Friday, March 25, 2016

Feature Friday Author Lara Nance and Her Book "God's Tribe"

I’m pleased to introduce Author Lara Nance, where here we’ll learn something about Lara and her book, God’s Tribe.

In order to enter the drawing for a chance to win a print copy of God’s Tribe, please leave a comment with your email address.

Tell us a bit about yourself, Lara
I grew up in The South, where iced tea is always sweet and BBQ is a religion. I went from reading every horse story in the world, to Jane Austen, Georgette Heyer, and then on to Mysteries and Sci-fi/Fantasy.
About 1986, I wrote my first novel. Not having a computer back in those days, I wrote the whole thing in a notebook with a pencil. When it was complete, I knew I was hooked, because I'd never stuck with any of my other artistic hobbies as long as I had in writing this first book. 
Finally in 2008 I decided to pursue publishing. After many long hours of learning and giving up all pretense of outside fun, I moved into the ranks of published authors.
When my father was going though a decline before he died this past February, I did a lot of introspective thinking about spirituality and Christianity. That’s when this book, God’s Tribe, was born. An outpouring of all that had become tangled inside me came forth in a tale of redemption. 

Where can you be found online?
Facebook: Lara.nance
Twitter: @Lara_Nance

Where can readers purchase God’s Tribe? 

 Tell us a few things about yourself some folks may not know.
Until the wind changes, I’m living with my husband and two Yorkies, Belle and Bruno, on a sailboat. Next fall, we’re cruising the East Coast and plan to go to the Bahamas.

What other writing have you done?
I’ve written in a lot of different genres. I write what ever story seems important or interesting at any given time. That’s what I love about self-publishing. I’m not writing for a paycheck. I’m writing what I love and what I hope my readers will love.

What do you hope readers will take away from this book?
I wrote this in response to many issues I was struggling with in my faith: Trusting God’s plan, searching for my path of service, and dealing with issues from my childhood which hampered my beliefs.

What was your inspiration for God’s Tribe?
While my father was going through his decline, my brother and I had a lot of discussions about Christianity and how we’re supposed to serve God. Our childhood was spent going from congregation to congregation with our father who was a lay minister. Our whole life revolved around the “Church”. We needed to sort out the fact from the fiction and this book helped me do this. I wrote it to provide peace for others struggling with similar issues.

This is wonderful, Lara! What do you hope your readers will take away from reading God’s Tribe?  
I have two thoughts in mind for readers to take away. For those who already believe, I hope they find some peace in dealing with issues of service and faith in God’s plan. For non-believers, I hope some questions are answered which will help them find their way to the truth.

A very noble cause, Lara. What parting wisdom do you wish to give those of us not book published?
Keep learning and keep writing. I’ve always learned something with every book I published, from editors, reviewers, and friends. I will continue to learn as I write. You never know it all. So continue to learn, and never give up.

Such wise words from Author Lara Nance.

God’s Tribe blurb for this dystopian tale of redemption:
In an America destroyed by war and sunk in depravity, scavenger Paul is rescued by Rebecca, a member of the Believer Tribe, and needs healing in both body and soul. Will she be able to overcome the turmoil about her own path of service as well as her feelings for Paul, and lead him to the truth of the Gospel before his radical ideas disrupt the tribe and threaten their evangelical mission?

Until next time . . .  read God’s Tribe.

Friday, March 18, 2016

Feature Friday Author Paula Mowery and Her Book "For Our Good"

I’m pleased to introduce as my guest today Author Paula Mowery.

Paula Mowery is a pastor’s wife, mom to a college student, author, acquiring editor, and speaker. No matter the hat she wears, she strives to honor God’s plan even if it means going out on a limb and leaving comfort zones. Reviewers have characterized her writing as “thundering with emotion.” Her book, Be the Blessing, won the 2014 Selah Award in the novella category. Paula enjoys reading and reviewing Christian fiction, writing Christian romance and devotionals, and helping other authors realize their dream of publication.

What keeps you the most humble as a writer, Paula?

In writing, there is no such thing as “arriving.” I can always improve. There’s always more to learn and always a better story to write.

What gives you the most satisfaction in your writing—besides "The End," that is?

Because I write Christian fiction, I just love those God moments when He drives home the message through my story. Like my pastor-hubby, I tend to learn the message before I can share it. So satisfying and humbling to be called to share about Christ in this way.

So true, Paula. What type of books do you like to read?

My favorite books to read are contemporary Christian romantic suspense and Christian romances. I write reviews for authors of these types of books. I also tend to contract these types of books in my role as an acquiring editor for Prism Book Group.

Fantastic! What other writing have you done?

