Friday, January 31, 2014

Friday Woes

Hey all! Jaime here! It's been a rough week as the Influenza A rips through our house. Unfortunately, I don't have a book report for you. See you back here Monday.

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Thursday's Coffee Blessing

May you have a blessed Thursday!!
Let us lift up your praises and prayer concerns here this week at CCC.
Leave a praise or a request.
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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, January 29, 2014

A Tale of Two Old Biddies

"Old Biddies", I proclaimed as I wheeled my shopping cart through the throngs of old ladies that had busted out of the nursing home that morning and proclaimed SANCTUARY in the nearby Walmart. They walked, or rather, shuffled at the speed of nothing - and nothing doesn't travel very fast. Their waffling between the $.95 baking powder versus the $1.10 baking powder was a whopping $ .15 difference but somehow, regardless of pension, Medicare, Social Security and the like, that  $ .15 was going to make or break them. I jabbed my hand between Blue-Hair and Perm-Gone-Wild and grabbed the first can of BP my hand could light upon. In slow motion, Blue-Hair turns, shuffles to the left and pats my shoulder.

 "I"m sorry, dear. Us old folks sure get in the way, don't we?"

I looked into her rheumy blue eyes and my heart dropped to the glossy hard floor with the impact of nuclear bomb that just wasted away innocents. I was Stalin to her Mother Theresa.

My hand slowed and I withdrew from the baking powder like setting down my weapon of war and I smiled to the best of my ability.

"Oh, no worries," I replied with guilt lacing my voice, "You're not in my way."

And suddenly, they weren't. They were treasure troves. They were me aged fifty years. Blue-Hair's eyes twinkled with the sense of humor that probably matched mine but was tempered by time and a failing mind. Perm-Gone-Wild was so lost in her little world she never did notice me, but I wondered what memories and stories she could tell.

In my haste, I had forgotten the world doesn't need to move at the speed of light times twenty. In my haste, I saw a picture of myself in many years to come and realized that BP didn't matter, but fifteen cents did. Fifteen cents made me pause, breathe, relax, contemplate, and shuffle at the speed of nothing.

Enjoy the speed of nothing today.


____________________________________

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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Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Dreaming Up A Story

I'm full fledged, knee deep in edits on my second book in a trilogy based off of my favorite vacation spot of all times. Lake Superior in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan is a beautiful place and inspires the imagination. While I can't reveal too much about the nature of the story, I thought I'd give you a preview of what will be hitting my agent's desk in the next month to join it's sister-book on the quest to find a publisher.


My hero's Bio:  


CONAN MATHER’s sins permanently stain him. He is convinced there can be no penance great enough to erase the wrongs he has committed and the blood he has shed. Mather’s objective is to ward off anyone who tries to break through the barriers he has built, and until he corrects his past wrongs, he is a danger to those he may come to love.

Hair color: Dark Brown
Eye color: Ice blue
Smell: Cinnamon
Distinguing Personality Traits: Lost soul. Answers in monosyllable, man of few words, comes across morose and stand-offish, has no faith in himself but answers the call of duty because it is--after all--his duty, would do anything to receive redemption but doesn't believe it exists.



My heroine's bio:

EVIE WEBER’s illegitimate, unborn child is a living reminder of her sin--and as much as she longs to cherish the life within her, how does one ever reconcile a sinful consequence? The daughter of a wealthy shipping baron, she has shamed her family and herself. Evie's spirit inside longs to break free and fly, but she did that once and now she bears its life in her womb. She wills herself into waifish submission because that is what a proper woman should do, but maybe she can discover a home somewhere, in someone's heart, if only they can see past the obvious error of her ways.

Hair color: Coffee Brown
Eye color: Amber
Smell: Lemongrass
Distinguing Personality Traits: The waif. Timid. Has a mind of her own but afraid to voice her opinions. She needs a knight in shining armor, but no knight of honor would waste his time on a used woman. She is willing to fight for herself but has yet to find her strength. She believes redemption exists, if she could only find it.

