The Right Writers Conference

childrenpolaroidI was a daydreamer as a child. Actually, I haven’t changed that much–I’m still a daydreamer. My childhood wasn’t always easy, so I tended to find a happier place and hang out there. The place I found was usually in my head and possibly connected to the latest book I’d read, or something I’d watched on television.

As a stay-at-home mom raising three young boys, I found another reason to retreat to the happy place. I began to write stories. At first, it was a hobby. Then, as I wrote more and more, it began to be something else.  A calling. And I knew, even if no one ever read anything I wrote, I’d still write.

But others did read my stories. I entertained family and friends. They were impressed and encouraged me to pursue my interest. I took a writing class at the local college, and the professor encouraged me to keep writing.

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Jennifer Hallmark and me at the Atlanta Christian Writers Conference

This past week, I attended a writer’s conference. I sat in classrooms with accomplished writers and writers on the way. Men and women who’d found their calling, their niche, shared what they had learned along that way. I soaked it in and used my pen for the first time in a long time, taking copious notes. Because what they’d found, I wanted.

Many professionals must continue to educate themselves in order to compete in their field. Writers are no different and conferences–good conferences–provide those opportunities.

Possibly even greater than the knowledge we receive at writers’ conferences, are the connections we make. There’s nothing like face-to-face discussions with friends we’ve made on Facebook and Twitter, or sitting down with someone who looks familiar, only to find they’re a multi-published, award-winning author. Gee, she seemed so normal.

I’d like to finish with this thought, shared with me by a new friend:

What I think is so great about these conferences is–how giving these authors are–they all want you to succeed, as they have.

And here’s why they’re so ready to share their hard-earned secrets — at some point, someone did the same for them.

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Joan Deneve – Authorview

Joannie Deneve

Joannie Deneve

Welcome to Authorview, Joannie Deneve–

I am a…I am many things: Wife, Mother, Grandmother, Teacher, Writer. But my favorite and most defining title is Christian, by the grace of God.

You would like me when I’m…You would like me when I’m at Disney World, the happiest place on earth. You would also like me on my back porch, my at-home happy place.

You wouldn’t like me when I’m…I would hope you would always like me, but realistically, you probably wouldn’t like me when I’m stressed, focused, and trying to get things done.

What qualities I like to see in others:    I love to be around people who seem comfortable in their own skin, so I guess that could be called self-confidence. I especially like people who have a great sense of humor and don’t take themselves too seriously.

Favorite way to spend an evening:  My favorite way to spend an evening is to sit next to my husband and watch something good on television. We go through phases. Right now, we’re really into Columbo re-runs. (It’s even better if my husband rubs my feet)

Who I love to spend an evening with:  Oh. I just answered that one. I love spending time with my husband. I like to say he is like still waters that run deep. He is quiet and doesn’t talk my ears off. But when he does say something, it’s usually something good that needs to be said.

Am reading (or want to read): My only reading right now is in the Bible. I’m currently reading through the book of Acts.

If I had a hammer…I’d give it to my husband. LOL But if this is a symbolic reference to what I would hammer out of society, it would be this:

Because I am a teacher, I see the dangers and pitfalls our young people have to face. I would strongly encourage parents to be more aware of the demonic influences attacking our children’s minds through media, movies, and books. Protecting and guarding our children’s minds and hearts should be a priority.

My favorite genre is:  For fiction, it would probably be historical fiction. For non-fiction, it would be biographies of great people who inspire me.

My work-in-progress:  I am currently working on Freeing Ellie, a contemporary fiction. It is Book 2 of the Redeemed Side of Broken Series, published through Write Integrity Press.

My favorite food is:  I’m a southern girl. Really good fried chicken is always my “go-to” favorite.

I’m a collector of:    Anything with a yellow butterfly on it. :-)

My favorite happily-ever-after:  My own life. Not only do I get to be “heirs together of the grace of life” with the man I love, but I also get to spend eternity in heaven, paid for by the blood of Christ. “ The Path of the just is as the shining light that shineth more and more unto the perfect day.” It just gets better and better. And the best part??? It’s true and not a fairy tale. Talk about a happy ending!


