Meet the Author: Jayme H. Mansfield

Welcome, Jayme!

Jayme’s Bio: Jayme H. Mansfield is an author, artist, and educator—and feels a bit incomplete when she’s not juggling all three balls. An award-winning author, her debut book Chasing the Butterfly, is an Amazon bestseller. RUSH (Nov. 1, 2017 release) provides a tension-filled, moving tale of a pioneer woman’s determination to survive. She and her husband live near the base of the beautiful Colorado Rocky Mountains, having survived raising three hungry, hockey-playing sons. Currently, a very needy Golden Retriever runs the roost. When Jayme isn’t writing, she teaches art to children and adults at her long-time art studio, Piggy Toes.

 

 

Tell us about your newest book.

Chasing the Butterfly was initially inspired by my love for painting and traveling in France, coupled with the intricacies, fallibilities, and need for loving human relationships. The novel has received several awards in the areas of women’s fiction, romance, inspirational, and book club favorite—causing my publisher to scratch his head as to its specific genre.

From a vineyard in the south of France to the sophisticated city of Paris, Ella Moreau searches for the hope and love she lost as a young girl when her mother abandoned the family. Ella’s journey is portrayed through a heartbroken child, a young woman’s struggles during the tumultuous times surrounding World War II, and as a reflective adult. Through a series of secret paintings, her art becomes the substitute for lost love, the visual metaphor of her life. But when her paintings are discovered, the intentions of those she loves are revealed.

 

What genre do you focus on and why?

I’m drawn to historical fiction and contemporary women’s fiction. Recently, I wrote a contemporary story and it ended up in split-time. Both big and small events, notorious and obscure people, and poignant memories of the past never cease to amaze me how they are tied to the present.

 

Why do you write? What drives you?

Writing, much like painting, is a means for me to create—that mysterious need that’s instilled in every human in a unique way, and in some form or another, demands to be met. For me, writing taps into my innermost thoughts—celebrations, praises, fears, desires, and dreams—allowing access to a sacred and transparent place. Writing is a form of intimate prayer—a time and place to listen, speak, and create with God.

 

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

Ella Moreau is the main character. Her American mother chose the name, wanting to name her daughter after Eleanor Roosevelt. Ella’s’ French father didn’t care for the U.S. Presidential couple, or much of anything American for that matter. In a backhanded attempt to maintain her heritage, Marie Moreau gave her only child a name in close proximity to Eleanor … Ella Moreau.

 

What does a day in your writing world look like?

Early coffee, time with the Lord, a clean desk, acoustic music, and my dog underfoot are the ingredients for a successful launch into dedicated writing time. Although I continue to search for the perfect daily word count (of which I’m not convinced exists), I default to composing in long blocks—sometimes in all-day and into the night stretches. The other time is spent marketing and promoting—a never-ending and necessary endeavor. Often I envy other writers who subscribe to a succinct and predictable schedule. Adventurous, distracted, curious, social … maybe an ounce of being rebellious … short of having a personal playground supervisor, my writing days will inevitably vary.

 

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

Balancing the time required for effective marketing, constantly learning about and improving the craft of writing, and good ol’, nose-to-the-computer time to produce writing is a challenge. There are so many avenues to market and an abundance of writing craft resources that my head often spins. I’ve found the best “cure” is to return to the initial passion … create images, description, and all that goes into making a meaningful story with those magical letters that link together to express.

However, it’s a slow release medicine and a great deal of patience and perseverance is needed because, plain and simple, writing a novel takes a long time. So while new scenes, and even stories evolve, the task at hand is composing the next word, sentence, paragraph…moving forward.

 

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

The gratification of journeying with characters, putting them in a time and place, and bringing them to life through life’s trials and celebrations is one of the richest experiences in my life. Through fiction, the stories become part of my reality. Endless story seeds carry on the wind and wait to settle into fertile writing ground. As an author, there is always inspiration and a new story to tell. From a big picture perspective, I love the people I’ve met—readers, other authors, marketing folk, editors, and publishers—all enriching my life in so many ways.

