Books

An Interview with Clarice James, author of Manhattan Grace

Posted by on Jun 8, 2018 in Blog, Books | 8 comments

 

Clarice James

Manhattan Grace is Clarice G James third novel. I’ve enjoyed them all, so I’m thrilled to welcome her back for another visit.

Your knowledge about sports impressed me in Double Header, and Party of One was one of the most entertaining stories I’ve ever read. Manhattan Grace is full of fascinating characters with such diverse backgrounds who connect with each other.

How did you come up with this story?

Years ago, when my friend’s young daughter, Shannon Grace, was asked to take a picture of her brother, she protested, “But I belong in front of the camera not behind it!” She was always dressing in costumes and taking selfies. When I was writing my first novel, Shannon asked, “Am I in it?” Inspired by her chutzpah, I created Gracie Camden, who first appeared as the hostess in Party of One. Throw in a Messianic mohel and an international jewel thief to round things out and voila!

Your theatrical knowledge is impressive. Do you have a background in theater?

No, I don’t have a background in theater, but I called on a few friends who do to supplement my extensive research.  

Manhattan Grace also enlightened me on aspects of Judaism I’d never known before. Do you have a background or experience that drew you to incorporate these practices into the story?

A few years back a missionary friend serving in the hills of Israel mentioned that the mohel (circumciser) serving their poor region only had one eye. That little tidbit fueled my imagination. Since my pastor identifies closely with the Jewish roots of Christianity, we’ve often had Messianic speakers at our church. Mix in a little research and sing a few songs from Fiddler on the Roof and you get Seymour! 

Your sense of humor always comes through. I can’t even develop questions about your books without laughing. Your contemporary stories incorporate quirky characters, interesting events, inspiration, a bit of romance, and some mystery. What aspect (humor, inspiration, romance, mystery) is your favorite to write?

Since I’m not a mushy or serious person in real life, I’m more comfortable writing quirky characters in funny situations—sometimes based on my real-life experiences. I enjoy writing authentic dialogue, too.

In your experience as a writer, you’ve shared in the past the importance of having a critique group. Do they write in the same genre as your stories? Since your husband is also an author, I’m curious, is he your first “editor” and if so, how does it work for you?

I had previously facilitated a large writers’ group. Eventually, six of us spun off into a group all working on novels. I am the only one who writes women’s contemporary fiction. The others write speculative fiction or fantasy. Ironically, I got my husband involved to help me critique their excerpts. He’s an integral part of our group now. Yes, we do submit our excerpts to each other first.

So, tell us, what you are working on now and when might it be available?

I’ve completed my fourth women’s contemporary novel. The working title is Reconciliation for Charlie. The storyline is much more serious than my previous books, but I may have to go back and add some humor. If all goes well, it will be out in 2019.

I’ve just begun my fifth, the working title is The Least of These. I have a vague idea where the story is going, but I expect it will take a few sharp turns before I’m finished.

How can readers find your books?

Readers can ask for my books at their local bookstores or find them online at Amazon and Barnes & Noble.

FEATURED BOOK: Manhattan Grace

AUTHOR: Clarice G. James

PUBLISHER: Elk Lake Publishing, Inc.

GENRE: Women’s Contemporary Fiction

MANHATTAN GRACE BOOK COVER BLURB:  When a door opens for Gracie Camden to leave Cape Cod and move to Manhattan as a nanny for a Juilliard drama instructor, she fully expects God to use her acting talent and launch her to stardom. She’s been there been six months. What’s taking him so long?

 

Manhattan Grace: https://www.amazon.com/Manhattan-Grace-Clarice-G-James/dp/1948888130/

Party of One: https://www.amazon.com/dp/1946638137

Double Header: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B018A9G40W/ref=cm_sw_su_dp

 

What are your social media sites?

Clarice G. James Website: https://claricejames.com/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/clarice.g.james

Twitter: https://twitter.com/ClariceGJames

Email: cjames@claricejames.com

 

A GIVEAWAY for a Continental US commenter: The choice of one print copy of any of Clarice’s three books.  A winner will be chosen on June 12, 2018.  You’ll be glad you entered.

