Sunday, December 13, 2015

Don't Miss It!

On sale now for $0.99 on Amazon! 

Brave New Century - Four novellas
about love at the dawn of the 20th

Perfect for a quick holiday read this time of year
or to give as a gift. 

Friday, November 20, 2015

#5 of Top Five Posts on my Blog - Hope in Hard Times

Though this is a little early for Advent, I wanted to repeat some of my top five
blog posts. I thought this one was appropriate for the times we are finding this
world in today and hope it encourages you to remember how God sent His
only Son for you. 

Advent Thoughts - Week 2: Hope in Hard Times

Then his father, Zechariah, was filled with the Holy Spirit and gave this prophecy:
 “Praise the Lord, the God of Israel, because he has visited and redeemed his people.
 He has sent us a mighty Savior from the royal line of his servant David,
 just as he promised through his holy prophets long ago.
Now we will be saved from our enemies 
and from all who hate us.
He has been merciful to our ancestors by remembering his sacred covenant— 
the covenant he swore with an oath to our ancestor Abraham.
We have been rescued from our enemies
 so we can serve God without fear,
in holiness and righteousness
 for as long as we live.
“And you, my little son,
 will be called the prophet of the Most High,
because you will prepare the way for the Lord.
 You will tell his people how to find salvation through forgiveness of their sins.
Because of God’s tender mercy,
 the morning light from heaven is about to break upon us,
 to give light to those who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death, and to guide us to the path of peace.”
(Luke 1:67-79, NLT)

Birth of John the Baptist, by Tintoretto
A priest in Israel, Zechariah wasn’t a young father filled with his own hopes and dreams. For many years, the dream of having a son eluded him. Yet, he and his wife, Elizabeth, the cousin of Mary, still followed God’s law faithfully. They must have trusted that God knew what He was doing, though they went through great disappointment.

Israel wasn’t going through the best of times either. The Lord had seemed to be silent for many, many years, they found themselves under Roman rule and they awaited the Messiah. Life was difficult. Under Roman oppression they were taxed heavily and their sons and daughters could be whisked away any time at the bidding of occupying forces.

Yet, when Zechariah’s wife, Elizabeth, gave birth to their son, John, the focus was on God’s own Son, still in Mary’s womb. The Holy Spirit testified to that precious life that Mary carried, a fulfillment of God’s promises. As Zechariah prophesied, “. . . he has visited and redeemed his people. He has sent us a mighty Savior . . . just as he promised through his holy prophets long ago.” God kept His promises in what might have seemed the bleakest of times. The Lord remembered the sacred covenant He made with His people, a covenant He cannot break, and sent His Son, Jesus.
Madonna with Child and St. John the Baptist
by Guido Reni

And in the moments of joy, when Zechariah named his son, the Holy Spirit gave him a glimpse of what that special child would do—introducing the Savior of the world to the people of Israel! There would be forgiveness of sins and the washing away of guilt. In a dark time when some waited for death, a deliverer was coming to give them hope and new life!

It encourages me to know that God remembers His people. Even in the hard times, He knows what I’m going through and gives me hope for the future. His promises are still true! If you are God’s child by faith, be encouraged that He has not forgotten you. As promised in Romans 8, He has a purpose in your life for what you’re going through and nothing can separate you from His love!

Father, help us when we hurt and feel left alone, to remember we are yours and You haven’t forgotten us. Please help us to focus on Jesus, even in the hard times, knowing that nothing can separate us from You and your love. Amen.

(Images in public domain. Source:

I am praying for those in Paris to feel God's comfort and
experience His grace and mercy during this awful time
and also for Christians suffering around the world.

Who are your special prayers for today?

Friday, November 13, 2015

Holding Down the Fort

Lilybits, not large, but in charge,
as usual.
Mom has been very frustrated lately. She’s trying to build a new website. After a couple of false starts, she believes she’s found the right theme for her WordPress site.  She doesn’t swear or use off-color language, out loud, anyway. However the bulging vein in her forehead tells me she is stressed.

A friend is trying to help her out. This is good. She has less bruises on her head this week from banging it on the wall. Poor Mom. She’s even given in to eating chocolate again. And she was doing so well on her diet! I do my best to beg for treats and distract her away from the pantry since my yummies are in a different cupboard. Or I sit on her lap to comfort her. This is getting old. It’s hard having such a needy, or should I say, nerdy mom.

