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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!

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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.

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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 www.AnneGreeneAuthor.com 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!

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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 www.AnneGreeneAuthor.com.
To contact Anne, visit her at www.facebook.com/AnneWGreeneAuthor.

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

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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!

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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.

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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:

http://bit.ly/SYDNEYWINTHROP

Read more about Jay Plemons at:

https://www.lastlightfalling.com/

Write on!

Categories
Author Interview Author Recommendation Cover Reveals

Romancing the Billionaire- Boxed Set Sisters. Meet Stephanie Guerrero!

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The Holiday Season is a time for family. But family can come in many forms. Friends, coworkers, those with whom we commiserate as we navigate self-check out at Walmart. The grocery clerks may not know my name, but they recognize and indulge my bumbling on sometimes a daily basis.

But I sure don’t want to bumble when it comes to introducing my boxed set sisters who contributed to Romancing the Billionaire. Still the BEST DEAL for clean, compelling Billionaire romance. (Call me bias. I’ll own it. But then confirmation is ONLY a click away===> http://bit.ly/ROMANCINGTHEBILLIONAIRE )

So here we go. Meet Stephanie Guerrero–talented, terrifically prolific, and finer than wine in delivering great, inspirational romance with royalty and billionaires to boot. You’ll find her latest, The Billionaire’s Unexpected Assistant inside the set. But let’s dig a little deeper and maybe you’ll get to love the woman behind the words!

There’s a lesson in every story!

What all do you to write, Stephanie, and why?  I currently write Christian fiction of many varieties: historical, romance, suspense. I have written a couple of Bible studies for an online Bible study group in the past, but I love fiction! Jesus often taught using stories or illustrations. I find that I learn a lot from Christian fiction. I can learn and relax at the same time! I LOVE to share the truths of the Gospel in a happily ever after setting!

Whatever works!

2. Are you a plotter or a pantser? And why?   (What does method bring to your stories?) I will say that for life reasons, I am a total pantser (as in fly by the seat of your… ) I wear many hats. I am the children’s minister at my church; I teach 7th grade. I write, I’m a pastor’s wife who mentors and leads women, and I write. Sometimes, I just get 20 min. to write. At my core, I am an organized person who gets bored easily, so sitting down to write when I have time is my mental outlet.  🙂 When I have time, I like to plan a bit more. However, I find that the books I write spontaneously keep my readers guessing! Do you know why? Because, when I write spontaneously, even I don’t know the direction the story will take. I’ve often surprised myself! 🙂

You got me at the moody font!

3. What’s your favorite movie/music? Do you find inspiration in film or music for your writing? Great question! I love Superhero or Hallmark movies! I love Christian pop or rock, Broadway musicals, or Disney soundtracks! My Shades of the Orient and Shades of Redemption novels both drew inspiration from music.

My lotus never grew like that!

The Shades of the Orient from a Steven Curtis Chapman song called “Bring It On”. Shades of Redemption drew inspiration from a Colton Dixon song entitled “Back to Life”. I will add that I drew a bit of inspiration as far as character personality types from “Iron Man” Think Christian brilliant Tony Stark and supportive Pepper Pots.  🙂

Now THAT’S a hobby!

4. Do you have a craft bag– what’s in it or what’s waiting for you to finish it? I LOVE crafts. I’ve been so busy with everything this year that I’m just trying to get back into hobbies. (I need something hands on to get out of my brain on occasion!) I currently am attempting to renovate my great-grandfather’s old desk, and have a bunch of stained glass supplies waiting for me to grab a moment!

Clean, sweet-smelling stacks of freshly folded laundry. The language of LOVE!

