Meet author Linda Kozar

Linda Kozar is an award-winning multi-published author of traditional and indie-published fiction and nonfiction books with a Southern flair. Linda and her husband Michael live in The Woodlands, Texas, and enjoy spending time with their two grown daughters, their wonderful son-in-law, granddaughter Eden, and Gypsy, their rascally Jack Russell Terrier.

 

What inspired you to write Sunshine for the Soul?

My daily time with the Lord is my greatest inspiration for writing devotional books. Almost every devotion I have ever written was composed from such dedicated time in God’s Word.

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

Start each morning with a powerful devotional mixed with 90 heart-warming devotions, delicious recipes, fun anecdotes, and hope-filled Scriptures with a little humor and lighthearted Southern flair that will bring joy to your soul. Each devotion also includes a Faith Check with a daily reflection for personal application to inspire your day. So, grab a cup of coffee, enjoy the new sunrise and take a quiet moment with God as you reflect on God’s promises and His love for you. Sunshine for the Soul is the perfect devotional gift book to encourage anyone in your life.

What genre do you focus on?

I haven’t met a genre I don’t like, at least so far. I’ve written cozy mysteries, historical romance, contemporary romance, speculative fiction and plenty of nonfiction titles as well.

Why do you write?

That question depends on the day. On good days, I love to write and there’s nothing I’d rather be doing. On bad days, the very thought of writing is like a dead albatross hanging around my neck. And there are some days when I read something brilliant by another author and I wonder why I even bother.

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

Frenetic, but systematic. When writing fiction, if I can write a chapter a day, I’m happy.  When writing nonfiction, if I write five to ten pages, I’d call that a good day.

What is the hardest part of being an author?

Marketing. Most authors hate that part of it. But marketing can be as creative as the writing part of it. Just a different application.

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

When a new fan finds you and tells you how your book made a difference in their life. Smile time.

What’s one unusual fact about you?

I am obsessed with black licorice. I keep my licorice stash next to wherever I’m writing. Helps me think. Helps me focus. Helps me fuel my serious licorice addiction.

How have you changed or grown as a writer?

Recently, I went back to read some of my notes and unpublished works and I see two things: creative promise and unrefined work. Since I started this writing journey in 2005, I have grown in dozens of ways. The main way, however, is not to be so desperate. To wait on God and trust Him for my writing career opportunities and future.

What is your favorite pastime?

Love/Hate pastime is writing. Second, painting in oils, acrylics, or watercolor.

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

Until the Fat Ladies Sing Mystery series, Food Baby, Calliope’s Kiss, and more. PLUS, my nonfiction devotionals: Babes With A Beatitude, Sweet Tea For the Soul, Biscuits, Butter and Blessings, Sunshine For The Soul.

What are you working on now?

A historical romance based on a true story set in Texas close to where I live. Also, a new devotional and a book on caregiving. My agent’s going to be so busy.

Website: www.lindakozar.com

Link to book: https://www.amazon.com/s?k=linda+kozar&ref=nb_sb_noss

Social media links:

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Halley’s Comet 

Think the world is coming to an end? In February 1910, astronomers announced that the Earth would pass through the cyanogen-laced tail of Halley’s Comet. Poisonous gas, Cyanide, would snuff out all life and end the world as they knew it on May 19, 1910.

The New York Times ran the story of the French astronomer Camille Flammarion’s theory which reported that poisonous gas, Cyanide, would snuff out all life and destroy the earth! Most astronomers in the scientific community rejected this theory but thanks to this article, the frenzy had begun.

Does it sound like today? Hmmm…

The press took advantage of the people’s concerns and fed on their fears—and papers flew off the shelves creating more and more fear, even suggesting the comet might crash into the earth and obliterate it. People feared for their lives and went into hiding.

People bought “comet pills” and gas masks. Telescope sales rocketed; at least if they were going to die, they might as well see something wonderful. Newspapers, drug dealers, and gas mask makers got rich, but the terror that was instilled in many cast a pall on the world for several terrible months. I tell all about it in my novel, Devyn’s Dilemma.

On May 19, 1910, Halley’s Comet spent six terrifying hours passing through our atmosphere. One Oklahoma group actually planned to sacrifice a virgin to appease the gods, but thankfully they were stopped. A man in California nailed a hand and his feet to a cross. Churches around the globe held prayer vigils.

