Happy Valentines Day from me!

Happy Valentine’s Day! To all of you who read my blog and my stories and inspire me to keep on writing, I want to wish you a Happy Valentine’s Day. There’s a special place in my heart for YOU.

I want to pass on a bit of Valentine’s love and appreciation to you—all of you who have stood with me, encourage me, read my blogs, and spur me on. Writing is a long and winding road, but you have been there and I appreciate your friendship more than you know.

And you can celebrate with me. With you in mind, I just finished my second novel and have two publishers looking at it. Please pray the right publisher picks it up.

As you probably know, my first two books, written with my wonderful husband, are non-fiction premarital books, Countdown for Couples and The ReMarriage Adventure. My next two are children’s picture books, Lexie’s Adventure in Kenya and Princess Madison’s Rainbow Adventure, inspired my two of my four granddaughters and my third granddaughter is itching for a book of her own. Yikes! If you haven’t seen them, please click on the tabs of my website to check them out.

The Fabric of Hope: An Irish Family Legacy is my first novel, and I’m sticking with historical fiction. It’s just so much fun. My hubby says that creating stories is my playground and he’s right. I’m sure the other authors that I feature here on this blog feel the same way.

The work of writing is often a lonely one, but when people like you connect with me—whether through a blog post comment, a Facebook “like”or comment, a retweet, or personal interaction of some kind—well, that makes my day, week, and sometimes my month! Thank you.

To my husband who gives me the space and time to keep on keeping on. Thank you!

To my critique group who massages the story over and over again until it is just right. Thanks a bunch.

To my Beta Readers and writing colleagues who faithfully gave me honest feedback, even when that feedback is tough. Thanks for your input.

To my friends and family who inspire me, cheer me on, and never given up on me. Thank you!

To all who encourage me through your texts, emails, social media contacts, signing up for my blog, or passing on the word about my work. Thanks a million and please stay in contact. And again, Happy Valentine’s Day to you.

 

 

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Meet Michelle Cox

Michelle Cox is an award-winning, bestselling author and the creator of the Just 18 Summers parenting products and resources. She’s known for her “encouragement with a Southern drawl” and has written for Guideposts, Christian Cinema, FoxNews.com, Focus on the Family, and numerous other publications. Her favorite roles, though, are as wife, mom, and being grandmama to six perfect grandchildren.

Her co-author, Brian Bird, is Executive Producer and Co-Creator of the Hallmark Channel original series When Calls the Heart. In his three decades in Hollywood, he has written or produced two dozen films, including The Case for Christ, Captive and Not Easily Broken, and more than 250 episodes of such shows as Touched By An Angel, Step By Step and Evening Shade.

Tell us about your newest book:

Our new book is When God Calls the Heart: Devotions from Hope Valley. Inspired by best-selling author Janette Oke and the Hallmark Channel original TV series When Calls the Heart, these inspirations from Hope Valley are about finding moments of grace, joy, and beauty amid the unexpected circumstances of life. In this collection of 40 devotions, Brian Bird, Executive Producer and Co-Creator of When Calls the Heart and Michelle Cox illuminate the “God-moments” from the fictional, 1910 mining town of Hope Valley—the stories of faith, hope, and love from each episode that will touch your soul, inspire, and encourage you with wonderful virtues and relatable life lessons. Each chapter contains a quote from one of your favorite “citizens,” a Scripture verse, a devotional reflection, a prayer, and questions to help you think a little deeper about what’s on your own heart. Hop on the buckboard wagon to see where God guides in the pages of When God Calls the Heart. You don’t want to miss this journey—because as Elizabeth Thatcher learned when she headed West to fulfill her dream of becoming a teacher—when God calls the heart, you can expect an adventure.

What genre do you focus on and why?

I don’t focus on one genre. I’ve always heard to do that, but I figure that if God brings a variety of opportunities to me, I’d be crazy to tell Him I can’t do them because they aren’t the right genre.

Why do you write? What drives you?

I write because I have to write. The words and ideas drive me nuts until I capture them on the page. That’s the simple answer, but I write because I feel God has given me a task to do for Him and I don’t want to waste the talents that He’s given me.

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

Since our devotional book is based on Hallmark’s When Calls the Heart television series, it features Elizabeth, Jack, Abigail, Henry, and many other names that folks will recognize from Hope Valley.

 What does a day in your writing world look like?

