Thursday, January 28, 2021

Talkshow Thursday: Welcome Sherrinda Ketchersid!

Talkshow Thursday: Welcome Sherrinda Ketchersid! 

Linda: Thanks for joining me today. Congratulations on the release of your novel, His to Keep, a medieval romance. What was your inspiration for the plot? 

Sherrinda: I fell in love with Ian, the head guardsman in Lord of Her Heart, my first book, and knew he needed his own forever love. I wanted to have a feisty heroine, so when I read about a lady of a castle commanding her guards and defending the castle while her husband was away, I knew I found something I could use. It is the inspiration for the first scene in the book. 
LM: What is it about the medieval time period that draws you to the era? 
Sherrinda: I’ve loved the medieval era ever since I was a little girl and my dad read us kids fairytales. He’s an artist and would draw us coloring pages filled with knights and fair ladies. It’s always been a wonderful era to me (I confess to glossing over the more yucky parts.). 
LM: The opening scene in the book is based on a real event. How did you find out about the event and why did you decide to include it in the story? 

Sherrinda: Originally, I had Ian and his comrade stealing into the castle by digging through some loose
stones in the castle wall. That wasn’t believable, so I started researching ways castles had been overtaken in the past. When I read about a castle in France being taken by two men crawling up the garderobe chute, I knew I had found the solution to Ian being able to gain the castle. Granted, it’s not all that great that he is covered in … muck … when he up close to the heroine, but it does make for some good conflict and banter between Ian and Claire. 

LM: What is one thing you wish you knew how to do? Sherrinda: I wish I knew how to dance! I would love to let loose and have fun at weddings but am too scared to get on the dance floor. LM: What advice do you have for fledgling writers? 

Sherrinda: Read a lot and write a lot. I learn so much by reading good books. I also wish I had been more disciplined in my writing earlier, because I would have more books under my belt. I think it was Mary Connealy who had written ten books before she published, and she was able to sell much of her earlier written books. 

 LM: Here are some quickies: 

Favorite season: Fall 
Favorite movie: Return to Me (sigh) 
Favorite Bible verse: Galatians 5:1 “It is for freedom that Christ has set us free.” 

LM: What is your next project? 

Sherrinda: Fiona, Ian McGowan’s sister, makes an appearance in His to Keep, and I felt like she needed to find someone to build a home with. She has stayed with Ian and Claire after they married, but it was hard for her to watch their happiness and their growing family. She decides to join a convent back in her home country, Scotland, but on the way, she is taken by a handsome Highlander who thinks she is a member of a feuding clan and wants to use her to get what he wants. 

LM: Where can folks find you on the web? 

Newsletter Sign-up, plus a free novelette: 

About His to Keep

He’s fighting for his inheritance—she’s marrying her sworn enemy. 
When Ian McGowan attempts to claim Whitfield Castle as his rightful inheritance, he finds himself barred by a tempestuous lass who is entailed to be the bride of the castle’s new owner. Claire Beaumont, the orphaned ward of Whitfield, has good reason to hate Scots, and she is not about to let a Scot enter her beloved home. But when the handsome knight steals into the castle and proves his claim on the land, she must face her ultimate nightmare—marriage to her sworn enemy—in order to save those she cares about most. Restoring the failing Whitfield Castle while wooing his defiant intended proves more challenging than Ian anticipated. His struggles reach a crisis when his nemesis arrives at the castle, and he must overcome his past demons to prove his worth. He must fight for what is his to keep—and it could well cost him his heart. 

