Thursday, April 8, 2021

Talkshow Thursday: Welcome Rebecca Duvall Scott!

Talkshow Thursday: Welcome Rebecca Duvall Scott

Linda: Congratulations on your release When Dignity Came to Harlan. The story is inspired by your great-grandmother’s childhood. What made you decide to write the novel, and what is the significance of the title? 

Rebecca: When I was a little girl, my grandmother told me stories about our ancestors. My favorite was about her mother, who moved with her family in a covered wagon from Missouri to Kentucky in hope of building a better life. When they got to town, however, they were dirt poor, had no food, nor did they have a place to live! Not knowing what else to do, the parents parceled their daughters out to strangers to work for their room and board with the promise they’d be back for them… but they never came back. My great-grandmother was 5 years old at the time, and she grew up in a cruel foster home. Somehow, however, she overcame all the hardship with old-fashioned grit and faith and went on to marry and have 6 children. 

My family often calls me the story-keeper, and my great-grandmother’s story has been a part of me for as long as I can remember. It has been a dream come true to finally publish When Dignity Came to Harlan, but more than that, the truth in the story deserved to come to light so it could help countless other people like my great-grandmother feel less alone with the hardships in their own pasts. Based on true family history, this is a story of heartbreak and hope, challenges and perseverance, good and evil, justice, and merciful redemption. It exemplifies the human experience in all its many facets! 

I chose the title with great care. In the book, the main character is nicknamed Dignity by an old friend who peddles his wisdom along with his wares. He sees something in her that she doesn’t yet see in herself, but by the end of the story she not only understands what it means to have dignity – but she has taught the whole town the important life lesson as well. 

LM: You’ve also written non-fiction. How was the process of writing your novel different from non-fiction? The same? 

Rebecca: Interesting you ask because I often feel like two different authors in one body! My first published book was a self-help memoir about my son’s journey following a sensory processing disorder diagnosis. Sensational Kids, Sensational Families: Hope for Sensory Processing Differences chronicles all the research, interventions, and mindset shifts that helped our family most and is geared toward other struggling parents and professionals. While I blended in anecdotes that let my creative writing side shine – it just wasn’t the same as writing my beloved Christian historical fiction! 

When Dignity Came to Harlan worked within me for a long time. I grew to know these characters, inside and out, and love them as I do my own family. I could see their story unfolding and often holed-up for hours on end honing each scene with careful attention to detail. I wanted the reader to be pulled into the book, to see what they saw and feel what they felt. Where my memoir writing is more about getting the facts on the page, my fiction writing is like sculpting. You start with an idea like a lump of clay and work it, shaving pieces off and adding to, until it is just how you want it. 
LM: Research is an important aspect of writing. How did you go about researching When Dignity Came to Harlan

Rebecca: I wanted the period details throughout the book to be as accurate as possible, so I researched
Harlan, Kentucky to get an idea of the coal mines and landscape for the setting first. Since the story is set in the early 1900s, more specifically 1918-1920, I also researched little things, like when electric lights and indoor plumbing started coming into the homes, when covered wagons and early motorized vehicles could co-exist, and especially the legal system in Kentucky concerning rape and wife-beating. 

LM: What do you do to prepare yourself for writing (e.g. listen to music, set up in a certain place, etc.), and how do you juggle it with your other responsibilities? 

Rebecca: In addition to writing, I am married with two children, one of which has special needs, we homeschool, and I also direct a local homeschool cooperative organization. Busy is an understatement, especially now that I have two books out and am doing blogs, podcasts, news interviews, and marketing! Writing is not a chore to be added to the list, however. Writing is my safe place – a place away from the world where I can go to relax and unwind through endless creativity. 

I do not write every day, though… but you can believe that even if I’m not writing, I’m thinking about my next book. I think deeply about each story and let the details form in my mind and heart before I put pen to paper. Once inspired, however, life must stop. I hole up in a room to eat, sleep, and breathe the story until it is told. It usually takes me 1-2 weeks to draft a book from start to finish, and my family knows that when I’m in one of those writing spurts, they will scavenge and find their own meals, entertainment, and more while the house (dishes, laundry, cleaning) falls in around us. They are patient and kind, though, knowing that once the story is told, I will jump back in full steam as wife and mom. After a book is drafted, the real work begins. It takes anywhere from 3-6 months to go through a hand-picked editorial board and finally on to the publisher. Then I start imagining the next story… 

LM: What is one thing you wish you knew how to do? 