5. Do you find family to be a support, a distraction, or an integral part of your writer’s life? ALL of the ABOVE! My family, my husband and mom in particular, are extremely supportive in my writing! God told me when I first started on this journey that my family comes first. A couple of great, successful authors have mentored me and told me the same. You would know their names. During this last book, I was squeezed for time, the laundry and ministry items were backing up, and I was typing furiously. But… I stopped, got up, set the book aside, and proceeded to get a bunch of laundry done. One of my older kids came home, saw the laundry folded on his bed and came to give me a hug as I was furiously typing again. He leaned over and whispered, “Mom, I know your busy. I would have done the laundry for you.” I am blessed… (I changed the main hero’s name to a variation of that son’s name, and he doesn’t even know it yet.)

6. What’s your favorite time of year?I love the fall! Cozying up to my man, a warm fire with cocoa and a book are amazing! (We get that visual, Stephanie. Lucky you!)

Happy trails are what you make them!

7. What’s on the horizon for you? Books? Projects? Whatever? I’m looking forward to tinkering on my stained glass and desk project over the holidays. I’m excited to continue with a couple more billionaire books! This last year I wrote books encompassing tough historical moments, two novels that aside from name changes are basically autobiographies on my own romance, so writing “clean billionaire romance” has been a lot of fun! (although everything I write is “happy ever after!)

Stephanie Guerrero


Thank you so much for the opportunity to share! I love to hear from readers via: Facebook ~ Stephanie Guerrero (author), follow me on https://shadesoftheorient.wordpress.com/2019/11/15/fiction-fridays/or check out my Amazon Page at:Stephanie Guerrero

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Author Interview

Sit-down with Shaen Layle: Debut author of Waves of Doubt!

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Hey, hey faithful followers and newcomers. Today’s treat is an interview with debut cozy mystery writer, Shaen Layle.

Shaen Layle-A Writer to Watch

This Missouri wife and working mom—staying home with your kiddos is a full time job even without writing—was not born out of the foam ala Aphrodite. Her upcoming release of Waves of Doubt, Book 22 in Guideposts Mysteries of Martha’s Vineyard is the result of daily dedication, holding tightly to a dream, and making the most of those windows God likes to leave open.

Teamed up with suspense powerhouse, Nancy Mehl, Shaen is going for the gold. Or should that be the pink? The Cadillac on her first cover is to-die-for.

Someone better save the caddie!

So take a moment and get inspired by Shaen’s journey to the land of the published. And please do glean insights about necessary helpers—Robot Mop, Trello, Skype, FaceTime, family, friends, and the wonders of a work-with-you husband.  A definite plus around the house!

1)  Tell your journey from reader to writer to published author.

My earliest memories are of storytelling- creating fairytale-like puppet shows for my parents behind the backdrop of a huge, green velvet armchair-, and then as soon as I learned to formally read and write, consuming and creating just went hand in hand for me. I wrote my first novel- inspired by Janette Oke’s books!- when I was a teen, and then after high school, went on to get a B.F.A. in Creative Writing and a Masters in Library Science. I burned out really badly with writing in college, though, and didn’t write very much for most of my twenties. After the birth of my first child, I realized I had to make room for the writing dream or I might never pursue it. I began writing and editing full drafts of manuscripts, and in 2018, received an opportunity to collaborate with my mother-in-law, suspense author, Nancy Mehl, on a Guideposts continuity series. Waves of Doubt releases in January 2019.

2)   Do you have a muse? Tell us about it. (Where do you draw inspiration?)

Writing has always been an act of worship for me (much as Eric Liddell’s running was for him), so it makes sense that I draw inspiration from the original Creator, God. I think when you’re a writer, you’re just looking at the world through that creative lens all the time, cataloging juicy bits of dialogue you hear or interestingly-dressed people you see while walking down the street. I love to read Lisel Mueller’s poetry or Tosca Lee’s fiction to get my creative juices flowing. Writing critique groups can be a great encouragement, too, and help to keep that fire of inspiration lit and stoked. 