Joan Deneve teaches English in a Christian school and has a passion to help young people fall in love with Jesus and equip them to become all God wants them to be. Joan began her walk as a Christian when she accepted Christ as her savior two weeks before her sixteenth birthday. She graduated from Tennessee Temple Bible College in 1975.

Joan and Rene’, her husband of forty-plus years, reside in Prattville, Alabama, a charming city with Southern hospitality. They count their son, daughter, son-in-law, and seven phenomenal grandchildren to be their greatest blessings on earth.

Joan enjoys time well-spent with family and friends, but finds equal joy in quiet moments of solitude on her back porch. There, surrounded by bluebirds and yellow butterflies, she began writing her debut novel, Saving Eric.

An active member of her church, Joan enjoys singing in the choir. She is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers and is currently working on the second book in the Redeemed Side of Broken Series. She enjoys chatting with fellow writers and readers. Check out her web page: http://cjdeneve.wix.com/joandeneve

Saving Eric

Saving Eric front coverEric Templeton’s well-ordered life as a top CIA agent is shattered when a traitor within the agency plots to have him eliminated. Sent on a bogus mission to Africa, Eric is ambushed and critically wounded. A helicopter pilot flies him to a remote mission hospital where Dr. Brock Whitfield and his daughter, Ellie, work to save his life.

If Eric survives, his life may never be the same, and he still has to deal with the traitor who wants him dead. Eric wants justice, but Brock and Ellie know that Eric’s survival is the least of his worries. What he needs most is mercy and truth.

Buy Links for Saving Eric: ♥ Paperback $15.99 Kindle Version $4.99

Free on Kindle Unlimited

 

Introducing Harriet Michael

HarrietMichaelI believe I first met Harriet Michael at a local ACFW meeting in a Barnes and Noble bookstore in our hometown. She is a lovely, outgoing individual, and I was both intrigued and a little in awe of her background. But I’ll let her tell you about it.

Harriet: Thank you for letting me share with your readers. I am excited to tell people about my upcoming book release. But first, a little about me and my writing.

I was born in the jungles of Africa as the daughter of missionaries. My family moved from that jungle station, in the Niger River Delta, to another Nigerian city, Ogbomoso, shortly after my birth. Most of my childhood memories center around the people and experiences I had in Ogbomoso. My childhood was idyllic right … until the Biafran war broke out. Things became turbulent and my family soon moved back to America.

Today I am a wife of 36 years, a mother of four adult children, and a grandmother of one. My writing journey began in 2004 during a difficult time in the life of someone close to me. At that time, I started a journal and personal Scripture-search on the topic of prayer. Four years later, I had a manuscript written, and a love of writing.

I began freelancing small pieces in 2009. Today, I have a growing list of published credits which include articles, devotions, and stories. My work has appeared in publications by LifeWay, Focus on the Family, Bethany House, David C. Cook Company, Standard Publishing, American Life League, Chicken Soup for the Soul, Judson Press, The Pentecostal Publishing House, Smyth & Helwys, The Upper Room, and more.

I am also a speaker and would love to be contacted for that as well, if any readers are looking for speakers.

And I am super excited to announce that my first full length book, Prayer: It’s Not About You, will be released in September by PixNPens Publishing company. Written from my search to better understand prayer, it is nonfiction and expository in nature. It looks at prayer and prayer warriors in the scripture; both the Old Testament and the New Testament. While still in manuscript form, it was named a finalist in the 2011 “Women of Faith” national contest.

As I searched the topic of prayer, I had questions I hoped to find the answers to. How did the people in the Bible approach God? What did they say to Him? How did they bring their requests to Him? How did He answer? Are there common threads that run throughout the Bible regarding prayer? What can I learn that will help me pray more effectively? What can I learn about prayer? What can I learn about God?

I learned a tremendous amount in my personal search and hope the readers of my book will as well. Anyone who longs to better understand prayer from a Biblical standpoint will enjoy this book.

Thanks again for having me on your blog, Betty!

