Author Interview Author Recommendation

Short and Sweet with Christian Romance author, Teresa Ives Lilly… because Summer needs a Kick-start!


Dear Readers,

Looks good until the wind begins to blow!

I hope you are reading. Reading and relaxing in this run-up to Summer. Calm is what I need, that and some sense of peace. (Always the case as you all know ;^) If you’re in-search-of, or would like to try writing yourself, meet my latest guest.

Take it from here, Teresa.

My name is Teresa Ives Lilly.  I’m so pleased to be part of this newsletter.

We’re pleased to have you. No kidding. With lock downs and strife all around, its even more critical to make connections and get to know what makes others tick. I prefer the truth beneath the stereotypes that too often are anything but. So, tell us, what moves you to write and what do you write?

 My original motivation was basically the sad moments in childhood. 

So writing was a refuge? I get it. I can also relate. Yes, I do write happy things, but the deeper emotions that need expression are what calls the loudest. Tell us more, Teresa. Pull of the metaphorical mask–and the one that may be keeping you oxygen deprived. (Lord knows, I border on panic attacks when forced to wear one.)

I wrote many poems, but when I got older and discovered Janette Oke…. I was ignited to become a Christian writer. 

Inspirational Fiction Pioneer

Life is like that. An unexpected transformation that often takes us where we think we’ll NEVER go. Good for you, Teresa, moving toward what speaks to your soul. What’s on the agenda today? What’s your process?

For books I write now, I just have to see a picture I like, think of a title, or meet someone with a great name. That gets me started.

What lights your sky?

Creatives are like that! And inspiration takes so many forms; a random thought, an archaic word, a wink from an unexpected ally. What moved you to write Carousel of Love? (One of four sweet historical tales featured inside Carousel Dreams available on Amazon!) More importantly, what would you like readers to take away from the experience of your words?

I was trying to think of a subject that I’d never read in a Christian Romance and happened onto the concept of Carousels.  Then as researching I discovered one in a town close to where I met my husband.  From there, it was all just the fun research about the times and the area.  I want readers to feel content with my stories, and hopeful they want to read more.

Contentment is in short supply even when things don’t come across as crazy on the news. Thanks for actively addressing this issue and spreading the love. What’s on the horizon for you? Books? Projects? Whatever? Readers and writers want to know.

I’m currently under contract with Barbour Books for a mystery set called Tea Shoppe Mysteries. I’m also working on a Keepers of the Light book called The Loggers Hope, and a Christmas series called Evergreen Cottage. 

Wow. Sounds like you’re full up on getting the message out. Look for the light, be inspired, hold out for hope. Thank you for sharing your words and wisdom. And, please, thank your award winning co-authors, Cynthia Hickey, Susanne Dietze, and Patty Smith Hall for pulling together to pen this much needed dip into history. Times change but human nature, not so much. It’s critical to remember or else history repeats itself.

Teresa Ives Lilly: a believer who shares… and obviously cares

TERESA IVES LILLY’s ninth grade teacher inspired her writing by allowing her to take a twelve-grade creative writing course during the summer. After that, it has been her passion and dream to write, however until her Salvation in 1986 when she discovered the genre of Christian Romance, Teresa did not even try writing. Since then, she has gone on to write over twenty-five novellas and novels including two published by Barbour Books. Teresa lives in San Antonio, Texas where she and her husband are close to their three grown children and one grandson. Teresa believes God let her be born “at such a time as this” to be able to write and share her stories of faith.

Follow Teresa at   

Join her newsletter and get a free book!

Click here for a sneak peek at the Carousel Dreams collection. But buy the book if you’re eager to read…

Carousel of Love by Teresa Ives Lilly
1910 – Conneaut Lake, Pennsylvania

For Tamara Brand, spending the summer at Expedition Park impersonating her wealthy debutante employee seemed like a dream come true until she meets Blake Conner; just a Carnie who runs the carousel. He seems to be the type of man she would like to get to know better if she weren’t pretending to be someone she isn’t. But, is Blake who he appears to be?

Who knows???

Thank you, dear readers, for being out there and providing us creatives a venue to share, soul search, and empower ourselves and others via the written word. Plumbing the depths of hearts and minds can be a scary thing, but please, do. And share. Comments, suggestions, and varying points of view are so welcome.

Write on!


Meet J.C. Paulson – Strong, Talented, a Main-line Word Master, and a Soul-Sister to the Core.


Long time, no write. I haven’t been blogging. Covid19, family lovelies, personal drama — can’t escape that when you’re living with an ongoing depression diagnosis. There’s so much to get in the way. Like editing late spring releases. LoL.

Covid-19 – not your garden variety virus!

Mercy Nation–Diamond Dogs Bk 3, Caracas Cowboy–Wild Horse Bk 2, and Soul of Valor–a new romantic suspense I’m hoping you’ll really like are all in polish mode. All my Sweet Christian releases are currently on sale at Amazon for .99 cents.


Joanne Paulson

Same goes for J.C. Paulson’s ADAM AND GRACE MYSTERY SERIES. Book 1, Adam’s Witness, and Book 4, Griffin’s Cure, are currently on sale, too. Only .99 cents! If you’re a fan of mainline, secular fiction that reflects a full spectrum of intrigue, romance, and real-time relevant drama, read this series.

The woman behind the words is a pop of cleansing, Canadian sunshine. A light to flood the dark spaces and sweet steel for those times you need it most. So here’s Joanne. In her own words…


What moves you to write and what all do you write, Joanne.

Show, don’t tell!

I’m a journalist by career, and so I write articles and commentary as well as fiction. The injustices and terrible stories I either covered or assigned absolutely inform my novels. However, sermonizing is not always a useful way to change the world, so I’ve tried to write action-packed mysteries with an underlying social message instead of ranting! (Works the same way in Christian Fiction. But then while genres change, human nature remains the same.)

Are you a panster or a plotter. And why?

I’m both, really. I start with a plot, always. I don’t think I could write a novel without knowing the basic stops along the road, as well as the ending. That being said, the story always changes as I go along, so there’s considerable pantsing along the way. (Yeah. No wonder we get each other, Joanne!)

What’s your favorite movie/music? Do you find inspiration in film/music for your writing?

Lord Peter Wimsy – oh, yeah!

I haven’t been inspired by movies or music all that much, but intensely so by some great writers. I’m a huge fan of the great mystery writer Dorothy Sayers, and also would like to be Barbara Kingsolver when I grow up.

If you have a craft bag–what’s in it? And/or if you don’t do crafts, what leisure activity or hobby is sitting there waiting for you? (Or are you on top of it all?)

A “WRITERS” hobby if ever there were!

I’m pathetic hobby-wise. I walk, read, do crossword puzzles, write, walk and read some more. That’s it. Apart from time with friends and family. (God bless you for doing what works, Joanne, and owning it. Your work reflects your focus!)

Do you find family to be a support, a distraction, or an integral element of your writer’s life?

My husband is a truly integral part of my fiction writing. He’s incredibly helpful if I get stuck on a plot line, and makes valuable suggestions. One of my favorite scenes was inspired by his idea. He’s also a BIG help with research! (Good man ;^)

Do you prefer city or country living? Does this impact the settings of your stories, Joanne?

Both! I live in a mid-size Prairie city but dash off to a northern lake whenever possible. I’m also rather surrounded by farm country. All absolutely have an impact on my settings. The lake, for example, is not the setting in Fire Lake but definitely inspired the entire novel.

What’s your favorite time of year and why?

Not winter. Otherwise, bring it on.

What motivated you to write this latest novel? And what would you like readers to take away from the experience of your words?

I wanted to murder a scientist in Griffin’s Cure. I’ve been angry and concerned for some time about the lack of research into, and development of, new life-saving pharmaceuticals. The death of someone who really cared and put his life on the line to change that trajectory hopefully demonstrates the serious health issues facing humanity. It’s being released at a time when the world is seeking a vaccine for a terrible new virus, which was entirely inadvertent, but I hope it also both illuminates and entertains. (Sounds like a powerful plot!)

