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Author Interview: Elizabeth Noyes

ENoyesToday’s guest is Elizabeth “Betty” Noyes, author of Imperfect WingsElizabeth is recently retired and resides in northeast Atlanta where she now writes full time. A world traveler, avid reader, and self-professed dreamer, she draws on her life experiences to create the many “real” characters in her stories.

You can connect with Elizabeth at her website, on FacebookLinkedIn, and Twitter.

Betty, I’m so excited to have you with us here at Inner Source as I feel that this has been a culmination of prayers on the hearts of several of us who have known the talent you possess and were anxious to see your work in print.

First of all, I want to know about your writing journey. Would you mind sharing this with us?

Thank you, Fay. Journey is the right word.

First, I have to explain that I’m an introvert by nature, a bit of a loner. I’ve also come to realize that I’m a very private person. I mention this because although I’ve been writing my entire life, it was only ten years ago that I first shared my work with anyone.

Like TJ, the female protagonist in Imperfect Wings, I too am blessed to have a strong man in my life. I showed my husband, Paul, a few short stories, vignettes, and devotionals I’d written, and he immediately wanted to share it to the world. As you can guess, I wasn’t having any of that!

I’m not sure when writing a book became a project, but one day I realized I had a ton of pages for a story that had long been germinating in my head. I completed it and then decided to see if it was any good.

Instead of going through the submission process, I went to a conference…and became the poster child for the old saying, “You don’t know what you don’t know.” Imagine my surprise when I heard the term ‘word count.’ Imagine my consternation when I learned the word count range for a fiction novel was 80,000-100,000 words. Mine was approaching 200,000.

Not being one to shy away from hard work, I decided to educate myself. I read a ton of how-to books, some good, some not so much. I took some classes, looked into more, and studied up on writing organizations. That’s when I found ACFW and the Scribes critique loop.

I joined ACFW, wound up in a small critique group, made a few false starts, learned the hard way to take well-intentioned critiques with a grain of salt, joined a second critique group, and discovered how much I’d learned from critiquing my group members’ work and reading what the others had to say about everyone’s writing. I’d found a home. Actually, two homes.

The idea for Garrett’s and TJ’s story came about by accident. I had a story underway, this one about Cody and Cate, Garrett’s parents. But he kept stealing the spotlight. I would put the story aside to get Garrett out of head and try again later, only to have Garrett sneak back in. This happened several times before I gave up and tried to get the man out of my head. Eight months later, Imperfect Wings was delivered. Cody and Cate still linger and I hope to revive them one day.

What really captures my imagination in your writing is the fact that you are so experienced or researched on modern weaponry, espionage, technology, you name it. You write these thrilling romantic optimum suspense novels with what seems like little effort, yet they grab the attention and keep me riveted there. (I’m going to confess, I’ve read through Imperfect Wings at least four times, and I’m captivated each time). Where did you gain this research and/or experience?

You have to do your homework. It might be fiction, but it still has to be believable. An author walks a fine line between convincing those familiar with your subject that you know what you’re talking about versus not overwhelming (boring) those unfamiliar with the subject.

Mr. Google has become one of my best friends, complete with Wikipedia, Google maps, You-Tube videos—you name it. Anything can be researched. I had one critique partner tell me there were no Quik Trip gas stations in the little town in Mississippi. I found the Google page I’d researched, took a screen capture complete with picture and URL, and sent it to her. I strongly advise researching even the smallest details.

I had another critiquer I met at a conference, a gentleman who’d been a motor pool mechanic in the Army. He informed me the vehicle specs I listed in my second book were wrong. Another copy from Google brought me an apology and rave reviews. We still stay in touch, and he’s become one of my go-to resources.

Google is great, but people provide the most important resources in my opinion. My husband (best friend and ally) was a career Army officer with combat experience. We once spent a long drive from Fort Lauderdale to Atlanta, talking about the combat scene in Imperfect Wings. I told him what I envisioned. He told me it wouldn’t work. For ten straight hours, we hashed out a “real” combat scenario. The only “real” part I refused to cave on was the language.

I have a wealth of resources I’ve learned to tap into: an anesthesiologist daughter-in-law, a sister who’s a nurse, two police officer nephews, an attorney friend, a paralegal friend, a martial arts/cowboy friend, a technology genius for a son, lots of specialty technology gurus at work, a colleague whose native language is Spanish, a retired FBI acquaintance, and the list goes on and on. A wealth of real-life information and experiences waiting to be tapped.

I’ve been dying to ask this question. Why do Garrett and his family live in Idaho? Is it because you have a special place in your heart for that area or is he just the sort of rugged hero that would live in and ranch in that part of our country?

My husband and I are avid travelers. We love going places we’ve not been. A few years back, we visited Yellowstone National Park and I fell in love with the beauty of the land—Wyoming, Montana, and Idaho are amazing. I think what impressed me most, though, was the rarefied air. There’s a purity there not found in the more densely populated areas of the United States.

The people, too, made an impression—hardy, self-sufficient, no artifice. I had a strange thought that’s stuck with me since we visited—What if our technology-dependent civilization failed for some reason. The people there would survive. Would the city dwellers?

Why Idaho? There’s not much out there about Idaho. Montana yes. Wyoming, absolutely. I wanted to stray from the familiar and bring a beautiful, almost secret place alive. I wanted to make it my own.

The Camerons are tough, survivors, the kind of people who look after family, friends, and neighbors because it’s the right thing to do.

TJ is such a delight to follow. She’s a bundle of feistiness, beauty, and smarts. Is she purely imaginative or did you have one or two or three people in mind when you wrote about her?

