Monday, June 30, 2014

Tag! I'm it! Writer's Process Blog Tour!

Writers are always trying to find ways to reach our readers so when Camille Eide contacted me about a continuous author blog tour where I answer a few questions, I jumped at the chance. So thank you, Camille! Please go visit her at Extreme Keyboarding.

Question 1: What am I working on now?
At the moment, I'm writing a proposal for a new series based in the Georgia gold rush--and yes, there was a gold rush in the North Georgia Mountains in the 1830s. An unconventional woman goes in search of her missing father after her by-the-book uncle arranges a marriage to save the family business.

Question 2: How does my work differ from others in my genre?
A writer friend once told me that I write about strong women facing unusual circumstances in order to do the right thing. I like that. I also create stories around pieces of history most folks have never heard of.

Question 3: Why do I write what I do?
When I first started writing about women in unique historical circumstances, it was because of my girls--I wanted them to know girls played an important part in our history and that they could too. But the further along I go in this writing journey, I've realized that whether or not my stories minster to anyone, God uses them to minster to me.

Question 4: How does my writing process work?
Generally, I start with character charts and scene outline. Then I write the first draft, generally in longhand--that usually takes me about a month to six weeks. After I'm finished, I dictate it in to my computer then start edits(which is the fun part!) From start to finish, a book usually takes me 3-4 months.

And now to introduce next week's guest host--she's an amazing lady who has a real servant's heart!

ANE MULLIGAN--Southern Fried Fiction
In June of 2002, I quit my job as a business manager and with my husband’s encouragement, turned my hand to novel writing. To date, I’ve completed five novels, and I’m working on a new series.   
Always from the South ... okay originally from Southern California, I now live in Atlanta, Georgia with my husband  and two very large dogs, Shadrach and Oliver Twist.
My debut book, Chapel Springs Revival, releases Sept 8th, 2014.

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Ever Read a Book that left You Feeling Dirty the Next Morning?

I'm not one to write a bad review. As a writer myself, I know how getting a story down on paper is like revealing the deepest depths of your soul. But when I come across a book where the character's conflict is meager at best and the story jumps from one sexual encounter to another, I can't keep quiet.

I'd been looking forward to reading Bride by Mail by Katy Madison (Harlequin Historical, June 2014.) Here's the back cover blurb:

27-year-old fur trader seeks wife and helpmate."

Expecting a plain, dependable woman to reply to his advert, what Jack Trudeau actually gets is pampered fashion plate Olivia Hansson. There's no denying she's pretty, but patently ill-equipped for life in his simple log cabin—with its one bed—in the wild Rocky Mountains.

Olivia must make a success of her new life. But how to convince her skeptical husband that she is capable? She doesn't cook and only knows how to grow flowers, not practical vegetables! Undaunted, Olivia sets out to win his grudging admiration—and his closely protected heart. 

Sounds good, right? But I was so disappointed. First, Jack and Olivia come across as two of the most insecure people on the planet. He worried that she'd want someone more civilized(though he'd been very upfront about his life as a trapper) and Olivia could barely tie her shoes much less handle life in the Colorado Rockies. The one thing these two had no problem with--sex, and lots of it.

Which made the whole book seem very episodic. Very disappointing.

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Did You Know. . .

That Girl Guides served as spies in World War I London?

In the early days of ‘the war to end all wars,’ the MI5 (Great Britain’s version of homeland security) desperately needed someone to carry sensitive information through different sections of Waterloo House, their main base of operations. With the men at the front and women taking their jobs in the workplace, the intelligence agency turned to the Boy Scouts for help. But the boys proved to be too rowdy and unable to keep their work secret. So the Girl Guides were recruited and proved to be a valuable asset over the next four years. For their service, they were invited to attend the signing of the Treaty of Versailles in 1919.

Monday, June 09, 2014

D-Day 70th Anniversary Celebration Blog Tour--Home Front Heroines

For a chance to win ALL TEN novels featured on our blog tour, please visit each blog, collect the answers to the questions, and enter the Rafflecopter giveaway on the BLOG TOUR PAGE. You have a new chance to enter each day of the tour! The contest opens June 2, 2014 at 1 am PST and closes June 13, 2014 at 11 pm PST. The winners will be announced on Monday, June 16, 2014. *Note* Several of the titles will not be released until later in the year—these copies will be mailed to the winners after the release dates.