My writing days are usually driven by deadlines. I write for a wide variety of blogs and magazines, have the Just 18 Summers parenting blog which posts five days a week, and have co-authored five or six books a year for the past couple of years, so my writing days are often long. Writing-related travel, speaking events, and conferences have a big effect on my writing days, but early in my career, Jerry B. Jenkins taught me to always be on time for deadlines. I made that a writing goal, so I’ve learned to work ahead as needed and to take advantage of little pockets of time.

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

I don’t like publisher rejection letters, but I think juggling everything is the hardest part. God and family come first, but some days I feel like I’m on a merry-go-round that keeps speeding up.

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

I love what I do (which is a good thing!), but I think the best part is that I get to work with and meet such amazing people. That’s how I met Susan Mathis. She was one of my editors when I wrote for Focus on the Family Magazine and I loved writing for her.

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

The craziest thing would probably be co-authoring two books in nine weeks, and then a week later getting a contract for a third book with a tight deadline. Yes, I’m officially nuts—and I don’t plan to do that again.

What are you most proud of?

God has brought my writing opportunities to me so I really can’t take the credit for what I’ve done—but I am proud that I’ve stuck with writing despite numerous rejections and disappointments along the way. God showed me early in my career that He didn’t call me to be successful—He called me to be faithful—and I can do that no matter what happens.

What is your favorite pastime?

Are you ready for it? Reading. Seriously, it’s been my favorite thing to do since I learned to put words together. And, of course, any time I can be with my six perfect grandchildren, my husband, and our adult children is always a favorite.

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

Some of my recent books include my Just 18 Summers novel (co-authored with Rene Gutteridge) and my devotional books God Glimpses from the Toolbox and God Glimpses from the Jewelry Box (co-authored with my buddy John Perrodin).

What are you working on now?

We have several more books planned for When God Calls the Heart. I’m pitching a children’s book series. And I have a couple of devotional books in the works with some great writing friends.

Websites:

WhenGodCallstheHeart.com and www.just18summers.com

Link to book: https://www.amazon.com/When-God-Calls-Heart-Devotions/dp/1424556066

Social media links:

Facebook – Michelle Cox Inspirations and Just 18 Summers

Twitter – @Michelleinspire

 

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Meet Susan Marlow

Susan is always on the lookout for a new story, whether she’s writing books, teaching writing workshops, or sharing what she’s learned as a homeschooling mom. She is the author of several series set in the Old West—ranging from new reader to young adult—and she enjoys relaxing on her fourteen-acre homestead in the great state of Washington.

 

Tell us about your newest books.

Books 3 and 4 of the Circle C Stepping Stones series for young readers ages 7-10 continue the adventures of nine-year-old Andi Carter, who is growing up on a large cattle ranch in 1870s California. In Andi Lassos Trouble, Andi wants nothing more than to compete in the upcoming rodeo, but she’s too young, and she’s a girl. Andi to the Rescue finds Andi and her mother kidnapped in a case of mistaken identity by a gentleman outlaw who wants to learn to read and thinks Mother is the schoolteacher.

What genre do you focus on and why?

I focus on kids of all ages, from young readers ready for first-chapter books to teens. I’m just a kid at heart and want other kids to have a romping good time reading about spunky young heroines and heroes living during the time period known as the Old West. Four of my series focus on Andrea “Andi” Carter, sort of like a young Laura Ingalls in the same time period but with the wealthy ranching angle instead of the poor pioneer wanderer. My other series, Goldtown Adventures, features a twelve-year-old boy living the “dream” (not) in a rowdy, post-gold rush town near Mariposa, California.

Why do you write? What drives you?

I’ve written since I was a child and young teen. I loved to embellish and improve on some of my favorite books and TV shows of the 60s. It was so much fun to “beam out” (yes, I wrote Star Trek stories) or gallop into the Old West for an imaginary journey. I wrote only for myself and never intended to become a published author . . . ever! But God had other plans. He used a dear author friend to prod me into submitting to Kregel Publications (with her endorsement) and I was propelled—quite unwillingly—into the publishing world. Very. Scary. Deadlines and contracts took the joy out of my writing style for a season, but God used that time to teach me how to live by faith in this area. Now, I write for parents (and kids) at the dozens and dozens of homeschool conventions at which I vendor, who beg me for more books for their kids. I also create enrichment activities (study guides) and lapbooks to create year-long literature and language arts curricula for homeschooling families. So my reason for writing has changed—from self-motivated escapism to serving others.

