3 Questions Wednesday with Tiffany Amber Stockton

Tiff_headshot_lowresToday we welcome author Tiffany Amber Stockton, to 3 Questions Wednesday!

Hi, Tiffany! So glad you stopped by. First question.

Which author would you never get tired of, and why?

Tiffany: Tracie Peterson, Francine Rivers, or Tamera Alexander. I’m sorry. I couldn’t narrow it down to just one. 🙂 These three ladies do a phenomenal job of crafting engaging characters blended with a compelling storyline, and they weave in the growth along with historical details in such a way that has you learning history as well as the Bible without it being shoved it in your face. It’s a smooth integration leaving you with an enjoyable, uplifting, and informative story every time.

Great historical authors, for sure. They also write a good villain.

Who is your favorite fictional villain?

Tiffany: Are you asking about a villain I’ve created, or one in a book I’ve read? If it’s a villain in one of my books, that would have to be Aaron Cavanaugh in my Wyoming Paintbrush series. My agent is shopping the series with several publishers, and we should hear news of a contract before the end of this year. Aaron isn’t exactly a villain in terms of an intention to harm solely for his own gain. I would probably consider him more of an antagonist present in all three books of the series, one who interferes with the key characters in the stories but also one who finds his own redemption in the end.

Now, a villain in a book I’ve read? That would be a lot harder. It isn’t often I read stories with a true villain as opposed to an antagonist, but the “nod” would have to go to Somerled MacDonald of Grace in Thine Eyes by Liz Curtis Higgs. Although I absolutely hated the ending and what happened to him, that’s a sign of a well-crafted villain. When a reader doesn’t want harm to come to the villain, that character is both compelling and multi-dimensional. Liz definitely achieves both in this book.

Many people enjoy a “redeemed” villain. 🙂 Last question.

What project are you currently working on?

Tiffany: As mentioned above, I have the Wyoming Paintbrush series, but I also have a historical series based on Chincoteague Island in Virginia, home to the famous Chincoteague ponies brought to fictional life by Marguerite Henry with Misty of Chincoteague. That series is my focus right now, as I have an editor interested in publishing it. Guess I’d better finish up with these blog appearances and promotions and get back to work on my writing. *grins*

Thank you so much, Jennifer, for allowing me to visit here on your blog. For those reading this, if you answer either one of the following two questions, you’ll be entered into a drawing for the chance at a free autographed copy of one of my books.
1. Have you ever experienced a painful event from your past that has prevented you from moving forward until you offered forgiveness? What were you able to do after you forgave that you weren’t able to do before?
2. Do you have a friend who is the complete opposite of you yet for some reason the friendship you have works in spite of you both being so different? Why do you think this is?

Leave your answers in the comments below, and feel free to also comment on any part of the interview above. Appreciate you stopping by!

Thanks, Tiffany, for being our guest. Good, thought-provoking questions for our readers also.

A Grand Design

A Grand Design_frontcoverWhen Alyssa Denham, a single career woman, wins a romantic getaway for two on Mackinac Island, she gives her carefree best friend a call. Together, they take a vacation and answer a request from Alyssa’s grandmother to help her piece together a heirloom quilt with blocks created by longtime friends. Their quest gains them entrance into the homes of many longtime residents of the island. As the quilt’s story takes shape, Alyssa gains amazing insight into her grandmother’s life while being romanced by Scott Whitman, an island resident in charge of hotel transportation. But  memories of her past keep Alyssa from letting go. The quest takes a surprising turn when a man from Alyssa Denham’s past–the reason she hadn’t returned to the island in fifteen years–interrupts the relaxing getaway for her and her best friend, Libby. In the end, the quilt will bring healing to more than just a fractured quilting group. It will bring restoration to the hearts of Alyssa and her grandmother too.

Tiffany Amber Stockton has been crafting and embellishing stories since childhood. Today, she is an award-winning, best-selling author & speaker who has partnered with Nerium International in the whole-body anti-aging industry. She lives with her husband and fellow author, Stuart Vaughn Stockton, in Colorado. They have a daughter and a son, a retriever mix named Roxie and a cattle dog named Timber. She has sold 19 books so far and is represented by Tamela Hancock Murray of the Steve Laube Agency. Three of her novels have won annual reader’s choice awards, and in 2009, she was voted #1 favorite new author for Barbour’s Heartsong Presents book club. Read more about her at her website: www.amberstockton.com.

