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MEET CLARICE JAMES ~ AUTHOR OF DOUBLE HEADER

Posted by on Mar 22, 2016 in Blog, Books, Uncategorized | Comments Off on MEET CLARICE JAMES ~ AUTHOR OF DOUBLE HEADER

Please tell us something about yourself, Clarice.

Clarice G. James

             Clarice G. James

The second oldest of six children, I grew up on Cape Cod before it got crowded. My dedication in Double Header is true. “I credit my father for showing me the power of dreams and my mother for teaching me the value of working for them.”  After 23 years of marriage, I was widowed. Eight years later, I was blessed to remarry David James. We live in Southern New Hampshire, where we are connected to a wonderful church family. Together, we have five married children and ten grandchildren—so you know what our vacations are like. 

What sparked your interest in writing?  

Decades ago, I had a great high school English teacher who used drama to make reading and writing fun. Since I wasn’t athletic, writing seemed less dangerous. And with no musical talent, I thought writing would be less annoying to my family.

What can you share about your journey to getting published?

It was just about as frustrating as it is for most writers. Patience has never been one of my heartier character traits, but I learned a lot during the wait—mainly how to improve my writing. My first novel, Party of One, was chosen a semi-finalist, then a finalist in the Christian Writer’s Guild Operation First Novel. When it was time to enter again, I entered my second book, Double Header instead. I won a book contract with that entry. I just finished my third book, Manhattan Grace, and I think it’s better than the first two. I hope I feel that way about the next one.

What words of advice would you give to beginning writers?

Get thee to a critique group! Then listen and don’t talk as they critique your excerpts. If you have to explain why you’ve written something, it needs to be rewritten. I learned so much from the experiences and perceptions of my fellow writers.  Sometimes the best advice I got was from avid readers, not writers.  

While your book, Double Header, is what I would call a character-driven novel, it is also a sports Double Header Coverstory. I was impressed with your knowledge of baseball. Are you a big sports fan or did you need to do extensive research to pull it off so well?  

Growing up, my siblings and I were not into sports at all. But, later, my husband and children were. Living with crazy Boston fans, you learn a lot through osmosis. Of course, I did my research too.

Was there a reason you decided to write Double Header in the first person, which is not as common as third person stories or omniscient?  

Is “I didn’t know any better” an acceptable answer?  To be honest, Party of One, my first novel, started out as a memoir—written in the first person. When I had trouble naming names and telling truths that might hurt people, my husband suggested I switch from non-fiction to fiction. I kept the first person POV without thinking about it and continued using it in Double Header.  My third novel is third person POV. 

Please tell us a little more about the story. Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp? 

You may think you’re in control, but you’re not. God is in control. My protagonist, Casey, has mapped out every area of her life. The only thing she couldn’t control was her father’s cancer.  After he dies, she idolizes him even more. When she finds out she has a half brother, a fact unknown to her father, she must let go of the past and find freedom in forgiveness. The still, quiet voice of God shows her how.

God often teaches us something through our writing. What did you learn about life, faith, or yourself in the process of writing Double Header

Casey’s letting go was a big lesson for me. It has freed me to enjoy writing for God’s glory not my own. There’s so much less pressure knowing I am not in control of the outcome!

Do you have another book we can anticipate seeing soon? 

I’ve got a few beta readers reviewing my third novel, Manhattan Grace. Set in New York City, a nanny and aspiring actress is mentored in her faith by a fatherly rabbi while she helps him pursue an unlikely romantic relationship with a famous, Moldovan opera soprano. When these two innocents find themselves embroiled in a jewel heist at the Metropolitan Opera House, they help solve more than one mystery.   

Where can readers find your books?

Since Mountainview Books LLC is a traditional publisher with a distribution source, you can request Double Header at your local bookstore.  If you’re in a hurry, there’s always online ordering at Barnes & Noble or Amazon.

What are your social media sights?

Website & Blog          Facebook              Twitter                  LinkedIn

Come by to meet Clarice and help celebrate the release of DOUBLE HEADER if you are near Nashua, NH                Sunday, April 10, 2016 from 4:00 PM to 6:30 PM (EDT) 

https://www.eventbrite.com/e/double-header-celebration-tickets-20305435103

 

Clarice G. James loves to read and write smart, fun, relatable contemporary women’s fiction. After many years of writing and editing for business and ministry, she now enjoys the freedom that writing fiction allows her. Clarice has been a follower of Jesus Christ for over 35 years. She and her husband David live in Southern New Hampshire. Together they have five married children and ten grandchildren. Double Header is her first published novel. It was one of three winners in the 2014 Jerry Jenkins Writers Guild Operation First Novel contest.

