Whispers in Purple

WHERE WRITERS AND READERS CONNECT

Questions, Answers, and Giveaway w/Author Gail Kittleson

Hi, Gail, welcome to my Whispers in Purple blog. You and I are neighbors in a kinda-sorta way . . . if you consider northern Iowa and northwestern Wisconsin neighborly. <Grin> And though we’ve never met in person, we’ve become fast friends. Or at least that’s the way I feel. We’re even writing a book together, but I’ll get to that in a bit.

Read on for details of a giveaway!

But first, a little about you:

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Gail Kittleson taught college expository writing and ESL. Now she focuses on writing women’s fiction and facilitating writing workshops and women’s retreats. She also enjoys doing first edits for other authors. She and her husband enjoy family in northern Iowa, and the Arizona Ponderosa forest in winter.

WhiteFire Publishing released Gail’s memoir, Catching Up With Daylight, in 2013, and her debut women’s historical fiction, In This Together (Wild Rose Press/Vintage Imprint) released in 2015. She also contributed to the Little Cab Press 2015 Christmas Anthology,

The first novel in her World War II series has released, and the second is contracted with Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas for release in February, 2017. You can count on Gail’s heroines to make do with what life hands them, and to overcome great odds.

Meeting new reading and writing friends is the meringue on Gail’s pie, as her heroines would say.

 

Okay, now to the interrogation  er, interview ☺

How, and when, did you first come to writing?

Thanks for having me, Peg. I always loved reading, so writing came naturally. But junior high English assignments made me REALLY want to be a writer. The term junior high ages me right there—lol. But after that, a lack of confidence kept me hiding my written creations in drawers.

What book, or books, have you read recently that had a significant impact on your own writing?

Donald Maass’ The Break-out Novel, and The Moral Premise. These two clarified some questions for me and I emerged from studying them feeling as though I knew what I was doing…at least a little better.

If you could have lunch with one living, contemporary writer, who would it be, and why?

Oh boy. Can I say Annie Dillard AND Jane Kirkpatrick? Annie because I loved THE LIVING—one of the few really long books I’ve read more than once. And Jane because she’s so inspirational—her novels have touched me very personally. I’d like to thank her in person.

Good choices!

What kind of books do you like to read, and what are you reading now?

Right now, I’m reading a book that’s not out yet, by a Texas author who so nails the dialect and mannerisms of her characters…want to know who this is? Lee Carver.

I know of Lee. Sounds like an interesting read.

Fun question: If you’d been born into the animal kingdom instead of the human race, what would you be, and why?

I’ve answered this differently at various times in my life. But right now, I think I’d be a giraffe. They’re so unique—and their view of the world would be so different from, say, a mouse’s.

LOL!

Okay, I can’t wait any longer. Let’s talk about the book we’re co-authoring. The working title is: The Easter Bonnet Caper, a WWII cozy mystery set in your neck of the woods in 1944. I don’t think I’ve ever had so much fun! I’m loving every minute of the writing. What about you?

I feel the same way, and am so glad we had this brilliant idea, Peg.

You wrote the first scene before we decided to join forces. Our main female lead is a 40-something woman named Madge Warrington. How did you come up with her?

She just popped into my head. Seriously.

What was your original intended genre before we switched it to “cozy mystery?”

Well, I write women’s fiction, but I didn’t really have an agenda. I just started writing.

You’re doing a lot of the background research, and I so appreciate that. Do you enjoy researching, seeking out facts or digging up some fascinating information that makes this book as authentic as possible?

I love research—I’m learning so much writing this book and my other World War II novels. I just can’t get enough of that amazing era.

Between you and me, I can’t wait to see this book published, but we’ve got a lot of writing yet to do, and some hurdles to navigate. But, if God wants this story told, it will happen.

Agreed. That’s what happened with my recent release, In Times Like These. My heroine simply wouldn’t not be published.

Are we going to spotlight one of your recent releases?

Yes, In times like these coverplease!

