Rebel in My House by Sandra M. Hart: Welcome!

by Carole Brown

It’s with real pleasure that I welcome Author Sandy Hart to the blog today. First, here’s her YouTube video for a taste of her book:

 

Enjoy reading her interview!

Tell us a little bit of how you were called, or began writing. Happenstance? A clear call? A chosen career?

SandraMervilleHart_Headshot2

I wanted to become a writer as a little girl, but I received no encouragement. The dream died. I remained silent about it even as friends dreamed of writing for a career. I simply encouraged them.

My church choir director invited members to share devotional thoughts about weekly songs. I finally gathered my courage, wrote a devotion, and shared it. Among the many encouraging comments I received was one from a dear lady who has since died from cancer. She asked me to submit it for publication. I only knew of one place who published devotions. I didn’t hear back from them, but the writing dream blossomed again.

I was a bit like Moses. I argued with God that someone else could do a better job. He asked for my obedience. Conversations with friends, life events, and sermons solidified my belief that God called me to write.

However, the road has been difficult, winding, and narrow. Each obstacle and struggle usually strengthened my resolve to keep going.

And I’m so glad you obeyed that call! What is the message(s) in the book you’re promoting today? Do you like a definite spiritual theme or do you keep it less obvious as you write? Can you give us a very brief scene (paragraph) as an example?

There are definite spiritual themes in this story, including a character’s reliance on God through prayer. Here’s a short paragraph from the novel:

The battle unfolded before her eyes. Five men in gray fell but didn’t rise. She’d just witnessed multiple deaths. She wrung her hands in agony and implored God to save their souls. The cost of Southern lives in the horrible war had been something she shielded her heart from. Now the truth unfolded in terrible clarity right before her.

Very touching! What is YOUR favorite part about the book or why do you love this book? Why should we read it?

Oh, yes, please read it! 😊

This novel revolves around the Battle of Gettysburg. It shows not only how the soldiers suffered, but also the townspeople. Most of the men fled Gettysburg when the Confederated Army crossed into Pennsylvania. This left the women and children to deal with the horror of the Confederates seizing the town and the battle surrounding them. Many called on strength they didn’t know they possessed and rose to the challenge.

Like Sarah, a Gettysburg seamstress who meets Jesse, a Confederate soldier caught behind enemy lines, on the first day. She makes a compassionate decision that leads to more hardships than she ever imagined.

I’ve always been fascinated by the Civil War and the Battle of Gettysburg in particular. I traveled to Gettysburg to find this story.

Writing this novel changed me. I’m not the same person who began the journey.

As I’ve read a tidbit of this book, I’m hoping to acquire it soon! Share a fun or weird habit.

Most folks drink coffee in the morning. I drink chocolate milk. I know—most of us outgrow this stage by the teen years. Not me!

Lol. I love people who do interesting and different things. Lastly, share an incident when you’ve been very happy/excited or very disappointed/depressed because of your writing career? How were you able to get past the bad and move on to the good?

This writing journey is a difficult one. Instead of a tree-lined road, it is a rejection-lined road. I remember a period of 4-5 months when rejections came with brutal regularity. Three came in one week. I was devastated and ready to quit.

I had planned to attend a writers’ conference. It seemed pointless now, but I had already paid. I drove there, planning a final goodbye to writer friends who meant so much to me.

The second evening found me alone in the lobby with another writer. I told him that I had done a terrible thing—I quit my job to write full-time. He had a different spin on that. He believed that trusting God this way was a courageous act.

Somehow, that conversation renewed my spirit. I set to work again. If not for that chance meeting, this novel would have remained unwritten.

That would be encouraging: talking with the person you were meant to talk with and having him give you such encouragement. Thanks for joining us today, Sandy!

A Rebel in My House Book Blurb

ARebelinMyHouse 500x750When the cannons roar beside Sarah Hubbard’s home outside of Gettysburg, she despairs of escaping the war that’s come to Pennsylvania. A wounded Confederate soldier on her doorstep leaves her with a heart-wrenching decision.

Separated from his unit and with a bullet in his back, Jesse Mitchell needs help. He seeks refuge at a house beside Willoughby Run. His future lies in the hands of a woman whose sympathies lay with the North.