Harriet E Michael, Christian author and speaker

Born in Nigeria, West Africa, as the daughter of missionaries, Harriet Michael is a writer, gardener, wife of over 35 years, mother of four, and grandmother of one.

She holds a BS in nursing from West Virginia University but has discovered her passion for writing. Since her first published article in 2010, she now has over a hundred and fifty published articles and devotions.

Harriet is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers and Louisville Christian Writers. Her book, Prayer: It’s Not About You, a finalist in the 2011 Women of Faith book contest, is set for release in September, 2015 by Pix-N-Pens Publishing Company.

Follow Harriet on:

Website: www.harrietemichael.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/harrietmichaelauthor

Blog: www.whatHehasdoneformysoul.blogspot.com

e-mail: harrietemichael@gmail.com

Rabbit Trails and Stuff

BunnyeatingMarigoldEarly this year, I was ranting online about the rabbit damage among my freshly-planted flowers. It was springtime and I had happily transplanted rows of beautiful marigolds. I purchased marigolds of several hues and mixed them generously across the front of my flowerbed. At that point, I should have photographed them. Because they are no more.

One of the main reasons I chose marigolds was because last spring, something quickly devoured the lovely bright red zinnias I planted. I remembered my grandmother saying you should plant marigolds to keep pests away. Well, it wasn’t quite clear what the pest was, but I was willing to try. The marigolds danced their little heads in my gardens for oh, maybe twenty-four hours.

Devastation! Oh my stars and garters! Something was quite happy with my choice of marigolds. The destruction of the zinnias was nothing compared to this.

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Ah-hah! The perpetrator!

So, back to the drawing board. I looked online and found the lovely photo above. Then I caught the perpetrator red-pawed. But I’m a gentle soul and would rather discourage than draw blood or cause discomfort to a fellow earth-dweller. Except for snakes, snails, and spiders. And flies, of course, and mosquitoes, and…a few other things I won’t mention.

Stinky Stuff

Stinky Stuff

My local hardware store carried a wonderfully smelly solution. It contains a lot of garlic and yucky stuff that repels critters. It repelled me too. I had to encase the container in a sealed plastic bag between uses. But the stuff works. However, heavy rainfall this summer meant I had to reapply often to keep the ground around my new plants really stinky. Now the little hoppers head across the street and chew the neighbors’ plants. Sorry about that. No, I’m not! Ha ha!

Now I needed to fill the empty spaces inside my flowerbed. So I went back to the Internet and found some supposedly safe-from-rodents-with-big-ears plants. There aren’t very many of those plants and the list I found had a disclaimer on it that went something like this: …while these plants worked for me and my local bunnies, they may not work in your area. Good luck.

Rats! No. Rabbits!

ColeusBut I felt it was worth a try, so I headed back out to the garden center with my list in hand. Trouble is, most of these plants don’t have showy blossoms. But I found some coleuses that filled the bill. Wow, do they pack a punch in my garden. They do bloom, but it’s not a show-stopping bloom. Who needs it, however, when the leaves look like this!

Snapdragons! Little beauties of all colors and varieties. They prefer drier weather though, so didn’t do great this year. Maybe later when the weather dries up. If ever the weather dries up. And in my neck of the woods, snapdragons sometimes winter over and also reseed themselves. Two thumbs up!

Dusty Miller‘s silver leaves accent the other bright colors in the garden. And of course, there’s always geraniums. Bright red ones fill my window box. Rabbits never touch my Russian Sage, regular sage, thyme, or lavender. They don’t bother the daylilies, Stella d’oros or roses. So I’m okay there. But they love to snack on zinnias, marigolds, and petunias. :( They eat the leaves, the flowers–everything except one pitiful stalk attached to the roots–then the plant promptly dies. I did manage to save my petunias by sticking them in a well-guarded window box.

What a year. My garden is now filled with bright colors, but it’s so overgrown, it looks like a jungle. This is the result of the torrential rains in June and early July. I plan to spend hours out there in the fall when the temperatures cool. But that’s another subject for another day. In light of all the things that have happened in the world this year, my little rabbit woes just don’t compare.

