Meet Martha Rogers

Martha Rogers is a multi-published author and writes a weekly devotional for ACFW. Martha and her husband Rex live in Houston, Texas, where they are active members of First Baptist Church. They are the parents of three sons and grandparents to eleven grandchildren and great-grandparents to four. She is the Director of the Texas Christian Writers Conference, a member of ACFW, ACFW WOTS chapter in Houston, and the writers’ group, Inspirational Writers Alive.

Tell us about your newest book.

I’ve had several new releases. The one I’m featuring here is Freedom’s Journey. It’s about a young woman who has no family or income after her grandmother’s death. An old friend of her father offers to pay her passage to America and asks her to be governess to his grandchildren.

(The novella, After the Ball, is in a collection of stories about first loves in First Loves Forever from Barbour. My story is about a wealthy young man working in his father’s oil business in Dallas in the early 1900’s. His heart is back at the ranch where he grew up and with Susannah, the foreman’s daughter and the girl he’s loved since his youth.

What genre do you focus on and why?

I generally focus on romance whether it’s historical or contemporary, and I have a few cozy mysteries I’m trying my hand on.

Why do you write? What drives you?

I’ve written for so long that it’s simply a part of me. So many stories float around in my head, and I must get them written. Right now, I’m driven by age because I want to get all of the stories written. I’m 81, and I’ll write as long as the Lord leaves here on earth. The death of my friend Golden Keyes Parsons reminds me I don’t have a say in that timing. Her editor finished the editing on the last book Golden submitted and published it after her death.

Who is your main character, and how did you choose that name?

My main character is Rosemary Beckett. The name sort of came out of the blue when I wrote the first line because it wasn’t the name I started with. Rosemary just seemed to fit the person I described in my character chart.

(My heroine is Susannah King, and she’s a real cowgirl. I liked the name, and the more I filled in her character chart, the more the name seemed to fit her. She’s one who loves to rope and ride with her father and his men, but she also enjoys time in the main house with the hero’s grandmother.)

What does a day in your writing world look like?

Oh my. I have to laugh at that because every day is different. I do some chores, check my email, maybe write a bit then go do something else. When I really get involved in my story, I may find an hour or two has passed without a break. Then I get a cup of tea and some chocolate and read back over what I’ve written. Sometimes it’s good, but other times it needs a rewrite.

What is the hardest part of being an author? Why?

The hardest part is promotion and marketing my books. I hate to promote myself, and the ads and other marketing materials run into more dollars than I have to spend. In collections, we can share the cost of publicity and that helps a lot.

What’s the best part of your author’s life? Why?

I love getting to write down all the stories I’ve made up. I love to see where my characters are going and what they are going to do. I’m a SOTP writer, so my characters are continually surprising me with what they want to do and say.

What is the craziest thing you’ve experienced as an author?

It’s not really crazy, but I sure laughed at myself. I was in the kitchen cleaning up from supper. I was in a hurry because I wanted to get back to a story and see what was going to happen. I walked into my office thinking, where is that book? Then it dawned on me. I was writing the book and what happened depended on what I wanted to happen.

One funny thing happened with a reader and my first book, Becoming Lucy. The granddaughter of a friend read the book and wanted it autographed. She and my grandson were in the same grade at school and I knew the family from church. After I signed the book, she held it to her chest, and with a starry-eyed look in her eye said, “Mom, Jonathan Rogers’ grandmother signed my book. Isn’t that awesome?”

What are you most proud of?

How the Lord has blessed us with three sons, nine grandchildren, three grandchildren in-laws, and four great-grans with a fifth due in June. I am so proud of them all and their walk of faith. Our oldest great-grandson was baptized last spring, so the legacy continues.

What is your favorite pastime?

That’s funny. If I’m not writing, I’m reading. I used to sew a lot and do scrapbooking, jewelry making and counted cross-stitch, but I haven’t done those for a while. Lots of unfinished projects that I plan to get around to doing someday.

Do you have other books? We’d love to know.

