Suzanne Norquist on Christian novella collections

Suzanne Norquist is the author of two novellas. Everything fascinates her. She has worked as a chemist, professor, financial analyst, and even earned a doctorate in economics. Research feeds her curiosity, and she shares the adventure with her readers. She lives in New Mexico with her mining engineer husband and has two grown children. When not writing, she explores the mountains, hikes, and attends kickboxing class.

Tell us about your newest book.

My story, Mending Sarah’s Heart is included in the 4-in-1 Thimbles and Threads collection. It is an inspirational romance that takes place in a Colorado mining town in 1884. My heroine, Sarah, is a widowed seamstress with two young boys. Her business faces competition from the Emporium of Fashion while she tries to raise her sons to be honorable men.

In walks Jack Taylor. He claims to have been her husband’s partner in a mine and wants to share the profits with her. The man is up to something and too handsome for his own good. As she pushes him away, he sees her desperate situation and vows to help her. It is a romance with a little bit of fun. It is also a story about trust and redemption.

What inspired you to write Mending Sarah’s Heart?

Sarah is the sister of the heroine in my first novella, A Song for Rose in the Bouquet of Brides collection. Rose worked at Sarah’s seamstress shop and carried a sewing basket everywhere she went. When a friend invited me to write a proposal for a sewing themed collection, Sarah came to mind. A widowed seamstress with two boys would make the perfect heroine. I developed a hero who would drive her a little crazy in the process of winning her heart because that’s part of the fun.

How would you describe this book to someone in a 30-second blurb?

Sarah seeks a quiet life as a seamstress. She doesn’t need anyone, especially her dead husband’s partner. If only the Emporium of Fashion would stop stealing her customers, and the local hoodlums would leave her sons alone. When she rejects her husband’s share of the mine, his partner Jack seeks to serve her through other means. But will his efforts only push her further away?

What genre do you focus on and why?

I write historical romance set in the Colorado gold rush. I’m married to a mining engineer, and we spend vacations exploring Colorado mining history together. Every summer, when we camp near the ghost towns and historic mining camps, I read a book set in that time. So, it’s only natural that I would write about it too.

What is your work schedule like when you’re writing a book?

I don’t have a set schedule. I am a planner all the way, so I carefully lay things out before I begin to write. First, I explore each of the characters, who they are, their wants and needs, what drives them. Then I lay out the general plot. Then scene by scene. Finally, I’m ready to put words on the page. With all the leg work done, I can complete the story pretty quickly.

What is the hardest part of being an author?

The hardest part is finding a process that works for me. I’ve been to a multitude of classes about different parts of writing—story structure, dialogue, editing, time management, and so on. But no one can tell me what tasks I need to do to create a story. There is no single process to learn to write a novel. There is a jumble of ideas that work for some people. In most fields, there is a process. Go to college, take the classes, and learn the thing. I’m good at following that kind of roadmap. Or, work your way through the piano books in order, and you will be able to play the piano. Pulling them all together to create my own story is the hardest part.

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

I love seeing a blank page (nothing) turn into a story (something). The process of writing is an amazing way to connect to the Creator. I love finding the perfect word and watching my characters grow in ways I never expected.

What’s one unusual fact about you?

I never intended to be a writer. I worked as a Chemist and then earned a Ph.D. in economics. That was my career. When I started reading Christian fiction, I discovered the joy of story.

How have you changed or grown as a writer?

I started writing fifteen years ago, while I worked full time and raised two small children. At that time I didn’t know anything about crafting a story with a beginning, middle, and end. I didn’t know how to develop flawed yet lovable characters. So, I spent years learning the craft. I attended classes, workshops, and seminars. I like to believe my stories are stronger and more engaging now.

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

I have one other book, A Song for Rose in the Bouquet of Brides collection. It was my debut novella. It comes first. Sarah, in Mending Sarah’s Heart, is Rose’s sister, and her story follows after. Rose is a main character in Sarah’s story since they work together.

What are you working on now?