 

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

When Chasing the Butterfly was initially written, my ambitions weren’t for publication. It was a story between God and me. Upon its completion, doors of opportunity flew open on an imaginable level and a conviction to follow a passion to write was confirmed.

 

What are you most proud of?

I’m blessed that God has given me lots of interests and opportunities. Most importantly, I’m proud that fear, procrastination, and doubt didn’t take hold, and instead, those gifts have been embraced and taken along on my life’s journey. The exciting part is watching and listening for other passions to be realized, and then following the intended direction in which I’m led to go.

 

What is your favorite pastime?

It’s hard to beat spending time with my family—especially if it involves a beach! But from a day-to-day perspective, playing tennis, walking my dog, reading, and painting bring me joy.

 

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

My second novel, RUSH, releases November 1, 2017. Based on a true story of my great-great grandmother’s participation in the 1893 Oklahoma Land Run, it provides a historically fascinating and moving tale of a pioneer woman’s determination to survive while paying tribute to the brave people who shaped America.

 

What are you working on now?

I just completed a beautiful love story entitled, Seasoned–A Vintage Love Story With a Modern Day Flavor. It’s about an elderly couple and proves love knows no age. This story has a hold on my heart!

My newest endeavor is The Lesson, inspired by my many years in education and the life-long relationships of a special group of teaching colleagues. Besides that, I’m dabbling with a children’s book and prioritizing several other ideas for novels bubbling around in my heart and head.

 

Website: www.jaymehmansfield.com

Blog: http://www.jaymehmansfield.com/inspirations—blog.html

Link to book: https://www.amazon.com/Chasing-Butterfly-Jayme-Mansfield/dp/1941103375/ref=tmm_pap_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=1493650134&sr=8-1

 

Social media links:

Author FB – https://www.facebook.com/JaymeHMansfieldAuthor/

Twitter – @jaymemansfield

Pinterest – https://www.pinterest.com/jaymemansfield/

Instagram – https://www.instagram.com/jaymemansfield/

 

 

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Meet the Author: Ashleigh Slater

Welcome, Ashleigh!

Here’s her bio: Ashleigh Slater is the author of the book, Team Us, as well as a regular contributor to a number of blogs and websites. With over twenty years of writing experience to her credit and a master’s degree in communication, she loves to combine the power of a good story with practical application to encourage and inspire readers.

 

Tell us about your newest book:

Team Us is written specifically for husbands and wives in their early years of marriage, although I’ve also had couples who’ve been married a decade or more tell me it’s positively impacted their relationship. In it, I share a lot of stories from my own marriage along with practical ways couples can cultivate and strengthen unity in their marriages.

 

What genre do you focus on?

Non-fiction, Christian living.

 

Why do you write? What drives you?

Honestly, I’ve just always written, for as long as I can remember. I was one of those elementary-aged kids who had her poem published in the school newspaper and was picked to go to the local Young Writer’s conference. As a teenager, I use to write, format, and publish a newsletter for my church youth group. My first paid published piece was actually a music review based on one I’d written in that newsletter. Now, as a homeschooling mom of four, writing allows me to still be creative while also staying home with my kids. So in many ways, my decision to write is a practical way. My drive or motivation comes from a deep desire to faithfully embrace and make the most of the opportunities God gives me when it comes to writing. It’s my hope that as I’m vulnerable and open about my own experiences and what He’s teaching me through them, that I can encourage someone else who may resonate with whatever I may be writing on – whether it’s marriage, parenting, or loss.

 

What does a day in your writing world look like?

Because I homeschool my four kids, my writing tends to happen in the afternoon after we’ve finished our lessons for the day, or in the evening while I’m waiting for one of my girls at the dance studio. I don’t get a lot of long, uninterrupted writing sessions, but I’m constantly thinking about the topics I’m writing on and working out articles or chapters in my mind even when I’m not actually sitting down and writing.

 

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

Mean-spirited online criticism is definitely difficult. I’m all for constructive feedback on my work – in fact, I love it – but there have been times when readers have gone beyond that to personal attack. I’ve actually determined with my next book to try not to read reviews.