I have a lot of books out there. With this book, I have a total combination of 42 novels and novellas. The novellas are in collections and all can be found on Amazon. My first series, Winds Across the Prairie, had six novels including the best-selling Christmas novel, Christmas at Holly Hill.

What are you working on now?

I’m working on a cozy mystery series with senior adult characters like Miss Marple or Jessica Fletcher of Murder She Wrote. Also have a proposal with my agent.

Website: www.marthawrogers

Link to book:

Social media links: Twitter: @martharogers2, Facebook: Martha Lou Rogers and Forget Me Not Romances, Blog: www.hhhistory.com,

 

 

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Meet Leann Harris

Leann is the author of 20 published novels, 18 with a traditional publishers and 4 books as an Indie author. She is a founder of both DARA and Ready Writers, local writing groups. She is a teacher of the deaf, who taught math to high school deaf students. An active gardener, master composter, who works out plot questions while pulling weeds in her garden. She is also a cancer survivor.

Tell us about your newest book.

Star Taylor goes home to finish her degree in astronomy at McDonald Observatory in West Texas. The first person she runs into his her high school sweetheart, Bart Hays coming out of her father’s barn. Her father had an accident, and Bart drives her to the hospital. Later that day, Bart comes back to the hospital with his 5 year old son, Tanner. Bart’s a widower. As Star works on her dissertation, she keeps running into Bart and Tanner. Love blooms again, but Grandma Hays doesn’t want her son to take up with his old flame. Can their love survive the obstacles this time? When Star is offered a position in Italy at an observatory, will she take the job or go home and marry the man and she loves? Can she ignore the years she’s worked for her degree? Or is there another way?

What genre do you focus on and why?

I do inspirational romance and inspirational romantic suspense.

Why do you write? What drives you?

I have stories I want to share. You can share a truth in fiction that reaches people and shows them that God works in wonderful ways.

Who is your main character, and how did you choose that name?

Star Taylor is my heroine. She was born on the 4th of July and her parents named her Star. Her mother died shortly after Star was born.

What does a day in your writing world look like?

It used to write after breakfast doing half my daily quota, do lunch, then go to the gym. Since 2013 I’ve gone through two rounds of cancer, Hodgkin’s Lymphoma and now non-Hodgkins Lymphoma. I’m 2/3 of the way through chemo. Now I’m just thinking of stories to do after chemo.

What is the hardest part of being an author? Why?

Sitting all the time.

What’s the best part of your author’s life? Why?

Having lunch with writer friends. My husband is a good guy, supports me, but understands nothing about the writer’s life. He keeps up my webpage, but has to wrap his engineer brain around my writing world.

What is the craziest thing you’ve experienced as an author?

Finding the nerve to go down to the Dallas PD and interviewing several detectives in several locations. If I hadn’t taken another writer with me, I don’t know what I would’ve done. I’ve also interviewed detectives in a small town PD and several suburban police departments around Dallas.

What are you most proud of?

My books, and my grown children.

What is your favorite pastime?

Gardening. I love Irises and have a collection of them.

Do you have other books? We’d love to know.

Yes. I have 7 Love Inspired book and 4 Indie books. You go brain dead at the end of chemo. I remember the day when story came back to me. Years earlier I had a book that occurred to me, and my agent couldn’t sell it. I prayed about it and I knew it wasn’t that book’s time. After the chemo and radiation to my head, I knew that was the time to rewrite the book that book. It’s The Last Lie, my first Indie book.

What are you working on now?

I’m working on the story of the sister of the heroine of my last book, The Cowboy Meets His Match. Kai is half Navajo, half German, and is an award winning Cutting champion. When she moves to Fort Worth, she runs into grumpy cowboy who is trying to recover from a career ending injury which keeps him from returning to competing in rodeo. Kai works with his sister.

Website: www.leannharris.com

Social media links: https://www.facebook.com/authorLeannHarris/

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Meet Liz Tolmsa

Liz Tolsma is the author of several WWII novels and prairie romance novellas. She is a popular speaker and an editor and resides next to a Wisconsin farm field with her husband and their two daughters. Her son is a U.S. Marine. She enjoys reading, walking, working in her large perennial garden, kayaking, and camping.