Is any character a pure figment of imagination? I don’t think so. In TJ’s case, she’s a fusion of several people I know and admire, as well as a dash of who I want to be. She might be a little damaged (don’t we all have warts?), but she’s learned to deal with her shortcomings and vulnerabilities. Hers is a journey of self discovery, of learning to trust herself, others, and God.

Okay, I’m just not satisfied to read about Garrett. I want to know the stories of all three of his brothers and maybe a couple of his commando buddies. So, is there another project or projects awaiting us, and will you share a little about those?

One of my colleagues at work went off on me after reading the first ten chapters of Imperfect Wings. “I am so in love with Garrett. You need to fix TJ up with Wade or Jonas, not Garrett. He’s mine!” I laughed the rest of the day and still get tickled remembering how animated (and serious) she was. This is the reward a writer wants!

TJ and Garrett are made for each other. Wade and Jonas have their HEAs coming up. Imperfect Wings is Book 1 in the Imperfect series. Book 2 (Imperfect Trust) tells Wade’s and Lucy’s story. I anticipate sending the first draft to my publisher by yearend. Book 3 (Imperfect Love) is the story of Cassidy and Derek. I’ve already outlined and written a few scenes in that one. Book 4 (Imperfect Lies) belongs to Jonas and Shea. This one is also mapped out and partially written. Book 5 (Imperfect Truth), the one I’m dying to get to, is about Mallory and James. If I survive these, I hope to return to Cody and Cate in Book 6 (Imperfect Legacy). Their story is very dear to me since it kicked off this amazing adventure!

As a critique partner and an avid fan of your writing, I can’t wait to read each one of your amazing stories, and I’ll hope you’ll visit Inner Source after each release.

Imperfect Wings cover concept5More About Imperfect Wings:

Evil stalks TJ McKendrick. Three years after burying her father, TJ visits Honduras where he died. While there, she witnesses a murder and is forced to flee.

Don Castillo dreams of power. Funnel the drugs into the States and it’s his. First, he must kill the woman who dared spy on him.

The last thing Garrett Cameron needs is another woman interrupting his life, but when the feisty vixen that blew his mission two years ago shows up at his ranch running for her life, what can he do?

As attraction ignites between TJ and Garrett, she lets go of past betrayals and allows him to protect her. He’s lived a life of violence. Love isn’t for someone like him. Does he dare reveal his soul’s dark side and risk driving her away?

Only faith in God and trust in each other can overcome the deadly odds they face.

 

 

Character Interview: TJ McKendrick from Elizabeth Noyes’s Imperfect Wings

Imperfect Wings cover concept5Today’s guest is TJ McKendrick, the heroine from Elizabeth Noyes’ wonderful novel, Imperfect Wings.

TJ, thank you for being with us today.

Hello, Fay. Thank you for this opportunity.

You have a very fascinating story to tell us, but I want to know a little about you. Where are you from? What type of work did you do before the story began, and what led you to the place where all the trouble started?

Well, I guess you could say I’m from all over. You see, my dad was a lifer in Army-talk, meaning he planned to stay in for a full twenty years or more. I was born in the Army Hospital in Nuremberg, Germany, but we moved around a lot. Lexington, Kentucky, Richmond, Virginia, and Atlanta, Georgia are some the places I remember best

Dad was a highly decorated marksman who’d qualified for the Olympic team twice. He traveled extensively for the Army and was away more than he was home. When my mom was killed in a car accident, we didn’t have any close relatives to take me in. Dad couldn’t very well drag a teenage girl with him all over the globe, so he gave up his career. We were still in Atlanta at the time.

After high school, I enrolled at Georgia State University, earned a degree in Economics, and got a job after graduation with one the Big Four accounting firms there.

When I went off to college, Dad moved to Honduras. He’d become involved with Central American missions through our church and wanted to help improve the economic and living conditions in the underdeveloped areas. He fell in love with the people of La Cruza and stayed on to teach in the school he helped build. He was killed there. Murdered.

I didn’t find out for almost four months. The story of how he died didn’t make sense. There were too many holes, too many inconsistencies. I went through the first four stages of grief—denial and isolation, anger with their government and ours, bargaining with God, and an awful depression—but without a body to bury, I couldn’t accept that he was gone. It took me three long, grief-filled years to realize why. He’d chosen those foreign kids over me. I needed to know why. I needed answers to how and why he died.

You faced some loneliness in your life from a mother and father who were both distant in different ways. How did that strengthen you for the journey that you had to take?

As a child, I wasn’t allowed to go to my friends’ homes or have them over to ours. Dad was gone a lot and Mom didn’t do well left all alone. Conversely; too much stimulation would set off one of her ‘nervous’ attacks. After she died, I learned she’d been diagnosed as bi-polar. She was never good about taking the prescribed medication.

You have to understand, this was my childhood, my normal. I had no other point of reference. I figured out later how wrong those early years were, but all I knew growing up was that someone had to be the adult. I was more of a mother to my mom than she was to me.

You do what you have to, no matter the cost. It’s that or you break. I was lucky. I might be damaged, but I didn’t break.

In the course of your story, you travel quite a bit from the Deep South to south of the border and back to the Deep South again and then you end up in Idaho. How do you feel about the places God has taken you both physically and emotionally?

I once heard things don’t just happen, they come to pass. God won’t put anything in your life that He can’t handle. The trick is to let Him. My journey through all this was hard. It took a physical, mental, and emotional toll. I despaired every single day and gave up more times than I can count, but God always came through. He sent me to Senora Ramirez. He provided that crazy helicopter pilot, who turned out to be the best thing in my life. The military team that rescued me, Ed, David and Carrie Anne, Sheriff Evers, the Camerons—every step of the way, God sent the people I needed to lift me back up and help me take one more step.