Modern Literature and the Christian Writer

Sandra Ardoin_HeadshotBy Sandra Ardoin

Literature took a turn in the early twentieth century. Frankly, whether it was for the better or for the worse depends on your outlook toward each author and work.]

Some of the most notable authors of the beginning decades used their imaginations to influence culture and shine a light on injustice. In many cases, fiction went from the engaging story written by nineteenth-century writers like Mark Twain and Jules Verne to barely disguised podiums for social change.

Don’t get me wrong. All writers employ themes, even Mark Twain, and Jules Verne. Every writer slips a message of some type into the story. As Christian authors, we like to preach, too (in a good and publishable way, of course).

But getting back to the more modern literature of the last century …Literature

People like John Steinbeck took up the cause of migrant workers in his novel The Grapes of Wrath, pointing out the ills of a greedy society determined to squash the little guy. Harper Lee dealt with racism as witnessed through the eyes of a child in To Kill a Mockingbird. Ayn Rand wrote of the struggle between those with unique ideas and those who think alike in The Fountainhead. George Orwell’s 1984 warned against totalitarian power, propaganda, and “big brother” becoming too intrusive into our lives.

I’ll let you in on a little secret. The only one of the above I’ve read is To Kill a Mockingbird, which I loved, by the way. But I didn’t love it for the lesson it taught about racism. I loved it for the characters and their interactions. I loved it for Scout and Jem and poor Boo Radley. My guess is that most people have read those classics for the story and not a lesson on society’s ills, but the theme is part of what tugs at the heart.

Today, some readers insist on “edgier” Christian fiction that speaks to deeper issues. The question is how do we treat that edgier subject? As the world might treat it, with dysfunctional or immoral characters, dark settings, and gloomy endings, or as the Bible treats it?

BibleGod’s Word is filled “edgy” stories that involve murder, adultery, war, death, greed, oppression, illness, envy—anything we’d find inside the covers of today’s bestsellers. But underlying each book in the Bible is the theme of hope.

In this century’s modern literature, what do you want to include in your works of fiction and poetry? Do you want to provoke anger, protest injustice, inspire thought, change the culture? How do you want to deliver the message, in a way that jars the spirit or uplifts it? Do you want to leave the reader realizing that life isn’t always rainbows and butterflies, but it’s not completely gloom, doom, and ultimate destruction? (Okay, even the Bible talks of ultimate destruction, but even then there’s hope for those who grasp it.)

The answers to those questions rest with you, the writer. Whether or not you succeed rests with those who may be reading your work into the next “modern era.”

 

Sandra Ardoin writes inspirational historical romance such as her Christmas novella The Yuletide Angel and her January 2016 release A Reluctant Melody, both set in the 1890s. A wife and mom, she’s also a reader, football fan, NASCAR watcher, garden planter, country music listener, and antique store prowler.

Visit her at www.sandraardoin.com and on the Seriously Write blog. Connect with her on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Goodreads, and Pinterest. Sign up for her newsletter to receive quarterly updates and specials.

Tech Talk with Brian Knack

home-office-336377__180During the month of August, we’ll be posting interviews during our popular Saturday segment, Tech Talk. We’ll speak with editors, photographers, and other people who help writers become the best they can be in their chosen field. 

Stay tuned each Saturday for a new interview!

Today, we’re talking with Brian Knack about self-publishing. Brian recently launched Authorpreneur University  to help other authors successfully realize their publishing dreams. I’ll let him tell you about it:

Why did you start helping authors?

They asked me. When I started self-publishing, I had to learn everything for myself. I’d look online and read and watch whatever resource I could find. About 4 years ago, a friend asked me about writing a book. I told him what I knew and he asked me to help him publish one. I helped him through the process and within a few months, he self-published his first book.

Since then I have helped several other people self-publish their books and have recently started Authorpreneur University separate from my personal author blog, to get the word out and help as many as I possibly can.

You said, “My mission is to help you take your idea and turn it into a business, a book or both, and to be successful at it.”–How do you accomplish that?,

Most authors think that once they publish, that’s it. It’s not. Your book is a business and like every other business, you need a business plan before you do anything else. One thing I’m stressing is for authors to see their books as a business and start to create a business plan before they publish. Part of that business plan is understanding your target market and knowing who they are. It’s a little more in-depth than just saying people who read.

