Tag Archives: Historical Fiction

Ruth Logan Herne . . . Author Spotlight

 

Thank you for joining me for this Author Spotlight!

First, a bit about Ruth…

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Ruth Logan Herne loves Charlie Brown Christmas trees, rooting for the underdog and people who go the distance while others see the path as too long or broken! She loves God, chocolate, writing, dogs and is blessed by a sprawling family, oodles of grandkids and a sweet old farmhouse in constant need of work.

She’s sure that clean rooms are over-rated, snakes and possums should mind their own business and buy their own farm and puppies and kittens and babies are about the cutest things on Earth. A “pull-up-your-big-girl-panties-and-move-on” kind of gal, she is blessed to be married to her high school sweetheart (although it wasn’t as if THEY WERE KNOCKING DOWN THE DOOR to challenge him for her!!!), work with young families who allow her to exploit their sweet children on blogs, and rock babies on a regular basis.

An author for Love Inspired Books and Summerside Press, she lives in upstate New York.

“To everything there is a season, and a time for every purpose under the heaven.” (Ecclesiastes 3:1)

 

Readers can learn more about Ruth at www.ruthloganherne.com or find her on Facebook, Twitter, Amazon, Pinterest and Goodreads.

 

An interview with Ruth Logan Herne . . . today on Donna’s BookShelf.Tweet this!

 

And here is my interview with Ruth:

1. You have written several great series for Love Inspired . . . what inspired you to branch out with the Double S Ranch series?

Well, this question is easy, LOL! They offered me a contract and I jumped at it! I always wanted to write bigger books…. and category, too. I like having people of all ages and income levels be able to find my stories. So this was perfect!

 

2. We spoke last year about your pen name? Do you mind if I share your story with my readers again?

Sure! Ruth Logan Herne is a pen name. My real name isn’t a secret, it’s in most of my books. But when my mother was dying of cancer, she took my hand one day and said, “I know you’re serious about your writing. I know it means a lot to you. When you get published someday, will you use something of my name in your name? So people know you were mine?”

So I did. Her name was Mary Elizabeth Logan Herne and I took the Logan Herne from her. Herne was my maiden name.

 

3. I heard that you plan to attend a readers conferences in Nashville this August . . . will you also be attending the ACFW conference during the same week?

I am in Nashville during the ACFW conference, and I’m taking part in the amazing Christian Fiction Reader’s Retreat on 8/24 in Nashville…. and then I’ll be in the hotel lobby to visit with folks on 8/25 and 8/26 before I catch a plane back to upstate NY to help with the farm… This is our busy time here, and it’s all hands on deck, so I’ll be there to visit, but not for the whole conference… I love meeting people! That’s my favorite part, so if any of you are there, by all means, come chat with me in the lobby…. The blonde with a laptop and a smile! (This is not natural blonde, unless L’Oreal chemicals are somehow now construed as natural, but that’s okay!!!)

 

4. You live in an historic farmhouse in New York State. Can you tell us more about what’s happening around your farm this year?

Historic farmhouse sounds fancy, doesn’t it? It’s big, but not fancy, and it’s full of love and we’re always breaking things and fixing things! Right now we’re planting like crazy. All kinds of veggies…. squash, pumpkins, cukes, melons, tomatoes, peppers, gourds, corn, and anything the deer seem to love to eat…. it seems we’re offering New York State whitetail deer a veritable buffet of goodness. Oy!!!

But it’s all good and Dave and Seth are working hard to pull this all together!

 

5. You post often about “The Mighty Finn” who is one of your grandsons. What prompted you to write a series about this incredible, adventurous little boy?

Finn… Oh my stars, his nature is what prompted us to write about him. He’s so funny and endearing and he’s got a great personality for pictures, he doesn’t make faces when we pull out the camera, and he’s a born storyteller so that shows in his face…. he’s always wondering or thinking and smiling! His mom is the photographer, and he’s just been a great subject, but who knows when that might change???? Yikes!

 

6. You seem to be involved in everything . . . from writing novels to selling eggs! How do you find time for everything you do?

Donna, blame the Yankee in me, or the New York minute, or a frenetic personality…. or that I love what I do! I’ve been waiting all my life to write books, so now that I can and people are buying them, I’m so excited!!! So I jump in and make time count… Ben Franklin said “There’s plenty of time for rest in the grave” and I love that saying! I’ve always wanted to use the talents God gave me…whether it’s cleaning, gathering eggs and raking out chicken coops, baking cookies and pies or writing sweet books. I am so blessed!

