Saturday, December 19, 2015

Rebekah Jones and 24 Days Before Christmas

Oh, don't tease...3 snowflakes? Seriously? Even my two-year-old has taken up the "snow-dance"...but alas, to no avail. They're calling for pouring rain, and temperatures some ten degrees above freezing on Christmas Eve! The seasons have run amuck. So, better  stay inside and enjoy a winter read. Our next guest, Miss Rebekah Jones. So let's see if she can bring us some holiday cheer. Oh, and since she writes a Christmas mystery, maybe she can solve the mystery of the missing snow...

Could you share a little about yourself and what led you to become a writer?

I am twenty-five-years-old and live at home with my parents and siblings. I have many things that I enjoy doing, besides writing. Reading, studying, singing, walking a baby to sleep, washing dishes, and playing the piano are just a few. I don’t ever really have enough time to do everything that I’d like to do or to learn everything I’d like to learn! (Especially since reading my entire “To Read” list could easily take up every inch of time alone!) As long as you are alive you can learn. The day you stop learning, is the day you stop living. Enjoy your life, it sounds like youare off to a good start.

Ever since I can remember, I have loved working with words. I started my first book, when I was eight or nine. I had countless “picture stories” and short stories before that, not to mention all of my songs and poems. (None of which, will likely, ever see the public eye, though I do still have many of them...) Sounds like my seven year old. WHen my last novel had been sent off to the publisher, I enthusiastically told her that I was going to have another book whic she replied, "I have a lot of those already."

My two greatest inspirations for writing an actual book, however, probably came from Isabella Alden and Jessica Fletcher. Isabella Alden was a pastor’s wife, who wrote books at the turn of the twentieth century, under her pen name, Pansy. Jessica Fletcher is a fictional author in the old mystery show, Murder She Wrote. As I grew older, reading Charles Dickens’ books (and watching the films based on his books) played a major role in developing how and what I wanted to write about. And I would be remiss, if I didn’t mention that my love for Sherlock Holmes mysteries didn’t greatly influence me as well. Mostly, in giving me a greater love for the mystery genre.

Do you write full time? How much of your life is set aside for writing?

At this time, no, I don’t write full time. Honestly, I write whenever I feel like it. Which, normally, means, at least a little every day. That little could be ten minutes or it could be five hours. When I’m in the middle of drafting a novel, I have been known to spend hours for days on end, working to complete it.

I tend to write whenever there is an open moment; when watching a movie, if I’m in the back of the car while we’re driving somewhere, if I can’t sleep, if I’m up early, if I’m home alone… Any time that there’s an open time, I often fill it with writing. Sounds good, getting in writing whenever you can is perfect.

Could you tell us a little about your novel?

24 Days Before Christmas is my third novel and a Christmas Mystery.

When Leland Bell disappears without a trace, the tiny town of Poinsettia doesn’t even know how to react. Crime is almost unheard of in the peaceful streets, and the idea that Leland could have been kidnapped or, worse, murdered, is foreign and frightening. His brother and his friends are praying for him, but fear starts to take an ugly stand. Then, a body is found in the snow…Oh sure, tease us!

What lead you to choose a Christmas theme?

Honestly? Because I started writing the book on Thanksgiving night and just felt like writing a Christmas themed story. Fair enough.
Where does the inspiration for you main character and story come from?

I have a handful of main characters, so I have multiple inspirations. Bits of Marley Winter’s personality came from two of my friends. Ebenezer’s shyness, (though not shown very much in this book) came from my own experience. Robbyn Singh’s life as an elder sister of several younger siblings, also came from my own experiences. James Hoffman came about, because I decided it was time I had an atheist in my stories and because of examples that my pastor had used in his sermon illustrations. My inspirations are rarely planned – they just seem to hit me. The best kind, for sure.

What is the message behind the story? Was it something you specifically wrote a story around or did it develop as your characters came to life?

The central theme to this book is trust. Specifically, trusting the Lord, especially in the midst of fear and uncertainty.

When I sat down to really work out the full draft of this manuscript, the beginning of the book had already undergone a large handful of drafts, rewrites, and revisions. I’d been working on the book for a number of years. Finally, I decided it was time to start from the beginning and draft the entire book. I had just come out of finishing Journeys of Four, a book which the Lord greatly used in my own life, while I was working on it. When I sat down to start my new draft, I asked the Lord to lead me. I knew there would be a theme, I just didn’t know what it was. I asked Him to decide and to teach me what He wanted me to learn through this book… And He did. It hurt – it hurt a lot. It was worth it though. Thar's very interesting, thank you for sharing.

Do you work from an outline or just go with the flow? If you use an outline, how detailed is it?

I do not start out with an outline. This book started out with a town, an atheist, and a plea from my sister for a murder mystery. After three to four years of writing and rewriting the beginning, I ended up starting from page one and drafting the entire book in less than three months. I think I threw away, at least, 1,000 sheets of paper in this process…

What is the time span in your novel, weeks, months, years? How much research went into it?

24 Days Before Christmas covers the twenty-four days before Christmas, and then Christmas Day. Each day gets one chapter. That was quite a stretch for me, but really fun in the end.

Research? Quite a bit, actually. I had to read up on crime scene investigation. That was quite fun. I also had to do research for snowstorms and the like. I also did Bible studies and Scripture searches. I love book research! Sometimes more so after I have found what I was looking for, lol.

