Still Waters by Lindsey Brackett

I’m so happy to welcome Southern fiction author, Lindsey Brackett, to our blog. Lindsey is a general editor with Firefly Southern Fiction, an imprint of LPC Books. In addition, she writes a popular column for several North Georgia newspapers.  So what’s she up to these days? Promoting her debut novel, Still Waters

Tell us a little about yourself and your background.

Lindsey:  I’m a former middle school teacher who always wanted to be a writer. When I started blogging in 2010, finally letting others read my words, the response was so encouraging, I left teaching to stay home and raise babies in 2011. This book had been in the back of my mind for a decade, little bits written here and there, but no doubt it wouldn’t be the book it is now if I hadn’t taken such a roundabout way to writing. I’ve been a MOPS coordinator, I direct and act in plays at the community theater (that’s my college background—theater), and I often volunteer at the local schools to talk about writing.. and wrangle the theater kids because I do love that stage.

What genre are your books? What draws you to this genre?

Lindsey: I keep myself as open as possible by calling it southern fiction—though Still Waters has hit many labels: women’s fiction, romance, even a little literary. Literary fiction is usually my genre of choice because I love language. I’m always much more concerned with the way the words fit together than what is actually happening in the story. Sometimes I think I should be a poet. But if a story is well-told with strong characters, an engaging plot, and beautiful language, I’m sold. I love southern fiction because it’s my background and I’m constantly trying to examine and understand both the South as I knew it twenty years ago, as my parents knew it fifty years ago, with the “New South” we are now. There are lovely, encouraging aspects about this region and its people—as well as the hardships and realities we like to ignore.

Do you work to an outline or prefer to see where an idea takes you?

Lindsey:  Total pantser. I always just start writing with a loose plot outline in my head—as in, I know where this is going, I’m just not sure how we’re going to get there. Usually I can plot about a scene or two ahead. But the truth is, I write like I play chess. I know a few moves, but I don’t have a great overlying strategy formed. I have to get words on the page before I can go back and work on the big picture.

What is the hardest thing about writing?

Lindsey: Realizing scenes I love and worked so hard on will have to go. Recognizing that the plot line I thought was good is weak and needs more tension. Discovering that my characters need more depth than I’m allowing them to have, which means I need to change their circumstances. So, in short, revising, revising, revising. The perfectionist tendencies don’t help.

Where do you see yourself in five years?

Lindsey: I’d love to be multi-published and reasonably well-known across the Christian and general fiction markets. But mostly, five years from now, I’d like to see myself not stressed about staring down two kids headed to college because I wrote some books and those books did well and I’m helping support my family with a job I love. Also (this is the ideal) I’d like to have a personal assistant and a housekeeper. Big dreams. #goals 🙂

I need to add assistant and housekeeper to my dreams also. 🙂 Thanks for dropping by, Lindsey!

Click to tweet:  Southern fiction author Lindsey Brackett debuts novel, Still Waters. #amreading #InspiredPrompt


Still Waters

Cora Anne Halloway has a history degree and a plan—avoid her own past despite being waitlisted for graduate school. Then her beloved grandmother requests—and her dispassionate mother insists—she spend the summer at Still Waters, the family cottage on Edisto Beach.

Despite its picturesque setting, Still Waters haunts her with loss. Here her grandfather died, her parents’ marriage disintegrated, and as a child, she caused a tragic drowning. But lingering among the oak canopies and gentle tides, this place also tempts her with forgiveness—especially since Nan hired Tennessee Watson to oversee cottage repairs. A local contractor, but dedicated to the Island’s preservation from development, Tennessee offers her friendship and more, if she can move beyond her guilt over his father’s death.

When the family reunion brings to light Nan’s failing health, Cora Anne discovers how far Tennessee will go to protect her—and Edisto—from more desolation. Now she must choose between a life driven by guilt, or one washed clean by the tides of grace.


 Award-winning writer Lindsey P. Brackett once taught middle grades literature, but now she writes her own works in the midst of motherhood. A blogger since 2010, she has published articles and short stories in a variety of print and online publications including Thriving Family, Country Extra, HomeLife, Northeast Georgia Living, Splickety Magazine, Spark Magazine, and Southern Writers Magazine.

In both 2015 and 2017, she placed in the top ten for Southern Writers Magazine Best Short Fiction. Previously, Lindsey served as Editor of Web Content for the Splickety Publishing Group, and currently she is a general editor with Firefly Southern Fiction, an imprint of LPC Books. In addition, she writes a popular column for several North Georgia newspapers.

