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BLOW OUT THE CANDLES … and say goodbye

Posted by on Dec 4, 2017 in Blog, Books | 10 comments

I’m delighted to be able to interview my agent and friend Linda Glaz. Linda is not only an agent for Hartline Literary Agency, she is an experienced editor, reviewer, and author of several books.

Please tell us something about yourself, Linda. I’m gray, which, I guess means, I’m older than dirt. But with that comes a multitude of experiences and ideas to put into my work.

You served in the armed forces. Please give us some of that history also. I’ll tell an awesome story. I was the dorm chief (whoopee) of my flight, and a newbie came running up to me and said, “Airman Mapes, Airman Mapes! Come see the cute little shampooers they put in the restrooms just for us girls!!!” Well, we were in an old condemned but refurbished men’s barracks. And they hadn’t taken out the urinals. Yup. Right, where she was shampooing her hair. Oh, boy!

How did you get started writing professionally? I’ve always written. Since my first story in eighth grade that was cheesy and ridiculous, but it hooked me. Then, as I rounded 42, I wrote my first full-length novel based on an experience with my youngest daughter. And that is the story finally releasing in December of this year.

You have written a number of contemporary and historical romances. Do you enjoy writing in a variety of genres or is this a progression? I love writing in different genres, but there’s no doubt, suspense is my fave. Scare me, scare me, scare me. I love it.

What do you find most rewarding and challenging about being a writer? (research, plotting or organizing a story, marketing, or something else)Def plotting. I love the twists and turns of intricate plots. When I don’t see something coming and then BAM! It hits me between the eyes, I’m in heaven.

Ok, now the story:

Imagine your five-year-old at a birthday sleepover. Imagine all the girls disappear.

As five-year-old girls disappear from birthday parties year after year across the U.S., the sister of victim number one is thrown into the kidnappers’ path when she moves to the remote Upper Peninsula of Michigan ten years after her sister is kidnapped. There, she finds it’s not only candles that light up the trusting, rural community.

When ten-year-old Brandy Barrett and her mother, Rachel, hurry to the large colonial where Brandy’s five-year-old sister, Victoria, spent the night, Brandy prays Torey is ready. The girls have been promised a movie by their mother if there’s time after shopping.

Brandy stares. The house looks empty. No birthday balloons, no cake. And no little sister waiting with stories about the birthday sleepover.

Was it her fault because she rushed her mother to leave the night before?

She and her father, Joe, both harbor guilt that they hadn’t been there to foresee what could happen with a five-year-old staying alone all night.

Brandy’s mother can’t deal with her role in allowing Victoria to go to the sleepover, and she eventually commits suicide, adding, even more, guilt to Joe and Brandy.

Ten years later, after Brandy graduates from Oakland University, she takes a teaching position in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. After meeting the single, female superintendent, she convinces her father to retire from the military and follow along. She has plans to play matchmaker.

Three other families move to Iron Cove. Neither Joe nor Brandy can imagine what awaits them when one of those families has plans to kidnap once again.

BLOW OUT THE CANDLES AND SAY GOODBYE sounds like every parent’s worst nightmare. Please tell us about the story and how you came up with its premise.  Over twenty years ago, I dropped my youngest off at a birthday sleepover. Half an hour later, during what was practically a blizzard, she called to have me drop off her favorite pillow. As I drove up, my bizarre imagination kicked in, and I wondered: what would happen if I knocked on the door only to discover the house was empty? Yes, my mind just works that way. I’m a worrier of the worst kind. While she was gone over the weekend, the summary for Blow Out was born. I’m not sure how to describe the fear of a child gone missing, but that’s simply the way my over-active mind works.

Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp? Just to trust our inner voices. When that small, quiet voice tells us that something isn’t right, act on it. Don’t allow something to go awry when we’ve had the internal warning.

God often teaches us something through our writing. What did you learn about life, faith, or yourself in the process of writing this book? To NEVER give up. Whether it’s our writing, praying for a loved one or friend, or just for the situation to turn around. PERSEVERANCE!!! Never ever, no not ever, give up.

Where can readers find your books? Check them all out on Amazon. You can find them at Harlequin or Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas sites, but on Amazon, they offer great deals!