Could you tell us how you go about your research, how you ‘catalogue’ information to make it all work?

Most of my research is old-fashioned – I read books on whatever subject that I want to learn about or I find people who are knowledgeable about the topic and ask them questions. For the books, I just leave them in an accessible place in my room after I read it. I usually know where to go, if I need to reference the information again for cross checking. I often take notes, but this usually only serves for cementing my memory – I rarely actually use my notes.

If I got the information from asking questions, I usually make a note or save that information in an e-mail. Since I used a Christmas carol theme and each chapter focused on a carol, I did make lists of the songs and referenced it regularly while writing. I often used the internet for finding the verses to the carols, since I wanted to go the length of knowing all the verses and few songbooks have that available. Wow, now that sounds great!

How does this book differ from what you have written in the past?

Hmm… It’s longer for one. The entire story takes place in one month. It’s set in a different town, 180 miles away. (All of my books, so far, are connected to each other, in some way or another.)

While not my first mystery, it is my first murder and crime related mystery. It’s not my last though… :)

How do you handle marketing? Do you have a plan, a publicist or just take one day at a time?

I’m still trying to figure marketing out... Lord willing, I’ll get better at that in this coming year.

Do you have any advice for aspiring authors?

Take your time. It’s easy to want to get this book done now and put it out, either out of excitement for sharing it or just being ready to get it done. Don’t do it. Take your time. Make sure it’s edited. Make sure you don’t have plot holes. Make sure that your book has reached its potential. Don’t over think it, but don’t rush it either.

Could you tell us what you’re working on now?

Wow. Lots of things, actually… :D Among the ones that I am currently most excited about though? Presumption and Partiality is one. It’s a historical fiction, 1930’s rewrite of Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice. Also, Prevented by Twelve: While on his way to commit suicide, a grieving young man finds his life changed by twelve very different people/circumstances... There will be more to this story, eventually. I’m working on it. It’s a tough story to write.

I could go on... My Name is Cinderella or Paper Jury both come to mind... :)

Thank you so much, Debbie! :)

 Thank you for stopping by! It was a pleasure to host you and share what you had to say with our readers. Want to know a little more about our guest? Here is her Bio: 
Rebekah Jones is first and foremost a follower of the Living God. She's been writing since she was a little girl, seeking to glorify her King with her stories. She's also an avid reader, songwriter, pianist, artist, and history student, as well as a homemaker-in-training. She lives with her family in the Southwestern desert. She is the author of three novels, Grandmother’s Letters, Journeys of Four, and 24 Days Before Christmas

Here is the book synopsis
24 Days Before Christmas

December has fallen on the tiny town of Poinsettia and, with it, the Christmas season. The Singh and Winter families are already feeling celebratory, as they begin sharing family traditions and memorizing Christmas carols. 

Things take a decidedly unexpected turn, when their neighbor and good friend, Ebenezer Bell, comes home from vacation and can’t find his brother. Blood on the carpet, an absent vehicle, and missing fingerprints start to point the finger at a possible crime. 

When James Hoffman moved his sister and daughter to Poinsettia with the bright idea of opening a bookshop, he expected things to be tight, but not this tight. The readers of Poinsettia seem to be few and far between, and James is beginning to second guess his decision. His sister insists on trusting the God that he doesn’t even believe in, but when he discovers an old enemy, bringing his buried anger back to the surface, even his sister’s trust is shaken. 

Carols and crime, memories and mystery, doubters and danger – will there be a merry Christmas after all?

Purchase Link: Amazon

Rebekah Jones Contact links:

While we're at it, here is some infor on Rebekah's other novels...

Grandmother’s Letters

Louise’s friend is dragging her along on a dubious treasure hunt. She, however, would rather be reading the recently discovered letters written by her great-great-grandmother, Georgiana Donahue.

Meanwhile, Xavier, a young law student, is facing struggles of his own. He can’t find a job, his uncle is constantly belittling his late father, and he can hardly stand his seemingly perfect cousin.

In the next town, an old man’s reclusive ways are disturbed when he agrees to let Malcolm Moore do his yard work. Although he desires to return to his seclusion, he is perplexed by the Moores' willingness to welcome him into their lives.

Almost 100 years in the past, Georgiana Donahue's life was turned upside down in the course of one eventful year, and she was inclined to blame God for all of her troubles. Little did she realize that the searching letters she wrote to her brother and his wife would end up touching so many lives, so long after they were written...

Journeys of Four

Christine Spurgeon is painfully shy and, at this point in her life, pretty miserable most of the time. When her parents decide that they are going to start attending a new church, she is less than pleased. Much to her surprise, the first sermon strikes home, and Christine finds her sleepy Christianity shaken to the core. 

Peter Gottswald, a truck driver living with his younger brother, has started to change. What started out as grief over his parents’ death, moves on to deeply concern his family. As he tries to lose himself in a world of fiction and their worry grows, his family tries to discover what he’s running away from before he loses sight of reality altogether. 

Claudius Rivers wants nothing to do with Christianity whatsoever. He doesn’t need it, so he doesn’t bother, beyond going to church with his family. At first, Claudius manages to get away with ignoring just about everyone in the congregation, until an older man befriends him. As he gets to know the man, taking notice of the behavior of the rest of the people in the church, he’s brought to a realization that he must either reject Christ or follow Him. 