But the comet came and went and nothing happened. No one got sick. No one died—except England’s King Edward VII. This led to superstitious Britons connecting the two events for generations. Later, few of these crooks were held to account for their fraud, and it was discovered that the anti-comet pills were merely quinine and sugar.

In my latest novel, Devyn’s Dilemma, Devyn and the Bourne family live through these events, buying a telescope and viewing Halley’s Comet for themselves.

 

 

Meet author Sarah Hanks

Sarah Hanks wrote fiction on the side until deciding to pursue writing professionally with The Mercy Series. She and her husband have eight children, a couple of whom seem to have inherited their mother’s love for playing with words and crafting stories. Though Sarah dreams of a cabin by the beach, the family of ten lives jammed together in beautiful chaos in St. Charles, Missouri. She buys ear plugs in bulk.

What inspired you to write Mercy’s Song?

When Ferguson started burning, I lived about fifteen minutes away. What the news coverage didn’t show was worship and prayer going on just down the street from the fray. In a tent, believers from various churches and denominations came together to seek the Lord and praise His name in the midst of the chaos. People were saved, healed, and set free. The seed for The Mercy Series dropped into my heart during this time.

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

DeAndre’s past continues to haunt him, even as he and his new love seek to piece the broken shards of their lives together. Soon, a shocking discovery sends DeAndre reeling and forces him to choose between the woman he loves and his integrity. Will he end up losing everything or can he cling to hope despite it all?

What genre do you focus?

The Mercy Series is timeslip fiction with duel modern day and historical storylines. I enjoy writing both contemporary and historical fiction. Historical is more work but is extra rewarding for me. There’s so much we weren’t taught in school and many echoes from the past still reverberate through the present. If we can learn from the tragedies and triumphs of history, we can create a more just and loving world for those who come after us.

Why do you write?

I write because I love to co-create with God. During the planning and plotting stage, I get up and say “Where are we going with this, Lord?” It’s a blast.

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

Natassa is one of the main characters in The Mercy Series. I used to do mystery shopping for hotels, where I would stay at various hotels and rate their customer service. I had to pay attention to everybody’s names and exactly what they said. One time I forgot a hotel clerk’s name and I needed it to write my report. I knew it was an unusual name, so I went up to the front desk and asked them who had been working earlier that had a unique name. I told them I was a writer and wanted to use the name for one of my characters, so I did! It wasn’t until afterward that I found out the name Natassa means resurrection—a perfect fit for the theme of this series.

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

It’s only been for the past year that I’ve had the privilege of writing full time. I spent years writing during nap times and at night after the children went to bed. Being able to focus on writing is thrilling. Truly a dream come true. After the children go to school, I spend 2-3 hours writing. I aim for between 1-2,000 words a day, depending on my current deadline (5-10k a week). The afternoons are spent critiquing other peoples’ work for a critique group, planning out social media posts, etc., but when my children come home, I’m all in for them.

What is the hardest part of being an author?

Editing. I’m more of a big picture person. Minute details? Who needs them? When I get down to line editing, I’ve been known to drag my feet a bit. I want every sentence to be tight and to sing, but I’d rather do most anything else than make myself sit in front of the computer and work it through.

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

The best part over the past few years has been traveling to various places my novels have taken place in for research. Entering into the world of my characters is an experience like no other.

What’s one unusual fact about you?

I have eight children, all sixteen years old or younger, and we’re in the process of adopting again.

How have you changed or grown as a writer?

I used to be a solid “pantser”, or a writer who wrote from the seat of her pants. That has changed over the years, and I’ve actually come to enjoy plotting. I find that I can avoid blankly staring at the screen when I have a vibrant outline in front of me. Sometimes my characters throw me a curve ball and we end up in an unexpected place, but even then, I don’t often panic because I know where we’re going. There’s a lot of freedom for me in that scaffolding.

What is your favorite pastime?

Reading! It’s horrible, but I hardly ever pick up a paperback and flip through good old-fashioned pages anymore. Most of my “reading” is actually listening to audiobooks, which I can do while driving, cleaning, cooking, and falling asleep. I do miss the feel and smell of a good book. Maybe when my children are older.

What are you working on now?

I’m currently finishing up book 3 of The Mercy Series (Mercy’s Legacy). My next novel will be a historical, but I haven’t landed all the details yet.