Rebecca: I wish I was more business-minded! I know many people who have great success in self-publishing, but I just can’t handle all the stress that goes with the behind-the-scenes. Writing the book is one thing, but getting it typeset, cover designed, uploaded with all that entails, and watching the backside of whatever distribution platform are skills just not in my wheelhouse. I am very lucky I married a CPA who is running the business portion of my author career, and I really love my publisher who is in my corner 100%. 

LM: What is the quirkiest thing you’ve ever done? 

Rebecca: When I was 14 years old, I won the Young Authors Contest at the school, county, and state levels. It was a big deal, and a reporter came to my house to photograph a “day in the life” type article. He wanted to know where I did most of my writing, so I put my notebook in my backpack and scaled about thirty feet into a tree in my front yard! There was a perfect fork I sat in when I wrote back then… but little did I know that picture would take up half the page in the local newspaper when the article released! I loved climbing way up there and getting lost in my own world, but I didn’t necessarily want to be known as the girl who wrote in trees for the rest of my adolescence! 

LM: What is your next project? 

Rebecca: I am currently working on the sequel to When Dignity Came to Harlan. It is drafted and beginning the editorial board phase. The Dignity Series will have at least 3 books in it, maybe more, and I also plan to write more in my memoir work, the Sensational Series. After that, who knows? Wherever God leads my heart. 

LM: Where can folks find you on the web? 

Rebecca: My website is a great place to connect – – and I’m also on social media. Here are a few of my handles: 

About When Dignity Came to Harlan: 

Skillfully written and sure to draw you into its pages, When Dignity Came to Harlan is set in the early 1900s and follows twelve-year-old Anna Beth Atwood as she leaves Missouri with her family dreaming of a better life in the coal-rich mountains of Harlan County, Kentucky. Anna Beth’s parents lose everything on the trip, however, and upon asking strangers to take their girls in until they get on their feet, Anna Beth and her baby sister are dropped into the home of Jack and Grace Grainger – who have plenty of problems of their own. Anna Beth suffers several hardships during her time in Harlan, and if it wasn’t for her humble and wise old friend who peddles his wisdom along with his wares, all would be lost. Take the journey with us and see how, with the unseen hand of God, one girl changed the heart and soul of an entire town.

Friday, April 2, 2021

Fiction Friday: New April Releases

April 2021 New Releases More in-depth descriptions of these books can be found on the ACFW Fiction Finder website

Speculative Fiction:

Traitor: Tales of the Mystics, Book 2 by Laurie Lucking -- Princess Penelope has finally found a way to redeem her past mistakes-if only it didn't require betraying her new fiancé. She has been the object of gossip and ridicule ever since she returned home in disgrace following her failed engagement to the Crown Prince of Imperia. When her father offers a new start in a country far across the sea, she has no choice but to accept. Even if it means another betrothal, this time to a total stranger. (Speculative Fiction/Romantic Fantasy from Love2ReadLove2Write Publishing)

General Contemporary:

Where Grace Appears by Heidi Chiavaroli -- A contemporary twist on the well-loved classic, Little Women, readers will fall in love with the Martin family—Maggie, Josie, Lizzie, Bronson, Amie, and their mother Hannah—each trying to find their own way in the world and each discovering that love, home, and hope are closer than they appear. (General Contemporary from Hope Creek Publishers)

Second Helpings by Linda Wood Rondeau -- Can her marriage be saved? Today is Jocelyn Johnson’s forty-fifth birthday. Unhappy with her marriage of twenty-two years, she has planned a noonday tryst with her talk-show cohost. A phone call from her college daughter, a peek into her teenaged son’s journal, a sick preschooler, a Goth daughter’s identity crisis, a middle-school son’s prank, and her husband’s inflamed suspicions, not only interfere with her hopeful birthday plans but throw her family into more chaos than a circus on steroids. (General Contemporary from Elk Lake)

Contemporary Romance:

Bookshop by the Sea by Denise Hunter -- It’s finally time for Sophie Lawson to follow her own pursuits. Brother Seth has a new job, and sister Jenna is set to marry her college beau in Piper’s Cove. But the destination wedding reunites Sophie with best man Aiden Maddox, her high school sweetheart who left her without a backward glance. When an advancing hurricane strands Aiden in Piper’s Cove after the wedding, he finds the hotels booked to capacity and has to ask Sophie to put him up until the storm passes. As the two ride out the weather, old feelings rise to the surface. The delay also leaves Sophie with mere days to get her bookshop up and running. Can she trust Aiden to stick around? And will he find the courage to risk his heart? (Contemporary Romance from Harper Collins Christian Publishing)