 

AUTHOR BIO: Clarice G. James writes smart, fun, relatable contemporary women’s fiction from a Christian perspective. Manhattan Grace (Elk Lake Publishing, Inc., 2018) is her most recent novel. Her previous novels include Party of One (Elk Lake Publishing, Inc., 2017) and Double Header (Mountainview Books, 2015). Clarice grew up on Cape Cod, but she and her husband David now live in southern New Hampshire. Together, they have five married children and ten grandchildren. When Clarice isn’t writing, she’s reading, encouraging fellow writers, participating in ladies Bible studies, or involved in a home decorating project.

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Cover Reveal for A Heart For Freedom

Posted by on May 18, 2018 in Blog, Books, History | 4 comments

It is always such fun for an author to see the cover of their newest book. So I am sharing it with you. A Heart For Freedom is scheduled to release on October 1, 2018.

 

A Heart For Freedom is a stand-alone book, but continues Matthew and  Heather’s story begun in A Heart Set Free.  I hope those of you who have read and enjoyed the first story will enjoy this one as well.

By 1775, the conflict has escalated between Loyalists and Patriots throughout the colonies. The Stewarts’ ordinary and the surrounding Virginia countryside are not immune from the strife, pitting friends, neighbors, and families against each other.

Matthew Stewart has avoided taking sides and wants only to farm, manage Stewarts’ Green, and raise his family. But political tensions are heating up and circumstances and connections convince him that he should answer a call to aid the Patriot cause … with conditions.

Heather Stewart, born and raised in Scotland, has witnessed the devastation and political consequences of opposing England. Threatened by the prospect of war, she wants only to avoid it, and protect the family and peace she sought and finally found in Virginia.

The journey the Stewarts take is not an easy one and will involve sacrifice, and questioned loyalties. Lives and relationships will be changed forever. Ultimately the knowledge that God is faithful will equip them with courage to face the future … with a heart for freedom.

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Countdown to A Heart For Freedom

Posted by on Mar 6, 2018 in Blog, Books, History | 4 comments

A Heart For Freedom, the Sequel to A Heart Set Free releases in less than six months.

So much goes into the publication of a book. Like other authors who write historical fiction, I spend a lot of time researching the era, the locations, and every facet impacting the story. Then comes months of developing and writing the tale interspersed with prayer, constant editing, more prayer and more research.

Any fiction writer will tell you that a writer’s imagination is the foundation of the project. We picture what our characters look like, where they live, places they go.

                                         Stewarts’ Green

 

 

In a Heart For Freedom, Matthew and Heather Stewart’s dream of building an ordinary at their farm has been realized. This is a similar picture of Stewarts’ Green which Matthew and Heather Stewart built perpendicular to their original cottage. It’s only missing a bigger front porch.

 

 

A nearby pond as well as the Potomac River figure in both stories.  

            The pond at Stewarts’ Green 

   Potomac River near Stewarts’ Green

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Conflict is escalating between Britain and the colonies. Like so many other families, the Stewarts struggle with the prospect of a war that divides friends and families.

I can’t wait to share more about this story, and someday the cover.

         

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Interview with Cindy Huff, author of Secrets & Charades

Posted by on Jan 21, 2018 in Blog, Books, Uncategorized | 2 comments

Please tell us something about yourself, Cindy. Secrets & Charades is your debut novel. Tell us a bit about your writing journey?

 Secrets & Charades took ten years to get published. I’ve been writing off and on since high school. Through those decades I’ve been published in a variety of periodicals and when my oldest was small I wrote scripts for Children’s Bible Hour and short stories for Bread for Children magazine. As they grew, and our life changed so did my writing projects. I was a guest columnist for our local paper while I was homeschooling my children. For several years I quit writing and when God impressed me to pick it up again novel writing became the focus. Secrets & Charades went through several rewrites as I learn the craft of novel writing. It was originally over 100,000 words. Many scenes were deleted never to see the light of day. When I was about to call it a great learning project and start something new I won the Editor’s Choice Award which entitled me professional edits that lead to a contract with LPC publishers. During the time I waited for my manuscript to find a home I did all I could to build a platform (even a small one) by attending conferences, creating a blog and joining Word Weavers. I subscribe to several writing blogs that have helped me grasp so many nuances of the fiction writing life. The people I’ve meant helped me get endorsements for S & C and opened doors for interviews.