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A TASTE OF IRELAND

Posted by on Mar 17, 2016 in Blog, Journal, Uncategorized | Comments Off on A TASTE OF IRELAND

Every year, our family enjoys a traditional St. Patrick’s Day meal. Corned beef, cabbage, potatoes and onions as well as Irish soda bread will be on the menu.  

Traditional soda bread is a simple bread made of flour, soda, salt, and buttermilk. The lactic acid in buttermilk reacts with the baking soda to form bubbles of carbon dioxide. This causes the dough to rise, much like yeast does in other bread.

For a more complex soda bread, other ingredients can be added such as butter, egg, raisins, or nuts.

 HAPPY ST. PATRICK’S DAY

Irish Soda Bread

Simple Irish Soda Bread

 

Ingredients:

4 cups (16 oz) of all purpose flour.
1 Teaspoon baking soda
1 Teaspoon salt
14 oz of buttermilk

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 425 F. degrees.  

Place a square of parchment paper in a cake pan. (It will hang over the sides)

In a large bowl sieve and combine all the dry ingredients.

Add the buttermilk to form a sticky dough.  Place on floured surface and lightly knead (too much allows the gas to escape)

Shape into a round flat shape in a round cake pan and cut a cross in the top of the dough.

Cover the pan with another pan and bake for 30 minutes.  Remove cover and bake for an additional 15 minutes.

The bottom of the bread will have a hollow sound when tapped so show it is done.

Cover the bread with a towel and lightly sprinkle water on the cloth to keep the bread moist.

 

More Complex Irish Soda Bread

Ingredients

4 cups all-purpose flour,
4 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) cold butter, cut into 1/2-inch dice
1 ¾ cups cold buttermilk, shaken
1 extra-large egg, lightly beaten
Directions:

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Line a sheet pan with parchment paper.

Combine the flour, sugar, baking soda, and salt in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Add the butter and mix on low speed until the butter is mixed into the flour.

With a fork, lightly beat the buttermilk, egg, together in a measuring cup. With the mixer on low speed, slowly add the buttermilk mixture to the flour mixture.

Dump the dough onto a well-floured board and knead it a few times into a round loaf. Place the loaf on the prepared sheet pan and lightly cut an X into the top of the bread with a serrated knife. Bake for 45 to 55 minutes, or until a cake tester comes out clean. When you tap the loaf, it will have a hollow sound.

Cool on a baking rack. Serve warm or at room temperature

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LINDA S. GLAZ, AUTHOR OF FEAR IS LOUDER THAN WORDS

Posted by on Jan 11, 2016 in Blog, Books | 10 comments

Linda Glaz, is my agent with Hartline Literary Agency. Besides being an experienced editor, reviewer and agent she is also an author.

Please tell us something about yourself, Linda. I love writing, agenting, teaching, and any or all things to do with books. I read voraciously as a kid, and that same love has carried over into my adult life.

Linda Glaz

Linda Glaz

What sparked your interest in writing? Probably all of the reading. Also, I wrote my first story when I was 13. It was horrible but pushed me over the top in my love of words. Also had a teacher who so loved the written word that she truly instilled that love in most of her students.

 

Do you have a writing schedule and special place where you write? Hahaha. A schedule? I’m on the computer in my home office no less than twelve hours a day. Most of that time is spent working, but I take dozens of mini-breaks throughout the day to get up, move around, play on FB, anything to break the monotony. And my office is, I’m embarrassed to say, a disaster. I clean it on occasion, but there has to be a real good reason. 

 

Do you work to an outline or plot, or do you prefer just see where an idea takes you? I’m completely a pantster. I love to let the characters develop their own personalities as I go along, and if that means changing Mr. Milktoast into the murderer, so be it. I have a general idea of what I want the story to be about when I start, but honestly, the characters press me into totally different directions most of the time.

 

What do you find most rewarding and challenging about being a writer? (research, plotting or organizing a story, marketing, or something else) The initial writing, and then the final edit when the story has changed direction so many times it’s mind boggling. The rewarding aspect is in discovering who my characters are and making them work.

coveronlyupdate (2)

Ok, now the story:

You have written a number of contemporary and historical romances. FEAR IS LOUDER THAN WORDS is a romantic suspense that moves quickly and keeps the reader engaged with multiple plotlines.