General Historical:

The Storm Breaks Forth by Terri Wangard -- World War I rages in Europe, and now the United States joins in. Peter Bloch heads to France with the Wisconsin National Guard, but his wife Maren is the one under attack. She’s German born, and anti-German hysteria is running high. Simple suggestions for coping with wartime measures lead Maren into an active role in the community, but her service doesn’t help deflect suspicion from her. Zealous patriots target her with a vengeance. Peter caught the eye of a major who seems intent on using him as a spy. He’s been fortunate to avoid injury so far, but these activities are likely to get him killed. (General Historical, Independently Published)
Historical Romance:

Bent Tree Bride by Denise Weimer -- Susanna Moore can’t get him out of her mind—the learned lieutenant who delivered the commission from Andrew Jackson making her father colonel of the Cherokee Regiment. But the next time she sees Lieutenant Sam Hicks, he’s leading a string of prisoners into a frontier fort, and he’s wearing the garb of a Cherokee scout rather than the suit of a white gentleman. As both Susanna’s father and Sam’s commanding officer, Colonel Moore couldn’t have made his directive to stay away from his daughter clearer to Sam. He wants a better match for Susanna—like the stuffy doctor who escorted her to Creek Territory. Then a suspected spy forces Moore to rely on Sam for military intelligence and Susanna’s protection, making it impossible for either to guard their heart. (Historical Romance from Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas)

Biltmore Girl by Dawn Klinge -- New York City, 1968. Elka Hansen, a former teen cover girl, is done with modeling. Now she's a hostess for the Palm Court restaurant in the beautiful Biltmore Hotel. As she sees it, Elka's other job is to watch out for her younger sister, Colleen, an idealistic but reckless college student at Barnard. With her sister, Elka attends her first civil-rights protest, and there, she runs into Jacob Lewis, a co-worker from the Biltmore. He's a student at Columbia University and a friend of Colleen's. Jacob becomes an unexpected ally when rescuing her sister from trouble becomes more than Elka can handle independently. Out of this turmoil, a romance grows between Jacob and Elka, but can it last? (Historical Romance, Independently Published)

Rekindling Trust by Sandra Ardoin -- Abandonment. Betrayal. Injustice. Two broken hearts given a second chance to mend. Widow Edythe Westin yearns for a peaceful home and independence from her controlling father. The goal seems within reach until her rebellious young son is suspected of arson and assault. With nowhere else to turn, she defies her father and appeals for help from the only man she ever loved—the man who once deserted her when she needed him most. (Historical Romance, Independently Published)

Blue Plate Special by Susan Page Davis -- Campbell McBride drives to her father’s house in Murray, Kentucky, dreading telling him she’s lost her job as an English professor. Her father, Bill McBride, isn’t there or at his office in town. His brash young employee, Nick Emerson, says Bill hasn’t come in this morning, but he did call the night before with news that he had a new case. When her dad doesn’t show up by late afternoon, Campbell and Nick decide to follow up on a phone number he’d jotted on a memo sheet. They learn who last spoke to her father, but they also find a dead body. The next day, Campbell files a missing persons report. When Bill’s car is found, locked and empty in a secluded spot, she and Nick must get past their differences and work together to find him. (Mystery from Scrivenings Press LLC)

Spring Betrayal by Sally Jo Pitts -- It was supposed to be a routine investigation—catch the cheatin’ spouse of a client. And the perks weren’t bad either—set up shop at a luxury resort. So yes, Robert Grey and Jane Carson from Grey Investigations are on the job. But when they discover the suspect is a princess wrongfully accused of abdicating and her companion dies under suspicious circumstances, the investigators find themselves in the middle of a Caribbean conspiracy to overthrow a monarchy. Suddenly Jane must take the place of the princess to secure the throne of an island nation. Can Grey Investigations untangle a royal mess before a revolution overtakes paradise? (Mystery/Crime from Winged Publications)


Long Shadows by Cathe Swanson -- Mona Vickers isn't running. Not hiding. She and the girls are just keeping a low profile until she's done with school and gets a good job. She doesn't need charity, especially not from Roy Strough and the Unity Plenkiss Community Center, either. But when the past catches up with her, she needs to decide who she can trust. (Thriller/Suspense/Romance, Independently Published)