What’s on the horizon for you? Books? Projects? Whatever?

I’m writing book five right now, which is a historical fiction prequel to the series, based in 1880s Canada. I hope to write the fifth book in the Adam and Grace contemporary series after that. (Oh, goodie. I love historical fiction, too, and family backgrounds. Bet I’m not the only one!)

What writer’s organizations if any have helped you achieve successes in your writing life?

There are some great local organizations that have helped me market my books. I’m also a member of the provincial writer’s guild and many other groups.

Where do you find your heroes?

I find my heroes in real life. Adam, the detective sergeant, is an amalgam of flawed and fabulous men I have known. He fights PTSD every day on the job, but comes home to Grace with focus and love. Grace is a reporter, based less on me and more on the crime reporters I have worked with. She’s tough at work, vulnerable with Adam, has a terrible sense of humour (that’s me, creeping in) and an ethical compass that never wavers. (Well said, Joanne. And lets hear it for the heroes who suffer every day with PTSD yet go on to do the job. No matter what it takes!)

What’s your least favorite character type?

LOL. I like real people. I’m not into fantasy characters of any kind.

What’s your question?

What would you like to tell readers about yourself? Channel Jeopardy and give me the answer and the question. LoL!


This author switched from fact to fiction after a dark time in her life, when the plot of her first book, Adam’s Witness, awakened her at three in the morning. Since then, she has written three more books in the mystery/romantic suspense/social issues series.

That’s me.

And that’s a wrap. Check out our .99 cent deals on Amazon. I hope you find something to inspire you. Entertain you. And take you someplace outside this Coronavirus craziness.

Thanks, Joanne, for so many things, and thank you all, dear readers, for indulging me in sharing. Take care, stay SAFE, and…

Write on!

Author Interview Author Recommendation CARE AND FEEDING OF WRITERS Writing TIPS

Sit-down with Rene Penn; dear friend, soul sister, and a hilariously good writer!


Okay. Rene and I don’t write exactly the same genre. She’s sassy comic romance where I’m trying to be strictly sweet. Trying. She’s flirty with the lines–steamy in places–where I’m firmly drawing some. For a change. Bedroom doors weren’t always shut in my earlier writing ventures, but life brings many changes. Although I could be fooling myself entirely. Done that before. But good buddies, who should always be supported, are there for the reality check.

BEST word score EVER!

And Rene SO gets me. I hope I get her, too. I sure dig her snappy chick-lit vibe and the easy comedy that makes reading her a joy. A believing, practicing Christian, Rene lends a touch of worldly realism to her tales. But in the pursuit of happily-ever-after, her heroes and heroines always try to do the right thing. Tricky business in this maze called life. So while we’re not boxed-set-sisters, Rene and I are absolutely connected where it counts. In spirit. A spirit I’ve come to rely on and feel compelled to share if only to offer my readers encouragement, self-empowerment, and an example of how we all benefit from supporting one other even if our voices aren’t exactly the same.


What moves you to write, Rene, and what ‘all’ do you write? (Interviews are the perfect time to dig for deets! LoL!)

I write fiction, specifically romance, mainly because I love reading it. I get my kicks from writing romantic comedy. I love the humor, the snarky comebacks, and the hilarious situations and interactions. Life can be very serious and full of challenges. Writing and reading rom-com is like a great escape. (No wonder we click!)

One avenue informs the other–so keep those doors open!

I also dabble in screenwriting, because I enjoy writing dialogue. I co-wrote an indie web-series in 2006 and wrote another web-series in 2009. Working in another genre can be a refreshing change that re-energizes the fiction-writing process. (Absolutely true. I hope we can hear more when you come back. You ARE coming back ;^)

Are you  a panster or a plotter, Rene? And why? (What does method bring to your stories?)

The HERO’S JOURNEY. A plotter’s paradise, not a dirty word!

I’m a plotter who likes to veer off into pantser-ville. (YES! YES! YES! I’m not alone!) I don’t want to be so rigid with my outline that I ignore my characters’ instincts. With each story I plot, the characters usually lead me in a new direction as I’m writing Act 3. I follow their lead, and the new direction is a nice surprise for me.

I use the Romancing the Beats to make sure that I hit the right notes and expectations for my romance readers. And I rely on The Emotion Thesaurus to enrich my language. (Those two sources are very helpful in my creative process, too. Hmmm. Looks like we’re sharing some DNA here despite divergent spice levels.)

What’s your favorite movie/music? Do you find inspiration in film/music for your writing?

Funny, flirty, and touching on serious issues with such ease it puts a smile on your heart. Only $1.99 to buy!

Movies are very important for me since I write romantic comedies. I want my readers to feel like they’re watching my stories unfold like a movie. So for every story, I choose a movie for inspiration.

Because whimsical holiday romps are delicious all year round! FREE on #KU

For my book Fake It Til She Makes It, it was The Devil Wears Prada X and My Best Friend’s Wedding. For Santa Bring Me a Ryan, I was inspired by Meet the Parents.

What’s at the bottom of your craft bag? (This is often more telling than a junk drawer!)

I like to make my own jewelry, especially earrings and necklaces. And I have a small 8” x 11” multimedia notebook where I use watercolor painting, crayons, and color pencils. I’m not a good artist at all, (doubt that) but I love creating something that takes 30 – 45 minutes. A quick sense of achievement and gratification is important while working on writing projects that take months or years to complete. (I use vintage pattern crochet bookmarks for this pop of Serotonin. Accomplishment–its where its at!)

Do you find family to be a support, a distraction, or an integral element of your writer’s life?

I’m lucky that husband and parents are extremely supportive. Without my husband, I wouldn’t be able to pursue this writing journey full-time. Some people I know, I thought they wouldn’t read my work—or that they’d look down on the fact that I write romance. But they’ve been a big part of my support system, leaving reviews, spreading the word, and encouraging me to keep writing. (You’re truly blessed, Rene. Thumbs up on that score all the way!)

Do you prefer city or country living? Does this impact the settings of your stories?

And yet–the BURBS can hold their own dangers. LoL. But I hear you about how times change.

I used to prefer city living, big-time. But that’s changed over the last seven or eight years. Now, I prefer the ‘burbs! But my stories are usually set in an urban environment, because that’s how I spent my 20s and early 30s. My holiday novel, Santa Bring Me a Ryan, is mostly set in Montana, because I wanted to capture that kind of cold, scenic setting. I have a personal connection with Missoula, and immediately knew this story needed to be set there.

What’s on the horizon for you? Books? Projects? Whatever?

My next book is called The Celebrity Look-Alike. It’s about a small-town girl who gets the role of her life to become a movie star girlfriend’s look-alike. My goal is to publish it in February/March. (Insider’s tip: This is a fabulous project. An absolute must read when it hits the cyber-shelves.)

Am I sensing a potential plot featuring a “Virtual” Assistant, Rene?

Do you indie-publish or traditionally publish?
I indie-publish, and it has been challenging and gratifying. I like being able to make all of the decisions and having carte blanche on the creative process. But it’s hard when you’re a one-woman show. There are a lot of balls to keep in the air, and I feel like I can’t always juggle them. A virtual assistant is an option that I may consider in the future.

What challenges have you faced?
Ads are a hard nut to crack: How many to run? How often? And for how long? And staying on top of social media is tough, too. It’s hard to balance hey-this-thing-I-saw-was-cool posts with me-me-me posts and buy-my-book posts. I’m still working on the right formula. On my to do list: looking into a social marketing tool like Buffer or HootSuite so I can schedule posts. (Later is also good. I’m trying to get to that–but later seems to be all I can manage. LoL!!)