Claudette Crutch has claimed to follow Christ for years, but that doesn’t stop her from letting her rebellion against authority increase on a daily basis. She thinks that she’s fine, until she witnesses the spiritual transformation of another young woman in her church and she is forced to begin questioning her so-called Christianity. 

When will the four paths connect, to where will they lead, and how will they get there?

Monday, December 14, 2015

Tamie Dearen and Noelle's Golden Christmas

The holidays are fast approaching, and we have had to resort to drastic measures. Yes, I have googled "Snow dance" in an attempt to teach the little ones how to perform this dance in hopes of bringing some snow before the 24th.

But in the mean time, we have our next author, Tamie Dearan, and her novel Noelle's Golden Christmas. Oh! Before I forget, You can get her novel for $0.99 today, so hurry before the price goes back up! The link is down below.

Could you share a little about yourself and what led you to become a writer?
I’ve been writing songs and poetry since I was a little girl, but wrote my first book, Her Best Match, in 2013 at my daughter’s encouragement.

Do you write full time? How much of your life is set aside for writing?
I wish I could write full-time, but I’m a dentist with my own private practice. I have to sandwich writing between work, family, church, and every other obligation. One of my Karate students was a dentist, (Let's call him Bob), and while the school was in the midst of moving to a new local, many of my students were giving a hand painting and setting up. Bob came rushing in with papers about our overhead signs and after a few minutes he looks at his watch and mutters, "He must be frozen by now," and rushed back out. So I can imagine how you manage to sandwich in writing, LOL.

Could you tell us a little about your novel?
Noelle is a twenty-nine-year-old who hates Christmas because of trauma in her past. She’s single and is beginning to think singlehood is God’s plan for her life. She also has a problem with manufactured guilt because she feels responsible for the happiness of everyone in her life. An interesting combination.

What lead you to choose a Christmas theme?
I love Christmas! I love the decorations, having family around, giving gifts, and eating all the Christmas goodies. Most of all I love celebrating our Lord's birth. So when I decided to write my first Christmas novel, I knew it would have to be a Christian book. I simply couldn't leave Jesus out of Christmas, even in a romantic comedy. However, not everyone who loves Christ enjoys Christmas. I was inspired to write about a girl who feels the opposite of me--a girl who hates the Christmas holidays even though she's a believer. But perhaps this Christmas, Noelle will change her mind. We can feel your love of the season in your words. That is an interesting mix, a believer who hates Christmas. I can't wait to see how it plays out.

Where does the inspiration for your main character and story come from?
Noelle is a composite of several different friends, all of whom I love very much. Did you tell them? I love people's reaction when I tell them 

What is the message behind the story? Was it something you specifically wrote a story around or did it develop as your characters came to life?
I wanted to write about an everyday Christian, struggling to learn how to walk in her faith and dealing with her mistakes. And yes, the story developed as the characters came to life. Now that's my favorite kind of writing.

Do you work from an outline or just go with the flow? If you use an outline, how detailed is it?
I am definitely a go-with-the-flow writer. My characters take on a life of their own and write the story. I love how we are surprised by what our characters do in this type of writing. It's such a thrill to write.

What is the time span in your novel, weeks, months, years? How much research went into it?
Noelle’s Golden Christmas takes place in a matter of weeks. This book didn’t require as much research as some of my others, but I did consult closely with a veterinarian.

Could you tell us how you go about your research, how you ‘catalogue’ information to make it all work?
I’m not very organized. I tend to rush into the writing and then do the research on an as-needed basis.

How does this book differ from what you have written in the past?
I’ve written a lot of Romance, but this is my first time to write a Christian Romance.

How have the changes in present-day publishing impacted your schedule as a writer?
I haven’t been writing long enough to recognize the “changes.” I published my first book in December of 2013. 

How do you handle marketing? Do you have a plan, a publicist or just take one day at a time?
I take one day at a time, as with most aspects of my life.

Do you have any advice for aspiring authors?
Write for yourself. If you don’t enjoy it, you’ll never make it through the tough times.

Could you tell us what you’re working on now?

I’m working on my first Cozy Mystery and my first short story, another Romance. 

When it comes to the Christmas season, Noelle Holiday is a real Scrooge...

December isn't filled with the magic of Christmas for Noelle, just the looming dread she's about to lose something else dear to her. Will she ever be rid of her Christmas curse?

When she adopts an injured shelter dog, she discovers the love of her life... a Golden Retriever named Abby. Perhaps being single is God's plan for her, but at least she isn't alone.

Her meddling family, however, is convinced she needs a man in her life. They introduce her to two irresistible men who couldn't be more alike. Or more different. Both men sweep into her life, testing her faith, and stirring up desire and confusion in equal measure.

If she can just get through this humbug holiday without another heartache!

In the spirit of Hallmark movies, this sweet Christian romantic comedy tells the story of a believer, struggling to implement her faith in her everyday walk and battling fear to find the agape love that drives it away. 

Review quotes:

“A beautiful, heart-warming story that makes you believe again in the miracle of Christmas. It has romance, friendship, family bonds, love for stray animals, strong beliefs and spirituality.”

“Noelle's Golden Christmas is a Christian romance that focuses on overcoming fears and guilt. Her characters are so realistic and have a depth that will convince you they are real. They go through struggles that I think many people will be able to relate to, and they find love in ways that are realistic, but beautiful.”