Monday, January 25, 2021

Mystery Monday: Charlie Chan Movies

Mystery Monday: Charlie Chan Movies 
During the 1930s and 1940s, hundreds of mystery, thriller, and noir crime dramas were produced to the delight of the movie-going public. More than a few of the films were either based on or screen adaptations of novels from well-known authors such as S.S. Van Dine, Dashiell Hammett, Graham Greene, Hugh Cleveland, Brett Halliday, and others. 
Only six novels featuring Honolulu-based detective Charlie Chan 
were written by Earl Derr Biggers between 1925 and 1932, but almost fifty movies were produced between 1926 and 1949, featuring over a dozen actors playing the title character. In an interview conducted years later, Biggers said he’d been inspired to add a Chinese-American police officer to his book after reading about two Hawaiian detectives in the newspaper. Saying he disliked the stereotypes he found in California, he specifically conceived the character as an alternative: “Sinister and wicked Chinese are old stuff, but an amiable Chinese on the side of law and order has never been used.” 
Despite the use of Asian actors for supporting roles such as his family members, Chan was always played by a Caucasian actor. The films met with widespread success with Spanish-language and Chinese-language versions being shown overseas. Between 1932 and 1948, Charlie Chan episodes could be heard on the radio several times a week. Chan also made his way into comic books from 1938 to 1942, being dropped after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor in December 1941. A board game, The Great Charlie Chan Detective Mystery Game (1937) and The Charlie Chan Card Game (1939) were also produced for a short time. 
Unsurprisingly, the character of Charlie Chan has been the subject of controversy. Some scholars claim the character is a positive role model, while others feel he is an offensive stereotype. One critic, John Soister, states that Chan is both, going on to say that when Biggers created the character, “he offered a unique alternative to stereotypical evil Chinamen, a man who was at the same time sufficiently accommodating in personality, unthreatening in demeanor, and removed from his Asian homeland to quell any underlying xenophobia.” 
Biggers published a handful of other novels and short stories, but none met with the success of his Charlie Chan series. 
Have you ever seen a Charlie Chan flick? 

About Vanessa's Replacement Valentine:

She’s running toward the future. He can’t let go of the past. Will these two hurting souls experience love in the present? 
Engaged to be married as part of a plan to regain the wealth her family lost during the War Between the States, Vanessa Randolph finds her fiancé in the arms of another woman weeks before the wedding. Money holds no allure for her, so rather than allow her parents to set her up with another rich bachelor she decides to become a mail-order bride. Life in Green Bay, Wisconsin seems to hold all the pieces of a fresh start until she discovers her prospective groom was a Union spy and targeted her parents during one of his investigations. Is her heart safe with any man? 
Eight years have elapsed since the Civil War ended, and Miles Andersen has almost managed to put the memories of those difficult years behind him. He’s finally ready to settle down, but the women in town are only interested in his money. A mail-order bride seems to be the answer until the woman who arrives brings the past crashing into the present. 

Can two wounded hearts find healing in the face of doubt, disappointment, and distrust?

Pre-order Link:

Thursday, January 21, 2021

Talkshow Thursday: Welcome Linda Street-Ely

 Talkshow Thursday: Welcome Linda Street-Ely

LM: Thanks for joining me today. I’m excited to talk to you about Ely Air Lines which is a collection of stories from your weekly newspaper column written with your husband Mike. How did the column start, and what made the two of you to decide to publish the compilation? 
Linda: Thanks for having us, Linda. Ely Air Lines has been a long-term project we’ve put a lot of love into. Mike and I began our weekly column in June 2007. We write about aviation, but we write for the non-flying general public. We aim to put a face to the flyer’s world, which is unfamiliar to many. What started it was that the mayor of our town had expressed desire to “close” the local airport (which he could not do because he accepted federal funds for it). Airports are economic generators and provide so much good to communities, including life-saving services in emergencies. Another columnist knew of our aviation background and suggested a column to the owner, whose late father started the paper and had been a pilot during WWII. Of course, she was elated to have this unique kind of column in her paper. We figured the pen was mightier than the sword (and more legal), so we set out to do battle against city hall on paper by presenting the positives that aviation brings to the world. We had no idea it would continue this long! 

Approaching the tenth anniversary of the column, I thought, wouldn’t it be neat to select our favorite stories from the first ten years and put them in a book? The process took longer than we expected, because all the stories had to be re-written. Newspaper writing is timely, but book writing should be timeless. It was a lot of work, but in the end, we have a great compilation of 100 short stories that tell about a wide range of people, places, and adventures. 
And, we’re happy to report that with the airport in the public eye through our column, the mayor had no choice but to agree, not only to keep it open, but to invest more money into it! 

LM: What is your writing process like, and how do the two of you share the work? 

