Maple leaves are falling EVERYWHERE around us–today and tomorrow it’s supposed to be warm and sunny, so we’re gearing up to clean our deck, prune the lilac bushes, and prepare the garden for winter.
Ah, the changing of seasons–one reason to love the Midwest. This consistent seasonal transformation also intrigued British immigrant Everett Herring in LAND THAT I LOVE. He and Donnie marked the changes by the location of sunlight on their barn wall as the months passed.
This morning a Colorado writer friend brightened my week by posting her review. What could be more encouraging to an author? When all is said and done and we write THE END, reviews become our best friends.
So here is Patti Shene’s review–an objective reader’s take on Everett and Donnie’s story. Definitely MADE MY DAY–thank you Patti Shene!
Kimberly Russell celebrates her debut fantasy novel with us this week, and she’s offering a free e-book to a commenter. Many authors, consciously or not, integrate their own lives into their stories, and Kimberly has done this intentionally. When I read her bio, I wonder if she’s also used experiences of women in the prison system where she once worked. We’ll see!
My fantasy novel, Journey to ChiYah (Hebrew for restoration) released July 1, 2021. The story is a conglomeration of my life experiences, emotional struggles, hybrid facts, and plain old fiction. Some events are verbatim, while others began as one thing and transformed into something else. Most important, it is the story of my own emotional healing, several decades in the making.
I’ve always struggled with wounds from the past. While God has untangled much over the years, I seemed to be caught in endless cycles, never quite getting long-term healing… until I began attending a new church.
This was a different kind of place, packed with biblical teaching about how to live entwined with God, breathing in His presence daily. Living in complete agreement with Him involves a willingness to have a cooperative, repentant heart and lifestyle, and being willing to address things He points out. Not always an easy thing. We also learned about His restoring power that can heal us from our wounded past, and I finally began to make lasting progress toward healing. At the same time, my creative juices exploded.
Everyone would see me scribbling furiously during sermons, taking notes, and journaling as God worked me through the healing process that intertwined with Jade’s story, and soon Journey to ChiYah took shape. Life got in the way for a while, and it took a while to finish the first draft, but after I retired four years ago, I knew it was go-time.
The message of Journey to ChiYah: God can heal and restore us from our wounds if we cooperate during the process. It’s often a bumpy ride, but as we persevere, He is faithful and true to restore us to His original, best intent, then send us on assignment to share with the world.
From the back cover:
Jade Pepperdine has a problem: Her life is crumbling beneath the weight of the past, events of the present, and fears for her future. Things need to change, but she doesn’t know where to start. Answers come in the form of an unexpected opportunity when Jade finds herself stuck in a mythical land. She meets Mayor Dudley, who insinuates she is emotionally broken and in need of repair… a fact she’d just as soon ignore. He offers to help her get home if she is willing to face her issues through a process of restoration. Frightened and skeptical yet out of options, Jade grudgingly agrees. And soon figures out that change is a journey, not a destination. Come along on the adventure of a lifetime, and maybe you’ll find someone you never knew you lost: Yourself.
Purchase Journey to ChiYah at Amazon: http://mybook.to/JourneyToChiYah
Sign up for Kim’s newsletter: https://rebrand.ly/i9urolq
Kimberly Russell lives in a tiny house in southern lower Michigan with Toby, the Shih Tzu,
who allows her to be his roommate. Retired for four years, Kim’s 30 year day job was that
of civil servant in the Michigan Department of Corrections at the local prison complex as
the Warden’s Secretary.
Kim began writing in 2009 after she joined an on-line writing community called FaithWriters
and regularly participated in their weekly writing challenge. High-ranking finishes led to
publication in the 2015 & 2017 FaithWriters anthologies. She branched out and authored
a column for entertainment publication, Frank Talk, and has been published in Dog Life
Magazine. Her first full-length novel is Christian Fantasy, Journey to ChiYah,
which released July 1, 2021.
When not hanging out in her favorite place on earth—the She Shed—and creating literary magic, Kim is a pickleball fiend, playing several times a week. She also loves to read, enjoys a somewhat mediocre golf game, and is a tech geek.
Pat Jeanne Davis is back with us this week, celebrating a sale on her WWII novel–enjoy!
The verse in Romans 8:28 is a favorite one of mine: “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to His purpose . . . .”
Abby, the heroine in When Valleys Bloom Again, frequently reminds herself of this promise after she is uprooted from London and forced to return to a country far from her family and the life to which she’d become accustomed. Meanwhile back in England, her parents are under continuous aerial attack from the enemy, and on the battlefields of Europe, her brother and fiance face death daily.