 

7. Do you have any advice for aspiring authors?

Yes. Don’t quit. Don’t ever quit. Just write, write, write and when you’re done with one manuscript, start another. Or research one while working on another. Don’t let time slip away, there are no time guarantees on our clocks! Go for the gold, reach for the stars, and believe.

And never, ever, ever give up.

 

Thanks, Ruthy!

And THANK YOU for joining me for this very special AUTHOR SPOTLIGHT!


If you haven’t read MORE THAN A PROMISE by Ruth Logan Herne, you’re missing out on a great story – Tweet this!

Drop by to talk books and dwarf goats with Ruth Logan Herne! – Tweet this!

 

Blessings!

Interview © 2016 DJ Mynatt

Ruth Logan Herne – Author Spotlight

 

Thank you for joining me for this very touching Author Spotlight!

First, a bit about Ruth…

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Regardless of the season, I love visitors. Folks who love sweet books, gentle stories of hope, love and redemption set in small towns . . . and sometimes in big cities! I’m so glad you stopped by . . . grab a “cuppa” from the Keurig or I’ll make you a latte. Or maybe just a glass of sweet tea?  Set a spell, relax and let’s talk books, amazing heroes and spunky heroines with cute little kids, fun neighbors, sweet country churches and horses and dogs thrown in for good measure.

And the occasional adorable dwarf goat!

Look around. See what suits you. And always, always, always, it is my great pleasure to have you stop by.

“To everything there is a season, and a time for every purpose under the heaven.” (Ecclesiastes 3:1)

 

Readers can learn more about Ruth at www.ruthloganherne.com or find her on Facebook, Twitter, Amazon, Pinterest and Goodreads.

 

An interview with Ruth Logan Herne . . . today on Donna’s BookShelf.Tweet this!

 

And here is my interview with Ruth:

1. You write contemporary and historical romance… do you write any other genres

Not at this time! I have a fun fantasy (think Lion, Witch and Wardrobe fun) that I started and haven’t had time to finish, but I love it! At this time, though, I love doing exactly what I’m doing: Writing sweet, delightful romances that show folks overcoming the seemingly ever-present obstacles life throws in our way! That can be daunting, but I love to show people their inner strengths, the power of their beliefs in God and in the amazing person he created when making them. So this is keeping me crazy busy and I’m having the time of my life!

2. Have you ever used a pen name? If  not, is this something you might do, perhaps for a different genre?

Ruth Logan Herne is a pen name. My real name isn’t a secret, it’s in most of my books. But when my mother was dying of cancer, she took my hand one day and said, “I know you’re serious about your writing. I know it means a lot to you. When you get published someday, will you use something of my name in your name? So people know you were mine?”

So I did. Her name was Mary Elizabeth Logan Herne and I took the Logan Herne from her. Herne was my maiden name.

3. Do you attend writers conferences and workshops? Do you attend workshops, teach workshops, or are you there for social benefits?

Oh, Donna, I’m so very bad!!! I love going and meeting people, I don’t attend classes, so now if I go to a conference, I just hang out in the lobby and write and chat with people. That’s my favorite way of attending! I have taught lots of writing classes in my time, and I love it, but I’m still working a day job and there are only so many hours in the day. It’s hard to get chosen for workshops at conferences, so now I focus on meeting readers/writers and friends!

4. You live in an historic farmhouse… and it’s beautiful. Can you tell us more about this choice?

Aw, thank you! It’s such a great old place, and we raised six kids here so we kind of hammered it! And like so many, we’ve had a few rough patches financially, so when my first writing contract came through, we bought two new toilets, LOL! That’s so funny to think of, but so very necessary! Then over the past five years we had the porches repaired, new roofs put on, a family room (there are 14 grandchildren now, so the family room got bumped up the list!) and of course some needed farm things for Dave and the boys. We’ll hang onto it for a while more because it’s a great place for kids and grandkids to come home to! And I love being on a farm.

5. You post often about “The Mighty Finn” who I think is one of your grandsons. What prompted this?

Finn is hysterical! He’s got his own persona, and we were laughing about it, and one day I just called him The Mighty Finn because his reactions to things are like a little old man in a tiny fellow’s body! And it caught on and now we’re just plain having fun with it and getting ready to publish a series of Mighty Finn stories for kids…. It’s just a delight to see things through a mix of his eyes and storytelling.

