An Interview with Melanie Wilber

Hello Romantics!

I’m excited to be interviewing another Author that I had the joy of discovering last year during my searches of Amazon’s great depths of independent authors.

Her name is Ms. Melanie Wilber and she is joining us today to talk to us about her Garden of Love Series! In particular the first book in the series Lily Fields

Welcome to the blog Melanie Wilber!

~~~~~

Hello Melanie! Thank you so much for taking time out of your day to join us. For those of us who are not familiar with you or your work could you tell us a little about yourself and your writing?

Thank you for having me.  I appreciate the opportunity to share.  I have been writing for twenty years, and I love it.  Writing a novel was one of those things I always thought about doing when I was growing up, and when I was in my early twenties, I started writing one.  I haven’t stopped writing since.  I am married to my college sweetheart, and we have three children.  We have been involved in ministry together since we met, and writing is my primary outlet for sharing the message of God’s unconditional love.

What would you say is your biggest influence in your writing?

Reading the works of other authors during my childhood and college years first inspired me.  I always enjoyed a good story, particularly those about people living everyday life.  Girls like Ramona Quimby from bestselling author Beverly Cleary, and Jeanette Oke’s pioneer characters were some of my favorites.  I enjoyed reading about people who seemed very “real”, and I enjoy writing about those same types of girls and women facing everyday joys, struggles, challenges, and hopes for the future.

 I have also been greatly influenced by my family and friends.  Every story I write has a little of someone I know in it, and there is some of me in all of my female lead characters.

The book I wanted to highlight today is your book Lily Fields. What was your inspiration for this story in particular?

This might sound odd, but the inspiration for Lily Fields came from the main character herself. Lily was originally a supportive friend in my second book in this series, Baby’s Breath, but I became so inspired by her sweet and caring spirit I had to write Lily a story of her own.  Because she was already married in Baby’s Breath, her romance tale took place earlier, so Lily Fields became Book 1 in the series when I published it.

Another source of inspiration came from the teachers and aides who work with my autistic son.  Lily is a special education teacher, so that part of her character is especially personal to me.

Like Lily, I have struggled sometimes in my walk with God. What would you have readers take away from this story for encouragement?

Lily is like me as well in this aspect.  Waiting on God is the central theme of the book, and I’ve had to do a lot of that!  From waiting for my man, to waiting on family members and friends to believe the message of God’s love, to waiting on God for publishing opportunities, I have often lost hope but seen God come through at the perfect time, usually exceeding my expectations with his marvelous ways.  I hope readers take away the unfailing truth of God’s faithfulness, even when we are faithless.

What is your favorite scene in the book and why?

If I told you that, Shineka, I’d give too much away!  So, more generically speaking, I enjoy the scenes of Lily in her role as a special education teacher because she emulates the gifted teachers who have worked with my son.  I also enjoy scenes with the three different men Lily has to choose from. They are each unique and suited to her in different ways, but ultimately she goes with her heart in selecting the man she believes God has for her to marry.

I saw on Amazon that you have 14 books in this series. What would you say is the underlying theme that goes throughout the series?

God’s love and faithfulness.  These elements are so crucial to my own life, I can’t write a story that doesn’t involve depending on God and trusting Him in everyday life and crucial moments.  All of my main characters face this question eventually: Do I really believe that God loves me and I can trust Him?

Melanie, I like to ask my guests a personality question for fun. So with that being said: Who is your favorite historical figure and why?

Mary, the mother of Jesus.  She allowed God to do the most extraordinary thing of all time through her.  She didn’t understand what was happening.  I’m sure she was scared, confused, and often felt alone, but she believed when the angel told her, “Nothing is impossible with God.”

I really appreciate you coming and talking with us today. Before you go though, is there any advice you’d like to leave to any aspiring writers who may be joining us today?

If you enjoy writing, don’t stop!  Keep writing, keep learning, and keep following your writing dreams prayerfully, whatever they may be.  Research writing opportunities and create your own through blogs, writing for family members and friends, and using your gift however you feel God leading you to.

Amazon provides wonderful opportunities for independent authors through their direct publishing programs, so if you are at that point with having finished works, you should check them out and see if they might be right for you. 

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Lily sees herself as the perpetual wallflower doomed to a life of singleness. In her frustrated cries to God she thinks her prayers may have been answered when not one, not two, but three men come into her life at the same time. An ex-boyfriend, her co-worker crush, and the brother of her best friend’s boyfriend, who will Lily choose?

Will she have the strength, courage, and faith to wait on God and his plans for her life?

You’ll definitely have to read this poignant yet beautiful story for yourself!

One of you  Romantics will win a free Kindle copy of Lily Fields from Melanie! Just leave a comment at the bottom of this post telling us your favorite historical figure and why?  We will pick a winner next Wednesday! And if you can’t wait to win a copy go to the link below to download the book for yourself!