Romans 8:28 says, “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.” When God says, “all things” I believe He means even the bad things that happen to us. Did you discover this on your journey, and if so, how?

Not at first. Actually, not for a long time. You see, I went to Honduras seeking justice when I really wanted vengeance. The moment I knew Castillo wanted me dead, I panicked. All I could think was run. Get away. So I did. Somewhere along the way though, I realized how insignificant my needs were. The bigger picture was so much more important—stopping the drugs and destruction, giving the people of La Cruza and other unprotected villages a chance at freedom, bringing the corruption in our own government to light. That’s when my personal demons faded away.

And this is one question I have to ask. After getting to know Garrett better, do you find this tough cowboy has some soft edges?

Garrett Cameron is like no other. He’s tough as rawhide, bossy, arrogant, demanding, prickly, and opinionated. He’s also the most honorable man I’ve ever known. He’ll give you the shirt off his back or whatever else is needed—but you can’t take it. I’ve seen him nurse a baby eagle with a broken wing back to health, and stay through the night with a foaling mare just to comfort her. Do you recall the cougar he killed to save me? The man went back to bury the remains.

He won’t compromise on right and wrong, but yes, he most definitely has a softer side, though he tries to hide it. God blessed me big time by sending this man to sweep me off my feet, and I thank Him every day. But don’t tell Garret that!

More About Imperfect Wings:

Evil stalks TJ McKendrick. Three years after burying her father, TJ visits Honduras where he died. While there, she witnesses a murder and is forced to flee.

Don Castillo dreams of power. Funnel the drugs into the States and it’s his. First, he must kill the woman who dared spy on him.

The last thing Garrett Cameron needs is another woman interrupting his life, but when the feisty vixen that blew his mission two years ago shows up at his ranch running for her life, what can he do?

As attraction ignites between TJ and Garrett, she lets go of past betrayals and allows him to protect her. He’s lived a life of violence. Love isn’t for someone like him. Does he dare reveal his soul’s dark side and risk driving her away?

Only faith in God and trust in each other can overcome the deadly odds they face.

ENoyesAbout the Author:

Elizabeth Noyes is recently retired and resides in northeast Atlanta where she now writes full time. A world traveler, avid reader, and self-professed dreamer, she draws on her life experiences to create the many “real” characters in her stories.

You can connect with Elizabeth at her website, on Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter.

Who Wrote Whom: Meet the Authors of Unlikely Merger: Phee Paradise

Phee ParadiseToday, our guest is Phee Paradise, who was blessed to be a missionary kid and loves to share that experience in her writing.  In Miracles at Midnight, she edited her father’s stories about his years on the mission field where he saw God change lives for the Kingdom. Phee has also contributed to several books, including A Ruby Christmas, A Dozen Apologies and her latest, Unlikely Merger. She prays that her work will be used by God to His glory.  You can read some of Phee’s stories at FaithWriters.com.

Phee shares how she came to write hero, Steve LeClerc for Unlikely Merger:

When I was asked to create a business, I immediately thought of my hero, my husband of forty years. He’s driven a truck most of our lives, so it kind of rubbed off on me. Trucks were his first love, although God and I have pushed them down the priority list. Since we lived in Western Massachusetts, it was natural to set the business in the beautiful Berkshires. But, like most writers, my characters emerge while I write, and they are sometimes uncooperative. I was very surprised to learn that Steve LeClerc is a farmer at heart, but not surprised by his compassion and desire to serve God with all he has. I like him, but my heart still belongs to my trucking hero. Maybe Mercy will fall in love with him.

Unlikely Merger CoverMore About Unlikely Merger:

No longer needed as her father’s nurse, Mercy Lacewell attempts to step into his shoes at his acquisitions firm. That means travel, engaging strangers, and making final decisions—nothing she feels equipped to do. If her best friend has her way, Mercy will simply marry one of the single, available men she meets, but they overwhelm her. So handsome and kind. And so many. Even if she felt obliged, how could she ever choose?

Should she shove all attraction aside and focus on her father’s business, or is God warming her heart with the possibility of forever?

Other great multi-author collaborative novellas from Write Integrity Press: A Dozen Apologies and The Love Boat Bachelorand great Christmas reads: The Christmas Tree Treasure Hunt and A Ruby ChristmasHeart Bouquets, romantic short stories is also available.

Miracles at Midnight CoverPhee is the editor who assisted missionary, John Shackelford in writing about his missionary journey in Miracles at Midnight:

“Had God provided a miracle just for us?” In thirty years as missionaries in Columbia and Guatemala, John and Esther Shackelford saw God work in big and small ways. Read about the Mayan men who knocked on the door asking to accept Jesus Christ. Smile at the enthusiastic bandit who encouraged others to come to Christ  – at gunpoint. See how God provided protection when Esther was robbed, and escape from an isolated town during a revolution, and help during a major earthquake. John’s primary work was youth leadership development at his camp, Monte Sión, and you’ll be moved as you see how God changed lives for the Kingdom. John delights in praising God in these stories of the people he loved and served with joy and hopes his readers will too.

Who Wrote Whom: Meet the Authors of Unlikely Merger: Suzy Moore

HeadshotSuzy Moore loves to get lost in a good story. She has a passion for the written word and for the many ways it can touch and uplift through the sharing of lives, stories, and most importantly the Gospel. She lives in rural Missouri with her husband and five children where she is a homeschooling mom, free-lance editor, and wanna-be farmer of all things natural and delicious. Find her on Facebook at Suzy Moore-Wellspring Editing or at wellspringediting.com.