I have two women’s fiction titles, The Blessing Seer and Be the Blessing. My romance titles include: Forgiven, in the anthology, Brave New Century; Legacy and Love; Love Again, a Christmas romance. For Our Good is considered a Christian romantic suspense. Then I have another book releasing at the end of April 2016 called “The Crux of Honor.” I have also written several devotions which are included in several collections. The most recent is A Walk in the Valley which recalls six women’s journey through infertility.

A nice list of credits to be sure! So Paula, when writing, how do you come up with your plots?

My ideas have normally come from bits of stories from friends and family. I’ve even had a sermon illustration spark a plot or two. I usually take those little tidbits and start asking, “What if?”

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

God truly does have a plan for all of His children. Even though bad things can happen along the way, God really can bring good from them.

What a truth, Paula! Is the book completely fictional?

For Our Good is based on an experience my father had as a corporate pilot. The story he told us about being approached one day to carry a package for a large sum of money was the spark for this story. There is also a character who deals with infertility, which is something I have dealt with.

How did you come up with the title for name book?

The title, For Our Good, comes directly from the Bible verse, Romans 8:28. Just seemed fitting. What’s interesting is I’m working on the sequel and its title comes straight from Scripture as well.

I do like scripture titles. Tell us, Paula, what do you have in store for the year of 2016?

As mentioned above, I do have a new release coming April 29th called “The Crux of Honor.” This story is included in a series called Love Is from Prism Book Group and is based on The Love Chapter in the Bible. My book focuses on the part, love does not dishonor.

Oh, nice. I see where Love Is series is headed! What parting wisdom do you wish to give those of us not book published?

Keep reading. Keep learning. Keep writing.

Read authors who model good writing. Take advantage to learn through online classes, writing craft books, and conferences. Write consistently, practicing what you learn.

For Our Good Blurb

Charlie Jarvis is haunted by loss that fuels her desire to rid the world of drug traffickers. When her next assignment takes her back to her hometown, she has to confront her painful past. She has no interest in a relationship since God seems to kill everyone she loves. 

Colton Thomas appreciates material things and the status of being a corporate pilot. When someone approaches him to deliver a package for a large sum of money that could wipe out his debts, temptation knocks loud on his door even as his partner, Marshall, slams it shut. Meeting Charlie challenges his non-committal stance with women. As he considers who he has become and the kind of man he would want to be for Charlie, he confronts his own shallow lifestyle and the fear he would never be able to help her heal her wounds. 

As Charlie pursues the man causing young boys to die of overdoses, she struggles with the secrets she keeps from Colton. With people around them shining the light of God and encouraging their courtship, both Charlie and Colton have to face hard truths about life, death, love, and faith. And maybe find a fresh start for them both. 

Where readers may purchase For Our Good:

Paula, thank you for being my guest today on Feature Friday.

Leave a comment and include your Kindle address to enter the drawing for a chance to win Paula’s e-Book For Our Good.

Until next time . . . read a Paula Mowery book. 

Friday, March 11, 2016

Feature Friday Author Sarah Elisabeth Sawyer and Her Novel The Executions

Courtesy of the National Museum of the American Indian, Smithsonian Institution

I’m happy to have as my guest Author Sarah Elisabeth Sawyer.

Before we begin, Sarah is offering a free eBook from her Choctaw Tribunes series, book 1, The Executions. To enter the drawing, please leave a comment with your Kindle address as to where you’d like the eBook sent.

SARAH ELISABETH SAWYER is an award-winning inspirational author, speaker and Choctaw storyteller of traditional and fictional tales based on the lives of her people. The Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian has honored her as a literary artist through their Artist Leadership Program for her work in preserving Trail of Tears stories. In 2015, First Peoples Fund awarded her an Artist in Business Leadership Fellowship. She writes from her hometown in Texas, partnering with her mama, Lynda Kay Sawyer, in continued research for future novels.

Sarah, I’m proud to have you here today in honor of Native Americans. Where can you be found online?

Where can readers purchase The Executions?

What have you learned recently about yourself, and how has it affected your writing?
This was seven years ago, when I was twenty-three, but it had the most affect on my writing life. I had a bit of a meltdown at that age. It was as if everything in my life was strewn across a whiteboard. Everything I wanted to do, what I thought I was supposed to do, what I thought everybody wanted me to do. I couldn’t do anything for days. I prayed and knew it was time to surrender all. Not in the sweet sense we sing about in songs, about surrendering all to God without truly doing it. I knew it had to be real in my life.
I took an eraser to that whiteboard and, one by one, wiped off each thing in my life. I surrendered those things to Him with the full commitment to take nothing back He didn’t give me. When I came to writing I halted. I was serious about this. What if He didn’t give it back? But I erased it and handed the marker over to God.
Nothing happened for about seven months, except I experienced more peace and harmony than ever before in my life.
Late that summer, God put writing back on the board. I’ve been writing ever since.