 Lily Fields by Melanie Wilber

Re-readability rating:

4 stars

Romance rating:

5 stars

An Interview with Bonnie Blythe

Hello Romantics!

Today on the blog I am honored to be interviewing another one of my favorite independent authors. I discovered Ms. Bonnie Blythe through a short story I read last year called Melody’s Knight.

I fell in love with the story and was a little sad to see it end so soon. I believe I read it from beginning to end in one night.  Since I couldn’t put it down, I looked for other books from Ms. Blythe and systematically downloaded and read all of them over the last year. Yes, ladies and gentlemen I literally mean I have read every short story or novel this woman has released in the Kindle format.

I’d like to welcome to the blog Ms. Bonnie Blythe!

Hello Bonnie! First I just want to say thank you so much for joining us today.  For my readers who aren’t familiar with you and your work would you mind sharing a little about yourself and your writing style?

Thanks so much for having me, Shineka! Currently a Nashvillian, I’m originally from the West Coast and lived there my whole life. My family has been enjoying the transition to the genteel beauty of the Southeast. It’s not as slow as people say. We’re just as busy as ever! 🙂

As for my writing–like most writers I’m an avid reader and have been writing since I was young. I used to tuck romance novels in my school textbooks, so hey, I was committed. LOL I enjoy, and write, ‘pure romance’ where the main focus of the book is the unfolding relationship between the hero and heroine. Other genres that have only a smattering of romance just don’t hold my attention. I need all the mushy stuff. The other part of ‘pure romance’ is that the stories are clean and focus more on the emotional relationship than the physical.

Who or what would you say is your biggest influence in your writing?

Books. When I’m swept into a compelling story, I immediately want to figure out how to write like that. A few of my favorite authors are Francine Rivers, Camy Tang, Suzanne Collins, Charlotte Bronte, Jane Austen, and Carla Capshaw.

I like how you have written in a few different genres i.e.:  Chick Lit., Regency. Opposites Attract. Which would you say is your favorite genre to write in and why?

I think Opposites Attract. It’s fun to imagine the ups and downs and general grumpiness of characters finally acknowledging their feelings for each other.

The main reason I wanted to interview you for this post was because of your book Claire’s Not So Gothic Romance.  What inspired this particular story and especially the zany cast of characters?

Fans of Gothic or historical romance can be so entrenched in their books that they can appear a little ‘off’ to others around them–especially for those who long for the days of yore and find modern life intimidating. That there is what I call a setup for a comedy. LOL I based Claire’s Not-So-Gothic Romance loosely on Jane Eyre. It was fun to give an ironic twist to the dripping melodrama of the original.

Out of this cast who would you say is your favorite and why?

I think I’m torn between Sam and Chip (oops, Darkwan LOL). Sam because it’s fun to imagine a sweet guy who’s left behind all the bad stuff in life, and who sees the truth in another person. And Chip because he too yearns for meaning in his own way–that and Claire’s mother’s cooking 🙂

I have got to talk to you about my absolute favorite scene in the book. It actually happens very near the beginning. The scene where Claire is in the emergency room. She has been given medication and is a little loopy then she meets Sam and, because she thinks she is dying, surprises him with a passionate, desperate kiss. Where did the idea for that scene come from?

A fun thing about writing a repressed character is that when they cut loose, they really make a job of it! For a super shy girl who isn’t experienced in kissing boys, it seemed that she’d want to make sure she’d indulged her fantasy before departing for the Other Side. From that point on, she’d then have to prove to Sam she wasn’t like ‘all the other girls’. 🙂

Another reason why I love your stories is because there is always a biblical message woven into the story lines. What would you say was the main message you wanted your readers to gain from this particular story?

Stay true to who you are and your beliefs. Even though Claire felt more comfortable in Jane’s world, when forced to deal with reality, she held onto her beliefs–much like Jane did when she fled Thornfield Hall.

Now this question is purely from me as a fan: Is there a possible sequel to this book in the future?

I haven’t thought about that! I’m wondering who would be more fun to write about:Shelly or maybe even Cedric?? Hey, everyone deserves a little romance in their lives!

One of the things I like to ask visiting authors is a personality question. I’ve noticed that a lot of your stories have at least one character with an odd personality trait that you wouldn’t necessarily expect them to have.  What would you say is your quirky personality trait that no one would presume you to possess?

I carry on audible conversations with myself. It’s highly embarrassing because as I get older, I find myself doing it more and more in the presence of others. Doh! LOL

Bonnie it’s been great talking with you today. Before you leave is there any advice you would like to give to any aspiring writers out there?

With publishing so accessible these days it’s a great time to be a writer. I would encourage anyone in following that dream all the way to the end by learning the craft, making sure they have the best possible, polished story, and knowing there IS an audience for their work, regardless of what anyone–including agents and editors–have said. Jesus used stories to communicate truth, which is why stories resonate with us all. If a writer has a story that needs to be shared, then it should be shared!

Thanks again, Shineka, for allowing me to be a part of your blog. I look forward to following your posts. There are always new stories to discover! 