I have proposed several novellas for various collections. The one I am writing now is about a woman who experiences the first women’s rights convention in Seneca Falls, New York. The hero is an inventor who doesn’t care much about women’s rights, but values her as a person.

Website: suzannenorquist.com

Blog: Ponderings of a BBQ Ph.D.

Link to book: Thimbles and Threads Collection

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

 

 

 

 

Leanna Sain on Grit-Lit

Leanna Sain, earned her BA from the University of South Carolina, before moving back to mountains of NC. Her Southern suspense or “GRIT-lit,” showcases her plot-driven method. She loves leading discussion groups and book clubs.

What inspired you to write Hush?

The idea of a serial killer using the verses of the lullaby, “Hush, Little Baby” as a blueprint for his murders had been banging around in my brain for a while, but it wasn’t until my mother moved into the final stages of Alzheimer’s that I actually started writing it. Watching Mama struggle caused me a lot of pain, anger, confusion and frustration. I needed a way to funnel those emotions. Voile`… the creation of Hush. I made my main character’s mother have Alzheimer’s so that we could travel this road together. It was a sort of therapy and really helped. I was able to weave some of the things my mother said and did right into the story. When Mama died a little over a year ago, I decided that I’d donate my royalties to Alzheimer’s research to honor her. Hopefully, someday soon, they’ll find a cure for this horrible disease so that other families won’t have to go through what mine did.

How would you describe this book to someone in a 30-second blurb?

Lacey Campbell dreams murders before they happen, but when she realizes the victims all look like her, she knows she’s in trouble. Now she’s afraid to fall asleep because the next face she sees could be her own. Can she stop the killer before joining the other bodies in the morgue?  

What genre do you focus on and why?

Romantic suspense…because that’s what I like to read. Edge-of-your-seat suspense with a happily-ever-after ending.

Why do you write?

I can’t NOT write. It’s like a cork has been pulled out of my brain and the stories keep glugging out. If I tried to put the cork back in now, my head would explode.

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

In Hush, the main characters are Lacey Campbell and Ford Jamison. I have a document on my laptop with a list of girls and guys names I like. Whenever I hear a new one, I just add it to the list. When I use some of them, I highlight them, so I know they’ve been used. 

What is your work schedule like when you’re writing a book?

I don’t have a set time when I write. I have to take what I can get, squeeze in an hour or two as I get it. The only time I’m “scheduled” to write is when I get my writing week. I rent a little cabin about an hour away from home and do nothing but write for a week. From the time I wake up in the morning, to the time I go to bed at night. I can usually pound out 20-30K in a week.

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

The marketing. I’m an introvert, so promoting myself is hard.

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

The magic. That’s what I call it when the characters take the story off in a direction that you never intended. When that happens, all you can do is hold on, try to keep up with them by typing like a crazy person, and when you get to the end of the scene, lean back in your chair and say, “Whew! What a ride!!”  

What’s one unusual fact about you?

I painted a mural on a wall in an orphanage in Kirov, Russia.

How have you changed or grown as a writer?

After I wrote my first novel in 2007, I took a class at my local community college: “How to Write the Great American Novel.” The teacher became my editor, writing coach and dear friend: Gerald Mills. He helped me become the writer I am today. He died in 2015 from complications of a stroke and I miss him terribly. I wish he could read Hush and tell me what he thinks of it.

What is your favorite pastime?

I have a lot of hobbies that I don’t seem to have time for anymore: crocheting, quilting, sewing, drawing, gardening. Most of my time now seems to be taken up with hanging out with my husband of thirty-four years, writing, helping my husband with our furniture store and spending time with my grandson.

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

Time travel trilogy: Gate to Nowhere, Return to Nowhere, and Magnolia Blossoms

YA suspense: Wish

GRITS novels: Red Curtains, and Half-Moon Lake

What are you working on now?

Book Two in the Amelia Island Suspense series: working title is Hoax

Website: www.LeannaSain.com

Link to book: : https://www.amazon.com/Hush-Leanna-Sain/dp/1645262502/ref=sr_1_1?