Peter Rabbit

Peter Rabbit

But I have to admit, the research, the work, running outside to scare cottontails–it’s all been great fun. And it broke up the monotony of my more writer-ly pursuits. I hope you’re enjoying your summer, wherever you are, and can take pleasure in the small things. Even when they have big ears and a healthy appetite for marigolds.

 

 

Surrender to Peace, by Rose Allen McCauley

website-photos-002-640x427I am honored to welcome to my blog, Rose Allen McCauley, a fellow Kentuckian and Christian writer, who has just released her novel, Surrender to Peace.

Rose McCauley has been writing for over ten years and was first published in several non-fiction anthologies and devotionals which are listed on her website/blog at www.rosemccauley.com . A retired schoolteacher who has been happily married to her college sweetheart for over four decades, she is also mother to three grown children and their spouses and grandmother to five lovely, lively kids! Although Rose grew up in the largest city in Kentucky, she has lived on a farm of almost four hundred acres for the past forty-two years, and last month moved to a small town in Kentucky. She loves to read and write small town stories. If you have a small town story you’d like to share, please stop by her website and leave a comment. She would love to hear from you. You can also reach her on twitter @RoseAMcCauley and Facebook at http://on.fb.me/1LrXNoS

In the Spotlight

Betty: Rose, you’ve written a beautiful, inspiring story. Where did you get the idea?

Rose: After brainstorming with some friends, one of them mentioned she was born in Puerto Rico, another said she grew up there as a child while her dad was stationed there in the service, and the third one said she’d enjoyed her stop there on a cruise. I said if I wrote a book set there I would have to visit! So, we decided to each write a story set in Puerto Rico. Although they didn’t work out as a series, that discussion is what gave me the original idea. And I did visit the Island after I had written most of the book, to make sure I got the details correct. I had to make a few changes when I saw certain places in person! One restaurant advertised as being on the waterfront had a small view of the water a block away!

Betty: Please tell us about your main character.

Rose: Joy Worth is a travel agent who had often set up lodging etc. for her clients, but had never visited Puerto Rico herself. When she gets engaged she decides to go there, but her fiancé breaks the engagement, and she ends up going on a honeymoon-for-one!

Betty: What is her most intriguing or interesting characteristic?

Rose: Her mom died when Joy was 10, and her dad is a loner, so she is very independent.

Betty: Can you give us a sort of “snapshot” (brief description) of the young man she meets in Puerto Rico?

Rose: Benigno Cook considers himself 100% Puerto Rican although his father was an American who left Ben and his mom when Ben was only two. He is a strong Christian and very kind and dependable, just the kind of man Joy always wanted! But now, she is afraid to trust him and to trust her own discernment, after the mess she made with her first engagement.

Betty: Okay, I have to ask, did you do all the things your character did in the book? Are you the adventurer, or do you live these adventures through your characters?

Rose: I do some of both. My husband and I were only in Puerto Rico for 4 days, but we did go to both forts, and took the hike to La Mina Falls in El Yunque National Rainforest, We also ate at several places on the Flavors of San Juan tour. We did not have time to do the zip lining in Puerto Rico, but we had done that in Costa Rica a few years ago, so I used that experience to write that scene which one of my critique partners told me was very realistic. Hope you thought so too. My husband and I also walked the Promenade de la Princessa and saw the Raices fountain and other sites and took pictures, of course. A beautiful country, with very friendly people.

Betty: Is there anything else you’d like to share with our readers about this story?

Rose: The spiritual message. Like most books I write, Joy learned a lesson God has been impressing on me—to be still in His Presence and learn to hear and discern His voice. Hope my readers take that away, too, and that if we are following Him, He can work things out much better than we could have asked or imagined! To Him be the glory! (Ephesians 3:20-21)

Betty: I love that. As a Christian, I am very aware God often uses the circumstances, the results of our personal choices to teach us and draw us back into His perfect will for our lives. Now, what’s up next for you?