 ~~~~~

Claire is your quintessential quiet, shy, and slightly repressed 24 yr old girl. Who, according to her mother, must marry a doctor so that she will have a life of luxury and not have to work as hard as her mother did to raise her.

Sam is the tall, handsome young man who just moved in across the street with a mysterious past he’s running from back in Tennessee.

What twist of fate will bring these two together!?!

You’ll have to read the book to find out!

For one lucky Romantic, Bonnie is giving away a free kindle copy of her book:

Claire's Not So Gothic Romance

Claire’s Not So Gothic Romance

Just leave a comment on this post telling us what your favorite Gothic, Regency, or Historical Romance is and why? The winner will be randomly selected next week!

Re-readabilty Rating

5-stars

Romance Rating

5-stars

What are you waiting for? Click on the above link and buy a copy today!

Make sure you check out Bonnie’s Blog:

Bonnie Blythe’s Pure Romance Blog

her website:

Bonnie Blythe Website

and her Facebook Page

Bonnie’s Author Facebook Page

Wait!!!!

I forgot one more thing!!!!!

Bonnie is releasing a compilation of her latest novel series!

Cascade Bride series cover

Cascade Brides Complete Series

Click on the above link to download this wonderful series!

I assure you, you won’t be disappointed!

An interview with Kristy K. James

Hello Romance Enthusiasts!

Today, I am honored to be interviewing a dear friend of mine who is an example of an independent Clean Romance Writer.

I was first introduced to her by a novel that she offered for free called A Fine Mess. The story was different and full of humor and led me to believe that the writer had to be an exceptional human being all on her own.

After that first book I looked her up to see if she had any other books on Amazon and quickly downloaded two more novels. One of which was the first book in a series called The Coach’s Boys. 

On Thursday, February 14th (Valentine’s Day! How romantic!) Kristy will be releasing her third book in the series called A Harry Situation.

Welcome to the Blog Ms. Kristy K. James!

Hi Kristy! So for those readers who are unfamiliar with you and your work how would you describe your writing?

Hi, Shineka! Aww…thanks so much for the kind words. And thank you for having me today.

How would I describe my writing? First I would have to say that if my books were movies, they could all be rated G, or PG-13. I’ve always written my stories so I’d never, ever be embarrassed if my dad picked one up and started reading it. And while he died almost ten years ago, I still think of him, and I still write ‘clean.’ The only other way I’d describe it is that I’m all over the board with it. I don’t read just one genre, and I don’t like writing rules that say I have to write just one. So I have historical romance, historical fiction, a Christian romance, and just your basic, regular romance. I will also be branching out into Young Adult fantasy later this year.

