An Interview with Author Carol Post and a Giveaway!

Welcome to Readers Write to Know! I asked you, my readers, what questions they would ask their favorite authors if given the chance. This week, I’m pleased to introduce you to Carol Post. Carol’s interview makes me miss living in Florida. I can imagine sitting on the beach with my laptop and writing. She is a fellow Romance Writer of America member. Read on and see how you can enter to win a copy of her book, Shattered Haven!

Tell us about yourself. From medical secretary to court reporter to property manager to owner of a special events decorating company, my resume reads as if I don’t know what I want to be when I grow up. But one thing that has remained constant through the years is my love for writing. I started as a child writing poetry for family and friends, then graduated to articles and finally novels. In 2012, I got “the call” and have been writing for Harlequin’s Love Inspired Suspense line ever since. I live in sunshiny Central Florida with my husband of thirty-four years, who is my own real-life hero, and enjoy sailing, hiking, camping—almost anything outdoors. My two grown daughters and grandkids live too far away for my liking, so I now pour all that nurturing into taking care of two fat and sassy cats and one highly spoiled dog.

CarolJPostTell us about your current release. No Safe Harbor: Allison Winchester’s old Victorian house contains a valuable secret code, one that someone is dead set on uncovering. After her house is ransacked and her life is threatened, she has no choice but to accept the protection of injured ex-cop Blake Townsend. Allison never thought she’d trust a man with secrets again—and Blake is as much a mystery as the man who is stalking her. The lawman vows to shield her from the dangerous criminal. But can Blake and Allison decipher the mysterious code before their island safe haven becomes their ultimate resting place?

Who was your first Screen/Musical Crush? My very first screen crush was Jack Wild on H.R. Pufnstuf. After that was Gilligan. I’m serious! I know, pathetic, huh? In my defense, I was in elementary school at the time. When I grew up, it was Kevin Sorbo from the Hercules series. Long hair and muscles, along with a sense of humor – what’s not to love?

Do you have your plotline and character development already laid out before you begin writing a book, or do they develop as you write? I’m an extreme plotter. I start with a story idea, come up with my major plot points and then plan the book scene by scene, trying to do a short paragraph for each scene. Then I finish developing my characters. Finally, I sit down and start writing the book. I find that having that paragraph to tell me where I’m going for each scene, I never face Shattered Haven cover (647x1024)Welcome to Readers Write to Know! I asked you, my readers, what questions they would ask their favorite authors if given the chance. This week, I’m pleased to introduce you to Carol Post. Carol’s interview makes me miss living in Florida. I can imagine sitting on the beach with my laptop and writing. She is a fellow Romance Writer of America member. Read on and see how you can enter to win a copy of her book, Shattered Haven!writer’s block.

What advice do you have for aspiring writers? My biggest piece of advice for aspiring writers is to join a writers’ group. Many offer great workshops, which really help you learn the craft. They are also good sources of encouragement. Writing is very much a solitary activity, and it’s easy to get discouraged. Making the journey with a bunch of other like-minded people is much easier than doing it alone. Workshops and conferences are also great opportunities to get your work in front of agents and editors.

What is your preferred method of writing? (computer, pen & paper, etc.) I always write on my laptop. It goes with me pretty much everywhere I go. I use a writing program that I love called Scrivener. I can split the screen and while I’m writing my scenes on one side of the screen, on the other side I can have character sketches, the plot plan, note cards, the romance arc, or any of the other things I like to refer to as I write.

What were some of your major roadblocks and how did you overcome them? My biggest roadblock to getting published was discouragement. I started writing in the late 1990s, but got discouraged and quit several times. I didn’t realize that the road to publication is usually paved with lots and lots of rejection and had a hard time handling what I thought of as failure. When I went back to it in 2009, I decided I was going to stick with it all the way through publication, no matter how long it took. That was when I learned about Romance Writers of America and my local chapter. There I found the encouragement and support I needed to keep pushing forward and not give up.