  • Title: In Times Like These
  • Release Date: May 2016
  • Genre: Women’s Fiction
  • Single or series: First in a series
  • Target audience: women, from thirty-something’s to Baby Boomers
  • Purchase Link:  http://amzn.to/1VFEoYh

Back cover synopsis:

Pearl Harbor attacked! The United States is at war.

But Addie fights her own battles on the Iowa home front. Her controlling husband Harold vents his rage on her when his father’s stroke prevents him from joining the military. He degrades Addie, ridicules her productive victory garden, and even labels her childlessness as God’s punishment.

When he manipulates his way into a military unit bound for Normandy, Addie learns that her best friend Kate’s pilot husband has died on a mission, leaving her stranded in London in desperate straits.

Will Addie be able to help Kate, and find courage to trust God with her future?

Finally, please share your Social Media links: Facebook, Twitter, blog/website, email (your option) and so on.)

About the Giveaway:   Gail is offering a free eBook copy of In Times Like These (Kindle edition via Gift card) to one lucky commenter on this post. To enter, just leave a comment below with your contact info disguised like: you (at) 123xyz (dot) com – to keep those nasty little bots from finding you. In order to make the giveaway fair, I require a minimum of five (5) entries before the ‘contest’ becomes viable. So, if you want a chance to win this book, send your friends on over to enter, too. ☺ Contest runs from today, May 12, through next Thursday, May 19, at 11:59 PM, Central Time. Winner will be drawn via random.org on Friday, May 20, and notified by email.  

Thank you so much, Gail, for being my guest today. And I want you to know how thankful I am for this God-given chance to write with you! It’s been a blast so far.

Please, join the conversation!


Fearlessly Blooming

Fearlessly Blooming, a devotion by Deborah Hemstreet, writing as Dvora Elisheva 

It was one of those days where you wake up and are not quite sure where it will go. The air was cool with promise of warming up. By the time I left my congregation later in the morning it was air-conditioner hot. But getting into my house with most windows closed, it was a bit cooler. The day warmed up as I sat and read, and then proceeded to my office to get some writing done. Rain drops began falling in drips and drops, to stop. Mud splattered the cars with the cooler air. I still had to water my flowers—fearlessly blooming in the gloom of this cloudy mud-rain day.

Fearlessly blooming. That is what I want to do for my Lord and Savior Jesus. It really doesn’t matter where I am or what I do. I want to bloom for Him. In my friendships, my writing, my work, my recreation. And the wonderful thing about blooming in this way, is that there is always the promise of continuation—when you are a perennial.

snow-lily-dreamstime_m_36741681Did you ever think of yourself as a perennial fearlessly blooming for Jesus—wherever you are? Washing dishes, cleaning toilets, or doing some highly respected professional job? The thing is, after the blossoms wither and fall, perennials patiently wait for the next season when it is time to bloom again. With the creator of the universe as our wonderful gardener, he knows the conditions needed to make us bloom fearlessly for him—in season and out.

I remember as a little girl, my father loved his perennials and his annuals. But one in particular was the Easter Lily. He had planted the bulb tenderly and always looked forward to its glorious blossom. Then, one year, after a heavy snowfall, he noticed an amazing thing. For some reason the lily had gotten confused. Was it because of the late timing of the snow? The proximity of the garden to our centrally heated house? I don’t know. I do know that the reporters visited our house and took pictures of our Easter Lily fearlessly blooming in the January snow.

May we all learn to blossom like the Rose of Sharon and the Lily of the Valley (Song of Songs 1:17), and may we hear our Lord whisper to us, “Like a lily among thorns, so is my beloved among the thorns” (Song of Songs 2:2).

 

(Peg note: I purchased the image to the left from dreamstime.com. It could very well be the lily in this story. What do you think, Dvora?)

 

Debbie_today

Deborah (Shapiro) Hemstreet has spent more than half of her life in Israel. She has dual citizenship. Her father was a Jewish believer in Jesus (Yeshua in Hebrew), her mother was a non-Jewish believer. Deborah likes to identify herself as a follower of Jesus—with no denominational affiliation other than a member of the Body of Christ.