 

Tell us about your newest book.

It’s 1943 and Anna Zadok, a Jewish Christian living in Prague, has lost nearly everything. Most of her family has been deported, and the Nazi occupation ended her career as a concert violinist. Now Anna is left to care for her grandmother, and she’ll do anything to keep her safe—a job that gets much harder when Nazi officer Horst Engel is quartered in the flat below them.

Though musical instruments have been declared illegal, Anna defiantly continues to play the violin. But Horst, dissatisfied with German ideology, enjoys her soothing music. When Anna and her grandmother face deportation, Horst risks everything to protect them. Anna finds herself falling in love with the handsome officer and his brave heart. But what he reveals might stop the music forever.

What genre do you focus on and why?

My passion is for WWII fiction, because there are so many untold stories that are in danger of dying away with the Greatest Generation. My desire is to dig deep and bring these stories to light before they are lost forever. My generation and the generations to come must understand what happened

Why do you write? What drives you?

The stories in my head LOL! Every since I was small, I’ve loved to make up stories and pretend about far away places. And they keep coming. I don’t have enough years left in my life to write all that’s in my head.

Who is your main character, and how did you choose that name?

The heroine is Anna Zadok. My mother’s family is Slovak, and my great-grandmother’s name was Anna. I know much more about my father’s side of the family, so when I started to write this book, it also took me on a journey to get to know my mom’s ancestors.

What does a day in your writing world look like?

I usually write in the morning with a goal of around 2000 words – about a chapter. After lunch, I work on social media and editing. I try as hard as possible to be done about five when the rest of my family comes home so I can spend some time with them.

What is the hardest part of being an author? Why?

All the social media. I find it hard because I don’t understand much of it. I was never taught anything about marketing in school, so I’m having to learn as I go.

What’s the best part of your author’s life? Why?

The thrill of meeting my readers and hearing how my stories touched their lives. There’s nothing better than knowing that your words impacted someone’s life.

What is the craziest thing you’ve experienced as an author?

The first time someone, having recognized me, came up to me exclaiming, “Ooo, Liz Tolsma, you’re Liz Tolsma. I love your books. Can we get a picture together?” That was wild.

What are you most proud of?

I’m most proud of not giving up on my dreams, slogging through the times of doubt, and becoming a published author.

What is your favorite pastime?

Reading, of course! I also love walking and gardening. They’re right up there. But give me a beach and book, and I’m a happy girl!

Do you have other books? We’d love to know.

I have three other WWII books currently out – Snow on the Tulips, Daisies Are Forever, and Remember the Lilies. I also have four novellas out, another one coming in February, an Amish romance, The Amish Widow’s New Love, releasing in May, and the next one in this WWII series, What the Heart Sings, coming out in August. Yes, I’ve been busy!

What are you working on now?

I’m just starting book three in this series. It has the working title The Music Within and is set in Hungary during the war.

Website: www.liztolsma.com

Link to book:

Amazon

Barnes and Noble

Christianbook.com

Social media links:

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/liz.tolsma.9

Twitter: https://twitter.com/LizTolsma

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/liz-tolsma-64992ab7?trk=hp-identity-name

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

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/authorliztolsma/

Book Trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aaj5gp7Yvk4

 

 

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Meet Mary Hamilton

As a child, Mary L Hamilton wasn’t afraid of monsters under the bed. But the man she imagined hiding in her closet kept her awake many nights. Since then, she’s imagined plenty of other scary situations on which to base her cozy mystery stories. Mary also likes doing non-scary things like knitting, spending time with her family and photography. She and her husband live in Texas in a house with secure closets.

Tell us about your newest book.

Pendant is a mystery/suspense novel about a Chicago teacher who lost her job, her friends and her confidence when her student disappeared from a field trip and was never found. Years later, she stumbles across a vital clue, and discovers someone is desperate to keep the truth buried. When her life is threatened, she allows the one person she trusts to whisk her away to safety in Texas. But assuming a false identity and hiding among the quirky residents of a retirement home is not what she had in mind. Now she must solve the mystery from afar, as soon as she figures out if her friend is keeping her from danger…or the truth.

