Monday, November 7, 2011

Interview with Lauralee Bliss



Title: “A Crossroad to Love” in A Quaker Christmas
Publisher: Barbour Publishing

Cover blurb: Christmas is a simple matter among the Quakers of the historic Ohio River Valley, but can it be a time to welcome love into four households? In Lauralee’s novella, “A Crossroad to Love” Mary Hall’s family runs an inn for weary travelers, but some guests, like Silas Jones, pressure them to compromise their steadfast Quaker ways. Could it be that Silas just needs a reminder of why simpler ways are often better?

1) How did this story come to you?
I was actually hiking the Appalachian Trail at the time the editor asked if I would be a part of this collection. I was staying with a couple then who took me in as a weary hiker, and the idea for an inn ministering to a weary traveler came into being.

2) Tell us about the journey to getting this book published.
As I alluded to, the idea of an inn came to me while I was out hiking last year, and from that initial premise, I pieced together a storyline. I had also done extensive research on the Quakers many years ago for a biography on William Penn that did not come through. He suffered quite a bit of injustice in his life as a Quaker, so I wanted to incorporate that aspect within the story.

3) Tell me three things about yourself that would surprise your readers.
1. I have hiked the entire Appalachian Trail twice, both north and south, one of only 24 women to have done this.
2. I make brownies from scratch using applesauce nearly every day - they are easier on my digestion, and I just love them!
3. Christmas is my favorite holiday. I go all out in decorating and celebrating the season.

4) What are you working on now and what's next for you?
I am working on another novella idea to take place in historic St. Louis. I am also writing an e-book for those interested in hiking the Appalachian Trail. And I am actively speaking about the Appalachian Trail to interested hikers.

5) Parting comments?
You never know what will cross your path on your journey in life. Just be open to what God brings your way.

6) Where can fans find you on the internet?
http://www.lauraleebliss.com/
http://www.blissfullifejourney.com/
http://www.blissfulhiking.com/
Readers of Lauralee Bliss on Facebook –
https://www.facebook.com/pages/Readers-of-Author-Lauralee-Bliss/170259122202





Cover blurb: "Love Finds you in Bethlehem, New Hampshire:
Sara McGee is not what Tom Haskins expected. The artist knew he was taking a risk when he reluctantly agreed to advertise for a mail-order bride but Tom assumed the woman who answered his ad would be more refined than the penniless and uneducated Sara McGee. Tom takes Sara under his wing but he knows he can never marry her— especially now that he’s suddenly receiving attention from accomplished pianist Annabelle Loving. While Tom’s sister is bent on transforming Sara into a lady, Sara knows she can never compete with Annabelle. Nonetheless, she finds herself drawn to the lovely mountain town of Bethlehem… and to the artist who brought her here. But without a marriage to Tom, Sara knows she cannot stay. As preparations for Christmas transform the tiny town, will Tom come to understand the message of the first Bethlehem—that the most precious gifts don’t always come as they’re expected?

Mildred Colvin's "Love Returned"


Title: Love Returned
Cover blurb: Megan McGinnis was pressured to give up her baby and has regretted doing so ever since. Now she’s met Scott Landis and his son, Randy. His adopted son.

About the time she falls in love with Scott, circumstances convince her Randy is the baby she gave away nine years ago. But what can she do?

If she confronts Scott, she'll lose his love, and he'll keep Randy from her. If she marries Scott without telling who she is, she'll have Randy and Scott, but be living a lie. Is there a happy ending to her life?

1) How did this story come to you?
I have always been interested in adoption and how it affects both sides of the child’s family. As an adoptive mother, I’ve experienced feelings of insecurity and uncertainty that comes with an adopted child. I’ve sympathized with the birthmother who gave her child up for adoption and admired her for doing so. Love Returned is the story of a birthmother who longs to have closure with the baby she gave away. Mostly, she wants to know if he’s happy and being taken care of.

2) Tell us about the journey to getting this book published.
I first wrote Love Returned a few years ago when I was active in Cub Scouting as a den leader. I even attended Cub Scout camp and researched while there for this book. I linked Love Returned with two other books set in Missouri and sent them to Heartsong Presents for their Romancing America line. Another series was selected for that spot so I put my books aside. When I learned I could self-publish, I dug this manuscript out and rewrote it, polished it, then published it on Amazon and Barnes & Noble as an e-book. Since, I have released Love Returned in paperback.  

3) Tell me three things about yourself that would surprise your readers.
a. My husband and I married 2 months after our blind date and are still together after 40+ years.
b. We have had more than 30 children, 3 adopted, the rest fostered.
c. Sorry, that’s only two. My life is really quite boring just the way I like it.

