Michelle S. Lazurek on “This is Us” TV show

Michelle S. Lazurek is an award-winning author, speaker, pastor’s wife and mother. Winner of the Golden Scroll Children’s Book of the Year, the Enduring Light Silver Medal and the Maxwell Award, she is a member of the Christian Author’s Network and the Advanced Writers and Speakers Association. She is also an associate literary agent with Wordwise Media Services.

Tell us about your newest book.

My newest book called, This is Us: what the hit TV Show Teaches us about Faith Hope and Life is based upon the hit TV show This is Us. In the book, I compare the biblical themes/characters in the show to the themes/people in the Bible. My hope is to help Christians view the Bible through the lens of their TV screens and learn how to interact with culture in a biblical way.

What genre do you focus on and why?

I write non-fiction and children’s fiction. I specialize in giving a fresh spin on biblical topics.

Why do you write? What drives you?

I felt a calling and self-published my first book in 2011. Hearing from others that I have helped them to see the Bible and perhaps their lives in a new way is what wakes me up in the morning.

What does a day in your writing world look like?

I keep regular hours, treating it like a full -time job. After my kids get on the bus and I get ready for the day, I begin writing. I write articles for crosswalk.com and ibeleive.com, write movie reviews for Movieguide, and work as a literary agent for Wordwise Media services. I try to stop when my kids get off the school bus, but not all the time.

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

Writing is hard work! I make little money for what I do. I have a hard time sometimes justifying not getting paid (or getting paid little) for what I do.

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

Getting an email from someone who read my work and felt heard or changed their thinking, or better yet, their actions, based on what I wrote is so fulfilling.

What is the craziest thing you’ve experienced as an author? One of my articles about  the Fifty Shades of Gray movie went viral. To see it being shared by friends and friends of friends was something I never thought would happen to me.

What are you most proud of?

I write with integrity and authenticity. I think people can relate  and my work is something unique I bring to the writing world.

What is your favorite pastime?

Reading, taking a walk, watching TV or movies,

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

Yes! I have nine other books. Becoming the Disciple Whom Jesus Loved, Everything I Needed to Know I Learned from Rocky Balboa, The Ripple Effect, Daddy, Am I Beautiful, Mommy, Am I Strong?, An Invitation to the Table: Embracing the Gift of Hospitality, Righteous and Lost: Finding Hope for the Pharisee Within, Uniquely You, andDancing with Nana. I also co-wrote one novel: Between Combat and the Cross

What are you working on now?

I have two children’s books that are being shopped around with my agent.

Website:www.michellelazurek.com

Link to book: https://www.amazon.com/This-Really-Us-TEACHES-ABOUT/dp/0692189874/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1542223531&sr=8-2&keywords=michelle+lazurek

Social media links:https://www.facebook.com/mslazurek?ref=bookmarks

Twitter: @mslazurek

Instagram: Michelle S. Lazurek

 

 

 

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PeggySue Wells on homelessness

PeggySue Wells writes from the 100-acre wood in Indiana. Wells is a bestselling author of twenty-eight books and an audio book finalist, including Chasing Sunrise.She’s a tropical island admirer and history buff. She parasails, parachutes, snorkels, scuba dives, and has taken pilot lessons.

Tell us about your newest book.

In Homeless for the Holidays, Christmas is coming, and Jack Baker’s finances, friends, and future are as gone as last year’s holiday. A year ago Jack Baker had it all—a beautiful family, a lucrative career, and a generous bonus to spend on the annual Baker family Christmas extravaganza. Now the Bakers are homeless, and clueless about what to do next. Amid the holiday traditions and trappings, one family learns what is truly important when they lose all they have and find they have everything.

What genre do you focus on and why?

I’ve written non-fiction, news, features, children’s, curriculum, screenplays, memoirs – pretty much anything. Recently I’m finding my own voice and writing my stories. And while my novels take place in different times and places, the theme is always hope and redemption.

Why do you write? What drives you?

