Friday, February 26, 2016

Feature Friday Author Peggy Blann Phifer and Her Sweetwater River Series

I'm excited to have as my guest, my friend, Author Peggy Blann Phifer. To begin, let's get an idea of what her Vol. 1 Ripples is all about.

BLURB for Sweetwater River Series Vol.1 Ripples:
Rozene and Mike Carson have legally adopted four foster care teenage daughters, giving them a forever family they’d never known before. But after only a year with the Carson’s, one by one, Veronica, Shira, Melanie, and Misty reach adulthood, venturing out to start new lives of their own, leaving the house along the banks of the Sweetwater River in Sweetland. Rozene is proud of the adults they are becoming, but also heartbroken as she and Mike face an empty nest. She soon will see just how deep the girls' roots are to their riverside home. In the Sweetwater River series, these six lives continue to connect in some unexpected ways. 

Please leave a comment with your Kindle email address to enter the drawing for a chance to win Peg's Vol. 1 Ripples

About Peg Phifer~
Multi-published author Peggy Blann Phifer writes a mixture of contemporary women’s fiction with three parts suspense, three parts mystery, and four parts romance, stirred up with a sprinkling of humor. Peg believes God has a sense of humor and He intended to place laughter into our lives no matter our circumstances. Her Tag-line is Heart ~ Hope ~ and Humor. Peg lives in NW Wisconsin’s Indianhead Country. Read more on her website.

Here's where you may find Peg online~
TWITTER: @pegphifer

Peg, where can readers purchase the Sweetwater River Series?
Sweetwater River Series, Vol.1, Ripples:

Sweetwater River Series, Vol.2, Undercurrents:

Sweetwater River Series, Vol.3, Moorings:

Tell us a few things about yourself some folks may not know.
There are some who may know these, since I’ve answered this fun question before. I once shot and killed a marauding fox at about 100/150 yards. It had been raiding our chickens, and had hauled off a few of our barn cats, but when our pet duck disappeared…that was the last straw. Got it with one, clean shot with a 30.06 rifle…with a scope.
Then there was the time I was doing laundry in our big ol’ farmhouse basement. I had an old, green Philco double-tub wringer-washer down there, and when I had wrung the last load into the basket, I reached to pick it up and encountered a six-foot Pine Snake stretched out in the concrete-lined drain gutter. Now I hate snakes. And Pine snakes in NW. Wisconsin look exactly like rattlesnakes. In mindless panic–I was home alone–I grabbed my husband’s double-headed axe (he’d been chopping wood down there) and hacked that forked-tongue-darting reptile into a bazillion pieces, grabbed my laundry and ran screaming up the stairs and outside to hang it up to dry. I never went down to the basement again without checking that gutter before stepping over it. Same with going back up. I guess I didn’t damage that axe much since he’s still using it today, nearly forty years later.

Well, Peg, you are a true wilderness lady! What keeps you the most humble as a writer?
Other writers’ successes. Really. Just when I get all smug and sassy over something I’ve just written, or had published–thinking ‘Hey, am I good or what! I see or hear about author So-and-So—a writer I highly admire–winning a contest, or a highly sought-after award, or scoring high in the Amazon rankings, and I think “good for her!” and go back to my feeble efforts and learn from that author, and then I think ‘Um, well, smarty-pants, maybe you’re not so good after all.’ That’s humbling. But I’ll get there, someday, just you wait and see! LOL

Ah, Peg, really you are there! And folks will see this when they read your wonderful stories. So, what motivates you to get out of bed and head to your keyboard?  
Truth? Nothing. Not even a deadline. I’m not a morning person and I’m 99% more likely to head for the coffeemaker. My writing sessions usually don’t begin until afternoon and I’ll write far into the night.

Ha! We're different this way for I'm a morning person. What gives you the most satisfaction in your writing—besides "The End," that is?
Hearing from someone who has read something of mine saying how much they enjoyed it and enjoyed it enough to leave a review, and ask when the next Peggy Blann Phifer book is coming out.

Oh, this is great, Peg! What sparks your creativity when feeling drained?
I read. Books written in my writing genre as well as others as far away from it as east is from west. No matter what, reading inspires me…and I learn a LOT.

What types of books do you like to read?
Romantic Suspense, Political Thrillers, Cozy Mysteries, Women’s fiction.

How did your writing career begin and how long did it take to publish your first book?
Ha. I’m not even sure my writing career HAS taken off. I didn’t start taking my writing seriously until after I turned 50. But since then I’ve never looked back and have had some small success.

Sure you have, Peg. What other writing have you done?
My first published work was a prayer I submitted to Guidepost’s Books-and was accepted in a two-volume set called Prayers for Every Need. That was in 2000. Next I indie-published my debut novel, To See the Sun, a Romantic Suspense, in 2012, available in both print and e-Book on Amazon. See my Amazon Author Page link above.