Thank you so much, Linda, for being my guest. You are probably going to keep readers up nights with BLOW OUT THE CANDLES … and say goodbye. That’s my goal. Scare me in the safety of my home! Ah-hahahahahahaha

Book Giveaway

To enter the giveaway for a free e-copy or paperback copy of BLOW OUT THE CANDLES … and say goodbye, please leave a comment along with your email address. The winner will be selected on December 6.

Linda’s BLOW OUT THE CANDLES AND SAY GOODBYE Facebook RELEASE PARTY is December 7  ~ 6-10PM EST        https://www.facebook.com/events/497763037239680/

Linda is an author and agent with Hartline Literary Agency.

She’s married with three children and three grandchildren.

Having served in the Air Force at a time when it wasn’t exactly politically correct for a woman, she blazed many firsts for women in the military. She has taught karate and self-defense for thirty years and was a National instructor and referee for the largest soccer youth group in the US for twenty-five years. She isn’t afraid to try something new.

Before joining Hartline, Linda was a reviewer for online romance sites, a final proofreader for a publisher, and organized and ran two separate writers’ groups. She worked for two years as an editorial assistant to Terry Burns at Hartline.

Linda has two novellas, six short novels, one romantic suspense published, and one to release in 2017. Five more are burning a hole in her hopeful pocket.

She’s a member of ACFW, AWSA, and numerous other writers’ groups. She presents nationally each year at conferences, teas, churches, workshops, and various other venues. She’s also active on social media.

Linda loves to laugh and make other people laugh. There is definitely healing and joy in laughter.

She’s forever on the lookout for ideas that will turn into a suspenseful novel, and as an agent is always looking for that next great blockbuster novel.

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Celebrating 1st Anniversary of A Heart Set Free

Posted by on Dec 2, 2017 in Blog, Books | 4 comments

I’m celebrating the one year anniversary of the publication of

A Heart Set Free

 

If you enjoy reading inspirational historical romances

starting on December 5, 2017,  there’s a Goodreads Giveaway

for 4 signed copies of 

A Heart Set Free

Selah Award Winner

 

It will end on December 12, 2017.

Just scroll down to the box that says “Enter Giveaway.” Here is the link:

https://www.goodreads.com/giveaway/show/267772-a-heart-set-free

 

The sequel to A Heart Set Free is scheduled for release September 1, 2018

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Meet Kathleen Rouser, author of Secrets and Wishes

Posted by on Oct 28, 2017 in Blog, Books, History | 9 comments

When my husband and I were traveling through Michigan this past August, we were delighted to be able to get together with Kathy for some coffee. The two of us share a love for serving in Community Bible Study for many years, we have the same literary agent, and both write for Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas.

 Kathy was excited about the fall release of her latest book, Secrets and Wishes. Since I enjoyed her earlier book Rumors and Promises I’ve been looking forward to reading this one.

 

~ As I understand it, Secrets and Wishes has some of the same characters that appeared in Rumors and Promises. How did you decide to tell the story of a different character from your earlier work?

Maggie Galloway is Reverend Ian McCormick’s feisty widowed sister who keeps house for him in Rumors and Promises. She also kindly befriends Sophie Biddle despite the rumors about her. I enjoyed writing Maggie’s character and the way she teased her younger, taller brother by calling him “little brother.” I grew to really like her and decided she needed her own story.

 

~ Did you find this story easier to write given that you had some of the characters already “fleshed out”?

In some ways, yes. Writing about Maggie came more easily as I was already comfortable with her character and who she is. However, I introduced several new characters with Thomas Harper and his four children, as well as Giles Prescott, Maggie’s former beau from her hometown. While I had an idea of who they were it was interesting to see how they emerged and grew as I worked on these new characters too.

 

~ Please tell us a bit about Secrets and Wishes.

Here is the back-cover blurb:

Stone Creek, Michigan, April, 1901 Maggie Galloway and Thomas Harper clash after their sons collide in a fistfight. Both widowed, they’re each doing their best as single-parents. Outgoing Maggie has dreams for a home of her own and a business to provide for her son as she searches for God’s path for her life as a widow. Reserved Thomas struggles to establish his new pharmacy and take care of his four rambunctious children, while wondering how a loving God could take his beloved wife.

When Thomas becomes deathly ill, Maggie is recruited to nurse him back to health. Taking the children in hand, as well, is more than she bargained for, but she is drawn to help the grieving family. Both nurse and patient find themselves drawn to each other but promptly deny their feelings.