I think she's missing the days of this:

and this: 

Well, maybe not the monkey. I make a better muse and secretary, except for the 
lack of opposable thumbs. 

Cat and computer.
Not to worry. I am holding down the fort. We hope to be back at the web address soon. Right now it sports an experimental template to be replaced with her, or should I say, our content sometime in the next month. In the mean time you can still find us here at

Have fun checking out some other writers’ websites (in no particular order) Enjoy:

Linda S. Glaz’s new website:

Jen Colson’s new website:

Tom Threadgill: -- He's scary!

Nick McDonald’s Scribble Preach:

Catherine Ulrich Brakefield:

Saturday, October 24, 2015

Do You Know Where My Mom Is?

It’s almost 10 o’clock at night. Do you know where my mom is? I’ll tell you where she is. She went to a writers’ conference without me . . . or even Dad! So while she’s enjoying a conference on the shores of Lake Michigan with all those strange people who stare at their light boxes and listen to the people in their heads, I’m left utterly alone. Well, okay, not utterly alone. But the big guy is busy going to work or working at home.

He is too busy for a little cat. I stand on his scooter and try to look pathetic. (It’s a medical scooter to help him get around since his ankle surgery.) He should be sitting in his recliner instead of at the kitchen table, so I can cozy up on his lap. Alas, the best I can do is watch the birds on a nearby chair. Sigh. I miss my full time servant—I mean—my mom. If you see her, would you please tell her she needs to come home and feed me right now!

All I can say is when she gets done talking to all those editors and important authors
at that writers' conference, she better have a big contract, so she can buy me more treats.
And if she hasn't, then she better have a good excuse. I do not find this amusing

Thursday, October 15, 2015

The All Night Kitty Buffet!

I'm ba-ack! Lilybits, not large,
but in charge (as usual).
Living here with my absent-minded writer mom and engineer dad has its perks. Like the night before last, Mom was feeding me a snack and she was distracted. Why? Because she had forgotten to put the sheets in the dryer earlier in the day, she was just running to get them out of the dryer at the end of the day, and rushing upstairs to make the bed. In the process she forgot to put away my wet food and left a can open on the counter in the kitchen. I discussed the reason for such forgetfulness in my previous post concerning MFADD.

Come closer and let me tell you a little secret: I’m not supposed to walk on the counter, but just between you and me, I do when Mom and Dad aren’t around. You won’t tell, will you?

BEST. NIGHT. EVER. I had the all night kitty buffet going. I mean I couldn’t believe it. I’d jump up on the kitchen island, look around, then I’d take a nibble from the can. If I wanted something crunchy, I’d go over to my dish for a few pieces of kibble and then back to the wet food. Then, when I’d had my fill for a time, I went upstairs and snuggled down between mom and dad—hee hee—without their knowing a thing.

Then, yesterday morning, Dad came downstairs first and blew my cover. Before I knew it, the contents of the can were absconded and the party was over. I noticed Mom didn’t give me a midnight snack last night. I need to perfect my whining and distraction techniques, so I can figure out how to get another all night kitty buffet again, soon!

Mmm . . . Mom's dinner looks good.
Then again, when everybody writes me in on their ballot and I’m elected president, I understand I can have an all night kitty buffet every night!

Tweet this: Lilybits says, "I have a secret to share. You won't
tell, will you?"

Thursday, October 8, 2015

Dawn Crandall's Everstone Chronicles Release in Paperback!

Dawn Crandall is an ACFW Carol-nominated author of the award winning series The Everstone Chronicles from Whitaker House. The series consists of three books: The Hesitant HeiressThe Bound Heart and The Captive Imposter. 

Without a doubt about someday becoming traditionally published, her husband encouraged her to quit working in order to focus on writing The Hesitant Heiress  from  2010  to 2012 . It didn’t take her long to realize that writing books was what she was made to do. Dawn is represented by Joyce Hart of Hartline Literary. Apart from writing books, Dawn is also a first-time mom to a precious little boy (born March 2014) and also serves with her husband in a pre-marriage mentor program at their local church in Fort Wayne, Indiana.