Linda: For the weekly column, we collaborate, share our drafts and edits, and out comes a piece for the next week. Our style is conversational and upbeat. The paper comes out on Tuesdays, and our
submission deadline is the Thursday morning before that. Often on a Wednesday evening after work, we’re asking each other, “Do you have an idea for the column?” And somehow, for over 700 regular articles (plus the feature pieces we’ve written), it’s always worked out. Since newspapers have limited space, and we have an abundance of stories, it doesn’t take us long to whip something up. Sometimes Mike will write a whole piece, sometimes I will, but most of the time, we both contribute. We collaborated on the books as well, with lots of discussion and edits to shape the stories for a book. 
LM: What is your favorite aspect of writing? 

Linda: My absolute favorite aspect is writing with Mike. Second to that is any time I can inject humor into what I’m writing. I grew up in a family that loves wit and humor, and Mike and I love to laugh as well. 

LM: What do you do to prepare for writing? 

Linda: I think that depends on what I’m writing. Some things require research, but for others, I just sit down and start writing. For instance, if we are writing about an adventure we had previous weekend, when flying somewhere fun, it doesn’t take much to just sit and write the story. But if we are telling someone else’s story, we will set up an interview (for a living person), or research if it’s about someone deceased, or a place or event for which we need more information. We do a lot of interviews and research. 

LM: When did you decide to obtain your pilot certificate, and what was that journey like? 

Linda: Learning to fly wasn’t something I had planned on as a child. I could have, as the opportunities were around me. But I wasn’t interested then. I became widowed at the age of 40, when our home burned down, and my husband and our two youngest children perished in the fire. It was a little over a year later that I was looking for something to do that would get me out of the house, out of bed, and help me try to get back into the world again. I didn’t want a new life, but I couldn’t just avoid being alive. So, I looked up what was happening in Houston that weekend. The annual “Wings Over Houston” air show was going on, so I thought, I don’t give a hoot about airplanes or air shows, but this will get me out of the house all day. As I stood there watching the performances, I thought, I wonder what it would be like to do that. By the third time I had that thought, I knew I would have to check it out. Two days later, I began flight training. I earned my private pilot certificate quickly, and moved on up through the instrument rating, commercial single, commercial multi-engine, and finally the airline transport pilot certificate. I’ve added commercial seaplane and tailwheel endorsements as well. And it’s been a healing mechanism I could never have guessed. God orchestrated it all, and through it, he led me to Mike, a fellow pilot. 
LM: You’ve accomplished quite a lot. What is one thing you wish you could do? 

Linda: That’s a hard question to answer because I generally just do what I want to do. What I mean is, if I want to accomplish something, I do it. I don’t think I’ll leave a wish list of things to do when I’m gone. As far as wishes (and prayers) go, I wish everyone would accept the gift of grace and eternal life Jesus offers us. 

LM: What is your next project? 
Linda: I’ve finished writing a play about a notorious ancestor of mine in medieval Scotland. It turns out that another ancestor wrote two novels 200 years ago about the same person and incidents. For my next writing project, I am in the process of rewriting those novels to republish next year under our own imprint. These were written in the same place and time as the works of Sir Walter Scott, so the language is interesting and fun to work with. I have also been building files for a book on God’s healing; and Mike is writing an aviation history book about things that have changed over the 40+ years he has been flying professionally. He also has a novel in the works. But our major project that is ongoing is building our publishing company. We are excited to be opening up for submissions in various genres! 

LM: Where can folks find you on the web? 

Our company, Paper Airplane Publishing, LLC is at

About Ely Air Lines: Select Stories from 10 Years of a Weekly Column (Volumes 1 and 2)
Delightful stories of flying adventures from around the globe. Adventurous and heartwarming. Written by pilots. Ely Air Lines is a captivating 2-volume set of 100 short stories that inspire and educate, written by pilots Mike Ely and Linda Street-Ely. Step aboard to enjoy a collection of stories that explore the vast realm of the flyer's world. Buckle up and fly with Mike and Linda to discover amazing people, interesting places, and the conquest of flight.