3)   Take us through a typical work day

I love planning, so I have notebooks full of routines and schedules for what the perfect day would look like. Things don’t often go according to plan, though. On an ideal day, I’m up at 5:30 AM, getting myself and my two boys ready for the day, then either taking my oldest to school (brainstorming story ideas along the way) or cleaning house and running errands. My “work time” is when I put my youngest down for a nap. My husband and I try to get the boys to bed fairly early so we can have some time to either work independently or on our collaborative creativity podcast. (YES, Shaen does podcasts, too!) I read for my reading challenge group a little bit every night. A lot of times, it’s cramming stuff in where it fits, though. If anybody’s interested in more details, I have posts outlining my reading and writing routines on my blog at http://www.shaenlayle.com. 

4)  Any scheduling tips for mom/wife/working writers?

I don’t think there’s any one golden formula! I’ve tried a bunch of different stuff. I think you need to outsource what you can. This summer, we had a babysitter come in one day a week for six hours, and I just worked like crazy while she played with the boys. I don’t have her help this fall, but my husband watches the boys on Saturday mornings so that I can work a little. I also bought a robot mop, and that’s been pretty helpful (Three Cheers for Robot Mop!)

The hardest part of balancing everything has been fitting in the platform side of being a writer. I could work writing in through the week and do pretty well, but when you add social media, blog posts, giveaways, etc. into the mix, it gets out of control. I recently switched some of my planning from paper to virtual and am LOVING Trello—(Shout out for those who need a PA)—for organizing my writing tasks. I have a board for all the different aspects of writer life: writing, editing, my critique group, my reading group, social media, my blog, etc. Then I can slap due dates on the prioritized items and color-code all the tasks that are due for the next three weeks. I use red for the tasks that are due in the current week, yellow for the ones due next week, and green for the ones due the following week. That way, I can see at a glance what I have to do immediately and what can wait. Otherwise, I get overwhelmed thinking about all the things, and my brain goes into meltdown mode!

5)    A quick rundown of your “call” story. When you knew you’d be in print.

I had kind of an unusual “call” story. I’ve been writing for a long time and have attended conferences where I networked with agents and editors the traditional way, but in this case, I was actually brought in to write the story for Guideposts via reference. My mother-in-law writes suspense for Bethany House, as well as cozy mysteries with Guideposts and Annie’s Attic, and this summer, she was under multiple deadlines. She checked with her editors at Guideposts to see if she could bring in some outside help on her next book with them. Since she needed to streamline her workload and I was interested in writing professionally, it seemed like a win-win to collaborate. Thankfully, the wonderful team at Guideposts was incredibly accommodating and took a chance on me. After the final edits went through this fall, I knew that the book was really happening and am so very excited.

This contract is happening!

The story I co-wrote with Nancy is called Waves of Doubt, and it’s a cozy mystery in the Mysteries of Martha’s Vineyard series. The series is a continuity-based one, so the book we have coming out soon is book 22 out of 25. All of the books in the series can be read as a stand-alone (each novel is a self-contained mystery), but there are some plot points, such as Priscilla’s romance with Coast Guard captain, Gerald O’Bannon, that span the course of the whole series. All of the other books in the series are delightful and written by different veteran Christian fiction authors, so I’d highly recommend picking them up if you get a chance.

Here’s the back cover copy for Waves of Doubt:

Prickly Virginia Lawrence, a preeminent scholar of Vineyard history, is also a notorious recluse. Therefore, the island is abuzz when Priscilla manages to book a library lecture with the local eccentric. However, on the evening of the event, Virginia is a no-show and nowhere to be found, and the valuable museum artifacts in her possession are now missing as well. As Priscilla delves into the mystery of Virginia’s ill-timed disappearance, a seemingly unrelated puzzle emerges. Could a rash of random cemetery plunderings somehow be connected to the missing historian?

As pressure builds to find Virginia and the missing priceless artifacts, she begins to doubt her own instincts- especially when she spies Gerald having mysterious dinner meetings with a lovely blond-haired woman.