Now for some soul searching. How should a writer define his or her success, Rene?
I think the measure for success varies for each writer. For some, success may be the act of publishing a book on Amazon–of simply getting a book written and “out there”–and the amount of sales may not be a concern. For others, finding an agent and getting traditionally published is the measure for success. And for indie authors, success may be getting on a bestsellers list like Amazon or generating a certain amount of sales or revenue per month. For each writer, establishing a definition for success is key, especially one that is measurable. It provides a goal, which turns into a game plan, and keeps you moving forward. We just can’t be discouraged if we miss our mark. Being flexible and gentle on ourselves is important–we can’t forget that writing is supposed to be fun! (And if you wonder why I’m keen on passing on the wisdom and wit of Rene Penn, there you have it. THE answer!)

Now for grins and giggles. What’s your favorite animal?

I’m sorry. It’s the dander!

I love dogs, but I’m allergic to most. As a child, I was scared of them. Now, I try to pet all of the dogs in the neighborhood! (I try petting the squirrels. LoL. But getting to know the furry ones is fun, no? I hope your allergies go away.)

What would you do if you won the lotto?

I’d be selfish at first. (Three cheers for honesty!) I’d want to buy a house—my husband and I are house-hunting now since our big move to southern California recently. (Prayers for Rene here. House-hunting–especially after a cross country move is daunting. We need some prayer warriors to engage God’s grace and plead mercy for this darling couple.) I’d also want to help family members with mortgages. Then, it would be nice to start creative writing scholarships at colleges and make large donations to writing centers, YMCAs, rescue animal centers, and cancer treatment centers. (YES! YES! YES!!)


Well, we’re at the end of this interview, people, but the yesses absolutely have it. Thank you Renee. You’re the bomb. A shot of joy and humor fans of rom-com and down-to-earth realists can’t afford to miss. (I’m missing you already since you moved to California. Sniff, sniff.) If you’d like to learn more about my soul sister, here goes:

Amazon Author Page:



Feel free to follow us both. Write us. Comment. Tell us WHAT YOU’D LIKE TO READ. We’d be tickled if you did whether you’re a reader, writer, or both. Interested parties of any persuasion are always welcome as information and a communicated exchange of ideas is where its at.

Write ON!

Author Interview Author Recommendation CARE AND FEEDING OF WRITERS

Sit down with multi-publshed Anne Greene–Boxed-Set Sister #4. The suspense is killing me!

Anne Greene – confirmed panster!

So here we are, finally, getting cozy with the last of my Romancing the Billionaire Boxed-Set Sisters, Anne Greene. (That’s for the year 2019. I’m onboard for Winged Publications MISSletoe Mistakes, another boxed set, due out Christmas 2020. Stay tuned.) For now, it’s spotlight Anne.


What moves you to write, Anne, and what do you write (fiction only? poetry? plays?)

I write Suspense and Mystery and Historical and Historical Romance. Since I was small, as long as I can remember, I’ve written plays and stories. I believe I was born to write. I write for the Lord. (Can’t beat that motivation, and there’s something about feeling that niggle from childhood.)

Pansters, pansters EVERYWHERE with nary a friend to plot. Sniff, sniff!

Are you a panster or a plotter? (Why am I stuck on this question?)

I am a complete panster!

Okay, Sis, it’s official. I’m the solo plotter of Romancing the Billionaire. Still the BEST LITTLE BOXED SET at .99 cents thru December! But tell us more. Inquiring plotters could use a head’s up.) I might start with an intriguing setting, an interesting character, and very occasionally a plot drops into my mind. (I knew it!) I might or might not have a climax in mind and never an ending. But that’s it.

I’m FEELING this!

Once my characters are born, I turn them loose and sit back and watch what they do. It’s like enjoying a movie. This keeps the story spontaneous and fresh. I’ve tried to plot and found that avenue boring. So, I write the way I’ve always written.

If you have a craft bag–what’s in it? And/or if you don’t do crafts, what leisure activity or hobby is sitting there waiting for you? (Or is Anne on top of it all?)

I love doing crafts, but only with a group. I sing in our magnificent two-hundred-person church choir and I paint with oils.

Do you find family to be a support, a distraction, or an integral element of your writer’s life?

Family. A mixed blessing, but a blessing none-the-less. Although I’m partial to kiddos liking your books!

Interesting question. My children love my books as do some of their children. But family is a large part of my life and they come before any book deadlines and as such they are somewhat a distraction. But a loved distraction.

My husband is a huge support. He does the final proof on all my books before I send them to my editor. (Good man. Smart, too!) He designs my website, takes my publicity pictures, and the sweet man frames the cover of each book my publishers have published. My office is lined with pictures of my book covers. (Okay, our next interview will definitely revolve around cloning. LoL!)

What to do when a small town turns BIG?

Do you prefer city or country living? And does this impact the settings of your stories?

I like a town of 150,000. Where I live in McKinney, Texas has grown from 35,000 when we moved here to 200,000 in fifteen years. My lovely town is now too crowded.

Those were the days!

Yes, I’ve written about McKinney in two of my books, Mystery at Dead Broke Ranch – when McKinney was 35,000 and Red is for Rookie, the lst book in my Holly Garden Detective series now that McKinney has grown and become a suburb of Dallas. 

What motivated you to write this latest novel? And what would you like readers to take away from the experience of your words?

Romancing The Billionaire, the title intrigued me when my publishers proposed this anthology. My book is Hatteras Island Mystery. Wedding photographer, Misty Gordon, photographs a man at a late December wedding. He disappears before she can discover his name. Next morning as she walks the beach, she discovers his body floating in the ocean. As Misty summons EMT, the man wakes but has no memory. After he disappears from the hospital, Misty discovers him aboard a million-dollar yacht. As she talks with him, two assassins try to kill them both.

Is this a murder for hire, a revenge killing, or a political assassination? Is the man with no memory a drug dealer, an FBI agent, or a billionaire?

Can Misty solve the mystery before they both end in the morgue? (I’m betting Misty can, but its how that’s hooked me. I love suspense!)

What’s on the horizon for you? Books? Projects? Whatever?

I’m working on a book now titled Trail of Tears. This novel follows the nephew of John Ross, chief of the Cherokees, and what happened to a 1/16 Native American as he traveled the Trail of Tears after having lost his plantation, slaves, and parents to the US Government. Trail of Tears is packed with action, adventure, surprises, and history. The reader will feel as if he had traveled the Trail herself.

What’s your favorite animal—do you have one??? I’m a real animal nut so I have to ask.

My little brown and white Shih Tzu sits at my feet every day as I write. I often insert her picture into my newsletter. I use many pictures in my newsletter so my readers can know me better. If you’d like to join my newsletter, (and catch a glimpse of your furry friend) visit me at and sign up.

Where do you find your heroes?

My dear husband doesn’t like me to call him a hero, but he is one. He served in the Army forty years and retired as a Colonel, Special Forces. I’m sure each of my novel heroes has some of my husband’s fine qualities.

What’s your view on character flaws for heroes/heroines?

I like character flaws. (Me, too!) None of us is perfect and revealing a character flaw, shows the character is human.

What’s your least favorite character type?

I don’t have a least favorite. I love to write villains and heroes. I sometime find my secondary character tries to take over the story, then I use him as hero of his own story. (Wrangling secondary characters can be tricky!)

Get’s MY attention. How about yours?

What would you like to tell readers about yourself? Channel Jeopardy and give me the answer and the question. LoL!

I’d love my readers to stay in touch with me via my newsletter. The letter arrives once a month and is contains pictures of new books, recipes, family photos, some of my oil paintings, and pictures of my workspace as well as my travels. I have giveaways and contests. And you will definitely get to know me better by reading my newsletter!


Well, cool beans! That was fun. Thanks for stopping by, Sis. I appreciate the reveal of the woman behind the suspenseful, historical, romantic tales. And the opportunity to share your works and wit with my readers.

Anne’s books are available at
To contact Anne, visit her at

I’ll be Vegas bound on Monday. A main stop–THE MOB MUSEUM.

I’ll be chillin’ at the Speakeasy. Bet on it!