Still Waters, influenced by her family ties to the South Carolina Lowcountry, is her debut novel. A story about the power of family and forgiveness, it’s been called “a brilliant debut” with “exquisite writing.” A Georgia native, Lindsey makes her home—full of wet towels, lost library books, and strong coffee—at the foothills of Appalachia with her patient husband and their four rowdy children.

Connect with her at www.lindseypbrackett.com, where she Just Writes Life, on Facebook as Lindsey P. Brackett, on Instagram @lindseypbrackett, or on Twitter @lindsbrac.

A Third Grandmother

By Darcy Fornier

For this month’s theme “It Happened in the Last Twenty Years,” any story from my life could fit. But I want to tell you about a person who left her impression on my life for always.

When I was young, my family attended a little white church atop a grassy hill with large maples framing the front. A postcard-worthy church. My mom attended there as a girl, and a sweet older lady by the name of Ada Mae took Mom under her wing.

I think if I had to describe Ada Mae in one word, it would be sweet. She had a beautiful smile and the warmest hugs. She’d set you straight if she needed to, but you never doubted she genuinely loved you.

I can vaguely remember being very small and visiting her house. Her husband Vernon loved to collect knick-knacks: seashells, little onyx carvings, glass baubles–things irresistible to little fingers. The coffee table overflowed with them, and no one was the least bit concerned I might break something. I mean, they told me to be careful, but not in such a way it inhibited my fun.

In 2005, when I was ten, Grandma Ada Mae needed surgery, and Grandpa Vernon was bedridden at that point with severe diabetes. So our family stayed at their house with him since Mom is a nurse and could care for him. My sisters and I loved it. The house was cluttered with years of things that had come in while no one ever cleared anything out. Some rooms were off-limits, but Grandma let us dress up in her old-fashioned dresses, rearrange her artificial flowers, and play house in her front room with all its old furniture.

Grandpa Vernon didn’t talk a whole lot whenever we visited, but he had been a pastor, and he loved to talk about the Lord. I loved to hear him and wish I could remember more of it. Sometimes in the evenings we’d get out hymnbooks and sing. I loved to hear Grandma Ada Mae pray. I couldn’t possibly imitate her—and it would sound strange if I tried—but her voice’s pitch rose and fell and the words flowed almost as if she were singing. She was talking to the Lord with her whole heart, and it was the most natural thing in the world.

I was thirteen and we were living out of state when Grandpa Vernon died. Grandma Ada Mae had severe rheumatoid arthritis, but she stayed in her home.

In 2010, between the sale of one house and the purchase of another, we lived with her for a month. That was fun. I loved to hear her stories of growing up during the Depression in the northeast Georgia mountains. She had a great sense of humor and loved a good wise-crack or practical joke.

Sometimes we helped clean her house, but she preferred to leave most of the clutter alone. She always had the television on, from years of living alone: the news three times a day, Christian channels in between, and game shows in the evenings. Late at night before bed, she’d read Grandpa Vernon’s super-giant-print Bible.

I got to know her even better that month we shared her house. We had such a good time. I haven’t enough room to tell you about all the little things that are so special to look back on.

In the spring of 2011, Grandma Ada Mae threw some fertilizer on Grandpa Vernon’s azaleas. She lost her balance and fell on the driveway, breaking her hip. Thank the Lord she always carried a cordless phone with her, just in case. Due to complications, her surgery was delayed a few days. In the meantime, the hospital gave her blood thinner to prevent blood clots from reaching her brain, heart, or lungs. Instead of a clot, she had a cerebral hemorrhage.

A person is never the same after a brain bleed. Grandma’s hip healed, but after a month of physical therapy, she still couldn’t return home. So, a year after we’d moved out of her house, she moved in with us.

But she wasn’t the same person. She didn’t always know us, so she didn’t trust us. We wanted so badly for her to get well. I was glad to help with her exercise, her baths, her eating, everything. But she grew weaker and more confused. Her lucid moments were precious, but they made the continuous confusion even harder to handle emotionally. Our life revolved around her, and it was stressful. Sometimes her biological daughter and grandson would stay with her for a few hours so our whole family could have a break.

Finally, on October 31, she passed away. (She would have laughed over that date, too.) That was the hardest loss I’ve experienced in my twenty-two years. I love my biological grandparents, but with Ada Mae, I never doubted her acceptance. She loved me, and prayed for me, and was proud of me no matter what.

I still miss her. So much.

Blood doesn’t necessarily make a family. Family takes unconditional love. Best of all is the family bound together by Jesus’ love. And that was Grandma Ada Mae for me.

Click to tweet: Grandma Ada Mae had a beautiful smile and the warmest hugs. #Family #InspiredPrompt

Writing prompt: Think of someone who has been family to you, even though you weren’t related. Describe them, or capture a favorite memory of them, in one sentence.