Dawn, how would you sum up your Everstone Chronicles?

 They are deeply emotional love stories told through the first person point of view of the heroine as she discovers who she’s really meant to be… and also who she is meant to fall in love with.

Is there a take away you hope your readers get from each book?

Oh yes, definitely! In The Hesitant Heiress, the main theme has to do with harboring misplaced guilt, and also forgiveness. In The Bound Heart, the theme is again guilt, but on a much more personal level, and then the redemption that comes through Christ. In The Captive Imposter, the theme has more to do with being who God has called you to be, despite circumstances.  

The Everstone Chronicles have done well in eBook form. You must be elated to have them coming out in paperback. Share with us, if you will, what it was like for you opening your first box of paperbacks.

It’s all been a little hard to believe! Since Whitaker House released my debut novel as an eBook thirteen months before releasing the paperbacks, I had a hard time convincing myself that the success of the series was real and not just a trick my internet was playing on me! Even now, getting the box of paperbacks in the mail this late in the game feels like a joke. Is this really real? I got my box author copies of The Bound Heart today, in fact! And I still felt the same—IS THIS REAL? It’s hard to explain. 

Tweet this: Dawn Crandall’s The Everstone Chronicles in paperback. Enter the #bookgiveaway for #romance in 1st person POV.

 What’s next? More Everstone Chronicles? Or a new series? Please tell us about what you’re working on now.

Here’s the back copy blurb for The Cautious Maiden, (Book #4 of the Everstone Chronicles):

Violet Hawthorne is beyond mortified when her brother transforms her deceased parents’ respectable country inn into a brothel to accommodate the lumberjacks nearby—but then her reputation is compromised and she finds herself forced to enter into an engagement with Vance Everstone. Can she trust this man she hardly knows who has a scandalous reputation in his own right? Soon Violet finds out that Vance has become a Christian and that her brother had lost her hand to Rowen Steele, one of the vilest poker sharks in Northern Maine, and that the mess they've found themselves in is likely his way of saving her from landing in Steele’s hands.
Getting to know Vance as her valiant protector while also trying to understand his past, Violet eventually comes to realize she wants no other life than one with her now-reformed fiancé. Only now, despite his obvious attraction to her and the society wedding being planned by his family, Vance is determined to send her off to Kentucky to become the wife of a missionary friend of his. Will his plan work? Or will Rowen Steele kidnap Violet before Vance has a chance to claim her heart for good?

**It will probably be a while before my next books are published and available though. I’ve had a crazy last year having a baby and launching The Hesitant Heiress, The Bound Heart and The Captive Imposter. They were the only three books I’d written, and now I have to play catch-up!

I’m sure your readers will wait with great anticipation for the next enthralling installation of the Everstone Chronicles! Thank you for
taking the time to join me me on my website this week, Dawn.

Enter the Rafflecopter giveaway below for a chance to win
one of five print copies of The Bound Heart!

Thursday, October 1, 2015

Author Maureen Lang Takes on New Challenges!

Maureen Lang writes stories that celebrate a mix of faith, history and romance. She is the author of fifteen novels and three novellas, and several titles have been recognized through various awards including finaling for a Christy, Carol and Rita. She lives in the Midwest, is a married mother of three, and is the caregiver for her adult son with Fragile X Syndrome. Visit her at Goodreads or Facebook.
Welcome to my blog today, Maureen. I’m excited to have you as a guest! Please tell us something about your latest novel, The Matchmaker’s Match, which sounds like it would be a fun romance to read.

Mara Madison has been traveling the world, evading her family and their faith. But she can’t escape God’s pursuing love forever, and at twenty-eight years old finally places her future in God’s hands. Convinced faith means nothing without love, Mara decides she must first face the sister she never got along with. Knowing she would be frowned upon by polite (Victorian) society because of her independent past, Mara has vowed to make up for her selfish ways by remaining unmarried. She’ll allow nothing to distract her from complete devotion to God.