 

Please tell us about your transition to romantic suspense and about the story.  I actually started by writing romantic suspense. I have five novels complete and waiting to be edited. But, I also love historic romance, so when the opportunity came up to actually pay some bills by writing it, I loved the challenge. In that respect, I love doing the research for them. There is nothing I hate, and I mean hate, more than reading a historic novel that has details wrong. I once had a proofreader change my use of Miss to Ms in a WWII novel, and I about freaked out. I am a NUT for details in a historic novel.

 

Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp? I was recently reminded that fear and worry cannot live together in the spirit alongside faith. So if you keep your faith strong, they have to go. My character had to learn that in Fear is Louder Than Words. She tried to allow them to all live with her, and that’s not possible. So trust, faith, and forgiveness were all woven into it.

 

God often teaches us something through our writing. What did you learn about life, faith, or yourself in the process of writing this book? That I was too much like the character. I don’t trust when I should, and I do tend to be trusting at times when I shouldn’t. Also to forgive. So important and so difficult in some instances.

 

Do you have another book we can anticipate seeing soon? I’m actually working on one I wrote almost 20 years ago. Am trying to decide whether to keep it in the 80-90s or bring it into 2016. It’s about a birthday sleepover. When the mother returns for her five-year old in the morning, the entire house is empty. Every parent’s nightmare, you know?

 

Where can readers find your books? My newest can be found at Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas, or on Amazon. All of my previous books are on Amazon as well. Aren’t they all nowadays?

 

Thank you so much, Linda, for being my guest. I know folks will enjoy FEAR IS LOUDER THAN WORDS and your other books. Thanks for having me. I enjoy connecting with other readers and writers!

Linda can be found at

http://lindaglaz.com/

http://hartlineliteraryagency.blogspot.com/
http://www.oldcootsandyoungwiseguys.com/

 

Book Giveaway

To enter the giveaway for a free e-copy of FEAR IS LOUDER THAN WORDS, please leave a comment along with your email address. The winner will be chosen and notified on January 15th.

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CHRISTMAS IN WILLIAMSBURG ~ IT’S NOT OVER UNTIL EPIPHANY

Posted by on Jan 6, 2016 in Blog, Commentary, Devotions | 6 comments

In Williamsburg, Virginia we start the Christmas season on the day of Colonial Williamsburg’s Grand Illumination, always held the Sunday of the first full weekend in December. Early in the day, it’s fun to take a stroll down Duke of Wreath 2Gloucester (DOG) Street and view all the unique and beautiful wreaths and swags on the doorways. They are, for the most part, created from fruit, dried flowers, pine boughs, and plants. These decorations are closely monitored throughout the entire Christmas season and freshened whenever needed.Pineapple and apples over the Door

This year the weather was spectacular, mild and sunny, which drew even more crowds than usual. While there we observed a fun colonial auction. A Colonial Williamsburg interpreter served as the entertaining Auctioneer. AuctioneerMany lovely and interesting colonial items were auctioned off to the hundreds of folks gathered on the lawn not far from the magazine.

This year also was a first for the recently installed ice rink, Liberty’s Ice Pavilion, which many people of all ages were Liberty Rinkenjoying. There were various stations up and down the street where visitors could purchase cider or hot chocolate.

When darkness came, the smell of bonfires and the charming lit cressets along DOG Street filled the air.

Cresset

The evening was culminated with fireworks set from three locations; The Palace Green, The Magazine, and the Capitol.

 

Grand Illumination Fireworks

Our next Christmas event each year is attending one of the five magnificent Christmas concerts at The Williamsburg Community Chapel directed by the incomparable Ted Cornell. The concert began with the entrance of the young member’s who serve as part of the Colonial Williamsburg Fifers and Drummers, boys and girls ages 10 to 18. The evening is filled with both traditional and more modern Christmas music by the large adult and children’s choirs and an orchestra. It is a wonderful celebration of our God coming to earth as a human, Jesus, to redeem us from our sins. His free gift of salvation is available to every person who accepts Christ as their Savior.Chapel Christmas Concert

We were fortunate to have some of our children and grandchildren visit us for Christmas which delighted us.Cousins fishing

 

Christmas Tree
Christmas Town lights

 

 

 

 

 

We tried something new that was lots of fun this year; we visited Busch Gardens “Christmas Town”. What a wonderful time of enjoying all the beautiful lights and decorations throughout the park. There were a number of live shows, all with a Christmas theme. One show, Gloria! shared the birth of Christ. Scrooge was based on the Dickens story. There was an ice show and others with dancing and singing.

Hopping John 2

 

We brought in the New Years watching the ball drop at midnight in Times Square. Our family always has the traditional meal of Hoppin John to bring in the New Year.

