Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Jennifer Slattery {Writer Wednesday} + GIVEAWAY

A little bit about Jennifer...
-->
-->Jennifer Slattery is an inspiring contemporary novelist whose stories of hope, love, and grace resonate with real people. She also writes Christian living articles for Crosswalk.com and devotions for her personal blog, Jennifer Slattery Lives Out Loud; Internet Cafe Devotions; and Takin' It to the Streets, a ministry serving Omaha Metro's working poor and homeless. When not writing, she enjoys hanging out with her teenage daughter and real-life hero husband, as well as serving in her church. She is the author of Beyond I Do and When Dawn Breaks.
How to connect with Jennifer...
--> Website: http://jenniferslatterylivesoutloud.com
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/3003937.Jennifer_Slattery
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/JenSlatte 
Twitter: https://twitter.com/Jenslattery
Purchase: When Dawn Breaks

Author Interview | Jennifer Slattery

**Leave a comment below for Jennifer to enter to win a copy of her novel, When Dawn Breaks.**
[Limited to Continental US only]

--> You and Writing

Tell us a little bit about yourself: How did you start writing? What has kept you writing?
...Although I’ve always pittered around with writing, journaling, that sort of thing, I started writing largely when I began to become involved in various church ministries. I saw it more as a tool to further ministry goals, and other times it was a hobby. I didn’t pursue it as a career until around 2009.

Do you have a favorite book or work that you’ve written? If so, why?
...I do! It’s one I thought would never go to print, mainly because it was my first real, fully fiction adult novel, and you know what they say about a writer’s firsts. It’s my favorite because I sensed God’s presence so strongly, and I really feel the message of the book encapsulates the desire of my heart—to surrender fully to Christ. I’m excited to say, I recently signed a contract with New Hope Publishers for this novel, and it will release in winter of 2016!

--> Your Writing

Tell us a little bit about your book. Why did you write it?

...I’d love to!

...When Dawn Breaks is about a middle aged woman who’s made some big mistakes in her life and is now paying the consequences, largely in terms of her relationships.

...As the hurricane forces Jacqueline to evacuate, her need for purpose and restitution motivate her to head north to her estranged and embittered daughter and into the arms of a handsome new friend. However, he’s dealing with a potential conspiracy at work, one that could cost him everything, and Jacqueline isn’t sure if he will be the one she can lean on during the difficult days ahead. And then there are the three orphans to consider, especially Gavin. Must she relinquish her chance at having love again in order to be restored?


You can read a free, 36-page excerpt here: http://issuu.com/newhopedigital/docs/slattery_sampler/1

Care to share what you're working on right now?
...I’m writing the first draft of a sequel to Beyond I Do, my debut novel. In Beyond I Do, we catch a less than admirable image of my heroine’s mother. She’s non-Christian, irresponsible, and often loses sight of the important people in her life. But… she goes through a major change that becomes the catalyst for book two. I wanted to show this change and in so doing, show that everyone is redeemable. I also enjoy writing about new believers. I think sometimes, as we journey with Christ, we forget what it was like to be new in our faith. To struggle, to still have areas of deception in need of truth, to feel as if we don’t quite fit. 

Do you have a favorite character in this work? If so, why?
...I do, and that’d be the main character, Angela Meadows. I really love her heart and I can relate to her desire to fit in, to find authentic community, but feel like she’s “less than”. I think that’s something so many of us women struggle with, and I love the message God gives Angela. I think it’s something He’s saying to each of us. :)

What is one take-away from your book that you hope readers identify with?
...That God can use everything—every tear and regret—to bring about His glorious purposes, and there’s peace and joy in that.

Writing

Where do you find inspiration for your story/characters? Are they based on real life or pure imagination or both?
...I’d say a bit of both, though I’m not sure I know where the line between the two is. Haha.

When you write, what is your overall intention with your stories?
...To glorify Christ. Other than that, I just enjoy getting lost in the telling of a story.

What advice would you give to aspiring authors for writing and/or publishing?
...Keep writing! Never give up, and always seek to learn as much as you can. Pay attention to every critique, no matter how painful, and put your desire to grow above your personal feelings. And most importantly stay connected to Christ, pliable to His Spirit, and tuned to His voice.

You

What’s one thing you are looking forward to in 2015?
...Going to the Mt. Hermon conference! I’ve always wanted to go, and this year will be especially memorable as my husband and daughter will be joining me. And because she’s a senior in high school, this could be our last spring break with her. They’ll have some one-on-one time in the San Francisco area while I learn and hang out with other writers. Then my husband will pick me up and we’ll head to San Diego for the remainder of the week.

Can you recommend one book that you think every writer should read about the writing craft?