Wednesday, January 20, 2021

Wartime Wednesday: WASPs and Gremlins

Wartime Wednesday: WASPs and Gremlins 

By 1942, in just about every industry in the U.S., men were in short supply. They were either working in defense jobs or serving in one of the Armed Forces. In late September of that year, two civilian organizations formed that tried to fill the void in the aviation field. The Women’s Flying Training Detachment (WFTD) and the Women’s Auxiliary Ferrying Squadron (WAFS) were employed to fly military aircraft under the direction of the U.S. Army Air Force. Members of these organizations were Federal civil service employees, not military personnel. 
The following year, the WFTD and WAFS were merged to form a paramilitary organization called
Women’s Air Service Pilots (WASP). By the end of 1944, when the WASP program was disbanded nearly 1,100 women had ferried planes, towed targets, transported equipment and non-flying personnel, and flight-tested aircraft. Thirty-eight of these pilots lost their lives (11 in training, 27 on active duty), but because they were not part of the military it was the family’s responsibility to pay to ship the victim home. Often members of the girl’s unit would collect money on behalf of the family. During their two years of service, the WASPs flew sixty million miles and delivered 12,650 aircraft of seventy-eight different types. 

Early on, the WASPs decided they needed a mascot. They turned to Walt Disney and asked permission to use Roald Dahl’s (of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory fame) illustration from his first children’s book, The Gremlins. The book had been written as a promotional piece for a full-length Disney movie that was ultimately never produced. “Fifinella” was a female gremlin who wore yellow slacks and cap, red top and high-top boots, black gloves, and blue goggles. She also sported a pair of wings. Patches were custom made, and colors varied. 
Fifinella showed up everywhere: WASPs jackets, their monthly newsletter, and in many variations on the nose of many a bomber. Dahl went on to draw other gremlins for Warner Bros. that were used in several WWII cartoons, some of which featured Bugs Bunny. 
Have you ever seen Fifinella? 

Love at First Flight is on sale for only $0.99 until the end of January. Click here to grab your copy. 

About Love at First Flight

Can two people emerge from the clouds of past hurt to find a silver lining of love? 

Evelyn Reid would rather fly than do anything else, so when war engulfs the U.S., she joins the Women’s Auxiliary Ferrying Squadron. One of the program’s top pilots, she is tapped for pursuit plane training...the dream of a lifetime until she discovers the instructor is her ex-fiancé, Jasper MacPherson. 

Collecting enough points to rotate stateside, fighter pilot Jasper MacPherson is assigned to teach the WAFS how to fly the army way. Bad enough to be training women, but things take a turn for the worse when his former fiancée shows up as one of his students.

Thursday, January 14, 2021

Talkshow Thursday: Welcome back Joy Avery Melville!

Talkshow Thursday: Welcome Back Joy Avery Melville! 

Linda: Welcome to my blog! Congratulations on your latest release, Sown in Peace. It sounds fantastic. Where did you get your inspiration for the story? 

Joy: Like one of my other novels, it came via a newscast – an interview with some returning vets from Afghanistan. 

LM: The book is the first in a series. Can you tell us what to expect in future books? Will the stories feature the same characters? 

Joy: I’ll include all of the cast from Sown In Peace – next one will be title Steadfast In Peace... one of the characters carrying the subplot in Sown will be the heroine in Steadfast. 

LM: Your characters have unusual professions: soldier and retired military dog handler. What sort of research did you have to do to learn about his job? 

Joy: First I did some extensive reading about Military Working Dogs, Therapy Dogs, but then God
gifted me with wounded warriors, who have had PTSD and have been blessed by having pet dogs tune into their specific needs and have turned themselves into Therapy Dogs. 

LM: You are also a freelance editor. How do you turn off your internal editor when you write? Or do you? 
Joy: I don’t at first. As my characters drive the story forward, I get caught up in them, the setting, the actual chronological movement of the novel itself. Going back through it, I realize, I’d definitely turned off that internal editor. lol 

LM: Here are some quickies: 

Favorite childhood book: Light From Heaven (not a book for children by far – but it truly touched my heart) 

Favorite Bible verse: Psalm 46:10 “Be still and know that I am God.” I love the NASB translation because it’s as though God breathed it into Scripture just for me ~ “QUIT STRIVING and know I am God.” 