Writing is a way of connecting with others. It’s a gift I give to the world. I fashion story and truth, questions and wonderings, into writing that will outlive me. When I write I am unconscious of time and immersed in the process. My style is tight and connected, weaving in little-known history and real places. I want readers to close the book having learned something they didn’t know prior to reading my story. Everyone longs to connect and belong. Libraries and bookstores are places where creativity, ideas, and questions are communicated between writers and readers.

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

Homeless for the Holidays is the hope-filled novelization of a film with the same name, based on the real life experiences of producer George Johnson. The book allows the author to tell a far longer, embellished tale than the movie. Writing from a screenplay is akin to receiving a newly constructed home on a bare lot and having the freedom of an unlimited budget to decorate and landscape.

My favorite character in Homeless for the Holidays is the Baker’s son, Adam. The mother of seven, I mined Adam’s sense of humor and quick wit from quips made by my own young adults. The world needs hope more than advice, and throughout Homeless for the Holidays hope shines bright.

What does a day in your writing world look like?

I wake early and write for a 90-minute block. Then I post to social media, connect with friends, and family, grab a snack, write for 90-minutes more often with music in the background. Late at night I write again until I am too sleepy to stay awake. My Mac goes everywhere with me and I write waiting in the dentist office, when someone else is driving, and between my daughter’s runs on rodeo weekends.

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

Writing and marketing are two completely different skills. Today, writers must write and market their writing, dividing time and focus. And our industry has the strangest pay system–getting paid often years after doing the work of writing the book.

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

As Ann of Green Gables said, everything is scope for the imagination. People and places, historical events, experiences, questions, and concerns are all material for story. I enjoy the variety of projects, creating stories that entertain and impact. Writing is painting with words, and I’m always working on at least four projects simultaneously. I do author visits at schools, teaching students the secrets to writing, and teach those who want to write at conferences and events.

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

When I was a newspaper reporter I received the state’s most misleading headline award. I was assigned a boring piece about a rock and gem show at a university. For fun, I titled it, “Stones Come to Campus, Rock Fans Gather.” Folks read the story thinking the Rolling Stones were making an appearance.

What are you most proud of?

All seven of my grown children are making a difference in the world. They can write well though half are allergic to reading and writing. Two are professional writers who write far better than me.

What is your favorite pastime?

Ha! When I have time, I like to write. Not even kidding. And be with people, seeing new places and trying new foods, activities, and experiences. Skydiving, scuba diving, parasailing, exploring tropical island and the ruins of Israel–it all ends up in my books.

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

I have several books on my Mac(Beth), plenty in process, and twenty-eight published including Slavery in the Land of the Free, The Slave Across the Street, Rediscovering Your Happily Ever After, Bonding With Your Child Through Boundaries, and Chasing Sunrise that just released.

What are you working on now?

In process are a memoir about voice actress, Katie Leigh; a screenplay and TV series; the sequel to The Patentin the Marc Wayne thriller series; a book for single moms; a western; an island story; and the sequel to Chasing Sunrise.

Website: www.PeggySueWells.com

Link to book: Homeless for the Holidays https://amzn.to/2PrJlb3

Social media links:

Twitter: @PeggySueWells

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/peggysue.wells

 

 

 

 

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Liz Tolsma on WWII

Bestselling author Liz Tolsma has penned several WWII novels, prairie novellas, and an Amish novel. She’s also a popular speaker and a freelance editor. She shares her Wisconsin home with her husband and their two daughters. Their grown son serves as a U.S. Marine. When she’s not in front of her computer, she enjoys walking, reading, working in her perennial garden, kayaking, and camping with her family.

Tell us about your newest book.

The Nazi’s force Natia and Teodor from their farm in Poland to a labor camp where they are separated. When Natia is chosen to be the housekeeper for the camp’s overseer, she is able to go by the factory where Teodor is housed and sing to him in order to pass messages. But the situation grows more dangerous when a Jewish orphan arrives on the doorstep. Natia is determined to raise him, but if her German captor discovers her secret, both she and Teodor may have to pay the ultimate price.