Let me set this up…
Noelle, a dental hygienist, is having a discussion at work with Nancy, a fellow hygienist.

“How can you ever get asked on a date if you don’t talk to any men in the first place?”

“I talk to men,” Noelle argued.

“Who? What guys have you talked to this week? This month? This year? When have you carried on a single conversation with an eligible guy?”

“I talk to my patients,” Noelle defended. “I can’t help that most of them are unavailable or old enough to be my father or grandfather.”

“Oh! I have a great idea!” Nancy’s grin split her face. “We should trade patients. I’ve got a new one, a man about your age, I think. I was looking at his chart, and he’s single.”

“Is he cute?” What am I asking? I can’t believe I’m actually considering this.

“I don’t know. I could peek into the waiting room and see.”

“No way. Forget it. I don’t want to meet someone while I’m dressed in scrubs wearing a facemask and nerdy glasses anyway. If he’s my age and single, he’s probably a loser. I bet he’s got periodontal disease.”

“Okay, but don’t say I didn’t offer. Not every single person your age is a loser, you know. You’re a perfect example,” Nancy quipped as she departed, without allowing Noelle a chance to retort.

Escaping to her hygiene room, Noelle grabbed the chart for her last patient, a cute six-year-old boy who’d proudly showed her a wiggly tooth on his last visit. Studying the notes as she stepped into the hallway, her shoulder collided with someone, knocking her off balance. A hand grasped her arm in a steadying hold.

“Oh, I’m sorry!” she exclaimed. “I wasn’t watching where I was going.” Startled, Noelle looked up to find a muscular chest, stretching the confines of a cornflower-blue shirt. Nancy’s new patient. Her eyes drifted upward, revealing a pair of broad shoulders. He must be six feet two inches tall… maybe even more.

“No problem, ma’am. I never mind being run over by a beautiful woman.” His deep voice boomed with a definite Texas accent, the resonance sending a warm tingle down her spine.

Taking a step backward and craning her neck, she locked gazes with the most incredible crystal blue eyes she’d ever seen. All coherent thought left her mind as she stared into their depths.

His brows drew downward, while those mesmerizing eyes filled with concern. “Are you okay?”
“I’m… uh…” A hot flush crept up from Noelle’s neck, spreading to the roots of her hair, as blood pounded in her ears. Blinking to break eye contact, she studied his face. His jaw was broad and strong, covered with the short stubble of beard that screamed masculine. His face was perfect, marred only by a tiny white line, a small scar, across his left cheekbone. The words ruggedly handsome came to mind. “I’m fine.” Her voice came out as a squeak.

“Are you Dr. Madison?” As he asked the question, his mouth curved upward, a deep dimple appearing at each corner. His lips parted in a smile to reveal perfectly-aligned teeth.
White teeth. Looks like he bleaches. Healthy gingiva. I bet he’s a daily flosser. Why didn’t I trade with Nancy?

Tamie lives with her very romantic husband of thirty-three years. They have two grown daughters
(the inspiration for the daughters in The Best Girls Series) and one grandson, a twelve-year-old boy, recently adopted from Ukraine. Tamie loves to play, sing, and write music. She started writing books in 2013 and published her first book in October of that year. Now she's published a total of seven novels and a novella. She's also written a free serial romance on her weekly blog, A Rose in Bloom, which she plans to publish as a novel. And in her spare time, she’s a dentist. (But she’s painless.)
Tamie met her husband as a freshman in college when she acted out of character on a whim. One night in the library lobby, she spied a cute guy with his first name written on the back of his shirt. She called out his name. When he approached to talk to her, she pretended that she'd met him before, asking about his classes and how he liked college. To her surprise and delight, he also pretended that he knew her, but of course he didn't know her name. They continued this false relationship for two months. Each time they saw each other, an event that occurred three times per week at the cafeteria, he would pretend he knew her. Meanwhile, all of Tamie's friends were careful not to reveal her name to him. When he finally admitted his ignorance of her name, he was astonished to learn the truth. And the rest is history.

Links: Want to learn more about Tamie or her books? Check out these links:

Sunday, December 13, 2015

Ava mallory, and 'Tis the Sneezin', a cozy mystery

Update on our snow...not good. Although many people are happily running around in December with temperatures some 8 degrees above freezing, rain makes for sad snowmen. We want snow! I am going to have to teach my girls the snow dance...

But let's focus on our featured author, Ava, whose book was released on Dec 12th 2015. Yes! Check your calendar, that book is hot off the presses! Quick, read on, and let me know what you think.

Could you share a little about yourself and what led you to become a writer?
 I'm a mom to four children between the ages of 23 and 10. I was a hospice and dementia care nurse for 20 years prior to putting pen to paper in any serious manner. I'd always written, dreaming of one day becoming a published author. My dream and what I believed was possible (for me) didn't always go hand in hand, so I never let anyone else see what I'd written until self-publishing as we know it now came to fruition. One of the others made the comment about being comfortable writing for an audience of one. Maybe this would have allowed you to share your work earlier, though I believe things happen when they are meant to happen.

In 2014, my marriage came to an end. I needed an outlet to deal with the pain and heartache of that and came upon an article about publishing through Amazon KDP. I dared myself to be brave and to go for it in a big way. That very day, I joined Camp NaNoWriMo and spent the month writing longhand to get words that I intended to publish one day on a page and the rest is history. Good for you!