6. Can you name a few of your favorite writers?  Favorite books?

Gosh, there are two categories. First The Seekers…. The gals I turn to for everything, the ladies of Seekerville. Tina Radcliffe, Missy Tippens, Mary Connealy, Myra Johnson, Julie Lessman, Audra Harders, Glynna Kaye, Janet Dean, Sandra Leesmith, Pam Hillman, Cara Lynn James and Debby Giusti. I love their work, I love their devotion, I love them!

But before there were Seekers there were favorites, too! Lisa Wingate (Her Texas Cooking series is how I found her, delightful!!) Karen White (everything she writes, but my first experience was “Falling Home”, which I loved), Debra Smith (Sweet Hush, one of my favorite ABA books), Sara Donati (now uses her real name Rosina Lippi) (Into the Wilderness) Catherine Marshall’s “Christy”, Louisa May Alcott’s “Little Women”, and so many others! I’ve always lost myself in books and I know you’re like that too!

You and I have a lot in common!

7. Do you have any advice for aspiring authors?

Yes. Don’t quit. Don’t ever quit. Just write, write, write and when you’re done with one manuscript, start another. Or research one while working on another. Don’t let time slip away, there are no time guarantees on our clocks! Go for the gold, reach for the stars, and believe.

And never, ever, ever give up.

 

And now for a few favorites:

Favorite vacation spot – People go on vacations??? REALLY??????

Favorite color – Yellow. Which is probably why my house is yellow, that and because it’s such a neat, old-fashioned color!

Favorite food/drink – I am fully supportive of most foods and drinks, but coffee is at the top of the list. Blame being a New Yorker… or a deep need for legally addictive beverages! Food… too many to list, but I love simple foods. I’m a simple person, and if I picked one thing it would be chocolate!!!!!

Favorite time of year – Fall, winter and spring. I’m not a summer person, although I love to work outside… but I prefer sweater weather to heat and humidity. I get kind of SNIPPY when it’s hot out, shame on me!

Favorite hobbies – Writing.

Favorite holiday – Easter. We haven’t messed it up yet, and I love the grace and peace that follows such a tragic day as Good Friday. So much room for rebirth and joy!

Favorite dessert – Pie. I’m a pie person. I eat like any dessert that is not nailed down, but I love making and eating and developing pies!!!! Pies rock!!!!
Donna, thank you so much for this, and for all you do to promote authors, Christian fiction and the joy of reading! You’re amazing!

 
Thanks, Ruthy!

And THANK YOU for joining me for this very special AUTHOR SPOTLIGHT!


If you haven’t read A TOWN CALLED CHRISTMAS by Ruth Logan Herne, you’re missing out on a great story – Tweet this!
 

Drop by to talk books and dwarf goats with Ruth Logan Herne! – Tweet this!

 

Blessings!

Interview © 2015 DJ Mynatt

Civil War Heroines (series) | Mary Ellis Marathon

Introducing . . .

The Civil War Heroines

 Romance on the River

(A FREE eBook that kicks off the series)

This short story prequel by bestselling author Mary Ellis provides an early glimpse into the life of Quaker Emily Harrison. Laced with humor and a sweet love story, this bonus material also contains the first chapter of Emily’s continuing journey in The Quaker and the Rebel, Book 1 of the Civil War Heroines series.

Summer 1861—Emily Harrison is finding life a bit overwhelming. Alone on her family’s farm, she must take on the roles of both housekeeper and farmer. She cares for the garden, makes plans for planting the fields, and milks the cows, all the while creating havoc in the home her mother used to keep immaculate. That is in addition to providing a safe house as part of the Underground Railroad.

In the midst of this whirlpool of swirling tasks, she is getting ready to greet very important dinner guests—the love of her life and her pastor and his wife. Will Matthew finally propose? What news does Reverend Ames bring that turns Emily’s world upside down? How does the new war between the North and South impact her life? And…will the goose be cooked in time?

 

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The Quaker and the Rebel

Bestselling author Mary Ellis presents A Heart Divided, Book 1 of her brand-new Civil War historical romance series, which tells the stories of brave women in times of testing and the men who love them.

Emily Harrison’s life has been turned upside down. At the beginning of the Civil War, she bravely attempted to continue her parents’ work as conductors in the Underground Railroad until their Ohio farm was sold in foreclosure. Now alone, she accepts a position as a governess with a doctor’s family in slave-holding Virginia. Perhaps she can continue her rescue efforts from there.