Website: www.sarah-hanks.com

Link to book: https://sarah-hanks.com/mercysong/

Social media links:

www.facebook.com/AuthorSarahHanks

https://www.instagram.com/authorsarahhanks/

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Meet author Terrie Todd

Terrie Todd is the award-winning author of three historical novels and the soon-to-be-released Rose Among Thornes(August) and The Last Piece (November). She’s a playwright, a newspaper columnist, a blogger, and the recipient of the 2018 Janette Oke Award from Inscribe Christian Writers Fellowship. Terrie and her husband Jon are parents of three adults and grandparents to five boys. They live on the Canadian prairies where her novels are set.

Tell us about your newest book.

War might be raging overseas, but Rose Onishi is on track to fulfill her lifelong goal of becoming a concert pianist. When forced by her government to leave her beloved home in Vancouver and move to the Canadian prairie to work on the Thornes’ sugar beet farm, her dream fades to match the black dirt staining her callused hands. Though the Thorne family is kind, life is unbearably lonely. In hopes that it might win her the chance to play their piano, Rose agrees to write letters to their soldier son.

When Rusty Thorne joins the Canadian Army, he never imagines becoming a Japanese prisoner of war. Inside the camp, the faith his parents instilled is tested like never before. Though he begs God to help him not hate his brutal captors, Rusty can no longer even hear the Japanese language without revulsion. Only his rare letters from home sustain him—especially the brilliant notes from his mother’s charming helper, which the girl signs simply as “Rose.” Will Rusty survive the war only to encounter the Japanese on his own doorstep? Can Rose overcome betrayal and open her heart? Or will the truth destroy the fragile bond their letters created?

What inspired you to write Rose Among Thornes?

For years, I tried to let the idea go. A story about a Japanese Canadian girl relocated from Vancouver to a Manitoba sugar beet farm during World War II was obviously not my story to write. I’m not Japanese. I’m not a history major. I don’t have the experience required to do the copious research. When I realized this fictional girl would start writing letters to the farmer’s son, imprisoned in a Japanese POW camp—I knew for sure the story was not mine to tell. Good fiction must be historically accurate and believable. I’d be in so far over my head, I wouldn’t be able to see the sun. In June of 2018, I learned about a documentary called “Facing Injustice” in which my friend Terry Tully and his mom, Osono, appear. Osono was one of 20,000 Canadians interned during WWII because of her Japanese heritage. God was certainly all over this project and I am so humbled and grateful.

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

Rose Among Thornes is about a young Japanese Canadian girl who is relocated from her home in Vancouver to a Manitoba sugar beet farm during WWII. It’s also about a young Canadian soldier who spends most of the war in a Japanese POW camp, wishing more than anything he was back on his family’s sugar beet farm in Manitoba. And yes, their stories collide.

What genre do you focus on?

Historical Christian fiction. When I first began trying to write a novel, I picked historical because I figured it would be easier to get my characters into trouble with no modern technology to come to their rescue. Turns out there’s nothing easy about historical fiction, but I’ve come to love it—including the copious research. I always learn something new, if not for the current book, for another project.

Why do you write?

God’s given me this gift and I’ll never know what He might do with it if I sit on it. I keep going because I want to see what happens if I don’t give up.

What is the hardest part of being an author?

For me, it’s hammering out that first draft. I’m a pantser, so often just getting down that next scene feels like pulling teeth. Once I’ve got that done and can go back and start editing, I love it.

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

Getting to stay home. I retired two years ago after decades of working outside my home and I love not having to go anywhere besides the pretty office I’ve been able to set up at home.

What’s one thing your readers should know about you?

I’m a Canadian and my novels are set in Canada.

What is your favorite pastime?

Reading, of course. And movies.

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

I have three other historical or split-time novels out: The Silver Suitcase, Maggie’s War, and Bleak Landing. In November, I’m releasing The Last Piece. In 2020, I released a collection of the faith and humor columns I’ve been writing for my hometown newspaper since 2010, called Out of My Mind.

What are you working on now?

My current work in progress is called Even If We Cry. It’s about the British Guest Children who were shipped to Canada during WWII.

Website:  www.terrietodd.blogspot.com

Link to book:  https://www.amazon.com/Rose-Among-Thornes-Terrie-Todd/dp/1645263045/ref=tmm_pap_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=&sr=

Social media links:

Twitter: https://twitter.com/tjtodd2

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/terrie.todd.31/?hl=en

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/12530691.Terrie_Todd

 

 

 

 

Meet author Deb DeArmond

Deb DeArmond is an expert in the fields of communication, relationship and conflict resolution. Her award-winning books focus on topics related to the family and women.