Excerpt from Chapter 3
New York, September 4, 1939
Finally, after sailing in a zigzag course to evade further U-boats, theQueen Mary slipped into the harbor. Abby emerged into the hubbub on deck as they glided under tow into the shadows of the Manhattan skyscrapers. She caught her breath as sirens blared from boats that accompanied them and water cannon spouted a raucous salute. Abby covered her ears as three thunderous blasts from their liner returned the greeting. Streamers of red and white and blue criss-crossed warehouses and the tall masts of ships moored nearby. American and British flags flapped an exuberant “Welcome” in the salty breeze as music from a brass band floated up from below.
Abby leaned against the ship’s railing, letting out a deep breath. She tried to see herself as a brand-new arrival, taking it all in for the first time. An undercurrent of sadness swept over her, diluting her gratitude and relief at a safe arrival. Reality hit hard. No chance of returning now. Still, it wouldn’t be enough merely to tolerate her stay here. She must take charge of her own affairs, and not simply react to circumstances forced on her. And she must put on a brave face for the sake of her family. Lord, I need your help.
The swirling mass on the dock below resolved into distinct faces, each searching for an answering look of recognition. Somewhere down there her uncle and aunt waited. Memories came flooding in of visits with her parents to Uncle Will’s vast country estate. She hadn’t seen Aunt Val in—Abby tallied them on her fingers—four whole years. She had always thought her stand-offish and hoped sheʼd improved in the meantime.
As the Queen Maryclosed in, men in military garb holding rifles scanned the vessel, their heads in constant motion. Not here too. Policemen weaved through the waiting throng below, looking at papers and detaining one here, one there. Abby seized the railing and closed her eyes. Lord, help me to see this is all working to my good.
FLASH: If you haven’t read my WWII inspirational romance, now’s your chance. From 10/11 thru 10/17 the Kindle version of When Valleys Bloom Again is discounted to $1.99. That’s a savings of $3.
After fleeing impending war in England, nineteen-year-old Abby Stapleton works to correct her stammer and to become a teacher in America, only to discover this conflict has no boundaries and that a rejected suitor is intent on destroying her name, fiancé, and fragile faith.
Back Book Cover Description:
As war approaches in 1939 Abby Stapleton’s safety is under threat.Her father, a British diplomat, insists she go back to America until the danger passes.Abby vows to return to her home in London—but where is home?With her family facing mortal danger so far away and feeling herself isolated, she finds it hard to pray or read the Bible.Did she leave God behind in war-torn London too?Then Abby becomes friendly with Jim, a gardener on her uncle’s estate.
Jim can’t get Abby out of his mind.Did she have a sweetheart in England?Was it foolish to think she’d consider him?He curses his poverty and the disgrace of his father’s desertion and drunkenness haunts him.Can he learn to believe in love for a lifetime and to hope for a happy marriage?
Abby couldn’t know the war would last a long time, nor that she would fall in love with Jim—soon to be drafted by the U.S.Army—or that she’d have to confront Henri, a rejected suitor, determined by his lies to ruin her reputation and destroy her faith in God’s providence.Will she discover the true meaning of home and find happiness with Jim?
PAT JEANNE DAVIS has a keen interest in 20thCentury United States and British history, particularly the period of World War II. Her longtime interest in that era goes back to the real-life stories she heard about family members who served during the war. When Valleys BloomAgainis a debut inspirational romance set in WWII. She enjoys flower gardening, genealogy research and traveling with her British-born husband. She writes from her home n Philadelphia, Pa. Pat has published essays, short stories and articles online and in print. She is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers and Faith, Hope, & Love Christian Writers. Please visit her at https://www.patjeannedavis.com
When Valleys Bloom Again can be purchased here: Amazon.com
I’m glad to welcome Mary Savarese today. It’s fun to feature authors who write what for me would be a bridge too far! But her Y/A fantasy offers adventure and romance, as well. I hope you venture into her created worlds, cross time barriers, and have fun with Mary’s story. Mary is offering one commenter a HARDBACK COPY of this lovely tale!
This review from the US Review of Books says it all:
“Savarese’s novel is an inventive and original portal fantasy that avoids the genre’s most overused clichés. At moments the story evokes Doctor Who and A Wrinkle in Time, though the plot is unlike anything the reader is likely to have read. Savarese piles incident upon incident, and readers who enjoy a quirky science fiction story with magic and a hint of romance will find much here to entertain.”