6)   Team writing. Give us tips for collaboration

I’d suggest having a mix of face-to-face meetings and virtual collaboration. You could always interpret face-to-face loosely, meeting via Skype or FaceTime instead of being in the same geographic location. Nancy and I researched and gathered ideas individually, then had a brainstorming session together to hammer out a rough outline of the book. After that, we alternated writing chapters and refining the outline until we had a rough draft. Then I did light edits, and she did content edits for the first revision. We met together to talk through and do final edits as a team before handing in the book. Also, embrace flexibility! One of the tough things about collaboration is that you can’t be too much of a control freak, but really, that’s sort of a benefit, too!

7)   What have you learned by writing with Nancy?Maybe it’s because Nancy and I get along together so well (she’s not just my mother-in-law; we’re friends, too, and often meet up for girls’ days where we eat fancy food and have Dr. Who marathons), but I would say don’t be afraid of collaboration! For me, the whole experience was so much more manageable than if I had been carrying the load entirely on my own, and I think she would agree with that. And also, that collaboration can be tremendously energizing. I saw it as this fun challenge, almost like a game, when Nancy would hand me a chapter she’d just written with a great twist of a cliffhanger, and then I’d try to up the stakes in my next chapter. It was a lot of fun.

8)   What have you learned about yourself in this collaboration

When it comes to how I work, I am definitely a “plotter”- somebody who plans and outlines-, versus a “pantser”- somebody who comes up with plot points more organically. Nancy is definitely more spontaneous with her storytelling than I am with mine, and that threw me for a loop a few times! By the end of our collaboration, though, I learned just how valuable it is to not script your story too tightly. I need to leave some room open for spontaneity, and my creative process will be the better for it. For example, that gorgeous pink Cadillac on the cover of Waves of Doubt? That car was a spur-of-the-moment creation of Nancy’s, and it wound up driving (pun not intended) our story forward.

9)   What do you plan to write next?

Nancy and I are working on another cozy mystery together right now; this one will be book 10 in Guideposts’ Mysteries of Lancaster County series. That book will be released in July 2019.

And I have a few of my own personal projects now, too, that will hopefully be fit for daylight sometime soon! I’m working on a contemporary romance, called Nothing Lost, about childhood friends, Henry and Darcy, who reunite, somewhat reluctantly, after Henry’s grandmother is diagnosed with Alzheimer’s. I’m trying to play with the idea of memory- how it shapes us and our decisions, and how even awful situations of loss and grief can be redeemed through faith. I’m also working on a young adult spec fic piece, called The Tank, in which a flawed teen girl learns the unsettling truth about the perfection-driven society she lives in. It’s my response to “why are you pro-life?”, and it plays on the philosophical idea of “potential personhood” and how I believe people have intrinsic worth apart from what they do or don’t do.

10)  Give us the skinny on blogs, podcasts, media and all the book details (Shameless promo time ;^)

Though I’m still trying to figure out the best way to juggle it all, I have quite a few links for you!

The best place to connect with me would be at my website, for starters. Sign up for my newsletter, and I’ll send you an email every time I update anything on my blog, where I talk about reading, writing, and the creative life in general. All of my social media handles are there as well, and you can find out about my upcoming books.

I also just started hosting a monthly podcast, The Inspired Creative, with my graphic designer husband, Danny, where we plan on talking about all things creative and maybe doing some interviews with other Christian creatives in the future. Our first episode, “The Importance of Not Looking Down”, will be available this month in the Apple iTunes store. Info about the podcast can be found on my website.

I also run a Facebook group, the Inspy Fiction Reading Challenge Group, where a bunch of wonderful readers and I chat Christian fiction. We encourage each other to become better readers by following Monthly Challenges, which force us outside of our normal reading patterns, and I have gift card giveaways within that group for readers who fulfill the challenge each month. We also meet up once a month on Facebook Live to chat books and other book-related topics.

You’ll find all the ways to connect with me below!