What is your inspiration for writing? I always feel most inspired when I’m outdoors. When I’m at home, I sit at the table in the screen room. I’ve also been known to write on the beach, on the boat, in the woods and beside a river. I find nature, especially water, very soothing. Fortunately, I live in Florida, so I get to enjoy the outdoors pretty much all year long.

What do you do when you hit a roadblock and have NO idea what to write? Since I plot so thoroughly before I start the actual writing process, I don’t usually hit roadblocks during a book. But I sometimes do during the plotting process. Whenever I’m stuck, I email what I have to my critique partners, and they help me brainstorm it. I have three awesome critique partners who have bailed me out more than once.

You can find Carol on Facebook Twitter and on her Website

and you can purchase her books at

Be sure to enter Carol’s Giveaway! A Copy of Shattered Haven
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An Interview with Author Marissa Shrock

Welcome to Readers Write to Know! I asked you, my readers, what questions they would ask their favorite authors if given the chance. This week, I am so pleased to introduce you to Marissa Shrock. I have a 17-year-old daughter who inhales books -she cannot read fast enough and is the type of reader who carries an extra book with her when she gets down to the last third of the book she’s currently reading — “just in case” she finishes her book before she can get home and needs something else to read. I LOVE the sound of Marissa’s book and will definitely be buying it for my daughter. Read on and see what I’m talking about!

 Tell us a little bit about yourself. I’m a seventh grade language arts teacher, and I enjoy working with middle school students. That’s part of the reason I wanted to write for them. The First Principle is my debut novel. When I’m not teaching or writing, I like reading, singing, shopping, and playing golf.

Marissa Shrock HeadshotTell us about your current release. My young adult novel, The First Principle takes place in the futuristic United Regions of North America. Sixteen-year-old Vivica Wilkins never questions her country’s pregnancy termination law for underage girls until she becomes pregnant. She must comply with the law or fight to save her unborn child. But fighting means Vivica has to abandon her mother, a powerful governor, and side with the Emancipation Warriors, a rebel organization that’s determined to start a revolution.

Whats the first major news headline that you can remember and what do you remember? (ie. Moon Walk, Watergate)   I remember the Challenger exploding in 1986. I was five years old and have memories of seeing the footage replayed on TV.

Who was your first Screen/Musical Crush?  Uncle Jesse (John Stamos) on Full House. I grew up in the T.G.I.F. era of TV.

Do you have your plotline and character development already laid out before you begin writing a book, or do they develop as you write?  While I start with some big ideas about plot and characters, most of the details develop for me while I write. Sometimes it takes several drafts for me to get it right, but discovering the story as I write works the best for me personally.

FirstPrinciple (663x1024)Do you have pre-determined length in mind when you first begin a book?  Yes and no. For YA, the novel should be at least 60,000 words. However, if it took more than 60,000 words to tell the story, I wouldn’t cut it down unless there were unnecessary words and storylines. I spoke with an editor recently who was looking for YA novels closer to 80,000 words. I’d say do whatever it takes to tell the story well.

What advice do you have for aspiring writers?  Take advice from people who are further along the path than you, but don’t compare yourself to them. Each writer’s journey is unique. Find God’s will for your life and stick to it.

What is your preferred method of writing? (computer, pen & paper, etc.)  I prefer to write on the computer. During the editing process I will print a draft and make corrections on paper. It helps me spot mistakes I might miss on the screen.

Who do you envision your typical reader to be?   I’ve named her Growing-Faith Grace. She’s fourteen years old, attends church and/or youth group, reads secular YA novels, and is interested in reading about characters who experience challenges in their Christian faith.

You can find Marissa at her  Website , and on Facebook  and  Twitter

Buy Marissa’s Books at:

 

 

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Grace’s Ground War Is Now Available!

The exciting Virtues and Valor serialized story continues with book 5!