Please share something about Secrets & Charades.

Dr. Evangeline Olson is the heroine of Secrets & Charades. But when she goes west as a mail order Bride she surprises her future husband with the truth that she is a doctor.  Jake thought he’d been writing Evangeline for a year only to discover her niece had been writing him as Evangeline. Throughout the course of the story, more secrets are revealed surrounding the Double M and the town of Charleton. Evangeline’s past influences her to become a doctor. Experiences in her life since the Civil War have made her a stronger less fragile woman than the average female of the 1800s. Jake’s Civil War service and the nightmares that accompanied him back home to Texas make him determined to make life easier for those he loves. I’ve come to know women who struggle with dark pasts and men with PTSD. I created my story to speak to their hearts. I wanted to remind them their past does not have to define them.  Placing their problems in a 1870s setting rather than modern day allows the reader to be distant but still relate.

Historical stories require extensive research. How do you go about researching your stories?

 I love the library. And I have a friend who is a history buff who lent me a pile of books. I purchased a few used books mostly diaries and memoirs that help me understand women’s mindsets during the mid-1800s and men dealing with what was then called soldier’s heart. Evangeline’s career and her need to go west as a mail-order bride came out of all that research. Some of the minor characters were based on information gleaned from all my research.

What drew you to the period and setting for the story?

 I love American History. After the Civil War, our country changed geographically, politically and scientifically. After the war there were fewer single men on the east coast and while the west lacked women. Mail order brides became the solution. Another change, women were seeking more education and the medical field was growing. Women’s suffrage was coming into its own. My setting is purely fictitious. But the storyline is peppered with real-life events from the time-period.

Is there a message or a spiritual theme in your novel that you want readers to grasp? 

Ecclesiastes 3:7 He makes all things beautiful in His time. Rough times can lead to opportunities and self-discovery that bring peace and contentment we might never find without them.

God often teaches us something through our writing. What did you learn about life, faith, or yourself in the process of writing Secrets & Charades?

Evangeline was fearless and determined. I find myself not giving up as easily after spending months in her head.  I found God’s promises are always faithful. He helped me craft the story and in His time, I received a contract and holding the book in my hand is a constant reminder that His time is always perfect.

Can you tell us anything about any other books being released and/or your current work in process?

 My contemporary Romance New Duet comes out May 2018, published by Clean Reads. I got the idea while standing on the podium as part of the worship team. A what-if moment took off from there. The setting is Aurora, Illinois where I’ve lived for over 40 years.  I’m excited and blessed to share Isabella and Dan’s story. She’s a widow from an abusive relationship and he’s a wounded warrior trying hard to be normal after losing a leg.

I’m also editing a sequel to Secrets & Charades and starting a third story in the same setting. My mind is full of several other stories both historical and contemporary. We will see which ones make it on paper and between book covers.

Thank you so much, Cindy, for being my guest. I know folks will enjoy Secrets & Charades.

Janet, I am delighted to be here and look forward to making some new friends amongst your followers.

Where can readers find your books?

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Secrets-Charades-Cindy-Ervin-Huff

 Barnes & Noble:  https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/secrets-charades-cindy-ervin-huff/1126086057?ean=9781946016140

LPC: https://www.shoplpc.com/product/secrets-charades/

What are your social media sites?

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pg/author.huff11/about/?ref=page_internal and

         www.facebook.com/cindyehuff,

Twitter: @CindyErvinHuff,

Goodreads:  https://www.goodreads.com/user/show/8029703-cindy-huff

Blog: www.jubileewriter.wordpress.com

Amazon Author Page:

https://www.amazon.com/Cindy-Huff/e/B01N9UAOZA/ref=ntt_dp_epwbk_0

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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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