Favorite place to vacation: Joy: A cabin in northern Michigan during AUTUMN – cold enough for a fire in a stone fireplace with indoor plumbing and a microwave as well as a good working stove/oven.
LM: What other projects are on the docket for you this year? 

Joy: I’m working on edits/revisions to Kept For Her – book 2 in my Intended For Her Series – THEN – I get to start writing Steadfast In Peace – book 2 in my Operation Return To Peace Series. 

LM: Where can folks find you on the web? 


About Sown in Peace

How much can one wounded soul take?

Victoria (Tori) Archer has the heart of a soldier. Taken down by an IED during her fourth deployment, she’s permanently separated from her military career and left with physical scars as well as PTSD. Moving back to her hometown of Three Rivers, Michigan, she’s forced by circumstances to live with an irascible and unsympathetic aunt. Tori’s battle with pain, horrific memories, and loss of independence creates a deep yearning for peace. Will God grant her even a small measure of it? 

Retired Military Dog Handler Griffin (Griff) McKay turns to training dogs at his farm for wounded warrior therapy, desiring to bring former military men and women emotional and mental healing. Implementing his plan proves to be more difficult than visualized with the arrival of one stubborn soldier. Why has God placed that particular warrior in his path? 

Tuesday, January 12, 2021

Traveling Tuesday: Green Bay, Wisconsin in the Early Days

Traveling Tuesday: Green Bay, Wisconsin in the Early Days 

What do you think of when you think of Wisconsin? Milk? Cheese? Lakes? Football? When I decided to set my upcoming release Vanessa’s Replacement Valentine in Green Bay, I knew I had my work cut out for me. What I knew about the state fit on the head of a pin. Join me for a virtual trip to this fascinating and beautiful area of the United States. 
Located at the mouth of the Fox River, Green Bay is considered a sub-basin to Lake Michigan. Because of the water and rich soil, the area is abundant in fish, waterfowl, and wildlife. Native Americans lived in this area for thousands of years prior to the arrival of European explorers. 

The earliest documented contact between the Native Americans was in 1634 when Frenchman Jean
Nicolet came. Twenty years later fur traders Pierre Esprit Radisson and Medart Grosellieres arrived followed by missionaries Claude Allouez and Jacques Marquette. Another century would pass before the first permanent white settlers, the de Langlade family, set up their home. Unfortunately for them, a short time later the British defeated the French and took control of the area until 1783 when the Americans won control in the American Revolution. 
Fort Howard was built in 1816 to guard the entrance to the state, and a community quickly grew up around the fortress. With its diverse geography, the state attracted immigrants from the British Isles, Scandinavia, and Eastern and Western Europe. Wisconsin’s first newspaper, the Green Bay Intelligencer was founded in 1833. Created in 1838, the borough of Green Bay is the center of the present-day city which was incorporated in 1854. 

Green Bay’s early history was dominated by the fur trade, but after gaining statehood in 1848, there was a shift toward lumbering. The population grew exponentially with census records showing 2,275 inhabitants in 1860, 4,666 in 1870, and 7,464 in 1880 (which is larger than my village here in New Hampshire). By the turn of the century, there were nearly twenty thousand residents of the city. 
In 1871, great fires encompassed Brown County and the surrounding counties of Door, Oconto, Shawano, Kewaunee, and Manitowoc kill at least one thousand people and rendering thousands more homeless and destitute. Contributions of money, food, clothing, and tools came from all over the world. 
Trains displaced steamboats as the main form of transportation during the 1870s, and the city became a manufacturing hub with five iron furnaces, and numerous lumber and paper mills. In addition, the
marshes along the bay consisted of huge beds of wild rice and wild celery that attracted large numbers of waterfowl. Men known as market hunters paddled through the marshes and flats hunting the birds which were sold to local meat markets as well as Milwaukee and Chicago. 
Do you find it surprising that Green Bay was such a hotbed of industry? 