Jesse has promised his sister-in-law he’d bring his brother home from the war. Sarah has promised her sister that she’d stay clear of the enemy. Can the two keep their promises amid a war bent on tearing their country apart?

Amazon buy link:   https://www.amazon.com/Rebel-House-Sandra-Merville-Hart/dp/1941103383/

Connect with Sandy here:

Website: https://sandramervillehart.wordpress.com/

Book Trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_j3JI-wECyY&feature=youtu.be

Facebook Author Page: https://www.facebook.com/sandra.m.hart.7

Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/sandramhart7/

Google+: https://plus.google.com/u/0/100329215443000389705/posts

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/8445068.Sandra_Merville_Hart

Twitter: https://twitter.com/Sandra_M_Hart

Guest Author Jennifer Slattery – Staying Strong for Whatever Comes

by Tamera Lynn Kraft

My guest author today is Jennifer Slattery. Author, speaker, and ministry leader Jennifer writes for Crosswalk.com and is the managing and acquiring editor for Guiding Light Women’s Fiction, an imprint with Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas. She believes fiction has the power to transform lives and change the culture. Healing Love is her sixth novel, and it was birthed during a trip she and her family took to El Salvador that opened her eyes to the reality of generational poverty and sparked a love for orphans and all who’ve experienced loss.

Her deepest passion is to help women experience God’s love and discover, embrace, and live out who they are in Christ. As the founder of Wholly Loved Ministries, she travels with her team to various churches to speak to women and help them experience the love and freedom only Christ can offer. When not writing, editing, or speaking, you’ll likely find her chatting with her friends or husband in a quiet, cozy coffeehouse. Visit her online at JenniferSlatteryLivesOutLoud.com and connect with her and her Wholly Loved team at WhollyLoved.com

Staying Strong for Whatever Comes

by Jennifer Slattery

They didn’t know it, but a small group of ordinary men—most of them fishermen—in ancient Palestine were about to experience the greatest challenge to their faith imaginable. This incomprehensible tragedy was so unexpected, they never thought to prepare. How does one prepare for an unforeseen, faith-rocking encounter, anyway?

Grit their teeth and determine to stand firm?

No, that would only work against them, for we are at our weakest point possible whenever we take on the position of self-reliance.

It was the night Jesus was about to be executed, and His Spirit was filled with deep anguish, not only for Himself, but for the twelve who’d given up everything to follow Him, the Man whom they believed would soon change the world and set all the wrong things right. Not only would their hearts be broken; their very faith would take a devastating hit. And they had absolutely no idea the incredible trial that lay ahead.

They couldn’t have imagined such anguish, such fear and confusion, had they tried. But Jesus knew, and, visualizing the depth of their struggle, He gave them an action plan, one that would provide more strength and peace than any other act they could dream up—they were to pray.

But first, a warning:

“When it was evening, Jesus sat down at the table with the twelve disciples. While they were eating, He said, ‘I tell you the truth, one of you will betray Me’” (Matthew 26:20-21 NLT).

Then, perhaps knowing this revelation didn’t sink in, He repeats this warning on the way to the Mount of Olives, where He would show them, through His heart-felt actions, just how serious their impeding threat was:

“Tonight all of you will desert Me. For the Scriptures say, ‘God will strike the Shepherd, and the sheep of the flock will be scattered’” (Matthew 26:31 NLT).

But they weren’t listening, maybe because, as Jesus talked of challenges, all they could think of were their victories: the time when they cast out demons and healed the sick, or perhaps when they watched their Master multiply a small basket of fish and loaves which He used to feed a crowd. Or perhaps Peter remembered when, upon Jesus’ beckoning, he walked on water. True, he sank a moment later, but the next time he’d do better. He’d remain focused, strong, confident. He’d keep his eyes on Jesus and could overcome anything that came his way.

For truly, what could be more challenging than a ruthless storm or men and women oppressed by demons?

No, they had this, and this, whatever this was.

And it was precisely that type of thinking that led to their failure.

If only they’d listened to Jesus instructions spoken on that dark, quiet night:

“Keep watch and pray, so that you will not give into temptation. For the spirit is willing, but the body is weak” (Matthew 26:41)

Did they listen? Or were they still too confused, too unsuspecting, too focused on their strength and ability to “stand strong?”