What genre do you focus on and why?

I love WWII, because it is such a fascinating and important time in history. My generation, my children’s and grandchildren’s generations don’t know true fear, hunger, or persecution, but it’s something we need to understand. We have to recognize the price our freedom cost so many.

Why do you write? What drives you?

In one word, God. He plants these stories in my head. I can’t get rid of them until I write them. I write because I cannot NOT write. And because I love it.

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

My main characters in this book are Natia and Teodor. It’s difficult to write stories set in other countries, because the names can be very complicated to pronounce. I don’t want to trip up my readers, so I pick names that are authentic to that language but that are also able to be pronounced. The child in the book, however, does have a very special name. You’ll have to read the book to find out why.

What does a day in your writing world look like?

I usually spend the morning writing. My goal is to write a 2000 word chapter each day. The afternoon then consists of marketing and editing for clients.

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

The hardest part is the marketing. I don’t enjoy it, and I don’t have a background in it. I’ve struggled at times with the learning curve, but I think I’m getting the hang of it.

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

Writing! Because I love to do it. I create my characters, put them in situations, and watch the story play out in front of my eyes. I just write what I see in front of me.

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

The first time a stranger recognized me. She got all excited and asked to take a picture with me. It was a surreal experience.

What are you most proud of?

I’m most proud of just being published. Lots of people say they want to be authors. Very few actually write books. Even fewer get published.

What is your favorite pastime?

Hmm, it would have to be between reading and gardening. I love doing both of them.

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

My first Amish novel, The Amish Widow’s New Love, released in May. My first romantic suspense releases in June 2019, and my next WWII in August 2019.

What are you working on now?

Right now I’m cleaning up the first draft of The Pink Bonnet, my romantic suspense. That’s due soon, and then I have to clean up the first draft of my next WWII novel, with the working title The Music Within.

Website: www.liztolsma.com

Link to book: https://www.amazon.com/When-Heart-Sings-Music-Hope-ebook/dp/B07FKF949B/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1538601026&sr=8-1&keywords=When+the+Heart+Sings

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

Newsletter: http://eepurl.com/GDk4D

 

 

 

 

 

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Davalynn Spencer on cowboy romance

Wife and mother of professional rodeo bullfighters, Davalynn Spencer writes cowboy romance, both historical and contemporary. She is an ECPA and Publisher’s Weekly bestselling author of eleven novels and winner of the Will Rogers Gold Medallion for Inspirational Western Fiction. And she’s fairly certain her previous career as a rodeo journalist and crime-beat reporter prepared her for life in Colorado wrangling Blue the Cowdog and mouse detectors Annie and Oakley.

Tell us about your newest book.

Lena Carver works as her physician brother’s medical assistant, housekeeper, and cook despite her disfigurement from a childhood accident. Each year, the Christmas holidays come with contradictions—cherished memories of a mysterious encounter and painful recollections of a great loss. She lives with the belief that she is beyond love’s reach until a dark-eyed cowboy arrives broken, bruised, and bent on changing her mind.

Wil Bergman wakes in a stranger’s house with a busted leg, a bullet-creased scalp, and no horse. Trail-weary, robbed, and penniless, his dreams and plans for a future are suddenly unattainable. Forced to recuperate in the home of a country doctor, he finds himself at the mercy of a surgeon whose sister’s healing touch has power to stitch up his lonely heart and open his eyes to the impossible.

What genre do you focus on and why?

Primarily I write historical romance, but occasionally I venture into contemporary settings. Romance offers such hope and encouragement, and Christian or inspirational romance sheds light on the source of our true hope, encouraging people to see God’s place in their own day-to-day lives.

Why do you write? What drives you?

Since childhood I’ve been compelled to put into words what I see and taste and touch – to bring the senses to life on the page. I love reading stories with laughter, danger, grace, and love, so that is what I write.

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

I needed a good German name for my character, so a little research led me to Wilhelm Bergman. Wil is the unlikely hero in Snow Angel because he’s unconscious when we first meet him. But, oh, he comes to life in an unforgettable fashion that gets more than the attention of lovely Lena Carver.