Do you write full time? How much of your life is set aside for writing?
 In October 2014 I became a full-time writer. Writing time was hit or miss for the first few months while I tried to figure it all out. I failed miserably, but didn't give up completely. I finally had to create a schedule that included dedicated writing time and hours dedicated to all the busy work associated with self-publishing.

I write eight hours per day five days a week. Those five days vary depending on what's going on at home. I write first thing every morning. That means no social media, no emails, no chores, etc. I write for a couple of hours before my youngest wakes up for the day. While he's in school, I split up my day between writing for an hour and tending to household chores and author busy work for an hour. One hour on, one hour off throughout the entire day. My other children are all in college so the only one I have to work around is my youngest. If I don't hit my targeted word count for the week, I make up for it on the weekends with longer writing sessions. Wow, I admire your dedication. I like this, though for now, my poster child for the terrible two's won't let me squeeze in much of any alone time lol.

Could you tell us a little about your novel?
 'Tis the Sneezin' is a companion novella to my A Mercy Mares Cozy Mystery series. Mercy is put in charge of collecting donations for an annual toy drive. The donations take over her house so she rents a storage pod to put them in, but a week later, she's robbed and thousands of dollars worth of toys are gone. With everyone in her small northern California town blaming her for yet another mishap, she has to find the thieves or replace the toys with money she doesn't have.

What lead you to choose a Christmas theme?
 I love Christmas! My fondest memories in life revolve around the holidays. I grew up thousands of miles away from grandparents. Every Christmas we'd travel to see them and extended family. Nothing ever went right, but it was always memorable. Does it ever? I think the important thing is that family came together over the holidays.

Would you take us on a brief tour of your novel and the world you’ve created?
 Mercy is a forty-four-year-old traveling nurse, who is utterly flawed but wonderful in so many ways. She lives in a double-wide trailer, surrounded by quirky characters, most of whom are elderly. She travels the country taking assignment after assignment. Along the way, she finds trouble, but she also finds another piece of herself at every stop. Mercy's world is filled with colorful characters, tender moments and a healthy dose of shenanigans. Ooh! That sounds like a great premise for an ongoing series.

Where does the inspiration for you main character and story come from?
 Mercy Mares is a combination of many of the wonderful nurses I had the pleasure of working with over the years.

What is the message behind the story? Was it something you specifically wrote a story around or did it develop as your characters came to life?
 I wanted to write about a woman that was real on so many levels. Mercy is not model gorgeous, but still beautiful. She's not perfect. Mercy is everything most of us are and more. She does and says things we all have done and/or said.

My goal was to have her be very authentic. She does things that make you want to pull your hair out, but also brings a tear to your eye. I'm learning more and more about her as I write and can't wait to see where her journey will take her. Now that I can appreciate! I write primarily YA, but wrote a novel that told the story of my MC's parents. I told the story of how they met, fell in love and how Tommy  came to be. I was in unfamiliar territory here, writing about adult emotions, so I started reading contemporary romance to see how the others portrayed emotions. My first and strongest response to their choice of heroines was this: Women are not that stupid! That said...I'm all for authentic!

Do you work from an outline or just go with the flow? If you use an outline, how detailed is it?
 I use an outline. Now, I don't always follow it, but I do write out an outline for every book I've written. I write under my own name and two pen names to separate genres. Outlines help me tremendously.

I use Libby Hawker's “Take Off Your Pants” method of outlining. It allows me the freedom to be very detailed when I want to be or to pare it down when I don't need a huge outline. I am going to have to check that out, thanks.

What is the time span in your novel, weeks, months, years? 
 The Mercy Mares series books take place one right after another in terms of weeks or months. With eight books in for this series, readers have spent about eight months with Mercy and her band of misfits.

Could you tell us how you go about your research, how you ‘catalogue’ information to make it all work?
 This series isn't heavy on research. Because I was a nurse for so many years, a lot of the information is stored somewhere behind my grocery list and my unending list of household supplies I need to buy before I die. In all seriousness, if there is something that requires research, I use Scrivener to keep the files. I really have to get serious about Scrivner.

How does this book differ from what you have written in the past?
 As mentioned previously, I write in multiple genres. Cozy Mysteries are the first books I loved to read as a teenager, so I always knew I'd move into that space someday.

They differ in that the stories don't focus heavily on Romance or horrifying details like in Psychological Suspense and other, darker genres. Cozies are light, easy reads. Nice! I have always wondered what the difference was, and now I might venture a little more into reading that genre.

How have the changes in present-day publishing impacted your schedule as a writer?
 I don't know that they've changed how I write because I learned to write professionally during Camp NaNoWriMo. I still write fairly quickly. Often, I can write two novels per month. Editing takes a bit longer, but writing for me goes fairly quickly.

How do you handle marketing? Do you have a plan, a publicist or just take one day at a time?
 I'm a control freak so I do all of my own marketing. It is time-consuming but necessary to keep momentum. I dedicate time every single day to keep the marketing end of things going. I am going to ask you to come back so we can focus on your marketing techniques...if that is OK with you.

Do you have any advice for aspiring authors?
 My biggest advice is to write what you want to write. You are the only thing holding you back. All of the other stuff associated with writing can be learned, but you can't fix what hasn't been written yet.