...One? There’s two I really like. The Moral Premise by Stanley D. Williams and Stein on Writing by Sol Stein. They’re both excellent; must haves.

Do you prefer New Years fireworks or a bonfire to celebrate with? Or something else?

...Bonfire, some board games with close friends, and hot tea. 
_________________
Great to have you on the blog Jennifer! You latest book sounds great and thanks for offering to give a copy away. I love you you mention to listen to the critiques even if they are painful. I also love how you will be celebrating your time in Mt. Hermon and San Diego. Sounds like a fantastic Spring Break to me!

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

The Right to Write, Right?

From Pinterest
I've been thinking lately...

Uh-oh, you may be saying. What is she thinking about now? Well, writing, of course. But, in more general terms than that, I've been thinking about the right to write.

Before I say that one more time (because it's fun) I'll beg your understanding that these are only my thoughts, musings, and wrestlings about the subject. No fingers pointed, only thoughts directed to spur honest conversation :)

The right to write 

Told you I'd say it again. What does that mean? It's more a question than anything else. I've been thinking about the publishing process and listening to interesting stories from writer friends - both good and bad - about their publishing experiences. It's quite the ride they go through. The question of acceptance. The agony of edits. The joy of holding a newly-born/printed book in their hands. Seeing their tangible legacy covered in paper and baring their name for all to see. The nervousness of wondering if book two will be as good...

Then, in the corner, covered in dust and ashes are the authors who's hearts have been ripped out, much like zombies searching for...whatever it is that zombies search for. They struggle to be heard. They feel the bite of rejection. They cry a little, clutch their manuscript to their chest, and heave a great sigh thinking, "Maybe I'm just not good enough."

From Pinterest
Maybe they aren't.

That's not for me to say, nor is that really what this post is about. But I will say it's a scary thing to imagine. Which side of the divide will I fall on? How long will it take me to know which side I'm on? >Insert eerie shudder< I'm not sure that I want to know the answer to that.

But I have the right to write, right?

The overbearing question I'm finding myself asking is do I get to choose what I write? Do I get to be as creative as I want? Because, at the end of the day, if a reader isn't willing to take a chance and a ride with my wild imagination, then maybe it's best to tame it down. To change it. To imagine something else.

I'm sure if you're a writer who's considered publishing you've thought about this. How much do I write for me and how much do I write for them.

We all know who they are...the voracious, sometimes brutally critical, at other times loving and kind...READERS. But before we even reach them, we have to get through the other them. The publishers who decide to put money into our vision. Our imagination. Should our precious manuscript even make it that far.

I guess I don't really have a final say on this post. Like I said, it's more my thoughts about the matter, but it does beg the question:

From Pinterest
How much do you write for you, and how much do you write for them?

I'm not saying writing for the reader is a bad idea, or even a sell-out. We write so that others can enjoy--can read. But how much do we believe in what we are doing to do this well? Do we believe in our story enough to wait? To hear what others (the right people) say and put in the hard work to finish it? Do we strive to be the best we can be in craft and character development, or are we so focused on our own right to write that we ignore all but our own voices reminding us about that right.

I want to be a published author. I want to be good. And that's not because I want to sell a lot of books (though that would be quite fantastic). I want to be good so that I can take the barriers away for my readers. So that they can see why I deserve the right to write. So that they can experience the story as it should be.

What do you think? 

Readers: Have you read books that make you reconsider a writers "right to write"? Are you willing to take a risk on a story-journey that may be different than what you're used to? What's the pull for you?

Writers: Do you ever feel the weight of having to fit your story into a category instead of "just writing"? What sacrifices do you/have you made in order to "fit in" and was it better for your story?

Monday, January 26, 2015

Christy Barritt | New Novel News + GIVEAWAY



Announcing last week's winners of JoAnn Durgin's Prelude

Carol Smith & Olivia Roach


Congrats ladies, we'll be in contact with you!


*Just a fun little note from me: I'm currently reading this book and it's great so far! Make sure to leave a comment because you'll WANT to win this ;)

Dubiosity 
by Christy Barritt

Published January 13, 2015
Waterfall Press
Purchase: Dubiosity
Savannah Harris vowed to leave behind her old life as an intrepid investigative reporter. But when a friend raises suspicions about two migrant workers who’ve gone missing from the sleepy coastal town Savannah calls home, her curiosity spikes. As secrets emerge and danger closes in, Savannah must choose between faith and uncertainty. One wrong decision might spell the end…not just for her, but for everyone around her. Will she unravel the mystery in time, or will doubt get the best of her?
Get to know Christy...