4) What are you working on now and what's next for you?
I am rewriting one of my old Heartsong Presents books, Cora. Besides lengthening the story, I’ve changed the title to Love’s Tender Call. My goal is to submit it to another publisher, but if it isn’t accepted, I’ll more than likely self-publish it since I know it’s better now than it was before.

5) Parting comments?
Thank you K. Dawn for having me back on your blog. There’s one thing many people still don’t know. You don’t have to own a Kindle or Nook to read e-books. Both Amazon and Barnes & Noble have graciously provided an e-book reader download on their sites. This allows you to read e-books from your PC, many phones, and other things. Take a look and get yours for free.

6) Where can fans find you on the internet?
I can be found at my personal blog: www.mildredcolvin.blogspot.com or a group blog with other authors: http://www.infinitecharacters.com/

Doreen Hanna's "Raising a Modern Day Princess"


Title: Raising a Modern Day Princess,
      Publisher: FOTF/Tyndale
Cover blurb: In Raising a Modern-Day Princess, authors Pam Farrel and Doreen Hanna come alongside mothers and mentors to offer practical help in raising a generation of women to see themselves as God sees them, Daughters of the King, true modern-day princesses. In an easy-to-use step-by-step style, the authors show moms how to create a fun-filled and life-changing rite-of-passage experience celebrating their daughters’crossover into womanhood. There’s also an entire chapter to help dads or father figures understand the vital role they play in their daughters’ lives. With personal stories and advice from real moms and daughters, this book speaks to the heart of every woman who longs to instill in her daughter a true sense of purpose, value, and strength.

1) How did this story come to you? 
In late 1999 I (Doreen) was asked to speak for a mother/daughter event titled, “Celebrate You’re a Daughter of the King.” In addition, they requested I include the importance of older women mentoring younger women. 

My first thought after saying yes was: “What exactly does a Daughter of the King look like in today’s society?  The following term came immediately to mind, “A Jewish American Princess.”  I knew this was a slang term in CA referring to Jewish women in the upper class society of CA.    I pondered those words for a moment and that caused me to remember some of the Jewish moms I knew in high school.  I recalled how they would walk down the school hallway with a graceful boldness, on their way to the principal’s office to discuss a plan of action for their child’s misbehavior. I also began to consider that divorce didn’t seem to be an option and that family life was very important to them.  They were faithful in their synagogues and they directed their children in a way that most often led to great success. 

With all that in mind it prompted me to go to the library to find the answer as to why they had such a solid
foundation and sense of royalty about them.  Within my research I discovered several books on a Jewish girl’s Bat-Mitzvah.  I immediately found that traditionally a woman called a “mentor,” (truly a God moment already) comes alongside of their daughter for one year, at the time that she turns 12, to reinforce all that the parents and their synagogue have taught and invested in her.  As I read the various subjects addressed, such as her character development, talents, understanding and memorization of the Torah (the 1st 5 books of our Bible), and service to her community, to name a few, all led to presenting her as a “woman,” at the age of 13 on the day of her Bat-Mitzvah celebration. I quickly saw why these woman were appropriately called (not slang at all!) Princesses.  They had truly been royally trained!

I felt well prepared for the event as I presented that day the purpose and power of a having a mentor in a young girl’s life enabling her to embrace her true identity in Christ, a Daughter of the King.  I also incorporated Princess Diana’s “ladies in waiting, (mentors!)” that served her throughout her life  available to give her wise counsel in every area of her life: physically, emotionally, mentally and spiritually. Lastly, I spoke of Rahab, a prostitute who became a Princess in the linage of Jesus who was surrounded by the women of Israel (mentors!) preparing her to one day marry a Prince.

Driving home from the event many thoughts flooded my mind. Suddenly, the Holy Spirit arrested my wandering mind with this question, “What does our American Christian culture have for our girls?”  You know the obvious answer was, “Nothing.” 

I began pondering on how our Christian community had not carried from our Jewish roots a very valuable tradition:  Preparing and celebrating our daughters step into womanhood.  I contemplated how for most of us, my generation and many before me, had either just drifted into, or defined our own rite-of-passage into adulthood.  It might have been our first kiss, drink, smoke or drugs.  Or, possibly more appropriately: graduating from high school, college, turning 21 or our first job.  

Of course, this brought me back to what I had read about these Jewish women mentors who supported the parents and came alongside these girls equipping them for womanhood and this was well celebrated in their synagogue with family and friends where she was blessed by her Rabbi and father publicly, embracing her into adulthood with an increased measure of confidence and grace!