Social media links: 

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

Twitter: https://LeannaSain@Leannasbooks

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/LeannaSain

Donna Schlachter on historical suspense

Donna is a hybrid author. She writes historical suspense under her own name, and contemporary suspense under her alter ego of Leeann Betts, and has been published more than 30 times in novellas and full-length novels. She is a member of ACFW, Writers on the Rock, Sisters In Crime, and CAN; facilitates a critique group; and teaches writing classes online and in person. Donna also ghostwrites, edits, and judges writing contests. 

Tell us about your newest book.

Set in 1880, Becky Campbell leaves her wealthy New York lifestyle in search of her father, only to learn he was murdered in the small town of Silver Valley, Colorado. Unable to return to her mother in humiliation and defeat, she determines to fulfill her father’s dream—to make the Double Jeopardy profitable. 

Zeke Graumann, a local rancher, is faced with a hard decision regarding his land and his dream. After several years of poor weather and low cattle prices, he will either have to take on a job to help pay his overhead expenses, or sell his land. He hires on with this Easterner for two reasons: he can’t turn his back on a damsel in distress. And he needs the money. 

Becky isn’t certain Zeke is all he claims to be, and after a series of accidents at her mine, wonders if he isn’t behind it, trying to get her to sell out so he can take over. 

Zeke finds many of Becky’s qualities admirable and fears he’s losing his heart to her charms, but also recognizes she was never cut out to be a rancher’s wife. 

Can Becky overcome her mistrust of Zeke, find her father’s killer, and turn her mine into a profitable venture—before her mother arrives in town, thinking she’s coming for her daughter’s wedding? And will Zeke be forced to give up his dream and lose his land in order to win Becky’s heart?

What genre do you focus on and why?

I love mysteries, and I think it stems from my strong sense of justice. I always want to see the world set right again.

Why do you write? 

I am constantly asking myself, “What if. . . ?” questions. What if my mother married that other man who liked her? Would I be here? What if I’d said no when Patrick asked me to come to Denver. What would I be doing now?  What if I’d been an only child? What if I didn’t struggle with my weight? What if I was as good a writer as I want to be?

What is your work schedule like when you’re writing a book?

I assume you really mean, “what is your work schedule like when you’re writing a book you’ve actually been contracted to write?” because honestly, I’m always writing. As a hybrid author, I write a cozy mystery series that I independently publish, with two coming out per year. So in between those and my contracted books, like Double Jeopardy, I am usually also writing at least two books a year just to keep my hand in and keep my agent happy. I also wear several other hats: I proofread legal transcripts; I do data entry for a local publishing company; I am our corporation’s accountant and VP ; I am our household’s chief cook and bottle washer; we run a B&B in our home; I am a copyeditor on a large ministry project; and hubby and I are active at our church and in another large international ministry.

Whew! That makes me tired just writing it. Not to mention I am wife, mother, and grandma to eleven grands. Oh, and I’m owned by two cats.

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

I think the hardest part of being an author is really two-fold. First of all, delayed feedback. I get this great project idea, I start writing, and it isn’t until the book is done that I figure out if it’s any good at all.

But the flip side of that is receiving feedback (a.k.a. critique). Because, like I said, I love the project. It’s kind of like somebody telling you your cat is ugly. It hurts, even though you know it’s not true.

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

The best part is I get to tell stories that will touch somebody’s life. At least, that’s my goal. And I know that doesn’t happen without one key ingredient: God. Because, as my tagline says, Without Him, no story is worth telling.

What’s one unusual fact about you?

I am a Canadian by birth, an American by choice. And the cool thing is, I’ve always wanted to be an American. And just the other day, I was talking to somebody about my homeland (Newfoundland in Canada) and how in 1948 there was an election to choose whether to join Canada or America, and in a rigged election, Canada got the most votes.

Except for a crooked system and about 6,000 votes, I’d have been born what I’ve always wanted to be.

How have you changed or grown as a writer?