See more about Hoppin John at: http://janetgrunst.com/wp-admin/post.php?post=645&action=edit

Now, we celebrate Epiphany, the twelfth day of Christmas, sometimes called Three King’s Day. Epiphany is the Christian celebration that commemorates the revelation of the birth of Jesus to the wider world as told in the story of three wise men visiting the newborn Jesus with gifts in Bethlehem.  

 

May your 2016 be blessed, and may you begin your new year opening your heart to all that the Lord has for you.

 

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A VISIT WITH ELAINE COOPER, AUTHOR OF ROAD TO DEER RUN

Posted by on Dec 9, 2015 in Blog, Books, History, Uncategorized | 9 comments

Elaine Marie Cooper’s story ROAD TO DEER RUN takes us to Massachusetts in 1777 after the Battle of Saratoga. Wounded British lieutenant Daniel Lowe has escaped his Continental Army guards and is hiding on the Thomsen property. Midwife Thomsen’s daughter, Mary, finds him and nurses him back to health.

In reading the author’s notes, we discover that the characters in your story are based on your ancestors. Please briefly share that with us.

When I was quite young, a relative informed me that one of my ancestors was a British soldier during the American Revolution. I was quite horrified! As I grew older, however, I began to wonder about that soldier—who he was, where he came from, how did he end up staying in America. Not all of my questions were answered but I learned quite a bit about him Road to Deer Run - Coverthrough research. It was like discovering a genealogical goldmine! I was so excited to learn about my heritage and I included as many facts in my story as I could. Obviously, much of the story is fictionalized because I don’t have any family diaries, but where I could, I incorporated true facts.

How much research was involved in telling this story? Do you have a particular method of searching for the facts? Did this involve traveling, interviews, searching library, or church records?

Since Road to Deer Run was my first historical novel set in this locale and time period, research was mind-boggling! I searched the internet, Google books from the town, records from the local doctor’s office, church record, maps, and book after book about life in Colonial America. But visiting the site where my ancestors lived and worked was the most inspiring part of research. And interviewing the local historian in Williamsburg, MA was incredibly helpful. There’s nothing like having an informative local historian to bring history to life!

The situation of an American patriot nursing a British soldier, the enemy, is compelling. How much of their story did you know about and how much did you create?

Since I did not have the details about how the real Daniel and Mary met, much of it is fiction. But I surmised that it was very possible the real Daniel could have sustained injury in the Battle of Saratoga. I knew the King’s Army had been starving during that time so Daniel’s weakened condition was plausible. And there is an excerpt in A History of Williamsburg in Massachusetts that reads thus: “One British soldier, worn out and tired of fighting for what seemed a lost cause, dropped out from the irregular line of march at Springfield and returned to Williamsburg. There, on an old road leading from Williamsburg to Goshen, he built a log cabin. Later this man, Daniel Prince, married a Miss Packard of the neighborhood and reared a family.” This excerpt leaves out much detail, but my writer’s imagination took this story and ran with it!

ROAD TO DEER RUN has timeless themes of romance, grief, anger, bitterness, and forgiveness and you pace the story very well. Did you plot out your story ahead of time or did you allow it to develop as you wrote it?  

I guess you could call me a “seat of the pants writer” as I let the story develop as it went. I had spent numerous hours ahead of time forming a basic plot in my imagination. Then, when I could no longer keep it just in my head, I had to release it to the written page. It’s always interesting to me to “watch” the plot unfold and have the characters begin to speak. It’s the strangeness of being a writer. LOL

ROAD TO DEER RUN is the edited version of your earlier book THE ROAD TO DEER RUN. Why did you re-do the book? This is the first story in the DEER RUN series. Will you be editing and re-publishing the other stories in the series?

When I first wrote Road to Deer Run, I discovered the publishing industry was in a down turn. With many new writers being ignored and companies laying off editors, I decided to self publish. While self-publishing can be a good alternative for some, it was not a wise decision for my first novel. It lacked proper editing. When I pitched the series to CrossRiver Media, they immediately contracted all three books, much to my joy! They have an excellent editor (Debra Butterfield) and she has worked with me to improve the read. The book covers needed re-doing as well because they tend to make the book appear as if it is for children, although it is geared towards adults. Promise of Deer Run releases next June, 2016, and Legacy of Deer Run releases in December of 2016.

When you started writing the original story, did you know this would be a series, or was your initial intent for it to be one book?

I initially thought it would just be one book, but an editor suggested I turn it into a series. I followed his advice—and I’m glad I did.

Elaine Cooper

     Elaine Marie Cooper

What do you want your readers to take away from ROAD TO DEER RUN?