Present Danger by Elizabeth Goddard -- Former FBI Special Agent Jack Tanner is working as a detective in Montana when he comes across a body in the national forest during a search and rescue mission. He's committed to finding the killer, even if it means working alongside his old flame, US Forest Service Special Agent Terra Connors. When Terra discovers that the murder victim had ties to a powerful and dangerous trafficker of archaeological artifacts, the investigation takes a deadly turn--one that hits too close to home. As Terra fears she lacks the courage to face what comes next, Jack is more determined than ever to protect her. But he's failed her before. And if he fails this time, it will cost them far more than just their hearts. (Thriller/Suspense/Romance from Revell)

Shielding the Amish Witness by Mary Alford -- Seeking refuge in Amish country puts everyone she loves in danger. On the run after discovering her brother-in-law was behind her husband’s murder, Faith Cooper can think of only one safe place—her Amish grandmother’s home. But when danger follows Faith to the quiet Amish community, her childhood friend Eli Shetler is her only protection. And their survival depends on outlasting a relentless killer…one who has nothing left to lose. (Thriller/Suspense/Romance from Love Inspired/Harlequin)

Fifty Days by Katie Vorreiter -- Three days ago, Maggie Lehman’s beloved mentor and friend, Jarrett Adams, was murdered on live television. Grief stricken, Maggie traverses a Washington DC under curfew, but when she arrives at the morgue, the body is missing—and her presence is recorded on the security video. As dawn breaks over the city, Maggie encounters Jarrett on the street—and he’s very much alive. Either she’s gone mad—again—or Jarrett really is back. While the US loses its grip on democracy, government thugs eager to contain what Maggie knows hound her every step, and the good intentions of a man from her past only tighten the noose. The powerless and bewildered Maggie seeks Jarrett and the return to how things were, but finds she must give up what she wants most to gain what she can hardly imagine. (Thriller/Suspense/Supernatural from Elk Lake Publishing)
Plus check out these recent additions to Fiction Finder published within the past month:
The Vanishing at Loxby Manor by Abigail Wilson, After five years abroad, Charity Halliwell finally returns to Loxby Manor, the home of dear friends—and her lost love. When her friend, Seline, disappears the very night of her arrival, Charity is determined to uncover the truth. (Historical Mystery)

Hunt for Grace by Andrew Huff, First he left the CIA. Then he left pastoral ministry. Now John Cross has been imprisoned in one of Great Britain's most infamous prisons. Has he reached the end of his rope? Or is this another move in a dangerous spy game? (Thriller/Suspense)

Sword of Trust by DebbieLynn Costello, The stakes are high, secrets prevail, and treason is just a kiss away. (Historical Romance)

Deadly Heartbreak by Marissa Shrock, Georgia discovers a limerick scrawled on the wall of her kitchen that dares her to solve a mystery designed specifically for her. A mystery that promises to be quite deadly. For her. For Cal. And for anyone who gets in the murderer’s way. (Cozy Mystery)

Secondhand Sunsets by Gail Kittleson, The day’s warmth still hovered, and with it, a sense that all was well. The sky flamed for several more minutes. This beauty and my love for you are one. She hugged the message close. “Perhaps, after all, I am loved.” (Historical Romance)

The Egyptian Princess: A Story of Hagar by KD Holmberg, Torn between the silent gods of Egypt and the powerful presence that surrounds Sarai, Hagar's world falls apart around her. She must acknowledge the terrible price of truth, and decide for herself who she will serve. (General Historical)

Love and Joy by Elsie Davis, Can these two put their differences aside long enough to discover what’s really important? (Contemporary Romance)

Dreams Rekindled by Amanda Cabot, But before romance can bloom, Dorothy and Brandon must work together to discover who's determined to divide the town and destroy Brandon's livelihood. (Historical Romance)

Amish Midwives by Amy Clipson, Shelley Shepherd Gray, and Kelly Long, From bestselling authors of Amish Fiction come three sweet stories about new life, hope, and romance. (Amish Romance)

Inheritance by Colleen K. Snyder, Three hundred MILLION dollars. Your inheritance. Buy anything you want, go anywhere you want, do anything you want. All yours. Except… (Thriller/Suspense)

Thursday, April 1, 2021

Talkshow Thursday: Welcome back, Terri Wangard!