The character of Levi Shepherd came to my mind while thinking of the kind of smart, strong, outdoor-loving men I know in my own family, church family, and that seem to populate the wonderful Midwest in general.

Here, in what much of our nation considers “fly-over” country, reside some pretty wonderful, steady, spirit-filled men that make great husbands!  I wanted to honor those guys.

As I got to know Mercy, I felt she would have the best chemistry with someone that shared her interests, especially fishing and the like. Even though she is still trying to get her footing and build confidence as a business woman, I felt like she would soon discover that she has great instincts for business and that she would be happiest with someone she could work side by side with professionally every day, building their future together.

Levi is also loosely based on the character of Reese Witherspoon’s ex-husband in “Sweet Home Alabama”, who, in her mind he was a backwoods nobody, but in reality was a smart businessman with a good heart. I presented Levi in the opposite order. Mercy first gets know him as a competent professional; an IT officer that is good at his job and well-respected by his peers. She quickly learns he has a great love for the outdoors and an ambitious plan to combine his business skills with that love.

First, though, I prayed over these characters and asked God to show me how He would have me present a budding relationship that honors Him. It is a privilege to write about characters that love and seek the Lord.

I hope you enjoyed getting to know Levi!

Unlikely Merger CoverMore About Unlikely Merger:

No longer needed as her father’s nurse, Mercy Lacewell attempts to step into his shoes at his acquisitions firm. That means travel, engaging strangers, and making final decisions—nothing she feels equipped to do. If her best friend has her way, Mercy will simply marry one of the single, available men she meets, but they overwhelm her. So handsome and kind. And so many. Even if she felt obliged, how could she ever choose?

Should she shove all attraction aside and focus on her father’s business, or is God warming her heart with the possibility of forever?

Other great multi-author collaborative novellas from Write Integrity Press: A Dozen Apologies and The Love Boat Bachelorand great Christmas reads: The Christmas Tree Treasure Hunt and A Ruby ChristmasHeart Bouquets, romantic short stories is also available.

Who Wrote Whom: Meet the Authors of Unlikely Merger: Fay Lamb

Fay LambToday’s guest on Inner Source is me: Fay Lamb. I bet that until you learned Pat Dyer created Gabe Miller, the alligator farmer, that you might have wondered if it was me–unless you know both of us. That’s because Pat and I are both crazy Titusvillians who aren’t too afraid of gators, and we even attend the same church. How’s that for small town?

Here’s a little about me. It’s from my bio, so please excuse the self-promotion.

I’m an editor, writing coach, and author, and it is my desire that my emotionally charged stories remind the reader that God is always in the details. I’ve contracted two series. Stalking Willow and Better than Revenge, Books 1 and 2 in the Amazing Grace romantic suspense series are currently available for purchase. Charisse and Libby the first two novels in my The Ties That Bind contemporary romance series have been released. I have also collaborated on five romance novellas: The Christmas Three Treasure Hunt, A Ruby Christmas, A Dozen Apologies, The Love Boat Bachelor. and this our latest, Unlikely Merger. I am also the author of The Art of Characterization: How to Use the Elements of Storytelling to Connect Readers to an Unforgettable Cast.

I truly love to meet readers, and you can find me on my personal Facebook page, my Facebook Author page, and at The Tactical Editor on Facebook. Yes, I’m the Tactical Editor. I’m also active on Twitter. Then there are my blogs: On the Ledge, Inner Source, and the Tactical Editor. And, yes, there’s one more: Goodreads.

I wrote Digger Grant’s portion of the story, and here’s how he came to life for me:

The creation of Digger Grant is an unusual story. He started out as one of the older kids in the Fourteen Quarters Repertory Company, whom I sent to the airport to provide a ride back to the hotel. The entire concept of the story was much different when I began. You see, I wanted Mercy to think horribly of the hero at first without understanding why she felt that way. After all, she’d never met him. He was a stranger. Digger was to be the one innocently giving Mercy that vibe–since the repertory company was putting on an actual Broadway play based upon Charles Dickens’ Oliver Twist. The hero was to play the villain, and Digger was in character as one of the kids in the play, practicing for the performance, unable to shake off the persona of an innocent kid mistreated by the villain’s ilk.

That was the plan.

Then Digger spotted Mercy, and he began to act older than his nearly eighteen years. He began to take up Mercy’s time. They had unforgettable moments that made me laugh, and based upon my relationship with my husband, if a  man can make you laugh at yourself and with him, he’s a keeper. For me, the original hero couldn’t follow up Digger’s act, and the story just didn’t hold up without putting Digger in the hero’s spot. Old hero was written out. Digger was made an adult, put in the lead, and he pretty much became one of my favorite characters that I’ve written in any of the Write Integrity novellas in which I’ve been blessed to take part.

Well, Digger and Jonathan, my surfing cowboy from A Ruby Christmas.

Unlikely Merger Cover

More About Unlikely Merger:

No longer needed as her father’s nurse, Mercy Lacewell attempts to step into his shoes at his acquisitions firm. That means travel, engaging strangers, and making final decisions—nothing she feels equipped to do. If her best friend has her way, Mercy will simply marry one of the single, available men she meets, but they overwhelm her. So handsome and kind. And so many. Even if she felt obliged, how could she ever choose?

Should she shove all attraction aside and focus on her father’s business, or is God warming her heart with the possibility of forever?