The second thing I am stressing is building a following (a platform) with an author blog before you publish. This way, once you have your business plan fleshed out and your book is ready to launch, you have a large list of people who are already willing to buy it. Not only does this help your pocket book but it will also help your book move up the Amazon list and help your confidence.

I also know that there are authors who still want that traditional publishing deal. With that in mind, I have written a number of blog posts on helping authors find, approach and land a literary agent. It’s not as in-depth as I’d like and I plan on doing more in this area.

I notice you blog. What topics do your blog posts cover?

Well, I have recently separated my personal author blog BrianKnack.com from Authorpreneur University. There were just too many things I wanted to talk about personally (Faith, Family, Politics, Love, Relationships and whatever else comes to mind) that can tend to be controversial. I thought it best to create a separate business site.

On Authorpreneur University, I try to stick to 4 main topics; Publishing, Writing, Marketing and Platform Building. Starting early next year I’ll be posting regularly once or twice a month. There will also be a podcast to go along with the blog post. Everything I talk about will fit into one of those 4 main topics.

Share three pieces of wisdom with a new author.

There is no such thing as writers block. It’s nothing more than an excuse not to write. Just write even if it’s merely random thoughts… WRITE! Some of my best stuff has come from a slew of weird gibberish.

DO NOT OBSESS OVER OTHER PEOPLE’S OPINIONS. They are merely their opinions based on their personal preferences. Critics don’t matter and neither do publishers or editors. The only opinions that matter are yours and those of your readers. That’s it.

If you want to sell books build real, genuine relationships with your readers. Be you and connect with them as you, not so and so the “Published Author.”

Where can we contact you?

The easiest way to contact me is through my e-mail (brian@brianknack.com) or by the contact form on my blog.

You can also find me on Twitter – @brianlknack, on my Facebook page at Brian Knack and on Goodreads

Brian’s Bio:

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

I was born and raised in a small Hamlet in upstate NY called White Sulphur Springs. I was raised by my paternal grandparents from 18 months on and grew up on a dairy farm. My wife and I recently moved into a beautiful house in Simpsonville, SC.

I am the author of I’m Born Again, Now What? A New Believer’s Guide to Walking with Christ [Paperback] & [Kindle Edition], W.A.R. Devotional and Study Guide and most recently, the sci-fi adventure, Destiny – Book 1 of The Legacy Series [Kindle Edition]. I have been blogging since 2010.

I offer Cover Design, Formatting and Book Video Trailer Services through Authorpreneur University.

Readers – Purchase a service from Brian and mention you saw this interview on Writing Prompts & Thoughts & Ideas…Oh My! and he will give you a 25% discount.

Agatha Christie

By Betty Boyd

itsawriterthing.tumbler

itsawriterthing.tumbler

I love murder mysteries. My favorite author of this genre is Agatha Christie.   According to the Guinness Book of World Records, she is the best selling novelist of all time, having sold an estimated two billion copies of her books. Christie wrote sixty-six murder mysteries, fourteen short stories and the longest running play, Mousetrap.

I lived in walking distance to a shopping center, which sold many wonderful items. The most precious of these were Agatha Christie paperback novels, which I eagerly purchased for a $1.00 each. I was able to collect all 66 of her novels and I read them many times.

My favorite characters were Hercule Poirot, the famous and pretentious Belgian detective, who had the knack of always solving the murder, when no one else could. Miss Marple, who is an elderly spinster, acts as an amateur sleuth while living in the quaint town of St. Mary Mead.

The best of her novels was the Murder on the Orient Express written in 1934. Christie had a way with her writing, which had many twists and turns. The characters in this novel were so intertwined, it was nearly impossible to figure it out.

Isaac Anderson stated in a 1934 book review, “The great Belgian detective’s guesses are more than shrewd; they are positively miraculous. Although both the murder plot and the solution verge upon the impossible, Agatha Christie has contrived to make them appear quite convincing for the time being, and what more than that can a mystery addict desire.”

I was obsessed with every one of her novels. I could never get enough of them. To this day, it is my favorite genre of writing. I have read other authors of murder mysteries, but none can compare to the Dame Agatha Christie.

Complete the prompt below for an extra entry in our quarterly drawings! Submit your completed writing prompt via Comments.

Do you like Agatha Christie, and if so, what is your favorite novel?