Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Four Weddings and a Kiss

Four Bestselling Authors Create One Winning Idea
(But it wasn't easy!)
Margaret Brownley

"If at first, the idea is not absurd, then there is no hope for it."
- Albert Einstein

How do four authors living in different states, with complicated writing schedules and individual writing styles come up with an idea for a new collection?  They brainstorm and that's what Robin Lee Hatcher, Mary Connealy, Debra Clopton and I did via a conference call one memorable day. 

After batting a few ideas around, Robin suggested we do something with unlikely brides.  It seemed like a good idea and after some discussion we knew we wanted the collection to be about women who found true love despite failing to meet certain social standards.  That's a theme that many can relate to and we knew it was an idea worth pursuing. 

As any writer will tell you an idea is nothing more than a tiny seed. Once you have this seed in hand you must then go after your story, sometimes with a sledgehammer. That’s what Rod Serling called the bleeding part.  After the phone call, we pretty much had to sling the proverbial mallet by ourselves.  Here's how the four of us came up with our stories: 

Margaret Brownley on writing Courting Trouble:
When I put down the phone following our conference call a woman in jail flashed through my head—don't ask me why.  What I didn't know is what she was doing there. It's questions like this that keep me awake at night.  Being in jail didn't necessarily make her an unlikely bride
unless . . .

She killed her husband—or at least was accused of killing him.  Would that make her an unlikely bride? What if two husbands had died under mysterious circumstances? Three?  Ah, the mind boggles!

Debra Clopton on writing A Cowboy for Katie:
I needed an unlikely heroine for our premise and I thought of Crazy Cora from the movie Quigley Down Under and I had always adored that character and her damaged heart and knew that I wanted to create a character similar in some way--my heroine Crazy Katie Pearl immediately appeared in my head, talking to herself and hoping she didn't have to shoot a cowboy. I loved writing this character and the whole A COWBOY FOR KATIE story.

Robin Lee Hatcher on writing Love Letter to the Editor:
There was no light bulb moment that inspired Love Letter to the Editor. I began with our premise of unlikely couples, and intelligent, well-educated, outspoken, unmarried Molly walked into my imagination. The man who took the job she wanted, Jack, followed soon after. And the story was born.

Mary Connealy on writing Spitfire Sweetheart:

I've had the idea for Spitfire Sweetheart starring wild child Maizy MacGregor for a long time. I picture her, reckless as can be, harming a man and having to care for him by way of atonement. (In other words, she owes Rylan Carstens big time for the harm she's done). Maizy's got a good heart and she's been raised like a boy, so it's not really her fault. And when she meets a man who reminds her she's truly female and he's shocked and upset by the way she conducts herself, in true Maizy fashion, she causes a lot of trouble. So much trouble in fact that only True Love can overcome it.

NEW YORK TIMES BEST-SELLING AUTHOR MARGARET BROWNLEY has penned nearly forty historical and contemporary novels. Her books have won numerous awards, including Readers' Choice and Award of Excellence. She's a former Romance Writers of American RITA® finalist and has written for a TV soap.  She is currently working on a new series.  Not bad for someone who flunked eighth grade.  Just don't ask her to diagram a sentence. 

Find Margaret:
Website: margaret-brownley.com

Thanks for visiting with me today, Margaret. I'm looking forward to reading this book written by some of my favorite authors. What fun it must have been to work together.

If you'd like to know more about this book and others by Margaret, visit her website. You'll be glad you did.

Leave a comment with your email address and answer one of the questions below and you may be the lucky winner of a copy of this book. Sorry, US and Canada residents only. Winner will be announced next Sunday, June 22. If you're a follower, you will receive one extra entry.

QUESTIONS: What is your favorite book by Margaret? 
                        What kind of books do you like to read?