Very heart warming, Sarah. What gives you the most satisfaction in your writing—besides "The End," that is?
Reader response. At a book signing, a woman came up to me and wanted to know when the next book in the Choctaw Tribune series would be out. We had a wonderful conversation that came around to a certain racial issue the book addresses. She shared a bit of her dad's story and it seemed to dawn on her the connection with how a character in The Executions handles a situation. She started crying as though finally understanding why her dad had been that way on the issue. I believe it allowed her to grieve, and hopefully to heal.

As I also read The Executions, Sarah, it is helping me to understand some of my families responses to being Cherokee and Apache. So, tell us how did your writing career begin and how long did it take to publish your first book?
I wrote my first story when I was five years old. I had a story to tell about kindness, but was far too shy to tell it. My seven year old brother illustrated it, and my mama saved copies.
I drifted in and out of writing through my teens and early twenties. After I seriously got into writing in 2009, I didn't publish my first print book until the end 2013, an anthology of Choctaw trail of tears story (Touch My Tears: Tales from the Trail of Tears). This was a result of a program I was in with the Smithsonian Institution's National Museum of the American Indian. Then I published a short story collection (Third Side of the Coin) before finally releasing my first novel in April 2015 (The Executions).

I’m excited to learn more about you and your work, Sarah! What other writing have you done?
I've written regular columns and freelance articles. This January, I was solicited to write stories for First Peoples Fund eSpirit newsletter. What an honor. I received an FPF grant in 2015 to support my book publications.

Is this book’s setting based on a real place?
It's set in the fictional town of Dickens, though I drew heavily on the histories of two towns in Choctaw Nation, Indian Territory in the 1890s for inspiration. Some of the other places like Paris, Texas, and Tuskahoma, Oklahoma, are real.

Is the book completely fictional?
The characters mostly are, but the events are based on actual stories from the time period. It was pre-statehood Oklahoma, and the Indian nations were about to be divided by individual land allotments. The tribes would be dissolved. Two Choctaw political parties clashed over these issues, and the violence often turned deadly.

How would you rate this book: G, PG, or PG 13? And tell us why.
I would rate it G to PG, depending on the guidelines you have for your children. Some of the subject material is tough, but nothing I would have objected to my nieces and nephews reading when they were younger. At a book signing recently, a mother bought all four of my books for her nine-year-old son after I explained the potential content issue. (On a side note, he thanked his mom for making his day!)

Oh, this was satisfying for you, I’m sure. What was your inspiration for The Executions?
My mama shared our Choctaw heritage with me at a young age. I'd always wanted to write stories about my people. The more I learn about our culture and our heritage of faith, the more I want to write these stories. I plan to have at least four books in the Choctaw Tribune series.

What do you have in store for the year of 2016?
Publishing two more books in the Choctaw Tribune series, freelancing, speaking, teaching, and enjoying the adventurous life we live. My mama and I partner in all kinds of cool, creative projects. She gets me into film making and family. It's pretty amazing. We always have something new going on.

Great, Sarah! What parting wisdom do you wish to give those of us not book published?
Keep writing. I wish I had written more as I was developing my brand. I spent a lot of time in the beginning building my platform and learning how to market, and this was all good and necessary, but I did lose sight of actually writing book after book. But I'm focusing on this more now.
Remember, there are plenty of options for publishing. You may go the traditional route. If you choose indie, know that it's not the “easy way out.” Not if you do it right. You have to learn how to be a publisher. Educate yourself. Network. Be professional. Keep your heart in the right place, and you’ll come to love every step of the journey.

From the back cover of The Executions:
Who would show up for their own execution?
It’s 1892, Indian Territory. A war is brewing in the Choctaw Nation as two political parties fight out issues of old and new ways. Caught in the middle is eighteen-year-old Ruth Ann, a Choctaw who doesn’t want to see her family killed.
In a small but booming pre-statehood town, her mixed blood family owns a controversial newspaper, the Choctaw Tribune. Ruth Ann wants to help spread the word about critical issues but there is danger for a female reporter on all fronts—socially, politically, even physically.
But what is truly worth dying for? This quest leads Ruth Ann and her brother Matthew, the stubborn editor of the fledgling Choctaw Tribune, to old Choctaw ways at the farm of a condemned murderer. It also brings them to head on clashes with leading townsmen who want their reports silenced no matter what.
More killings are ahead. Who will survive to know the truth? Will truth survive?

The Executions Review: “Among the many pleasures of Sarah Elisabeth’s writing are her attention to character, language, and period detail. In The Executions, a story grounded in history and the complexities of pre-statehood Oklahoma, she brings to life, with great heart, the compelling mix of cultures, faith, and political intrigue in the old Choctaw Nation. An intriguing read.”—Rilla Askew, author of The Mercy Seat

Thank you, Sarah Elisabeth, for being my guest here at Feature Friday.
Until next time . . . let's all read The Executions