Our authors at Write Integrity Press love collaborating on novellas. Here are a few of our other works:

A Dozen Apologies:

Mara Adkins, a promising fashion designer, has fallen off the ladder of success, and she can’t seem to get up.In college, Mara and her sorority sisters played an ugly game, and Mara was usually the winner. She’d date men she considered geeks, win their confidence, and then she’d dump them publicly. When Mara begins work for a prestigious clothing designer in New York, she gets her comeuppance. Her boyfriend steals her designs and wins a A DOZEN APOLOGIES FINAL FRONT COVER (282x425)coveted position. He fires her, and she returns in shame to her home in Spartanburg, South Carolina, where life for others has changed for the better.

Mara’s parents, always seemingly one step from a divorce, have rediscovered their love for each other, but more importantly they have placed Christ in the center of that love. The changes Mara sees in their lives cause her to seek Christ. Mara’s heart is pierced by her actions toward the twelve men she’d wronged in college, and she sets out to apologize to each of them. A girl with that many amends to make, though, needs money for travel, and Mara finds more ways to lose a job than she ever thought possible.

Mara stumbles, bumbles, and humbles her way toward employment and toward possible reconciliation with the twelve men she humiliated to find that God truly does look upon the heart, and that He has chosen the heart of one of the men for her to have and to hold.

LOVE BOAT BACHELOR CoverThe Love Boat Bachelor:

Romance is a joke.After the love of Brent Teague’s life came back into his world only to marry someone else, Brent is through with women. He might be through with being a pastor, too. Brent was so sure that God brought Mara Adkins home to him so they could marry and live happily ever after. Six months after her wedding to another man, that theory is obviously a dud. If Brent could be so wrong about that, who’s to say he’s not mistaken about God calling him to pastoral ministry? Tired of watching Brent flounder for direction, Brent’s feisty older sister boots him out of Spartanburg and onto a cruise ship. Brent’s old college buddy manages the ship’s staff, and he’s thrilled to finagle Brent into the role of chaplain for the two-week cruise. As the ship sets sail, Brent starts to relax. Maybe a cruise wasn’t such a bad idea after all. But there’s just one little thing no one told him. He’s not on any ordinary cruise. He’s on The Love Boat.What’s a sworn bachelor to do on a Caribbean cruise full of romance and love? He’ll either have to jump ship or embrace the unforgettable romantic comedy headed his way.

Be sure to check out Jennifer Hallmark’s blog today where I write about Collaborative Projects.

 

 

Who Wrote Whom: Meet Authors of Unlikely Merger: Jennifer Hallmark

IMG_6297-5x7-100resToday, I’d like you to meet my friend, Jennifer Hallmark: writer by nature, artist at heart, and daughter of God by His grace. With over 200 articles and interviews on the internet, her attention has moved to southern fiction and YA fantasy.

Her first book published in early 2014, a multi-authored romantic comedy novella, called A Dozen Apologies. She is currently shopping her YA series, Journey of Grace: Realm of Ecclesia, and a contemporary southern fiction novel, When Wedding and Weather Collide.

She is also part of two compilation projects to be released later this year. Unlikely Merger is a romantic novella, a sequel to A Dozen Apologies. She’s also contributed to the anthology: Not Alone: A Literary and Spiritual Companion for those Confronted with Infertility and Miscarriage.

Jennifer shares a writer’s reference blog, Writing Prompts & Thoughts & Ideas…Oh My! with friends, Betty, Tammy, Allison, Karen, Cari, Holly, Anne, Robin, and Betty B.

Jennifer and her husband, Danny, have spent their married life in Alabama and have a basset hound, Max. Their daughter Mandy is married to Tim, and has given them two beautiful granddaughters, Ava and Sadie. Their son, Jonathan, is currently working in the food industry and trying to complete his degree in business.

She loves to read detective fiction from the Golden Age, watch movies like LOTR, and play with her two precious granddaughters. At times, she writes.

You can find Jennifer on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest.

Jennifer shares her inspiration behind her hero, Talon Hawthorne:

When I agreed to create a character, the strong masculine hero, for Unlikely Merger, I just poured out my thoughts on the computer. I do very little outlining when I create. I go with my gut feeling and let the character write his or her own biography

Talon Hawthorne is patterned after my son. Why? I’m not sure. He’s been going through a rough patch in his personal life and nothing hurts a mother’s heart more. Besides, my son is good-looking, loves the work he does, and is charismatic. What more do you need in a good hero? So Jonathan, this story is for you.

After I chose the basic characteristics for Talon, I decided to incorporate the town and business the same as my son’s, but I made his physical appearance a little different. I kept seeing him with a surfboard, so I created surfer dude. I had some help with his clothing from my daughter, who is up-to-date on all such things.

In all, my chapter in Unlikely Merger was a family project. Everyone had a little input and we all had fun with it.

Jennifer has been a collaborator on two of the three novellas that make up this compilation. She is also the author of my favorite short stories, The Game, published in Harpstring. (Blog host notes again: This wonderful story is well worth the subscription price).

Unlikely Merger Cover

More About Unlikely Merger:

No longer needed as her father’s nurse, Mercy Lacewell attempts to step into his shoes at his acquisitions firm. That means travel, engaging strangers, and making final decisions—nothing she feels equipped to do. If her best friend has her way, Mercy will simply marry one of the single, available men she meets, but they overwhelm her. So handsome and kind. And so many. Even if she felt obliged, how could she ever choose?

Should she shove all attraction aside and focus on her father’s business, or is God warming her heart with the possibility of forever?