About Vanessa's Replacement Valentine (releasing February 10, 2021, and now available for pre-order):

She’s running toward the future. He can’t let go of the past. Will these two hurting souls experience love in the present? 
Engaged to be married as part of a plan to regain the wealth her family lost during the War Between the States, Vanessa Randolph finds her fiancé in the arms of another woman weeks before the wedding. Money holds no allure for her, so rather than allow her parents to set her up with another rich bachelor she decides to become a mail-order bride. Life in Green Bay, Wisconsin seems to hold all the pieces of a fresh start until she discovers her prospective groom was a Union spy and targeted her parents during one of his investigations. Is her heart safe with any man? 
Eight years have elapsed since the Civil War ended, and Miles Andersen has almost managed to put the memories of those difficult years behind him. He’s finally ready to settle down, but the women in town are only interested in his money. A mail-order bride seems to be the answer until the woman who arrives brings the past crashing into the present. 
Can two wounded hearts find healing in the face of doubt, disappointment, and distrust? 

Vanessa’s Replacement Valentine: A Christian Mail-Order Bride Romance is a heartwarming addition to the Brides of Pelican Rapids and easily read as a standalone.

Pre-order Link:

Friday, January 8, 2021

Fiction Friday: New Releases for January

Fiction Friday: New Releases for January 

Check out these Christian and Clean-n-wholesome books coming out in January. Grab your copies today! You can find more in-depth descriptions of these books can be found on the ACFW Fiction Finder website

A Future for His Twins by Susanne Dietze -- Will these children get their greatest wish? (Contemporary Romance from Love Inspired [Harlequin])

For the Love of Joy by Janet W. Ferguson -- When she’s suddenly injured with not a soul to help her or her son, Joy is forced to rely on the man who has the most reasons to hate her. (Contemporary Romance, Independently Published) 

An Unexpected Arrangement by Heidi McCahan -- He needed a fresh start, but twin babies weren’t part of the plan... (Contemporary Romance, Love Inspired [Harlequin])

An Unlikely Proposal by Toni Shiloh -- For these two best friends, marriage could be their greatest test yet. (Contemporary Romance from Love Inspired [Harlequin])


All Through the Night by Tara Johnson -- When Joshua and Cadence unearth the workings of a secret society so vile, the course of their lives, and the war, could be altered forever. If they fight an enemy they cannot see, will the One who sees all show them the way in the darkest night? (Historical Romance from Tyndale House)

  Books Afloat by Delores Topliff -- Blaming herself for her childhood role in the Oklahoma farm truck accident that cost her grandfather’s life, Anne Mettles is determined to make her life count. Will she go it alone? Or will she team with the unlikely but (mostly) lovable characters? One is a saboteur, one an unlikely hero, and one, she discovers, is the man of her dreams. (Historical from Mantle Rock Publishing) 

Night Bird Calling by Cathy Gohlke -- With war brewing for the nation and for her newfound community, Lilliana must overcome a hard truth voiced by her young friend Celia: Wishing comes easy. Change don’t. (Historical from Tyndale House)


One for the Road by Mary Ellis -- Staying at an estranged relative’s B&B, Jill’s plan to uncover what makes the state’s bourbon tours so popular goes awry when she discovers a body at one of the distilleries and quickly becomes a suspect in a brutal murder. Can she navigate high-stakes bourbon rivalries, centuries-old family feuds and an ill-fated romance to catch a killer? (Cozy Mystery from Severn House)

Romantic Suspense:

Texas Witness Threat by Cate Nolan -- What do you do when you know you witnessed a crime and no one believes you, but the killers are still coming for you? (Romantic Suspense from Love Inspired [Harlequin])


Every Good Plan by Urcelia Teixeira -- Good fortune was always his best friend. Until it became his enemy! Adam Cross is back in another gripping Christian Suspense that will have you strapped to your favorite reading chair until you turn the very last page! (Thriller/Suspense, Independently published)

Young Adult:
Heart of the Crown by Hannah Currie -- The last place Lady Wenderley Davis ever expected to find herself after swearing off princes forever was living in a palace with two of them. Even if it is only temporary. And she did agree to it. Kind of. Against her better judgment. (Young Adult from WhiteFire Publishing)   