What are the names of your pets?
I have three dogs. A standard Australian shepherd named Rusty (he’s a rescue and that was his name when we adopted him), a Maltese/Shihtzu named Molly, and a mini-Australian shepherd named Sparky (he’s actually my son’s dog, and I think he’s named after a Pokemon character.)

Do you have a nickname? Care to share?
Mo. My maiden name was Mohorn. When I was paired with another girl as my roommate in college, her name was Christy also. People began calling her by her last name, and they shortened my last name to Mo. To this day, when I hear someone call me that name, I know it’s an old, good friend.

What's one chore you hate doing?
Dusting. But really just housecleaning in general. I find it tedious, yet I don’t like to live in a messy house. It’s a conundrum. :)

***Christy is offering up a copy of Dubiosity (print -US only- or eBook)! Leave a comment below to enter to win. The winner will be announced next Monday.***

Friday, January 23, 2015

Flash Back To Childhood

I happened across a Facebook post from author Rachel Hauck asking about favorite book characters from childhood. It got me reminiscing about my childhood and all of books I read (or my parents read to me).

I though it would be fun to share some of my favorites here and then to see what you readers loved when you were young.

Enid Blyton | The Adventure Series

Dating back to 1944, this amazing series by British author Enid Blyton had more than enough to satisfy my adventurous, reading spirit. I remember my mom reading these to me and wondering... Why is there food in tins? What are biscuits? And then dreaming night and day about being on and adventure like Philip, Dinah, Lucy-Ann and Jack got to be. 

Purchase: Enid Blyton Adventure Series Set Collection




Nancy Drew

In keeping with the adventure, mystery theme, I loved the Nancy Drew books. And yes, you caught me, I still do :D I was given an almost complete set of them and can't wait to someday have the shelf space to display them (haha).

Purchase: Nancy Drew Complete Series Set, Books 1-64


The Hardy Boys

The Hardy Boys may have been boys, but that didn't stop me from enjoying their adventures. These were books my dad would read to me and I loved them just as much as Nancy Drew.

Also, did you know that they made a really fun (though slightly cheesey) TV series about Nancy Drew and The Hardy Boys?

Check it out here: The Hardy Boys/Nancy Drew Mysteries - Season One
Purchase: The Hardy Boy Books

The Boxcar Children

Imagine this: a long road trip, the front cab of a truck (we're talking no back seats here), and a small child. What do you do? Well, you read of course?

Whenever we would take road trips I was insistent that we had enough books to make it to our destination. I'm so glad my mom never got car sick, though there were a few times we're pretty sure she fell asleep while reading to my dad and I.

Purchase: The Boxcar Children Bookshelf (The Boxcar Children Mysteries, Books 1-12)

Frank Peretti | The Cooper Kids Adventure Series

Hum, are you sensing a theme here? Yes, adventure was definitely what I wanted to read when I was a kid. Makes sense why I like it now as well, and why I write Romantic Suspense ;)

Purchase:
Cooper Adventure Series




Robin Jones Gunn | Christy Miller Series

I got into the Christy Miller Series in my early high school years - introduced by my dear friend Steffani. I picked up the first book and was hooked. I love that they took you through to the college years and now I hear there's a married years series too! Definitely going to check that out.

Purchase:
Christy Miller Sereis

J.K. Rowling | Harry Potter

What childhood reading experience could be complete without Harry Potter? I recognize there is a lot of debate around the books in Christian circles, but one of the things I appreciated about my parents was how they handled things like that. My mom is a various reader who loves Fantasy and Sci-Fi. I took my cues from her and she read Harry Potter as well. For me as a child it was never about anything more than letting my imagination go.  The world Rowling created is simply amazing and fostered a lot of creative thinking on my part while also pointing out the very real fight between good and evil.

Purchase: Harry Potter Series


So, what about you? What books did you read as a child? Did you have a favorite series? Did you parents ever read to you?

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Winner of Do You See What I See by Delia Latham



Last week I hosted Delia Latham on the blog and she was gracious enough to offer up Do You See What I See? as a giveaway.

The winner is...


Cherie Kasper


Contact me so we can get you your copy, Cherie. Congrats!


Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Snow Day

Sometimes we all just need a snow day. Today, {Writer Wednesday} is going to be postponed due to...well, we'll call it snow ;)

So, in light of that, I'll share a little bit about my day. You see, it started off nice and early. Ok, some of you will laugh and say that 6AM isn't really early. But hey, if I'm waking up and the sun isn't up yet, I call that early.

I rolled out of bed, thankful the heat had come on because everyone knows how awful it is to get out of bed when it's freezing cold, and began my morning routine.