Alexander Hunt is the doctor’s handsome nephew. While he does not deny a growing attraction to his uncle’s newest employee, he cannot take time to pursue Emily. Alex is not at all what he seems–rich, spoiled, and indolent. He is the elusive Gray Wraith, a Quaker leader of Rebel partisans. A man of the shadows, he carries no firearm and wholeheartedly believes in Emily’s antislavery convictions.

The path before Alex and Emily is complicated and sometimes life threatening. The war brings betrayal, entrapment, and danger to both of them. Amid their growing feelings for each other, can they find faith in God amid the challenges they face and trust in the possibility for a bright future together?

 

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 The Lady and the Officer

Bestselling author Mary Ellis presents The Lady and the Officer, Book 2 of her new Civil War historical romance series, which tells the stories of brave women and the men who love them.

Serving for a brief time as a nurse after the devastating battle of Gettysburg, Madeline Howard saves the life of Elliot Haywood, a colonel in the Confederate Home Guard. But even though Maddy makes her home in the South, her heart and political sympathies belong to General James Downing, a soldier from the North.

However, Colonel Haywood has never forgotten the beautiful nurse, and when he unexpectedly meets her again in Richmond, he is determined to win her. But while rubbing elbows with army officers and cavalry generals and war department officials in her aunt and uncle’s palatial home, Maddy overhears plans for a Confederate attack in northern Virginia. She knows passing along this information may save the life of her beloved James, but at what cost? Can she really betray the trust of her family and friends?

Maddy’s heart is pulled between wanting to be loyal to those who care for her and wanting to help the man she believes is on the right side of the conflict. Two men love her. Will her faith in God show her the way to a bright future, or will her choices bring a devastation of their own?

 

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The Last Heiress

 

Bestselling author Mary Ellis presents The Last Heiress, a new romantic standalone that intertwines the lives of a British manufacturing heiress and an American merchant caught in the turbulent time of the War Between the States.

When Amanda Dunn sets sail from England for Wilmington, North Carolina, she hopes to somehow restore shipments of raw materials for her family’s textile mills, which have been severely disrupted by the American Civil War. Though there is not much one individual can do, the wealthy young woman feels she must try, as her mother and hundreds of employees at Dunn Textiles are dependent on Southern cotton.

When Amanda meets Nathaniel Cooper, her desire to conduct business and quickly return to England changes. Though captivated by one another, neither is fully aware of the other’s true nature.

Nathanial, who on the outside appears to be a poor but hardworking merchant, is actually a secret Yankee sympathizer who will stop at almost nothing to bring about freedom for those who live under subjugation, even when that involves questionable judgment. And Amanda’s wealth is made possible by underpaid workers living in slums around the mills, not much different than American slavery.

Can these two earnest souls find the best in one another rather than focus on what could tear them apart? And though they both believe they are on God’s path, how will their decisions affect those around them?

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And don’t forget to click below to find out how you can enter Mary’s GIVEAWAY contest!

Mary Ellis Marathon | Giveaway!

God bless you!

 

Copyright © 2013-2015 DJ Mynatt.

A Lady at Willowgrove Hall | Sarah Ladd


Today I’m reviewing A Lady at Willowgrove Hall, the third book in the Whispers on the Moors series by Sarah Ladd.

Here is a brief synopsis from Goodreads:

Her secret cloaks her in isolation and loneliness. His secret traps him in a life that is not his own.

Cecily Faire carries the shame of her past wherever she treads, knowing one slip of the tongue could expose her disgrace. But soon after becoming a lady’s companion at Willowgrove Hall, Cecily finds herself face-to-face with a man well-acquainted with the past she’s desperately hidden for years.

Nathaniel Stanton has a secret of his own—one that has haunted him for years and tied him to his father’s position as steward of Willowgrove Hall.

To protect his family, Nathaniel dares not breath a word of the truth. But as long as the shadow looms over him, he’ll never be free to find his own way in the world. He’ll never be free to fall in love.

When the secrets swirling within Willowgrove Hall come to light, Cecily and Nathaniel must confront a painful choice: Will they continue running from the past . . . or will they stand together and fight for a future without the suffocating weight of secrets long suffered?

 

MY THOUGHTS:

Wow! This is the first book by Sarah Ladd that I’ve read… but it definitely won’t be the last!

And I plan to find the first two books in this series and re-read A Lady at Willowgrove Hall again, just to get the full story.