Professionally, Deborah has been a nurse (LPN), and holds a BA in Special Education and an MA in Technical Communication. Currently she is the English Communications Specialist at Rambam Hospital in Haifa, Israel—the largest hospital in northern Israel. She is actively involved in representing the hospital to the Christian community.

Deborah came to Israel in 1982, and other than for a brief period of time (2007–2011) has lived there ever since. She married for the first time in 2007 and relocated to the USA, she thought forever. However, God had different plans and in 2010 her husband Rich died, and in 2011 she returned to Israel to live.

Find Deborah / Dvora on the Internet:


The Story Behind the Story ♦ Ginger Solomon

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· Book Title – Second Choice

· Publisher – Clean Reads

· Release date – 4/28/16

· Genre – contemporary romance

Book Synopsis:

Set to be married in less than a month, Princess Anaya Vallis’s intended runs away, leaving only a cryptic note behind. Her father insists the wedding go forth as planned with a new groom. She has days to make a second choice.

Titus Vasco is like a ship without a rudder, floating through life without purpose. Until she calls. He accepts her proposal without hesitation.

But wedded bliss does not come easily. Two virtual strangers brought together by unforeseen circumstances must learn to trust each other and God’s plan for their lives in order to achieve the happily-ever-after they both long for.

♦ ♦ ♦

The Story Behind the Story, by Ginger Solomon

I’ve shared in other blogs how difficult Second Choice was to write, or at least to begin, but I haven’t shared my thought process in creating this story.

First, you need to know that the basics were hinted at in One Choice, so I had to go with what was established there. Second, it couldn’t be simple. I had to shake things up for my characters. The story would be boring otherwise. If Princess Anaya, the heroine in Second Choice, married and lived happily ever after with her first choice then, well, there wouldn’t be a story. Nor would it be exciting to read. And finally, I had to find her perfect match.

But what would her perfect match look like? Anaya is a strong-willed character, to which I can attest, since she decided to be stubborn about telling me her story. To make a long story short, she refused to speak to me for months after One Choice released, despite my constant hounding. Some people just won’t be pushed, and she’s one of them. When I thought about the type of man/husband she would need, I realized he’d have to be pretty laid back, but he’d also have to be self-assured enough to take control if necessary. Titus Vasco is that man.

In Anaya’s own words, “This man would make her life interesting. One minute he acquiesced to her wishes, the next he took control and made decisions for himself. She found it rather confusing.”

So now I had her guy, how would I get him into her life? At first, I assumed her first choice, Peter, would decide that palace life was not something he wanted, but then later in the story, I found out the real reason for his disappearance (no spoilers, sorry).

So now that he’s out of the picture, I had to figure out how to get Titus into her life. In comes Baba—her father, the king. He’s not as hard-hearted as I sometimes made him out to be, but he does push his children to be everything that God has made them to be. In this case, he insists that the wedding go forward as planned, and that Anaya choose a new groom, immediately.

GASP!

As you can see, I have put Anaya in a very uncomfortable situation. Obviously, things work out for Titus to marry her, but not before she has to go through a few stressful days. Which turns into a few stressful weeks, but now I’m getting into the story, and that’s cheating.

I hope you enjoyed this brief look into my thought process as I began Second Choice.

About Ginger:

Ginger 7 - brightened

Ginger Solomon is a Christian, a wife, a mother to seven, and a writer — in that order (mostly). When not homeschooling her youngest four, doing laundry or fixing dinner, she writes or reads romance of any genre, some sci-fi/fantasy, and some suspense. She’s a member of American Christian Fiction Writers [ACFW], president of her local writing group, and writes regularly for two blogs. In addition to all that, she loves animals, likes to do needlework (knitting, crocheting, and sometimes cross-stitch), and is a fan of Once Upon a Time and Dr. Who.

Click HERE to buy the book.

 

Author Links:


JENNIE: A character interview by Terri Wangard

PLEASE WELCOME author Terri Wangard as my Guest Blogger today. All set? Let’s go!