Rose: I recently was asked to join a Christmas boxed set with six other authors set to come out in November—working title Joy to the World, but that may change. Then the day after I returned from Puerto Rico, my agent, Tamela Hancock Murray, called with the great news that my novella idea I had submitted many months ago had been contracted by Barbour Publishing to be part of their Courageous Brides collection. That is the story I am working on right now, as it is due by December 1st, and will be out next July, 2016! I’m very excited about the story as the heroine is named for my granddaughter who lives in a pre-Civil War home in Cynthiana, just like in the story! I hope I can tell your readers about it next year! Thanks so much for having me, Betty. I always enjoy our visits, whether they are in person or cyber-visits! God’s blessings on you and your readers!

And you and your readers are the first to know that I am starting a new weekly blog day today—Tuesday’s Travelogues. For the next few weeks I will be blogging about photos I took in Puerto Rico to help my readers enjoy the reading experience even more! Please stop by and let me know if you enjoy them. And I have many more countries I have visited that I will be featuring if the interest is great enough! www.rosemccauley.com

Betty: Thanks so much, Rose. It’s always a pleasure to talk with you. I’m excited about your newest release and wish you continued success!

Surrender to Peace - minus logo (2)Surrender to Peace – Now Available!

Joy Worth arrives in Puerto Rico on her honeymoon trip–without her ex-fiancé. On a tour, she meets Park Ranger Benigno Arroyo.

On several more outings, he shows her the joy of living through the beauty of his beloved island. She begins to hear God’s voice again.

Joy so loves the island she decides to stay. Benigno falls in love with Joy but realizes her pain is still fresh. Joy loves him but doubts her judgment.

On a hike, Joy falls and is knocked unconscious. At her bedside, thinking she is still unconscious, Benigno proposes. Opening her eyes, she accepts. They make plans to marry on an island cruise a month later.


Buy Link at Amazon: http://amzn.to/1fsTxcG

More books by Rose Allen McCauley: Christmas Belles of Georgia and Christmas Grace (both available in print and in e-book).

Gibson County Tennessee

Gibson County, Tennessee is the location I chose for the Kinsman Redeemer series. Annabelle’s Ruth, the first book in that series, takes place almost entirely in Gibson County–specifically–Trenton, Tennessee. Trenton is the county seat and one of the three main towns in Gibson County.

11666289_10205133027745183_2390596382820159736_nI recently returned from a trip to the area. This photo shows the house my family rented in Trenton (a number of years ago–not telling how many years). Guess what? It’s still a rental! There was a “For Rent” sign in the yard. The weeping willow tree I used to climb is gone, and the green color of the house has changed from a pale green to a brighter, darker one, but little else has changed. Of course, there was no ramp or satellite dish in those days either. There were only two bedrooms in the house, so I–the only girl in the family–got to sleep on the built-in back porch. How many girls get to have a washer in their bedroom? The porch wasn’t insulated, so in really cold weather, I slept on the couch in the living room.

TrentonSign31

31 mph speed limit in Trenton

After visiting our little house, we headed for the town’s centerpiece – the elegant Victorian-style courthouse. On the way, we passed this speed limit sign, mentioned in Annabelle’s Ruth.

Trenton has tons of interesting history, including David (Davy) Crockett. He was an early resident statesman who started the process to organize the area into Gibson County. In those early days, the courthouse was a log cabin. The present courthouse was erected in 1899.

Note: In these photos, the flags are at half-staff to honor the fallen soldiers in Chattanooga, Tennessee.

TrentonCollageAfter leaving the courthouse, we took a little tour of the town and it’s lovely old houses, including the one pictured below, which I used as a model for Jensen Wade’s house in Annabelle’s Ruth. It’s a Greek revival style home built in 1831. It was said the residents stood on the balcony and watched the Battle of Trenton during the Civil War.

HighStHouseTrentonOh, by the way–this one’s for sale. You can see inside it and check out the details here.

Present-day Trenton is a pleasant little town of approximately 4,300 residents in a mainly agricultural community. But the town does boast a world-famous collection of Night Light teapots. You can view them on display and read their history here.

After our little tour, I paid a visit to the Gibson County Memorial Library and librarian Connie Bates. She has now read Annabelle’s Ruth and told me she loved it, especially the familiar places referenced in the story. The library has a copy of the book, and I’ll be returning in the future to speak to the local book club.