“The Mob Museum offers a bold and authentic view of organized crime from vintage Las Vegas to the back alleys of American cities and—increasingly—across the borders and networks of the entire world. Explore the real stories and actual events of Mob history through interactive exhibits and one-of-a-kind Mob and law enforcement artifacts found inside our restored 1933 former courthouse and post office building located just minutes from Fremont Street in downtown Las Vegas.”

The perfect place to explore my resident Grinch’s Sicilian roots. And my own bootlegging backstory from Depression Days gone wild.

Read on, people. Enjoy this run up to Christmas. Family. Friends. And…

Write on!

#authorinterview #amreading #romancewriting #Christianfiction #suspensebooks #MOBMUSEUM #recommendedread #inspirational #family #writing #writingcraft #writingbooks

Author Interview Author Recommendation CARE AND FEEDING OF WRITERS

Sydney Winthrop, boxed-set sister #3, discusses the slings and arrows of “supportive” family! Special guest star: Last Light Falling’s Jay Plemons!


All right, guys, the countdown to Christmas is ticking. LOUDLY. It seems that way with deadlines, real or self-imposed, going blizzard in the confines of an otherwise calm headspace.

Imagine this scrolling in your mind when you’re supposed to be sleeping. Pretty menacing, no?

But I’m the nervous type who often imagines things being far worse than they are–could be why I write Romantic Suspense in between sweeter, contemporary romantic offerings like Her Toronto Tycoon! (Mercy Nation: Diamond Dogs Book 3 and a host of other sweet, but deadly romances are on the horizon.)

I’m absolutely not alone, though. My boxed-set sister, the multi-published, prolific Sydney Winthrop is right beside me in the metaphorical trenches. So let’s get to it.

(Warning: This is going to be a quickie. My black sheep family reunion in Vegas–a real nail biter–is under a week away. (That’s a shout out for prayers in case you were wondering. I’d prefer a Merry Christmas instead of headlining the news.) **********************************

1.) So, Sydney, are you a panster or a plotter? And why? (What does method bring to your stories?)

Am I the ONLY plotter?

I am totally a panster. I have a friend who completely outlines her story before she writes a word. One day I asked her, “How did you know who the murderer was?” She looked at me in astonishment and quipped, “How can you NOT?” (Team panster scores – AGAIN!)

My characters speak to me as I go. In Fibers of Freedom, I thought Brutus Keller was the bad guy and figured I’d either kill him off or he’d go to jail! He turned into a good guy, fortunately for Duo of Death and Romance, as he’s one of the billionaires! (I‘m glad this Brutus didn’t get in close for the kill!)

2.) Do you find family to be a support, a distraction, or an integral element of your writer’s life?

Writers may not be Julius Caesar, but naysayers are often those who envy our position and throw their lot in with those who would kill us. If not in truth, then absolutely in spirit! Watch out!

Two days ago, I would have said they were a support. Today, I have to say, they are not all in support. My husband is, unequivocally. So is my mother! (That’s experience talking.)

One of my daughters has voiced the opinion I’d make more money in a real job and should do so. (OUCH!) Well, true. I would make more money. It’s up to us as writers, however, to make writing a real job.

3.) Tell us a little about the method you bring when you sit down ‘not to work.’ My sweet spot for invention is between 2 and 5 in the afternoon. Mornings I edit. Around those times, if writing is a real job to me, I need to update my book bibles. File. Blog. Market. Research. Learn what other authors in my genre are blogging. That is all work related to my job. (And clearly visible to those like your husband, good man, and your dear mother who likely know better what constitutes a real job!)

Does it pay real money? And how long do I continue before I decide I need a real job? That answer is different for each one of us.


Sydney’s kept pretty busy not working! Check it out on Amazon!

No, kidding, Sydney. Self-determination gives rise to GREAT authors, fantastic fiction, and worthwhile experiences. Gray has its place, but not globbed over everything. So, good on ya, Sis, for the amazing display of patience, wisdom, and restraint–qualities that are required in any startup when dealing with those “frenemies” who would get close to better position the knife. (Et Tu, Brute?)

But it’s that time of year. My gift to my readers, my sister Stacey, and to those naysayers who may foolishly believe that real jobs are all about paychecks, are the wise words of Jay Plemons, a very talented author who is seasoned in following where the spirit leads. This charitable soul lifted me up from my own puddle of WHAT when I was splattered by friendly fire only last month. (Out of the mouths of babes.)

Jay’s words: I support you all the way. Never give up a talent that makes you happy. You’re awesome! (Isn’t THAT awesome? Talk about finding your tribe.)

And the message? We’re each tasked with a variety of jobs. One of which is the primary care and feeding of our true selves. Jay’s writing is raw and real. But if you’re keen to explore the edgy depths of a dystopian world to find exactly what faith can do, read him. Meanwhile, Sydney and I will tool the avenues of inspirational romantic suspense–and sweet contemporary–taking readers on our journey of self-discovery, wherever that may lead. A job, yes, but also a joy. Much like my writing and reading family!

I’d like to thank Sydney, Jay, and each and every one of you. Thank you for being yourselves, frenemies included. To discover more about the works of Sydney Winthrop, stop by her author page:

Read more about Jay Plemons at:

Write on!

Author Interview Author Recommendation

#CyberMonday: Get down with a GREAT DEAL and my Boxed-Set-Sister Diane Tatum!


Okay, so you’ve been waiting to hear from the rest of the team behind Romancing the Billionaire: 5 RICH ROMANCES. Far be it from me to keep you waiting. LoL!

I’m thrilled actually, over the moon with this new set and having had the opportunity to work with such obviously talented, dedicated, and productive authors. I’ve never been part of a boxed set before, but I sure like it. (If you’d like to find out what the buzz is about click==>

Now on to meeting Miss Diane!

Pansters, pansters… everywhere!

PLOTTER or PANSTER. Which is it, Diane? I am a total pantser! I write as the Spirit moves me and then save the chapter, paragraph, idea in a file that will at some point join the novel in an appropriate space. I often write the ending before I write the middle of a story. I am moved by story, whether it’s a novel, a movie, or a TV show. As an English professor, I am always intrigued by literary twists and turns, character development, and place. I enjoy writing stories about or set in a specific place. (I’m encouraged by your admission that you “let” the spirit move you, Diane. No more guilt for nurturing those seedlings hiding on my hard drive and inside my file cabinets of which I have three.)

Think CS Lewis indeed.

What was the inspiration for your Romancing the Billionaire whirlwind romance? For Oxford Fairy Tale, the obvious place is Oxford University. My husband and I love to travel as often as we can, particularly to the UK and Europe. Yes, we’ve been to Oxford. One of my former students is currently in Oxford on a Rhodes Scholarship. (WOW!) Think CS Lewis, Lewis Carroll, JRR Tolkien, Narnia, Alice in Wonderland, Harry Potter, and others. Such a rich literary history.

Point of view makes a HUGE difference!

Another interesting thing about Oxford Fairy Tale is the point of view (POV). This novel is my first written entirely in first person POV. It felt strange at first. I started this novel in 2011. When I heard about this boxed set, I knew it was time to finish the book. I asked my editor if my story qualified since my hero is heir to a lordship. She said, “As long as he’s a billionaire.” I said, “Poof! He’s a billionaire.” After all, it is fiction, right? (How liberating. And you’re right, Diana!) I’m SO there. Thanks for encouraging me to join up. I’ve been flirting for quite a while.

As a pantser, you can imagine my desk! (I sure can despite a desperate desire to be on team Plotter. An upstream battle.) Right now, it’s covered in receipts, articles I’ve written for Pub Koinonia on, and skeins of yarn that I need to turn into balls for knitting projects (because my swift and yarn baller are attached to my desk). I guess I buy yarn the same way I write. My oldest son remarked on my stash in his old closet, “Mom, more yarn? You can’t even close the closet doors now!” My response to that is “It’s my retirement fund.” Right now, I’m knitting Christmas projects as well as a brioche shawl and a long vest for me. You can find me, my projects, and my stash on where my username is tatumlight. (Goodness, your son sounds like mine. And so does your desk. Yarn and ALL. Love, love, love it, Diane! And I want a yarn baller!)