Our authors at Write Integrity Press love collaborating on novellas. Here are a few of our other works:

A Dozen Apologies:

Mara Adkins, a promising fashion designer, has fallen off the ladder of success, and she can’t seem to get up.In college, Mara and her sorority sisters played an ugly game, and Mara was usually the winner. She’d date men she considered geeks, win their confidence, and then she’d dump them publicly. When Mara begins work for a prestigious clothing designer in New York, she gets her comeuppance. Her boyfriend steals her designs and wins a A DOZEN APOLOGIES FINAL FRONT COVER (282x425)coveted position. He fires her, and she returns in shame to her home in Spartanburg, South Carolina, where life for others has changed for the better.

Mara’s parents, always seemingly one step from a divorce, have rediscovered their love for each other, but more importantly they have placed Christ in the center of that love. The changes Mara sees in their lives cause her to seek Christ. Mara’s heart is pierced by her actions toward the twelve men she’d wronged in college, and she sets out to apologize to each of them. A girl with that many amends to make, though, needs money for travel, and Mara finds more ways to lose a job than she ever thought possible.

Mara stumbles, bumbles, and humbles her way toward employment and toward possible reconciliation with the twelve men she humiliated to find that God truly does look upon the heart, and that He has chosen the heart of one of the men for her to have and to hold.

LOVE BOAT BACHELOR CoverThe Love Boat Bachelor:

Romance is a joke.After the love of Brent Teague’s life came back into his world only to marry someone else, Brent is through with women. He might be through with being a pastor, too. Brent was so sure that God brought Mara Adkins home to him so they could marry and live happily ever after. Six months after her wedding to another man, that theory is obviously a dud. If Brent could be so wrong about that, who’s to say he’s not mistaken about God calling him to pastoral ministry? Tired of watching Brent flounder for direction, Brent’s feisty older sister boots him out of Spartanburg and onto a cruise ship. Brent’s old college buddy manages the ship’s staff, and he’s thrilled to finagle Brent into the role of chaplain for the two-week cruise. As the ship sets sail, Brent starts to relax. Maybe a cruise wasn’t such a bad idea after all. But there’s just one little thing no one told him. He’s not on any ordinary cruise. He’s on The Love Boat.What’s a sworn bachelor to do on a Caribbean cruise full of romance and love? He’ll either have to jump ship or embrace the unforgettable romantic comedy headed his way.

Who Wrote Whom: Meet the Authors of Unlikely Merger: Patricia M. Dyer

PatPatricia M. Dyer  is our guest today.  Pat was transplanted from Upstate New York to Florida at the tender age of five. Now married to a Georgia cracker (that’s a proud nickname for folks from Georgia–or Florida) for over fifty years and retired from a public service job, she enjoys writing and spending time with her children, grandchildren, and ten great-grandchildren. 
A member of American Christian Fiction Writers and ACFW Central Florida Chapter, Pat has served as past secretary and publicity chairperson. Writing inspirational stories from the heart, she strives to provide encouragement and light through Jesus to those who read them.

Pat has reviewed many books she has read and invites you to “Meet the Characters” at her website: www.patsydyer.com. She is a book review columnist for the new IMAGINATE magazine, and has co-authored two books, A Dozen Apologies and soon to be released Unlikely Merger.

Pat is the creator of Gabriel “Gabe” Mann from Chapter 5 of Unlikely  Merger.

My characters tend to invade my consciousness as if they’d been hiding in the back of my brain all along. Perhaps they have. Gabriel Mann first appeared to me at Orlando International Airport as he stood waiting for the Lacewells to arrive from Denver. Since he didn’t even know what Mercy looked like, he decided to do something to get her attention as she and her uncle maneuvered their way through the crowd and into the terminal; hence, the sign with the gator on it along with Mercy’s name.

An outdoorsy type, Gabe is ruggedly handsome with his year around tan and sparkling eyes. But his best qualities include his thoughtfulness, compassion, and strong values. When He and Mercy  exchanged their first words, (the banter about the Gators and Seminoles), he knew this was someone he’d like to know better—in more than a business context.

Unlikely Merger CoverMore About Unlikely Merger:

No longer needed as her father’s nurse, Mercy Lacewell attempts to step into his shoes at his acquisitions firm. That means travel, engaging strangers, and making final decisions—nothing she feels equipped to do. If her best friend has her way, Mercy will simply marry one of the single, available men she meets, but they overwhelm her. So handsome and kind. And so many. Even if she felt obliged, how could she ever choose?

Should she shove all attraction aside and focus on her father’s business, or is God warming her heart with the possibility of forever?

Other great multi-author collaborative novellas from Write Integrity Press: A Dozen Apologies and The Love Boat Bachelorand great Christmas reads: The Christmas Tree Treasure Hunt and A Ruby ChristmasHeart Bouquets, romantic short stories is also available.

 

Who Wrote Whom: Meet the Authors of Unlikely Merger: Carole Towriss

ctowriss-5Carole Towriss wrote one of the two winning entries in the Unlikely Merger contest. Carole grew up in beautiful San Diego, California. Now she and her husband live just north of Washington, DC. In between making tacos and telling her four children to pick up their shoes for the third time, she reads, writes, watches chick flicks and waits for summertime to return to the beach. She is the author of biblical novels In the Shadow of Sinai and By the Waters of Kadesh. She also writes for Christ to the World Ministries. You can find her at www.CaroleTowriss.com as well as Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest.

Here’s what Carole has to say about the creation of her hero, Ric Montoya.

Several factors went into making Ric the hero he became. First, I wanted to set my chapter in San Diego, since that’s where I grew up.

Second, my own family history isn’t necessarily one to be proud of. I wanted my hero to have a rich heritage, centuries old, full of faith and love—the kind of family any girl would dream about being part of.