I started out writing devotionals, greeting cards, poetry, and magazine articles because I thought that because they were short, it would be easier. Wrong. Then I switched to novels because, face it, you can’t get much character development in a 40-word poem. One day I complained to hubby, “I wish I could just write and let somebody else do the editing.” To which he wisely replied, “Then you’d just keep making the same mistakes over and over again.” So I think the one big thing is that I’ve learned to edit, which I hate, but which makes me a better writer.

What is your favorite pastime?

Besides reading and watching crime drama on TV, I love to oil paint. I discovered this just over a year ago when hubby gifted me with a Bob Ross-style painting class.

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

I do have other books. Thanks for asking. I have ten in my cozy mystery series, four in novella collections, and more than a dozen besides that. You can find them at Amazon and Smashwords. Just look under Donna Schlachter or Leeann Betts. 

What are you working on now?

I’m focused on this book release as well as the release of number 11 in my cozy mystery series, Missing Deposits.

Website: www.HiStoryThruTheAges.com

Link to book: https://shoplpc.com/double-jeopardy/ 

Social media links:

www.HiStoryThruTheAges.wordpress.com 

www.HiStoryThruTheAges.com Receive a free ebook simply for signing up for our free newsletter!

Facebook: www.Facebook.com/DonnaschlachterAuthor 

Twitter: www.Twitter.com/DonnaSchlachter 

Books: Amazon: http://amzn.to/2ci5Xqq and Smashwords: http://bit.ly/2gZATjm 

What Can Be Online University: https://what-can-be-online-institute.teachable.com/

 

 

 

 

 

Abused by your Boss?

Workplace abuse is grownup bullying at it’s worst. It’s any pattern of behaviors meant to intimidate, offend, exclude, and/or humiliate a person. It might be verbal abuse, gossip, yelling, sarcasm, spreading malicious rumors, offensive behavior, mistreatment, and even sabotage. So is making offensive jokes and gestures, sexual innuendos, or intimidation. Workplace abuse can also be attacking a workers competence, invading their privacy by spying or stalking, threatening, or withholding training or an appropriate promotion.

Over seventy percent of workplace abusers are bosses, according to the Canada Safety Counsel. Such abusive behavior can have serious psychological and physical trauma to individuals.

I know. I’ve been there. And in my newest novella, Sara’s Surprise, my protagonist, Sara, does too. Her superior regularly abuses the poor girl who is just trying to learn a trade. She’s confused, hurt, offended, and scared until she’s finally ready to quit. Fortunately, someone comes to her rescue.

Victims of abuse may experience stress, anxiety, depression, disrupted sleep, and/or changes in appetite. Workplace stress can literally make people sick, and chronic stress is known to contribute to chronic disease.

So if you face such challenges, what do you do?

 Pray

Praying will give you the inner strength to stand up for yourself without losing your cool or your dignity. When abusers realize you have the strength and courage to not play their games, they’ll often back down. Psalm 18:3 reads, “I will call upon the Lord, who is worthy, to be praised: so shall I be saved from my enemies.”

Report

Talk to someone you trust and use Matthew 18 as your guide. Report the actions to your human resources department, your supervisor, or one level up if your boss is the abuser.

Be strong but kind

God judges and disciplines and He’s called us to serve even our enemies. Romans 12:20 says, “Therefore if your enemy hungers, feed him; if he thirsts, give him drink: for in so doing thou shalt heap coals of fire on his head.” Show the abuser God’s love, but don’t allow it to continue.

Workplace abuse is not acceptable in any form or fashion. Deal with it now. You’ll be glad you did.

 

 

 

Lindsey P. Brackett on southern fiction

Lindsey P. Brackett writes southern fiction infused with her rural Georgia upbringing and Low-country South Carolina roots. Her latest novel, The Bridge Between, is a follow up to her award-winning debut, Still Waters, the 2018 Selah Book of the Year. Someday Lindsey hopes to balance motherhood and writing full-time. Until then, she’s just very grateful for her public school system. 

 

Tell us about your newest book.