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9781939603494_640RUTH AUBERTIN’s father, a highly decorated veteran of the Great War, moves his family from British Palestine to the wild of Great Britain after the Hebron masacre in 1929. He has always known the Germans would return to France, and trained his children from the time they could walk, turning them into finely tuned weapons with multiple skills ranging in weapons training to hand-to-hand combat.

When the Germans roll into France, Ruth and her brothers volunteer with the British Special Services and Ruth joins the Virtues team under the code name of GRACE. Never knowing the bond of sisterhood before, Ruth grows close to the six other women on the team and learns to rely on them and their varied skills as she goes undercover in Occupied France. Working directly for the notorious Praetorian, she and her team plan the largest prisoner escape in the war to date.

The arrest of TEMPERANCE raises the stakes. Now they have to move their time table up, increasing the overall risk of the mission. Can Ruth and her team pull off the mission, or will too many variables crash together at the wrong time?

GRACE’S GROUND WAR is part five of seven serialized novellas entitled the Virtues and Valor series.

Seven valorous women — different nationalities, ethnicities, and social backgrounds — come together as a team called the Virtues.

In 1941 Great Britain a special war department assembles an experimental and exclusively female cohort of combat operatives. Four willing spies, a wireless radio operator, an ingenious code breaker, and a fearless pilot are each hand-picked, recruited, and trained to initiate a daring mission in Occupied France. As plans are laid to engineer the largest prison break of Allied POWs in history, the Nazis capture the Virtues’ radio operator. It will take the cohesive teamwork of the rest of the women to save her life before Berlin breaks her and brings the force of the Third Reich to bear.

Some find love, some find vengeance, and some discover the kind of strength that lives in the human heart when all they can do is rely on each other and their shared belief. Courage, faith, and valor intersect but, in the end, one pays the ultimate price.

Continuing the Virtues and Valor series by Hallee Bridgeman. Seven serialized novellas, each inspired by real people and actual events, reveal the incredible story of amazing heroines facing the ultimate test of bravery. Book 5, Grace’s Ground War, is now available at the following locations:

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An Interview with Author Morgan Busse and a Giveaway!

Welcome to Readers Write to Know! I asked you, my readers, what questions they would ask their favorite authors if given the chance. This week, today I am so pleased to introduce you to Morgan Busse. Morgan is the mother of four, wife of a pastor, and writer of Christian fantasy. Morgan is also giving away a paperback of Daughter of Light. Be sure to read on to see how to enter!

Tell us a little bit about yourself. I am married to a pastor and have four kids (including a set of twins). When I’m not writing I enjoy playing games, riding my bike, and reading. My love for fantasy began when my dad introduced me to J.R.R. Tolkien. From there, I consumed everything I could find. After the birth of our daughter, my husband encouraged me to write. I never thought about being a writer, but always had stories floating around in my head. A few months later during a trip to Seattle, I had this idea about a woman who could see inside people’s souls when she touched them. I went home and started writing Daughter of Light, the first book in my epic fantasy series Follower of the Word.

WhonPhoto_MBusse_003 MFinalDarkerTell us about your current release.
Daughter of Light follows the story of Rowen Mar, the last Truthsayer, a being who can see inside people’s souls. Son of Truth, the second book in the series, continues Rowen’s story along with that of Caleb Tala, a prince and assassin.   Heir of Hope is the highly anticipated third and final book in the Follower of the Word series. With the changes that happened with my publisher over the last year, the release date was pushed back to March of 2015. Heir of Hope is the conclusion to Rowen’s story and will finally reveal her past, what happened to her people, and what it means to be a Follower of the Word.

I have been blessed to receive much acclaim for my books, including being a Christy and Carol award finalist. I never set out to write for awards and monetary gain, only to write a story close to my heart. That is still my compass: to write from my heart. But there is something special about receiving a phone call or email from someone who has been touched by my writing or chose my book for an award.

If you knew ahead of time your book would benefit only one person on their spiritual journey, would you still write it? Yes. In fact, that was kept me writing for years when everyone told me that Christian fantasy did not sell. I decided if only my children read my stories, then that was good enough for me. My stories are an outpouring of my questions and struggles with faith. Following God is not easy. I hope that after reading my books, my children will have a greater understanding of who God is and who they are to Him.