Darcy Fornier (pronounced forn-yay) believes the best stories provide clean, compelling entertainment while also provoking the reader to think about life in a new way. She’s been spinning stories ever since she learned how to play “pretend,” and she has seriously pursued writing since 2013.

When she isn’t writing, editing, or dreaming up a story, you might find her washing dishes, “dissolved” in a book, playing the piano, hiking in the woods, singing at the top of her lungs, or talking up a storm with her sisters. At six years old, she gave her heart to Jesus, and she lives to know Him more. She makes her home with her parents and two younger sisters, wherever that happens to be.

Readers can find me at my blog:

https://peculiarmissdarcy.wordpress.com

And on Facebook:

https://www.facebook.com/DarcyFornierWriter

3 Questions Wednesday with Ada Brownell

Welcome back to 3 Questions Wednesday, author and newspaper woman, Ada Brownell.

Great deal alert! Ada’s latest novel, Peach Blossom Rancher, is on sale for 99 cents tomorrow, Oct. 19, here: http://ow.ly/4ETL302QdhW

Now that you know how to buy the book, let’s get to the first question:

What inspires you?

Ada:  A person with an active imagination and a workaholic personality finds ideas everywhere. When I see an interesting person, somebody with an unusual quality about them, I get inspired to create a character like him. The experiences my parents, siblings and other relatives used to tell about inspired me and I wrote articles, stories and books. I get inspired in church, and sometimes take notes and end up with an article of my own, or ghostwrite with the speaker. The truths I find in God’s Word give me a reason to write. When I can’t sleep I get ideas for new endeavors, or work out the kinks in something in progress.

I sometimes take notes at church too. 🙂 God is amazing!

Next question is a bit of fun–

You’re a new addition to the crayon box. What color would you be and why?

Ada:  I’d rather be the color of cream, but I admit I’m red. It’s in my DNA. I am a redhead, today out of bottle, but I was born with an auburn top, and the blonde in it only shined light on the brilliance. Especially in my youth, I blushed easily. I have a temper that the Lord has worked on for years, but somehow my grit and the fire God put in me is behind my success as a writer and newspaper woman.

Good choice. Red is the color of fire and blood, so it is associated with energy, war, danger, strength, power, determination as well as passion, desire, and love…

As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?

Ada: I wanted to be a secretary. Yet, I had experience leading youth and teaching Sunday school so I expected I could combine that with being a secretary. As a youth leader at age 15, I started selling ideas for youth services to a youth magazine. I expanded to articles. Then I enrolled in a Christian writers’ course, and the instructor suggested I write for newspapers to get experience. After I married, I became a correspondent in a little town and when we moved I got a job as a staff reporter. I was hired by The Pueblo Chieftain because of the stack of published Christian articles I had. I later earned my bachelor’s degree in mass communications.

 What an interesting road to take on your writing journey. Ada, thanks so much for taking time out of your busy schedule to answer our 3 Questions.

Readers, Ada is offering a Kindle copy of Peach Blossom Rancher, to one blessed reader. Just leave a comment in the comments section below to be entered to win.

Click to tweet: Meet author and newspaper woman, Ada Brownell. #WriterWednesday #3QuestionsWednesday

Here’s more information about the book:


Peach Blossom Rancher

Sequel to The Lady Fugitive, second in Peaches and Dreams series

A handsome young man with a ranch in ruin and a brilliant doctor confined to an insane asylum because of one seizure. Yet their lives intersect. How will they achieve their dreams?

John Lincoln Parks yearns for a wife to help make the ranch all it should be after his uncle, a judge, ravaged it before he was murdered. John has his eye on his sister Jenny’s elegant matron of honor, Valerie MacDougal, a young widow. But Valerie, a law school graduate, returns to Boston to live since her little son was born. John and Valerie write, he’s kissed her a few times, but while in Boston Valerie and one of her father’s law partners try to get three patients wrongfully judged as insane out of the Boston asylum.

Will John marry Valerie or Edwina Jorgenson, the feisty rancher-neighbor who has been in love with John since they were in grade school? Edwina’s father is in a wheelchair and she’s taking care of their ranch. John tries to help and protect this neighbor who has a Peeping Tom whose bootprints are like the person’s who dumped a body in John’s barn. But John and Edwina fuss at one another constantly. Will John even marry, or be hanged for the murder?

Here’s a comment from Deirdre Lockhart at Brilliant Cut Editing: “By the way, I want Polly to live near me. Not just for the food, which made my mouth water, but she made my spirit sing too. I feel my absolute faith a little stronger after living with her and Abe this week.”