Monday, June 16, 2014

New Release

Rebecca DeMarino

Rebecca, it’s good to have you as my guest this week. I’m sure readers are eager to hear more about you.
Tell us about your epiphany moment when you decided you were going to seriously pursue writing and eventually publication.
When I took the SAT as a junior in high school, I scored very high on the verbal section, which I’m sure was a result of all those novels I loved to read! The counselor put me in a creative writing class for my senior year. I think that was the first time I thought I could be a writer, but it wasn’t until my ten-year reunion from high school that I ever told anyone I wanted to write and be published. And many, many years before I started writing.
Which of your books (published or upcoming) has been the most fun for you to write and which character is your favorite? Why?
This is my first novel, and it was much fun to write because it was about my ancestors. I loved all of my characters – the really did have a place in my heart!!
I can understand that. The series I’m working on now is based on my great-grandparents and their family. The research really turns up some interesting things. Which character in your new release most interested you while you wrote? Why?  
I found Barnabas very intriguing because he took off on a life of his own – which is good!  But Mary was truly the one I was interested in.  She is my ninth great-grandmother and there was so little information about her. But I got to know her and experience her a number of ways. I visited Plimoth Plantation and went on board the Mayflower II. I took a one day 17th century cooking course at the Alice Ross Studio on Long Island, and I walked the same roads and stood on the same beach as Mary Horton and recreated in my mind her feelings and emotions.
I’ve been to some of those same places and they were fascinating. So, how did you choose the setting for your book? 
It chose me! I grew up listening to my mom’s stories about Barnabas Horton, my ninth great-grandfather and how he came across the pond from England on a ship called The Swallow. When my brother became interested in genealogy, we discovered there was a lighthouse named after Barnabas, located on Long Island. I asked my mom if she’d like to go there, and off we went. There was a lot of interesting information about Barnabas. He was a baker and a widower with two young sons when he met my ninth great-grandmother. But I could find very little about her, and I began to wonder about what dreams and motivation she had, and courage she must have possessed, when she married and then left her family behind for the wilds of Long Island. A few years later, I began writing my first novel with a desire to give Mary a voice.
That’s wonderful. A letter from my great-grandfather to my great-grandmother during the Civil War sparked my interest in their story, so I used their hometown.

What is your strangest habit?
 I cannot throw a book  away or give it away (unless it’s a duplicate) and lending is hard for me because I fear I won’t get it back. I still own many of the books I owned in high school, and now have well over a thousand books. Many are nonfiction, but I would guess most are fiction.
Oh, my, a girl after my own heart. I still have college textbooks because I can’t throw a way a book. A thousand must take up a lot of room.
 Tell us the range of the kinds of books you enjoy reading. I love reading all kinds of genres, though I’m partial to historic romance. I love all of Jane Kirkpatrick’s and Nicholas Spark’s novels and own most, but not all, and they are signed copies!
Wow! You are lucky to have signed copies of their books. Are there certain foods or snacks keeps the words flowing for you?  
Homemade gorp – it’s not messy so I can pop one or two pieces in my mouth.  My recipe: Peanuts or almonds (unsalted), M&M’s, raisins or dried cranberries – or for a really decadent treat, dried cherries!
Sounds good to me. I’ll have to try that. What do you most enjoy doing in your free time?  I love to read, I love to visit with grandbabies – though the live kind of far – gardening, baking, genealogy and traveling are my hobbies.
What is something most people would not know about you?  I’m an introvert – which is really not surprising for a writer I guess.
Are there spiritual themes you like to write about?  That God is with us no matter how much we mess up – all we have to do is ask. He’s there waiting.
What lesson is the Lord teaching you right now or recently taught you?   To meet God in the morning and seek him throughout the day.
Now that’s a good lesson to learn. Thank you Rebecca for you great responses, but tell us, when will your next book be out?
Book #2 of The Southold Chronicles is due out June, 2015!  The young Horton boys are all grown up!
Where can we find you on the internet?   I can be found on the following social media sites:
 Facebook   Twitter  Google+   Pinterest            Subscribe to Rebecca’s Blog and/or Newsletter

 Blurb about the book:
A PLACE IN HIS HEART is inspirational historical romance author Rebecca DeMarino’s debut novel and book one of THE SOUTHOLD CHRONICLES!  Releases from Revell June, 2014

Anglican Mary Langton longs to marry for love. Left at the altar and disgraced in her small hamlet, she is being pressured to marry the eligible son of the London milliner. Puritan Barnabas Horton, the town baker, still grieves the loss of his beloved wife, but he knows his two young sons need a mother. 

With tender hearts, Mary and Barnabas take a leap of faith and wed. But when Barnabas’s secret plans to move his family to the New World to escape persecution come to light, Mary’s world is upended. How could she possibly leave her Papa and her dear sister? And will she ever reach the secret places of her husband’s broken heart? 