Third, Mercy is an only child, and I thought throwing her into a big family gathering might be fun.

My high school was 85% Mexican-American, so I decided to make my hero tall, dark, and handsome! Mexico has a fabulous culture that I thought would make for a fascinating protagonist. Mexicans traditionally have large, close families, and deep faith. Though Ric’s the oldest, he’s the only one not married, which puts him puts him against tradition and keeps his siblings on his case. He’s been concentrating on the company, so like Mercy, he’s not been dating.

I searched long and hard for an industry unique to San Diego. The big businesses there are the US Navy and tourism, and I couldn’t think of a way to translate those to this novella. After a lot of googling, I stumbled on the olive oil industry and learned more about olives than I could ever want to know! The Mission Olive is the only variety in the world found solely in America. They were brought here by the Spanish monks who founded missions all along the coast of California on El Camino Real, the King’s Highway. The Mission Olive nearly died out, but has recently experienced a resurgence.

I had the Montoyas come to California with Father Serra, the founder of San Diego in 1796, and then I had Ric be a part of this resurgence. This gave him a rich heritage tied to both San Diego and Mexico, the monks and the missions.

Who can resist that?

Unlikely Merger CoverMore About Unlikely Merger:

No longer needed as her father’s nurse, Mercy Lacewell attempts to step into his shoes at his acquisitions firm. That means travel, engaging strangers, and making final decisions—nothing she feels equipped to do. If her best friend has her way, Mercy will simply marry one of the single, available men she meets, but they overwhelm her. So handsome and kind. And so many. Even if she felt obliged, how could she ever choose?

Should she shove all attraction aside and focus on her father’s business, or is God warming her heart with the possibility of forever?

Other great multi-author collaborative novellas from Write Integrity Press: A Dozen Apologies and The Love Boat Bachelorand great Christmas reads: The Christmas Tree Treasure Hunt and A Ruby ChristmasHeart Bouquets, romantic short stories is also available. As a special note: Marji Laine is the only author to have collaborated in each of the Write Integrity novellas.

Carole is also the author of two Biblical historical novels:

ISOS Front Cover HQaIn the Shadow of Sinai:

Bezalel is a Hebrew slave to Ramses II. An artisan of the highest order, Ramses has kept him in the palace even when all other Israelites have been banned. Bezalel blames El Shaddai for isolating him from his people.

When Moses and Aaron appear one summer, and El Shaddai shakes Egypt to its core, Bezalel must reexamine his anger. Over the course of the next year, Bezalel’s life becomes intertwined with those of an Egyptian child-slave, the captain of the guard, and especially a beautiful, young concubine.

When spring arrives, all of them escape with the young nation of Israel. But that’s only the beginning…

By the waters of KadeshBy the Waters of Kadesh:

A displaced soldier anticipates only empty tomorrows. A young widow knows nothing but yesterdays filled with abuse and neglect. A spy sees only a today he can manipulate to gain the power he craves. Will they allow Yahweh to give them what they need? Kamose, once Egypt’s most trusted soldier, no longer has a country to serve or king to protect. Moses insists God has a plan for him, but Kamose is not so sure. Tirzah’s cruel husband died shortly after they left Egypt. She escaped his brutality, but now she’s alone, and once they reach their new land, how will she survive? Gaddiel, Tirzah’s brother-in-law, is chosen as one of the twelve spies sent to scout out Canaan. He’s supposed to go in, get information and come back, but all he really wants is to bring down Joshua.

Who Wrote Whom: Meet the Authors of Unlikely Merger: Julie Arduini

May2015KeptconferenceOur author of the day is Julie Arduini.

Julie  loves to encourage readers to find freedom in Christ through surrender. She’s the author of the Amazon bestseller, Entrusted and co-author of the international bestseller The Love Boat Bachelor. She also shared her story in the Amazon bestseller infertility devotional, A Walk in the Valley. She’s the fiction contributing editor for the digital magazine, Imaginate, and blogs every other Wednesday for Christians Read. She resides in Ohio with her husband and two children. Learn more by visiting her website at http://juliearduini.com. Readers can also connect with Julie on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Pinterest, Instagram, Goodreads, and Amazon Central.

Julie wrote chapter three of Unlikely Merger. Julie’s hero was Landon Gates of Watkin’s Glen, New York. Here’s what she has to say about the process of creating Landon:

Landon Gates was a fun hero to create. I wanted to showcase someone who represented the area well and I believe Landon is someone you’d find in Upstate NY. Hard-working. Even as the owner, he’s still the one getting dirty. Working all hours. Making sure the staff is taken care of before he is. A family man. With his parents gone, Landon has taken it seriously to not only caregive for his sister, but also has committed to mentoring her peers.

He’s not a fancy guy. When Mercy meets him he’s wearing a Carhartt jacket and a baseball cap. He decided to buy Mercy dinner from local places rather than make the chef work extra hours. What you see with Landon is what you get.

My hope was that readers would connect with him as easily as Mercy did. He’s a man of faith and loyal to everyone. He’s a good steward of the property his parents left him. More than anything, he’s an excellent caregiver for his special needs sister.

I came up with Landon as a tip of the hat to my nephew. Gates is a name that might trigger thoughts of Bill Gates but Landon isn’t wealthy because he owns Lakeview Inn. His wealth comes from his faith and core values.

He was an absolute pleasure to write.