A baking contest sponsored by the Silver Leaf Flour Company brings former beau, Giles Prescott, back into Maggie’s life. When Giles offers Maggie a position at their test kitchen in Chicago, he hints that, along with assuring her a good job, it will allow them to possibly rekindle their relationship.

But then a charlatan comes to town, and tragedy soon follows. Maggie and Thomas discover the miracle potions he hawks aren’t so harmless when an epidemic hits Stone Creek. Thomas and Maggie realize they must work together to save lives.

Maggie finds herself caught up in battles within and without—the battle to help the townsfolk in the midst of illness and chicanery, and the battle to know which man—Thomas or Giles—deserves to win her heart.  

 

~ What is the theme of the story or is there a spiritual truth you want to convey?

Maggie and Thomas, both in the midst of grieving, are trying to figure out how to be parents without the help of their deceased spouses and not expecting love to come into either of their lives. Yet, God has different plans for them than they expected, plans of healing and hope.

The theme verse at the front is: A merry heart doeth good like a medicine: but a broken spirit drieth the bones. Proverbs 17:22 (Authorized KJV)

There is also quite a bit of humor in this book, some of it stemming from the fact that Maggie and Thomas are opposites that attract. It also stems from some of the comical situations with their children. I hope my readers will find some healing humor in the story despite the serious situations.

 

~ Were there any particular challenges in writing the novel?

Finding certain medical procedures of the time since there seemed to be more than one way of doing things!

It also took me a while to find the full character arc for the hero, Thomas, but I prayed for wisdom and the Lord helped me work through it.

 

~ Can you tell us anything about a current work in process? 

I’m working on a romance novella set in a lighthouse, Mackinac Point lighthouse to be precise. This will be part of Barbour’s Great Lakes Lighthouse Brides Collection, releasing next year. I hope to work on a third Stone Creek novel soon as well.

Contract News Alert! Congratulations Kathy Rouser.

She just signed a contract for the novella to be part of Barbour’s Great Lakes Lighthouses Brides Collection, coming out next year!

~ How can readers find your books?

They can find them on Amazon: http://tinyurl.com/y7oqpym6 and at Barnes and Noble online: http://tinyurl.com/yaj5ryc5

Readers can connect with me on the web at:

My website: http://kathleenrouser.com

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

Facebook author page: https://www.facebook.com/kathleenerouser/

Twitter: @KathleenRouser

Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/kerouser/

Kathy is offering a giveaway for one USA commenter only. Winner chosen Nov. 1, 2017,  may choose either a print copy or a Kindle version copy. 

Thanks so much for being my guest, Kathy.

Thank you for having me, Janet! It’s been a pleasure.

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Ken Grunst ~ Williamsburg Guitar Maker

Posted by on Oct 25, 2017 in Blog, Family, Journal, Media Sharing | Comments Off on Ken Grunst ~ Williamsburg Guitar Maker

I’m so pleased and proud to announce that there is an opportunity for men and women in the Williamsburg, VA area to come and meet Ken Grunst, a local luthier, and my husband. 

Koa Guitar

 

On November 4, at 8:00 am the Williamsburg Presbyterian Church Men’s Fellowship will host a time of fellowship, a hymn sing, and a home-cooked breakfast.

 

After breakfast, Ken will detail the process he has used in building twenty-two acoustical guitars and one banjo. He will have several instruments on display.

 

Anyone interested should contact the church at 757-229-4235 or secretary@mywpc.org to make a reservation by November 1, so enough food can be prepared. A requested donation of $5.00 is for the breakfast.

The church is located at 215 Richmond Road.

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A Visit With Carol Stratton, Author of Lake Surrender

Posted by on Aug 17, 2017 in Blog, Books, Uncategorized | 6 comments

When I met Carol this past May at the Blue Ridge Mountains Christian Writer’s Conference it was like meeting an old friend. We share the same publisher, Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas.

Some years back I was intrigued when I found an advertisement for Changing-Zip-Codes, Carol’s devotional for folks who move often. Having moved many times myself, I thought her book would be an encouragement for my daughter-in-law, now living the life of a career Navy wife. As Carol and I visited at the conference, we discovered that we both lived in adjoining towns in the San Francisco Bay area during our teens in the sixties.  

Tell us a little about yourself, Carol.

Currently, I live in North Carolina with my husband and literary muse, John. We are the proud grandparents of eight grandkids.