Website- www.shaenlayle.com

Facebook- Shaen Layle

Twitter- @shaenlayle

Instagram- @shaen_layle

Pinterest- Shaen Layle

Goodreads- Shaen Layle

Inspy Fiction Reading Challenge Group- https://www.facebook.com/groups/1692777667504930/

Ann, thanks for much for inviting me on your blog today! You are a gem of a writer and a wonderful friend, to boot!

#

All Right, while I did ask Shaen to do a shameless promo, I didn’t expect to be included. But, hey, I’m not gonna say no.

Thank you, Shaen, and…

Write on!

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Mom Brag: That’s when I go off

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It doesn’t matter how old kids get, they’re still yours. The connection doesn’t end at age 18. It morphs from tending tangible needs—Hungry? Eat. Problem solved—to listening as grown kids solve their own issues. Or try. In the age of TMI—too much information—options are on the rise. Stress too.

College? Career? Men? New York, Virginia, or California? Or cat memes until it all goes away? Akkkkk! These are decisions mom has no business making.

That said, some days are great; others not so much. That’s true for any relationship, even the one we have with ourselves. But moms—and most women I know—will get a warm fuzzy when a gal takes her talents and runs with them.

No judgements. Just a high five. Atta girl. (The same goes for boys although that’s another blog.)

So while I was never one to flash baby pics—when you’re the youngest of eight that’s been done to death before you’re even born—I’m taking a minute to share some pictures with you.

My youngest daughter, Gwendolyn, not inclined to be photographed in D.C.—not asking anymore—green lighted me sharing the following shots. The reason? She took the pictures? Or could be she’s proud of her work. I know I am.

Enter Dream Wire Designs.

I’m not boring you with the low part of our lives that gave birth to this fantasy wire shop where dreams–weddings, Quinceañera, and out-of-this-world larping (life action role playing) took life–began. Suffice to say the shop, the creative drive, the focus on future, and Gwendolyn’s daring to embrace her creative talents came precisely at the right time. Needs must. And Gwendolyn did. I’m glad she did. She inspires me to do the same with my writing. God is good.

Check. It. Out.

I love her business attitude. Her bravery. Getting it out there is never easy. Taking risks often gets you creamed. Tackling the learning curve while being vulnerable, especially to that creeping self-doubt that assaults us all, can be a real nightmare. I don’t care how secure you say you are. Everyone has battled that voice in their head at one time. (If you’ve succeeded in slaying that nasty permanently, please, have mercy. Clue us all in by commenting below. I know I’d be grateful.)

But while jewelry making is not exactly writing—something both my girls do although that’s not out there yet—crafting requires the same creative process, the same struggle to bring what’s in one’s brain to life. The risk of self-sabotage is the same. So too is the need for support, not financial as much as emotional. Knowing you can do it and having others appreciate your effort goes a long way on a journey that often seems to stretch from one desert to another and back again.

We writer’s get that in spades.

So do women. Some more than others.

And here’s why I’m smiling.

Gwendolyn and I just came home—grocery shopping is sad necessary—to a big, brown box on the front stoop. “What’s that?” Gwendolyn asked first. She’s faster than me. “I didn’t order anything from Uline (a box shop).” But, hey, we love packages. And as Gwendolyn hauled the box inside, what did she find? More boxes.

Huh?

We almost didn’t need the text that came, as if summoned, to explain. Older sister Melanie, fledged and fully aware of the nature of the creative process, wanted to help her sister out. I’m not sure how many little silver boxes—perfect for wire/bead earrings are inside—but it’s the thought that counts.

Sister helping sister. Woman helping woman. Business woman helping business woman. Creative artist helping creative artist.

It’s great being a mom, a woman, and a writer, especially on days like this. What’s your mom brag? Share your mentor moment. Taking time to go off keeps that creative train moving. (And that includes men, too. There’s no man bashing on this blog. It’s all good.)

Write on, peeps!