I don’t find myself reading a lot of historical romance, but this series will definitely be on my shelves!

Since I began reading historical romance by Janette Oke, I haven’t cared one bit for the outfits and behavior described in many of the historical books I’ve seen — and don’t get me started on the language! Whew!

I love reading about the adventures and the brave characters who know heartache and sorrow — yet they do whatever it takes to carry on.

I felt sad and lonely myself, when reading about Cecily being separated from her family — especially her twin sister. When she finally meets the “right” man, I rejoiced! I’m not going to reveal anything further… I hate reading too much about a book or a reviewer spoiling the book, so I try to be careful to not reveal too much.

I think you should get this book… and read it. As a matter of fact, I really think you should read the series — if you enjoy reading historical romances, you’ll enjoy this series.

Don’t miss A Lady at Willowgrave Hall by Sarah Ladd!CLICK TO TWEET!

A Lady at Willowgrave Hall by Sarah Ladd – book 3 in the Whispers on the Moors series!CLICK TO TWEET!

 

You can read more reviews and more about the book on Goodreads HERE

You can find more about Sarah Ladd on her website… HERE

And you can click the links below to read reviews and/or buy the book…

Buy from Amazon.
Buy from Barnes and Noble.
Buy from Christian Book Distributor.
Buy from iBooks.

Disclosure: I received this book free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

God bless you!
Title: A Lady at Willowgrove Hall
Series: Whispers on the Moors
Author: Sarah Ladd
Genre: Historical Romance
Publisher: Thomas Nelson
Release Date: October 2014
ISBN: 978-1401688370

Copyright © 2013-2015 donnasbookshelf.

Holly Michael – Author Spotlight

 

Thank you for joining me for this Author Spotlight!

About Holly…

I’m a kaleidoscope, twisted and turned by the hand of God through a beautiful life of writing, traveling, and other incredible opportunities. I was a regular freelance ghostwriter and online editor for Guideposts for Teens/Sweet 16 Magazine, creator/editor of a magazine for Wal-Mart Corp., journalist, newspaper features writer, published in a variety of national magazines and local newspapers, script writing/editing for a financial corporation, book reviewer, and now writing fiction, blogging, and editor of Koinonia Magazine.

I’m the wife of Rt. Rev. Leo Michael, an Anglican Bishop in the Holy Catholic Church-Anglican Rite. Mom to three great kids: Sweet Betsy and my two #81’s: Jake Byrne (San Diego Chargers) and Nick Byrne (Ragin Cajuns).

I’ve been blessed to be able to travel extensively across the United States and internationally to India, England, Scotland, and Canada. More info on my books to come…

COMING SOON:
Crossed Lines (Sequel to Crooked Lines) Release Date: February 2015

I’ll Be Seeing You: In Wyoming’s Wind River Valley, Charlie Willow faces a future more unsettling than the one he imagined upon realizing he was dead. The plan, written into his will, ought to fix his children, but an angel asks for a little more help.

I’ll Be Seeing You was an ACFW Genesis 2014 semi-finalist.

Devotional: Holly Michael and her son, Jake Byrne, an NFL player with type one diabetes, are writing a devotional contracted with Harvest House, due for release fall 2015.

 

Holly’s debut novel, Crooked Lines, released July 2014. Her second novel, TSUNAMI 2004: Still Wading Through Waves of Hope just released in December 2014.

Readers can learn more about Holly at http://www.hollymichael.com or find her on Facebook, Twitter, Amazon and Goodreads.

 

Holly Michael’s personal story is as inspirational as her writing.CLICK TO TWEET!

 

And here is my interview with Holly:

Have you always wanted to write? Do you use an outline for your stories?

I wanted to write from a young age, when Dr. Seuss’s impressed me with his rhythm and rhyme. I began to dabble in poetry from the time I could spell out words, became a newspaper features writer, journalist, magazine writer, and now books! I don’t use an outline. I get the story plot in my head, a solid idea of where I’m going, and just plunge into it. “Leap and the net will appear,” has always worked for me.

 

How does it feel being a published author? Have you encountered any surprises along the way to being published?

I was published in newspaper and magazines before authoring books, but holding that first novel in my hands was the most amazing experience, next to giving birth to a child. I had been a nonfiction writer for years and wanted to get back into writing as a full time career after the kids left home. The more I prayed about where God wanted me to use my writing talents, the more drawn I was to the “novel in my head.” Now, I write fiction and non-fiction.