She never expected to compete with her sister again, this time as matchmakers. Despite Mara’s claim to spinsterhood, Christa declares Mara to be perfect for Benjamin, her husband’s business partner. However Mara quickly realizes the family governess is already in love with the man. So both endeavor to see Benjamin married, with Mara arranging for the governess to spend time with Benjamin while Christa schemes to put Mara in his company. When Mara starts dreaming of marrying Benjamin herself, she soon realizes this is one competition with her sister she hopes to lose.

Would you care to share about your new adventure in self-publishing? After being part of the traditional publishing world, what different challenges are you facing?

One of the first warnings I’d heard about self-publishing was that it’s hard to be your own boss. Naively, I never thought that would be a problem. Like most writers I know, I love to write. The business end seemed a little intimidating, but I liked the idea of being able to monitor sales, adjust pricing, and not worrying about sales. I took a purist view: I would write for the love of it, for an audience of one or a million and one. Sales no longer mattered because money isn’t a big motivator for me.

However, there is something to be said about that warning, for a reason I never expected. I truly do love to write, but without a firm deadline, without the face of a waiting editor hovering at the back of my mind, it’s far too easy to let life carry you along from day to day. Lunch with friends? Sure, why not? Get the shopping done while the stores aren’t Saturday-busy? Of course! Take the dog for a walk, read all of the email links I find in my inbox? And on and on with all of life’s fun distractions. Before you know it, a day is gone and no writing gets done. It’s easier than I ever imagined!

Well, I do still love to write, but the discipline to write every day must come from inside instead of my waiting editor or from a contract. I’m blessed because I have some wonderfully loyal readers who let me know they’re waiting for the next book, and that truly is the best motivation for me these days!

Have you found that similar themes throughout your writing? Why? Or why not?

With every book I write, I hope to learn something. Not just about history, since I write historical romance, but especially spiritually. My characters tend to need growth in one area or another, and so I hope the faith theme is as obvious to readers as it is to me as I uncover new insights through various plots and characters.

What helps you maintain productivity as a writer? And what do you find most challenging about the business of being an author?

As I mentioned above, productivity can be a challenge! And readers really do motivate me.
But so do other authors. I’m always reading something, and when I’m immersed in someone else’s book, getting to see how they use plot techniques, character motivation, description, dialogue, prose and all the rest, I’m often inspired because they’ve created this wonderful world I’m enjoying. I’m totally “there”—and very much want to create a “there” for myself and my readers.

Are there any verses of scripture which have inspired your writing?

I love the verse 1 Corinthians 15:58
Therefore, my beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your toil is not in vain in the Lord.

This is a life verse for me, not only because I view my writing as a ministry, but because it’s something created while sitting in a room all by myself and sometimes seems in vain. Writing is a solitary occupation. By the time a story is edited and out to market, even in the lightning fast pace of self-publishing, I’m already on to the next story. So what seems new and fresh is already old to me, and sometimes seems like toil of the past.

But as I said this is a life verse, not just a vocation verse. There are other facets of life that seem like toil. I have a handicapped son, and I can’t even count all of the repetitive, mundane tasks I do every day just to keep up with his needs. So this verse reminds me that those meals I make every day (he likes a lot of the same meals, every two hours, day after day), those baths I give him, those diapers I change, they’re not just for him. It’s all work that God has given me to do, and it’s not in vain even if it seems that way because so little changes. There is another verse about doing it all as if for the Lord (Col 3:23) . . . Scripture really does recognize all kinds of situations!

Would you care to tell us about your next novel?

Right now I’m working on a second book for my Cranbury series, set near the turn of the last century, from 1890s to early 1900s. The Cranbury Papermaker was my first in this series, and I hope to release the second in 2016, called The Cranbury Toymaker. Cranbury is a small, secluded town set amid the forests of Pennsylvania, where artisans of various crafts happen to live. Making paper or toys or even photographs isn’t just a job to these characters, it’s a calling from deep inside themselves with the hope of producing something no one else can create.

The Cranbury Toymaker is about a young woman with an idea to sell soft, little toy lambs to remind children and their parents of the Lamb of God. But when she’s caught up in the country’s first Teddy Bear craze, her mission gets lost in an ambition she never knew she possessed. Only Cranbury’s first toymaker sees the danger in taking such a path—but obstacles from his own past might be too painful to let him help her.

That sounds like a wonderful story, Maureen! Thank you for taking the time to visit with my readers, and giving us a peek into your everyday life. It’s been great having you.