After that, I was contracted with Helping Hands Press to write four short stories in three anthologies. They can also be found on my AMZN Author Page. In 2014, I signed a contract with Elk Lake Publishing, and another with Hartline Literary Agency. I was now an agented author! The book Somehow, Christmas Will Come was released in November 2014. Lastly, I signed again with Helping Hands Press, This time for a series of short stories of my own, Sweetwater River, which we are discussing here today.

Wow, I'm very impressed, Peg. What do you hope readers will take away from this book?
That God is a God of second chances, regardless of past mistakes, some through no fault of our own. And the message of Hope.

Is this book’s setting based on a real place?
The only thing real about the small city of Sweetland, is that it’s set in Arkansas :’)

Is the book completely fictional?
It is a work of fiction, but filled with truth and fact regarding adoption and foster care, information gleaned from a fellow writer, an expert in the field.

How would you rate this book: G, PG, or PG 13? And tell us why.
It would be ‘G,’ for sure. It’s about family–or forever families, as they’re called in foster care, and deals with the fallout some long-term kids in the ‘system’ inevitably deal with.

This is so great you have clean books for families to read. What was your inspiration for Sweetwater River series?
During my first contracts with Helping Hands Press, the original series’ were set in a fictional town called Sweetland and no geographical location specified. The Sweetwater River ran through my heroine’s property.

What do you have in store for the year of 2016?
I’m hoping to complete the sequel to my debut novel, To See the Sun…working title: To Hear the Wind, and seek publication through traditional means. If not, I’ll go indie again. And, of course, I’ll continue to work on new stories for Sweetwater River. There’s also been talk of a sequel to my Christmas story. That would be exciting.

This would indeed be wonderful to have a sequal to your Christmas story! I know I sure enjoyed reading it, Peg. What parting wisdom do you wish to give those of us not book published?
Hang in there! Persevere! In the immortal words of Sir Winston Churchill: ‘NEVAH, NEVAH, NEVAH, GIVE UP!

Seriously. If God has called you to be a writer, and has given you a story to write, then He will give you the means to WRITE THAT STORY.

True words for sure, Peg. Thank you for being my host on Feature Friday. I'll have you back in a few years and see what other books you've published. :))

Until next time . . . let's all read!

Friday, February 19, 2016

Feature Friday Jaclyn Brod and Her Book The Descendants

I'm pleased to have as my guest on Feature Friday, Author Jaclyn Brod and we'll be featuring her debut novel, The Descendants. Please leave a comment with your email address to enter the drawing for a chance to win her e-Book The Descendants.

Jaclyn, why is The Descendants dear to your heart?  

The Descendants is dear to my heart because I wrote it during a tough time in my life, I had literally just finished it right after my grandfather passed away. It is also a story my friend had once wrote and he didn’t want to write it anymore, so he gave me permission to do what I wanted with it, I credited him in the book as well as part of the dedications.

What do you hope readers will take away from this book? 

I hope readers will value friendship in this book and kindness and compassion. And just an awesome adventure.

Is this book’s setting based on a real place? 

Not in particular, but if I did end up putting it in a place, it would probably be a futuristic England.

Is the book completely fictional? 

Yes. Everything is made up!

Would you give us the jacket blurb of your book? 

In the year 2030 a war is waged, and only one person can stop it but will she die before she saves human kind?

Is your writing journey as you envisioned it? If not, how is it different?  

Yes. Very much so! Since I was ten I told myself that by the time I turned 25 I was going to have a book contract, and I did it! I worked very hard day and night to get to where I am today!

Tell us a few things about yourself some folks may not know. 

I was born with a heart condition and I have had many surgeries throughout the past. Writing has always been my escape whenever I wasn’t feeling well or I had to have the surgeries. Thankfully I haven’t had any issues lately and I’m feeling better.

How did your writing career begin and how long did it take to publish your first book? 

 I have honestly been writing since I was ten (Not the greatest of stories) But that’s when I first started actually wanting to write, and J.K. Rowling is my biggest inspiration. It took me at least a good 13 years to get published, but I mostly self published my books.

What other writing have you done? 

Rapture, Unforeseen, and Cursed Love are the books I have out with my friend Arvira Nightbreeze, and those are self-published. They are part of a series we are working on.

Where can readers get your book?  

Anywhere books are sold!

Where can readers find you online?

Facebook: Author Jaclyn E. Brod

Instagram: Jaclyn E. Brod

Tumblr: Itsjaclynebrod

Twitter: TheWriterJaclynEBrod

The book trailer:

What parting wisdom do you wish to give those of us not book published?  