Surprises: I think the most surprising thing about writing a novel is the amount of work involved in marketing after the book is published. I never imaged it would be so time-consuming.

 

Do you have a folder or a file where you keep future ideas for stories or do you just come up with ideas after a suggestion from your editor/agent/friends?

I do both. I ask my editor and agent what they are looking for, even meeting with them at conferences to brainstorm. I let them know that I can write fiction and nonfiction and am open to writing anything they think will sell. I do keep ideas in a folder and have a big list of project I want to get to in 2015.

 

How do you find time for everything… writing, family, church, friends… and you’ve recently taken on home-schooling, too!

Keeping it all balanced is tough. My husband is a bishop in the Anglican church and we travel a lot. We also have our home parish in Kansas City. Our kids are grown, but we visit them and enjoy their visits home. Since I consider writing a full time job, I try to write as often as possible.

Some full-time writers set aside a certain number of hours in a day, but my life gets so chaotic, I can’t always do that. I write where and whenever I can, often in the car while traveling. Sometimes I can’t write for a couple days and sometimes I write 12 hours a day.

 

Have you attended any writer retreats, conferences and the like? Do you think they are necessary for your writing?

It depends where you are at with your writing and what your goals are. Retreats, conferences, and the like can be a real boost for your career. My first ACFW conference, I had definite goals. I prayed about them and worked really hard at that first conference to talk to every agent and editor I could. It paid off. I got an agent and a book contract. That conference flung the doors to publication wide open. I highly recommend writers go if they can swing it.

 

How often do you travel? Where do you go? Who do you travel with? What is your favorite vacation spot?

The question could probably be better asked, “When do you not travel?” My husband has the oversight of about twelve churches and has to travel at least once a year to visit each of them. We have churches as far out west as Wyoming. Also, my sons play football (college and NFL), so we love to visit them when we can and watch their games. I also travel for writing conferences. I was invited to the Annual Pulpwood Queen Book Club Convention, (Girlfriend Weekend) in Nacogdoches, Texas in January! Looking forward to that.

My husband and I will travel together then go see our two kids in college in Louisiana. So, traveling is a huge part of my life. But traveling also gives me story ideas. In November we returned from five weeks abroad–England, France, and then on to India for Mission Work. We got back home in December and in twenty-six days I wrote and published: Tsunami 2004 Still Wading Through Waves of Hope. It’s a nonfiction “then and now” book about the work we did ten years ago when the tsunami hit and our follow-up work.

Favorite vacation spot was the Isle of Iona, Scotland. Most beautiful, peaceful, green place I’ve ever been too.

 

What are you working on now? Is there another genre you are interested in writing or are you perfectly content to stick with historical fiction?

Now, I’m working on my sequel to Crooked Lines. I am really an all-around hybrid author. Along with my indie-published works, I have a devotional coming out in August 2015 with Harvest House Publishers. My son and I wrote it together. He’s an NFL player who also has type one diabetes. I’m planning for about five releases in 2015–fiction and nonfiction, traditional and indie published. My genre is also not very defined. Crooked Lines has been called literary fiction, Christian fiction, and even a book that defies genres. The sequel is more of a romance and I’m excited about finishing that and getting it published. Looking forward to a May or June release.

Thank You Holly and God bless you!

 

THANK YOU for joining me for this AUTHOR SPOTLIGHT!

Don’t forget to check back or follow my blog to see new reviews — this month I have two other special debut authors… and February will be dedicated to another of my favorite authors!

 

Crooked Lines is not an easy story to read – but it is worth reading.CLICK TO TWEET!

You don’t always see a mission trip coming.CLICK TO TWEET!

 

God bless you!

 

© Donna J. Mynatt 2015

Rachel Muller – Author Spotlight

Thank you for joining me for this very touching Author Spotlight!

First, a bit about Rachel.

(Fair warning – you may want to grab the tissues)

Rachel Muller_Headshot

 

My Testimony…

Growing up in a home where Christ stood in the center of our family didn’t protect me from the world I was about to step into as I entered my teenage years. Even among fellow believers I was still vulnerable to the back biting schemes of young school girls. I fell into that pit of comparing myself with others, not feeling pretty enough or good enough for anything. I quickly sank into depression and silently suffered with an eating disorder. It was my way of dealing with the pain. After all, doesn’t the world tell people today, “No pain, no gain?” It was all a lie.