So what else are you up to writer wise? Just have to ask. You inspire me! I am working on three novels currently. Yes, three! Gemini Conspiracy is a mystery/suspense sequel to my Kudzu Sculptures. (KS turned into a murder mystery to my surprise! The glory of being a pantser!). Another is the third book in my American history series, Colonial Dream, called A Time to Choose. It’s actually complete, but I’m in the process of editing it. I’m also writing a Christmas novel for a boxed set, MISStletoe Romances, for Christmas 2020. (I’m in that set as well. This boxed set business is shaping up nicely–for writers and readers. Seriously, what’s not to love about sweet deals and increasing your circle of things to enjoy?)


Where else do you gather fuel for your writing life? I am a member of American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW) and Word Weavers. One great benefit of both is critique group. I am a member of ACFW’s Scribes, and I lead an online critique group for Word Weavers. Having this ability to share in critique groups no doubt improves my writing but also provides a support group.

In addition to writing, I also teach dual enrollment Freshman Composition for our community college at our local high school four early mornings a week, 7AM – 8 AM. Then I get the rest of the day to write. (That has to feel great. That is passing on the gift of the written word–there’s nothing like it.)

Smoky mountain GORGEOUS!!!

Tell us something, if you’d like, about your private life. Outside having an observant son who likely gets a chuckle out of your every yarn purchase. (I know mine does despite the chiding ;^) My husband is an aerospace engineer and Bible study leader. My oldest son is a hospital chaplain, is married, has a son, and lives in Texas. My youngest son is a musician & educator, is also married, has three sons, and lives in the DC area. Four delightful grandsons! My husband and I live in Tennessee and recently added a 3-year-old retired racing greyhound named Iggy to our home. He and our 18-year-old Jack Russell tolerate one another.

Well, thank you, Diane. It’s been a pure JOY. No kidding. I’ll be checking out Ravelry. For those who’d like to learn more about Diane, reach out and engage, she’s provided a bounty of opportunities. What else would you expect from a woman who does it all–at the same time?

Diane E. Tatum





Twitter: @DianeTatum


Gold EarringsMission MesquiteColonial Dream: Book 1 A Time to Fight,                            Book 2 A Time to LoveKudzu Sculptures

Oxford Fairy Tale

Tatum’s Themes for Today: Topics and Resources for Youth Bible Study

… and watch for: Colonial Dream: Book 3 A Time to Choose, Book 4 A Time to Create (proposed), and Gemini Conspiracy

Write on!

Author Interview Author Recommendation

Sit-down with Leanna Sain–Romantic Suspense author of HUSH. A work of love out now!

We’re called to be the salt of
the earth!

I am SO on a roll. When it rains, it absolutely does pour. At least it seems that way, but hey, I’m not complaining. The opportunities to meet/work with new authors keep coming and I have to share. The women and the writing are too good to miss!!

Enter award-winning, multi-published Leanna Sain with a giving heart that understands too well the trial of loss. And the need to pay it forward.

What moves you to write, Leanna, and what do you write (Fiction only? Poetry? Plays?) I write romantic suspense because it’s what I like to read. I dabbled in poetry when I was younger, but now it’s suspense with a touch of romance is my go-to genre. I’m attempting a screen play of Hush, but haven’t gotten very far.

TEAM Pants wins again!

Are you a ‘pants-er’ or a ‘plotter’? And why? (What does method bring to your stories?) I’ve always been a “pant-ser.” I generally have a starting point in my mind and a loose ending point, with a few major points I want to hit along the way. I depend on my characters to step up and take the story where it needs to go. When I submitted Hush to my publisher, I thought it would be a stand-alone book. When they told me I needed to start working on a sequel and that they needed a 4-5 page synopsis of the story, I sort of panicked. I’d never done it that way before. My first try was a flop, but they liked the second version. I’m almost finished with the first draft. I think it was easier to get the bare bones of the story, but I’m finding it’s a little harder to flesh it out doing it this way.

Oh, Wolfgang, you inspirational genius!

What’s your favorite movie/music? Do you find inspiration in film/music for your writing? I love to listen to inspirational Christian music and some classical (Mozart, Tchaikovsky, Dvorak.) I have too many favorite movies to name one. I generally go for the rom-coms. I tend to watch DVDs of older TV series (Gilmore Girls, Lost, Friends, Frazier, NCIS…)

Tangles alone are a time sucker!

If you have a craft bag–what’s in it? And/or if you don’t do crafts, what leisure activity or hobby is sitting there waiting for you? (Or are you on top of it all?) I used to do all sorts of crafts: sewing, crocheting, cross-stitch, quilting, spinning wool, tried to learn knitting, but never really got good at it. But I don’t have time for any of that now. All my “spare” time is spent writing.

Do you find family to be a support, a distraction, or an integral element of your writer’s life? My husband is my greatest cheer-leader. He’s also a pretty good editor. (Handy!) He always reads my work and offers suggestions and asks questions about things he doesn’t think really works. I depend on him.

Choices, choices!

Do you prefer city or country living? Does this impact the settings of your stories? “A day in the country is worth a month in town.” This is a saying that I cross-stitched years ago. I have it framed on my wall as I type this. I’m not sure I could write like I do if I lived in town. It doesn’t impact the settings in my stories as much as it affects me. I’m a country girl, through and through. When I have to go to town, I’m counting the seconds until I can get back home to Miracle Hill Farm, the most beautiful place in the western NC mountains.

Tell us about HUSH! Give us the blurb!

She dreams a murder before it happens. A young woman is strangled while her killer sings the words from the lullaby, “Hush, Little Baby.”

Lacey Campbell’s life is full, but not idyllic. As head chef for a chic restaurant and primary caregiver to a mother with Alzheimer’s, she doesn’t have time for the nightmare and at first she tries to deny it. But the next day, she discovers it’s a disturbing reality. When she dreams the second heinous murder she knows it’s time to tell the police.

Detective Ford Jamison is called back to the little coastal town to help with the case and soon notices an alarming trend: the killer is using the lullaby as a “blueprint” to target women who resemble Lacey. This doesn’t slow the killings and now Lacey is afraid to fall asleep at night because the next face she sees in her dream might be her own.

As a hurricane churns ever closer to the little coastal town, danger and suspicion spin out of control. Time is running out. Can they stop the killer before the last verse of the lullaby?

Now that’s one delicious setup, Leanna. I love it when nature coalesces to create conflict. But it’s not just the weather creating the storm in this suspense. What motivated you to write this novel? What would you like readers to take away from the experience of your words?

The idea of having a serial killer use the verses of the lullaby, “Hush, Little Baby” as the blueprint for his killings had already been whirling around in my brain, but I didn’t start writing it until my mother started into the final stages of Alzheimer’s. I was dealing with so many negative emotions from watching this disease kill her that I needed a way to funnel some of it out of me. Writing provided that funnel. I decided to make my main character’s mother have the same disease so she and I could walk this road together. It allowed me to include some of the things Mama said and did in the story. It helped me to have this small element of control when it felt like everything else was out of control. (I’m glad to hear you discovered a means of coping, Leanna. That’s no easy thing. I’m a big proponent of self-empowerment and self-care. We writers, women, and everyone do better for ourselves and our families when we acknowledge our own needs. And do what we can to stay on top of the myriad demands of this journey called life.)

50% of HUSH royalties are pledged to Alzheimer’s Research!

So many people are dealing with a loved one who has this terrible disease. Maybe reading Hush will help them to see how I handled it. I hope so. And since I’m giving half of the royalties I make on this book to Alzheimer’s research, maybe it will provide just what they need to find a cure soon so that others won’t have to go through what my family did. (The world needs more of this, Leanna. Thank you.)

What’s on the horizon for you? Books? Projects? Whatever? I’m working on the sequel to Hush now. The working title is Hoax. Also have thinking about the plot line for the third book of the series, tentatively titled, Harlequin.