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

The main character in my four Circle C series is Andrea Carter, but if you want to stay on her good side, you’d best call her Andi. She starts out at age six, and the final book of the final series ends with her turning eighteen and marrying. I chose a name that I thought would go well with a prominent ranching family, but that could also be easily shortened to reflect her tomboyish high spirits. She’s the youngest of six. Her father was killed in a ranching accident, and her older brothers run the ranch. She also has a couple of older sisters.

What does a day in your writing world look like?

When I’m under contract, I devote the mornings to writing, after asking the Lord to provide me with my daily “manna,” i.e. words to complete a chapter or scene! Afternoons are times for walking in our pine forest and then checking out new marketing ideas.

What is the hardest part of being an author?

Writing the book! I always feel that I gave my all to the previous book in whichever series I’m working on at the time and have nothing left for a new book. Hence the desperate daily manna prayer.

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

Marketing! I love marketing. I love creating bookmarks. I love messing with my website and figuring out how to stuff the next new books into a tri-fold brochure. I love vendoring at homeschool conventions around the country—meeting parents and having kids and teens come up and say, “I love your books. Can we have a picture together?”

What are you most proud of?

Looking at a published book and wondering, “How in the world did this come to be?” I’m proud of taking the scary step of faith and saying “yes” to my publisher when he asked me to either add more books to a series or come up with another new Andi series.

What is your favorite pastime?

I like to go on walks in the forest, but mostly I like to help my daughter (with eight children) homeschool. The children use my books and curricula for their literature and language arts, and it’s fun to hear one of them say, “Grandma, I found a mistake in the study guide.” They are my quality control team.

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

I have six Circle C Beginnings books (for ages 6-9), there will eventually be six Circle C Stepping Stones books in all (ages 7-10), six Circle C Adventures (ages 9-14), four Circle C Milestones (ages 12 and up), and four Goldtown Adventures (ages 8-12).

What are you working on now?

The activity pages and lapbook activities for the upcoming books 5 and 6 of the Stepping Stones. They are almost as much work as writing the 16,000-word books. But I’m a teacher and do love creating wholesome and educational materials to give a book a longer life.

 

Website: CircleCAdventures.com

Link to books: https://circlecadventures.com/stepping-stones-special-purchase/

Social media links: FB group page: https://www.facebook.com/groups/CircleCAdventures/

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/susank.marlow/

 

 

 

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Meet MaryAnn Diorio

Dr. MaryAnn Diorio is a widely published, award-winning author of fiction and non-fiction for adults and children. Her latest novel, Return to Bella Terra, is Book 3 in The Italian Chronicles Trilogy. MaryAnn’s latest children’s book, The Dandelion Patch, won “Best Book of Juvenile Fiction” in the 2017 Pinnacle Book Achievement Awards contest. MaryAnn and her husband Dom reside in New Jersey. They are parents to two adult daughters and grandparents to five rambunctious grandchildren.

Tell us about your newest book.
Return to Bella Terra is my latest novel. It is Book 3 in The Italian Chronicles Trilogy and is the story of a woman divided between two worlds and struggling to let go of her son as she seeks to discover God’s will for her life.

What genre do you focus on and why?

Women’s fiction. I love this genre because I find it to be the perfect venue for addressing the deep issues that affect a woman’s heart. While love is certainly at the core of a woman’s heart, other issues often stand in the way of loving relationships, be that relationship marriage, motherhood, or friendship. Having ministered to women for many years, and having experienced many of these issues in my own life, I have discovered that at the root of relationship problems lies a deeper problem in the woman’s own soul. Healing these “soul wounds”—as I like to call them—frees the woman to be all that God created her to be. These deep soul issues are what I like to address in my stories.

Why do you write? What drives you?

I write because God has called me to write. It is not the calling I originally chose, but it is the calling that God chose for me, and I love it and rejoice in it! I am driven by a passionate desire to know Christ and to make Him known. This desire drives every word I write. I want my readers to know the freedom in Christ that I have experienced. I want them to know the joy and peace that Christ has given me. I want them to become all that God has created them to be.

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

My main character in The Italian Chronicles Trilogy is Maria Landro. She is the heroine of all three books: The Madonna of Pisano (Book 1), A Sicilian Farewell (Book 2), and Return to Bella Terra (Book 3). Maria’s name came to me as I was praying about the trilogy. My choice was not analytical. I simply followed Holy Spirit’s leading. I trust His purposes in wanting this name.