Rebecca DeMarino lives in the Pacific N.W. and enjoys travel, hiking, baking, genealogy and gardening. Her debut novel, A Place in His Heart, is a historical romance inspired by her ninth great-grandparents, Barnabas and Mary Horton, and is book one of The Southold Chronicles.

Rebecca, what question would you like to ask readers of your books or Christian fiction in general?
What is it about a novel that will make it linger in your mind, in your heart?

Thank you, and now it’s your turn, Readers. Leave a comment below for the opportunity to win a copy of this great book. Be sure to leave your email address so we can contact you in case of win.
 Also Revell is giving away a copy of the book: http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/5f05632/" rel="nofollow">a Rafflecopter giveaway

Monday, June 02, 2014

Of the Protected

Lars Landre, Of the Persecuted  
Lars, as hero of this story tell us about yourself.
As the Maker’s servant,. He has called me to defend His people, no matter the personal sacrifice. While I’ve been reluctant to accept a leadership role in the crusade against the Rendow Clan, who aim to slaughter the Faithful of the Woodlands Region, I now recognize my relevance. I’m destined to lead the Faithful out of persecution. And as I reflect on my early years when I was orphaned as a young one, I also now recognize the many ways in which the Maker prepared me to lead His people.
What is it that you in service of the Maker?
I am a warrior in the Mighty Army, leading the Faithful to defeat Vatten Rendow. I am also the founder of Tuveil, a magical village in the Woodlands Region.

How did you and Laila, the heroine meet?
I met Laila Pennedy in Drysdon, a village in the Woodlands Region, as we faced death by hanging.

Now that must have been an interesting meeting. What was your first impression of her?
Though forthcoming death loomed, her green eyes remained resolute and her demeanor defiant. Yet her vulnerability wrenched my heart. In all of my nineteen years, I had never gazed upon such beauty. While I had planned escape all along, the task suddenly became about preserving her life and not my own.

Did you think right away this was a woman you could love?
Without a doubt. It’s difficult for me to explain, but her combined demonstration of confidence and vulnerability both strengthened and weakened me. Though we had not yet spoken to one another, I felt stronger with her by my side. Until then, I’d longed to cross paths with a woman whom the Maker graced with humility, for such a lady is destined to glorify Him.

What are your expectations for a loving relationship?
I have only one expectation—that she devotes her life to the Maker. For then, she’ll value His blessings as much as me.

What causes you the most fear about this relationship?
Because the Faithful endeavor to defeat the Rendow Clan, to assure freedom to openly worship the Maker…I fear the chances of both of us surviving are slim.

I can see how devoted you are to your work. What makes it so important to you?
My devotion to the Maker and my unwavering faith in His promise of victory make my endeavors very important. My one true match, Laila and my family, whether by blood or commitment are also important in my life.

What do you want the heroine to see in you that she may not see now?
That, though I didn’t realize it until I locked gazes with her at the gallows in Drysdon, I’d waited for her. She is the fulfillment of a promise I never knew the Maker had made.

What are your hopes for the future?
I have only one hope—freedom to worship the Maker with those I love most.  
Thank you, Lars for sharing some of your life with us this week.
Of the Persecuted Back Cover Blurb:
Laila Pennedy awaits death by hanging. For the Rendow Clan rules the Woodlands Region, aiming to slaughter the Faithful. And she deserves to die. But Lars Landre, the man destined to lead the Faithful out of persecution, has other plans hidden behind his rare and mysterious blue eyes. Rescue.

Following the daring escape, Laila seeks the path of a warrior and vows revenge against the Rendow Clan. She embarks on a dangerous journey with Lars, one in which they endeavor to reach the promised safety of a magical village, to train for battle, and to ultimately assure freedom for those with faith in the Maker.

Clashes of weapons and souls. Brutal loss of lives. Unrequited love. How in all the Woodlands will Laila survive?

When Angie Brashear isn’t working or taking care of her family, she writes. Usually at night after her
kids fall asleep. She’s a fan of speculative fiction and an avid runner, both of which perplex her nonfiction-reading, football-loving husband. Saved in her early twenties, Angie is grateful for the Lord’s presence in all aspects of her life. She is originally from Rockland, Maine and currently resides in Cameron, Texas with her husband and three children.

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