Creating characters is my all time favorite part of writing! Outside of plot and location, characters are the third part to the critical triangle of story. A book will rise or fall based on layered characters, so I spend a lot of time developing their back stories, their emotions, scenes that may never get written but have to play out in my head so I know the character, and so on.  I'll even pick a song that defines either each character, or the dual character's journeys.

Mather & Evie's song is what I imagine God would be telling my two lost characters both desperately needing forgiveness but finding none. What would it be like to have made such a horrible mistake that no one would ever love you again? What would it be like to live alone as the result of your sin? What would it be like to try to earn your way out of the sin you committed? What would it be like to bear the weight of knowing people's lives depended on you and you have failed them? What would it be like to hear the words "I Love You"?:


Spiritual theme is the unwritten fourth corner and my triangle becomes a square. I want my readers to come away with a very clear, Spiritual theme. Not just overtones, or inspirational content, but a poignant message that will hopefully strike the cord in a reader's heart. That they will relate to the characters, to the struggle and pain, and ultimately, to whatever message can be found in the hope that is Christ.

Check out here for more random pics of my book #2: Pinterest Board - Current Book

What do you hone in on when reading a book? Characters, Setting, Plot, or Spiritual theme?


____________________________________

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, January 27, 2014

"Be Ye Holy"

Are there scriptures that jump into your head from childhood, and then you wonder if it was really scripture or just a line in a movie?

"Come ye out from among them and be ye holy." That's it for me. Is that really scripture, or just a line from The Witness? The answer is both. It's from 2 Corinthians 6. But it's also from The Witness when the Amish grandfather explains to his grandson "what you take into your hand [a gun], Samuel, you take into your heart also." The Amish may have the corner on being separate from the world, not conforming to the world--in their outward appearance and their way of living. But no matter how we dress or live, it's the condition of our hearts that should be separate from the world. 

Last week we talked about reflecting the image of God. This week, HOLINESS is rolling around in my mind.

Being created in God's image is having the capacity to be transformed by faith. Transformed to what?

What does the image of God have to do with holiness?
"I am the LORD . . . your God; therefore be holy, because I am holy" Leviticus 11:44.




It implies implicitly that as followers of Christ, that we choose a path different than the world. If you think the Amish stand out compared to the rest of the world, doesn't it stand to reason our hearts should stand out as much?
Our marriages, our choices, words, actions, relationships? Whatever happened to holiness? How effective are churches today without holiness? Can entertainment and fiction reflect holiness?

Or, do we think holiness is just too quaint?
Holiness--too quaint? Too weird? Too exclusive?

If you're intrigued, you might find this article further thought provoking: What Ever Happened to Holiness?
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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, January 24, 2014