Thank you for having me!

Maureen is giving away an ebook this week--reader's choice! 
The winner of the drawing can choose from The Cranbury Papermaker,
or a Kindle only ebook version of The Matchmaker's Match. 
Please leave a comment below and and a valid email address
to qualify. Thank you!

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Lilybits: News, Views, and Celebrating our 200th Blog Post!

This is not just any post, it’s a 200th blog post! Mom and I are celebrating today. We're even giving away a $10 Amazon gift card Of course, she couldn’t have done it without my help.

In case you’re wondering about how my campaign is going, I have fired my campaign manager for not being able to get me into the latest political debate. Also, the donations are coming in awfully slowly. An occasional trickle of kibble and treats just isn’t getting the job done. I may have to suspend the campaign for awhile, like Governors, Walker and Perry.

And news:
Lately I’ve been learning about how to take care of dad since he had surgery on his ankle. I’m teaching him to steer his scooter carefully by getting in his way and running away at the last second so as not to get run over. I sleep on his lap sometimes when he is sitting in his chair. This way he stays warm. And sometimes I sit on his scooter and watch him eat. I’m teaching him to share and not feel sorry for himself. He’s not stuck eating kibble and wet food for sensitive stomachs. Yuck! Anyway, with my watchful companionship, I believe he is healing up quite well. 

Partially to celebrate our 200th post, and partially to honor the memory of my Minnesota cousin, Harley, who passed on over the rainbow bridge a few months ago, I am again sharing an earlier post “Help from Harley”. I hope you will enjoy Harley’s practical advice and wry sense of humor.

HELP FROM HARLEY (Originally posted March 20, 2014)
Lily apologizes because Rush Limbaugh wasn’t available and Oprah didn’t have enough advance notice, so today’s special host is Harley the Himalayan of Lakeville, Minnesota. He’s taking questions from cats around the country from his non-motorized power basket situated under the living room table.

Dear Harley: My colorblind human brought home a new pink cat bed for me to sleep in. He doesn’t care, because he can’t see color, but I can. Do I have to be worried about compromising my masculinity by sleeping in it?

Fanger from Fargo

Dear Fanger: You have nothing to worry about. After all, look at me. Besides, the feline babes love it!

Harley the Himalayan in his non-motorized power basket.
Dear Harley: My humans brought home a snotty little kitten. She comes over to lick my fur while I’m trying to sleep. I am a mature, elegant cat who has no time for such nonsense. What do you suggest I do to put her in place?

Tertius from Teaneck

Dear Tertius: I suggest large doses of catnip and if there’s some left over, give it to the kitten.

Tasha, partied out.
Dear Harley: How do you keep your hair so beautiful? Lily says she gets lots of grooming tips from you. What do you suggest?

Tangled in Trenton

Dear Tangled: Two words: crème rinse.

(Not Harley)
Which of these questions and answers did you like the best? I must admit, Harley
got right to the point!

To enter the drawing for the Amazon gift card, leave a
comment and an email address (where you can be contacted
in case you win), to qualify. You will not receive unsolicited
email from me and will only receive my posts in your email
if you go to the sidebar and subscribe. 

Tweet this: Lilybits: News, Views, and Celebrating our 200th Blog Post! Amazon card #giveaway! #cathumor

Thursday, September 10, 2015

Rick Barry - WWII Buff Blending Historical and Speculative Writing

Chance to enter the drawing extended until
Wed., Sept. 23 at 6 p.m.! See details below. 

Winner announced below in the comment

Rick Barry is a fellow client of Linda S. Glaz of the Hartline Literary Agency. He has a unique story to tell in his latest novel, The Methusaleh Project. He is giving away a copy of his book to one randomly chosen reader in the U.S. who leaves a comment and email address below. Thanks for visiting!

About The Methuselah Project:
In World War II, German scientists began many experiments. One never ended. 

Roger Greene is a war hero. Raised in an orphanage, the only birthright he knows is the feeling that he was born to fly. Flying against the Axis Powers in World War II is everything he always dreamed―until the day he's shot down and lands in the hands of the enemy.