Her newest book, We May Be Done But We’re Not Finished, encourages women 50+ to make the rest of their life the best of their life. Written with 22 guest authors to challenge women to ask the question: “What’s my purpose now?” It’s never too late to start and it’s always too early to quit!

Tell us about your newest book.

It’s all about joining the ranks of the mature middle aged. The nest is empty, professional path established or concluded. It should be an exciting time. We’re free to pursue the possibilities. But it’s a little scary, too. Much of what has defined our lives for the last 30 years is no longer required. Having completed most of what was placed on our plate – raising kids, building careers, driving carpools and Little League, I firmly believe the best may still be ahead.

We May Be Done, But We’re Not Finished challenges women 50+ and older to examine how the rest of their life might be the best of their life. Many may have wondered if they’ve accomplished the purpose for their lives as God intended. Here’s a clue: if you’re still here, the answer is no. Please remember, adventure has no age limit.

What inspired you to write We May Be Done But We’re Not Finished?

It sounds ridiculous, but AARP was stalking me. I began receiving ads for their services like health care and car insurance. First, occasional mail. With each birthday, they stepped it up until I was constantly bombarded. It felt intrusive. I was close to qualifying for their “club” but all of the women in their advertising looked 20 years older than me. I was still very active in the professional world, my community. I wasn’t quite ready for the silver menu at Denny’s, thank you. My friends were experiencing the same “push” into senior society. One reported she’d had an interview for a job that matched her 25 years in the industry. The interviewer was impressed with her resume, but said, “You’re already close to 60; how much longer are you planning to work? Candidly, I could hire two kids straight out of college for what I’d have to pay for your experience. And they’d probably stay 10 years or more.” That did it for me. But many women accept the perception that adventure and growth are a thing of the past. I wrote the book for them.

What genre do you focus on?

My focus has always been Christian Living / non-fiction. Relationships are key to life. Whether in families, with friends, or in a professional environment. I was blessed to witness a strong marriage and great love between my parents. I was only 19 when I married, but we got it right. 46 years later, we are still very much in love and best friends. Not everyone got that deal.

For years people asked me, “How did you get so lucky?” I told them two things: “We live in covenant, not contract. And we work hard to walk together in Christ.”

A frequent response: “You should write a book.” So, the adventure began . . . I focused on in-law relationships and marriage in the first three books. If the enemy can divide the family, he can divide the church. We often fail to see the connection between these two. My most recent books are devotionals that touch on many of the same issues, with a bit of humor on the side in a quick-read format.

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

It starts off with a great burst of single-focused energy. I might be at the computer for 8-10 hours every day the first week or two. My husband says the house could burn down around me during those sessions and I’d not notice at all.

When I realize the frenetic pace is not required, and the writing muse seems to be working along with me, I slow down. I am self-employed as a writing coach and work from home. I can set my own schedule and begin to create some healthy margin for life and family. They know the pattern and t give me grace that first few weeks. Once settled in, I probably write for 25 hours each week. The WIP, a monthly column for a Lifeway magazine, guest blogging – all included.

Why do you write?

It’s a great question. I loved books as a child and became a voracious reader. But I never considered writing until my mid-50’s. And it wasn’t my idea. Three people in my life insisted I was called to write. I thought they were crazy. I built a successful career in the field of Learning and Development, working with companies to help managers become genuine leaders. I loved the work.

But as I said in an earlier response, people encouraged me, sometimes insisting I write. The final moment came when my friend, Eve, challenged me after I’d brushed her comment off once again. “Eve! It’s not what I do.” She nodded and said, “Just because it not what you’ve done, doesn’t me it’s not what God’s asking you to do. I dare you to ask Him.”

That stopped me in my tracks. I asked Him. He responded. So, 10 years later, here we are. Some have asked, “Do you regret you didn’t start earlier?” My answer is always, “No. I had to live all of those years for God to qualify me on the topics I write.” Who wants in-law information from someone who isn’t one? Or marriage advice from one married four years?

What is the hardest part of being an author?

I can’t answer that question, because I’ve not found it hard. Enlightening, exhilarating and occasionally, exhausting. But never hard. I’m a lifelong learner; I love it all. Even the “No thank you” from editors—because my agent extracted feedback from them that helped me improve. I had 11 rejections for my first book, but still it sold within six months of the first submission. The next several were easier.