Getting to know Jennie, by Terri Wangard

  • NNG smallTitle: No Neutral Ground  (2012 Genesis finalist)
  • Publisher: HopeSprings Books
  • Release Date: May 3
  • Genre: historical romance, according to the sub-title
  • Stand alone or Series: Book 2 of Promise For Tomorrow, but can stand alone
  • Buy he Book: http://amzn.to/1q6LFTt

    ♦ ♦ ♦

No Neutral Ground is the newly released, second book of my Promise for Tomorrow series.

After his father divorces his mother because of her Jewish ancestry, Rafe and the rest of his family flee Germany. As a B-17 navigator, he returns to Europe. Flying missions against his former homeland arouses emotions that surprise Rafe. Despite being rejected, he is troubled by the destruction of Germany and his heart still cries for his father’s love.

Sweden may be neutral, but it’s full of intrigue. Jennie assists the OSS at the American legation in Sweden. She thought she’d be doing passive, behind-the-scenes work. Instead, she’s pushed into an active role to gain intelligence and frustrate the Germans.

How can Rafe and Jennie succeed in their dangerous roles when they are so conflicted?

♦ ♦ ♦

Get to know Jennie Lindquist in this interview.

You traveled overseas in 1944. What did you do in the war years before that?

I worked at the Chicago art museum where I put together special exhibits like “Art in War: American Artists’ Record of War and Defense.” I also conducted tours through the museum for school groups.

What prompted you to go overseas?

Rumors of layoffs swirled around the museum, with the understanding that the last hired would be the first fired. I don’t know how true the rumors were, but my dad saw them as an opportunity to spread my wings and go to Sweden, where he was a military attaché.

My boss at the museum thought that was a great idea. He said, “Sweden is one of very few countries escaping the destruction of war. It represents a unique opportunity to be near the conflict but not involved. Think of it. You could have a ringside seat.”

Being ringside to a vicious war didn’t sound appealing, but he also said I could scout out possible exhibitions for after the war. Other countries wouldn’t be able to take part in exchanges, what with the mess they were in and their art stolen or destroyed. The possibility of scouting for the museum was enticing, and a job would be waiting for me when I returned.

Were you aware of what was happening to museums in occupied Europe?

Yes. We knew works of art had been taken from France, Belgium, and other occupied countries to Germany for what the Germans called safekeeping. An anonymous French museum official says they were quite capable of caring for their artwork, and they had grave fears of ever seeing it again. The Germans just took whatever they wanted.

You traveled across the Atlantic on the Queen Mary. Were you concerned about submarines?

By 1944, the U-boats weren’t having the success they enjoyed earlier in the war. Both of the Queens were supposed to travel so fast, the U-boats couldn’t set up a shot. I never heard of either ship having a torpedo fired in their direction. That gave me confidence I wouldn’t have had if I’d traveled on a Liberty ship.

How did you like being one of few women among all the troops making the crossing?

Over twelve thousand servicemen packed in, plus the nurses in a few medical units. But you know, being so crowded made it safer for us. There was no privacy. No man could be improper toward us without someone to rescue us.

You managed to have a shipboard romance.

Oh, I wouldn’t call it a romance. Rafe and I did spend a lot of time together, and I hoped to see him again after the war. I wondered about him often. Being part of a B-17 crew was so dangerous. And then his plane crashed in Sweden and there he was, covered in blood. My heart stood still.

You had a brief but intense training course for the OSS. You saw no danger there?

I was convinced I’d work behind the scenes. And I was going to Sweden. That was hugely different from being an agent in Germany. Still, when I was assigned to leave the legation and meet with agents, I definitely had qualms. Not until Rafe joined me did I start to enjoy our outings. They could still be nerve-wracking, but Rafe made it fun. Of course, as a former German national, the war was very personal for him.

Did you have any misgivings about Rafe being from Germany?

Never. I knew the day we met that he was angry with the Germans and with his father for rejecting him and the rest of their family because of Jewish ancestry. It hurt him to see Germany being destroyed. By war’s end, he came to understand how his father had been unable to cope with the belligerence of the Nazis. How would any of us react if we’d with a government turned so vicious? I’m so glad we found Rafe’s father in Cologne after the war and their relationship began to heal. Remembering their embrace still brings tears to my eyes.