Book 1 of the StarWriters Trilogy follows twelve-year old Tyler Charles as he struggles to rescue the love of his life, Callalyly of the House of Montevelli of Siena. Tyler, however, is allowed to call her, Lyly. Tyler lives within the world of today, and Lyly lives inside a world that existed over two centuries ago. When he’s pulled through a lantern portal and slides into a two dimensional world of the toile wallpaper, Tyler must remember his class physics to reverse the effects of an evil wizard’s spell.
When he finally cracks the code and reverses the effects, Tyler finds himself two centuries into the past where noblemen and women dwell, and where the world is quite different. It is in the past where Tyler finally discovers the true meaning of friendship and learns to work around the daily hardships and emotional traumas of life.
“Savarese is skilled at contrasting medieval and modern worlds, flowing between them in a manner that is enlightening and creates no confusion in the transition process, which creates a seamless story based not just on one or two main characters, but a host of special interests and It is written in the stars!” Fantasy fans of high school age and older who look for a blend of mystery, history, and spell-binding intrigue will relish the journey and discoveries which defy time, space, and death.”
— Diane Donovan, Midwest Review
Mary is an award-winning author born and raised in Brooklyn, New York. She earned a degree in accounting from City University, NY and worked within the insurance and financing world. Her debut novel, Tigers Love Bubble Baths & Obsession Perfume (who knew!) is a contemporary spiritual mystery that transcends three genres … mystery, spirituality, and romance, and won eight national book awards. Mary was a religious education teacher and is now a Eucharistic minister for the Catholic church. After raising a family in Connecticut, she moved to Florida with her husband and spends her time writing entertaining and unusual stories.
If you’re reared to please others, you’ll always be kind, sweet, and that so-overused English word, nice. I avoid it like the plague in my writing, because of the images it creates–doormat-ish, stuffing feelings, avoiding conflict even at the cost of one’s own mental and emotional health.
No wonder I have lots of adjectives to describe this state–I lived it for many years. That’s why I laughed out loud when I saw this cartoon:
What is worth doing is worth overdoing. Anonymous
Both cartoon and quote appear in a textbook on the ancient medical practice of homeopathy. This holistic approach to physical, mental, and emotional well-being describes various human tendencies and remedies to aid our health. One supporter of homeopathy–the British Crown–made sure these physicians could pursue their healing goals.
It’s easy to see myself in more than one description, just as in modern personality tests. We’re a lot of this and a little of that, with a tad of this other mixed in. I’ve always enjoyed these tests, because human beings and the-way-we-are intrigues me.
Can any of you relate to this cartoon? Do you over-do, even over-do GOOD activities? Many people suffer from this downfall and become slaves to getting-through-that-tree. Sometimes our efforts are at the expense of those around us, or of our own peace of mind.
Every winter in the Arizona mountains, we witness woodpeckers literally working themselves to death–I’ve posted as many woodpecker photos as any other feathered friend.
Fictional characters like this challenge me. Whether it’s teaching, trimming a bush, doing laundry or overseeing a company, perfectionism controls each and every action. And perfectionism makes a harsh taskmaster.
Enjoy life? This personality type has to LEARN what these two words mean!
We’ve all known people like this…maybe we ARE or HAVE BEEN those types ourselves
So, if you happen to meet such a character in one of my books–or another author’s–you’ll be familiar with their moorings.
I love Erma Bombeck’s philosophy, and have a suspicion she qualified as a workaholic. Just sayin’, because for her to fulfill this quote, it stands to reason.
Are we using it all? I’m definitely giving it my best shot, to make up for lost time during those years when I knew writing was my vocation but wasn’t sure what to write. But we do the best we can at any given point in our lives, don’t we?
But all the way along, my novel fodder reserve kept rising higher and higher. And now, I’m working on another WWII story, this time a cozy mystery. Fun to concentrate on something entirely new, while rejoicing in a manuscript that has morphed into a published novel.
Land That I Love…career that I love, albeit late to the starting line!
Some authors plan on writing as a career. Not so for Lisa Bell, our guest this week–here’s her story, and she’s offering a signed copy of THE INNER NEMESIS to one happy camper…I mean commenter. (:
Lisa and I contributed to a wonderful Christmas collection called CHRISTMAS THROUGH THE AGES, and she’s also offering one signed copy of this book plus a couple of others to form a Christmas anthology. We are celebrating this new release!