Could you tell us what you’re working on now?
 I am in the throes of NaNoWriMo now. I'm writing a new Cozy Mystery series to be released in 2016. It's about a reluctant witch and her foibles around learning to embrace her calling. She's a small town twenty-something with a heart of gold and a knack for mishaps. Ha! Now that sounds like fun.

Tagline: Feisty traveling nurse Mercy Mares needs two things in life: a regular paycheck and a band of misfits, prepared to help her solve the mysteries that follow her from coast to coast.


Traveling nurse Mercy Mares is up to her eyeballs in donations for the town's annual holiday celebration. Every nook and cranny of her house and all of her friend's and neighbor's houses are overflowing with gifts for ill children in her local hospital. It's all she can do to keep track of what is what and who is who. 

On the night that she and her merry band of helpers are to deliver these gifts, everything, including gifts she bought for her loved ones, simply disappear without a trace. 

Now, Mercy has to find the thief before those who appointed her this year's Mrs. Claus find out that they're missing and dozens of children are left disappointed. 

Enlisting the help of her reluctant loved ones, Mercy has a humdinger of a mystery to solve in a flash in order to save Christmas. 

This is Volume 7 of the A Mercy Mares Cozy Mystery Series. Each book is a standalone. 


“Well, I never!” The aforementioned rabble-rouser, self-proclaimed Queen of Christmas,  Dorothy Condor exclaimed before removing herself from my line of vision.

I mumbled, “Well, I should hope not! It's not like I asked for any of this. In fact, I wanted nothing to do with this whole debacle. If it wasn't for Charlie and his position, I wouldn't be in this predicament to begin with, so there. How do you like them apples, Dorothy?”

She'd already rounded the corner and huffed off in search of someone who cared. I had enough problems to deal with; I didn't need nor did I want to concern myself with the likes of her. With all the problems springing up out of everywhere, she'd have to wait in line because I may be a little plump in places, but there surely wasn't enough of me to go around – at least not for someone to chew on and spit out, that is.

“What are you mumbling about over here, Mercy? Isn't it bad enough that the whole town thinks you've swindled them? Do you have to make them think you're out of your mind to boot?” Ruby squinted her green eyes at me in that I-told-you-so kind of way.

I pouted, feeling deflated like a discarded Thanksgiving Day parade balloon. I messed up, I know. Having everyone looking at me sideways wasn't going to help matters. What they needed to do was pull together a good old fashioned search party and find the scoundrels who decided that Lake Villa's Christmas celebration needed to come to an end. Those were the real bad guys in this situation, not me. Besides, what did I know about organizing a toy fund drive? I had one child and that child was set to walk down the aisle in a week and go off to have children of her own.

Ruby looked at the furrowed brows of the legion of volunteers and donors. “I hope you have a plan.”

“Me? Plan? I didn't plan to spend Christmas Eve hunting down a bunch of hooligans! I don't think I penciled that in my planner. See my secretary and let's reschedule it for some time after never.” I answered with sarcasm oozing out of every thread of the ridiculous Mrs. Claus getup I'd been roped into wearing for this oh-so-joyous of occasions.

This book has not yet been published so there are no reviews as of yet. It will be released on December 12th.


Book Purchase Link:

Bio: Ava Mallory is a slave to the written word. While some authors have trouble keeping up with one persona, Ava greedily gathers many personas and they converge into what she likes to call her "World Domination Posse". 

Ava writes any and everything from Cozy Mysteries to Psychological Thrillers to Gothic Romance, Paranormal Romance & Romantic Suspense. Never a day goes by when there isn't a new project in the works. Her alter egos are the stuff legends are made of or so she'd like to think.

Currently, when not catering to the needs of her four children or not actively collecting hoards of books to read, Ava is writing the next few books in her new A Mercy Mares Cozy Mystery series and developing two new Cozy Mystery series' for her readers.

Thank you fro stopping by. I will look into your series, it seems like so much fun!

Monday, December 7, 2015

Rebekah Lyn and Christmas Vows

Now our next guest is from Florida, so she doesn't mind not having snow. Of course, that's only an assumption. I just can't help but wonder who is getting all our snow. There is not a flake to be seen. I did, however, find a fly in the house...alive and well -in December!

OK, ok, enough already. Our next Christmas author has combined Christmas and a wedding in her novel. Nice! I am going to jump right  into the interview, and then get into her book and bio later, so read on, I'll get some hot chocolate for us all. It's still a bit nippy up here.

Could you share a little about yourself and what led you to become a writer?
I have loved books since I was a little girl. I dreamed of being an author and living on a ranch, well at least of having a stable full of horses and someone to muck out the stalls. I started writing stories as a kid, usually as a way to work out my emotions. I had a crush on a boy but was too shy so I wrote a story about us. As an angst-ridden teenager, I filled numerous notebooks with my thoughts. If ever you do speaking conferences in schools, it would be great to share this with the students. They need some form of outlet for their emotions. Somehow writing fell by the wayside in college and my early twenties, but when I went into work one day only to find out my schedule had been changed and I had two hours to kill, I picked up my pen and started writing again. I published my first book in October 2011 and have been writing ever since.

How much of your life is set aside for writing?
Right now I still have a day job too. Most of my writing is done on weekends or vacations from the day job, but I do a lot of research in the evenings while winding down from the office. Being able to do some form of writing related work on a daily basis is wonderful. 