Book Report: The Headmistress of Rosemere, by Sarah E. Ladd

Winner of Amanda Cabot, "With Autumn's Return" - HEIDI
Winner of Cara Putman, "Shadowed by Grace" - BONNIE ROOF
Ok all you Jane Eyre, Pride and Prejudice, and regency romance fans! Listen up! If you haven't read Sarah E. Ladd yet, then you've just locked yourself away in the upstairs attic to moan for the rest of your life over missed opportunity. 
Seriously. THAT good. The Headmistress of Rosemere is set in Regency England, just after the turn of the 18th Century. This is the time when Lords and Barons, Ladies and Maids thrived in the height of their glory. In the midst of their vast estates were manors and villages, rife with intrigue, scandals, daily life, and schools for boys or schools for girls.
Patience Creighton runs one such school. Under the shadow of the rarely home, gambling freelancer William Sterling who is master over the property on which Rosemere sits. Let the back cover speak for itself:
Darbury, England – 1816
Patience Creighton will finally find the peace she lost years ago—if she can open her heart and forgive the man who loves her.
Bright, sensible Patience knows what is expected of her. At twenty-five, her opportunity for a family of her own has passed, so she finds contentment teaching at her father’s school for girls. When her father dies suddenly and her brother moves away to London, she is determined to keep her father’s dream alive.
Confirmed bachelor William Sterling also knows what is expected of him, but mistake after mistake has left him teetering on ruin’s edge. As master of Eastmore Hall he owns a great deal of land but possesses little money to manage the upkeep. He is desperate to find a new source of income, including the sacrifice of land connected to Rosemere.
When her brother returns with a new wife to take over management of the school, Patience is heartbroken to no longer be responsible for her beloved school and is forced to reassess God’s purpose for her life. After her sister-in-law’s matchmaking brings Patience and William together, they both learn new truths about their character and find a common goal in restoring Eastmore’s legacy.
What I love, love about this book are the characters. Enriched with propriety and sacredness of the time, they each still bear their own struggles and ache with their own passions. A veiled Spiritual thread runs through the book like a ribbon marking your favorite place and in the end, leads you to redemption and a happily ever after due a dutiful headmistress. 
Ladd does a fantastic job capturing the maleness of her hero. I applaud that. Many writers tend to write their hero from a feminine perspective and often times they come across as emotional, sappy heroes. Instead, Ladd infuses William Sterling with a mind that thinks like a man, verbiage that is believably male, and struggles that he addresses with the logic and straightforwardness of a man. 
Likewise, her heroines are definitively female. As fitting the times. With a heightened sense of propriety, their spunk is confined like a corset confined their breathing. Yet occasionally, the stays are released the hero sees through to the spirit of the woman beneath and her heart to love with fervor, faithfulness, and purity. 
Love it. Plain and simple.
Between January 17–28, visit Sarah Ladd’s Facebook Page to enter to win a new giveaway each day and be entered to win a Kindle Fire grand prize. Winners will be announced at the Facebook Author Chat party on January 28th! 
RSVP today for Sarah’s The Headmistress of Rosemere Author Chat Party on Facebook. During the party Sarah will be hosting a book chat, testing your Regency trivia skills, announcing the winner of the “School” Your Desk Giveaway, and giving away books, gift certificates, and more. Oh, and she’ll also be giving partygoers an exclusive look at the next book in the Whispers on the Moors series!
So grab your copy of The Headmistress of Rosemere and hope to see you on the evening of January 28th! (If you haven’t read the book, don’t let that stop you from coming!) 

____________________________________

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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Thursday, January 23, 2014

A little bit of coffee and a whole lotta ____

This is my mantra today!! I'm sure most of you agree!  If you could complete this phrase with something OTHER than "Jesus", what would it be? Mine would be...Grace. I could use some grace to finish out the week. I'm getting a tad cranky and that's just not acceptable.

So what about you? 

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Work in Progress

It's late January and Jaime and I are deep in our new writing projects, known in writerly lingo as our WIPs or work-in-progress. They only get dubbed a manuscript or MS when the first draft is completed.

I'm often asked about the process of writing a novel. Sometimes when people learn that I've written novels they comment that they've always wanted to write a book but have just never taken the time or didn't think they could do it. What does it take?

It takes little fragments of time, a story spark, a theme, a hero and heroine--all strung together with lots of soul bleeding, prayers, brainstorming, and persistence.

Jaime and I work best with a somewhat fluid annual goal of one novel a year. We start with rough ideas from September to December. Jaime started hers in November with National Novel Writing Month--NaNoWriMo, and I started mine in January with OhNoWriMo--otherwise known as I-never-did-NaNo-Oh-No. Our goal is to finish our first drafts by late February/early March before we convene for our 3rd annual writer's weekend at Jaime's.

For me, the writing process is an exercise in letting my right brain roam free. My day job is heavily left brained, so I welcome the balance I find in writing.

What steps does it take to complete an MS?
1. I need a story idea, a premise, something that will drive the entire story start to finish.
2. I need a hero and heroine who will best fit the premise and the underlying spiritual theme.
3. I find a setting I know about that fits best with my writing voice. For my first three novels, it's been the North Woods of Wisconsin.
4. The next part is knowing whether you are a plotter (heavily outlined planner), or a "pantser"(a feel-it-as-you-go-person). I like to have a rough idea of my beginning, middle, and end. My first novel was totally pantsed. The second was a bit more plotted. My current WIP is a balance between plotting and pantsing.
5. Brainstorming character profiles, spiritual themes, and plot twists is a favorite stage. Phone calls, Facebook chats, emailing chapters back and forth with Jaime is the next phase.
6. I start a Pinterest board: WIP # 3 Ideas for my brainstorming that gives me visuals for my scenes and characters. I choose character templates:


7. Sometimes research sparks a story idea at the beginning, but at this point in the process some research is often needed and might also spark a plot twist or a character flaw.
8. BIC time--Bum-in-chair. FOKT--Fingers-on-keyboard-time. SAP--Staring-at-page. For this phase, I plug in my iPod, turn on some Mumford & Sons and just start bleeding all the above onto the page. I write in my office, by the fire, on the couch, or at the coffee shop.
9. Often the further you get in the process, the more shape and definition it takes. Jaime and I exchange chapters and then a final MS read through before our writer's weekend.


10. Then we dive into deep edits from March to September when it's off to ACFW 2014 in St. Louis!
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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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Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Downton Debacle

(Warning - Episode 2 from 1/12/2014 air date spoilers)

Some of you don't watch Downton Abbey--hang with me, this is not a fan post that requires previous review. :) 

Anna Bates is the beloved--perhaps THE most beloved--character on Downton Abbey. She has grown into the position of ladies' maid, is married to a valet, Mr. Bates, and has an overwhelmingly sweet, giving, sacrificial personality. 

Two weeks ago, the Internet erupted into outrage over Episode 2 of Season 4. I'd already seen the episode several months prior when it aired in Britain, so I braced myself for the onslaught that was coming. Episode 2 featured (without visual) the assault of Anna by a visiting valet to the Abbey. It left her raped and emotionally shattered. It shocked viewers and created a backlash against the show.

I was a part of some online discussions surrounding this episode. First, people are VERY emotionally connected with the show, and that in itself stunned me a tad. While I get swept into entertainment, I rarely connect so emotionally as to feel violated myself. Regardless, having already seen it and knowing what is to come, it was quite interesting to sit back and watch the reactions. 

Here are a few of my observations--and for those of you who could care not one snippet for DA, hang in here, I have a question for you:

  1. It was interesting to hear viewers draw conclusions on the show's/writer's intentions before seeing the full season. The overwhelming majority concluded the writer had stooped to rape for shock value to drag in numbers, or to simply shock its viewers with misplaced entertainment. That rape should never be used as entertainment. 
  2. I was also surprised by how many swore they would never watch another episode and that DA had finally "crossed the line".
  3. There was enough outrage to make me feel that if I'd been raped, these folks, though goodhearted, might not be able to emotionally handle my confession--As if these people just simply wouldn't be able to deal with the horror of my circumstances. 
So my come back to all of this?

Oddly enough, the show brought into the light the horrors of rape and did a magnificent job, in episode 2, of doing anything remote to glorifying it as valued entertainment. My conclusion after the painful viewing of Episode 2 was how awful it was and I was truly curious to see how the writer would address the after-effects of a lip-zipped crime that women still feel embarrassed and wrong to admit. Now, I have the bonus in that, I watched the rest of Season 4, I know where the writers will take the rape of Anna Bates, and I applaud them for going somewhere no one seems to be willing to go. For all the women who have super glued their lips shut after the guilt of violation, I herald Downton Abbey. 

But think about this... have you ever seen this type of moral outrage over the sexually promiscuous scenes of other "favorited" movies. For example: The Notebook. It's rife with an adulterous affair, graphic love making, and an alcoholic lover chosen over a faithful, sacrificial war hero. Yet, this is heralded as an instant classic, a fine love story, a beautiful depiction of romance. Warm fuzzies. 

So we herald sinful, explicit lovemaking and adultery and scream in outrage when an assault occurs against a beloved character and sin is exposed in all of its ugliness?

Therein lies my question? When do we find ourselves outraged by entertainment? When tragedy strikes a favorite, or when a favorite finds themselves knee-deep in glorified and applauded sin? Have we by chance placed far more time and effort in skewering a writer you think used rape for entertainment when in fact, there was no glory in the depicting of it at all? And have we by chance, placed sin on our computer desktops as Ryan Gosling takes Rachel McAdams into his bed as she sneaks away from her faithful, betrothed war hero? 

Thoughts? Do I have it all wrong?