What writer’s organizations if any have helped you achieve successes in your writing life? No official organizations. Just two different writer’s groups. I depend on them to give me honest feed-back.  (That last is critical in all aspects of life. I’m glad you’ve found your tribe!)

Thank you, Leanna, for sharing a little of your world with us. Your crafting experience sounds too familiar. As if we’re both a certain “type.” Maybe we writers are more alike than we think. Salt of the earth? Yeah, I’d go there.

Leanna Sain

Leanna Sain, earned her BA from the University of South Carolina before moving back to the NC mountains. She calls Miracle Hill Farm home, but she lives mostly in her imagination. Her Southern suspense or “GRIT-lit,” showcases her plot-driven method that successfully rolls elements of best-selling authors Mary Kay Andrews, Nicholas Sparks, and Jan Karon all together, making it her own. She loves leading discussion groups and book clubs. For more information or to contact her visit:



Website and blog:


Oh, and BUY “HUSH” for only $3.99 at ===> #FREE on #KindleUnlimited

Thanks, guys. I’ll be back soon with more must read authors and inspiring stories. Feel free to follow my humble blog. Comment whenever and however you’d like. I *LOVE* hearing from readers, writers, bloggers–PEOPLE! (I’m fast approaching empty-nest status, so I suspect my need for the latter will be on the rise. Oh, joy!)

Write on!

Author Interview Author Recommendation Writer's Tool Box Writing TIPS

Sit-down with Lana Higginbotham: Get to know the spirit behind the stories

The awesome strength of nature is amazing to behold.

Hey guys. I hope everyone is enjoying the shift in seasons and that nasty weather is on the decline. (We had a corker lightning storm Saturday night. Full on cracking, white light flashing in the wee hours. Lovely. But I’m weird that way.)

Meanwhile, I’m back with another author interview. Why do I do them? Because learning keeps us fresh. And the best way to learn is to glean wisdom from those who have gone before. Those who are doing what we want to do — keep writing. (Reading, too!)

So who is Lana Higginbotham? And why WRITING?

Lana Lynne Higginbotham – well rounded, firmly grounded, and sharing the realities of God and family — the foundation for satisfying romance.

Firstly, I am Lana “Lynne” Higginbotham (Did you all catch that middle name? It’s important, but we’ll get there.) As a Speech-Language Pathologist and a writer/author, I wear two hats. My love of reading led me to writing early. During a terrible bout of scarlet fever at the age ten, my mother encouraged me to use her typewriter to decrease my boredom. It stirred stories, and I wrote, putting poems and stories in a drawer all the way through school. My high school Creative Writing teacher fanned the flames. I also participated in theater and started college in the theater department as a Communications major.

Earning degrees is excellent training for the long haul of continued publication!

However, an unexpected college course touched my heart and led to a change in my major from Communications to Speech Pathology. I married, became a mother, graduated with three degrees: Associate of Arts, Bachelor of Science in Education with a Speech Pathology Major and a Special Education Minor, and a Master of Education in Speech-Language Pathology.

I live with my husband in East Texas. We are empty nesters and proud grandparents. (I’ll bet your granddaughter is pretty proud, too!)

You write romance, but what’s your message, Lana?

We all need guidance at the crossroads!

I have always loved romance, but I believe the best ones must also involve God and family. My characters all face challenging circumstances. None of my heroes and heroines find each other on their own. I want my readers to look for God’s hand during the everyday moments, as well as during the trials, recognizing how He walks us all eternally home.

How does family/work/personal life play a role in your writing?

I treasure my family heritage. It is a legacy of faith and love. My readers can see how important family is to me. I gleaned inspiration for my post Civil War novels from the heritage of my great-grandfather who served as a 3rd lieutenant in the 4th Arkansas Infantry, CSA, but my fictional characters served in the 3rd Arkansas.

Supporting those who support us doesn’t end on the battlefield.

My advocacy for soldiers draws from this lineage and also from growing up during the Vietnam war. I wore an MIA bracelet until it fractured into two pieces. The soldier never returned home and is still listed as missing.

Due to my years as a Speech-Language Pathologist, I also support those who have developmental and physical disabilities. One of my characters has suffered a spinal cord injury.

So what spurred that first book? And do tell about what’s out there for us to buy!

When my daughter entered middle school, I found my pen stirring again. I had continued to write poetry and learned to oil paint throughout my life. And after unearthing the last story I had started in high school, I headed to the library to start the historical research needed for the late 1866 period of my novel. But the winding road of writing prevailed. (Isn’t that always the way? That nagging have-to that isn’t satisfied until the words come out.)

And now. . .


These are my published historical fiction novels under my pen name, Lana Lynne:

Home Always Beckons: A New Sunrise (First Publication 2009; Second Edition 2018); Trails of Change: A New Sunset (First Publication 2010; Second Edition 2018); and Sunbeams at Twilight: A Life’s Echo (First Publication 2012-first printing 2012, second printing 2014, Second Edition 2018). A Compass of Stars in Her Eyes (First Publication 2018) is my newest historical fiction romance.

Whimsy’s world holds treasures. Are YOU ready?

My first contemporary Christian novella is Whimsy Michaels and Her Amazing Room (First publication 2018).

Other writing credits include: A creative nonfiction novel, written with a coauthor: Life Between the Letters: The Chuck and Mary Felder Story (First Publication 2014) by Lana Lynne Higginbotham and Mary K. Felder. Unfortunately, this title is now unavailable due to the closing of my previous publisher. (Amazon, however, seems to have found copies. Pricey, but that’s a matter of perspective.)

The memories and wisdom of the greatest generation must be preserved!

Mary is now in her nineties. She is pleased with the people the story reached. The signings and public appearances/talks we made together following the book’s release satisfied her. The book received all five star reviews while available.

Well worth the read if you want to write!

In the arena of non-fiction, I am delighted to be part of the new collaboration release: Make Your Mark: Writing Tips from the authors of Winged Publications (2018).

Take us through your writing your process.

The characters come to me first. It’s like their names are whispered in my ears. The story premise soon follows and then the research process starts. I love going down that rabbit hole and the many tunnels of libraries, historical societies, newspaper archives, vintage bookstores, and internet searches. The last—internet research—is my least favorite. I’d rather visit the places and research the history of the cities, states, and surrounding areas in person. You don’t know the air, the smells, or people until you do. I’ve written from an outline and also without one, letting the story unfold on its own. Both have merits, but each story is different.

Whimsy Michaels and Her Amazing Room is my only novella. This contemporary story took me by surprise. I could feel the Lord’s leading on every page.

What has your writing journey taught you about yourself? I am a patriotic American girl with deep roots. God, family, and Country are my core. (Amen!)

Realize your worth, ladies!

What would you like other women to know/learn?

Their value. I think this really shows in all of my heroines, but especially in the characters of Hallie in Sunbeams at Twilight and Mina in A Compass of Stars in Your Eyes.

What’s next on your horizon?

My current WIP is set in the late 1930s and 1940s. It is a fictional story based on some of a family member’s real childhood escapades.(The family member wishes to remain anonymous.) I love Mark Twain’s adventure stories. I hope to honor this story-style. Due to burning the candle at both ends, I’ve taken a short break to care for family and myself. So, finishing it has slowed a bit. My critique group members were enjoying it, but understood when I took a break.

Sometimes a slow-down is what’s needed to keep that smile bright!

My husband and I continue to work. I am a SLP at an outpatient pediatric clinic. He teaches high school speech/theater/radio and also acts in the professional Texas Shakespeare Festival during the summers. We love time with our granddaughter and our second grandchild is due in June.

What would you recommend to new writers/established writers?

Don’t try to write like everyone else. You do need the input from critique groups, writing groups, conferences, and editors to hone your craft, but keep your individual voice. No one else can write your story the way you do.

Where can reader’s best connect with you? Social media, etc.