Could you tell us a little about your novel?
Christmas Vows is the fourth book in the Seasons of Faith series. Lizzie Reynolds is the main character in all of the books. She evolves from being focused on fixing the problems of others to facing her own fearful heart.

What lead you to choose a Christmas theme?
My mom loves Christmas books and the series I was working on was leading to a wedding. It seemed like a natural fit to have the wedding around Christmas. Thanks, Mom! ;o)
Would you take us on a brief tour of your novel and the world you’ve created?
When I read a book set in a location I’ve visited, I enjoy recognizing familiar places so I’ve used locations that were open during the time the stories are set.  The Seasons of Faith series is set in Orlando, Fl and started in the summer of 2004, when four hurricanes ravaged Central Florida. Christmas Vows takes place in the fall/winter of 2005, a little more than a year after the first story ends. Orlando is much more than theme parks; there are museums, gourmet restaurants, quaint boutiques, and rich history. I want my readers to see and feel that side of the city. One of the locations in Christmas Vows, the Park Avenue shopping district in Winter Park, was a favorite area to visit when I lived in Orlando. That sounds like fun, and never having been myself, makes me realize that there must be so much more to Orlando than I had believed. Now I am curious to look it up...that is, until I get to visit with the kids in a few years.

Where does the inspiration for you main character and story come from?
Elizabeth “Lizzie” Reynolds is the main character of this series. Bits and pieces of her come from me. I had a difficult time dealing with my grief after my adored grandmother died. After I came out of that darkness and re-established my relationship with God, I felt compelled to write Summer Storms with the hope of reaching others who’ve struggled with grief. Lizzie continues to evolve throughout the series, helping others to do so as well. The secondary characters in this series are just as important as Lizzie because they all represent different phases in the human journey. Grief is a very difficult load to carry and overcome. This sounds like a noble cause.  Thank you for sharing this with others who are suffering as well.

What is the message behind the story? 
There are a couple of messages in Christmas Vows. In the main storyline, circumstances force Lizzie to let go of some of her control tendencies and trust others when a calamity arises that could ruin her wedding day. The relationship between Lizzie, Ron and Emma is a tender example of God’s provision in meeting our deepest needs. There is also a secondary storyline that started in book two of the series, Winter’s End, regarding Michelle Burton and her exploration of life after death.

Do you work from an outline or just go with the flow?
I go with the flow. Since this book is part of a series I already know the characters well and have a general vision of where they are headed. The basic plot for the original book in the series, Summer Storms, was written one day when I was people watching. From there, the characters have been telling me what they want to do. My favorite kind of characters!

What is the time span in your novel, weeks, months, years? How much research went into it?
This particular story starts at Thanksgiving and ends on Christmas Eve, so about a month passes. The largest part of the research was the wedding planning. My Pinterest home screen is still suggesting wedding related pins months after I finished browsing them. I also know the Orlando area pretty well, but it was fun to drive around Winter Park and soak up some of the areas that appear in the story. The driving around part seems like a lot of fun. I am very grateful for all the information we can dig up on internet. I can't imagine having to try and find  the things I've looked up at my closet-sized rural library.

Could you tell us how you go about your research, how you ‘catalogue’ information to make it all work?
For Christmas Vows I didn’t have a ton of research, not like the historical fiction pieces I have been working on. Mostly I used Pinterest to locate inspiration for the wedding, then created a board for readers to see all of the final choices. I started writing in Scrivner when I wrote my novel, Jessie, and I love how it allows me to keep research documents in the same file as my story. The split screen feature has come in handy a number of times when I needed to view a photo or video as I wrote. I learn a little more about the program with each project, making my work easier. Maybe you'd like to come back and offer a tutorial for Scrivner? I know I need help!

How have the changes in present day publishing impacted your schedule as a writer?
With so many books being released every month, it’s hard to keep up. Some say publishing more often is the key, but I don’t want to publish just to keep my name in people’s minds. I want to put out quality work that I believe can impact lives. Since I don’t write every day that means I may only put out one book a year, there may even be more than a year between books. In 2015 I was able to publish Spring Dawn and Christmas Vows, but that was because they are in the same series. It made sense to continue on, while the characters were still living in my mind. I’m not sure when my next book will be available and I’m okay with that. I like that. I honestly can't imagine pumping out a ton of novels while offering high quality stories and writing. I don't think these things can be forced.

How do you handle marketing? Do you have a plan, a publicist or just take one day at a time?
Marketing is a tough job. I have a degree in Public Relations, but the aspects of this field that I enjoyed most were event planning and crisis management. I network on Twitter and Facebook with other writers and work with local businesses to host book signings. My mom is a huge help on the marketing front; she sets up promos, networks, and manages my website, I couldn’t do this without her.  Then you better go give her a hug!

Do you have any advice for aspiring authors?
I recently spoke at a local writing group and one of the authors said she gave herself permission to write for an audience of one. We are often afraid of what others will think of our work, but if we start out writing for ourselves we can find freedom. Once you get that first story, poem, or song out, it’s highly likely more will be begging to be written.  Ooh, I like that....'permission to write for an audience of one!' Thank you, I'd like to use that :)

Could you tell us what you’re working on now?
Right now I’m doing research for my next book, Virginia, which will be a follow-up to my award-winning novel, Jessie. Jessie followed the life of a young boy growing up during the early days of the U.S. space race. The follow-up will focus on the Space Shuttle program as well as the romance between Jessie and Virginia. I grew up on the Space Coast and these stories are very close to my heart. That sounds nice. Let us know when you are done and you can come back and share more about it with us.