Daughter of Light Cover--Adjusted (514x800)With all those characters in your head screaming to get out how do you write fast enough to get it all down? Actually, I’m not a fast writer, so the screaming goes on for a while! Rough drafts take a long time for me to write. I’m also a mother, so that leaves me only a couple hours a day to use for writing and marketing. I write a certain amount of words a day until the rough draft is done. However, I do write a pretty clean rough draft, so I rarely rewrite anything, just clean up some scenes and check the flow of the story. Overall, it takes me a year to write a book.

What is your personal, most effective way to get past writer’s block? I plot out the big parts of my book, so I know where I’m going. However, sometimes how to get there can elude me. The only way I’ve found to get past writer’s block is to sit down and write. I write at least 500 words a day. I figure I can do that. Some days the story flows and I write more. Some days writing is like pulling teeth. But I make myself sit and write those 500 words. Then I let the story simmer the rest of the day and usually by the next day I know where to go next in my story.

What advice do you have for aspiring writers? Live life and make time for your family. Your writing will always be there, but your family will not. Even though it takes me a while to write a book, I have no regrets. I have been there for my kids and will be there until they leave the house. I also love my husband and make time for our marriage. Without his encouragement and support of my writing, I don’t know where I would be today. Actually, I do. I would not be writing!

I’m always intrigued by how writers get started…did you always have these books inside you and knew that you wanted to write them or did the idea just pop into your head one day and you decided to put pen to paper? Ideas come to me and I start working on them. I keep folders on my computer where I store all my ideas, characters, plots, etc… As time goes by, the story grows until I’m ready to write it. By then, I have a pretty good grasp on the characters and plot.

Do you write your books for your own enjoyment or more for what you think people would want to read? I write for myself first and foremost. If I don’t enjoy the story, I don’t think my readers will either. It’s hard to be passionate about a story you don’t like.

What is one thing that you “never saw yourself doing” and either do it now or have done? I never thought I would be a writer. I was a science and math geek in high school and thought I would pursue a career in medicine. Little did I know the plans God had for me! Instead, I’m married to a pastor, raising four energetic kids and writing speculative fiction. It’s a difficult life, but I wouldn’t trade it for anything!

You can find out more about Morgan on her  Website  and  Facebook   and Twitter   and purchase her books at

 

Be sure to enter Morgan’s Giveaway too!
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Interview with Antonio “Tony” Viscolli

character interviews

Welcome to the first installment of Character Interviews: Real Questions — Fictional Answers!

First in line is Antonio “Tony” Viscolli of Sapphire Ice, entrepreneur, business mogul, and adoring husband of Robin.

Tony, I’m thrilled you’ve made time to answer my questions today!

Hallee, I’m always happy to make time for the people in my life who are important.

Well, thank you! I’ve collected several questions that readers are just clamoring to know the answers to, so let’s begin. First up: When Hallee is imagining you in her head, who does she see?

Hallee was actually asked this question once before, and admitted that she had a hard time really coming up with an actor who perfectly fit how she imagines me. But, a close fit is Raul Bova. Looking at the picture she found, I wholeheartedly concur.

raul bova

What made you pick the first business you bought?

That’s a great question. My initial business investments were pretty much purchase, improve, flip – much like you see people doing with the real estate market. I had a limited amount of capital, so I had to purchase something with low overhead that would have value to someone else. That’s what prompted me to invest in a computer company on the stock market. I’d read many reports about the market and felt very good about the investment. With the proceeds from the sale of that stock, I was able to purchase a book store.

Why a book store? Because it was available at a fraction of its worth, for one. For another, I love books and I love reading and learning. I paid attention to what I saw successful bookstores did in common and applied that to my company. Very quickly, I was able to sell it for a huge profit, which I used to invest into another company.