My life was sinking fast and my hope was not in Jesus to pull me out. Sure, I’d grown up in a Christian home, and I knew who Jesus was, but I wasn’t fully living for Him. So life went on and I still stayed put in my own little world of wasting. I abused over-the-counter drugs to make my body thinner, I deprived my body of nutrients, went on eating binges, even tried vomiting what I did eat. To add to my troubles, I fell into the wrong crowd and found myself in one dangerous situation after another.

Then one day, God reached down and touched my heart through one small act of humility. It was then as I watched a cowboy kneel before God and breathe his prayer of thanks to Him for his safety and victorious bull ride, that I realized all that I was striving for in life was in vain. My self-righteous suffering was not justifying my actions, my issues, or my problems. I wasn’t looking to God for the answers I so desperately wanted to find. Instead, I was taking matters into my own hands and slipping down a dangerous incline that would have potentially led to my demise.

From that day forward, as I drove down the road in prayer with silent tears running down my face, I promised to place my life in God’s hands and let Him lead and guide me from then on. Within six months, I met the man who was to be my future husband, got married another 6 six months later, and welcomed our first child into our arms 13 months after that.

Through journaling my life’s accounts, it was revealed to me that I had a future in writing. I enjoyed reliving my worst moments, seeing how God changed the course of my life forever and saved me from a path of destruction.

My Writing Journey…

By March of 2012, I took the advice of Author Cara Putman and joined American Christian Fiction Writers – I’ve never regretted making that decision. The amazing outpouring of prayers, unsparing acts of kindness, open communication, and authors willing to lend an ear with care and concern for my career as a writer was humbling. I had entered a brand new family whose arms were spread open and welcoming.

October, 2012, rolled in with new milestones. I had published my first blog account and completed my first novel. By this time, I had taken careful consideration to get to know fellow authors within my region and those whom I looked up to with wonder and admiration. Their urging me to put my work out there for the world to see gave me hope and courage to finally enter my first contest.

In November, 2012, my book had advanced to 2nd round judging in Harlequin/Mills and Boon’s So You Think You Can Write Contest. It was an honor to be named in the top 4% of the contest entries, and a positive experience I will not soon forget.

Finally, God called my work to publication. It took 3 years for my rough draft to become a polished novel, but all the hard work was worth it. Now readers will be able to read about those fictional characters who have become almost as close as family to me. It is my life’s goal that these readers will find hope and encouragement through life-like stories of angst, hurt, and healing.

Matthew 5:16 ~ “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father, which is in heaven.”

My Writing Nook

I don’t work in an elaborate office with sun spilling through ceiling-to-floor glass windows. I don’t have a personal secretary at my every beck and call–in fact I have 4 very active children who think I’m here for their every beck and call <insert smiley face here>.

I do, however, have an office–my own personal writing space set up the comfort of my home. When feeling cooped up in the house too long, the outdoors become my office and a source of inspiration.

Most days I write beneath the belly of a B-29 Super Fortress model (Yes, I built that with my own hands). Sitting beside me, looking over my shoulder, is “The Captain”–my styrofoam mannequin who sports my authentic WWII pilot’s cap. I don’t decide on a nail-biting scene without consulting him first. Just beyond my computer screen, the models for my characters stare back at me as I write. They seem just as eager to know what will happen to them as much as I.

Last but not least, my inspiration wouldn’t be as active as it is without the photos of my two late grandfathers. Their childhood era built the foundation on which my writings are created. Every day, as I enter my office, their smiling faces greet me, reminding me of a time and place I can  visit only through their memory.

 

Rachel’s debut novel, Letters from Grace, released September 2014, and quickly became an Amazon Top 100 Best Seller.

Readers can learn more about Rachel at http://www.racheldmuller.com or find her on Facebook, Twitter, Amazon, Pinterest and Goodreads.

 

Rachel Muller’s personal story is as inspirational as her writing.Tweet this!

If you haven’t read Letters From Grace, you’re missing out on a great story.Tweet this!

Who else do you know who writes with a B-29 Superfortress hanging over her head?Tweet this!

 
 
 

And here is my interview with Rachel:

Have you always wanted to write? Do you use an outline for your stories?

Although I wrote many, many stories during my childhood, it was for fun. I never once considered making a career out of writing. In fact, writing books never crossed my mind.

As for outlining, I’m mostly a pantser with a beginning and end in mind from the start. Everything else just fills in as I go and I always keep paper and pencil beside my computer at all time. I tend to fill out my outline as I’m writing the story. This makes it incredibly easy to keep track of all those “important” facts and notes I write into the story line.