 

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

When someone comes up to me and says, “My husband and I read your book and it transformed our marriage.” Team Us is meant to be more of a marriage maintenance book, not a marriage crisis book, so I didn’t expect that type of feedback. But I am so humbled and grateful that God would use my words to help a couple in that way.

 

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

A few years ago, I had a television interview scheduled in Spartanburg, South Carolina. It’s about a three or four hour drive from our home outside Altanta. I decided to make a fun girls’ road trip of it and take my daughter Ava. About two hours from home, our car died on the freeway exit. We ended up having a crazy and incredibly stressful adventure that included a tow truck, and a very expensive cab ride to a rental car office. We eventually made it to our hotel and the interview the next day went well, but it was definitely crazy. I can laugh about it now, but it was intense at the time.

 

What are you most proud of?

This is a hard question to answer. Since writing is something I’ve always done and my drive flows from simply being faithful in the opportunities given me, I don’t necessarily feel proud of my writing – it just is what it is to me: another chance to live out my faith in a way that hopefully encourages others. I think what I’m most proud of are my kids. It’s been an interesting year for us because one of my daughters has been traveling with the national tour of a Tony-Award winning musical for the last seven months. This experience has stretched and challenged her, as well as her siblings at home. I have watched each of them grow so much as individuals through this crazy season of family separation and I am so very proud of who they are allowing God to mold them into.

 

What is your favorite pastime?

I love to binge watch Netflix with my husband, Ted, and to read aloud books with my girls.

 

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

My second book, Braving Sorrow Together: The Transformative Power of Faith and Community When Life is Hard is scheduled to be released by Moody in October.

 

What are you working on now?

I’m currently writing for the blog FortheFamily.org and just signed on as a contributor at FulfillingYourVows.com.

 

Website: www.ashleighslater.com

Link to book: http://marriagetogether.com

Social media links:

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

Twitter: https://twitter.com/ashslater

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

 

 

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Meet the Author: Linda P. Kozar

Welcome, Linda Kozar!

Here’s Linda’s bio: Linda Kozar, is a successful author of over 16 traditionally-published and indie-published books, speaker, and podcast host of Chat Noir Mystery & Suspense and Network Coordinator for the Along Came A Writer Network on BlogTalk Radio. Recipient of ACFW’s Mentor of the Year award 2007, she founded The Woodlands Texas chapter of ACFW, is currently on the board of the Christian Authors Network and is a member of Chi Libris, ACFW, RWA, AWSA. Linda and her husband of 28 years, Michael live in The Woodlands, Texas and enjoy spending time with their two grown daughters, wonderful son-in-law and their spunky Jack Russell Terrier, Gypsy.

 

Tell us about your newest book. Besides my other projects, I am writing the final book in my Until The Fat Ladies Sing series. It’s called “Custard’s Last Stand.” My two main characters, Sue Jan and Lovita own a beauty salon in the little town of Wachita out in West Texas. They do some styling and sleuthing whenever there’s a mystery to be solved. And this last mystery will be a doozy. That’s all I’m going to say. Gotta go out with a bang. Of course, I tell myself it’s the final book in the series, but who knows, right? Honestly though, I have other series ideas and would like to move on and introduce some new characters to my readers.

 

What genre do you focus on and why?

I focus most of my attention these days on Cozy Mysteries, mostly because I love writing them. Cozies are fun and writing them comes easy to me. Feels right, you know? Besides mysteries, I’ve written romances, both contemporary and historical, even speculative fiction and nonfiction devotionals. Plus, I get to call myself Kozy Kozar!

 

Why do you write? What drives you?

My sister used to tell me I was a frustrated writer because I would write these long, entertaining, wacky Christmas newsletters to family and far-flung friends every year. People actually looked forward to my Christmas newsletters. I guess because a lot of Christmas letters are people bragging about themselves or their kids or their pets. Anyway, I wrote for a bunch of different newspapers before I decided to start writing books. Turns out that writing on a time crunch and a deadline is great training ground for being an author.