I am on FB-personal page and an author’s page, Twitter, Instagram, Goodreads, Amazon Author page, and Pinterest. (Translated: Lana is EVERYWHERE ;^)

Check out my website: for links to my social media pages and other information about my books.


So there you have it. Another sit-down to tuck away and review whenever the writing journey gets you down. Thank YOU, Lana. And thank you readers. Don’t forget Lana’s sweet spirit-fused romances that will fuel your creative muse when she needs a rest. (What’s summer without a great books?)

Write on!

Author Interview Author Recommendation

Sit-Down with J. Carol Nemeth: Winged Publications’ Romantic Suspense Powerhouse


Do you ever wonder about the person behind the prose? What is it that makes words sing, moving you to turn pages?

Pens don’t write; people do!

I do. That’s why I enjoy getting to know the force behind the proverbial pens. No matter how advanced technology becomes, there’s no bypassing the root cause of good stories. Seasoned authors with diverse backgrounds and a clear life lens cut to the heart of what stirs us. Making us laugh, love, long for happier times, or embrace God’s gift of today by taking us on a suspense ride best lived in a book.

J. Carol Nemeth is one of these people, a master of living whose on the job training comes through with every word she writes. Yes, we’re discussing books, but today’s focus is the bookmaker. You may just discover a kindred soul who speaks to your spirit because she expresses shared experiences — and struggles — so well.

Give us a short bio. Who is Carol Nemeth? And why WRITING?

Religious roots make for a sound foundation.

The daughter of an old-fashioned Baptist preacher and a native North Carolinian, I’ve always loved reading. My grandmother was a school teacher and she would always give us Scholastic books for our birthdays and Christmas without fail. (Scholastic was my lifeline, too!) I’ve enjoyed making up stories ever since junior high school, most set in the places I’ve lived in or traveled to. I worked in the National Park Service as a Park Aid after college, and I served in the US Army. I was stationed in Italy where I had the opportunity to travel to over thirteen countries. (A lot of fodder for stories, huh? Perhaps I’ll get there eventually.)

Answering the call can have unexpected benefits!

I met the love of my life and best friend, Mark Nemeth, also an Army veteran, while we were stationed in Italy. After we married, we lived in various locations, including North Yorkshire, England where our daughter was born. We now live in West Virginia. In our spare time, we enjoy RVing, sightseeing, researching for my books and are active in our church. We have two grown children, a son, Matt, who serves in the Army Special Forces and a daughter, Jennifer, her husband Flint, who serves in the Air Force, and three grandchildren, Martin, Ava and Gage. Our four-footed kid, Holly – a black lab- is pretty special too. She loves traveling in our RV, and when it’s time to pack up and go, you’ll find Holly waiting inside for us to head out.

Watch what you read — it shapes your tastes, talents, and aspirations.

Why writing? As a young teen, like so many other girls my age, I used to devour Grace Livingston Hill’s book. They were the original clean Christian read. (A classic combo that never goes out of style!) My mother didn’t have to worry about what I was reading with them. I decided back then if Grace could do it, so could I. And I set out to write. It was a long, long journey, but by the grace of God, I was finally published.

You write romance, but what’s your message, Carol?

I actually write more than romance. I write romantic suspense with a faith message. (Of course ;^) It was by God’s grace that I became a Christian and it’s by God’s grace that I was published. I can do nothing on my own. It’s ALL by His grace. I want my writing to reflect Him. When I write, I pray that He’ll give me the words that HE wants me to write and that the story will be what HE will have it to be. More of Him and less of me. If I try to do this on my own, it’ll become one big mess.

How does family/work/personal life show up in your writing?

Keeping it in the family can be extra fun–and beautiful, absolutely.

Well, I don’t work outside my home anymore, but there are a couple small ways family does appear in my books. In A Beacon of Love, the sheriff and his sister are named after my oldest grandson Martin (age seven) and his sister Ava (age 5). That’s the prequel to Ocean of Fear, my newest release that just came out in early March. The hero in that book is named Gage after my youngest grandson (age two). I’ve also immortalized a couple of our dogs. One we just had to put down because she had cancer. She was 14 years old. Haley can be found in Canyon of Death. If you’re related to me or are one of our pets, you’ll eventually end up in one of my books. But the biggest claim to fame is my daughter’s picture on the cover of Canyon of Death wearing my old National Park Service uniform. She’s beautiful. But I may be a little biased.

Give us a quick rundown of your body of work.

Because I used to work in the National Park Service and absolutely loved it, I wanted to write a series with a book from various parks, the Faith in the Parks series. I’ve published the first three books and I’m starting the fourth. There will be five in the series.

A debut of a writer’s dreams, but the journey doesn’t end here!

My debut novel is a stand-alone. Yorkshire Lass takes place in England at the end of WWI. It’s also a full-length romantic suspense novel. I’ve written two novellas which are historical romantic-suspense, both prequels to novels in the Faith in the Parks series. Dedication to Love is the prequel to Mountain of Peril and A Beacon of Love is the prequel to Ocean of Fear.

An EXCELLENT deal. And the perfect intro to Winged Publications diverse talent linked by love and appreciation of the great outdoors!

Both of these novellas also appear in collections that our publisher put together. Wilderness Weddings and Prohibition Hearts. I’m also writing a short story series entitled Peaceful Valley Wounded Soldier Series that honors our wounded veterans. This series is dedicated to my son and son-in-law as well as all the men and women, both past, present who have served our country in the military. I’m writing the 4th in this series now. (Sounds like a must read!) All of these full-length novels, novellas and short stories can be found and purchased on Amazon.

Take us through your writing your process.

A confirmed panster with some decided exceptions. Sounds like life!

My writing process is probably different from most writers. At any given time, I can go from being the only one living in my house to having a house full. It obviously affects how I write, and when things in the household change, I have to change with it. One thing that never changes is that I’m always a pantser. Never a plotter.

Getting to know your characters and what drives them is a MUST!

Having said that, I do jot down notes as ideas come to mind. But I never make an outline. However, I always make a detailed character sheet for each of my characters. It lists not only the character’s physical attributes, but their physiological attributes as well. What makes them tick? Their likes and dislikes. Their strengths and weaknesses. Their backstory. These character sheets are kept in an electronic folder on my desktop. I want to know these characters well, inside and out. I always have the folder available for reference when I need it.

Talk about your majestic settings!

I do a lot of gathering of research materials and do some research before I begin writing. Then I do research as I’m writing. I try to travel to the place I’m writing about if at all possible. The next story in the Faith in the Parks series will take place in Denali National Park in Alaska. I visited there last summer while I was still writing Ocean of Fear. I was gathering research material. I plan to go back in June of this year. Only this time, I’m writing the new story.

The biggest most important key to my writing? Prayer.

What has your writing journey taught you about yourself?

The truth never changes and it does a writer well to remember that when seeking to be His instrument.

That after publishing six books, I’m the same as I was after publishing my debut novel. Yes, I’ve learned a lot about writing, and my readers have told me my newer books are better than my early ones. (I hope so. That’s the goal of every author.) But I still depend on the Lord to help me get up in the morning, to help me write, to help me market, to help me edit, to help me be what He would have me be. I need Him every day, no matter what. That never changes

What’s next on your horizon?

What’s next on my horizon? The two upcoming books in the Faith in the Parks series. They will take place in Denali National Park (no title yet) and Gettysburg National Battlefield, title – Battlefield of Deceit. I’m excited about both of these books. (Me, too!)

What a view. Sign me up!

As for a personal adventure, I’d say my upcoming trip to Alaska in June. My husband and I are looking forward to that for sure. Last year we camped on the Arctic Circle. Wonder what amazing thing we’ll do this time? And the research part of the trip is going to be awesome.

Do you have a favorite recipe? Inquiring minds are often closely connected to their taste buds and other places that enjoy being filled up!!

I do have a favorite recipe I’ll be happy to share. I take it to church quite often. I even get a marriage proposal from one of the fellows at church. I keep telling him it would be easier if I just give his wife the recipe.