 

How does it feel being a published author? Have you encountered any surprises along the way to being published?

Wow, how does it feel? Well, at first, it was certainly a dream come true. I would say the warmest sensation I had during the whole publishing trek was typing my name into Amazon and seeing my book cover pop up for the first time. I just stared at the computer screen in awe!

However, eventually the newness wore off and I was busy getting book 2 underway. Book 2, Maggie’s Mission, was just released and I’m feeling all those same sentiments over again.

The surprises I’ve encountered have been truly “surprises.” I was contacted by a long-time author who read Letters from Grace and LOVED it! She contacted me right away and hosted my book as her featured novel on all her websites and blogs. In addition to that, I’ve been contacted by the 700 Club after sending them a complimentary copy of the novel and was told by a reader that she heard about my book by a TV program. Certainly news to my ears!

 

Do you have a folder or a file where you keep future ideas for stories or do you just come up with ideas after a suggestion from your editor/agent/friends?

I do keep an idea journal where all the premises for my novels are kept safely. In fact, I am concocting a plot for a 4 book series after the Love & War Series comes to an end.

 

How do you find time for everything… writing, family, church, friends… and you’ve recently taken on home-schooling, too!

The only possible answer for that is through the grace of God and a very understanding and supportive husband! LOL. I do have to get up earlier every morning to make sure I answer emails, do a little marketing, and check my sales reports. My blog has suffered a little, but my faithful readers are amazing as they keep checking back for new posts. (Thank you for that!)

Everything else I take one moment at a time. Friday and Saturday nights are family nights. No Writing!

Now that the second book has been released, it’s back to the crazy circus of blog tours, marketing, and everything else that makes a household run smoothly.

 

Have you attended any writer retreats, conferences and the like? Do you think they are necessary for your writing?

To this date, I have not attended any writer’s conferences. However, in our local ACFW group, we do make a point to meet twice a year for a writer’s lunch. We have discussed many essentials for the writing career which includes marketing tactics, publishing news, writing techniques, and overall Christian fellowship that emanates an aura of support.

As for conferences and retreats being necessary, that all depends on the writer. There are many advantages to attending these events. Many workshops are offered by established and seasoned authors. In fact, at this past ACFW conference, my friend and author, Ronie Kendig, held an amazing class on Mind Magic. I am looking forward to taking that class at an upcoming writer’s retreat we have planned for next year.

 

How often do you travel? Where do you go? Who do you travel with? What is your favorite vacation spot?

Traveling is something not easily done with a family of 6. But we try to get a good vacation in every other year or so. One of our favorite vacationing spots is the beautiful Smoky Mountains. Gatlinburg, Tennessee and its surrounding areas have become our second home. So much so that I become homesick after leaving those beautiful mountains.

 

What are you working on now? Is there another genre you are interested in writing or are you perfectly content to stick with historical fiction?

Book 2 in the Love & War Series has just wrapped up. Maggie Johnson’s exciting story of front line battle nursing and lost romance has kept me pretty busy. It’s been an adventure to sit down and write out the rest of her story and continue with the Love & War Series. My readers seem pretty excited too.

While I’ve often toyed with the idea of writing outside my genre for more recognition as an Independent Author, I still come back to the same conclusion that I love writing WWII Historical Romance. Agents who have been in contact with me even notice the flavor of my writing for that era is my strong point. I’m praying for a nation-wide movement into WWII Fictional reads that will help launch my career in the next year.

Thanks so much for featuring me on Author Spotlight, Donna. This has been a wonderful interview and I enjoyed answering your fantastic questions! God bless!

Thank You Rachel and God bless you!

 

And THANK YOU for joining me for this very special AUTHOR SPOTLIGHT!

Don’t forget to check back or follow my blog to see new reviews — this month I have three other special debut authors… and February will be dedicated to another of my favorite authors!

 

More TWEETABLES:

Have you read Rachel Muller’s Love & War series yet?Tweet this!

Don’t miss book 2 in Rachel’s Love & War series – Maggie’s Mission!Tweet this!

 

Today is the final day to enter Rachel’s GIVEAWAY contest!

As a bonus giveaway, in addition to the giveaway by the author, after reading this post, the first person to leave a comment requesting a digital copy of Maggie’s Mission will be sent a gift copy by this blogger!

Rachel Muller Marathon | Giveaway!

 

God bless you!

 

© Donna J. Mynatt 2015

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