When Allied bombs destroy both his prison and the mad genius experimenting on POWs, Roger survives. Within hours, his wounds miraculously heal, thanks to those experiments. The Methuselah Project is a success―but this ace is still not free. Seventy years later, Roger hasn't aged a day, but he has nearly gone insane. This isn't Captain America―just a lousy existence only made passable by a newfound faith. The Bible provides the only reliable anchor for Roger's sanity and his soul. When he finally escapes, there's no angelic promise or personal prophecy of deliverance, just confusion. It's 2015―and the world has become an unrecognizable place.

Katherine Mueller―crack shot, genius, and real Southern Belle―offers to help him find his way home. Can he convince her of the truth of his crazy story? Can he continue to trust her when he finds out she works for the very organization he's trying to flee?

Thrown right into pulse-pounding action from the first page, readers will find themselves transported back in time to a believable, full-colored past, and then catapulted into the present once more. The historical back-and-forth adds a constantly moving element of suspense to keep readers on the edge of their seats.

Rick, welcome to my blog! I’m excited to have you visit. The Methusaleh Project has a fascinating premise. What would you like to share about your book?

This story has been especially close to my heart, even more so than my first two novels, and I believe it’s my best one yet. For years, the World War 2 era has fascinated me, and I’ve read many accounts by men and women who were thrown into it and had to deal with things no human would want to experience. Airplanes have always been connected with my family, since Dad learned to fly back in the 1940s as a teenager. So, for me, penning a story about a World War 2 pilot caught  against his will in a top-secret experiment became a natural storyline.

The fact that The Methusaleh Project takes place in historical and present times and involves a science experiment, makes it look like the perfect blend of historical and science fiction. What inspired you to write such a story?

History fascinates me, especially the 1940s, when the world was going through a global upheaval, so choosing a character from the forties was natural for me.

I will confess that writing a book with alternating chapters from the past and present was a challenge. It forced me to watch my timeline carefully and to align the story with actual events that happened, both in history and the present, right up to the final edit. It was fun and exciting, but a challenge to do without resorting to time machines or anything weird. Although the story is lightly tinged by sci-fi, I wanted the whole plot to seem believable, as if an actual Methuselah Project really could’ve happened. Who knows, maybe it did!

TWEET HERE: The Methuselah Project by @WriterRickBarry is WWII fiction with a twist! #historicalfiction #bookgiveaway

What is your favorite place and time of day to write?

Unfortunately, my schedule often forces me to write in short spurts of 20 minutes here, and 30 minutes there. Sometimes I squeeze in those moments in my little home office before leaving for work in the morning. Often at lunchtime I will eat quickly, then add more sentences to the story for 30 minutes. I’ve used dead time in airplane terminals and on airliners to create. Once in a great while, when I get a rare block of two or more hours, I will write at the local Panera. In fact, my character Katherine even mentions Panera, so yesterday I presented a complimentary copy of The Methuselah Project to the manager of our local Panera and explained that part of the book had been written in her back corner. She was excited to hear it!

Has your work as a missionary impacted your writing? If so, how?

It’s probably more accurate to say that my Christian faith in general has impacted my writing. Since every novelist creates by delving into all the things stored in his heart and memories to embellish his fiction, my underlying God-centered view of the universe underlies each book. What I can say is that my many, many travels to various parts of Eastern and Western Europe have provided real-life details that I’ve stitched into the storyline for realism. 

What will your next book be about?

Years ago I wrote a series of short stories for Breakaway, which was Focus on the Family’s magazine for teen guys. The title for the series was The Next Fithian. The hero was named Rankin, a normal young man who unexpectedly receives a special title, a special ability, and an assignment too big to handle. Now I’ve expanded those short stories into a full-length adventure, which my agent Linda Glaz has begun to shop around. It’s quite different. Yet, when my wife was reading the manuscript she came to me with it in hand and said, “This is it. Whatever else you’re working on, drop it and concentrate on this!” She’d never done that before. My proofreaders had similar reactions. So, I hope some editor out there catches that same vision.

That said, I also want to write a sequel for The Methuselah Project. I purposely left a number of threads hanging. I believe readers will want to rejoin Roger Greene for his next mission.

Thank you, Rick, for joining me this week. It's been great interviewing you!