What genre do you focus on and why?

While my previous books were middle grade and YA, I’m now enjoying writing cozy mysteries that include a generous amount of women’s relationships. The murder/crime angle has been a surprise (especially to my husband), but as a kid, I loved reading mysteries and of course, I grew up on all the 1970s police/detective shows on television. In addition, my mind tends to worry about danger and this is a way for me to work out those fears.

Why do you write? What drives you?

I’ve never been a conversationalist. I communicate much better in writing than speaking. As to what drives me, it’s the way God wired me up. Even as a kid, I’d want to write about the things that happened to me, either to chronicle them or use them as a springboard for a fictional story. It’s just the way I am.

Who is your main character, and how did you choose that name?

Elaine Sutterfeld is the main character in Pendant. I wanted a name that could be shortened to a nickname used by her husband, but not a common sort of nickname. Elaine worked, because I could hear him affectionately calling her Laney.

What does a day in your writing world look like?

I tend to rebel against strict schedules so unfortunately, I can’t seem to get myself into a definite time for writing. I try to write in the morning, and again in the afternoon, but if I’m building plots and characters and not actually working on a draft, I’m afraid I tend to let grocery shopping and laundry and other things get in the way of working on my story.

What is the hardest part of being an author? Why?

For me, the hardest part of being an author is writing that first draft. I’d like to be an outliner, and be able to see the story from beginning to end as I write it. But I find I’m a bit of a pantser as well, because at times, I need to write to figure out how a character reacts. The first draft takes me a long time to write, but hopefully, I’ll become more efficient the more stories I write.

What’s the best part of your author’s life? Why?

The best part is when readers tell me they enjoyed my book, that they felt like they were right there with Elaine. It makes all the hair-pulling and gnashing of teeth during that first draft worthwhile.

What is the craziest thing you’ve experienced as an author?

I often do my plotting in my head while exercising in the morning. I’ll go out to a park before sunrise and walk/run. The darkness keeps me from getting distracted and the extra oxygen stimulates my thinking. When I was working on my second kids’ book, I was out at the park one morning and I “saw” the climax in my head. It played out as if I were watching a movie. I made one little change in characters when I wrote it, but otherwise, it was exactly the way it came to me. I wish that would happen with all my stories!

What are you most proud of?

I am most proud of my family. My three kids are grown and on their own now, but it’s such a joy to be with them. They are all very different from each other, but they appreciate each other’s talents and I love to hear them banter back and forth.

What is your favorite pastime?

We live near a reservoir lake, and my husband and I often drive over to watch the sunset. We take lots of pictures of the cloud textures and the different shades of light reflecting off the clouds and water as the sun sinks below the horizon. I have way more sunset pictures on my phone than pictures of my kids!

Do you have other books? We’d love to know.

Pendant is my first mystery, but my other three books (Hear No Evil, Speak No Evil, and See No Evil) are a series for ages 10 and up. The Rustic Knoll Bible Camp series is about a group of teens who bring their “baggage” to summer camp and learn better ways to carry it. I grew up at a camp, so a lot of my own experiences went into those books. I like to say they make summer camp so real, you can smell the campfire. No bug spray needed.

What are you working on now?

I’m working on another cozy mystery that will use a shooter situation to bring about racial understanding between two women.

Website: www.maryhamiltonbooks.com

Link to book: http://amzn.to/2phoz1q

Social media links:

www.Facebook.com/maryhamiltonbooks

www.Pinterest.com/mhamiltonbooks

www.Instagram.com/mlhamiltonauthor

 

 

 

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Meet Yvonne Ortega

Yvonne Ortega is a speaker, author, speaking and writing coach, counselor, and teacher. Her counseling and teaching experiences add depth and humor to her presentations. With honesty and humor, she shares her life and struggles through messages that will help you move from broken to beautiful despite life’s transitions and challenges. Her latest book is Moving from Broken to Beautiful® through Grief.

 

Tell us about your newest book.