 

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

My main character in this short story is Trey Graham and I named him like I name all my characters. Their names just sort of pop into my head. And the only time I change a name is if two of my character’s names start with the same letter. For instance, I wouldn’t have a Trey and a Tom in the same story. Too confusing for readers. Heavens, I might get confused too!

 

What does a day in your writing world look like?

A no more than 2,000 a word day. Sure, I could spit out 5,000, and I have, but I want my words to count for something. Besides that, writing cozies involves comedy and comedic elements and the timing has to be right for the comedy to work. So 2,000 words a day is reasonable.

 

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

There used to be a downside, that being trying to get a publishing house to say yes to your work. But now if you get a rejection, all you do is say “Okee dokee,” shrug your shoulders and publish it yourself. I don’t see any downsides to being an author these days. It’s glorious!

 

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

The best part is releasing all the stories scurrying around in my head. I don’t know what I would do if I wasn’t an author. Where would all those stories and characters go?

 

What are you most proud of?

For non-fiction, I would say, Babes With A Beatitude because my co-author and I were able to share a great many miracles God has done in our lives. And there’s nothing more inspiring than sharing your testimony. For fiction, I would say Food Baby because it’s funny, but also somewhat biographical. Seven years ago, I took on a caretaker role for my mom who has dementia. Sharing some hard times and incredibly hilarious moments in the story were not only cathartic, but made for a good storyline.

 

What is your favorite pastime?

Besides writing, my favorite pastime is Gypsy, our Jack Russell terrier. She demands nothing less than every spare second of my time and attention and will boldly throw a squeaky ball in my lap if I’ve been giving more attention to writing than to her.

 

Do you have other books? We’d love to know. Below are some of my books. All of them are on my website. Until The Fat Ladies Sing Series: Misfortune Cookies, A Tisket, A Casket, Dead As A Doornail, That Wasn’t Chicken, Felony Fruitcake, Weighty Matters, Custard’s Last Stand, (Releases June 2017)

 

What are you working on now?

So my current project is a year-long experiment. Almost all of my other books are full length. But one day I was kicking around ideas and came up with the concept of writing a year’s worth of what I call Sweet Petite Mysteries, 5,000 or 6,000 word short stories—an entire mystery from start to finish, with holiday themes. Each month offers a different holiday-themed mystery. I write a new story, come up with the cover and formatting and publish it every month. It’s tremendously fun and exciting. And all fresh and new characters in every book. Check them out at my website.

 

Website: www.lindakozar.com

Link to book: https://www.amazon.com/Bunny-Drop-Sweet-Petite-Mysteries-ebook/dp/B071CHGKJR/ref=sr_1_3?ie=UTF8&qid=1492486670&sr=8-3&keywords=linda+kozar

 

Social media links:

Website  | Twitter | Facebook | Pinterest | AudibleRadio | LinkedIn

Bookish Desires BlogBeatitude Blog | Cozy Mystery Magazine Blog | 

 

What did you like about this interview, and what other questions would you like my author friends to answer?

 

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Meet the Author: Lori Wildenberg

Welcome, Lori!

Here’s Lori’s bio: Lori Wildenberg , licensed parent-family educator and co-founder of 1 Corinthians 13Parenting, is passionate about helping families build connections that last a life time. She’s a parent consultant, national speaker, and lead Mentor Mom on the Moms Together Facebook Community Page. The Wildenberg home is nestled in the foothills of the Rocky Mountains. A perfect day in Lori’s world is a hike with her hubby, four kids plus a daughter-in-love, and Murphy the family labradoodle.

 

Tell us about your newest book:

Messy Journey: How Grace and Truth Offer the Prodigal a Way Home is for parents walking the difficult road with a wayward child. This book is filled with stories from dozens of Christian parents and some prodigals. It includes my personal journey with my same-sex attracted daughter. The book is vulnerable and honest. No matter why a parent has a prodigal (or if you love someone who does) this book will bring comfort, help, and encouragement. Practical grace- and truth-filled ways of navigating a relationship with a detoured child who is rejecting faith, dabbling in sin, or wholeheartedly embracing sinful behavior are given. There is hope.