Talkshow Thursday: Welcome back, Terri Wangard!

Linda: Congratulations on your upcoming release The Storm Breaks Forth. What was your inspiration for this story? 

Terri: My last book, Roll Back the Clouds, was about the Lusitania disaster. The main characters lived next door to Peter and Maren Bloch, who lent themselves very nicely to this story. I’ve wanted to do a story with German immigrants to Wisconsin, as so many of my ancestors were. They came mostly in the 1870s-1880s, but this story still allowed me to explore the German heritage of Milwaukee. 

LM: Set during WWI, the book explores the anti-German feelings that were prevalent in the U.S. at the time. Race and prejudice are currently hot topics. Did you set out to address those themes, and how can readers relate your historical story to today? 

Terri: I wasn’t thinking of the political mayhem so much when I started, but it certainly mirrors the times. While I was writing, the Covid pandemic began. That echoes the Spanish flu pandemic which is featured in The Storm Breaks Forth. The good news is, the flu pandemic died down and life continued. The political situation eased in the 1920s, but I don’t see a parallel with today. 

LM: Research is an important aspect of writing, especially historical fiction, and you obviously take it seriously, having flown in a WWII B-17 Bomber. What sort of things did you do to research The Storm Breaks Forth? 

Terri: Nothing as exciting as riding in a Flying Fortress! I found excellent books about Milwaukee and
the Wisconsin National Guard in World War 1. I read a lot about before America joined the war, when there was so much static trench warfare, that gave me a real flavor of the war. I saw the movie 1917, which allowed me to see an underground bunker. That was so helpful. 

LM: How did the pandemic impact your writing? 

Terri: It barely did. I’m naturally isolated, working in a home office. The library did close for a while. That hurt, because I needed one of my main sources to verify events. When curbside service was offered, I was first in line, and I kept renewing that book until I finished writing. 

LM: Your Promise for Tomorrow series is set during WWII, and your last two books are set in the era of the Great War. What differences do you see between the time periods? Similarities? 

Terri: Clothing, hair, and opportunities are the big differences for women, who didn’t have the vote yet. Also, the army relied on horses and mules for transport in WWI. Women worked in factories in both wars. And both had rationing. I think the nation pulled together more in WWII than WWI. The country was a lot more fractured by the war hysteria. German-Americans were tarred and feathered, hounded by vigilantes, even a lynching. 

LM: What is your favorite time period and why are you drawn to that particular era? 

Terri: My first book is set during WWII because I based it on family history. Plus, I enjoy reading WWII books. I switched to WWI because the Lusitania fascinates me, and The Storm Breaks Forth is a natural extension to Roll Back the Clouds. And with Storm, I’m imagining what life was like for my family in Milwaukee. Family history in other time periods also tempts me to write in those settings (although I doubt I will). So, family history is my pull. Leaving the family out of it, I think I’m more drawn to WWII and am now exploring a new writing project in that era. Why? Maybe because I’ve read more and watched more movies and TV shows on WWII. 
LM: How do you juggle working full time with your writing career? 

Terri: My writing takes place on weekends. During the week, I’ll research. If I wake up in the middle of the night and a scene starts unfolding, I’ll write it down because I’ll be sure to forget otherwise. But I can’t write for an hour early in the morning or at night. Just doesn’t work for me. I spend enough time on the computer during the day. 

LM: What is your next project? 

Terri: Next is a novella that was partially published. It started as a short story in The Hope of Christmas historical collection. Then known as “The Christmas Typhoon,” it featured a sailor’s point of view, with letters from his girlfriend. Now Evelyn’s point of view has been added. Rather than being a Rosie the Riveter, she’s a Winnie the Welder, building submarines. 

LM: Where can folks find you on the web? 

Twitter: @terriwangard 
Instagram: @terriwangard 

About The Storm Breaks Forth: 

World War I rages in Europe, and now the United States joins in. Peter Bloch heads to France with the Wisconsin National Guard, but his wife Maren is the one under attack. She’s German-born, and anti-German hysteria is running high. 

Simple suggestions for coping with wartime measures lead Maren into an active role in the community, but her service doesn’t help deflect suspicion from her. Zealous patriots target her with a vengeance.

Peter caught the eye of a major who seems intent on using him as a spy. He’s been fortunate to avoid injury so far, but these activities are likely to get him killed. Peter and Maren dream of the day they will be reunited, but more and more, that day appears to be a mirage.