Have fun with whatever you do in life, whether it is publishing a book or becoming a singer, just have fun. If you make it big or not that shouldn’t be the one thing on your mind. Be who you are, and never try and be different.

Mini bio:

Jaclyn E. Brod is a full time writer and student, currently going to school for medical billing as a background but her true passion is writing. She has one cat named Zazzie who she loves more than anything and a fiancĂ© who’s a cook and a gamer nerd. When Jaclyn isn’t writing she is spending time with her best friends and her best friends children whom she calls her niece and nephew. She is the author of the newly debut novel The Descendants. Much of her inspiration for her stories come from music and reading. Her biggest inspiration of all is Harry Potter.

Thank you for joining us, Jaclyn, and until next time . . . let's read and write.

Friday, February 12, 2016

Feature Friday Toni Shiloh and Her Book A Life To Live

Author Toni Shiloh
Why is A Life to Live dear to your heart? It’s the first novel I ever completed. The sense of accomplishment I felt was overwhelming. To see it in print is a reminder that dreams can come true.

Tell us a little about who you are. How would you define yourself? A wife and mom. I’ve been married for ten years and a mother for almost eight. These relationships have changed me, made me a better person. My goal every day is to be the best wife and mother my family could ask for.

This is the best goal a woman with family can have. What do you hope readers will take away from this book? That forgiveness is necessary for ourselves as well as for others. It causes such heart ache and turmoil, but if we let God help us forgive we will experience a freedom only a forgiving heart brings.

How would you rate this book: G, PG, or PG 13? And tell us why. I would rate this PG because it has adult subject matter. There’s no obscene language and there is a kiss or two in the book.

What keeps you the most humble as a writer? Keeping God as the focus of my writing. I want to glorify God and use stories to help others see Him in new ways.

Is your writing journey as you envisioned it? If not, how is it different? That’s a great question. I don’t think I had a lot of expectations on my writing journey, even so, it has been an eye opening experience. There’s so much that goes on beyond writing the book.

What motivates you to get out of bed and head to your keyboard? The characters in my head. They keep talking to me until their story is done.

Those pesky characters! What have you learned recently about yourself, and how has it affected your writing? I’m a passive person and keep things bottled in sometimes. I learned recently about having an active voice and the importance of letting yourself be heard. The great thing about writing is it allows me to be uninhibited with my thoughts and share some things I believe.

What gives you the most satisfaction in your writing—besides "The End," that is? Having someone tell me they like it. I know that may seem like a simple answer, but having people from all walks of life tell you your story touched their heart…there’s nothing better than that.

 Oh, I so agree, Toni. What sparks your creativity when feeling drained? Music! I love music and I listen to it while I write. Sometimes the song’s words will fuel me and keep me going.

Tell us a few things about yourself some folks may not know.  My first duty station when I served in the Air Force was in England. My first day there, my fellow Airmen (aka coworkers) took me to dinner to introduce me to everyone. I met my husband that day and we’ve been together ever since. The only problem with my husband is that he’s a Saints Fan. As a die hard Cowboys fan, there is a little tension during football season. Our boys have chosen sides so our house is divided in the fall and somehow it still stands.

Who was the greatest influence for you as a writer? Oh, wow. There are so many great authors out there. Strictly romance wise…Becky Wade. Her writing grips your heart and doesn’t let go until your finish. Every novel I hope to do the same for my readers and to improve.

Thanks for the tip. I’ll look up Becky Wade’s books. How did your writing career begin and how long did it take to publish your first book?  It started while I was getting my degree in English. I took a creative writing class and my professor was so encouraging. I have always loved reading and thought I could write a story, but her encouragement turned my thought into a dream and dream into a reality. In 2014 I made a New Year’s resolution to finish a novel—something I had never done before. I accomplished my goal and self-published it March 2015.

What parting wisdom do you wish to give those of us not book published? Don’t give up. If God has placed a story on your heart, write it. If it helps just one person, entertains another, then it’s a success. 
Author bio –

Toni Shiloh is a wife, mom, and Christian fiction writer. She is a member of the American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW), an Air Force veteran, and a member of the body of Christ.

She spends her days hanging out with her husband and their two boys. She likes to volunteer at her children’s school. When she’s not writing, she’s reading. An avid reader of Christian fiction, she writes reviews on her blog and enjoys helping other authors find readers.

She self-published a Christian contemporary romance novella, A Life to Live, and is at work writing her next novel.
Book Blurb –

Mia is headed to the famed Nottingham for a month long vacation. She never imagined she’d run into her high-school sweetheart thousands of miles away from her home town. Why would God throw them back together?