What does a day in your writing world look like?

As a pre-dawn person, I rise early. Blue the Cowdog and I walk, and I spend time with the Lord before the world comes crashing in. My goal is to have the house (and myself) in order, breakfast out of the way, and chores completed so I can sit down at the computer by 8:30 a.m. I work all day because writing is a job and no one else is going to do it for me. In the winter, I stop at 5 p.m. because that’s about all the computer time my eyes can take. Breaks intersperse my day, things like lunch, getting the mail, splitting firewood for the wood stove, playing the piano – all good nonwriting activities that keep me and my brain active.

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

Marketing is the hardest part of being an author for me because I don’t like it. I don’t like going to the dentist either, but I have to do that too.

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

I “live” the stories as I write them, and I enjoy that. There is an area not far from my home that gives me a sense of stepping into my story setting, especially in the summer when the meadow larks are singing and cow-calf pairs dot the pastures. But even better than that is hearing from a reader who comes away from one of my stories with all the little gems I tucked between the pages and folds. To hear that a reader “gets it” – that is priceless and worth every hour at my desk.

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

I have a dozen other books, all listed on my website book page at https://davalynnspencer.com/davalynn-books/or on my Amazon author page at https://amazon.com/author/davalynnspencer.

What are you working on now?

I’m working on two projects, one a contemporary romantic suspense and the other an early moving picture story set in Canon City, Colorado, in 1910 when it was the early movie mecca of the West.

Website: https://www.davalynnspencer.com

Link to book: https://amzn.to/2pPaLbEor https://davalynnspencer.com/books/snow-angel/

Social media links:

Quarterly Author Update and free e-book: http://eepurl.com/xa81D

Blog: https://davalynnspencer.com/subscribe/

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

Twitter: https://twitter.com/davalynnspencer

Goodreads:https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5051432.Davalynn_Spencer

Pinterest:https://pinterest.com/davalynnspencer/boards/

Amazon Author:https://amazon.com/author/davalynnspencer

BookBub: https://www.bookbub.com/authors/davalynn-spencer

CAN:http://christianauthorsnetwork.com/davalynn-spencer/

 

 

 

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Meet Elizabeth Ludwig

Note: For those of you who are writers, you’ll enjoy this interview. For those who aren’t, here’s a free peek into our crazy world of writing plus, you’ll hear about the fiction she writes. Smiles, Susan

Elizabeth Ludwig is an award-winning speaker and teacher, often attending conferences where she lectures on editing for fiction writers and conducting successful editor/agent interviews. Recent honors include a HOLT Medallion Award for A Tempting Taste of Mystery, part of the Sugarcreek Amish Mysteries series from Guideposts. Her latest releases include Don’t Rock the Boat and Shifting Sands, part of the Mysteries of Martha’s Vineyard series, also from Guideposts. To learn more, visit ElizabethLudwig.com.

Tell us about your newest book.

I really excited to have two books releasing from Guideposts this year. The first is a return to the Sugarcreek Amish Mysteries that ended last year. The series was so popular that Guideposts decided to extend it by five books. Mine is titled Secrets Plain and Simple and will release this month. The second book is my final installment in the Mysteries of Martha’s Vineyard called Sheep Passing in the Night (and yes, it’s a fun play on words). That one comes out in October.

But what I am most excited to tell you about is a project that is a complete departure from fiction. I recently collaborated with nine other authors to put together a writing craft book called Writing from the Trenches: Tips and Techniques from Ten Award-winning Authors. This really is a heart project for me. I have been so blessed in my writing career and was excited to be a part of something that might help others who are on the same path.

What genre do you focus on and why?

I have two passions—historicals and mysteries. Most of the time, when I want to sit down with a good book, I choose a historical. So, of course, I want to write them. But I’m also a huge fan of Agatha Christie. I love figuring out “whodunit”. I drive my family crazy, because we can’t sit down to a movie without me solving the mystery before they do. I’m rarely surprised, so when I am, I chalk it up to a very skilled storyteller. That’s what I strive for in my own mysteries.