Peanut Butter Apple Dessert

1 ½ cups graham cracker crumbs (about 24 squares)

½ cup packed brown sugar

½ plus 1/3 cup peanut butter, divided

¼ cup butter or margarine, melted

1 package (8 oz) cream cheese, softened

¾ cup sugar

1 carton (16 0z) frozen whipped topping, thawed

2 cans (21 oz each) apple pie filling

¾ cup confectioners’ sugar

1 tsp ground cinnamon

In a bowl, combine the cracker crumbs, brown sugar, ½ cup peanut butter & butter; spoon half into a 3-qt. baking dish. In a mixing bowl, beat cream cheese and sugar until smooth; fold in whipped topping. Spread half over crumb mixture in dish. Top with one can of pie filling. Combine confectioners’ sugar, cinnamon and remaining peanut butter until crumbly; sprinkle half over pie filling. Repeat layers. Refrigerate until serving. Yield about 20 servings.

What would you recommend to new writers/established writers? (Outside chowing down on that delicious desert?)

I don’t think I could recommend anything to established writers, but I have something to tell new writers who have never been published. Never, ever give up. (I’d say this applies to established writers, too, as we all experience seasons of doubt and new challenges.) It took me over twenty-six years to publish my debut novel and with a lot of rejections. I would get discouraged, put it away, and ask God what he was doing. Did He want me to write? Was this His plan or not? What did He want me to do? I tried again with one publishing house and they asked me to rewrite and send it in, then they told me they didn’t want it. Until you get it in writing, don’t do it. (This is pure GOLD!) That’s how it’s published now, although I would have preferred it the original way. My advice? Never give up. Yes, you’ll get discouraged, but don’t give up no matter what.

Patience, patience, patience. Success can be elusive, but well worth the effort no matter how thorny the path may appear.

My pastor jokingly told me that I labored longer than Jacob did for Rachel. In reality I suppose he’s right. But as difficult as it was in all those years to see what God was doing and to understand why He was doing it, I did learn one thing. Our time is not God’s time. And although we can’t understand why He’s doing things the way He is, we have to acknowledge that He see’s the big picture while we only see one small step at a time. I was homeschooling my kids at the time, and although there are a lot of homeschooling moms out there who write and publish novels at the same time, perhaps I wasn’t one of them. (Hmm. No wonder Carol and I click, one retired homeschooling headmistress to another. But managing kiddos, classes, family life, and multiple cross-country moves, I couldn’t do it all either. Not at the same time.) Who knows? I probably won’t know until I get to heaven and all the answers to my life’s questions are revealed. But one thing I do know beyond a shadow of a doubt. I can trust that He knows what He’s doing and He’s doing it at the right time. So can you.

Where can reader’s best connect with you?

Carol Nemeth: Keeping it real, balanced, and under the guidance of He who knows us best!

I’m on Facebook the most, I suppose, but drop me an email if you like. Here are my social media links:




Twitter: @nemeth_jcarol




So there we are. Carol Nemeth is one experienced gal who knows what shifting priories can do to a career. She gets it. Nobody can do it all by himself. But waiting on dreams–letting them steep and deepen–is often the fertilizer that makes them come to perfect fruit. Because God is always there, ready, willing and ABLE to lift us up in His time. Perfectly!

I’m so glad to have had the opportunity to get to know Carol better. I hope you all feel the same. Explore her growing body of work – just one click away at Amazon. Read on and…

Write on!

Author Interview Author Recommendation

Sherri Stewart: The Wrong Suitcase

At home or abroad
don’t forget

Are you ready for summer? A break from winter wet and cold? Do you want an extension of that too-short spring break? I do. Five days in Arizona visiting my Melanie was NOT enough. (The sun took a vacation and left us both with blustery winds that kept us indoors.) But whatever your plans for future getaways– staycations can be the most relaxing–make sure you take The Wrong Suitcase. Not your neighbor’s personal items, but a run-for-your-life romantic suspense by the amazing multi-talented, Sherri Stewart.

Who is this former lawyer turned author? Read on to find out, then hie thee hither to Amazon for a better-than-sunscreen must have. The Wrong Suitcase awaits, along with a growing list of blood pumping faith-based romantic suspense and historical romance to fuel any getaway. Or maybe tempt you through those morning meetings for a sneak read at lunch!

Give us a short bio, Sherri. Who is Sherri Stewart? And why WRITING?

It’s a bird, a chameleon, it’s
Sherri Stewart–ever ready to embrace a changing road.

Who am I? Hmm. Always changing like a chameleon. I’m a dabbler. God has allowed me to do things for short periods of time. That’s why my pension is so small. I’ve taught French, Biology, and Chaucer. I’ve been a flight attendant, an immigration attorney, a principal, and now a writer. All of my life experiences have informed my writing.

You write romance, but what’s your message?

I write romantic suspense and historical romance, not just romance because it’s the impact of issues of an historical nature or the unseen dangers that either drives the couple together or apart. (Touché and well said!)

How does family play a role in your work?

There’s nothing like a supportive spouse. Way to go, Bobby!!

My husband worked for various National Hockey League teams as an equipment manager, which meant he was on the road all the time between September and May (or June if we did well in the playoffs), so we were not the typical family. Many sports wives become resentful because life falls on their shoulders, but Bobby always encouraged me to follow my dreams, and he still does.

Give us a quick rundown of your body of work.

Whew! My first novel, Come out of Hiding , and third, A Well-founded Fear of Death Awere borne out of cases I’d worked on as an immigration attorney that didn’t go well. I was able to fix them in fiction. I always thought legal suspense would be my genre, but then when I tried my hand at romantic suspense and historical, I enjoyed writing them. I think I’ve written four novels and eight or nine novellas.

Take us through your writing your process.

Oh, darn, another research trip ;^)

I LOVE RESEARCH!!!! My latest book, The Wrong Suitcase, took me to Israel, which was my trip of a lifetime. My present book is about Corrie ten Boom, which hopefully will take me to the Netherlands if I can find the money. I’m a pantser, which means that I have a skeleton idea of the story, but then the book takes the lead and I follow along. My characters are based on people I know or people I’ve enjoyed. I loved Gilmore Girls, so Liar, Liar, Pants on Fire is based on Lorelei and Luke.

What has your writing journey taught you about yourself?

I’ve learned to take criticism and not compare myself with others. When you write, you have to subject your books to critiquing, and that means not everyone will adore your baby. Some books make it, but many good and worthy books don’t, so we have to be thankful for what God gives us.

What would you like other women to know/learn?

No shallow pools in a Stewart novel, but the light plumbs the depths. And that makes for good reading!

That God is in control of our journey, even when things seem out of control. Our experiences allow us to write with more depth, more layers, than if we didn’t have to struggle. I am not a fan of books that have pretty girls and handsome men that find each other. I find them shallow. I like gritty characters with trust issues, with forgiveness issues, with guilt issues.  (Real people. Me, too!)

What’s next on your horizon?

I’m working on my Corrie ten Boom book. It’s about a young Jewish soprano with the Harlaam opera, who must go into hiding from the Nazis. Corrie ten Boom finds her and takes her and her boyfriend, Daniel, in. I’d like to visit Corrie’s house in the Netherlands. I’m also starting to run again (I had a knee replacement in November). I also have a copy editing business that keeps me busy. (Ouch and ouch. A knee replacement is likely in my future, too, but not the copy editing business. How do you do it all??)

What would you recommend to new writers/established writers?

No one can write in a vacuum. Join a local or online critiquing group. Word Weavers International changed my life. But there are many others. ACFW is a good source. You learn things you never thought you needed to learn. I speak from experience. (You sure do!)

Where can reader’s best connect with you? Social media, etc.

Amazon Author Page







So, now you know. Sherri is a author to watch — and READ. If you’re tooling around Amazon, be sure to check out her novellas, too. And the other fantastic Forget Me Not Romances authors brought to you by Winged Publications. Suspenseful, historic, and sweet romantic getaways are just a click away ====>

Write on!