Take it away, Lisa! (Oh, and did I say I get to meet Lisa in person next week in Texas Hill Country?!?! Very excited here.)
I didn’t grow up dreaming of someday writing for a living, but I became an unexpected writer. In retrospect, I always enjoyed writing. People often told me I should write a book. Imagine my surprise when a corporate manager reviewed my first standard operating procedure and said, “Just because these are technical documents, they don’t have to be boring. Lose the passives.” Now, passives top my list of editor pet peeves, personally avoiding them as much as possible.
I don’t remember the exact moment of my paradigm shift or why it came, but one day, I knew.
I am a writer.
Saying that changed my perspective. At the time, I worked in the corporate world. After that day, instead of announcing my corporate position and timidly adding, “and sometimes I write,” when asked, I boldly said, “I am a writer. I daylight as a business analyst.” The mental shift, didn’t change me, but it altered my perspective.
I left the corporate world intending to freelance write and edit books. God had other plans, and I became a magazine editor, which means writing and editing, plus a host of other responsibilities. Most of the time, I love my job. Having written hundreds of articles in my current position as an editor for NOW Magazines, LLC., my heart desires fiction writing. Recently returning to that passion, I find myself searching for time to work on a novel.
My second desire, helping other writers, led to my side career as a freelance editor, but I love teaching writing skills and encouraging others in their writing. Somehow, I grew passionate about seeing others succeed. Which steered me to create two books designed for writers. Honestly, I designed the planner for myself because I couldn’t find one that fit my needs well.
What better way to help writers than with interactive tools? My Inner Nemesis offers a combination for journaling ideas, writing prompts and inspiration—perfect for use as morning pages exercises or when you need a break to get ideas flowing.
A Day in a Writer’s World provides one-page per day for recording critical, important and pleasurable tasks. At the end of the day, assess your degree of success, and jot down notes you need to remember.
I’ve cleaned off my desk. Should have taken a before/after duo to show you what a mess it was–but I didn’t think of it.
Motivation for this sort of purge comes slowly, but finishing a major project helps. When we decided to entertain a group in a couple of weeks, my lazy “cleaning genes” ground into motion.
Once I start, satisfaction sets in with each handful of paper debris dashed into the recycling bin. But at first, the going is tough. You see, my writing process includes volumes of little notes I write to myself. The history behind the story must be clear, and that history, I jot down in a ridiculous amount of notes that end up on my desk.
Why not put it all in one notebook instead of using whatever scrap, envelope, napkin, etc happens to be handy when I make the discovery? I ask myself this, too, as yet another handful of notes meets its demise. The answer? I really don’t know. I’ve tried notebooks, and for some reason, always end up using whatever paper I can find instead. Perhaps it’s the image of Abraham Lincoln penning his Gettysburg Address…
A similar phase takes place in my mind during the weeks after completing a book. Now that Land That I Love has a cover (I just have to share it again!)
and a final edit, this is starting to occur. I’ve concentrated so intensely, it seems odd to be walking about like a normal person, and as I do, I notice how other things have piled up. In the past few days, I’ve cleaned out two closets–so unlike me.
We’re all unique–like this carrot that looks like two. But they wound around each other and were harvested and marketed as one.
Strange. Peculiar. Odd. Fascinating. Intriguing. Just the type of notes I write to myself–in my own simple way. But the growth and the goal are all that really matter.
You’d think I was a kid at Christmas. Yesterday, the book cover options arrived and we made some decisions. Now, it’s time to REVEAL the COVER!
It’s like waiting and watching for growth in a cottage garden. One day you take a long look, and tada! Even with water pails in the picture, the effect is pleasing to the eye.
I am so grateful for my publisher’s expertise in many ways, but his cover creating ability sits right at the top of the list. And here’s the latest example, which captures the indelible bond between father and son so evident in Land That I Love.
Ahh…the desire accomplished is sweet to the soul. Soon, I’ll be able to share a purchase link, and then will travel to beautiful Texas Hill Country to launch this story.
Phlox blossoms for weeks, needs only sun and rain, and comes in a colorful array. Next year, there’ll be tall hollyhocks against the fence, too. Cottage gardens are about enjoying the moment, yet looking forward with anticipation.
By the end of this week, Land That I Love should go to the printer. Like a garden, a manuscript requires thought, time and nurturing.
Do I love the characters who come to me? If love means embracing their joys and sorrows, accepting their foibles, and allowing them to be who they are, I would have to say yes.