Monday, January 20, 2014

In His Image

He's the spitttin' image.
She looks just like her mother.
In His image He made them.
If you've seen Me you've seen the Father.
May it be unto me as you have said.
Not My will but Thine.


All familiar phrases.

What does it mean to be created in His image? 
We were made to reflect the Father, the One God, the only Living God.

When I was little my mother would send me to my room if I'd been naughty. She used to say, "you may come down when you've changed your attitude." I grew up in a remodeled one room school house with hardwood floors upstairs. Noise would echo through the registers to all parts of the house and I remember kicking my hard soled shoes against the floor beside the register to announce my displeasure to all occupants of the house, hoping to get my own way. Soon my zeal would wane, far from my mother's presence. I soon wanted her acceptance more than I needed to cling to my anger, and I would creep down the stairs, attitude adjusted--for a hug from mom.


Being created in God's image is having the capacity to be transformed by faith.

Hebrews 11 (KJV)
1 Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.
2 For by it the elders obtained a good report.
3 By faith we understand that the universe was formed at God's command, so that what is seen was not made out of what was visible. (NIV)
6 And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.

Hebrews 11 reminds of the great witnesses of the past who learned how to allow the Father to give them an attitude adjustment--to transform their hearts. They showed us how to walk with God, and reflected His image.

Left to my own devices, I'd need a huge time out, a major attitude adjustment.
Sometimes I might even kick and protest to demand my own way like I did when I was a little girl.

I'm grateful the Father welcomes me back with open arms when I seek Him, and He recreates His image in me.
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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.
Find me on:Facebook
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Friday, January 17, 2014

Book Report & Giveaway: Shadowed by Grace, by Cara Putman

Happy sigh. Happy contented sigh. Do you now what it's like when you read a book and you just...sigh in delight? Satisfied. That's how I feel. I've read Cara Putman's books before but this one? It's her best.

This is a story of Monuments Men -- the men of World War II who protected the ancient arts from the Nazi war machine. And of a young photo journalist whose drive to find her father is the only path to saving her mother's life. And it's in Italy. I will go back to Italy any way I can. If I can't sit in that little cafe sipping espresso in Tuscany, then I'll do it through a book. And duck, as planes zoom overhead and a handsome G.I. with an insatiable quench for the arts shields me with his protective arms.

Yeah. I think I got a little too emotionally involved.

Get this quote, straight from the book. "Out of the destruction the church seemed to whisper there was still hope. She longed to believe it. That hope waited to be grasped with both hands and yanked to her heart".

Happy sigh.

Crazy stuff went on in protecting priceless works of art during World War II. Cara's characters, Scott and Rachel are layered, deep, and take the reader into the intrigue of the war. The spiriting away of inanimate objects that captivated the soul of a nation. Hiding them, shielding them. In the same way, Rachel experiences her own story of a nation that claims half of her blood and shields its own secrets of her birth.

Here's the back cover:

She found peace in a time of war.
Desperate to save her dying mother, an American woman accepts her newspaper’s assignment to travel to Italy where she takes photographs dangerously close to the front lines during World War II. But Rachel’s real motive in this journey is to find the father she never knew, an artist she hopes can offer the comfort and support both she and her mother need to survive at such a desperate time.
In her quest, Rachel becomes involved with the Monuments Men effort to save great monuments and works of art from the Third Reich. Soon she will find more than she ever imagined—in war, in love, and in God.

You will go crazy over this one and of course we're giving away a copy. BUT! Here's something a little extra, Cara is joining us for COFFEE on Monday at my Facebook page from 10am-Noon CST. Like the page if you haven't already. Then, come visit! Cara will be responding to your posts LIVE! and we'll be giving away Tuscan soap, Coffee and other items. Not to mention, everyone who joins the coffee chat will get an entry into the drawing and the winner will be announced here on the blog next Friday.

So tell us ... what is YOUR favorite part about World War II history OR what monument would you weep if it had been lost from us forever?