What genre do you focus on and why?

My books are written for moms and dads in the trenches of parenting. They are for parents who are looking for another way to raise kids other than simply behavior modification or natural consequences. If families seek to encourage grace, responsibility, and interdependence my parenting books will provide faith-based, practical, and easily applicable help and support. My mission is to help families build connections that last a lifetime. My parenting philosophy is not only to encourage desirable behavior but also to raise kids in a way that encourages character development and spiritual growth. It is best to work from the inside out rather than the outside in; grow the heart, adjust the behavior.

What inspired you to write this?

Life doesn’t always go the way we expect. As parents, we can do everything “right” and still have a child who veers off the expected path. With my daughter’s permission and input, I share our journey— the struggles a prodigal child brings and how to live life in the middle of the mess.

How did you research or plan your book?

Both personally and professionally I have experienced the messy journey. I have personally lived the journey and walked alongside many families who are heartbroken and weary because their child has taken a detour.

Who is your intended audience and why should they read your book?

Messy Journey is for the wounded and weary parent and for those who love them. It is also a resource for counselors, pastors, and support group leaders. This book offers biblical truth, helpful strategies, prayers, and hope for the hurting and often lonely parent.

What sparked your interest in this topic?

This is a book I didn’t want to write. Having a child who has gone astray not only causes heartache it can be isolating and shaming. No one wants the hurt, the pain that a prodigal brings. But as only God can do, in my grief He tenderized me and moved me to reach out to bring comfort and encouragement to other families facing major struggles with their child.

What do you hope readers will gain from the book?

My prayer is that the moms and dads reading this book feel encouraged and less alone. My hope is that by reading the stories of others and implementing the suggestions presented they feel empowered to get through the day and to never give up.

How did personal experience impact writing this book?

My personal experience provides the overarching feeling of connection from the reader to author. Even if the reader’s struggle looks different from mine there are common threads and truths when one is the parent of a prodigal.

How much of your own life goes into your books?

This book isn’t only about my daughter and me, it is filled with many parents and their stories. The prodigals’ substance abuse, sexual sin, and/or rejection of faith are all topics that are addressed. As society normalizes sin, Christian parents feel as if they are constantly fighting the culture. But we have a God who always wins and never gives up!

As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?

I always wanted to be a teacher and a mom. I am thankful I have been able to wear both hats. I am passionate about helping parents be the moms and dads their kids need. I never considered becoming an author. In the first parenting course I developed and taught, a few of the participants told me I should put the information in a book. I told them I was too busy raising my four kids, so they could take notes. Messy Journey is my fourth parenting book. God can do the impossible, even with a resistant and rebellious heart.

Links:

Messy Journey: How Grace and Truth Offer the Prodigal a Way Home

Raising Little Kids with Big Love (for parents of toddlers- 9)

Raising Big Kids with Supernatural Love (for parents of tweens-young adults)

Social Media links:

Blog link: www.loriwildenberg.blogspot.com

Website: www.loriwildenberg.com

Facebook pages: Lori Appel Wildenberg, www.facebook.com/momstogether www.facebook.com/1Corinthians13Parenting

Resource site: www.1Corinthians13Parenting.com

Twitter: https://twitter.com/LoriWildenberg

Pinterest: https://pinterest.com/loriwildenberg/

Instagram: LoriWildenberg

 

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Meet the Author: Ane Mulligan

 

Welcome, Ane Mulligan!

Here’s Ane’s bio: While a large, floppy straw hat is her favorite, bestselling author Ane Mulligan has worn many different ones: hairdresser, legislativeaffairs director (that’s a fancy name for a lobbyist), drama director, playwright, humor columnist, and multi-published novelist. She firmly believes coffee and chocolate are two of the four major food groups. Ane resides in Sugar Hill, GA, with her artist husband.

 

Tell us about your newest book, When the Bough Breaks.