Unlikely Merger CoverMore About Unlikely Merger:

No longer needed as her father’s nurse, Mercy Lacewell attempts to step into his shoes at his acquisitions firm. That means travel, engaging strangers, and making final decisions—nothing she feels equipped to do. If her best friend has her way, Mercy will simply marry one of the single, available men she meets, but they overwhelm her. So handsome and kind. And so many. Even if she felt obliged, how could she ever choose?

Should she shove all attraction aside and focus on her father’s business, or is God warming her heart with the possibility of forever?

Other great multi-author collaborative novellas from Write Integrity Press: A Dozen Apologies and The Love Boat Bachelorand great Christmas reads: The Christmas Tree Treasure Hunt and A Ruby ChristmasHeart Bouquets, romantic short stories is also available.

Entrusted FRONT Cover_editedJulie is the author of Entrustedthe first book in her Adirondack Surrender series:

Jenna Anderson, sassy city-girl, plows—literally—into Speculator Falls with a busted GPS, arriving in town as the new senior center director. She has only one goal—that of belonging no matter how out of place she appears and how angry she makes town councilman and grocer Ben Regan. Her new life is so rural there are no traffic lights, and when she learns her car isn’t equipped to handle the mountain terrain, Ben’s grandmother offers her late husband’s vehicle, further alienating the local businessman.

As she endears herself to the seniors at the center and creates a vision full of ideas, programs, and equipment, she ruffles Ben’s plans to keep Speculator Falls void of change, including the store his grandfather built.  The two work through community events and shared heartbreak only to face off in a town council meeting where Ben publically rejects her proposal for the senior center, causing Jenna to react out of her fears about belonging.  She returns to Ohio where she realizes she needs to surrender her plans for the center and fears about belonging and trust her Heavenly Father when facing fear, change, loss, and love.

Who Wrote Whom: Meet the Authors of Unlikely Merger: Marji Laine

Marji LaineToday’s guest is the one who started us all on Mercy’s adventurer. Marji Laine is a wife and homeschooling mom with teenage twins left in the nest. Having just released her debut novella Grime Beat, she spends her non-writing time transporting to and from volleyball, directing high school classes at a local coop, and leading the children’s music program at her church. From suburban Dallas, she loves to create scintillating suspense with a side of Texas sassy. She invites readers to unravel their inspiration, seeking a deeper knowledge of the Lord’s Great Mystery that invites us all.

Mercy Lacewell is/was Marji Lane’s heroine in The Love Boat Bachelor, and having been the runner -up for the hero’s affections in that story, Marji did a great job of getting Mercy out in the business world to meet people–especially some mighty fine heroes.

Marji is the author who brought us Dustin Rogers. Here’s what she says about creating Dustin:

It’s funny, he sort of came about as I wrote the chapter. I’d expected him to be a little more on the ambitious, competitive side, but he didn’t turn out that way. As I focused on his goals, sheer money initiative didn’t seem to be enough. He wanted to prove something.

And that’s when I was inspired by NASCAR racer, Carl Edwards. I couldn’t tell you Carl’s personal motive for racing, though I expect it’s because he loves the strategy and speed. But I imagine that a racer or athlete of any sort might very well want to prove something. So I used a younger version of the driver as my visual motivation for Dustin’s character.

And Dustin does have something to prove. He wants to succeed as an executive with his integrity and faith intact. Not unlike “Jesus Loves You” hat-wearing Henry Lacewell. I can certainly see Dustin as the next president of Lacewell Limited, even if he doesn’t win the hand of the current president’s daughter.

Unlikely Merger CoverMore About Unlikely Merger:

No longer needed as her father’s nurse, Mercy Lacewell attempts to step into his shoes at his acquisitions firm. That means travel, engaging strangers, and making final decisions—nothing she feels equipped to do. If her best friend has her way, Mercy will simply marry one of the single, available men she meets, but they overwhelm her. So handsome and kind. And so many. Even if she felt obliged, how could she ever choose?

Should she shove all attraction aside and focus on her father’s business, or is God warming her heart with the possibility of forever?

Other great multi-author collaborative novellas from Write Integrity Press: A Dozen Apologies and The Love Boat Bachelorand great Christmas reads: The Christmas Tree Treasure Hunt and A Ruby ChristmasHeart Bouquets, romantic short stories is also available. As a special note: Marji Laine is the only author to have collaborated in each of the Write Integrity novellas.

Grime Beat cover5a (1)Marji’s new release is Grime Beat:

Her best friend missing, every cell in Dani Foster’s body screams something is wrong.

Crime scene cleaning is the perfect job for neat-nick Dani Foster. But her orders to maintain a low profile and stay out of trouble mean little when her friend goes missing. Suspicions point to the handsome crime scene specialist, Jay Hunter, but he’s also the only person willing to help Dani. Dare she trust him even when lies seem to surround him?

Dani amuses Jay. Her penchant for speaking and acting without regard to the consequences land her in the funniest situations. But her latest moves have thrust her into serious danger. As he learns more about her circumstances, her risk rises until her very life is on the line. He has no time or inclination for romance, but this girl needs him and she seems to have no one else. How can he turn his back?

The voting for favorite hero is over, but if you want to know a little more about them pending the free release of the novella on Kindle, which will reveal the winning hero and show us how he might win Mercy’s heart, you can read their interviews: : Dustin Rogers, Landon Gates, Ric Montoya, Gabriel “Gabe” Mann, Talon Hawthorne. Douglas “Digger” Grant, Levi Shepherd, Steve Leclerc, Reuben “Rube” Miller and Daniel Knight.

Here are some more posts of interest from out authors:

Jennifer Hallmark: Why I Keep Saying Yes to The Proposal by Julie Arduini and Traveling with Others by Phee Paradise