Perhaps the only item I might note is the isolation that comes with hours at the keyboard. Deadlines can dictate my days and deny me a night with my husband, family, or friends on occasion. I work hard to avoid it, but it happens.

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

This one is easy. Hearing from readers who have connected and thanked me for helping them in a difficult marriage or family relationship. Recently, I received an email entitled, “You Saved My Life.”

At first, I thought it was spam. It wasn’t. It came from a mother-in-law whose sone and daughter-in-law moved away and refused to speak with her because of the way she had treated her son’s wife. She realized after reading the book that she was actually the one to blame. She confessed it to her daughter-in-law and asked for her forgiveness. The young woman was so taken aback, that she acknowledged she too, was partly to blame. They are re-connecting and rebuilding. But it’s on track.

What’s one unusual fact about you?

I grew up in a multi-cultural home. My mom, a midwestern Christ follower. My dad was Jewish, descended from Russian parents who came to America to escape the pogroms. Dad was a first generation American, and though he did was not a religious Jew, he was very proud of his Jewish heritage and culture. We celebrated Christmas and Chanukah, Easter andPassover. I thought it was a great deal as a child! We our boys with a “Christian Bar Mitzvah” and there is always a menorah displayed at the holidays.

What is your favorite pastime?

It’s simple: time with my husband, Ron. We met at 17 and I knew from the first date, he was different. He led me to Christ the night before we graduated from high school. He and I are opposites in many ways, but we joke that together we make one really outstanding person. We knew when we married at 19 that we could only be successful if we buried our life in Him. That’s how we started, and how we plan to finish strong – together. After 45 years, he’s still my favorite human.

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

I do. They include:

Related by Chance, Family by Choice: Transforming Mother-in-Law and Daughter-in-Law Relationships, Kregel Publications

I Choose You Today: 31 Choices to Make Love Last, Abingdon Press

Don’t Go to Bed Angry. Stay Up and Fight!  Abingdon Press

Bumper Sticker Be-Attitudes, a humorous devotional, Elk Lake Publishing

We May Be Done But We’re Not Finished! Making the Rest of Your Life the Best of Your Life, Elk Lake Publishing

Website: Deb DeArmond/Family Matters (www.debdearmond.com)

Link to book: amzn.to/GAQZy

Social media links:

Facebook: facebook.com/AuthorDebDeArmond

Pinterest: pinterest.com/deb_dearmond

LinkedIn: linkedin.com/in/debdearmond

 

 

 

Dark Island’s Singer Castle

Dark Island is the setting for what’s now named Singer Castle—originally called “The Towers— on one of the Thousand Islands in the St. Lawrence River. Frederick Bourne affectionately dubbed it his “hunting lodge.” It’s the only fully completed and existing castles of the Thousand Islands Gilded Age era.

The castle can be toured from Memorial Day to Labor Day, and you can even spend the night there! I’ve toured the castle several times and even spent the night but still haven’t seen it all. While I’ve been all over the world, Singer Castle is still one of the most fascinating places I’ve been to.

Frederick Bourne, a New York resident, self-made millionaire, and the fifth president of the Singer Sewing Machine Company (thus the name “Singer Castle”), bought the seven-acre island and contracted Ernest Flagg, a famous architect of the time, to design the magnificent castle to surprise his wife and children. Flagg chose to design it much like the English castle in Sir Walter Scott’s book, Woodstock, complete with eight fireplaces, eight bathrooms, dungeons, secret passageways, a piazza, a portrait of King Charles II that can be opened to spy on guests, and more.

Construction began in 1903, but to support such a massive stone castle, Bourne bought nearby Oak Island and a plot of land in Canada to bring tons of granite to the island over water and the winter ice to build up the island. Two years later the 28-room, four-story castle was a wonder to behold.

Three towers/turrets, secret panels and passageways, massive stone arches, and the dungeon add mystery to the place. The island also includes three boathouses (one that houses a powerhouse), and an icehouse.

The castle is completely furnished with furnishings, a library full of books, dozens of sewing machines, period dishware, and all kinds of cool stuff from that era, most of which were actually there during the Bournes’ ownership and residence. Medieval weapons and suites of armor complete the castle’s ambiance.

Want to add this to your bucket list? Check out more here: https://www.singercastle.com