Caleb always regretted the way things ended with his high-school girlfriend, Mia. After a chance encounter in the streets of Nottingham, Caleb feels God is giving him a second chance to right the wrongs he committed. Unbeknownst to him, Mia has secrets that may require his forgiveness. Will her past overshadow his wrongs? As Mia and Caleb work through old hurts and broken hearts will they let the blessing of forgiveness redeem their relationship? 

Buy links – e-Book version available for .99 cents until Valentines Day

Social media links –

Blog I’m part of: 

Thank you for joining us here at Feature Friday, Toni. 
Until next time . . . let's all read an inspirational book.

Friday, February 5, 2016

Featuring Leslie L. McKee, Editor and Reviewer

Leslie L. McKee, Editor and Reviewer

1    What is your name/business:  Leslie L. McKee (NOTE: For my FB page and blog, I include: “Editor and Reviewer”  after my name, but I edit under Leslie L. McKee)

    When did you start editing professionally?   I began editing and proofreading professionally in 2012 for a small e-book publishing house. Prior to that, I worked with an independent author. My work in the literary field, in general, began in 2005, which is when I started reviewing books for RT Bookreviews Magazine.

    Why did you want to be an editor? In some ways, I fell into the field. Or, more appropriately, it was God-directed. I have always been a book lover. I began reading at an early age, and I haven’t stopped! Reviewing books fell into my lap in 2005. While reviewing one book for an indie author, I noticed a few major errors in the final copy I was reading. I pointed them out, and I was hired to edit the author’s next book. Prior to that, editing really hadn’t been on my radar.  I attended a convention for RT Bookreviews Magazine, and I was able to meet and speak with editors and owners from various publishing houses.  One of them decided to take a chance on me, and that was when my editing career began.

    That was a blessing for sure, Leslie. What is your specialty/focus? While I have worked on some nonfiction books, my specialty is fiction. I work with all genres.

    What’s your favorite part of this type of work?  I’m very detail-oriented and I love to read, so I’m ecstatic that I found a career where I could put both to use! I enjoy providing quality services to help authors on their literary journey. I want to help them create books which will allow them to shine while spreading their message and creating books readers will love.

    A fine goal for sure. What’s your biggest challenge?  Learning to say no to some projects. I love what I do, and I want to help as many people as I can. However, I need to allow time in my schedule for other activities, as well.

    What’s surprised you the most during your career?  How detailed and extensive the publication process is, and the fact that errors always seem to sneak into the work.

    Oh, those sneaky errors! What advice would you give a new editor? Never stop reading and learning. Budget your time wisely.

    If you could do one thing differently in your career, what would it be? I’m not sure I would do anything differently. I believe everything happens for a reason. Certain circumstances occurred which allowed me to pursue editing. I’m not sure I would have been as prepared had things happened differently.

1  I agree everything happens for a reason. What’s your favorite kind of work? Why?  I’m not sure that I have a favorite. I really enjoy the entire process of editing a book. As an editor and reviewer, I love being able to help get books out there so readers have a quality selection of books to choose from … books which will entertain, educate, and inspire them.

What is your workspace like? My office is in the corner of the music room in our house. I have an L-shaped desk, filled with books, projects, my laptop, and minions everywhere! There’s a sliding glass door to the left of my desk and a window to the right. I love spending time in this room, as I am able to enjoy nature while I work.

I like my window view of a mountain, so I do understand.  What is your go-to snack when working? It varies. In the morning, I generally have a cup of tea or cocoa and either celery with peanut butter or cheese and crackers. In the afternoon, I usually have water and an apple or yogurt. I occasionally throw in some licorice or chocolate. Other than that, I don’t munch a lot while I’m working at my desk.

    Hmmm, your food sounds good! What editing resource would you recommend?  I’d recommend The Chicago Manual of Style (16th edition), particularly if you work with fiction. There is an online subscription available, which is much easier to use when traveling then the thick manual itself. If it is not possible for you to purchase this, I would recommend Polishing the PUGS by Kathy Ide, which focuses on the most commonly used CMOS rules.

    If you could recommend one writing resource, what would it be? Self-Editing for Fiction Writers by Renni Browne & Dave King. It’s a valuable resource for beginning and veteran authors.
    What is your favorite Bible verse written out and include Bible version? "Do not anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and petition with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus." - Phil 4:6-7 (ESV)

1  A wonderful verse for sure. And what is your One Word for the Year? TRUST

What is your Verse for the Year? "Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths."

I love this verse, Leslie. Is there anything else you’d like to add? I am extremely blessed to be able to do what I love on a daily basis! Thank you for having me on your blog.

Thank you, Leslie, for being here today.
Until next time . . . let us read, write, edit, and grow in the craft of writing.