 

Terri

Terri Wangard’s first Girl Scout badge was the Writer. These days she is writing historical fiction, and won the 2013 Writers on the Storm contest and 2013 First Impressions, as well as being a 2012 Genesis finalist. Holder of a bachelor’s degree in history and a master’s degree in library science, she lives in Wisconsin. Her research included going for a ride in a WWII B-17 Flying Fortress bomber. Classic Boating Magazine, a family business since 1984, keeps her occupied as an associate editor.


Let’s Research with author Rose Allen McCauley

rose-aboutRose loves to travel and has posted pictures from several countries on her website/blog at www.rosemccauley.com .

A retired schoolteacher who has been happily married to her college sweetheart for over four decades, she is also mother to three grown children and their spouses and Mimi to five lovely, lively kids!

Although Rose has lived on a farm of almost four hundred acres for the past forty-two years, she recently moved to a small town in KY. She loves to read and write small town stories. If you have a small town story you’d like to share, please stop by her website and leave a comment. She would love to hear from you.

You can also reach her on twitter @RoseAMcCauley and Facebook at http://on.fb.me/1LrXNoS

 

NewEbookSurrender

Joy Worth runs away to Puerto Rico with a broken engagement, broken heart, and questions for the Lord. Can Benigno Cook earn her trust and love while helping her learn to hear God’s still, quiet voice again?

 

Research for Surrender to Peace set in Puerto Rico, by Rose Allen McCauley @RoseAMcCauley

My husband says we travel more than he wants to and less than I want to, but we both thoroughly enjoyed our trip to Puerto Rico to get first-hand research for my latest book, Surrender to Peace.

I did my beginning research on the Internet as I was writing this book, and I found lots of pictures and helpful sites. But, I still felt I needed to travel to some of the locations to make sure all the facts were right, and I was very glad I did as I found a major blooper. One of the restaurants listed as oceanfront was really over a block from the ocean, so I had to re-write that romantic scene!

Also, actually seeing the rainforest and going on the tour to La Mina Falls in El Yunque National Forest made it easier to describe the scenery and trails.

So, I do recommend going to all the places you can to do research or at least make some calls to ask questions from local people, which is what I try to do when I can’t visit the sites.

I hope you can travel to Puerto Rico someday, but until then I hope you will want to read this book. Several of my reviewers on Amazon and Goodreads wrote about how real the descriptions were, and they felt like they were traveling with my characters!

Happy reading, and happy travels whether in person on through the pages of a book!

  • “Writing stories set in small towns with huge hearts”
  • Available on Amazon and other locations:
  • Christmas Belles of Georgia, Barbour
  • Christmas Grace
  • Surrrender to Peace, Olivia Kimbrell Press available for pre-order: Courageous Brides, Barbour

Thank you so much, Rose, for sharing what must have been a fun and fascinating research trip!


Behind the Stories w/Author Jo-Huddleston

I am pleased to once again welcome author Jo Huddleston to Whispers in Purple. Today, Jo will be sharing her research efforts in writing her current WEST VIRGINIA MOUNTAINS SERIES.

But first, lets meet Jo:

JO PK b2 copy (2)

Jo Huddleston is an Amazon Bestselling author of books, articles, and short stories. Novels in her West Virginia Mountains series and her Caney Creek series are sweet Southern historical romances.

Her novels are endorsed by Amanda Cabot, Cara Lynn James, Sharlene MacLaren, and Ann Tatlock.

The redeeming story of God’s pursuing love is the foundation of her novels, and in them you will find inspiration, hope, and gentle stories that are intriguing and entertaining.

Jo is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers and the Literary Hall of Fame at Lincoln Memorial University (TN).

 

 

The Story Behind the Stories in the Recently Completed West Virginia Mountain Series, by Jo Huddleston

When I wrote Wait for Me, I had been to a real coal mine community one time. One memorable time. I went home from college with a friend for a weekend. Her home was in the coal mining region in southern West Virginia. Her daddy was the owner of the coal mine there.