Plus check out these recent additions to Fiction Finder published within the past month:

Penelope Pumpernickel: Precocious Problem-Solver by MaryAnn Diorio - In this first of the delightful Penelope Pumpernickel Series of chapters books for six-to-ten-year-old children, Penelope Pympernickel learns that no matter how big a problem you face, there is always a way to solve it with God's help. (Children’s) 

The Inn at Cranberry Cove by June Foster - Can two people allow the majestic northwest and fragrant coastal air heal their wounded hearts? Will they discover the secret of The Inn at Cranberry Cove? (Contemporary Romance) 
The Rancher’s Family Secret by Myra Johnson - Despite their family feud, Spencer Navarro is determined to help his neighbor, Lindsey McClement, when she comes home to save her family ranch. And Lindsey returns the favor by allowing him to house his foster rescue horses in her empty barn stalls. But when the generations-long strife threatens their forbidden friendship, Spencer must choose between a new love and his family. (Contemporary Romance) 

William’s Cry, An Enid Gilchrist Mystery by Sylvia Anne Nash - When genealogist Enid Gilchrist is asked to unravel the family mystery surrounding a seventy-year-old baby blanket, she is intrigued. She expects the project to be a short one that will in no wise interfere with her long-awaited marriage to Chief of Police Patrick Mulhaney. When her short project unravels more threads than expected, both project and wedding plans run amuck as someone makes every effort to stop her investigation. (Cozy Mystery)

A Holiday Heart by Denise Weimer - When Ashlyn arrives at White Falls Lodge armed with cosmetic bags and designer shoes, little is she prepared to be stranded by a snowstorm, irritated by the handsome resort owner who seems determined to peel away her facade, and redirected by a God Ashlyn wants to forget, through Mamie Lou’s real gift … the secret story of her grandmother’s past. (Contemporary Romance)

Thursday, January 7, 2021

Talkshow Thursday: Welcome Michael Gryboski

Talkshow Thursday: Welcome Michael Gryboski 

Linda: Welcome to my blog. Congratulations on your latest release Memories of Lasting Shadows. What was the inspiration for the story? 
Michael: It began a couple of years ago when people were talking about President Donald Trump and his United States Supreme Court nominees possibly leading to the overturning of Roe v. Wade. Most experts believe that if the Supreme Court were to overturn Roe, the result would simply be the abortion debate going back to the states rather than a total nationwide ban on the controversial procedure.
However, I wanted to explore the extreme possibility. What if the Supreme Court, when striking down Roe, also decided to consider abortion itself to be unconstitutional? More notably, what would our nation look like forty years after that landmark decision was made? So begins the premise of my novel.  
LM: You are also a journalist. How does your approach to writing fiction differ from your nonfiction articles? How is it the same? 
Michael: There are considerable differences, partly because the formats are different. Most of my news articles are between 400 and 800 words long. My novels are tens of thousands of words long. My news articles usually include embedded links and me formatting things like related stories and selection and placement of photos. For my novels, my publishers are the ones who oversee format and imagery. 
Still, with both, I have to be scrupulous in what I say and how I convey ideas and perspectives. I strive to have qualitative work that can effectively convey important information and concepts to a general adult reading public. Factual accuracy is an important point for both as well, though obviously more important with news articles, where fewer liberties with the facts are tolerated. 
LM: What sort of research was required to prepare you to write the story, and did you find any tidbit(s) you knew you had to include? 
Michael: For the premise, I drew from my own academic knowledge of American history, having
earned a master’s in history that specialized in the South after the American Civil War. 
A key focus of my studies was popular cultural historical memory and the distortions thereof, as well as the debates over how history is taught in public schools. 
For the hypothetical future decision overturning Roe, I modeled the fallout from the actual Supreme Court decision of Brown v. Board of Education. The 1954 decision to strike down institutional racial segregation was met with great resistance when it was first issued, with several states and school boards refusing to enforce it. However, forty years later, which in this case would be 1994, support for institutional racial segregation was virtually nonexistent. 
As for tidbits, tracking modern debates over monuments and schools named for Confederate soldiers and segregationists was a key influencer on a subplot of the story. 
LM: Tell us a bit about your journey to publication and what lessons you learned along the way.