 Moving from Broken to Beautiful® through Grief is not only for those who have lost a loved one through death. It is also for those who have lost a job, a home, their health, or a relationship through a broken engagement or divorce. I’ve watched the bereaved question God, their faith, and their reason to live. I did so myself when I lost two aunts, my mother, and my only child within seven months. Through this book, the reader receives assurance that grief is a normal process and they can get through it. The emotional roller coaster of grief is a ride none of us wants to go on, but it is a part of life. In Moving from Broken to Beautiful® through Grief, the readers have me as their guide and companion. They will receive comfort, peace, promise, and purpose in their new normal. My book will also help friends, coworkers, and caregivers of the bereaved understand the grief process more than before and enable them to provide the compassion, encouragement, and support the grieving need.

What genre do you focus on and why?

I focus on inspirational nonfiction. With a background in teaching Spanish and English at the secondary and college level and then working as a Licensed Professional Counselor for years, it seemed a natural choice for me. My own personal experiences with divorce, cancer, four car accidents in seven years, and multiple family losses led to first-hand experience for this genre. God doesn’t waste our heartaches, disappointments, and losses. He will use them for good in our lives and the lives of others, if we let him.

Why do you write? What drives you?

I know God called me to write and speak for him. Writing is not a pastime or a hobby, it is a divine assignment, which I fulfill with joy. Sometimes I get an idea for a book and can’t wait to get started. I feel like I’ll burst if I don’t. Other times, God gives me an idea and nudges me to write. My passion is to help hurting women move from broken to beautiful through God’s Word. I want them to be and do all God called them to be and do. I long for them to live with freedom, peace, and joy. I long for them to live the abundant life Jesus Christ came to earth to give them. To my delight, God has used my books to help hurting men too.

What is the hardest part of being an author? Why?

 The hardest part is the marketing and publicity. Although I can easily review and publicize someone else’s books, I struggle to promote my own.

What’s the best part of your author’s life? Why?

When readers walk up to me and tell me how my books blessed them, gave them courage and hope to go on living, and helped them make positive changes in their lives, I thank God I answered his call to write for him. Those comments and reviews like them are the best part of my author’s life and confirm God’s call on my life.

What is the craziest thing you’ve experienced as an author?

When Revell published my first book, Hope for the Journey through Cancer, my mother put her copy in a plastic bag and took it everywhere she went. She would pull it out and tell everyone that her daughter was an author and wrote that book. She passed away before I wrote the next three, or she would have done the same with those books too.

What Are You Most Proud of?

I am most proud of book three, Moving from Broken to Beautiful® through Forgiveness, and book four, Moving from Broken to Beautiful® through Grief. They were the most difficult to write. During the writing of the forgiveness book, I had a hard drive crash, a printer failure, and computer program difficulties. During the writing of the grief book, my dad was diagnosed with dementia and my lifelong friend with pancreatic cancer. A few months later, Dad went to a nursing home, and my friend passed away. With the grace of God, I hung in there and completed both books.

What is your favorite pastime?

My favorite pastime is reading. I can get lost in a book and not stop reading it until I’ve finished it. I also love to go to the beach, walk barefooted in the sand, and listen to the waves.

Do you have other books? We’d love to know.

Yes, I have a total of four books in my Moving from Broken to Beautiful® Series: Finding Hope for Your Journey through Breast Cancer, Moving from Broken to Beautiful: 9 Life Lessons to Help You Move Forward, Moving from Broken to Beautiful® through Forgiveness, and Moving from Broken to Beautiful® through Grief.

What are you working on now?

At the present time, I’m working on the marketing and publicity of my book on grief. I’ve put together a “Grief Powerpak,” which includes downloads of A–Z Prayers for the Bereaved, A–Z Prayers for the Comforting Angels, Bible verses for the bereaved and for the comforting angels, and book marks. This Powerpak will soon be available.

Website: www.YvonneOrtega.com

Link to book: https://bit.ly/brokenbeautiful

Social media links:

Facebook Public Page: https://www.facebook.com/yvonne.ortega.98

Twitter: https://twitter.com/yvonneortega1

Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/in/yvonneortega

YouTube Channel: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g8bWlg9Nmmg

 

 

 

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