When my friend took me around her small community, she didn’t show me the miners’ homes. What she knew and I didn’t was how the miners’ families lived—not in palatial dwellings!

Wait for Me (300)Until I researched for my story did I learn about coal miners’ substandard housing. In the 1950s, the owner of a coal mine also owned the miners’ rental homes—

better described as shacks. All had only two bedrooms, no running water, and no bathrooms. The community had one well from which all the families drew water and carried back to their houses.

My research for this story was an eye-opener. Photos from coal communities swelled my compassion for the people who lived there and subsequently I was able to write passionately about their lives.

With Wait for Me, research became more than valuable. Without this research I could not have written authentically—my descriptions and dialog would have been cardboard imitations. When you read Wait for Me, please know that compassion oozed from my fingertips as I tapped my keyboard.

In book 1 when Julie and Robby enrolled at West Virginia University in the northern part of the state, an unexpected character walked into the story: the Dean of Women at the university—Dean Fletcher.

I gave Dean Fletcher sophistication I’d learned about from my seventh grade homeroom teacher. Dean Fletcher was reserved and a bit stand-offish, traits of my favorite female actor on a TV one hour drama. Dean Fletcher was a good person, always helpful to Julie with any request she had.

  ♦

Trust Me-300 dpi

But why was Dean Fletcher not married? Why did she never date anyone? Why was she reticent to reveal her emotions or feelings, always and only the professional? She was restrained in words and actions. Why? Her role in book 1, Wait for Me, was a minor one, with not much opportunity to dig for the answers to my questions.

These questions motivated me to give Dean Fletcher a larger character part in book 2, Trust Me. So, in Trust Me you’ll learn much about this elegant woman. You’ll learn why Dean Fletcher is reserved, reticent, a bit stand-offish, unmarried, restrained, and sophisticated.

And, a surprise to me, Dean Fletcher volunteered all this information about herself without anyone having to ask. Yes, characters do live, breathe, and speak to their authors. They share their secrets, doubts, and insecurities. Dean Fletcher did so, and I wrote it all down in Trust Me.

 

 

  ♦

Promise Me (300)

As for the inspiration for the third and final book in the West Virginia Mountains series, Promise Me—as the series continued, the characters of Adriana and Patrick strengthened until they deserved a book of their own. This story opens in late 1960 in West Virginia. However, when the plot of Promise Me wove its way to the battlefields of the Vietnam War, I had to turn to research to make my story authentic and convincing.

For my research about the Vietnam War, I relied on encyclopedic references, photos taken on location, and testimonials of Vietnam War veterans. In addition, one of my most valuable resources was face-to-face accounts from American servicemen.

Although some of the personal accounts I was privileged to get were from veterans of wars other than the Vietnam War, war is war. As you read Patrick and Adriana’s story in Promise Me, I hope you will find Patrick’s experiences realistic. I wrote them based on facts and feelings I received from respected, reliable, and living resources.

Yes, Promise Me, is fiction. But to make historical fiction believable, an adequate amount of reality must be woven with the threads of fiction. That’s what I attempted to do when writing this new release. I hope you won’t doubt what you read about the historical situations and locations mentioned within its pages.

3 box setx

The Box Set of the West Virginia Mountains Series

Now, all together in one volume, enjoy all three sweet Southern historical romances in the West Virginia Mountains series. Beginning in the simpler and more innocent times of the 1950s and continuing into the chaotic early 1960s, read about the journeys of Julie and Robby, Loreen and Claude, and Adriana and Patrick. You will develop strong feelings for these clear, true-to-life characters.

Their stories take you from the hardscrabble lifestyle of coal miners in West Virginia to the affluence of South Carolina coastal living. This volume includes three full-length novels: Wait for Me, Trust Me, and Promise Me.

 

 

Buy Links:

Wait for Me: http://tiny.cc/f2n95x

Trust Me: http://tiny.cc/4yph1x

Promise Me: http://amzn.to/1MWyAl1

Box Set: http://amzn.to/1VCnQAj

Where to find Jo on the Internet:


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