Michael: It was one of upheaval. From the early 2000s to 2014, I wrote the occasional book-length manuscript, but struggled to find any publisher who would print my work. In 2014, I finally had my first novel published by a small California-based publisher named Inknbeans Press. Through them, I had seven novels released. 
However, Inknbeans closed down at the end of 2017, throwing my work out of print and compelling me to spend several months looking for new publishers for my work. Thankfully, I ended up finding three small publishers who have released various books of mine since 2018. They are BOCH Publishing, Jan-Carol Publishing, and Ambassador International. 
Memories of Lasting Shadows
was the second book of mine released by Ambassador International, the first being A Spiral Into Marvelous Light. The biggest lesson I learned through all of this is that rejection is normal. No’s vastly outnumber yeses. However, yeses have greater power and thus vastly outweigh all the no’s. Also, be aggressive. Do not wait for a publisher to get back to you before querying another. Send out as many queries as you can at once. Follow-up, follow-up, follow-up. 
LM: Do you do anything special to prepare yourself for writing your stories? (e.g., listen to music, go for a run, etc.) 
Michael: Oftentimes, I play a game of chess on my laptop to stimulate my mind. Sometimes, I will have a specific song, religious or secular, that spurs me to focus on a given story I am working on. 
For example, with A Spiral Into Marvelous Light, I would get into the mentality of working on it by listening to Squire Parson’s rendition of “Beulah Land” and/or John Starnes’ rendition of “Midnight Cry.” Going on walks help, too. 

Walks are something I do to think through plot developments, dialogue, etc. Admittedly, there are times when I am going through the dialogue in my head while walking and I might mouth the words, possibly making any observant pedestrian conclude that I am a few ships short of an armada. 
LM: What is one piece of advice you can offer to fledgling writers? 

Michael: I have many pieces of advice. 

Know where you are going. Have your ending in mind before you start writing. Do not try to make it up as you go along or else you will find all sorts of frustrating errors. 
Do not trust your ability to edit. Make sure someone else sees your work first, especially someone willing and able to offer constructive critical feedback. 
Do your best to write for a bigger audience. Just because you like it, does not mean others will. Think about what others may want to see in your story. 
Do not be surprised if your first finished manuscript is garbage. It is likely going to be more of a
learning experience than a genuine classic in the making. As proud as I was of it as a teenager, in the present day I would never want to see my first finished manuscript published. A part of me wants to destroy the last remaining copies, just in case. 
Do not take this lightly. Realize that you will be devoting a lot of time to this, the writing and the editing. Then, unless you have some special connections, a lot of time finding a publisher. Even after the manuscript is published, unless you get a big publisher to release your work, you will need to do a lot of the promotion … that is, if you want to succeed. 

LM: Here are some quickies … Lakes or Mountains for vacation. 

Michael: Neither. I prefer staycations or the annual family beach trip. And the latter I only like because it is with family. 

LM: Dog or cat as a pet. 

Michael: I have had both and saw the ups and downs of both. At this point, though, the answer is neither. It was a lot easier to have pets when my mother was paying all the vet bills. 

LM: Movies or reading as a pastime: 

Michael: Movies. Especially ones from the twentieth century. 
LM: What is your next project? 

Michael: For Jan-Carol Publishing, I annually write installments for a suspense/mystery novel series titled Carla. Part three, Carla: The End of Reason, was released last September. Soon, I will be working on editing and finalizing part four, slated for release this coming fall. 

LM: Where can folks find you on the web? 

Michael: They can find me at these social media links:


About Memories of Lasting Shadows
: It has been forty years since the United States of America abolished abortion. The long debate, which brought so much division and discord, was finally brought to an end, and two generations of citizens have reached maturity in this new normal. 

United States Senator Benjamin Pettus was alive when choice was the law of the land. A doctor by profession, over the past several years, he has struggled to preserve a sweeping federal healthcare law he helped create. 

Roberta Sheridan was born and raised in a world where terminating an unborn child is both illegal and unthinkable. A devout Christian and principled journalist, Roberta is about to discover that the past is never truly gone.

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