Rebekah Lyn Bio
Rebekah Lyn is a popular Indie writer with a strong following of loyal readers who enjoy her inspirational novels of Faith, Adventure, and Hope. She is a Christian with a heart for new beginnings, and her desire is to reflect that in each of her books.

Rebekah writes character-driven novels, which she hopes will engulf the reader in a great story and leave them stronger in their faith. One Summer Storms reviewer said, “Something about this author’s writing style reminds me of Debbie Macomber’s Cedar Cove series.” Her first published novel was released in October 2011, and her current books have received solid ratings in the Christian Fiction category on Amazon. She has two distinct series developed, with further books planned for each series.
The Seasons of Faith series include Summer StormsWinter’s End and Spring Dawn. The final book in the series, Christmas Vow, released November 6, 2015.  Just as in life, we experience “seasons” in our spiritual growth. The main characters are young adult professionals, working in the Orlando, Florida hospitality industry.

The Coastal Chronicle series are stand-alone stories that derive their distinctive flavor from the close-knit beach communities. Julianne was released in 2012, followed by Jessie in 2014. The next book in the series, Virginia, will be released in late 2016.

An active participant in social media, Rebekah enjoys interacting with her readers, particularly at her her signature event “Tea with the Author” where she meets with a small group to share her passion for tea and love of writing.

Rebekah is a sandal-loving native Floridian. She grew up on the Space Coast within sight of the Kennedy Space Center. She has fond memories of windows rattling and dogs barking as the big Saturn rockets or the Space Shuttles raced into the heavens. She will always be proud of America’s space program.

With an eye upon her future, Rebekah received her Bachelors degree in Communications from Jacksonville University, Jacksonville, Florida. Her career immediately introduced her into the life of event planning, media coordinator, and client interaction. She has been employed for 20 years by a Fortune 500 corporation in Orlando.

One of Rebekah’s passions is travel and she has been blessed to see much of the United States and Canada, with a sprinkling of trips to the Caribbean and Europe. She has said, “Some of my best writing has been done on the balcony of a cruise ship.”   Another favorite spot for writing is on the back porch of her parent’s home in North Carolina, enjoying the peaceful surroundings away from her hectic life in Florida.

Christmas Vows Blurb
The Christmas season is descending upon Lizzie and with only twenty-four days until her wedding, she is squeezing in dress fittings, last minute cake tastings and, of course, some Christmas shopping. In anticipation of her impending wedding and honeymoon, Lizzie's type A personality pushes her to put in long hours at Hotel Lago, a boutique hotel in downtown Orlando.

Meanwhile, Jeffrey Robbins is the best man and he doesn't have a date for the wedding and the groom's mother can't seem to settle on a venue for the rehearsal dinner. With ingenuity and flair, Lizzie has saved the day for countless despairing brides at Hotel Lago, now that it is her turn to be the bride, will someone step up to save her wedding day?

Since this just released last week, there is only one review available right now.
"Christmas Vows is a sweet romance with lots of fun, anguish, and Christmas spirit. This was the first book I have read in the series and there were a few times when I was a little lost, but for the most part it wasn't a problem. I loved Lizzie, Ian, Jeffrey, and Stephen. This is a great book, especially if you like reading about workaholics being forced to stop working. Okay, so it wasn't that bad, but Ian was strong enough to keep Lizzie from going crazy with everything she had to do. The ending was perfect."

Christmas Vows Excerpt
Twilight was fading into night as Ian put away the last shovel. Lizzie watched through the kitchen window as the men stomped their feet and brushed their hands on their pants, sprinkling the patio with dirt. Her gaze drifted to the completed project: a dry creek bed that served as a border for a flowerbed and ended at a pond where a small fountain bubbled.
Stephen led the way through the back door. “The next time Lizzie offers to make me dinner, I'm going to have to say no.”
“At least you have that luxury,” Ian said. “I have a feeling I'm going to be doing projects like this for the rest of my life.”
“I'm getting too old for this.” Ron accepted the glass of water she extended to him, and downed it in one long gulp.
“You're not old.” Lizzie filled Ron's glass again. “Anyway, that was the last project on my list.”
Jeffrey blew out a loud breath. “Thank goodness.”
“She just asked you to spread a few rocks,” Stephanie said.
“Sure, a few thousand rocks, in a specific pattern, but not too perfect so that it would still look natural. No problem.” Jeffrey fell back on the couch.
“It looks wonderful, though,” Lizzie said. “Thank you.”
“Consider it my wedding gift to you,” Jeffrey replied.
“Mine too,” Stephen said.
“I'm hiring a landscaper for our next home.” Ian set his cup in the sink and rubbed his shoulder.
Lizzie reached up to massage it. “Then I won't be able to look at the yard and think about all the people who mean so much to me. Now I look outside and I see the shrubs Ron first tamed from the jungle I found here. When I look at the patio I think of Mae and her son Avery who helped me level the area and place the pavers. Now the creek bed will always remind me of this Thanksgiving and each of you.”
Her gaze moved from Ian to Jeffrey, then Stephen and Ron, then back to Ian.
“Well, when you put it that way I guess it doesn't seem like so much work.” Ian leaned forward to kiss her.

Social Media & Buy Links

Twitter                 @RebekahLyn1