What does a day in your writing world look like?

My day begins very early—somewhere between 4:00am and 5:00am—with time alone with the Lord. I protect this time with God and don’t let anything interfere with it. I spend time in worship, prayer, and study of the Word. By 9:00am, I am at my computer. I am pretty disciplined in my writing and write every day, five days a week, from 9:00 am to 2:00 or 3:00 pm. After my workday, I often go out with my husband or spend time with our grandchildren. In the evenings, I write my blog posts, work on marketing and other business aspects of writing, or attend a webinar. I also relax with my husband while crocheting hats and scarves for my church’s ministry to the homeless.

What is the hardest part of being an author? Why?
It is one thing to be an author. It is quite another to be an author who writes for God. My greatest challenge has been the continual assaults of the enemy against Christ’s work: family challenges, health challenges, relationship challenges, computer challenges, time challenges—and the list goes on and on. Because we proclaim truth through our words, we have an enemy who hates truth and will do everything he can to hinder us from proclaiming it. For this reason, I have a Prayer Team of wonderful believers who uphold me in prayer. Their prayers have carried me through the rough times and the good times. I always seek to remember that greater is He Who is in me than he who is in the world (1 John 4: 4). We are more than conquerors through Christ who loves us! Hallelujah1

What’s the best part of your author’s life? Why?
By far the creative part! When I write, I feel so close to the Father. I feel as though I am imitating Him in His creativity. There have been times when, as I wrote, I sensed Holy Spirit’s Presence hovering over me and rising up within me, giving me the words of His heart.

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

My first sale! It came at a time when I was wondering if God had called me to write. I submitted a poem to The Saturday Evening Post, totally unaware of the difficulty of getting into this magazine. When, to my amazement, my poem was accepted, I received that acceptance as God’s confirmation of his writing call on my life. The ironic thing was that the poem was a piece of light verse based on an argument my children had had, and I am not a naturally funny person.

What are you most proud of?

My two amazing daughters! They are the joy of my heart because of their hearts sold out to Jesus. I call them “the jewels in my crown.” They have been and continue to be a great blessing in my life.

What is your favorite pastime?

Reading. I am an avid reader of fiction, non-fiction, children’s books, cereal boxes. J My favorite book is the Bible. The words in this book are unlike the words in any other book. The words in the Bible are Life itself.

Do you have other books? We’d love to know.
Yes. As I mentioned above, I have the first two novels in The Italian Chronicles Trilogy. I’ve also written two novellas: A Christmas Homecoming (Pelican Book Group) and Surrender to Love (Indie-published). As for my children’s books, I’ve written Who Is Jesus?, Toby Too Small, Candle Love, Do Angels Ride Ponies?, and The Dandelion Patch. All are available on Amazon.

What are you working on now?
Right now, I’m compiling a book of children’s poems I’ve written over the years. The title of the book is Poems for Wee Ones. Lord willing, I will publish it next year. I’m also working on a novel about an American young woman whose corporate job transfers her to Italy where she learns the truths of Isaiah 55: 8.

Website: www.maryanndiorio.com and www.maryanndiorioministries.com

Link to book: https://www.amazon.com/Return-Bella-Terra-Italian-Chronicles/dp/0930037243/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1509115491&sr=8-2&keywords=return+to+bella+terra

Social media links:

Blog (Matters of the Heart): http://www.networkedblogs.com/blog/maryanndiorioblog
Blog Talk Radio: http:www.blogtalkradio.com/drmaryanndiorio
BookBub.com: https://www.bookbub.com/authors/maryann-diorio
Facebook: http://www.Facebook.com/DrMaryAnnDiorio
Twitter: http://Twitter.com/@DrMaryAnnDiorio
Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6592603
LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/maryann-diorio-phd-dmin-mfa-99924513/
Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/drmaryanndiorio/
Google+: http://plus.google.com/u/0/+DrMaryAnnDiorio
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/drmaryanndiorio/
YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/user/drmaryanndiorio/

 

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Meet Kathleen Rouser

Kathleen Rouser is the award-winning author of Rumors and Promises, her first novel about the people of fictional Stone Creek, Michigan. She is a longtime member of ACFW. Kathleen wanted to be a writer before she could even read and longs to create characters who resonate with readers and realize the need for a transforming Savior in their everyday lives. She lives in Michigan with her hero and husband of 36 years.