Would you say that being a writer is something you’ve always wanted to do?

It has been, yes. I remember writing plays for my cousins and I to perform for our aunts and uncles when I was maybe in second or third grade. They were pretty goofy, but even then, I liked to write. But after a ninth grade creative writing class…I never wanted to do anything else (as far as a career goes).

Who would you say is your biggest influence in your writing?

As far as encouraging me, it would be the student teacher in the writing class. If she had laughed at my efforts, I likely would have given up then, but she didn’t. As for other authors…I can’t narrow it down to just one. Some have been favorites through the years, some I wound up not liking as much as I thought I did, and then there are the new ones.

If I had to choose one though, I guess it would be Debbie Macomber. Someone gave me a bunch of books maybe eight years ago, and her series, Midnight Sons, was in it. I’ve worn them out, and need to buy new copies, but it showed me, beyond a shadow, of a doubt that books could be G-rated, and be good. It also made me realize that The Daddy Pact, and A Hero For Holly, could be made into a series. Yes, they were originally standalone books.

So let’s move to the reason why you are being interviewed today.  You are releasing the third book to your Coach’s Boys Series. What inspired this series?

Well, as I mentioned above, I realized after reading Debbie Macomber’s books, that I’d really like to write my own series. And since I loved Dan and Jess, and Sam and Holly, I didn’t want to say goodbye. So I did some thinking, and started asking the ‘what if’ questions, and Jon, Cal and Chris came to life.

One of the things I like about this series is that the stories follow a close-knit group of guys. What made you want to write from the male perspective instead of the much easier female perspective?

Truthfully, I’ve always wondered about that myself. I did the same thing in Enza…and wondered about that, too. As silly as it sounds, I think it’s because the stories kind of dictate how they want to be written, If I’ve put the necessary time into the outline and character development, it’s almost like I’m just there to take the dictation.

In case there is someone who hasn’t read any of the series, can you give a short synopsis of the first three books of the series?

I can try. I’m just going to steal the short descriptions I used on one website for the first two. And then we’ll hope for the best on the third. I haven’t given that one a whole lot of thought yet.

The Daddy Pact: Jess Bentley’s husband is murdered the night they return from their honeymoon. Soon she discovers that she’s pregnant –  and married to the murderer’s brother – so they can protect the baby from her vengeful father-in-law.

A Hero For Holly: Five years ago, Holly’s husband left her pregnant, with a four-year old son-and a restaurant on the verge of bankruptcy. Now her boys are happy, and the business is flourishing, but she has no personal life. The highlight of her week is seeing sexy scout leader, Sam Jensen. But he couldn’t possibly be interested a single, workaholic mom. Could he? 

A Harry Situation: When Harry Saunders, the new employee for C & J Construction, turned out to be a woman, the only thing Chris Parker wanted was to fire her. In his opinion, there is no place for females in this business. But labor laws meant she stayed, making him nothing but miserable. Until he discovers a secret she’s been keeping from everyone. A secret that brings out every protective instinct he possesses. (Sorry, this is my first try)

What makes this book standout from the rest of the series?

Other than the fact that Chris’s name has five letters, and all the other guys names have three? This one deals with cancer, Leukemia, to be specific. And it affects a toddler. Even though I dealt with a murder in The Daddy Pact, blackmail in A Hero For Holly, and Ed Winslow’s stalker in the mystery that runs throughout the series, this one has been harder to write than the others. In fact, the publication has been delayed almost two months because of it. Why? Because I don’t like writing about cancer, but when it affects a child…it’s just hard. 

Out of this cast of characters who would you say is your favorite?

That’s easy. Dan Mulholland. You might have noticed that other than Ed, he’s the only character we hear from in the books. There was just something about him, right from the beginning that I liked. And that hasn’t changed. He’s kind of a big brother, gotta-take-care-of-everyone guy.

Now for my personality question of the day: What’s your favorite period in history and why?