Buy Peach blossom rancher here: http://ow.ly/4ETL302QdhW


 Ada Brownell’s latest novel is Peach Blossom Rancher and on sale for .99 Oct. 19 here: http://ow.ly/4ETL302QdhW

A handsome young man inherits a ranch in ruin and a brilliant doctor is confined to an insane asylum because of one seizure. Yet their lives intersect.

Angle and light make all the difference in Ada Brownell’s writing. A different angle and light will illuminate important facts for a newspaper story, create interesting characters for a novel, or important truths for a non-fiction inspirational article or book. The author’s perspective, discovered by years of praying for wisdom, hearing the Word and studying Scripture, is best described by her brand, “Stick-to-Your-Soul Encouragement.”

September Winners

October already? Where did September go? And why am I so late announcing our latest winners? Well, that’s a story in itself.  No time for that but we do have a few winners to discuss.

Are you on our list?

Lindsey P. Brackett’s book, Still Waters, has been won by Jacqueline Kimball. Congrats!

LelandandBecky have been picked to win a copy of Lynn U. Watson’s book, The Essence of Courage. Congratulations!

Brenda S. Anderson’s latest book, Planting Hope, goes to donnabrookmyer !

A big THANK YOU to all our faithful readers for taking the time to stop by and comment.

And keep watching.  We’ll be posting details of our next contest soon…

 

A Lot Can Happen in 10 Years!

by Harriet E. Michael

When I thought about this topic, so many things came to my mind. So much has happened in the last 10 years, nationally, internationally, with friends, with my family, and with me. It was hard to decide what to write about. I chose the single biggest change in my personal life that has occurred in the last 10 years.

10 years ago, I was not a published writer!

typewriter

Writing is a new work God is doing in my old age. It’s a huge blessing to me and I can only hope it blesses others too. I thank Him daily for opening these doors, even though as is often the case, it was born out of adversity—from a difficult and even dark time in my life that started in the summer of 2003.

By 2009, I had an unpublished manuscript written on the topic of prayer. This is what later became my book, “Prayer: It’s Not About You” which started out four years earlier as a journaling exercise as I sought to learn more about prayer. Interested in writing, I attended the Kentucky Christian Writer’s Conference, hoping to learn how to get a manuscript published. I came home thinking that goal was not achievable, unless I self-published but I had learned three things: 1) I knew very little about the publishing world, even after the conference, 2) I have editing issues. 3) I didn’t have a platform.

I now know that a writer can pay an editor, and hire out other parts of the publishing process and turn out a good independently-published book. But at the time, getting a book out seemed impossible.

itsawriterthing.tumbler

Writing still intrigued me. Actually, it did more than that; it pulled like a magnet. I had words I wanted to share and had spent the previous four years honing my ability to put them down on paper. (Learning to write on a computer came later. My 60,000+ word manuscript and my first few articles and devotions were all hand-written and transcribed onto a computer.)

The wheels started turning in my head. If I could start getting small pieces published, then I would be scratching that writing itch while building an income and a platform. So, I sat at my kitchen table one day, shortly after returning from the writer’s conference, sharing my thoughts with my daughter. I sheepishly told her about the great workshop on how to freelance small pieces and confessed my desire to try my hand at it. But who did I think I was fooling? I was not a writer.

My daughter looked up from her orange juice and said profound words that jump-started my writing career. She said, “You know mom, the average American reader only reads at a sixth-grade level.”

I burst out laughing and replied, “I can write at that level!”

And I sat down immediately and began transcribing a devotion I had handwritten in my journal onto my computer to send to The Upper Room. That devotion, titled, “The Day of Small Things” based on the question posed in Zechariah 4:10, “For who has despised the day of small things?” became the first piece I ever submitted. It was not the first piece I ever had published, because it takes a very long time from submission to publication with some devotional magazines. It was published a year and a half later in the February 2011.

Today I have somewhere around 200 small pieces published in magazines, devotionals, anthologies (more if you count each individual devotion separately). The places I have been published as a freelance writer include: Chicken Soup for the Soul, several Lifeway magazines and their devotional, Open Windows, several David C. Cook and Standard Publishing magazines, The War Cry, Upper Room, The Secret Place (just to name a few).

Now I also have three books published, both independently and traditionally, two more under contract to be released this winter and next summer, and others at different stages of publication.

And, to think that 10 years ago, I was not a writer. Today, I cannot imagine not writing! I think I have finally figured out what I want to be when I grow up.

freedom

(Click to Tweet) I think I have finally figured out what I want to be when I grow up. #amwriting #freelance

Writing Prompt: Ben highlighted, then deleted every word of the story he’d spent two hours creating. Now what?

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