I grew up in Palo Alto, in the San Francisco Bay Area, with three siblings where I learned how to sneak out of chores and fight to the death to see my favorite television program (only one television). I lived in Mexico City when I was thirteen as an exchange student and learned Spanish which now is very rusty but it taught me to be independent and to appreciate other cultures. In college, in Fresno, I majored in English until the head of the department suggested, on my papers, that I might want to find another major. (Never listen to the experts).

After college, I lived in New Zeeland for about four months while attending Capernwray Bible School in, Auckland. It truly is one of the most beautiful countries in the world.

How and when did you begin to write? 

I had my first essay published in sixth grade in our town newspaper in a column called, Youth Said It, in the Palo Alto Times. Later, I got the bug and started sending things out to women’s magazines with no success. But it wasn’t until my four children were almost out of the house that I decided to revisit my desire to write. My first big article was published in a little paper in Zionsville, Indiana and described my view of 9/11. I’ve now written over five hundred articles.

Can you give our readers a short description of Lake Surrender?

My first novel is about a career editor who loses her marriage, house, and job. As a single parent of a precocious pre-teen and an autistic son, she’s forced to find a more inexpensive place to live instead of the San Francisco Bay Area. She ends up in Northern Michigan working as a cook at a dilapidated Christian camp. She can’t cook and right-wing religious types really irritate her. But God woes her as she discovers her journey ends where her life begins. I really put this girl through the wringer!

What led you to write Lake Surrender?

Of all random and curious things, I have a degree in Recreation Therapy. I found I love working with all kinds of disabled children. A few years ago I was a teacher’s aide in an autistic classroom and saw the rewards of being able to enter their private worlds. I also observed the difficulties these parents face every day.

What are you working on now?

I have just finished Dread of Winter, a sequel to Lake Surrender. It’s a darker story where my heroine, Ally, stumbles into a crime while working at her new job as a reporter.

Do you have any advice for beginning writers?

I have found writing to be humbling. It took me twelve years to get my first book, a devotional, published, and I still have a novel with thirty-three rejections! But here’s what I learned along the way.

  • First, realize that you aren’t your best editor. Don’t think you’ve arrived after one or two drafts. Have a trusted, objective person (or two or three) give you feedback. Better still, have a paid edit of your book.

 

  • Second, share your ideas in a blog or newsletter. Yes, share them for FREE. All writing that points to truth is precious to God whether it be a best seller or an encouraging email to a friend. It’s exciting to have my novel out there but I’ve enjoyed the journey and especially the fellowship of other writers.

 

  • Third, support other writers. Write reviews of books you love, send encouraging emails and show up at FB book launch parties. Writing in the Christian realm is all about networking… just like the local church should be.

 

I found Lake Surrender to be a story of reality, resilience, renewal, and redemption. Carol has created a tender story that doesn’t ever disappoint. Thank you so much, Carol for being my guest.

How can readers find out more about you and your work?

I have a blog on my website, carolgstratton.com. My claim to fame is I’ve moved 22 times and lived to write about it. I have a devotional for movers: https://www.amazon.com/Changing-Zip-Codes-Christian-Community-ebook/dp/B01IFSFACG/

And of course, Lake Surrender: https://www.amazon.com/Lake-Surrender-journey-where-begins-ebook/dp/B01DCJBFMM

I’m on Facebook: Carol Grace Stratton (Author page), Carol Stratton, and Changing Zip Codes. Or Twitter: @Carolgstratton. I’d love to hear from any of you.

Carol’s motto:

We are only a short link to eternity during our time on earth

but with Christ, it can be a strong link.

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The Sequel to A Heart Set Free

Posted by on Aug 6, 2017 in Blog, Books, History, Uncategorized | 12 comments

I’m thrilled that Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas has offered me a contract for the sequel to A Heart Set Free.

 

It’s a stand alone story that follows the characters introduced in A Heart Set Free.

 

The Stewart’s dream of building an ordinary will be realized. However, storm clouds of conflict will escalate between Britain and the colonies. Like so many other families, the Stewarts will struggle with the prospect of a war that will divide friends and families. The story continues in the second book of the trilogy.

 

https://www.amazon.com/Heart-Set-Free-Janet-Grunst-ebook/dp/B01MQK0SXR/ref=tmm_kin_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=1501186375&sr=8-1

 

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