Annabelle's Ruth FRONT final CoverNow I’m all set to begin the second novel in the Kinsman Redeemer series with scenes of the home town fresh in my mind. The cotton is tall and green in the fields, the temps this past weekend topped 100 degrees. Ah, West Tennessee summers! So fry up some fresh okra and put the cornbread in the oven. Call me when dinner’s ready. I can’t wait to see what happens to Annabelle and her family next.

Annabelle’s Ruth is available on Amazon.

Michelle Griep – Authorview

Michelle Griep

Michelle Griep

I’m a fan of humor, so when I stumbled across a few posts by Michelle Griep, I was hooked. I liked her Facebook page, I followed her blog, I found her books. Why? Because she’s pleasantly funny in a smart, down-home comfortable kind of way (my favorite). So I’m honored to welcome her to Authorview. I hope you’ll enjoy her answers as much as I did. I’m pretty sure you will want to get to know her better!

Michelle Griep:

I am a…Dreamer. A bubble-blower. A java drinking craze-o-maniac with a penchant for beautiful words and stories that feed my soul.

You would like me when I’m…Super angry . . . at least my kids always do because the most ridiculous things fly out my mouth.

You wouldn’t like me when I’m…Singing. No, really. Think rock badger with a sore throat. And a lisp. And possibly a fatal case of bronchitis.

What qualities I like to see in others:    Raw, unadulterated, honesty slathered with a coating of compassion.

Favorite way to spend an evening:   A tub of buttered popcorn and a movie that’s so engrossing, I feel like I’m one of the characters. Bonus if Jim Caviezel is in it.

Who I love to spend an evening with:  The man who’s been shaking his head at me for the past thirty years.

Am reading (or want to read):   Currently enjoying a dystopian binge and am just finishing up the Divergent series.

If I had a hammer…I’d bang a roll of caps on the sidewalk. Love that sulphery smell and the satisfying ear-cracking smack of ignition.

My favorite genre is:   Seriously? I can choose only one? Grr. All right then, I’ll go with door number three: historical romance.

My work-in-progress:   Ahh! Thought you’d never ask! Here’s a blurb:

Officer ALEXANDER MOORE goes undercover as a rogue gambler to expose a traitorous plot against the crown—and a master he is with his disguise, for JOHANNA LANGLEY believes him to be quite the cad. But when Johanna is swept up in the intrigue, Alex must choose between his mission and reputation as a crack lawman or the woman he’s come to love.

My favorite food is:   There is nothing I like better in my mouth than dark chocolate. Wedding cake is next on the list. Yep. I’m the one who elbows grannies out of the way when cake is served and have no shame whatsoever in going up three or four times. Oh? What’s that? You have cake left on your plate? Here, I’ll help you.

I’m a collector of:    Happy thoughts, if not quirky ones, tucking them away in the back of my mind for the days that are narrow and bleak.

My favorite happily-ever-after:    An eternity becoming one with the One who created me.


 

Betty: So now, I’m fairly certain you’re going to want to know more about Michelle. I’ve provided you more information right here:

Brentwood's Ward Cover PeekBRENTWOOD’S WARD

There’s none better than NICHOLAS BRENTWOOD at catching the felons who ravage London’s streets, and there’s nothing he loves more than seeing justice carried out—but this time he’s met his match. Beautiful and beguiling EMILY PAYNE is more treacherous than a city full of miscreants and thugs, for she’s a thief of the highest order…she’s stolen his heart.

Available in paperback, ebook, and audiobook formats at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and other fine booksellers.

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: MICHELLE GRIEP

Michelle Griep’s been writing since she first discovered blank wall space and Crayolas. She seeks to glorify God in all that she writes—except for that graffiti phase she went through as a teenager.

She resides in the frozen tundra of Minnesota, where she teaches history and writing classes for a local high school co-op. An Anglophile at heart, she runs away to England every chance she gets, under the guise of research. Really, though, she’s eating excessive amounts of scones.

Follow her adventures at her blog WRITER OFF THE LEASH or visit michellegriep.com, and don’t forget the usual haunts of Pinterest, Facebook or Twitter.