The belief that God is still there, even in the most desperate of circumstances. And that despite what others may do to hurt or offend us, God still expects us to forgive. It’s not usually easy, but it is necessary if we are to be freed of bitterness.

 

What has writing the original story or the edited one taught you?

When you write the personal thoughts of a character who is wrestling with a dilemma, you sort through the struggles in your own mind. I suppose the characters become an extension of the author and help bring clarity to our own thinking.

 

Please tell us about the sequel(s) and when they might be available.

Promise of Deer Run focuses on the now grown up Sarah Thomsen and follows characters who are impacted by the war with post traumatic stress. Legacy of Deer Run follows Mary and Daniel’s oldest son and his work in Springfield as he must leave Deer Run in order to make a living. Of course romance is a central theme in both of these books, and Mary and Daniel play a prominent role in the whole saga.

 

Thank you so much, Elaine, for being my guest. I know folks will enjoy the story.

Thank you so much for having me, Janet! I am honored to have been your guest.

Where can readers find your books?

Road to Deer Run is available at the CrossRiver site http://www.crossrivermedia.com/portfolio/road-to-deer-run/gallery/fiction/ and will be available at Amazon on December 10. The kindle version can be downloaded at http://www.amazon.com/Road-Deer-Run-Saga-Book-ebook/dp/B0189AH21M

Bethany’s Calendar is available at http://www.amazon.com/Bethanys-Calendar-Elaine-Marie-Cooper-ebook/dp/B00QXY38F6

Fields of the Fatherless at http://www.amazon.com/Fields-Fatherless-Historical-Fiction-Elaine-ebook/dp/B00FYV5EOM

Author Bio:

Elaine Marie Cooper is the award-winning author of Bethany’s Calendar and Fields of the Fatherless. Her re-release of the Deer Run Saga begins with Road to Deer Run this month and will be followed by Promise of Deer Run (June 2016) and Legacy of Deer Run (December 2016). Saratoga Letters will release in October 2016. Elaine’s passions are her faith, her family, and the history of the American Revolution, the era in which her historical fiction novels are set. You can read her blog on her website at: www.elainemariecooper.com

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GIVING THANKS IN ALL CIRCUMSTANCES

Posted by on Nov 22, 2015 in Blog, Commentary, Devotions, Uncategorized | 4 comments

Friends and family will gather this Thursday, November 26, to celebrate Thanksgiving. Many will enjoy a lavish meal, engage in time-honored events, and possibly watch a football game.

Thanksgiving celebrations have been practiced in many nations for hundreds of years. Our celebrations are rooted in English traditions of celebrating after a harvest. But Thanksgiving Day also has religious origins.

Thanksgiving CharactersMost school aged children are taught about the 1621 celebration at Plymouth when the colonists and Wampanoag Indians shared an autumn meal and gave thanks to God for their blessings.

Virginia claims an earlier Thanksgiving celebration at what is now known as Berkeley Plantation. On December 4, 1619, where Captain John Woodlief and the company of men dropped to their knees and prayed:First Official Thanksgiving Commemoration Plaque

“We ordaine that this day of our ships arrival,

at the place assigned for plantacon (plantation)

in the land of Virginia,

shall be yearly and perpetually kept holy

as a day of Thanksgiving to Almighty God.”

First Official Thanksgiving Commemoration Plaque -2For more details, see:

AMERICA’S FIRST THANKSGIVING ~ BERKELEY PLANTATION

http://janetgrunst.com/americas-first-thanksgiving-berkeley-plantation/?preview=true&preview_id=582&preview_nonce=f909ed43c3

Some of us may be experiencing a bittersweet Thanksgiving.

Are you grieving because you have lost a loved one to death or hurting from a broken relationship? Are you anxious because you or someone close to you is fighting a disease or illness? Maybe you’re heartbroken because of a child or grandchild’s trial. Perhaps there are disappointments due to a job or opportunity loss, or fears resulting from financial woes. Some of us even worry about what might happen in the future ― events which may never materialize.  

God tells us “give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” 1 Thessalonians 5:18 NIV

Does that make sense? How do we give thanks when it feels like our world is falling apart? We are to give thanks in all circumstances, not for all circumstances. In the midst of whatever you are going through Scripture can be very encouraging.

“Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:6-7 NIV

Praising God is a wonderful antidote to fight discouragement or depression. As you enumerate the many things you can thank God about, a subtle but miraculous event occurs.

While your circumstances may not be altered, your attitude as you take the journey will be transformed.

“May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.” Romans 15:13 NIV

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.” Jeremiah 29:11-13 NIV

Have a blessed Thanksgiving

in the knowledge that God loves you.

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