Rookie lobbyist Sienna O’Shea is determined to make a name for herself in New York’s capitol city and use that influence to gain easier access to her birth records. For years she’s searched for her birth mother, but when she’s handed her first assignment—to lobby support for the permanent sealing of all adoption records—her worlds collide. Swept up into the intrigue of backroom politics, falling in love was not on Sienna’s agenda, but the candidate for Lt. Governor runs a formidable campaign to make her his first lady. When an investigative reporter discovers foreign money infiltrating political campaigns, the trail leads to Sienna’s inner circle.

 

What genre do you focus on and why?

Women’s fiction, because I love it and read it the most. I have to say When the Bough Breaks has political intrigue in it because it’s a world I know well. I was a lobbyist for Christian Coalition of New York and part of a team that was brought to Washington on accession to lobby important issues. I learned there can be a lot of skullduggery on both sides of the aisle. Backroom politics isn’t just a word … or two words.

 

Why do you write? What drives you?

Whenever something touches me, I want to know all about it. A house … who lived there? What happened? Then characters begin to form in my mind and want their story told. Literary agent and author Karen Ball said it best: “God whispers to our hearts. Our hears whisper back in stories.” That’s exactly what happens to me.

 

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

Sienna is a young woman of Italian descent. As a baby, she was adopted by an Irish couple. As often happens, once they adopted her, they went on to have 4 more natural births children – all redheads. I chose her name because it’s a color, always reminding us that she’s not the fair redhead her brothers and sisters are. Yet, she is the center of her family’s world and something she needs to learn.

 

What does a day in your writing world look like?

Never the same! I try to start my day writing, but often get pulled away by an errand, the new puppy, my husband, or the theatre. I am the managing director and board president for a Community theatre in my town. It’s my other passion and I often am called to the local high schools to collaborate.

 

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

I’m a true extrovert, meaning I recharge my batteries by being around people. Writing is a lonely profession and most days it’s me and my laptop alone in my chair, pounding away. I crave being with people. A phone call won’t do.

 

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

Getting to entertain people with my stories. I believe people let down their guard when the think they’re being entertained. Then when it’s least expected, the words in my story and the truths just beneath the surface, can reach out, touch hearts, and change lives.

 

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

When characters hijack my story and take it in a direction I never saw coming. It’s such fun for them to take on life. I just hang on, following them and recording as fast as I can.

 

What are you most proud of?

Truthfully, I have to say my son. I’ve watched him get saved, then a few years later he strayed away. Praying for and loving my Prodigal has been as 25 year journey. But I believed God and trusted Him. I continued to pray that the Lord would send someone who would reach his heart. And he did. Oh how He did! Today, my son is a sold out, fully committed disciple of Jesus. He lives to bring glory to God. So if anyone out there has a prodigal, trust and believe. Love them and pray. Because God’s promises are trustworthy.

 

What is your favorite pastime?

Community theatre. My husband and I are both involved. He acts and I write and direct plays.

 

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

I have my Chapel Springs series: Chapel Springs Revival, Chapel Springs Survival, Home to Chapel Springs, and coming in September 2017, the final book (maybe) Life in Chapel Springs. There’s also a cookbook with all the recipes from the characters in the books. I also have a novella in a collection comeing out in May, 2017: Coming Home ~ a Tiny House Collection, and my title within that is Love is Sweeter in Sugar Hill.

 

What are you working on now?

I’m excited about my latest series. It’s set in the Great Depression and each book has an ensemble cast of strong women helping one another. The first book is called In High Cotton. Southern women may look as delicate as flowers, but there’s iron in their veins. While the rest of the world has been roaring through the 1920s, times are hardscrabble in rural Georgia. Widow Maggie Parker is barely surviving while raising her young son alone. Then as banks begin to fail, her father-in-law threatens to take her son and sell off her livelihood—the grocery store her husband left her. Can five Southern women band together, using their wisdom and wiles to stop him and survive the Great Depression?

Thanks, Ane!

Here’s how you can connect with her:

Website: www.anemulligan.com

Link to book: http://amzn.to/2kt3l8W

Social media links: Amazon Author page, Novel Rocket, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, LinkedIn, and Google+.

 

What did you like about this interview, and what other questions would you like my author friends to answer?

 

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