Why do you write? What drives you?

I have a funny story about that. Years ago, I was sitting in church and was shocked to realize that I had missed most of the sermon because I was daydreaming a story. That made me sad. God was and is deserving of my attention and so much more. So I asked Him what I should do with the story rattling around in my head, and He told me to write it down. That was almost twenty years ago. I’ve been writing down stories ever since.

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

In the Sugarcreek Amish Mysteries, the main character’s name is Cheryl. In the Mysteries of Martha’s Vineyard, it’s Priscilla. These series are very much like the Nancy Drew or Hardy Boys Mysteries. They are continuity books, with each story being a stand-alone mystery, so I didn’t have a lot of say in naming those characters. But when I do name my characters, I always take their age and ethnicity into account, as well as the time period. And then I work on getting to know them a little bit. What do they like? What are their fears? After that, they usually name themselves!

What does a day in your writing world look like?

To be honest, it depends on the time of year. Besides writing, I work full-time as an administrative assistant in a public school. My busiest time of year is August and September when school is starting up. That makes it really hard to get any quality writing time, so I’m lucky to eek out a few minutes every day. But when I’m on a deadline, I’m much more disciplined. I write at least 1000 words every night even if that means staying up past my bedtime and paying for it the next day.

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

Being a writer means living on an emotional rollercoaster. There are very high “highs” and very low “lows”. Reviews, contracts, book sales…I’ve had to learn to live with all of those things. What brings me stability is knowing I wrote the very best book I could and then leaving the rest to the Lord. I won’t lie…it’s hard. I keep trying to take things into my own hands. So thankful He’s patient!

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

There is so much satisfaction in writing “The End.” I read a quote once that said, “Writers don’t like writing. They like having written.” I guess that’s true for me too. Once I see that book in my hands, and hear from readers that it meant something to them, that makes all the work and struggle worthwhile.

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

I ran into a lady once who was a very enthusiastic fan. She raved about my newest release, but the more she talked, the more confused I got. Nothing she said sounded anything like my book. I finally asked her which of my titles she liked the best and…you guessed it. She was talking about another author. Trying to save us both from embarrassment, I thanked her for being such a faithful reader and walked away. LOL!

What are you most proud of?

I am so proud to write books that anyone can read. I have grandchildren now, and I never want them to be embarrassed to say that I’m an author. Plus, I always strive to write books that bring glory to God. Heaven knows, I stumble often enough. Hopefully, He is pleased.

What is your favorite pastime?

Reading, of course! I wish I had more time to read for enjoyment. Lately, I’m so busy judging contests or reading for endorsement that I rarely get to pick up a book “just because.” My other favorite pastimes are crafting, skiing, or playing with my dogs.

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

I wrote a historical suspense series for Bethany House called the Edge of Freedom. Book one in the series is No Safe Harbor. Books two and three are Dark Road Home and Tide and Tempest, respectively. This was a challenging series for me because I had to double my research. The series starts in Ireland and follows a family to America through Ellis Island. It was a lot of fun though, and one of my favorite series to write.

What are you working on now?

A couple of years ago, our pastor preached a sermon based on one of King David’s psalms. In it, David writes that he is like a green olive tree in the house of God. As our pastor preached on the process of pruning and harvesting and curing olives, a story idea formed about a man who learns about the goodness of God through caring for an olive tree left to him by his dead wife. The book is titled, fittingly, I think, The Olive Grower. Of course, I don’t always get to keep my titles. Sometimes, the publisher changes it, but this is one I’m hoping will stay.

Website: www.elizabethludwig.com

Link to book: https://www.amazon.com/Writing-Trenches-Techniques-Award-Winning-Authors-ebook/dp/B07G5PS8CH

Social media links:

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/elizabethludwig102

Twitter: https://twitter.com/ELudwig_Author

Blog: http://theborrowedbook.blogspot.com

 

 

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