The difference in this particular morning was that I was going to see a friend! Yes, I have friends :D

Snow Selfie
Well, long story short, I met up with my friend Natalie and guess what we talked about for over four hours? Writing, of course. And you know what? It was great! We shared about frustration with our writing, excitement about possibilities, shared discouragement, encouragement to one another, and a lot of talk about fictional people (the best kind, in my opinion).

Sometimes you just need to talk about stuff with a friend who understands. It doesn't have to be about writing. It can be anything that you're passionate about, but the beauty is the shared experience.

Then I got to walk home in the snow, smelling overwhelmingly of coffee, and smiling to myself about the fresh sense of purpose I feel as a writer just for having talked about writing.

What or who inspires you? What are your passions? Do you like the snow?

Monday, January 19, 2015

New Novel News + GIVEAWAY

So, as promised, something *new* for the blog in 2015! I'm excited to introduce New Novel News. The idea behind this is to give you, my dear readers, a chance to try something new. Or at least hear about it!

Every Monday New Novel News will highlight new novels, blogs/websites, or ideas (or maybe a mixture of all three). I will give the particulars of whatever is being shared and then provide a little insight into the author or creator by having them answer 3 fun questions. My hope is that you'll see their personality and want to see more of their work.

If you're an author or writer and think New Novel News is something you'd like to be a part of, contact me. If you're a reader, then my HOPE is that I'll be able to introduce you to some new and amazing reads and the authors who create them. And don't worry, there will be the occasional giveaway too!

Enjoy!
-Em



Prelude: Prequel to The Lewis Legacy Series 
by JoAnn Durgin

Published December 19, 2014
Purchase: Prelude: Prequel to The Lewis Legacy Series

“Give me a reason to stay, Sam.” Sarah’s eyes glistened in the dim light.

Lowering his head, he prayed for the strength to resist pulling her into his arms, this woman who held his heart. He couldn’t bear the thought of letting her go to Austin. Increasingly, it’s all he could think about and distracted him at work, at home, and even in church. Lifting his chin, with everything in him, Sam fought what he was about to say. “I can’t.”

“I see. My mistake. I thought. . .” Her shoulders heaved and, rising from the swing, she walked quickly to the front door.

“Sarah, wait—”

When she turned back to him, the heartbreak in her features shattered him. Crossing the space between them in seconds. . .
Get to know JoAnn...

If you were a superhero, what would your super power be?
I’d want to be Typo Girl. Able to detect and automatically correct typos (including grammatical errors) as they are made. Protecting authors worldwide from the humiliation of dangling participles and other shame inducing mistakes.

If you were stranded on an island what are three things you couldn’t live without?
-Toothpaste. I can brush with my finger, but I can’t sleep with myself if I don’t brush.
-Popcorn. Trying to figure out how to pop it would kill time until my rescue.
-A book I don’t like. Thinking up ways to rewrite it would keep my brain cells active.

Name one song/artist you’re embarrassed you like.
Donny Osmond. Funny thing how he’s popular again since proving middle-aged white guys can dance. Donny inspired one of the most vivid dreams of my life; we met at summer camp and . . . well, we called it puppy love and kissed under a tree. True story: I served his mother and brother ice cream during my very short-lived career at Farrell’s Ice Cream Parlor.

Visit her Website, Facebook, Twitter, and Goodreads.

***JoAnn has graciously offered 2 eBook copies of Prelude!!! Leave a comment below to enter for a chance to win one of the copies! Winner will be drawn and announced next Monday.***


Buried
by Elizabeth Goddard

Published January 1, 2015
Purchase: Buried (Mountain Cove)
NOWHERE TO HIDE

Fleeing to Alaska is the only option for Leah Marks after witnessing a murder. Afraid for her life, the legal investigator hopes a remote cabin will be a safe shelter. But the killer has tracked her to Mountain Cove. As he chases her into snow-packed Dead Falls Canyon, an avalanche buries them both. Saved by daring search and rescue specialist Cade Warren, Leah longs to tell him the truth. But how can she, without bringing even more danger into Cade's life? Especially when they discover the killer is very much alive and waiting to take them both down.

Mountain Cove: In the Alaskan wilderness, love and danger collide.

Get to know Elizabeth...

If you were a superhero, what would be your super power?
Though it sounds kind of boring I think it would be awesome to have the super power of clean! I could instantly clean the house, instantly clean the world of all the clutter and war and ugliness.

What's one chore you hate doing?
I love to cook but hate cleaning up the dishes and the kitchen. So see, I need that super power of clean!

If you could live in a fantasy world, who’s would it be? I’m not sure if it’s fantasy or science fiction, but I’d love to live in Pandora, the world in Avatar because I’d love to ride one of those dragons.

Visit her Website, Facebook, Twitter, and Goodreads.