Until a few years ago, I always said I was born a hundred years too late. And then I realized that I’m such a comfort-loving sissy, that I was born at exactly the right time. So, unimaginative as it sounds, this is my favorite period in history. I mean we’ve got cars, planes (yuck!), washers and dryers, indoor toilets that flush, toilet paper (as opposed to leaves or catalog pages), air conditioning, treadmills, computers, cell phones, and Kindles.

Sure there are a lot of problems, violence, selfishness, inflation, wars… That list could go on and on. But we also have freedom (at least in the United States). We can go where we want, when we want…and usually we’re safe when we do it. We also have access to doctors, hospitals and medicines. So to my way of thinking, this is a great time in history.

 Kristy, it’s been amazing talking with you today.  Before you go, Is there any advice you want to leave for any aspiring writers out there?

Thanks for having me, Shineka. It’s been a lot of fun. What advice do I have for other writers? Write. Write. Then write some more (practice makes perfect, after all). Read books on the craft. Learn how to plot, how to create ‘real’ characters, and above all, how to edit. And don’t forget to read. Read lots of books, both good and bad. As some experts in the field tell us, we can sometimes learn more from a poorly written book than we can from one that’s good.


And then once you have a story ready, consider indie publishing. While it’s still possible to find an agent and traditional publisher, it can take years. If you’re lucky. Sure there are exceptions, but the way the industry is going, they’re few and far between. So be brave, and step out on your own. Learn all you can about marketing, and building a platform…and share your work with the world.

To celebrate the release of her new book, Ms. Kristy is giving away 10 digital copies of her first book in the series:

The Daddy Pact (The Coach's Boys)

To enter, leave a comment at the end of this post telling us what inspires you. The winners will be randomly selected next Wednesday, February 20th!

 Make sure to follow Kristy’s Blog and sign up for her newsletter to receive a free copy of her short story Someday…Maybe

Kristy K. James

A Christian Cougar By Vanessa Gray Bartal

What do you get when you add a 33 yr old widow with a two-year old, a 25 yr old Youth Pastor, an imaginary dead husband, and a cast of well-meaning but over protective friends and family?

You get a delightful book called A Christian Cougar!

I discovered this book last year while going through Amazon’s Kindle books looking for some free Christian Romance novels.  While the book wasn’t free (it was only 99 cents), I couldn’t help but be intrigued by the title.  I mean think about it, A Christian Cougar? Who wouldn’t be curious about a title like that?

Ms. Bartal did not disappoint in this story.

Mare is a 33 yr. old widow and mother of a cute little 2 yr old named Mallory who she calls Mal for short. She is also a semi famous mystery writer. When the book first opens you read a scene between Mare and her husband Jack before he passes way in a car accident. Cut to a year later and Mare is still grieving her husband’s death. Enters Tate, The new handsome Youth Pastor, who happens to be only 25 yrs old!

Mare is instantly attracted to Tate but can’t figure out if it’s because he is young, or because she hasn’t had a man in her life for a year.

All though I love all of the characters in this book, My favorite would have to be Mare.  She has some of the most off the wall things happen to her during the course of this book. From getting her hand stuck in an antique jar to being fixed up on a date with her mother’s boyfriend!  Mare handles every situation with grace, and a certain amount of comic flare.

Now of course there is some drama. Mare after all has only been widowed a year and is trying to find herself along the way as she explores her relationship with Tate and there are a few busybodies she has to contend with in the book but, I love that this story shows you the good and the bad of having a church family in a respectful manner.

Oh wait! I mentioned an imaginary dead husband in the opening didn’t I? Well some of the best dialogue in this book is between Mare and the “ghost” of Jack.  You can see just how much they loved each other and why it is so hard for Mare to move on.

Will Mare and Tate end up together? Will her friends and family back off and let her be happy? Will Mare always see Jack where ever she goes?

Read the book. I promise you won’t be disappointed!

A Christian Cougar

A Christian Cougar

Re-readabilty:

Would I read this book more than once?

I give this book a 5 on a scale of 1 to 5 for re-readability. I find myself going back at least once a month to re-read either the whole book or some of my favorite parts.

Romantic scenes:

On a scale of 1 to 5 definitely deserves a 5

There are plenty of good clean kissing scenes and the playful banter between Mare and Tate are winners in my book.