You talk of spending winters in southern Florida while living in Boston when the weather is more mild. As a Floridian, why didn’t you just stay in Florida year-round?

I have often been asked that question. I think there are two good reasons for it. (1) My church and church family are in Boston. They are the only family I have, and I’d rather not live away from them if I have a choice. (2) I believe God wanted me in Boston so that I would meet my wife, Robin. If I had moved down south as soon as I could, I would have sorely missed that opportunity.
When you met Robin at Benedict’s why did you grab her arm out of all the girls waiting on your table?

I was afraid she’d walk away. If have often been criticized for that move by many readers. While I’m sorry my actions possibly offended some, the fact is, it inspired a much longer conversation that we would have had otherwise.

Why did you feel the need to take action against Robin’s dad even though you’d never met the man? I know you felt a sense of protection for Robin, but don’t you think it was a little extreme?

My initial reaction was one of anger and protection. When I did my research and found out who the players were with Craig’s circumstances, and how dangerous the entire situation actually was, I reacted with both fear AND anger. That was, absolutely, extreme. And, as I learned, wrong. But, thankfully God works together for good ALL things for those who love Him and are called according to His purpose, and in the end it brought Craig to Christ and gave my children a grandfather for many years.

How did you feel when you realized how bad Robin’s life was growing up?

This is a fallen world and it is filled with pain and anguish. It breaks my heart to think of Robin and her sisters growing up with such tragedy and despair. It makes me feel helpless, which prompts me to act. It is why I give so much to charities and ministries that are in place to help children.

How did you celebrate New Year’s?

Between Thanksgiving and New Year’s, the holidays are filled with parties and fellowship with our friends and extended families. We attend many functions, host many more, and by New Year’s Eve, we are exhausted. We almost always spend that time in our home in the Florida Keys with just our children and their families. TJ and Faith are usually in town for the week of Christmas, and almost always go back to England the first or second of January. It is our family’s time to just be quiet and enjoy each others’ company. The children enjoy lighting fireworks on the beach at midnight, along with most of our neighbors. The next day, we cook out on the beach and enjoy the ability to feel the warm sun on our skin in January.

Thank you, Hallee, for giving me an opportunity to answer some of your readers’ questions. I’ll be available to answer more questions in the comments if anyone happens to ask more.

 

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Looking Back and Going Forward

fireworks-243641_640Happy New Year!

I have had an eventful and rather incredible 2014. I traveled so many places and met so many amazing readers and writers. I have developed friendships with people I never would have met otherwise, and found encouragement and inspiration everywhere I went.

One thing I discovered by traveling was that I seem to be unable to write in a hotel room. I thought I would be able to spend all that time away from my home, family, and responsibilities and just delve into writing projects. It turns out that wasn’t the case, and my writing goals got shifted every month.

Despite that, even with traveling two or three times a month, I released Iron Skillet Man, the Stark Truth About Pepper and Pots; A Carol for Kent, Book 3 in the Song of Suspense Series; and started the serialized story of Virtues and Valor by releasing Temperance’s Trial, Homeland’s Hope, Charity’s Code, and A Parcel for Prudence.

2014 books

In 2015, I have a lot more writing coming to me than traveling. I will be releasing the rest of the Virtues and Valor series starting with book 5, Grace’s Ground War, on January 19th, Mission of Mercy on February 17th, and the conclusion, Flight of Faith, on March 17th.

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In 2015, I’ll also be publishing the 4th Song of Suspense book, A Harmony for Steve.

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After Harmony releases, I’ll be working on another sibling trilogy similar in style and genre to The Jewel Series about triplet Russian brothers. I’m very excited about that trilogy and pray that it is as emotionally charged as the Jewels have proven to be.

I’ll be bringing you regular character interviews. If you have a favorite character, send me a question to ask them in their interview!

character interviews

And, as always, I’ll have regular Christian author guests and fantastic giveaways.

Thank you for starting the year with me. I hope that you have a fabulous year ahead and look forward to sharing it with you!
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