____________________________________

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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Thursday, January 16, 2014

Thursday's Coffee: WWII Red Cross Clubmobile


This week on the blog we have Cara Putnam presenting her new WWII release, Shadowed by Grace. So I thought Thursday Coffee should stay in the same flavor of the week: WWII. This poster was a common advertisement for women to join the American Red Cross. By 1944, many American soldiers were stationed in Great Britain, often in rural areas far from a club or coffee shop or city. The Red Cross sent out "Clubmobiles": a single-decker bus supplied with chewing gum, cigarettes, magazines, newspapers, records, a phonograph. But the most important for morale was the Red Cross "Gals", coffee, and doughnuts! They were responsible to lift the morale and spirits of the GI's. The large vehicles rattled through village streets and down narrow muddy back allies. Below, American GI's line up for coffee handouts in London, 1941. The Red Cross "Gals" were known to wear lip stick, dance an impromptu jitterbug, listen to stories that didn't make the news, and listen while GI's showed pictures of loved ones from home. 
public domain photos: www.commons.wikimedia.org
This post is dedicated to Elizabeth Richardson, from Mishawaka, Indiana. In an article about her service in the National Archives it is reported:  "Liz never regretted her choice to go to war. 'I consider myself fortunate to be in Clubmobile--can't conceive of anything else,' she wrote her parents in Septempber 1944. 'It's a rugged and irregular and weird life, but it's wonderful. That is, as wonderful as anything can be under the circumstances.'" 

Elizabeth Richardson died July 25, 1945 when her plane went down near Paris. She was 27 years old. She is memorialized at the Normandy American Cemetery.

Stop by our blog tomorrow and hear more about Cara's story about another heroine's story from WWII. Don't forget to read yesterday's blog about how Cara got her idea for this story.

Next time you lift up a cup, remember how it can cheer. 
And remember the sacrifices others have made.
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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.
Find me on:Facebook
Find me on: Pinterest
Find me on: Goodreads
Find me on: Twitter

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

An Author Interview - Cara Putman and Shadowed by Grace

putman-1I'm happy and thrilled to welcome a guest blogger today. Cara is not only an amazing writer, but she's a sweet friend. We share a love for all things World War II and while I prefer to get lost in a good book about it, she prefers to WRITE them. This is a good relationship we have. Her latest, Shadowed by Grace, is not only my current read but will be featured THIS FRIDAY on our blog for a book report and giveaway, AND AND AND AND! Cara is going to be guesting on my Facebook page, Monday, January 20th. We'll be doing little giveaways throughout the two hours and YOU our faithful readers and page followers, will get the chance to have that coffee shop chat with a great author that you all posted about wishing you could have! WAY COOL! 

So, Cara is here today to share about her book and introduce herself.