Whatever lies ahead, I want to heed Jesus’ words. I want to regularly pray for the strength to stand strong when temptations and difficulties come. Because a trial is coming, and I’ve—we’ve—been given everything we need in Christ to stand and stay strong. May we take the time, regularly, to tap into that power source.

Healing Love

Genre: Women’s fiction with a strong romantic thread

Dual setting—Southern California, and El Salvador

A news anchor intern has it all planned out, and love isn’t on the agenda.

Brooke Endress is on the cusp of her lifelong dream when her younger sister persuades her to chaperone a mission trip to El Salvador. Packing enough hand sanitizer and bug spray to single-handedly wipe out malaria, she embarks on what she hopes will be a once-in-a-lifetime experience.

But Brooke is blindsided by the desperation for hope and love she sees in the orphans’ eyes. And no less by the connection she feels with her handsome translator. As newfound passion blooms, Brooke wrestles with its implications for her career dreams.

Ubaldo Chavez, teacher and translator, knows the struggle that comes with generational poverty. But he found the way out – education – and is determined to help his students rise above.

When he agrees to translate for a mission team from the United States he expects to encounter a bunch of “missional tourists” full of empty promises. Yet an American news anchor defies his expectations, and he finds himself falling in love. But what does he have to offer someone with everything?

You can buy Healing Love at this link or on Goodreads.

Song of Solomon Devotion

by Tamera Lynn Kraft

This devotion was written by Jen Sherman, a Bible student at Bethesda Bible College, in the style of Song of Solomon. I hope you enjoy it.

A Song of Songs

In the style of the Song of Solomon

by Jen Sherman

The Beloved:

You’ve pulled me under the ocean of Your Love;

Your waves crash over me like the breakers against the shore.

Your beams of joy dance upon the surface overhead as I sink deeper into You.

The Bridegroom:

Just as the lotus blossoms from the surface of the deep,

So have I grown you in the depths of My Love and grace.

It is time, My Beloved! Bloom into what I have chosen you to be.

My beautiful Beloved, clothed in grace and splendor for the pleasure of Myself.

Daughters of Zion:

Through the rushes we have seen your splendor;

It is no wonder The King comes for you as He does!

The Beloved:

You have given me the new wine,

My cup overflows.

I am captivated by the intoxication of Your Love.

Guest Author Leeann Betts – Choosing a Setting

by Tamera Lynn Kraft

Today we welcome Leeann Betts to Word Sharpeners. Leeann Betts contemporary suspense, while her real-life persona, Donna Schlachter, pens historical suspense. She has released five titles in her cozy mystery series, By the Numbers, with Hidden Assets releasing the end of June. In addition, Leeann has written a devotional for accountants, bookkeepers, and financial folk, Counting the Days, and with her real-life persona, Donna Schlachter, has published a book on writing, Nuggets of Writing Gold, a compilation of essays, articles, and exercises on the craft. She publishes a free quarterly newsletter that includes a book review and articles on writing and books of interest to readers and writers. You can subscribe at www.LeeannBetts.com or follow Leeann at www.AllBettsAreOff.wordpress.com All books are available on Amazon.com in digital and print.

Choosing a Setting

By Leeann Betts

With so many great places to set a book, how do authors go about selecting that perfect location that is not merely a backdrop to the plot but actually becomes an integral character?

For me, I go about this two ways: I either know the story and choose the setting based on what’s going to happen in the story; or I know the location and want to set a good story there.

For example, in my first book, No Accounting for Murder, since I’m familiar with small East Coast towns (I lived in Newfoundland and Nova Scotia before emigrating to the US), and because the culture in a small East Coast town is completely different than a city, I knew I wanted to set a story in such a place. That culture not only defines what happens in the story, it also defines the characters.

However, when it came to the setting for the next book, There was a Crooked Man, this was borne because my pastor was contemplating buying a property in New Mexico and turning it into a retreat center for pastors.

Having my main character, Carly Turnquist, start out in her town of Bear Cove, Maine, then travel to New Mexico meant I wanted the next book to be set back in Bear Cove, which is why Unbalanced was set around not only that small-town lifestyle and mindset, but also the larger regional city which tends to govern and sometimes bully the smaller towns.

And then we come to Book 4, Five and Twenty Blackbirds, which releases April 30th. In this adventure, Carly and husband Mike visit the area where my dad and step-mother were married. While I prefer setting my books in fictional towns, Raven Valley is fashioned after the town of Cave Creek, Arizona. Both my father and step-mother are now with the Lord, so when I read this story, I feel their presence and influence on my life, for which I am grateful.

Broke, Busted, and Disgusted was set back in Bear Cove, but this time I branched out a little into the surrounding countryside, which was fun. I love creating new worlds, even though I based it on what I knew about Maine.

And my most recent release, Hidden Assets, which comes out June 30th, was set at a B&B in eastern Wyoming and a small town in western Nebraska. We had been there recently, and I love the area, which is why I chose it. We are also choosing to stay at B&B’s booked through an online source because they are generally cheaper and nicer than motels, plus we get to meet some interesting people. One time, we met a man bicycling from Anchorage Alaska to Ohio for his 50th high school reunion. I think I’ll be putting him in a book soon.

Please leave a comment about connections you have with particular settings, whether in books you’ve written or books you’ve read.

Hidden Assets

Carly Turnquist, forensic accountant, responds to a call from her friend, Anne, who is in the middle of a nasty divorce, and travels to Wyoming to help find assets Anne thinks her husband has stolen. But the mystery begins before Carly even arrives when she sees a man thrown off a train. Except there’s no body. Husband Mike uncovers an illegal scam in a computer program he has been asked to upgrade, and then Anne is arrested for her ex’s murder. Can Carly figure out what’s going on, and why a strange couple is digging in Anne’s basement? Or will she disappear along with the artwork, coins, and money?

Guest Author Donna Schlachter – 3 Keys to Unlocking the Doors to Getting Published

by Tamera Lynn Kraft

Today, I want to welcome author Donna Schlachter to Word Sharpeners.  Donna lives in Denver with husband Patrick, her first-line editor and biggest fan. She writes historical suspense under her own name, and contemporary suspense under her alter ego of Leeann Betts. She is a hybrid publisher who has published a number of books under her pen name and  under her own name. Her current release, Echoes of the Heart, a 9-in-1 novella collection titled “Pony Express Romance Collection” released April 1. Donna is also a ghostwriter and editor of fiction and non-fiction, and judges in a number of writing contests. She will be teaching an online course for American Christian Fiction Writers in June 2017, “Don’t let your subplots sink your story”. Donna loves history and research, and travels extensively for both.

3 Keys to Unlocking the Doors to Getting Published

By Donna Schlachter

Do you sometimes feel, in trying to get your book published, that you’re rattling at one locked door after another? Perhaps you’re struggling to find an agent, or maybe you’ve been submitting directly to publishers and gotten nothing except rejections. Or worse, silence.

It’s okay. We’ve all been there. Some of us are still there. And we understand that while we trust God to open doors that nobody else can close, and to close doors that we aren’t to go through, we also know that when the door is open, we have to walk through. God won’t drag us kicking and screaming. He’s too much of a gentleman for that.

So what are we to do? Following are three things to focus on as you go through this process of unlocking the doors to publication:

  1. Pray. Seriously. Seek the Lord as to His direction for you. Perhaps He has a better plan for you right now. Maybe He’s holding back on publication because He knows that’s not the best thing for you. I believe He delayed my publication path because He knew that I am an all-or-nothing kind of person: if I got a contract, life in our household would have to stop while I pursued and completed that project. And He had more important things for us to do during that time, including leadership in an international ministry.
  2. Pause. If you’re anything like me, publication has been a main focus for your books, and anything else is second-best. I had to take a step back and ask myself why I wanted to publish a book. Was it to see my name on the cover? To show somebody I had what it took to be a writer? For fame and money? My first book, a devotional, was done as a work-for-hire project and my name wasn’t on the cover. It was in teensy-weensy little print on the inside. Talk about humbling. But this experience made me step back and ask why I wanted to publish. Which brings me to number three.
  3. Praise. Yes, you read that right. Praise God for the gift He’s given you to string together words into stories that touch lives. Praise Him that He is writing the most important story in you right now, long before the written word gets on to the page. Praise Him that He would choose you to be the first person to hear this story. And Praise Him for using you to reach a lost world.

I truly believe that when we put our writing in the proper place in our lives—never above God, never above our spouse or family—then He will honor this calling to write and will reward our obedience. Your publishing path might be traditional or independent; it might be paper or digital; it might be full-time or part-time, but the important thing is that your path leads you—and others—to know more intimately the God of Words. He is the Word, and He has placed that Word in you to give to others.

So go ahead, unlock some doors. You have the keys you need.

You can find Donna online at these locations:

Echoes of the Heart

A mail order bride who isn’t who she says she is; a crippled station master who believes no woman would want him. Can they find love on the Pony Express, or are they doomed to being alone forever?

The Pony Express Romance Collection

9 novellas in 1 tell the tale of love, romance, and deep longings set along the Pony Express trail. Can our heroines find the love they are looking for? Or will the Wild West keep them from their deepest desire?

 

Guest Author June Foster Talks About 9 Things to Do when You’re Bored

by Tamera Lynn Kraft

June Foster’s is our guest author today.

I’m Bored by June Foster

I’m bored.

The message on the teenager’s shirt at Walmart glared at me. Why did it seem so offensive? I had to think a while then it dawned on me.

Life is a gift. When we’re young, we don’t realize how fleeting it really is. The Bible says we are like grass. We flourish like a flower of the field. Then the wind blows over it, and it is gone. Young or old. We don’t know when our last day will be. We don’t have time to be bored!

Boredom is telling God we don’t appreciate the day He made. He gave us today to enjoy. It’s a glorious opportunity, filled with chances to live for Him and do wondrous things.

Okay, then. Like what?

Maybe you live a mundane life with very little happening. Or you’re so consumed with “doing and going” that you don’t have time to think about or serve God. Maybe you believe you are only one person and can’t make a difference. Or your life is so routine, and nothing ever happens. Or your sphere of influence is limited. Or you don’t have any friends. Or you live in a small town with little opportunity. I could go on.

Don’t believe it. Instead of sitting around being bored, ask God how you can serve, how you can impact your community—rural or metropolitan, ghetto or suburban. You might be surprised what He’ll drop into your life.

Here are some suggestions.

  1. Become the best cookie maker you can and take the sweets to a women’s shelter or orphanage.
  2. Memorize twenty verses from the Bible and say each daily. Look for ways to incorporate those verses in your life.
  3. If a teen, do one thing every day to help your mother or father.
  4. Buy a pack of greeting cards from the dollar store and send out one a day to people who need encouragement.
  5. Go jogging in your neighborhood and pray for people you see or meet along the way.
  6. Form a literary group. Read and discuss a classic such as Pilgrim’s Progress.
  7. God has an infinite number of projects for you. Do something for the glory of His Kingdom instead of sitting around being bored.
  8. Oh yeah, one more thing. Turn off the TV.
  9. You don’t have time to be bored.

Misty Hallow

When two people are cultures apart, only God can bridge the gap.

Molly Cambridge arrives in the tiny Appalachian town of Misty Hollow intent upon bringing literacy to the area’s uneducated women, only to be met by opposition at every turn by the headstrong, unbending mayor. When she asks for use of Town Hall, he refuses her offer to teach without pay and turns her down flat saying he only allows village business conducted there.

Joel Greenfield, son is a poor dirt farmer, is illiterate. When he admits to his passion to turn the family farm into a dairy business, the obstacles are insurmountable. He couldn’t even read the manual on how to use farming machinery, much less generate the necessary capital. His father’s objections further frustrate his desires.

When Joel offers Molly use of the old barn on the Greenfield property, they discover an irresistible attraction for each other. But the mayor has plans of his own to break them up, send Molly back to Nashville, and seize the Greenfield farm for himself. Can Molly and Joel overcome the hurdles to fulfilling their dreams and find their way to each other? Only God has the answers.

An award-winning author, June Foster is a retired teacher with a BA in education and MA in counseling. June’s book Give Us This Day was a finalist in EPIC’s eBook awards and a finalist in the National Readers Choice Awards for best first book. Ryan’s Father was one of three finalists in the published contemporary fiction category of the Oregon Christian Writers Cascade Writing Contest and Awards. Deliver Us was a finalist in COTT’s Laurel Awards. June has written four novels for Desert Breeze Publishing. The Bellewood Series, Give Us This Day, As We Forgive, and Deliver Us, and Hometown Fourth of July. Ryan’s Father is published by WhiteFire Publishing. Red and the Wolf, a modern day retelling of Little Red Riding Hood, is available from Amazon.com. The Almond Tree series, For All Eternity, Echoes From the Past, What God Knew, and Almond Street Mission are available at Amazon.com. June enjoys writing stories about characters who overcome the circumstances in their lives by the power of God and His Word. Recently June has seen publication of Christmas at Raccoon Creek, Lavender Fields Inn, Misty Hollow, and Restoration of the Heart. Visit June at junefoster.com.

 

Interviewing Multi-Published Author Lisa Lickel

by Tamera Lynn Kraft

Today, I’m interviewing Lisa Lickel. Lisa helped me a great deal with plot points and quilting info while I was writing Alice’s Notions. What was your favorite part of Alice’s Notions?

As a historian, I’m the nerdy one who adores and gets lost in research. I loved learning more about some of the things going on in the background of the government during the end of World War II and the start of the Cold War. Some of the facts we discovered about the setting, such as the DuPont factory, and how you worked so much pop culture into the events were thrilling. I suppose my favorite part of the story should be the quilts, but I really loved Alice and Rick’s adventures, getting themselves into and out of trouble.

You were a vast resource of information about quilting. Tell us a little about how you got started quilting and what you love about it.

Like you, I had a grandmother who was an inspiration to me. I would visit the farm while I was growing up, fascinated with the differences between city life and working farm life. She was a quilter, and showed me her methods. I have the first and last quilts she made. Piece in the summer and quilt in the winter was her wisdom. I love quilting because once I get the pieces planned and cut, I can sit and make squares while watching a movie or listening to the radio.

You are a multi-published author. Tell us a little about your newest book.

My newest book will be the upcoming release, Centrifugal Force, a sequel to Meander Scar, a romance about an older woman and younger man which won a Grace Award back in 2011. It took a long time for me to develop Centrifugal Force around an obituary I happened to see and cut out. I knew the man in the obituary was just like the main character in my story, but I wasn’t ready to write the story until about three years ago when my writer’s group helped me brainstorm. I spent a year on the manuscript with the help of the group and my crit partner. The story is about the main character from Meaner Scar, Ann Michel’s sister, Rachel. In Centrifugal Force, we learn how Rachel, the goody two-shoes, ended up raising a child as a single mom. When her daughter Maeve finally has her life together, superstar international academic Gervas Friedemann, Maeve’s father, shows up seeking a priceless artifact Rachel once took in revenge. It’s also the story of Gervas’s secret quest to find a cure for his oldest daughter’s genetic condition, which forces him to accept responsibility for a past he cannot change, but a future he’s desperate to save. Caveat: I wrote this book before Brexit. Centrifugal Force should release in September.

What are you working on now?

I’m working on a sandwich story from my Love Is novella, Everything About You. This short romance, Post Production, is the story of how Danny and Shelly decide to follow through on their whirlwind love on the movie set. Danny’s business is going up in flames while Shelly wonders if she can give up her Hollywood life for the country. We know how it ends from Everything About You, but the fun is following on the journey while these two love-struck kids face reality without the camera and the option of splicing and editing.

Thanks for stopping by, Lisa. I appreciated all your help with Alice’s Notions.

It was fun working on the story with you!

Lisa Lickel is a Wisconsin author who loves books, collects dragons, and writes inspiring fiction. She also writes short stories, feature articles, and radio theater, and loves to encourage new authors through mentoring, speaking, and leading workshops. Lisa is a member of Women Fiction Writers Association, the Council for Wisconsin Writers, the Chicago Writer’s Association, and vice president/instructor for Novel-In-Progress Bookcamp and Writing Retreat, Inc. She is an avid book reviewer and blogger, and a freelance editor. Find more at ww.LisaLickel.com. Readers can find a current list of available books on her website, Goodreads, and her Amazon Author page.

 

Bio pic included

Cover to Meander Scar included

Amazon link to Meander Scar: https://www.amazon.com/Meander-Scar-Lisa-J-Lickel-ebook/dp/B0037Z6YM8