Do you ever have one of those moments when someone asks you to join their group and you're like, "Who, me?" And just like, you're on the ball field in elementary school once more, thrilled that you're not the last picked. And even more thrilled because you got on the team you were hoping for.
Well, I had no idea I even wanted to be on a team I'm joining this month. But when they asked me, I knew I had to say "Yes," despite wondering if they were sure they wanted me. Me? I'm not well-known or even all that amazing. But you know what? They asked me anyway.
Ready to know who I'm talking about?
This month I get to join the group of authors over there who chat all things Contemporary Christian Romance. And y'all, I'm fan-girling a bit. To be included among other authors I love to read and have been looking up to ... it's a pretty amazing feeling. So, that being said, come over and check it out. I'll be posting on that blog about once a month, getting to take over their social media every now and then, and participating in giveaways, among other things. I'm expecting lots of fun!
So, what about you? Have you ever been asked to participate in something you didn't even know was an option, but ended up being an honor and joy?
Several of you have heard me talk over the last few years of my Roadtrip Romances I'm writing. A trilogy that follows three girls on different roadtrips where they also find romance, of course. Well, I had written the first one a while back, tackled the second one last November, and planned to write the third this summer (still hoping for that). With so much already done and figured out, I went ahead and sent a proposal in, hoping to line these up to start releasing next year.
I have good news and bad news.
As I posted back before February, I was given a challenge to basically do another Nanowrimo in February, when people weren't as busy. I accepted, but told myself I wouldn't be upset if I didn't "win" like I normally do (aka over 50,000 words in a month), especially since February has fewer days.
Well, I had an idea for a story set in college, and as of February 23rd, I finished the first draft at almost 68,000 words. It was even better than I expected.
I know it will need editing, but it was such a joy to write. As the words flowed out, I discovered even more depths and lessons that my characters needed to learn. I got to learn about different majors than I had myself in school. And I created a school that included quite a few things I love from several schools in real life.
Today, we welcome my fellow Scrivenings author, Deborah Sprinkle. I've gotten to know her a bit over the last year through zoom calls, and she's a delight to chat with. I hope you enjoy getting to know her just as much.
Deborah, congratulations on the recent publication of your second novel. As someone who majored in Chemistry and taught for a long time, what made you decide to write murder mysteries?
I've been an avid reader of mysteries since I was young, beginning with Agatha Christie. So when I retired from teaching chemistry and felt the desire to write, I naturally gravitated to the mystery/suspense genre. What's ironic is that my very first book was a patriotic devotional that I co-wrote with a friend! It was published in 2013 and it was another six years before my debut romantic suspense novel came out.
Are there any people in your past who have inspired or been a big help in your path to publication?
I started going to the Blue Ridge Mountain Christian Writers' Conference in 2011. There I met so many great people who would later become friends. One in particular has mentored me for many years now. That's DiAnn Mills. She's an award winning romantic suspense author who's written over 40 books that have sold over one million copies. Yet she believes in helping other authors, like me, get started and be successful. That's what I love about the Christian writing world.
I know you've lived several different places. Did you base the town in your books on any town from your past or bits and pieces of several?
Yes. For many years, we lived on a 30 acre lake in northern Indiana much like the one I describe in my first book. It was near a community that was smaller than Pleasant Valley, and not within an hour of a big city like Cincinnati, but the house and the lake are very similar to ours. I'm not sure why I chose southern Ohio as the location. I just knew I wanted Pleasant Valley close enough to a big city to give myself options for future stories.
Since joining a book club, I've noticed how nice it is when authors have discussion questions posted SOMEWHERE, either in the back of the book, or on their website. So, for any of you who choose my novel to use as a book club read, here are some questions you can use to discuss afterwards. You're not limited to these, obviously. And I'd love to hear any you can come up with, too.
I don't know about you, but I'm friends with my former English professors from college. We keep up on Facebook and they cheer me on with each book, which is amazing. So, when I saw one of them cheering on another Freed graduate, I knew exactly how that felt. And the more I read about her and her book, the more I wanted to know. So, I reached out to new author Karly Cross, and she agreed to do an interview. After all, if I want to know more, you probably will, too, right?
Hi Karly, welcome! I'm always excited to meet other alum from Freed-Hardeman who are also authors. When did you first decide you wanted to write?
Hi! Thank you so much for having me! This is definitely a blessing to be able to answer these questions with you. I love that Freed has connected us and that we have that connection to each other here in the writing world.
As cliché as it may sound, I think I’ve always had the writer’s spirit in me. I was writing silly songs and poems from the time I could read, and all my fantastical stories were my favorite way to express myself. Creating and writing have always just been part of who I am.
Your first book looks great. I'm always excited to find more books for my children to read as they grow, especially ones that include the Bible. What inspired you to write a book about going back to Bible times?
Thank you so much! It was definitely a labor of love, and I hope your kids enjoy it, truly!
I think sometimes when we read the Bible, we forget the humanity of the people we’re told about. It’s so easy to slip into the mindset of “these are stories” rather than “these are historical accounts.” By having the characters, Riley and Gabe, go back into these accounts, in my opinion, it gives young people a chance to really explore the humanity of the biblical people. It broadens the scope and shifts the perspective, which I think can be beneficial to all.
I finished writing my Christmas novella that's not due until May (it comes out in late September). And I meant to write the third book in my roadtrip romance series this Feb/Mar. But my muse evidently has other plans.
When I participated in Nanowrimo last November, several others participated, too, and we encouraged each other as we tried to get in our word counts. However, November is a hard month, and several fell short of where they wanted to be. So, someone suggested we try again in February.
You know I'm always up for a challenge. Or at least, always challenging myself. And since I'd been thinking of trying to write around then anyway, I jumped on board.
Have you ever been reading along and wished you could see exactly how a house or plot of land looked that the character lives in. Well, today is your lucky day.
In going through the edits for Writing Home, my editor couldn't picture exactly how everything looked the way I had described it. To make both our lives easier, I sketched out a rough (seriously, super rough with no measuring whatsoever) floor plan of the land Jordan's family lives on (see above) as well as his cabin (see below).
Writing Home releases TOMORROW! Now that you've had a few sneak peeks behind the characters and story, I though you'd like a peek at the first chapter. I've added it below.
In the next few weeks, I'm going to be visiting quite a few other blogs, too, talking more about this book and the different things that inspired it. I hope you love this story as much as I do. Because, so far, it might be one of my favorites.
And if you want to make sure and get your copy, it's here!
Let's talk best friends. Because, to be honest, Christiana and Jordan wouldn't have much of a story in Writing Home, if not for Tina.
Tina and Chris grew up down the street from each other in their Nashville suburb, and were almost inseparable until Chris left to go to Huntsville for college. Now, Tina is still at home, and wishes Chris were, too.
When Chris asks for a pen pal, Tina immediately thinks of her cousin Jordan, who she used to write in middle and high school. And maybe for a few other reasons, too, but she's not disclosing those yet.
This is a place for me to tell you about what I'm writing, talk about the process or where some of my ideas came from, or even have other authors come in and talk about their books.
Authors I Love to Read (in no particular order)