To win the prize of ALL TEN books, you must have collected ALL TEN answers. The winner must be prepared to send ALL TEN answers within 24 hrs of notification by email, or a new winner will be selected. You can enter the Rafflecopter Giveaway once each day! The more often you visit, the more entries you receive! However, you only need to enter the Rafflecopter Giveaway once to be entered. But don’t forget…to win, you must have collected ALL TEN answers. To collect the answers, you may download the Word document on the BLOG TOUR PAGE.

Home Front Heroines

The unflappable women who protected the home front while the men waged war in Europe and Asia have always fascinated me. Whether it was cooking meals within the rationed potions or working the graveyard shift at the local bomber plant, these women took their duties very seriously--to provide and protect our country for our men to come home to. So when Mark Hopkins shared this next bit of history with me, I knew I had to share it. I'm going to let Mark tell it:

'In December, 1941, Muscatine Community College in Eastern Iowa had over 250 students, mostly men, studying for associate degrees or preparing to move to the larger Iowa State to further their education. Started in 1929, the school had survived the lean years of the Great Depression, but by the time Christmas Break arrived, their student population had dwindled to barely 25 students. The very real possibility the school would shut down dampened the holiday season for the facility and staff.

Faced with this situation, Louise Gaekle and Willetta Strand, teachers at the school, began brainstorming ways to help the college survive. Aware of the shortage of trained pilots, the two women devised a plan—open a ground school and offer flight training at a local airport. But that meant the women would have to learn to fly themselves. Together, they drove to the Quad Cities Airport and signed up for classes.

When Louise and Willetta finished their training, they requested pilot trainees from the Department of Defense and were sent their first 40 pupils. Over the next five years, these two women taught over 400 men to fly as well as kept the doors to their beloved school open. When the war end, Louise went back to teaching math while Willetta taught history.

Amazing, the strength and faith of these women!

Blog Contest question: What US general commanded an army of balloons to divert Hitler's attention in the days before the D-Day invasion?

Answer: General George Patton

Friday, June 06, 2014

70th Anniversary of the D-Day Invasion Blog Tour!

Visit Melanie Dobson's blog for our continued celebration of the 70th anniversary of D-Day!

Paw Prints

Our wooden floors were filthy and in desperate need of a good sream cleaning. But I was hesitate as I studied the smudged little paw prints scattered like memories across the pine slants. Cleaning the floor meant wiping the last physical evidence of our nine year old Yorkie, Gizmo from our home.

Our sweet boy passed away earlier this week after a short but devastating illness that robbed him of energetic zest for life. I'll miss the sound of his little nails clicking against the floor as he ran to the door to greet me. The twitch of his paws as he 'chased that rabbit' in his sleep. His warm body cuddled up against me while we lay on the couch, watching TV.

Truth is, Gizzy's paw prints can't ever be wiped away--they're forever imprinted on my heart.

Question: Have you ever had a special pet?

Wednesday, June 04, 2014

Wedded Wisdom

At a recent bridal shower, I was asked to give one piece of advice to the happy couple that they could carry with them through the next 40 or 50 years. So here it is:

Marriage is hard work.

Okay, so it's not the most romantic or sexy advice but I should get points for honesty. Because living with another person, loving them when there's only two dollars in the bank and the car payment is due or the baby has kept you up all night(again) or the dog has made used your chair as his own personal fire hydrant can almost be impossible at times. But it's in these moments that a marriage is made; a forever love.

Question: What piece of advice would you give a newly-wed couple?

Monday, June 02, 2014

A Pleasant Surprise!

I'm pretty picky when it comes to the television shows I watch, mainly because I don't have a lot of down time and when I do, I don't want to waste it on something that's not worth watching. And let's face it--for all the channels available, TV is a wasteland. But the Hallmark Channel has been a pleasant surprise in recent months. With original series like When Calls the Heart and Signed, Sealed and Delivered, and movies like The Color of Rain, the Hallmark Channel is proving that family television is alive and well.

Question: What TV shows do you watch with your family?