The Bridge Between is a follow up to my debut, Still Waters. While it can certainly be read as a stand-alone, the story picks up about four months after Still Waters ends, and rather than tell the story of a first love, this book is the story of two people who have fallen in—and out—and maybe back in—love with one another. I believe it’s a more mature take on relationships, specifically marriage, but also the relationships women have with one another such as mother/daughter, sister, and friend. 

 

What inspired you to write The Bridge Between? 

In some ways, I unconsciously laid the groundwork for this story before I knew I was going to write it, but it actually came about because an early beta reader for Still Waters asked me to please tell Lou and David’s story. 

 

How would you describe this book to someone in a 30-second blurb?

When Lou Halloway returns home to Edisto, a place she never felt she belonged, she flounders to find her place. Her job in ecological research is not what she expected, but neither is her ex-husband’s hint at a fresh start. Now she must decide between the life she’s chosen—and the love that could be meant to be.

 

What genre do you focus on and why?

Both Still Waters and The Bridge Between are Southern women’s fiction. The setting is as much a character as the people themselves and helps impact the choices made. What I love about this genre is I’m writing about how women relate to the people around them, but I get to do so through a lens unique to this part of the world. 

 

Why do you write? What drives you?

These stories started simply because I wanted to capture some of my childhood in a way that it wouldn’t be forgotten. Now that I’ve been around the industry for awhile, I’m driven by the desire to tell ordinary stories of extraordinary circumstances—specifically as they relate to the themes of family and forgiveness. 

 

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

The Bridge Between is told from three POVs. Louisa Coultrie Halloway is the main POV, and she carries her maiden name out of pride for her family’s Edisto legacy. I wanted a name that could be both soft and clipped—hence the shorter Lou. Grace Watson is another POV and she embodies her name as the story’s helper and wisdom. David, Lou’s ex-husband, is the final POV and I’m pretty sure back when I was drafting Still Waters I just needed a name that started with a D and David felt right.

 

What is your work schedule like when you’re writing a book?

I am blessed that my four children are all in school now, but I’m still a “stay at home” mom. Which really means I work at home while they’re in school. If I’m drafting, I usually write earlier in the morning and then work on other, shorter projects in the afternoons before the bus comes. 

 

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

As a small press author, the hardest part is absolutely getting my book seen—never mind actually bought! Marketing is a huge part of an author’s life and if I could go back to my undergrad days, I’d study the concept more. Good writing is truly only about 10 percent of the process. 

 

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

Traveling and meeting readers, bookstore owners, and other writers. I can’t believe I call amazing Low-country writers like Patti Callahan Henry and Kristy Woodson Harvey friends. I just met Kristy at an event recently and we spent ten minutes in the bathroom trading stories about our seven-year old wild boys. That was one of the trip’s highlights and it was such a simple, sweet moment.

 

What’s one unusual fact about you?

My first job was afternoon DJ at the local radio station. I got to read the obituaries—followed by the yard sale ads. True story. 

 

How have you changed or grown as a writer?

I really believe my craft improves with each book—and I hope my readers agree! I’m just constantly learning and trying to apply these skills. 

 

What is your favorite pastime?

Reading. Give me all the books. 

 

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

Yes! Please check out Still Watersand my free novella, Magnolia Mistletoe. This novella fills in the gap between the two novels, and it’s free with newsletter signup, so it’s a great way to see if you’d like my writing. (But there are spoilers!)

 

What are you working on now?

I’ve got a dual-timeline southern gothic inspirational ghost story out on submission. I know I need to trim down that description but it makes me laugh. The book is a genre shift in some ways, but I’m really excited about it. The story is the “truth” behind the legendary Green Lady of Berry College (my alma mater of course)! So we’ll see what happens. Readers keep asking for another Edisto book and I’ve got some ideas for that as well. 

 

Website: lindseypbrackett.com 

Link to book: https://www.amazon.com/Bridge-Between-Lindsey-Brackett/dp/1645260763/ref

Social media links:

Facebook.com/LindseyPBrackett

Instagram.com/lindseypbrackett

Twitter.com/lindsbrac