Tell us about your newest book.

Stone Creek, Michigan – April, 1901: Maggie Galloway and Thomas Harper clash after their sons collide in a fistfight. Both widowed, they’re each doing their best as a parent to their children. Outgoing Maggie has dreams for a home of her own and a business to provide for her son as she searches for God’s path for her life as a widow. Reserved Thomas struggles to establish his new pharmacy and take care of his four rambunctious children, while wondering how a loving God could take his beloved wife. When Thomas becomes deathly ill, Maggie is recruited to nurse him back to health. Taking the children in hand, as well, is more than she bargained for, but she is drawn to help the grieving family. Both nurse and patient find themselves drawn to each other but promptly deny their feelings. A baking contest sponsored by the Silver Leaf Flour Company brings former beau, Giles Prescott, back into Maggie’s life. When Giles offers Maggie a position at their test kitchen in Chicago, he hints that, along with assuring her a good job, it will allow them to possibly rekindle their relationship. But then a charlatan comes to town, and tragedy soon follows. Maggie and Thomas discover the miracle potions he hawks aren’t so harmless when an epidemic hits Stone Creek. Thomas and Maggie realize they must work together to save lives. Maggie finds herself caught up in battles within and without the battle to help the townsfolk in the midst of illness and chicanery, and the battle to know which man Thomas or Giles deserves to win her heart.

What genre do you focus on and why?

I’ve currently been focusing on inspirational historical romance, because I enjoy reading a good romance and also learning about how people lived long ago as well as helping transport readers to times past

Why do you write? What drives you?

God put a love of stories in me at a young age. Writing is hard work, but I’m driven by wanting to put down the stories He has given me to write. I hope to encourage and edify believers, and share the Gospel with those who don’t yet know Jesus.

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

Maggie Galloway was a secondary character in Rumors and Promises. as the hero, Ian McCormick’s, widowed sister and housekeeper. While I usually choose my main character’s names quite carefully, I thought Maggie Galloway sounded like a good Irish name and it flows off the tongue.

What does a day in your writing world look like?

It depends on the day. Days that I have Bible study in the morning and I’m volunteering to teach kids at Community Bible Study, I’m more likely to write in the afternoon. When I have

stuff going on in the afternoon, such as my part-time job, I write in the morning. I start with a word count goal depending on the length of the story I’m planning to write. When I’m home and ready to write I sit in one of a couple of my favorite spots, and make sure I have a cup of coffee nearby. Hopefully my cat will decide to hop on my lap and keep me company while I write. Having her snuggling on my lap is good incentive to stay in one place and write longer!

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

Like many other authors I’m an introvert at heart, though you might not know that to meet me. I call myself a “friendly introvert.” Funny, while I don’t mind public speaking, I don’t

enjoy the daily marketing–being on Facebook, etc. as I think of myself as a very private person. I’ll be open and honest with people I know personally, but it’s hard to know what to present to the outside world. I also find it hard to balance the marketing and writing time sometimes.

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

It’s being able to create new stories and characters, it’s finding out that God has used them to touch readers’ hearts, and knowing I’m doing the work that God has given me to do.

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

There’s nothing I can think of that was crazy. I’m afraid my life as an author has been pretty ordinary! But sometimes boring is good too.

What is your favorite pastime?

Well, like most writers, I love to read, but outside of that I’d say making jewelry with beads or wire wrapping, that is, if I’m not just hanging out with my husband, which I love as well.

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

My first novel was Rumors and Promises, and it’s a 2017 Bookvana Award winner for religious fiction. Before that I had a novella, The Pocket Watch, published in the anthology, Brave New Century, was published in 2013, and “Special Assignment,” a short story in the anthology, Christmas Treasures, published in 2014.

What are you working on now?

I’m working on a novella for Barbour’s Great Lakes Lighthouse Brides Collection coming in 2018. My story is going to be about the Mackinac Point lighthouse and involves a shipwreck survivor with amnesia.

Website: http://kathleenrouser.com

Link to book: On Amazon: http://tinyurl.com/y7oqpym6 On Barnes and Noble online: http://tinyurl.com/yaj5ryc5

 

Social media links: Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/kerouser

Facebook author page: https://www.facebook.com/kathleenerouser/

Twitter: @KathleenRouser

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

 

 

 

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