This was a God moment.  I faced the reality of what God was asking me that day but it took me three months to say YES to Him. Why? Because I knew it meant going back to work with teen girls.  That was a scary thought after having raised two of my own and the culture had changed so much how could I relate to them? Really God?! Then there was the realization that I would have to create and write a curriculum.  Hey!  I wasn’t a writer?  25 years of speaking and teaching women’s Bible studies, but not creating one!   One of my Pastor’s favorite quotes then came to mind, “God doesn’t call the equipped, He equips the called!”  Furthermore, within days I was reading my Daily Bible and just happened to be in the book of Esther (another God moment!)  and read in Chapter 4 verses13-14 “Do not think in your heart that you will escape in the king’s place (I was secure serving God where I was!)…for if you remain silent at this time, relief and deliverance will arise from another place (or He will use another person).  Yet, who knows whether you have come to royalty for such a time as this.”  That sealed it for me.  It was a YES.  I didn’t want to miss out on something God had called me to accomplish for His glory and ultimately for my pleasure.

2) Tell us about the journey to getting this book published.
I love telling this story because getting published was a dream come true!  I had been invited by Focus on the Family to attend a gathering in 2002 with others across that country that had created rite-of-passage books, curriculums, seminars, etc. (This was a result of a friend who worked with FOTF and wanted to see me meet someone there enabling me to share what God had called me to do and had been implementing for a few years now and seeing the results.

When I arrived I was the only woman in the room and was surrounded by FOTF director Jim Weidiman, John Trent,  the author of The Blessing, Randy Phillips, one of the founding members of Promisekeepers and several others unknowns like myself but had been called by God to help facilitate within our American society the importance of a rite-of-passage! 

We discovered that one verse that had been instilled in all of our hearts during our development journeys. It was Malachi 4:6 “He will turn the heart of the father towards his children and the children towards their father…”  We knew that this rite-of-passage was accomplishing this because we were seeing it before our very eyes.

I left that meeting praying that one day FOTF would publish my curriculum.  However, the opportunity did not present itself at that time.  Therefore, over the next 5 years I pitched my curriculum to various publishers.  Most of them were receptive to the idea but no contract.  12 rejections later and in October 2008 at the CLASS Glorieta Writers Conference I met Brandy Bruce, a senior editor for FOTF and she immediately loved what I had presented.  By January 2009 my co-author, Pam Farrel and I had signed a contract and we were on our way to writing a book!  Remember I thought I would never be a writer ?  Well, God keeps stretching us, ok me!, to grow me up in Him and to amazingly use me to further His plans and purposes for our teen girls.  January of 2010 Raising a Modern Day Princess was released and has sold more than 20,000 copies.  I still stand in awe at what God wants and can do in, through, and around us when we say YES to Him.

3) Tell me three things about yourself that would surprise your readers.
1) I was a California Beach Bunny, who from the age of 3 loved the boys (so my mother told me), especially the Beach Boys!
2) I was born with black hair.  Lived as a brunette until I was 58 – now I’m a blonde!  I do believe that this blonde is having more fun! J
3) I left my husband after 24 years of marriage, moved out of state, filed for divorce, was gone for 13 months.  However, we reconciled 6 weeks before the divorce was final.  We have now been married 40 years.

4) What are you working on now and what's next for you?
Pam Farrel are working on two more books.  One that will equip moms to Raise a Modern Day Princess from birth to pre-teens.  And another that addresses the Princess within of every woman.

5) Parting comments?
I would love the opportunity to pass on to other women what God has equipped and empowered me to do for Him who have also been called speak, write,  lead other women or  establish a ministry.    

5) Where can fans find you on the internet?

Shawna Williams' "The Good Fight"



Title: The Good Fight.
Publisher: Desert Breeze Publishing.

Cover blurb: Roger Talbot's life is defined by his devotion to public service. Having just successfully prosecuted a brutal murder case, Roger turns his attention to discovering the shady dealings of Niles Parker -- the town's former mayor, Roger's old boss and the father of the woman Roger almost married.

Pennye Carrington ran away from Port Delamar with plans never to return. However, learning that her brother had murdered a family member of a famous movie star changed those plans. Pennye comes back with the hope of bringing stability to a family in disarray, but facing the torment of her childhood may be more than she can handle.

Roger's mission to bring down Niles Parker and Pennye's desire to keep her brothers out of trouble create a middle ground, where two people who couldn't be further apart, embark on a danger-filled journey of discovery to find themselves and each other.

1) How did this story come to you?
After the release of No Other, my debut novel, I had several readers ask me if the sequel, In All Things -- which was already under contract based on a proposal -- was going to be about Roger, Jakob’s rival in No Other. When I told them that it wasn’t, they expressed disappointment. While writing In All Things, however, his character crept in unexpectedly, and in a rather profound way. He was hardly present throughout the book, but his name and the impact he’d had on Jakob in the previous book kept coming up. When In All Things released, once again I had readers asking me if I was going to write a book about Roger. As I looked at certain elements of the story, I realized that the relationship between Jakob and Roger wasn’t quite finished, and that it would also serve as the cohesion in a three book series if I chose to write another book. Furthermore, Roger was a rather interesting character with a unique angle from which to explore. So, here it is. The Good Fight is the third book in what I’ve dubbed, “The Series I Didn’t Intend to Write but My Readers Made Me Do It.”