Rick Barry is the author of three novels and over 200 articles and fiction stories. In addition to being a World War II buff, he is the director of church planting support at BIEM, a Christian ministry operating in Eastern Europe. He holds a degree in foreign languages, speaks Russian, and has visited Europe more than fifty times. Rick and his wife, Pam, live near Indianapolis, Indiana. Visit him at, or on Twitter (@WriterRickBarry).

TWEET HERE: The Methuselah Project: A WWII POW deals with the downside of anti-aging? @WriterRickBarry #WWIIfiction #bookgiveaway

Please leave your email address in the form of Name[at]Domain[dot]com
to qualify for the drawing next Wednesday. Your information will not
be added to any mailing list. If you would like to get my posts sent
directly to your email you must subscribe.

Thursday, September 3, 2015

Meet Award Winning Author, Carole Brown

Carole Brown and I met when I attended an Ohio writers’ retreat with a fellow
Michiganian. I was intrigued by Carole’s ideas as we sat in a brainstorming
session together.

She will be giving away an e-book copy of her latest cozy mystery, Bat Crazy.
Please leave a comment to enter. You MUST leave your email address with
your comment to qualify. Thank you!

TWEET TO SHARE: Why does Carole Brown  like to write cozy mysteries? via @kathleenrouser @browncarole212 #cozymysteries #amwriting 

Welcome, Carole! I’m glad to have you at my blog this week. Please tell us about your latest release, Bat Crazy. That is an intriguing name!

Thanks! Bat Crazy is a fun lighthearted book, as was Hog Insane, and I hope all of them in this series. Upcoming titles include:

  • Ÿ  Daffy’s Duck
  • Ÿ  Mad Dog
  • Ÿ  Kitty’s Mania
  • Ÿ  Horse Senseless

 Who knows if there will be others? J

Here is the blurb for Bat Crazy:

Monster Bats with red eyes that attack humans?

Denton doesn’t think so and Alex hopes not, but who are they to quibble with the local gossip?

Transmission problems and a blown tire land Denton and Alex Davies right in the middle of a dilapidated, unfriendly town that’s welcoming no strangers, least of all nosy ones with a bent toward solving mysteries.

But with support from the town detective--an admirer of the Davies--and their own tenacious personalities, Denton and Alex aren’t easily scared off. Not when warnings in the form of painted bats show up on the porch of their rented cabin, not when the mayor threatens to run them out of town and not even when Denton finds the bones . . .

An ancient story, a bit of a map, a lost jewel and even a bat clan serve to provide the
Davies and their sidekick, Taffy, the dog, their hardest case so far.

I understand this is the second book of a mystery series. What inspired you to write these and to invent these characters?

I’d initially written the first book, Hog Insane, as a short story. Later on, I wanted to develop it into a book and thought their personalities would make great characters for a mystery book.

I suppose I’ve given them many of my own (and hubby’s) loves and traits:
  • Ÿ  Mystery books
  • Ÿ  Traveling
  • Ÿ  A pet: a dog, in this instance
  • Ÿ  Alex has a love of shoes and is a bit headstrong
  • Ÿ  Denton loves fishing, likes his own way, and is intuitive.

I like to give Denton and Alex a bit of dry humor, episodes of dry teasing, and plenty of love. They don’t always agree--in fact, seldom do, but since the first book, they’ve learned to deal with their differences.

I’ve always loved mysteries. Especially cozies. They are so warm, fun and well, COZY! Lots of fun to read. So it made sense that someday I would attempt writing a mystery series along with my suspense novels.

When I decided to do a mystery series, I wanted to use titles with “insane-type” words in them. Hog Insane is the first book introducing the characters Denton and Alex Davies who are early retirees, who travel around the country in their RV solving mysteries with their pet dog, Taffy.

Do you have a theme which runs through your writing? If so, what is it?

In this series, the main plot is the mystery, of course, but I filter in relational threads too.
In the first book, it was the relationship between Alex and Denton. Their personal likes and differences, Denton’s stubbornness and insistence on having his way in a certain instance, and Alex’s independence, caused a rife between them that was both serious and complex. Not only did Denton have to learn what/who is important but that his opinion isn’t what always matters. Alex, on the other hand, needed to learn that life doesn’t always flow in the direction we desire. Happiness can be found in areas for which we hadn’t planned.

