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!