Website 

Twitter

Facebook 

Pinterest

Instagram

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I’ve been blessed by some lovely reviews–check them out:

Amazon   Barnes&Noble

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I’ll be at this amazing event that unites readers and authors. Will you be there? Let me know!

Come join us at the Christian Fiction Readers Retreat One Day Event (CFRR) in Nashville, TN this summer! Our event theme is “Honoring God through Christian Fiction.”  Enjoy speaker sessions, author panels, breakout sessions, prayer & worship and author signings with your favorite Christian fiction authors! With 30+ authors, food, swag (including free books), games and TONS of giveaways, you don’t want to miss this event!

When is it, you ask?

August 24, 2016
9:00 AM – 5:00 PM

For more information, including schedule, authors list, registration info and other logistical questions, check out our website HERE, or click on the image above.  Registration is now open! Late registration begins on June 16th. Once capacity is reached, registration will close. So hurry up and register!

Standard Registration Fee: $98
Late Registration Fee: $120

To go ahead and register, just go right HERE.

AND for the first giveaway at the event, all those registered can enter for the chance to win a BOX of Christian Fiction from the stewards of the event.  Just click on the image below to enter. (Link also available on our website).

We hope to see you there!

 

 

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

Click “Comments.”

Roger Bruner: Tired From Leading All The Time?

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Everyone’s Story gives a big welcome to author Roger Bruner. I had the pleasure of meeting Roger as a fellow client of the amazing literary agent Linda S. Glaz, although prior I’d visited his website and seen him as a guest here and there. His message of leading vs. exhaustion and what happens when you quit one is sure to inspire so do check it out! Also, please take a moment to have a peek at the excerpt from his novel The Devil and Pastor Gus, which Roger’s offering as a BookGiveaway. Both Roger  and I look forward to hearing from you.

 

 

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BookGiveaway:

Roger is offering either 1 print or Kindle edition of of The Devil and Pastor Gus to US residents, or 1 Kindle version to anywhere else. The winner will be announced here on Friday, May 20th between 5-6 PM EST.

** Please note regarding BookGiveaways: to further protect your privacy, and since email contact info is appearing for “my eyes only” when the comments go into my moderation box, emails within comments are no longer required. However, if yours does NOT appear I will leave a comment for you to forward it in order for you to chance winning.

 

Here’s an excerpt of The Devil and Pastor Gus for your reading sampling:

 From The Devil and Pastor Gus by Roger Bruner

“Good day, my man.” The stranger might have been addressing the doorman at the finest of five-star hotels back on Earth and not Heaven’s renowned gatekeeper.

Simon Peter leaned closer to the bars of the outer gate to get a better look at the man. Black hair. Short goatee. Custom-made flesh-colored suit. Anything but average in appearance.

“I have an appointment with God.”

Simon Peter grabbed the golden clipboard from a nearby stool and glanced over the names on the top sheet. Then he flipped to the second sheet. And the third. Just as I thought. No new arrivals expected for another eight earth minutes. And nobody shows up here before his appointed time. Ever.

The stranger swaggered to a prominent spot several feet from the outer gate. Peter narrowed his eyes in shock. New arrivals didn’t do that. They stood back a respectful distance, their heads bowed as if they were already in God’s presence, and waited for Peter to call their names.

What was with this guy?

After giving him another discreet once-over, Peter mentally clicked through each of the pictures he’d viewed moments earlier—the people who hadn’t arrived yet that day. He shook his head. The stranger’s picture wasn’t among them.

He rubbed his chin and looked at the man. “I’m sorry, but I don’t know who—”

“Call me B.L.ZeBubb,” the stranger said before spelling his surname—twice. “No spaces, and the accent is on the L. Bee-EL-zuh-buhb. The Bible misspelled it as B-e-e-l-z-e-b-u-b.” He crossed his arms and looked into Peter’s face. “As I just told you, I have an appointment with God.”

“Bee-EL-zuh-buhb,” Peter said to himself as he ambled over to the computer at the check-in station and typed the name into The Lamb’s Book of Life search field. He double-checked his spelling before clicking Go. If he didn’t get a hit on the correct spelling, he would try the misspelling.

A blood-red “No matches found. Be on the alert!” exploded across the screen. Peter narrowed his eyes. He’d never seen anything like that.

A message from God popped up on the screen before Peter could wonder what to do. “Not a problem, my child. Here’s how I want you to handle this…”

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Twenty yards into his stroll towards his appointed meeting place with God, B.L.ZeBubb glanced back over his shoulder. Peter was still watching. And laughing his fool head off.

“This is what I think of you, Simon Peter.” His eyes glowed red as he spat, and the saliva sizzled as soon as it hit the ground and burned straight through to…wherever.

Even though God had long been his worst enemy, B.L.ZeBubb deserved better treatment than this. The very thought of His refusing to grant a visitor’s pass or speak to him in person. Unwarranted.

But making him walk halfway around Heaven’s outer wall to talk on an intercom? Preposterous. He almost turned around to leave. But this mission was too crucial to his well-being to give up on that easily.

He walked only a few yards further before one foot slid out from under him. He barely caught himself in time to keep from landing in…mud. Conditions ahead appeared worse. He looked this way and that for a way around the bog only to discover that Heaven’s foundation extended a mere five or six feet outside the wall, and that part was completely mud-covered now.

An immediate drop—probably bottomless—surrounded the foundation’s outer perimeter.

Why hasn’t God installed warning signs and guardrails? Especially to protect someone as important as I am?

The closer the path came to the edge, the more often B.L.ZeBubb lost his footing.

He glared at the mud and sensed that it was glaring back at him. Scuffing his custom calf-high boots through the shallow mire and leaving little toe troughs in his wake, he mumbled a string of the most profane curses he knew. And he knew a lot of them.

He would’ve preferred to shout them at the top of his lungs, but his mission was too important to chance offending God. These aggravations wouldn’t mean much once he got what he’d come for.

“I won’t be satisfied until I have Gus Gospello’s soul,” he muttered. “And every bit of my lost respect.”

He snorted like an unbroken colt and clenched his fists. He wanted to shake them in God’s face, but that would cost him his case before he could present it. And would also mean losing his balance and falling in the mud—and possibly sliding over the edge.

Ugh. He shook his head.

After rolling his pant legs up just above his hairy knees, he slipped off one boot and—balancing awkwardly on the other leg—peeled off a sock that matched his flames-and-pitchforks necktie. He almost fell backward into the mire before getting the second boot and sock off and leaving them standing Satan-less near the edge. As he worked his way closer to the wall, the mud oozed and squished between his toes.

It was cold. Oh, so cold. After thousands of years in a much warmer climate, he couldn’t stand anything that wasn’t superhot.

His movements slowed. The mud had grown deep enough to bog his steps down with a distinctive, sucking thlurp each time he lifted a bare foot to move forward. He proceeded that way for several minutes, each an eternity longer than the one before, until he spotted a waterfall washing—no, flooding—the way ahead.

The outlet from Heaven’s central heating and air conditioning system. He’d once gotten into big trouble by turning the heat up all the way as a practical joke. Maybe that’s where God got the idea for Hell.

Sounded like a God-thing.

Grrr. Something small, silvery, and cylindrical sat on the mud at the base of the wall, where his chances of avoiding an ongoing drenching ranged from nil to zero. That must be the place.

After thlurpping closer, B.L.ZeBubb grabbed the empty can, pulled the handwritten note out, and held it up to the light that spilled over Heaven’s wall. What in the…?

Letting God Lead by Roger Bruner

The year was 1982.

My parents knew I wasn’t overly thrilled with my job as a counselor/interviewer at the local Maryland State Job Service office where I’d been working with a Federal jobs program, serving basically as a paper pusher.

My mother suggested that I might find computer programming a better outlet for my creative nature. She offered to pay for programming classes.

So I soon enrolled in my first class at a community college ten miles up the road. Even before class started, however, I bought one of those early Texas Instrument computers—could you imagine only having 64K of memory now?—that hooked up to a TV.

I soon picked up enough BASIC to write a Yahtzee program that worked. And that was before starting my first BASIC class. I loved it. I seemed to have found my calling. Over the next year and a half I continued taking night classes, one or two at a time.

Other people in the computer lab came to me for help because I could usually figure out their programming problems. And much to my amazement the college offered me a chance to teach a BASIC class at the local Black and Decker plant during my final semester. After six years of teaching junior high English years earlier, I was elated to teach adults this time.

Twenty-four credits after beginning my training, I received two certificates. With my 4.0 GPA. I thought I was all set for my career change. Everyone needed computer programmers then, or so it seemed. Hmm. But they required experience, and my coursework didn’t count as real world programming.

My parents were living in Richmond, Virginia, then. Where the International Mission Board of the Southern Baptist Convention is located. As a preacher’s kid and—more importantly—a Christian, I had a longstanding interest in missions. Not to become a missionary, you understand, but to support missions in other ways.

When I got in touch with the IMB’s personnel director, I managed to get an interview. But the IMB only needed experienced programmers. Not good.

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A short time later, however, I received an unexpected phone call. The IMB had just bought a new computer and software that experienced programmers weren’t available to work with. They were willing to take trainees.

So I had an interview with the department head and the fellow who would be my supervisor if I was hired. Although the interview went well, nothing was settled. I was still high on hopes—this felt like God’s calling—but I was losing patience as months went by without any word from the IMB.

I probably shouldn’t have written the personnel director to inquire about my status, but I did. He never wrote back. Was everything lost?

My wife and I vacationed in another state that summer. She wanted me to look for something in that area, but I didn’t want to. I didn’t feel led to.

Have you noticed something conspicuously missing in this story? Prayer.

I’m sure I prayed about the decision to study programming and about the teaching and about the interviews, but not as faithfully as I should have done. Looking back, I realize and regret that fact.

But things changed the afternoon we lay down on the bed and prayed as earnestly as we had ever prayed. “Lord, we’re tired of trying to make things work the way we want. You know what’s best. Please do whatever fits your purpose for my life.”

The resulting peace was overwhelming.

And would you believe I received a letter from my parents the next day? After trying unsuccessfully to get in touch with me, the IMB personnel director checked with my parents. He wanted me to call as soon as I got back home.

I did, and I started work at the IMB just a little over two weeks later. While I experienced some rocky times at the IMB, especially during the year prior to my being downsized after nineteen years there, I couldn’t have been happier or more satisfied. God had done what I couldn’t do for myself.

Incidentally, my downsizing led to a part-time job that gave me time to write my first novel. God had once again done what I couldn’t do for myself. What I hadn’t even dreamed of doing until after retirement.

Roger’s Ah-hahs To Tweet:

Everyone’s Story: Author @RogerBruner shares writing gains when God leads. (Tweet This)

@RogerBruner: Tired from trying to make things work? (Tweet This)

#BookGiveaway of The Devil and Pastor Gus by @RogerBruner. (Tweet This )

Author’s Bio:

Roger Bruner worked as a teacher, job counselor, and programmer analyst before retiring to pursue his dream of writing Christian fiction full-time. Three of his thirteen novels have been published: Found in Translation, Lost in Dreams, and The Devil and Pastor Gus. He has also published two little books of his shorter writings: Yesterday’s Blossoms and More of Yesterday’s Blossoms. A guitarist and songwriter, he is active in his church’s choir, praise team, and nursing home ministry. Roger also enjoys reading, photography, web design, mission trips, and spending time with his wonderful wife, Kathleen.

Places to connect with Roger:

Website

Blogs:

        On Aging Gracelessly

         As I Come Singing

Twitter

Facebook

Amazon

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I’ve been blessed by some lovely reviews–check them out:

Amazon   Barnes&Noble

AdirondackSecrets

I’ll be at this amazing event that unites readers and authors. Will you be there? Let me know!

CFRR-logo-768x549

Christian Fiction Readers Retreat

 

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

Click “Comments.”

Barbara Hartzler: Do you suffer from Sequelphobia?

Barbara Hartzler Author Pic

Everyone’s Story warmly welcomes back YA and devotion author Barbara Hartzler. Although Everyone’s Story’s focus is on how stories uplift both readers and writers, when Barbara approached me on the concept of “Sequelphobia” I thought it was such a unique subject that both readers and writers would appreciate it and I replied back to Barbara with a  “sure, let’s go with this!” Barbara has put together a professional and heartfelt feature and I hope you’ll enjoy it!  Both Barbara  and I look forward to hearing from you.

**Also, for bonus fun, check out below the new contest I have going during May.

 

 

 

 

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BookGiveaway:

Barbara is offering 1 digital version of her YA novel The Nexis Secret. The winner will be announced here on Friday, May 13th between 5-6 PM EST.

** Please note regarding BookGiveaways: to further protect your privacy, and since email contact info is appearing for “my eyes only” when the comments go into my moderation box, emails within comments are no longer required. However, if yours does NOT appear I will leave a comment for you to forward it in order for you to chance winning.

 

 

Barbara’s past visit on Everyone’s Story: 

5 Reasons NOT To Choose Between Indie vs. Traditional Publishing

 

Sequelphobia: 5 Ways to Overcome the Wrath of the Second Book

by Barbara Hartzler

Every writer has felt the fear. Every reader knows the danger. Will the second book be as good as the first? For every triumphant sequel, there are ten times as many sequels that don’t live up to the first book. Why? Because every writer’s first book is a labor of love, and they’ve had ample time perfect it. Before you publish your first book, there’s so much hope and encouragement to pursue your dreams. Of course, there’s always rejection and the feelings of failure that come with it. As a pre-pubbed writer I always thought, “If I can just get my book published, I’ll finally feel like a success.”

Wrong! Once you publish your first book, the pressure amps up exponentially. Now you’ve got to worry about sales numbers, reviews, and the dreaded marketing pill. Plus, you’ve got readers waiting on your second book. Unless your first book was an overnight success, you’ll need that second book to boost sales. More pressure! If your first book only achieved niche market success, like my debut YA novel did, there’s an added layer of pressure to bump the series out of the background and into the spotlight.

Sequelphobia

Welcome to the publishing business. It’s a whole new ballgame, folks. So what’s a budding author to do? And the answer is … write that second book.

The wrath of writing the second book is a daunting task. But it’s one we have to overcome. Below are five tricks I’m using right now to overcome my sequelphobia.

5 Ways to Overcome Sequelphobia:

  1. Extra Brainstorming

Starting a sequel can be the most daunting part. Sitting down to work on it each day can be overwhelming. I like to begin with my favorite part of the writing process—brainstorming. Because I write supernatural/fantasy fiction for young adults, I’m always asked, “Where do you come up with your ideas?”

You can use whatever method you choose: idea clouds, notecards, journaling. My favorite device to use at the beginning is to ask “What if …?” questions. Whether you’re a plotter or seat-of-the-pants writer, you can always ask “What if” at any stage of the process. The important thing is to ask how you can add more conflict to the story. How can your protagonist get themselves into trouble? How can they get out of it? What can happen to the characters to throw them off track?

I journal out all the possible “What ifs” before I ever start the story. I figure out which answers could lend themselves to scenes in the book. Then I write those ideas down on notecards and arrange the notecards to build chapters. You see the progression.

  1. Plot Out the Entire Series

I hear the pantsers out there objecting to the word plot, but as a reformed pantser (now hybrid) I’m here to tell you there is SO much value in knowing where you’re writing. In the loosest terms, I’m talking about bullet points or simple road signs for the BIG events in a series. Joanie meets Jim. Joanie gets a promotion and has to decide if she’ll move across the country for it. You get the idea.

Wait, that sounds like more work right? Not if you think about it as saving you time in the long run. Plus, if you’re playing the “What if” game, it seems like more fun. It’s important to have a road map, to know where your story is going. Then you can have fun with how you get there.

  1. Just Keep Writing

Getting through the first draft was the hardest part for me. Why? Because it felt like a giant pressure-cloud was hanging above my head telling me all the familiar sequelphobia fears. Don’t worry, I do have one little trick for starting your writing sessions.

Since I love brainstorming so much, and beginnings are the hardest part for me, I decided to start each writing session with a 5-minute brainstorming stint. I set the timer on my phone for five minutes, visualize myself in the scene as my main character, and start the clock. Then I let my fingers, and my imagination, fly. I try to not think too much, to keep the scene as visual as possible. Imagery comes in real handy for this exercise. Where are they? What’s the weather/scenery like? How are they feeling? Try it and see!

Barbara's devotional book

Barbara’s devotional book

  1. Don’t Be Afraid to Reevaluate

Sometimes you’ll run into a brick wall with your story. When that happens, don’t be afraid to stop and reevaluate. Go back to the brainstorming stage if you feel like the ideas aren’t working. A new or different conflict wrinkle might work better for your story. I’m in the middle of editing my sequel Crossing Nexis, right now. Yet I had to go back to the brainstorming stage last week.

Some of the scenes I’d written in the latter part of the first draft just didn’t work with the overall theme and tone of the book. Or the series for that matter. They were too dark. Probably because they came from the wrath I felt when the pressure-cloud was following me around. So I stopped, took a deep breath, and went right back to a brainstorming journal session. Now I’ve got two to four chapters to change, but I’m more excited about the sequel than I’ve ever been.

  1. Let it Go and Let it Flow

Sometimes, especially when writing a sequel, you DO need a seat-of-the-pants mindset. Especially when it comes to that Sequelphobia Pressure-Cloud hanging over your head. It’s time to let those fears go, and letting your writing flow. Even if you’re not sure where it’s going. If you’ve mapped out some road signs to guide you, then it’s okay to play with the details. I try to tell myself, “You can edit this later. For now, just write.” I truly believe no writing is wasted. Even if you think it’s garbage, it’ll help you get to something that shines. Just realizing something isn’t working is a big step. Why? Because then it becomes all about problem-solving.

Here’s one more little tip to help you get your writing exactly where you want it. (With a little inspiration from Self Editing for Fiction Writers.) Go through and highlight the parts you love in a scene, then try to bring the rest up to that level. I did this instinctively for my debut novel. There was one scene I LOVED above all the others in The Nexis Secret. So I challenged myself to bring every other scene up to that level. You’ll be amazed at how a self-dare like that can amp up your writing game, and bring back that hope writers desperately need. If you’ve ever felt like your writing is complete drivel, I like to say, “Congratulations. You’re a real writer.” It’s easy for writers to get down on ourselves. It’s nice to praise ourselves every now and then.

I hope these little tips have given you some encouragement that you CAN overcome sequelphobia. And you can write a beautiful second book. Don’t be afraid of living up to your first book. Just write the best second book you can possibly write. That’s how you overcome sequelphobia.

What are your fears about sequels? What are some of your favorite sequels?

Barbara’s Ah-hahs To Tweet:

#Writers: Suffer from Sequelphobia upon thinking of next book? See what @HartzlerBarbara advises. (Tweet This)

#YA author Barbara Hartzler @HartzlerBarbara: 5 Ways to Overcome the Wrath of the Second Book. (Tweet This)

Like #YA fiction? Check out #BookGiveaway of The Nexis Secret by Barbara Hartzler @HartzlerBarbara. (Tweet This)

Author’s Bio:

Barbara Hartzler is the debut author of The Nexis Secret—the story of The Seer, a girl with a gift to see the unseen world of angels. And the two secret societies vying for her allegiance. The Nexis Secret is inspired by Barbara’s college experiences and peppered with anecdotes from her teen missions trip to New York City. She’s always wanted to write, not necessarily about angels, but the idea was too good to pass up. As a former barista and graphic designer, she loves all things sparkly and purple and is always jonesing for a good cup of joe.

Places to connect with Barbara:

Website/blog

Twitter

Facebook

Pinterest

Amazon

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Get Caught Reading

 

I’ll be at this amazing event that unites readers and authors. Will you be there? Let me know!

CFRR-logo-768x549

Christian Fiction Readers Retreat

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

Click “Comments.”

Delores Liesner: How To Find Inspiration When Least Expected

 

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Everyone’s Story warmly welcomes back inspirational author Delores Liesner. In sharing the same agent, the wonderful Linda S. Glaz, I’ve had the honor of getting to know Delores through the years. I’m thrilled to see her writing career expanding, especially her powerful non-fiction book of uplifting hope, Be the Miracle, selling well! This week Delores shares another encouraging message with us, which I’m sure you’ll enjoy.  Both Delores  and I look forward to hearing from you.

 

 

 

 

1-CoverBethe Miracle-New Miracle

BookGiveaway:

Delores is offering 1 edition of Be The Miracle, either in print or Kindle. The winner will be announced here on Friday, May 6th between 5-6 PM EST.

** Please note something new regarding BookGiveaways: to further protect your privacy, and since emails are appearing for “my eyes only” when the comments go into my moderation box, emails within comments are no longer required. However, if yours does NOT appear I will leave a comment for you to forward it in order for you to chance winning.

 

 

Picture This by Delores Liesner

I couldn’t believe I was 50, and complained about being ‘over the hill’ to Grandma V, an elderly neighbor. She made me laugh, telling me that when all my children were on social security (like hers were) then I could feel old. She then added a bit of wisdom giving perspective I still use today—that we were created for eternity. Soulfully, she said, we are comparatively still in our youth. Or—perhaps even younger, if you think like I do J.

We joke that I might be the world’s most mature toddler, always asking what if … why is that … or Columbo-like, noticing tiny things. On one vacation Ken and I exited the car outside a trading post near the Grand Canyon in Arizona. When he realized I’d not followed him to the shop and was still by the car peering through the camera towards a frozen mud puddle, he was not surprised. His usual response is curiosity and, “What do you see?” I love this picture, not just because it represents beauty and creation from an unexpected source, but because it is a story starter.

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How many pictures have you taken or looked at which remind you of the stories behind them, or could be a new fictional story if you said … what if … why is that … or did you see this?

Character personality pictures often come to me from a group of about a hundred from around the world are completing an adventure called The Lazarus Experience. Each year, for 40 days after Easter, we practice intentional living on a daily basis, and share those adventures with one another on our Facebook group page. Picture unexpected compliments, a father choosing to spend time with his boys, girls night out without technology present, helping a friend or neighbor, writing thank you notes, sky diving, and more times 40 days. Their pictures or the pictures their words evoke often make their way to a 4×6 card for my file of word-pictures to start stories, or become personality quirks of fictional characters.

Estate and rummage sales are also an excellent source for historical pictures. I love to imagine the lives and stories behind the serious faces and formal clothing.

Grandma V

                    Grandma V

Whether writing fiction or non-fiction I love to use pictures for outlining. Sometimes it will be actual photos, other times clippings from magazines, or a group of memories or visual imaginations I will write out (i.e. girl kicking flat tire of car). Like the old saying that one picture is worth a thousand words, pictures are great writing prompts, and can nicely outline potential chapters or markers to take one to each twist or turn in the story. Then I go back and fill in what would happen to get the story from one picture to the next.

I also use mental pictures for reducing life’s many stresses. For example, after a Spanish friend told me she never thought she would meet Lucille Ball until she met me, realized imagining what Lucy would do reduced my stress. I call this movies in my mind.

There is a happy ending – it’s surely on its way

I’m not a Polyanna, though I’m sure it’s what some say

‘Cause I believe our story’s end comes from each choice we make

Instead of often wishing we could go back and do a retake

To find the humor in a scene that seems desperate from the start

To take control of every situation that wants to grip my heart

I choose to play life’s challenges on a movie in my mind

Starring TV and movie faves, each personality assigned

The stories and the characters turn life’s tragedy into scripts

I can choose the attitude that heals or the storm that sinks the ship

I let Lucille Ball or Carol Burnett wrestle with my current stress

Or, let Columbo seek and find the clue that finally solves the mess

I often find a reason to laugh or sigh amidst life’s wild clatter

When a character forgives a stubborn quirk and shows others how they matter

Watching from the sideline, their solution seems so clear

When focusing on the outcome, all grudges disappear

Instead of watching circumstance, only thinking how I feel

I resolve to ask my God for help, to see the lesson in each reel

What can I learn, how can I help those living a similar story

Using my characters to bring that out gives me hope and brings God glory

Useless emotion is set aside to gain the greater good

The fresh start I need to offer others—and need myself —is understood

Every life has tragedy, and drama of every kind

Mine get solved by working through the movies in my mind

 

Delores’s Past Visit on Everyone’s Story: Why We Need To Be The Miracle

Delores’s Ah-hahs To Tweet:

Everyone’s Story: Delores Liesner @DLiesner on how to find inspiration from least expected places. (Tweet This)

Author Delores Liesner @DLiesner: On the joy of being the “world’s most mature toddler.” (Tweet This)

#BookGiveaway of Delores Liesner @DLiesner’s Be The Miracle. (Tweet This)

Author’s Bio:

Delores Liesner’s motto, putting hands and feet to our faith, is revealed in the true stories in her book Be The Miracle (2015 Elk Lake Publishing).  She longs for her articles, stories, devotionals and columns to lead others to recognize miracles in their lives. Delores writings will benefit children with life-threatening illness via Fullness of Life Foundation, Scottsdale, AZ   When she is not writing you can find her reading, munching on chocolate or, on windy days, flying a kite without being told!

Places to connect with Delores:

Website

Twitter

Facebook

Pinterest

Amazon

~*~*~*~*~

BirdMeme

Always With You

Elaine Stock

Amazon

Barnes & Noble

BookDepository (offering worldwide free delivery)

 

I’ll be at this amazing event that unites readers and authors. Will you be there? Let me know!

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Christian Fiction Readers Retreat

 

 

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

Click “Comments.”

Vicki Hinze: Feeling Just Short Of Winning?

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Everyone’s Story warmly welcomes multi-published author Vicki Hinze. While the writing world may appear huge on the surface with so many wonderful authors, it’s really a small tight-knit community. I’ve known Vicki by name for quite a few years and might have bumped into her at a RWA conference years ago. Vicki’s novels lean heavily toward suspense in all different shades, both for the Christian and general markets. She shares with us very encouraging words this week, plus offers a BookGiveaway.  Both Vicki and I look forward to hearing from you.

 

 

 

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BookGiveaway:

Vicki is offering 1 Kindle edition of The Marked Star. The winner will be announced here on Friday, April 29th between 5-6 PM EST.

** Please note something new regarding BookGiveaways: to further protect your privacy, and since emails are appearing for “my eyes only” when the comments go into my moderation box, emails within comments are no longer required. However, if yours does NOT appear I will leave a comment for you to forward it in order for you to chance winning.

 

Blurb of The Marked Star:

PEOPLE ARE NOT WHAT THEY SEEM

Superstar Elle Bostwick is kidnapped in London. But who has kidnapped her? NINA, a group of powerful and ruthless opportunists who will do anything to anyone to gain access to something Elle has that they want? Or the CIA, who is equally determined to prevent NINA access to what it wants? And why a singer? Why Elle? And why does she not know what they’re after?

Days later, Elle mysteriously turns up at a Shadow Watcher’s wedding reception, and the Shadow Watchers, Nick Sloan specifically, is ordered to keep her safe—indefinitely. But the top secret entity issuing the orders doesn’t say why or who is pursuing Elle. All information is being atypically withheld. That has never before happened. Why now?

OLD WOUNDS RUN DEEP

Nick and Elle have a history. He left her without even saying good-bye, determined to never need or want anyone—not after surviving his horror show of a family. Nick learned the hard way to never dare to love anyone. He didn’t know Elle had been walking wounded, too.

Now she’s burst back into his life–with baggage that could get them and the other Shadow Watchers killed. Who is on their side? Who is their real enemy? And what does that enemy really want? Most importantly, will they find out before they end up dead.

CAN LOVE HEAL THEM—IS IT ENOUGH?

Nick willingly risks his life for her, but does he dare to risk his heart? Does Elle? Both have little reason to trust. Little reason to dare, except for the hope of love they find in each other. But neither is certain… Is love enough to heal deep wounds? To spare the lives and hearts of Nick and The Marked Star?

 

Read the first three chapters of THE MARKED STAR (Shadow Watchers, Book 2)

Read the first three chapters of THE MARKED BRIDE (Shadow Watchers, Book 1)

 

The Ten-Cent Maid by Vicki Hinze

Many years ago in school, there was a contest for the homecoming court. Everyone was to sell votes for a dime. This was one of the school’s biggest fundraisers, so it wasn’t actually like selling votes in the context we’d think of today. Anyway, everyone was expected to do their part and sell votes.

I worked hard at it. Very hard. And as sales mounted, I finally began believing I might just have a shot at making the homecoming court. Well, the contest ended and the votes were counted, and I lost. By ten cents. One vote short.

In no way can I say I wasn’t disappointed—I had worked very hard—but I can’t say I was devastated, either. I remember thinking there was a reason I’d lost by a dime and just because I didn’t know the reason didn’t mean it wasn’t important. Not winning didn’t mean my efforts had been lacking, though I did wonder if losing by a little bit was going to be the way things went in my life. Being second—second-rate, second best, just second—with the best being reserved for others.

I’m not sure where that idea came from to wonder, but I vividly recall doing it. Yet, even then I thought it was an odd thing to think. Why had it been planted in my mind? I had no idea, but it was there, and I did note it.

Later that school year, I figured I’d needed to note it so I would remember it. The ten-cent maid loss became significant because the girl who won by that dime suffered serious challenges that removed her from school. And it dawned on me that perhaps I’d lost by a dime and she’d won because she’d needed to win more. She wouldn’t have another chance at something like homecoming court, or a second chance at other school-related wins. That day, my attitude changed. I was glad she had won, and I was happy I’d been the ten-cent maid.

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Looking back, I have seen that “falling just short” pattern repeat in my life several times. But after the first experience, and the recognition that wants and needs are different and warrant respect, I never again wondered if I was second-rate or second best. Instead, I saw second as a position placement privilege. I understood that sometimes other people’s needs are greater. We all want wins. But only some need wins. The implications were a lot for me to absorb frankly, but the important part stuck with me.

Oh, I’ve won my fair share and then some of honors and awards and accolades, and I truly am grateful for each and every one. But there was and remains something special about the lessons learned at being the ten-cent maid.

In a sense, that’s a similar experience to Elle Bostwick’s in The Marked Star. Elle is a singer, a superstar, and everyone thinks she’s got it all. From the outside, she does. Talent, looks, fame, and fortune. But Elle’s done her stint at the ten-cent table, too. Only hers was in a far more substantial way, and she played her part for a lifetime.

Elle wasn’t given her parents’ name. She was, from the beginning, their secret daughter. It wasn’t that she wasn’t loved; she most certainly was. But the very things others coveted in Elle’s life were the things that made claiming her identity dangerous. Her family wanted to protect her, and her parents did, but at a great cost to Elle.

Like the rest of us, Elle was shaped by her experiences, and while some might have been bitter and given into anger, she sought understanding—and, because she did, she found her heart’s desire. Found it and recognized it and claimed it. And that’s something she couldn’t have done without the lessons she had learned while seated at the ten-cent table.

Sometimes when we feel stuck or as if we’re falling behind and no matter how hard we try we just keep falling short, we need to remember the blessings and joys we learn to recognize by our time at our own ten-cent table.

Vicki’s Ah-hahs To Tweet:

Multi-published author @vickihinze asks: Are you a Ten-cent maid? (Tweet This)

Everyone’s Story: @vickihinze shares a “falling just short” story. #BookGiveaway (Tweet This)

Check out The Marked Star by @vickihinze. #BookGiveaway #Suspense (Tweet This)

Author’s Bio:

A USA Today best selling and award-winning author, Vicki Hinze, has written over thirty-five books (fiction and nonfiction) and hundreds of articles that have been published in as many as 63 countries. She is also a columnist for the global Social-In Network. Vicki writes most often in Romantic Suspense, Thrillers with a romantic element, and Military Romance or Military Thrillers for the general market or for the Christian market. She has written series, political thrillers, suspense, paranormal romantic suspense, time-travel suspense, women’s action adventure, thrillers, psycho-thrillers and contemporary romance with a strong mystery element. All of her books contain elements of suspense, mystery and romance. She enjoys genre-blending and is known as a trailblazer for doing so. After her fourth published novel, she returned to college and earned an MA in creative writing then a Ph.D. in Philosophy (Theocentric Business and Ethics). She founded Writers’ Aids to mentor other authors, which evolved into Writers’ Zone, where she answers questions on craft, the business of writing and the writing life and maintains a free online writers’ library, ON WRITING, on her website (see below). Additional podcasts, workshops, lectures and feature articles are also in the writing library. Raised in New Orleans, Hinze then married a career Hurricane Hunter/Special Ops officer. They and their children moved every few years and have now settled in Northwest Florida.

Places to connect with Vicki:

Website

Blog

Twitter

Facebook

Pinterest

Amazon

 

*~*~*~*~*

NewBridge

 

Always With You

Elaine Stock

Amazon

Barnes & Noble

BookDepository (offering worldwide free delivery)

 

I’ll be at ACFW in August, along at this amazing event… will you be?

 

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

Kathleen Rouser: Come Celebrate With This Debut Novelist!!

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Everyone’s Story extends a huge and warm welcome back to the lovely Kathleen Rouser. Several viewers may know Kathleen from her novella in Brave New Century and a Christmas short story collection that both she and I were published in (Christmas Treasures) but I want to introduce my very dear friend and awesome author this week to you as a debut novelist! Rumors and Promises releases on Tuesday, April 18th. Kathleen–I’m so thrilled for you! Viewers and friends, please check out Kathleen’s BookGiveaway and an inside look of what went into making this novel. Both Kathleen and I look forward to hearing from you.

**Bonus: check out Kathleen’s Facebook Party invitation, time and date below, before her Tweet This’s.

 

 

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BookGiveaway:

Kathleen is offering 1 printed copy of Rumors and Promises–US only or 1 Kindle version for outside of US. The winner will be announced here on Friday, April 22nd between 5-6 PM EST.

** Please note something new regarding BookGiveaways: to further protect your privacy, and since emails are appearing for “my eyes only” when the comments go into my moderation box, emails within comments are no longer required. However, if yours does NOT appear I will leave a comment for you to forward it in order for you to chance winning.

 

On Love and Sacrifice by Kathleen Rouser

Several things drew me to the time period in which Rumors and Promises is set. There are a few different time periods I’m intrigued by, but the Edwardian and Gilded ages around the end of the 19th century, beginning of the 20th have always drawn me. I loved reading the Anne of Green Gables book series and watching shows like Road to Avonlea and Christy years ago. It was an era of change, but the majority of people still held old-fashioned values. Women’s clothing was still elegant, but not as fancy as the Victorian age.

In 1900 our country was embarking on change, women began to have more of a voice and more modern conveniences and inventions were burgeoning onto the scene. I thought that it was a time I could more easily relate to than earlier eras. However, slip me into the Regency world of Jane Austen and I would probably enjoy that just as much.

Sophie Biddle’s story in Rumors and Promises really began as an attempt to convey a story like that of the woman at the well in chapter four of the Gospel of John. At the time editors weren’t interested in biblical fiction. But I was also constrained by the guidelines of Christian publishing. How could I have my protagonist be a woman of bad reputation while preserving her purity? The character of Sophia Bidershem, an heiress concealing her identity with a slightly different name and trying to pass off her toddler daughter as her sister was born. The out-of-wedlock-pregnancy had not come about by her volition, but she loves her child anyway, and does what she must to take care of her.

Then I thought about who had the most to lose in becoming involved in the life of these runaway girls, just as the disciples became shocked Jesus would associate with the Samaritan woman. Pastor Ian McCormick would have much to lose if his reputation was besmirched by friendship with a “fallen woman.” Of course that’s where the similarities end. Jesus is sinless while Ian is a flawed man trying to start over with a new congregation because of past failings.

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What begins as ministry to a poor girl and her little sister turns into a deeper relationship than either of Sophie or Ian bargained for. Doubts about little Caira being her sister cause tongues to wag in Stone Creek and they are eventually faced with a dilemma about whether or not to confess the truth. Jesus spoke to the Samaritan woman compassionately, but He also helped her face the truth of her sin, so that He could become living water to her.

Rumors and Promises is a story close to my heart in that it shows a mother’s love and sacrifice. I also hope it exemplifies the power of God to make blessings out of the difficult things in life along with His ability to heal and renew.

Sophie sacrificed for Caira at the cost of her reputation, in a time when a woman’s reputation meant everything. Sophie knew it wasn’t her child’s fault she’d been sexually assaulted and loved her daughter despite the circumstances in which she was conceived. Ian has a lesson to learn about whether or not to put his own reputation above the welfare of others. They both have an opportunity to make choices that will move them forward rather than keep them bound to the past. And know they must ask God for help to accomplish this transformation. We are all faced with these kinds of choices, even today. Our situations may be completely different, but we can stay chained to the past or move forward with the Lord’s help.

My novel’s original title was “Before the Promised Land” and my theme verse is: I am the Lord thy God, which have brought thee out the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage. (Exodus 20:2, KJV)

If it’s sin you’re bound to, then He has the power to free you. If you have deep hurts or grief, Jesus wants you to trust Him for the future and bring healing into your life. Even when we are forever changed by circumstances, He can use them for good. I’m counting on that!

Today’s single mother could also, I hope, relate to Rumors and Promises. While society often will tell young people that children are a burden, or that they are a blob of tissue while they’re growing in the womb, the reality is that they are a gift, created in God’s image. Children not planned by us are still part of God’s ultimate plan. They can help us grow into more responsible, mature, and less selfish people. Those are all good things. My oldest son was completely unplanned and I married his dad while expecting him. It was through this time of soul searching that I accepted Christ as my Savior. My son wasn’t only my pride and joy but the reason I came to know the Lord and my life was changed forever. He was and will always be an incredible blessing to me.

Thank you, Elaine, for hosting me on “Everyone’s Story.” I hope your readers enjoy this feature and will be blessed when they read Rumors and Promises.

Past Visits with Kathleen Rouser:

An Author Bridging the Past to the Present

A Blog-lift and Hope

 

***Kathleen is having a Facebook Party and you’re all invited: Monday, April 18th 4 PM-6 PM, just click here.

Kathleen’s Ah-hahs To Tweet:

Everyone’s Story: Celebrate w/ debut novelist @KathleenRouser #BookGiveaway of Rumors and Promises. (Tweet This)

Like #HistoricalFiction? See why @KathleenRouser set Rumors and Promises in the early 1900s. (Tweet This)

@KathleenRouser: On love & sacrifice in #Historical novel Rumors and Promises. (Tweet This)

Author’s Bio:

Kathleen Rouser has loved making up stories since she was a little girl. Her debut novella, “The Pocket Watch,” is part of Brave New Century, a Christian historical romance anthology, published in 2013 by Prism Book Group (Inspired Romance). Her short story, “Special Assignment” was part of the Amazon bestseller, Christmas Treasures. Kathleen has also been published in Homeschool Digest, An Encouraging Word, and Happy Sis magazines. She contributes regularly to Novel PASTimes, a blog devoted to promoting mainly Christian historical fiction and to the Heroes, Heroines, and History blog. She is a long time member in good standing of ACFW and a former board member of its Great Lakes Chapter.

Previously a home-school mom of three, she has more recently been a college student and then a mild-mannered dental assistant for a time. Along with her sassy tail-less cat, she lives in Michigan with her hero and husband of 34 years, who not only listens to her stories, but also cooks for her.

 

Places to connect with Kathleen:

Website/blog

Twitter

Facebook

Goodreads

Pinterest

Amazon

 

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

Kristi Ann Hunter: Living Without Regrets

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Everyone’s Story welcomes award winning author Kristi Ann Hunter, who just so happens to be a  finalist for debut novel this year for the RWA’s RITA. Congratulations, Kristi and best wishes!! I became acquainted–as well as inspired–by Kristi when she appeared on the Seekerville blog. When I contacted her to see if she’ll appear on Everyone’s Story I was so pleased she said yes. Please check out Kristi’s BookGiveaway and excerpt, plus a very encouraging message for all. Both Kristi and I look forward to hearing from you.

 

 

 

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BookGiveaway:

Kristi is offering 1 printed copy of A Noble Masquerade–US only. The winner will be announced here on Friday, April 15th between 5-6 PM EST.

** Please note something new regarding BookGiveaways: to further protect your privacy, and since emails are appearing for “my eyes only” when the comments go into my moderation box, emails within comments are no longer required. However, if yours does NOT appear I will leave a comment for you to forward it in order for you to chance winning.

 

A bonus for everyone from Kristi: Anyone can download the prequel novella, A Lady Of Esteem, for free from most major ebook retailers. 

 

Excerpt from A Noble Masquerade:

Book Excerpt for A Noble Masquerade by Kristi Ann Hunter

Chapter One

Hertfordshire, England

Autumn 1812

Lady Miranda Hawthorne would support her sister tonight, even if it killed her. Judging by the pain already numbing her face, that was a distinct possibility. She massaged her cheeks, hoping to make the forced smile look and feel a little less wooden than the bedroom door in front of her.

 

With a sharp twist of the brass knob, she wrenched the door open and strode into the corridor. Her stride was firm. Her posture perfect. Nothing would make her abandon the endless lessons in ladylike etiquette from her mother.

 

Then she walked into a wall.

 

Oh, very well, it wasn’t a wall precisely. Walls didn’t appear in the middle of passageways, covered in wool.

 

“I do apologize, my lady.”

 

Nor did they speak.

 

Miranda looked up at the obstruction that was in actuality a solidly built man. She retreated a step, putting as much distance between her and the man without retreating into her bedchamber. Up and up her gaze traveled.

 

The last dredges of sunlight filtered through a large window at the end of the corridor, sending dim squares of gold marching across the floor and up to the man’s broad chest.

 

He wasn’t family. All of her relations had blond hair, including those so far distant they wouldn’t even claim the connection if her brother wasn’t a duke. The dimly lit passageway prevented her from making out an exact color, but the “barricade” before her had very dark hair pulled back into a short queue at his neck.

 

With a deep breath, she reminded herself where she stood in life. She was a lady of quality. The daughter, and sister, of a duke. Somewhere in her must lie the aristocratic arrogance she’d seen so many of her friends embody. If this intruder had nefarious purposes, talking was her only defense. Those long arms could haul her to a stop before she went more than two steps.

Living Your Story by Kristi Ann Hunter

Let me tell you a story about a book. No, not mine, or rather at least not the one you know of as mine.

This is about a book I wrote a long time ago. It isn’t very good, I’ll admit. There isn’t much of a plotline and there certainly isn’t much suspense to it. It’s about a baseball game between fairytale heroes and villains.

The heroes win. Aren’t you shocked?

The importance of this book, though, lies not in the pages and pages of boring this-happened-next prose or even the questionably drawn fairytale characters. It lies on the last page of the book where my third grade teacher had us put an “About the Author” page.

Underneath a copy of my school picture is a paragraph talking about how I wanted to be an author when I grew up.

This book, laminated and bound together with one of those plastic round tab things, sat in a box for many, many years. It moved from house to house, from storage area to storage area. Until one day I came across it during one of my spells of cleaning determination. Those never last long and I usually end up making more mess than I resolve, but on this day I found a box of old school projects.

Including the baseball book.

At this point you’re probably thinking that’s cute that she wanted to be an author and then she became one and was able to look back and say she did it. But that wasn’t it. When I found this book, I was considering quitting. You see I had discovered that writing was hard. It was time consuming. I wasn’t naturally perfect at it. (Obviously, I wrote a book detailing a really boring baseball game.) And with three young children at home, I was convinced that it just wasn’t in the cards for me, at least not now.

But then I found that book. And so many other projects from over the years where I had written things, where I’d gotten better. I had projects from high school that actually resembled real stories with beginnings and middles and ends. I found a project from my British Literature class that I so wish I could go back and do over now because I actually understand the assignment thirteen years later.

I found a short sequel I’d written to Ayn Rand’s Anthem. The diary style book report of Judah from Ben Hur sat next to the false journal historical report on the life of Abraham Lincoln that understandably ended with an entry about heading off to Ford’s Theater.

Never again, though, did I find a place where I’d declared my desire to write stories.

Somewhere along the line I’d given up that dream – a dream that started when an author came to our school and told us his first book started as a writing assignment for his fifth grade English class. I turned it in for more practical things, like computer programming and advanced math. Stories became a hobby.

And I don’t regret that. I don’t regret the path my life took that brought me here with the life experiences and relationships and moments. But I’m also ever so grateful for that third grader who didn’t understand practicality yet. Because years later, when God was steering me back around to that initial passion he’d placed in my life, he used that third grader to remind me who He made me to be.

Sometimes we need that. Sometimes life gets in the way of hearing what God wants from us. Practicality is important. It pays the mortgage and keeps the lights on. But obedience is important, too. Be open. Be willing. When the time is right God will speak. For me it was an old school project, a piece of paper that reminded me this passion wasn’t new. Who knows what it will be for you? Don’t be so busy that you miss it, because God made you to live your story and no one else can do it.

Be the you God made you to be. You won’t regret it.

Kristi’s Ah-hahs To Tweet:

Meet @KristiAnnHunter, author of fun #HistoricalRomance from a Christian worldview. #BookGiveaway (Tweet This)

Author @KristiAnnHunter: Why you need to live your life without regrets. (Tweet This)

On Everyone’s Story: Check out @KristiAnnHunter’s book excerpt from A Noble Masquerade. (Tweet This)

Author’s Bio:

Kristi Ann Hunter graduated from Georgia Tech with a degree in Computer Science but always knew she wanted to write. Kristi is an RWA Golden Heart contest winner, an ACFW Genesis contest winner, and a Georgia Romance Writers Maggie Award for Excellence winner. She lives with her husband and three children in Georgia.

Places to connect with Kristi:

Website

Twitter

Facebook

Instagram

 

This Week Elaine Is Featured On:

On Monday April 11th

Reading Is My Superpower

and

Grace On Parade

 

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

Laura Hilton: Insights To A Treasured Author

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Everyone’s Story gives a fond hello back to a much beloved author by many, Laura Hilton. This time I’ve sent Laura a few questions to answer and she graciously replied back, wanting to share with my viewers. I’m sure readers as well as authors will find her answers insightful to the behind-the-scenes of a popular author. Do check out Laura’s generous BookGiveaway, as well as the blurb for her newest release The Amish Firefighter. Both Laura and I look forward to hearing from you. 

 

 

 

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BookGiveaway:

Laura is offering 1 printed copy of The Amish Firefighter–or any 1 printed copy of any of her other novels–to 1 randomly chosen commenter. The winner will be announced here on Friday, April 8th 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 The Amish Firefighter:

Can they overcome their past?

Abigail Stutzman’s life is about to change – whether she wants it to or not. Her mamm is getting remarried to a widower with a large family. Abigail is sent to live with her aenti and onkle in Jamesport because she and her new step-brother had dated and their parents anticipate problems. (Her step-brother is needed on the farm.) Abigail launches a full-scale plan to return home to her family—and Mark—when she finds herself in over her head…and heart. When Abigail and her new “wrong crowd” get into significant trouble, her punishment includes helping a collection of crazy old maids with housekeeping. In the midst of her atonement, Abigail uncovers family secrets that run deep, and realizes she’s not the only one with a pain-filled past. Abigail must decide if she’ll continue her messed-up legacy or embrace a new beginning with the man who’s stolen her heart.

Sam Miller has trouble of his own. When Sam and his close friend Ezra Weiss are in a drug/alcohol-related car accident in Pennsylvania, Ezra is killed. Though Sam survives, he is deeply affected by the tragedy and vows to help other victims. Now a new Christian, Sam is a volunteer firefighter and a college student working to earn his EMT and paramedic license. But Sam has a past. When it comes time to confess his crimes, he finds that the truth may set him free—but it might also land him in some uncomfortably hot water. Will Sam and Abigail be able to find a future together?

Questions for Laura Hilton

You’ve established yourself as an author of Amish Christian based fiction. Where did your love of this genre originate?

My maternal family have Amish roots, so I came by it naturally. Like most readers I started reading it when I discovered Beverly Lewis’s books – though I did read some prior to hers that were young adult books, but I don’t remember who the author was.

What are the features in your novels that readers share with you that keeps them coming back to read more?

They are different than a lot of Amish novels out there as I try to write them more gritty. Amish are real people, just like you and I, that struggle with the same temptations. They also like the Christian message and the sexual tension in my books.

Birdhouse (1)

Out of all the novels you’ve written, is there 1 that stands out the most in which you can relate to either premise wise or character wise?

A lot of my female characters have shyness and insecurity issues which is something that I can relate to. I am a very quiet person who feels uncomfortable in the spotlight, so as a child, some of the stronger females (bullies) picked on me because I was afraid to make a wave. It took a long time before I grew up enough to know I have value and no one has a right to tell me different (either in word or deed.)

Part of your online credits highlights that you’re a professional book reviewer for the Christian market. What kind of writing skill tips have you picked up through the years in reviewing other authors’ novels?

I have learned what works and what doesn’t and why. It also taught  me skill levels by observing, like point of view, deep point of view, conflict, etc.

Do you have a trying-to-get-published story of yesteryear to share?

I think a lot of my trying-to-get-published woes are mostly related to being a new novelist who was still learning the rules and I submitted my babies long before they were ready. I really appreciate the editors who saw something promising in me and took the time to write three pages of why my story wasn’t ready. They were hard to read at the time, but I was able to learn from them.

AwakenedLove cover

As a now multi-published author are you finding the crafting of a novel is coming easier or harder?

It depends on the story. Some of them are really lighthearted and fun to write and the characters cooperate, and it just flows. And others are awful! The writing is so painful it takes a lot out of me, leaving me exhausted.

How are you managing the time spent between writing and promotion?

I market in the morning mostly, or whenever I have time, sometimes it’s early afternoon. I also have a street team who helps some.

What do you enjoy doing in your “free” time? Do you have any?

I really don’t have any. I love to read, so I read, but that is part of learning to write and book reviewing, so… I have five kids and a husband and I love spending time with them. I’m trying to be with one son as much as possible right now because he is fixing to leave the nest, going into the Coast Guard and it tears me up just thinking of it. I’m so proud of him, but I will so miss him.

If you didn’t have to think twice about succeeding, which genre would you like to explore in writing?

I don’t know that thinking twice about succeeding is an issue. I love contemporary and I love Amish and writing what I do is the best of both worlds. My two favorite genres rolled into one.

Laura’s Ah-hahs To Tweet:

Almost everything you want to know about beloved author @Laura_V_Hilton. #Giveaway #AmishFiction (Tweet This)

Everyone’s Story: Interview on author @Laura_V_Hilton. #BookGiveaway (Tweet This)

Like @AmishFiction with a little “grit”? Visit with @Laura_V_Hilton. (Tweet This)

 

Laura’s Recent Appearance on Everyone’s Story: Is God’s No Always No

 

Author’s Bio:

Award winning author, Laura Hilton, her husband, Steve, and their five children make their home in Arkansas. She is a pastor’s wife, a stay-at-home mom and home-schools. Laura is also a breast cancer survivor.

Her publishing credits include three books in the Amish of Seymour series from Whitaker House: Patchwork Dreams, A Harvest of Hearts (winner of the 2012 Clash of the Titles Award in two categories), and Promised to Another. The Amish of Webster County series, Healing Love (finalist for the 2013 Christian Retail Awards). Surrendered Love and Awakened Love followed by her first Christmas novel, A White Christmas in Webster County, as well as the Amish of Jamesport series, The Snow Globe, The Postcard, and The Birdhouse. Other credits include Swept Away from Abingdon Press’ Quilts of Love series. Laura is contracted for another three book Amish series set in the Jamesport area, with the first book, The Amish Firefighter releasing in May 2016, followed by two more Amish books and a Christmas story releasing in Fall 2016, Spring 2017 and Fall 2017 respectively.

She has self-published a Christmas novella, Christmas Mittens.

Laura is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers and a professional book reviewer and blogs for Putting on the New and Seriously Write.

Places to connect with Laura:

Website/blog

Twittter

Facebook

Pinterest

Amazon

Barnes and Noble

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

 

Jennifer Slattery: The Tears of Freedom

Jennifer

Everyone’s Story gives a big welcome back to multi-published author and popular blogger, Jennifer Slattery. Through the years I’ve watched this energetic woman grow from weekly blogger to debut author to multi-published author and now to editor at a Christian publisher. I’m not sure how she does it all (perhaps she doesn’t sleep?) but Jennifer manages with a gracious smile. This week Jennifer reflects on several personal moments that influenced her writing, answers a few questions, and offers a BookGiveaway on her newest release. Both Jennifer and I look forward to hearing from you. 

Plus, have you checked out my own Goodreads BookGiveaway of Always With You? It runs only until April 2nd–fast approaching. See the very bottom of this blog feature to enter the contest.

 

 

BreakingFree_N1664109

BookGiveaway:

Jennifer is offering 1 printed copy of Breaking Free to 1 randomly chosen commenter, US residents only. The winner will be announced here on Friday, April 1st 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).

Read a free, 33-page excerpt here.

 

On The Other Side of Dead Ends by Jennifer Slattery

Some believe life is found when they reach that ever-elusive dream, grab hold of true love, or maybe finally get to enjoy that retirement they spent decades building. But I say life is found when we reach the end of ourselves.

I’ve had numerous dead end moments, the most dramatic being when I spent my first night on the streets of Tacoma. You’d think once God had plucked me off the streets and rerouted my life-course, it was all roses and chocolates from there.

Nope. I had to slam my head into a few more dead-ends, like the near destruction of my marriage. And our finances. Followed by a move quite literally across the country, a bout of unemployment, followed by some major heart-cleaning. But each of those moments, as hard as they were, brought me one step closer to Christ and revealed yet another layer of the story of grace He longs to reveal in me.

Interesting how each of those painful moments have come out in my latest novel, Breaking Free. That was totally unintentional on my heart. All I knew was that I had a burning desire to write. So, after resisting the urge for a while (with the intent of pursuing a much more reasonable and predictable career), I surrendered and sat at my desk, my laptop opened in front of.

The story poured out. Maybe it was cathartic, or maybe my create explosion was simply the result of having been suppressed for so long. Regardless the why or how, as I sat to write each day, I felt God’s love and grace so strongly, there were times I was quite literally brought to tears. It was as if I could sense God’s heartbeat for each of us, especially the most broken among us.

That was in 2009, back when I was convinced I was ready to write for God. Man, was I wrong. He had a lot of heart-work to do in me before I’d be ready to carry the platform behind my stories, the biggest of which was removing the shame that kept me hiding behind my computer. Because how can one write stories of freedom when they themselves are living in bondage?

A few years, during a painful conversation regarding my past and my desperate need to keep it hidden, my brother said to me, “I look forward to the day when you can share your story without shame.”

Last night as I filled out a biographical form sent to me from a Christian media group, I realized that day has come. And all I could do was cry, happy tears. The tears of freedomDoves

Questions for Jennifer:

Your novels center on strong woman and how they fight to mend broken marriages and relationships. Would you consider this your “author’s theme” and where does this originate from?

Interesting. I’ve never recognized this, though I do enjoy stories with women overcomers, so I suppose I’m not entirely surprised my female characters demonstrate strength. As far as my author’s theme, my books tend to include tough or strained family relationships, someone in need of help, and those who feel called to help them. I’ve also been told my novels point to the truth that we find our joy, healing, and fulfillment in serving others.

Congratulations on becoming a content editor for Firefly, a southern fiction imprint for Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas. What is the most valuable but unexpected lesson you’ve learned since accepting this position?

I absolutely love working with authors, and I love Firefly’s process. I’m able to walk alongside an author from first draft through final submission. As a result, I feel we develop a great relationship. Every author I work with lands on my prayer list as to me, my working relationship with them is about much more than just their book. I feel God has brought me alongside them to encourage them and help them grow.

As to what I’ve learned… I’ve come to discover how much I love helping others reach their full potential. I think that’s why I love editing so much; it’s an opportunity to link arms with someone as they pursue God’s call on their life.

I watched your video of Living As Daughters of the King on your website: Please share with viewers of this blog what your “antidote” to the hiccups life often gives.

I’m not sure there’s an antidote to life’s problems, but there is one to the emotional craziness that often follows, and that’s trusting and surrendering fully to Christ. When I remember who He is, what He’s promised, and all He’s done for me in the past, whatever I’m facing loses the power it has over me because it’s placed in proper perspective—in God’s hands.

Off the top of your head, without much thought: where’s the 1 foreign country you want to visit and why?

I recently received an intriguing email about a bed and breakfast in Israel and it sounded absolutely lovely! Although as my husband often says, there’s still so much of the United States we haven’t seen and experienced.

 

Jennifer’s Ah-hahs To Tweet:

Everyone’s Story: Visit with author & now editor Jennifer Slattery @Jenslattery #BookGiveaway (Tweet This)

Author Jennifer Slattery @Jenslattery shares time when she finally could cry tears of freedom. (Tweet This)

Win Jennifer Slattery @Jenslattery’s #BookGiveaway of BREAKING FREE. (Tweet This)

 

Past Jennifer Slattery Guest Appearances on Everyone’s Story:

When God Has Other Plans

The One Word That Counts

Listening

 

Author’s Bio:

Jennifer Slattery writes soul-stirring fiction for New Hope Publishers, Christian living articles for Crosswalk.com, and devotions for Internet Café Devotions, the group blog, Faith-filled Friends, and her personal blog. She also does content editing for Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas’ Firefly imprint, and loves working with authors who are serious about pursuing their calling. When not writing, reading, or editing, Jennifer loves going on mall dates with her adult daughter and coffee dates with her hilariously fun husband.

Places to connect with Jennifer:

Website/blog

Twitter

Facebook

Amazon

This Week Elaine Is Featured On:

Kathleen Rouser’s Blog

Let’s Chat

Monday March 28th

 

Only Until April 2nd:

 

Goodreads Book Giveaway

Always with You by Elaine Stock

Always with You

by Elaine Stock

Giveaway ends April 02, 2016.

See the giveaway details
at Goodreads.

Enter Giveaway

 

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

Erica Marie Hogan: What Makes A Writer Tick?

Erica

Everyone’s Story is pleased to introduce about-to-be debut author Erica Marie Hogan. I became acquainted with Erica through our mutual publisher, Elk Lake Publishing. As new novelists, these past few months had us exchanging thoughts and waylaying each others’ butterflies from an all out takeover!  This week Erica shares about what inspires her to write. Writers, do you see similarities between your inspiration and Erica’s? Readers, are you fascinated by what makes a writer tick? Both Erica and I look forward to hearing from you. 

 

 

 

 

TheLostGeneration

Blurb for The Lost Generation:

On August 5th 1914, the world changed forever. For John and Beth Young, it meant the happiness they finally achieved was snatched out from under them. For Emma Cote, it meant that her husband Jared would do his duty, despite her feelings. For Christy Simmons it meant an uncertain future with the boy she loved. The lives of six people, spread across the British Empire to America were changed forever.

When John, Jared and Will find themselves thrust together in France and Emma and Christy decide to seek out their missing husbands, the lives of these three families intertwine in ways that none of them could possibly have imagined. Working together in a field hospital, Emma and Christy learn to rely on and protect each other. Lost together in a strange forest and cut off from their unit, the three soldiers run and hide.

But the further they go, the more they realize that the chances of all of them making it out unscathed are nonexistent and Emma and Christy find that blood is not easy to wash off, but no friendship is stronger than that made during times of war, sacrifice and healing.

 

What inspires you to write? By Erica Marie Hogan

This is the question I think I’m most often asked. I think about it for a few minutes, contemplating what exactly it is that inspires me. Is it the books I read? The movies I watch? Or my own vivid imagination? All of these things play a part, certainly. Books keep my imagination alive. Some of the best advice I ever received as a young writer was ‘Read, read and read some more!’ An author I admire, and of whose work I am a huge fan, told me that. But ultimately, I think what inspires me most is my love for the craft.

I discovered I wanted to write stories when I was very young. I’d always had a fondness for writing, but my stories were never original and I did it for fun. I believe I first realized I wanted to be a serious historical fiction author when I read one of Lauraine Snelling’s novels. I found I couldn’t put it down and inspiration lit like a little candle in my heart. I fell in love, not only with her stories, and others like them, but with the idea of writing such inspirational, faith-filled novels of my own. I wanted to give to another reader what I had received in discovering this genre. I was thirteen at the time.

EricaReading

That was eleven years ago now. I started writing back then and didn’t stop. I don’t think I could’ve stopped if I tried. The trouble was, I was so young. I wasn’t taken seriously as a writer because my work needed a lot of, well, work. 😉 I remember getting a lot of sweet little smiles, the doubtful kind. The kind that say, ‘You’re sweet and cute, but what you want will probably never happen.’ Normally, I would have been discouraged by this. I probably would’ve given up. But I didn’t. Because writing was something that was in me. It was already a part of me, so I couldn’t give it up even if I tried. I considered other careers. I thought about what life would be like if I took on a full-time career that left no room for writing.

Nothing appealed to me. I always came back to that blank Word document, ready to start something new. To write the novel I was meant to write. The novel God wanted me to write. Being anything else wasn’t an option and that was true before even I realized it.

In early 2014 my father handed me a book. It was about World War One and the generation of men that was lost to it. It stuck with me. I couldn’t shake the stories I read and I knew right then that I had to write about it. So I started The Lost Generation. It took me six months to write it and even now, I’m editing it. Reworking it. Making it the best that it can be. I hope to share it with all of you soon. The Lost Generation is my baby. I know that sounds silly, but it’s true. It is one amongst many of my stories that stands out, that I can’t stop thinking about. My characters, the tragedies they witness, and how they overcome it, all remains with me day after day.

It took me a long time to get where I am today. But every contest I entered, every critique I received, and every tear I shed, was worth it. It will always be worth it. Because it all served to make me a better writer, to work harder, and to smile. Because I’m doing what I love and that’s the most important thing of all.

Erica’s Ah-hahs To Tweet:

Debut author Erica Marie Hogan @EricaHogan316: What makes an author tick? (Tweet This)

#Writers, facing burnout or embracing your writing? Erica Marie Hogan @EricaHogan316 shares her story. (Tweet This)

Erica Marie Hogan @EricaHogan316 tells about upcoming debut novel The Lost Generation. (Tweet This)

Author’s Bio:

Erica Marie Hogan is 23-years-old and as far back as she can remember she loved to write. It started with a love for reading. But when the stories she read on the page weren’t enough anymore, she started writing them herself. She’s been writing stories since she was ten.

Erica was born in New York but now calls Texas home. She was home-schooled through high school, raised in a faithful household, and discovered her deep love of history when she was a teenager.

God has placed it on her heart to write, and her dreams are coming true. Having faith that it would happen has brought her where she is today, and she looks forward to sharing these stories that are all bottled up in her head with the world. Watch for the coming release of her first novel, The Lost Generation.

Places to connect with Erica:

Website

Twitter

Facebook

Goodreads

This Week Elaine Is Featured On:

Author Jo Huddleston Sweet Southern Romance
Blog

March 24th

Goodreads Book Giveaway

Always with You by Elaine Stock

Always with You

by Elaine Stock

Giveaway ends April 02, 2016.

See the giveaway details
at Goodreads.

Enter Giveaway

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