Fortunately--for readers!--it resolved satisfactory. 

In Bat Crazy, there are two:
  •   An older couple who had the potential of having it all: success, looks, love, etc., but their own pettiness spoiled it for them. Neither would compromise their desires in the least. They live out their lives seeking and never finding true happiness.Ÿ  
  • The second couple is young, hardworking, and smart. Their love might cause difficulties in the way they handle situations, but that same love covers a multitude of “sins.”

Both of these couples play an important secondary part of the mystery, and in that same secondary way, I hope readers get a hint of what true relationships are meant to be. Not perfect, but determined, faithful and compromising as needed. Love isn’t easy at times, but it’s sure worth fighting for!

Is coffee or tea your favorite beverage when facing a deadline? Or something else?

Coffee, of course! And I like mine hot, with a bit of cream. NO flavors. Yeah, I know. In today’s world, that’s a bit odd, but it is what it is.

In my normal writing days, I jump up every so often for a few minutes break. Deadline periods find me so focused on reaching goals that I forget--or don’t have the time--to think about food, drink or much else.

I can “reward” myself later with favorite snacks.

Is there any part of scripture which you feel guides your writing?

I suppose the time I realized I needed to be faithful to what God wanted me to write, was the most freeing, satisfactory period of my writing. Of course, that came with choices.

  • Ÿ  What’s popular in today’s reading world and what type of book(s) did God want me to share with others? 
  • Ÿ  What publishers require/want to sell: is that what God wants ME to write? If so, wonderful! If not, can I be brave and determined enough to follow his leading in my writing journey?

Ÿ  Restrictions on how or what to include in your books. This is a toughie. Not everyone can write/deal with some of the real world’s topics and that‘s okay. But abuse, a loosening of marriage morals, trust and deceit, and many other issues are not going to go away. God’s given me the ability to address some of these topics, and I have to be faithful.

Don’t get me wrong. I believe there are rules and boundaries and suggestions that are good and right. I appreciate that and do my best to accept them. These help make me a better writer.

I love this scripture found in Revelation chapter 17, verse 14b:
. . . For he is the Lord of lords, and King of kings: and they that are with him are called and chosen and faithful.

Beautiful, and meaningful to me.

Please tell us about where your favorite place is to write.

Lol. My huge desk that hubby refurbished for me. Somewhere (don’t ask me where!) hubby found this huge, ugly, black wooden thing. Rounded on one corner, it was far from anything I’d ever desire. UNTIL, he showed me what he wanted to do with it. Ah, it’s beauty was revealed. I have plenty of room and with the bookshelves he built on the wall above it, plenty of nooks and crannies around me, you can find me there in my little corner many hours of many days.

Other than that, I find myself enjoying my writing hours while we’re traveling at times. I not only get writing done, but have a brain-stormer, sounding board, and critique partner all wrapped up in one with my husband beside me. (He can’t escape, see, cause he’s driving! J )

 About Carole: Carole Brown not only has her award winning (Winner of the 2015 Christian Small Publisher Award in General Fiction, nominated for an Epic Award, RWA International Digital Awards finalist in Inspiration, Laurel Award finalist, Selah finalist; Genesis semi-finalist) debut novel, The Redemption of Caralynne Hayman, available for purchase now, but also a companion book called West Virginia Scrapbook: From the Life of Caralynne Hayman, is filled with tidbits of information about West Virginia.

A fun, lighthearted mystery series began with the first book: Hog Insane, introducing Denton and Alex Davies and now her second book in this series, Bat Crazy. Her WWII romantic suspense Spies series began with With Music In Their Hearts, featuring three red-headed sisters, three spies, and three stories.

Besides being a member and active participant of many writing groups, Carole Brown enjoys mentoring beginning writers. She loves to weave suspense and tough topics into her books, along with a touch of romance and whimsy, and is always on the lookout for outstanding titles and catchy ideas. She and her husband reside in SE Ohio but have ministered and counseled nationally and internationally. Together, they enjoy their grandsons, traveling, gardening, good food, the simple life, and did she mention their grandsons?

Where to find Carole online:

Barn Door Book Loft: