Friday, September 19, 2014

Book Report & Giveaway: Love's Fortune by Laura Frantz

Last week's winner of the give away: Sara!
Third in the Ballantyne Legacy series, Love's Fortune is true to form Laura Frantz brand. 

~~Backwoods meets Upstairs
~~Kentucky meets Pittsburgh
~~Glass, leather & brass meets 
    Homespun, humility, & innocence

Plot & Setting: Sheltered in the backwoods of Kentucky for two decades while her father laid low from abolitionist hunters, in 1850 Rowena Ballantyne, known as Wren, is thrust from her comfortable world of anonymity to Pittsburgh society where the Ballantyne name cannot be ignored or escaped. When her father deposits her there for the extended clan to polish her uncultured ways and bring her into their society, Wren flounders in a sea of uncertainty, her family's fortune hangs on her choice for the future. Relieved to learn her escort for the social season will be none other than her grandfather's apprentice, steamer pilot, James Sackett, Wren finds a friend to lean on as she makes the most important choice of her life. Unsure she can please everyone and fit in, certain that she may never find happiness, Wren weighs whether or not to cut ties and go her own way.

Hero: Unmoved as a stone, deep as an ocean, and rock solid, he is the steady guide and protector Wren needs to watch over her innocence.
Heroine: Free spirited, musical, artistic and unhampered by rules, her unrefined edges are her defining beauty and ultimate freedom that loosen's Jamie's idea of what will and could be.

Favorite Line: "Well...he's as braw as they come with those jade eyes and hair black as the Earl of Hell's waistcoat--" page 140  (spoken by Wren's chambermaid, Mim).

About Laura Frantz: 

I was born and raised in Kentucky, living first in Ashland, Mammoth Cave, Bowling Green, and then Lexington. But my heart has always been in Berea, Madison County, the place my family has resided since the 18th-century. I came to know Christ there at the age of 12, was baptized, and spent my childhood roaming through the woods and swimming in the rivers of my books.
My earliest memories are of the public library, standing in front of shelves filled with those little biographies of famous historical figures like Daniel Boone and George Washington and Sacajawea. I began scribbling stories at age 7 and thankfully never stopped. My passion then and now is history and all the wonders of past centuries.

I attended college at Denison University in Ohio and also in England, living in a manor/castle and studying the American Revolution from the British perspective. Shakespeare and 18th-century literature form the backbone of my English degree. Strangely enough, I only took one creative writing class.

It was never a desire of mine to be published. I simply love to write for the sheer joy of writing – and that was enough. But as Proverbs 16:9 says, “The heart of a man plans his way, but the Lord establishes his steps.”

Reader's Questions of the week:
For a chance to win a free copy, limited to continental USA, leave a comment, friend us on Facebook, add your name to our list of blog followers, or make a comment on our Pinterest pin for today's blog. Each action will count as additional chance to win. Winner announced next week (or right after we are back from ACFW!)
How well do you know 1850's pre-Civil War history?
Who can tell me about the Fugitive Slave Act of 1850?
Have you ever sailed on a ship?
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Blog post by Anne Love-
Writer of Historical Romance inspired by her family roots. 
Nurse Practitioner by day. 
Wife, mother, writer by night. 
Coffee drinker--any time.
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Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Wednesday Wi-fi

So, first thing Monday morning, our wi-fi router wasn't working. No internet access. Not on the laptops, not on the phones.

This didn't bother me so much, as I had off-line things to do, but it had a great impact on my children.

This is pretty much what the scenery looked like by Monday night:



Fortunately for my distraught kids (the boy was just as bad) The Amazing Techno-Dad got the router up and running late last night.

Order and smiles were restored.

My kids don't remember a time when we didn't have Internet, and hardly remember before we had wi-fi Internet.

At least the girl put her off-line time to good use (after the wailing) by writing some fiction. :)



___________________________________

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Earl Grey Aficionado 

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Tuesday, September 16, 2014

When Anticipation and Hope Take Center Stage

Morning!!! Today is a day of excitement!!!

We writers are drilling down on almost 1 week before our big conference gathering! Are you excited? You should be!!! I'll be hosting GIVEAWAYS on my Facebook page all week long to celebrate. And you can follow our footsteps as we travel through the world of all things writerly. And it's fun to see who we run into. Last year I photobombed Frank Peretti. Actually, I asked permission to get a pic with him while inwardly melting in the presence of literary greatness.

Meanwhile...as we await our leaving for St. Louis, I am pressing "send" on my book. YES! It is FINISHED!! The battle is over ... to write it, that is. So what does this mean?

Pressing "send" is Step 432 in the book writing process. It will be delivered to my agent's inbox at which point she may read it if she has time or she may just peruse my accompanying proposal. Then she will strategize what publishers might want to take a bite  and she'll start pitching it. Then the waiting game begins.

DID YOU KNOW? that it could take years before a written and agented book actually gets signed to be published? (and no promises it ever will)

DID YOU KNOW? if said book is contracted, it typically takes at least 1 year from contract signing to publication date? Maybe less if everyone rushes, maybe more if there's a marketing strategy that makes a particular date especially better.

DID YOU KNOW? this is why writers drink coffee? To survive. It's a waiting game. But a fun one, if you have the right perspective. Because God's got this. My writing a book to sit in cyberland for the potential of months and years is not a waste of time. It was a great lesson in dedication and realizing that you really DO need the Lord's input when trying to piece a book together in five months.

So that's where I'm at this week. Going to press "send" here in a bit. Breathe a prayer over it with me...

What big things in life do you anticipate with hope?

_________________________________

Jaime Wright - 

Spirited and gritty turn-of-the-century romance stained with suspense. Youth leader. Professional Coffee Drinker. Works in HR and specializes in sarcasm :) - Represented by: Books & Such Literary Agency

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Monday, September 15, 2014

ACFW Hype!

It's time for ACFW Hype again!

If you are new to the blog and writerly world, ACFW is American Christian Fiction Writers. Each year we have a conference where we congregate, mix, mingle, worship, and do writerly things. 

We attend writing workshops and pitch our work to agents, editors, and publicists. The unpublished rub shoulders with the published. Mentors hold the hands of the quaking-in-their-boots-newbies. We coach each other. We laugh, eat, cry, and eat chocolate together. We can't survive without our coffee--so Jaime usually packs her coffee maker and enough coffee to pump up an army!
Each year I am excited to meet new friends from all over the globe. We are having a mixer on Laurie's blog to introduce ourselves to new friends. So....here goes!
Name: Anne Love
Location: Northern Indiana
What you write/tagline: Historical Romance/flavored with rural charm & wit
Place in the book world: Pre-published author with three completed manuscripts and one in the brainstorming process! Still on the look-out for the right agent :)
On a scale of hugger to 10-foot-pole, please rate your personal space: Definitely a hugger, with an added prayer when the Spirit moves. :)
The unique talking point that will get you going for hours: history, traveling, character development, romance, brainstorming, relationships, movies, books.
People at home you'll be missing: My husband, Ted. Two college age young adults I'm proud and amazed to call my children, Emily and Ben. Princess, our half siamese cat.
Conference goals we can pray for? I always ask God for divine appointments whether it be new friends, old and dear ones, or potential agents, editors, and publicists. I'm trusting God's timing for the rest!
Up for any contests/awards? Nope. 
Any disclosures, disclaimers, or crucial information we must know? I have been known to open my mouth and misspeak silly things. I write better than I speak, especially if I'm nervous. I'm jealous of people who grew up reading voraciously, because I always struggled to read as a youngster. I love to laugh. :)
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Blog post by Anne Love-
Writer of Historical Romance inspired by her family roots. 
Nurse Practitioner by day. 
Wife, mother, writer by night. 
Coffee drinker--any time.
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Friday, September 12, 2014

Book Report: Let Me Fall by Beth Pensinger

I'd love for you all to meet Beth Pensinger!
I had the pleasure of receiving this book as a gift for my birthday this year from my dear friend. It's Hannah Hernard meets Twilight,  meets Gen X and Jesus.

It's refreshing and real. And I couldn't put it down for 24 hrs.
It moved me and made me cry. And I haven't forgotten it.
It's up close and personal, and I loved it.
It's for Gen X, it's for your mid life crisis, it's universal.

So, I invited Beth the blog for some Q & A:
(and there's a give away too!)

Q: Let Me Fall is your debut release. What was the main impetus to write this story, or when was the first time you thought you might do it? and your reaction to the idea of writing it?

A: "It was a dark and stormy night ... I kid, I kid! It all started back in my Realtor days. I'd stayed up way too late one night reading one of the books in the Twilight series and I was exhausted. Upon getting ready for work, the scene at the end of Chapter 1 in Let Me Fall actually happened, minus the gore and medical equipment. When I cried out to God–asking what was wrong with me & why I was plagued by despair–I heard Him more clearly than I ever had. He implored me to fall in love with Him ... and to write about it.
My 'okay' dripped with sarcasm. I tried to roll my eyes and move on. But the directive had felt too real to shake, so I decided to at least document it. I opened my nearly-empty journal, but took a detour in order to read the last entry I'd made a few months prior. I’d written about finishing the first book in the Twilight series and having this horrible sense of despair. And then I’d written something along the lines of, 'Maybe one day I’ll write a book about how God brings me through this mess.' If I could’ve seen God in that moment, I think He would’ve arched an eyebrow and given me the most knowing grin I’d ever beheld."

Q: Did you always envision yourself as a writer?

A: "Negative. I ruin punch lines and barely know what a noun is. Being a writer was never on my radar."

Q: You mention other stories on the market, such as the Twilight series, when you talk about the influences on ideas of romance. Did you also read very many allegorical stories that influenced you or your spiritual walk?

A: "I just had to look up allegory to make sure I understood what it means. :) While Tolkien denied it being allegorical in nature, The Lord of the Rings impacted me and my spiritual walk profoundly. I’d also have to throw The Chronicles of Narnia into the mix."

Q: What is the single most surprising thing about your new book and the experience of releasing it?

A: "Quite frankly, the most surprising thing about the experience of releasing Let Me Fall was its lack of success (as defined by most of the world and the publishing industry). I mean, come on–I had a directive from God to write the thing! And it felt pretty important. In hindsight, I think my obedience is the pretty important part–at least as far as I was concerned. What God chooses to do with my obedience is not my concern."

Q: I found that reading your book was a spiritual experience and I couldn't put it down, as if God was busy with a download or something.....50%, now 75%--grabbing tissue box....99%--wow, didn't expect that! Was writing it like that or more like summing up the single most important things in your life and wondering how they all fit in a tiny little flat paperback?

A: "The writing of Let Me Fall has been the most spiritual experience of my life to date. I am a changed creature. I think the reason it took me three plus years to write it is because I was living what I was writing while I wrote it (if that makes sense)."

Q: What do you tell people your book is about in several short sentences?

A: "Let Me Fall is my story of falling in love with God brought about by my obsession with all-things-romance and the Twilight series. That’s only one sentence. I can break it into two if you really want, but I think it’s more fun to say it all in one breath."

Backcover Beth Flavor: "As in most tales of woe, I hit rock-bottom, which meant all my nails got chipped. Fearing the savage state of my cuticles as well as my heart, I finally called out to Father God for help. Spoiler Alert: He showed up with a spiritual defibrillator. Let Me Fall is where my literal world figuratively collides with God as He shows me more of who I am and who He is. My story isn’t a formula for falling in love with God. But I would be thrilled if it is a catalyst for others to do the same."

Find Beth on her website: http://bethpensinger.com

Dare to fall. Dare to hang on tight.

Questions for the give away: 
If you are joining us for the first time, please leave a comment for a chance to win a copy of Beth's book. You may also gain a chance to win by becoming a blog follower on the right side column. We'd love to learn your name and have you at our "virtual coffee shop"!
Are you a secret Twilight Series lover?
Why do you suppose we love romance so much? (oh, you don't have to answer that) 
What is your most favorite allegorical book?

Winner of last week's drawing of "A Lady's Honor" by Laurie Alice Eakes is: Kym Thorpe!
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Blog post by Anne Love-
Writer of Historical Romance inspired by her family roots. 
Nurse Practitioner by day. 
Wife, mother, writer by night. 
Coffee drinker--any time.
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Thursday, September 11, 2014

Throwback Thursday



Today's Throwback Thursday is a photograph and poem from my husband's family archives. The man is Pete Behselich, on his farm south of Ipswich, SD. The picture was taken in the late thirties or early forties. My husband, Peter is named after his grandfather who passed away just six weeks after Peter's birth. Pete Behselich died of a sudden heart-attack when he was 62.

Pete Behselich loved horses and farming, and he doted on his only child, a daughter, Lorraine. He always wore long-sleeved shirts and hats because he was red-headed and very fair. 

The poem and the picture were found together in a box of mementos after my mother-in-law passed away. I wish I had known about these before she passed away.  She loved to talk about her family, and she could've told me more about the picture and the horse and shared memories of her father. I know she regretted not being able to say goodbye.

In Memory
Always a smile and never a frown,
Always a hand when someone was down.
Happiness you gave to everyone you knew,
No better things could anyone do.
Your presence brought joy to everyone's heart,
Laughter and cheerfulness right from the start.
God gave us a gift, then took it away,
But your beautiful memory is here to stay.
The blow was hard, the shock severe,
We little thought your death so near.
And only those who have lost can tell,
The pain of parting without farewell. 


Hug someone in your family today and take the time to share some memories.

Executive Assistant  

Earl Grey Aficionado 

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Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Casting A Story

First, let me say Happy 48th Anniversary to my beloved parents, James and Esther Bonam. And happy 47th birthday to my sister, Kathleen Boatwright. :)


Authors are all different, and we all have different methods of plotting, (or not plotting) creating characters, editing, and all the other hundreds of things that go into writing fiction. And when we're fairly new at it, we try lots of different methods to see what works for us.

After writing more than twenty novels and novellas, I've settled into a method that works for me, and part of that process is casting the characters. I'm a visual person, and it helps me to have a visual representation of my characters.

I've also found, through sharing some of these photos on my Facebook Page, that there are a lot of other visual people out there. :) The response to my characters' photos has been happily positive.

Here is the cast of characters from my current Work in Progress, A Bride For Bear, part of The Convenient Bride Collection releasing from Barbour in June of 2015.


Bear McCall, mountain man.
And this is Bear McCall, a mountain man who has no desire for a wife or a family but suddenly finds himself in possession of both. I found him on Pinterest :)

Emmylou Paxton, jilted mail-order bride.

This is a photograph of my heroine, Emmylou Paxton, who finds herself stranded in Denver. In reality, this is a photograph of Jennie Jerome Churchill, Lady Randolph Churchill, the mother of Prime Minister Winston Churchill. She was a noted beauty in her day, and when she moved from Brooklyn to England after her marriage, she was involved in more than a few scandals. She was considered one of the most beautiful women of her day. I found her by searching Google for women of 1874.





And these three little darlings are Miriam, Deborah, and Tabitha, the orphans that show up on Bear's doorstep. I was looking for three, redheaded girls about 10, 8, and 4. By searching on Pinterest, I found photos that reflect the personalities I want. Miriam is world-weary, the oldest, responsible, someone who has had to give up her childhood too soon. Deborah is outspoken and active, and she pretends that she's tougher than she is so as not to be hurt when people let her down. And Tabitha is so sweet. She's longing to be somebody's little girl. Sensitive to the needs of others, she's the first one to see the softy behind Bear's growls and snarls. :)

For me, having these photos is so helpful to keeping everyone in character and being consistent when it comes to characters' appearances. Another aid to me is helping make the characters different from other heroes, heroines, and children I've already written. Since I can see the differences in their faces, eyes, hair, expressions, poses, etc. it helps me keep them straight and unique from the other hundreds of characters I've created through the years.

Doing this kind of search in advance is also helpful when it comes time to submit cover art ideas. (Though in this case, since it is a novella collection, the publisher will design the cover without too much input from the authors, since there are so many stories represented it would be impossible to include everyone's characters.)

So, are you a visual person? Does it help to have a picture of a character or do you prefer to keep it all in your imagination?





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