2) Tell us about the journey to getting this book published.
I pitched this book with a proposal. The other two books had been met with a favorable response by readers, so Gail Delaney, the EIC of Desert Breeze was excited about the prospect of a third book. We both just wish we’d known this would turn into a series a little sooner so we could’ve given it an official title.

3) Tell me three things about yourself that would surprise your readers.
1) I write Historicals, but I’m equally fond of Fantasy and Science Fiction.
2) I’m a small person, but I can out eat a giant if it’s Mexican food -- especially if it’s spicy.
3) I once performed a dance routine on a television show in Hong Kong.

4) What are you working on now and what's next for you?
I edit for two publishers, so at the moment I’m playing catch-up on some work, but I’m about to sign a contract for a sequel to my Christmas story Orphaned Hearts, which released last December with Desert Breeze. I’m also working on a story called Memoirs of a Ghost Town. It’s not a romance, and it blends a contemporary story with one set in the past. I’m unsure right now as to where I’ll pitch it. I need to finish it first.

5) Parting comments?
While The Good Fight is the third book in a series, it is written so that it can be enjoyed as a stand alone. It’s also different than the other two books in that it’s a romantic suspense and the other two are more romantic drama-ish. I wanted to take advantage of Roger’s job as District Attorney and the fact that readers have been itching to see Niles Parker experience some sort of consequence for being his sorry self. The character of Pennye became one of my favorites during the writing process. I could easily relate to her sense of adventure and sympathize with her insecurities.

6) Where can fans find you on the internet?
http://www.shawnakwilliams.com/
http://shawnawilliams-oldsmobile.blogspot.com/
http://twitter.com/#!/shawnakwilliams
http://www.facebook.com/#!/pages/Shawna-K-Williams/236629884245

Suzanne Hartmann's "Write This Way: Take Your Writing to the Next Level"



Title: Write This Way: Take Your Writing to the Next Level
Publisher: I published this book myself because I wanted to give my readers a low-cost compilation of all the posts on my blog, Write This Way, regarding the craft of writing.


Cover blurb: Write This Way will lead new authors through the forest of grammatical rules, stylistic guidelines, and story structure as they write, and help them polish their novel to the point where it is ready to show to agents and editors.

1) How did the idea for this book come to you?
Because so many people helped me along my writing journey, I wanted to give back to the writing community. So I passed along the many lessons I learned along my writing journey in the form of blog posts. Over time, I posted over a hundred articles on my blog, Write This Way. But because there are so many and they’re scattered throughout the blog under a wide variety of categories, it takes effort to sift through them and find everything available about a specific topic. This realization birthed the idea to consolidate the articles into an easy-to-use e-book so authors could have all of the information at their fingertips as they write and revise.

2) Tell us about the journey to getting this book published.
It took several years to accumulate enough articles to make into a book. Once I decided that I wanted to compile the articles, I created an outline for everything I wanted to cover. I still hadn’t written about a number of the topics yet, so I laid out a schedule to post them over the next year. Health issues slowed down the process, but a year later I finally had all the articles I needed to make a book that covered every step in writing a novel from creating an outline to the last revision pass.

3) Tell me three things about yourself that would surprise your readers.
a) I haven’t always wanted to be an author.
b) Both of my knees have been replaced.
c) I had pneumonia and bronchitis numerous times each as a child, but never had the chicken pox, measles, or mumps.

4) What are you working on now and what's next for you?
My first novel, PERIL: A Fast Track Thriller releases on Nov. 18, so I have been busy learning how to market a novel. I’m looking forward to celebrating with on-line friends at a Cyber-Party on my Facebook Author page on the release date, and with my friends and family at home a couple of weeks later. Once things calm down after the release, I will begin posting articles on my blog about things I learned regarding marketing a book, and plan to compile those articles into a follow-up book to Write This Way.

5) Parting comments?
My desire behind compiling this book is to help writers take their writing to a new level. There is a great deal to learn in the world of writing, but it is all learnable. If you have a story, you can rework it, tweak it, and polish it. Be persistent and willing to learn, and you will eventually make it to publication.

6) Where can fans find you on the internet?
My Website – FastTrackThrillers (http://fasttrackthrillers.blogspot.com/)
My Blog - Write This Way (http://suzanne-hartmann2.blogspot.com/)
Facebook – Suzanne Hartmann – Author http://www.facebook.com/#!/pages/Suzanne-Hartmann-Author/45955180933
Twitter - @SuzInIL (http://twitter.com/#!/SuzInIL)