Shadowed by Grace, your latest novel, involves a unique group of soldiers dedicated to saving art and architecture during WWII. What got you interested in the Monuments Men?
It was one of those God moments. I have deep respect and admiration for the men and women of the Greatest Generation, and I love telling their stories. Because of that, I’m always on the lookout for new ideas that will spark into a book. In the summer of 2010, I stumbled across a nonfiction book, Monuments Men, and was introduced to this small band of soldiers. Their stories captured me…and the art added a unique twist to the story. It became a story that burned in my heart to tell.
Shadowed by Grace focuses on some of the endeavors the Monuments Men undertook in Italy. I knew little of the Italian front and discovered a diary that gave voice to the Italian experience. That added with what I was learning about the efforts of the Monuments Men to save priceless monuments and paintings convinced me this was a story I wanted to write. Then I discovered the heroine and her search, and it became part of me. I love this story and am thrilled by the early reactions I’m hearing.
Are you an art buff or was that something you had to become more knowledgeable in to write the story?
I wasn’t an art buff until two things happened. 1) I took a tour at the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C. It was the tour where they take you to four paintings. Only four! But those four were amazing. Then 2) I took art history in college because I knew I would fail music appreciation. Even then I knew myself well enough to know I was a visual learner rather than audio. So when I discovered the Monuments Men it tied into the appreciation I already had for the great masters whose works were scattered all over Europe. Add in the grand buildings and cathedrals, and I could see how important it was to make an effort to preserve them in the first war of widespread aerial bombardment.
ShadowedbyGrace_CVRIntroduce us briefly to the main characters in Shadowed by Grace.
Rachel Justice is a photojournalist on her way to Italy to cover the war. But she’s really there to search for the father she never knew. She’s surprised that her journey includes a search for love and a search for her heavenly Father.
Scott Lindstrom is a museum curator assigned to the Monuments Men. He’s one of the elite group of men assigned the task of saving western civilization. In Italy the army didn’t know what to do with the Monuments Men, so his job was compounded and made even more difficult.
Part of what makes this story so unique is the fact that the heroine is a photojournalist. Not only was photojournalism a new discipline at the time, but few women were allowed to see the front lines. What kind of challenges did that pose for you while writing the book?
I wanted to create a unique job that a woman could have on or near the front lines. If she could be an artist in her own right, all the better. That made war photojournalist the perfect role for Rachel. I found it fascinating to research the women who filled those jobs. Everything from their dress to how they worked in the field had to be explored. Once I found a couple key books, it made it easier. But I didn’t know much about war correspondents until I started writing this book. It’s a good thing I love history and getting the details right.
Which of your books is your favorite?
Stars in the Night would tie with Shadowed by GraceStars in the Night was the first time I got to tell a fuller WWII story and it incorporate the glitz and glamour of classic Hollywood with a unique piece of WWII homefront history and a body count. Shadowed by Grace contains a piece of WWII history with the Monuments Men that fascinated me and it’s the first time I got to tell an international story, which has its own set of challenges.
What made you decide to start creating characters and story world?
I’ve always had a love for good books and stories. When I was a teen, my favorite authors didn’t write new books fast enough – now I understand why! But at the time I thought they should be able to write more books in a year, so I decided to try my hand at it. Life intervened after I’d started two books, but the desire to write never died. In God’s perfect timing, He resurrected the dream and gave me the green light to chase the dream again.
What can we expect from you next?
My next project is a Christmas WWII novella collection with Tricia Goyer andSarah Sundin entitled Treetops Glisten. I love Tricia and Sarah and their WWII novels, so it was a joy to work with them on this collection. We got on the phone and started brainstorming a collection of stories that would fit with the type of WWII novels we each write. “Should be near a big city but have a small town feel.” “Probably located in the Midwest.” “Needs war industry and a university.” I started laughing as I listened, because they were describing Lafayette, Indiana, where I live.
It was fun to work in collaboration on everything from where they would live, to family timelines, to sibling order, etc. Writing is so often solitary, but writing this collection allowed us to step outside of that. Sarah came out in September to do some on-site research. Tricia will be here in February, so it will be fun to take her to the candy shop my heroine works at, drive her by the Turner home, and more.
Cara C. Putman graduated high school at 16, college at 20, and completed her law degree at 27. An award-winning author of seventeen books with more on the way, she is active in women’s ministry at her church and is a lecturer on business and employment law to graduate students at Purdue University’s Krannert School of Management. Putman also practices law and is a second-generation homeschooling mom. Putman is currently pursuing her Master’s in Business Administration at Krannert. She serves on the executive board of American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW), an organization she has served in various roles since 2007. She lives with her husband and four children in Indiana. You can connect with her online at: her websiteFacebookTwitter,Pinterest, and Goodreads.
You can purchase Shadowed by Grace, at Christianbook.comBarnes & NobleAmazonLifeway, and anywhere else books are sold.
About the book:
Rachel Justice is desperate to save her dying mother. She doesn’t want to leave her, but she accepts her newspaper’s assignment to travel to Italy and photograph war images. No one knows her photography is a cover and that Rachel is really seeking to find the father she never knew, hopeful to get some help with her failing mother. Dedicated to her mission, Rachel is focused on completing it. Soon, though, she finds her priorities and plans changing when she is assigned to Lt. Scott Lindstrom, on mission as a Monument Man. Their meeting will have far-reaching consequences. Will this derail her plans? Will she ever find her father? Is her faith enough to carry her through?
Read the first chapter here.

THANKS, CARA! I'm so glad you stopped by to visit. And you readers?? Come back on Friday for a chance to win the book and hop over to my Facebook page and "like" it so you have a chance to join us on Monday the 20th (10-Noon) for more giveaways and a great chat with Cara LIVE!

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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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