A Reluctant Melody by Sandra Ardoin

Sandra Ardoin_HeadshotToday we welcome Sandra Ardoin and her latest release, A Reluctant Melody.

Hi, Sandra! How long have you been writing?

Sandra: I began a community education writing class in 1985. It turned into a writer’s group, and my first publication was in 1986. I wrote small pieces like posters and short stories until 2008 (full-time in 2009) when I believed God had finally given me the go-ahead to write novels. My debut novella, The Yuletide Angel, released in 2014, and my novel, A Reluctant Melody, released this month.

Why did you choose to write in your particular field or genre?

Sandra: It goes back to that permission God gave me to write novels. I’ve always wanted to write romantic mystery/suspense. I worked on two projects at once—one a contemporary romantic mystery and the other an historical set in the 19th century—more a western than my current stories. It was the latter that took off for me. That one will never see the light of day without a great deal of revision, but it showed me how much I love writing historicals set in the latter half of the 1800s. Almost all my stories have some degree of mystery/suspense.

What are some of the references you used while researching your book?

Sandra: In A Reluctant Melody, Kit Barnes (the hero) seeks to establish a ministry to those who want to defeat the lure of an alcoholic lifestyle, as he had done. I looked into the Salvation Army’s work at the time, especially their treatment of alcoholics. I also found information on holistic treatment and, of course, AA. I created his ministry as one that allowed “drunkards,” as they were called at the time, to have a place to stay while they received spiritual and physical help to control their addictions. At that time, many doctors believed in weaning people off alcohol by using other addictive drugs. They thought sudden abstinence was dangerous. Kit used physicians in his work, but believed the emphasis should be on the spiritual and the practical, not in trading one drug for another. Google Books is an important source for me.

I created a town based on the North Carolina town where I live, as well as a neighborhood of Charlotte, so I researched the layout of the areas. I even went to the library to ask the historian about property prices for the day. I also used Branson’s North Carolina Business Directory, which gave me insight into the businesses and the area at the time of my setting.

I researched the making of brooms and watched videos from craftsmen, learning that they did it pretty much as it was done then. While most of our brooms come from countries like Mexico today, it was not an uncommon business at the time of my book.

What did you enjoy most about writing this book?

Sandra: I enjoyed getting to know the characters. I always find a secondary character in books that I want to write or read about. In my novella, The Yuletide Angel, it was Kit Barnes. But the story in A Reluctant Melody actually belongs to the heroine, Joanna Stewart. She has the most to lose and the most dramatic story to tell. I really liked writing her.

What do your plans for future projects include?

Sandra: I’m working on the first book of a three-novel series I hope will be contracted. It’s set in a churchless town in 1880s Texas. This book has a heroine with a checkered past and a hero with a questionable future as a pastor.

I’m also working on a three-novella series. These stories will be more lighthearted in tone and involve three women whose adventurous journeys are waylaid by ♥.

Thanks for dropping by, Sandra!

Sandra Ardoin writes inspirational historical romance. She’s the author of The Yuletide Angel and A Reluctant Melody. A wife and mom, she’s also a reader, football fan, NASCAR watcher, garden planter, country music listener, 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. Join her email community to receive occasional updates and a free short story.

A Reluctant Melody

Kit’s alcoholism ruined more lives than his own. Now soARM Coverber, he wants to make amends by opening a mission for drunkards. But the most suitable location belongs to Joanna Cranston Stewart, a love from his sordid past. 

Friends of her late husband blame Joanna for his death. Although eager to flee from the rumors, she will let the walls of her rundown property crumble around her before she allows Kit back into her life. 

When a blackmailer threatens to reveal Joanna’s long-held secret, will she risk losing everything she owns to Kit … including her heart?

Getting Back to Basics

By Betty Boyd

 inspirational-life-quotes-for-best-inspirational-life-quotes-2015-14

This is the time of year when we all want new beginnings and a clean slate. But I have a different take on the New Year. I really do not like to make resolutions, but would rather create solutions. I look to the New Year as a way of getting back to basics.

What is most important to me is where I have gone, where I have been, and where I want to be. I like to look back at the past year and see what I learned and still need to learn. God has given me this opportunity to see what changes I still need to make.

Getting back to basics is my theme this year—focusing on what God really wants me to do to serve Him and my fellow man. I want to listen more to His word, so I can live and be the person He intends me to be.

I am working toward having more time for prayer and listening. I am trying to find more time to be quiet, so I can actually hear God’s word. This is a challenging goal, but hopefully I can really put forth the extra effort to achieve it.

Ultimately, God can mold me into what he truly wants for me, and I want to make sure that I am doing my part in getting back to basics and really focusing on Him.

Writing Prompt – Submit your completed writing prompt via Comments.

Can you write a story about new beginnings that includes these four items?

  • Slate
  • Resolutions
  • Learning
  • Focus

 

 

3 Questions Wednesday with Sandra Ardoin

Sandra Ardoin_HeadshotPlease welcome Sandra Ardoin, writer of inspirational historical romance, to 3 Questions Wednesday.

Hi, Sandra. First question.

What books have fortified you as a writer? How?

Sandra: I use two writing books over and over: Building Believable Characters by Marc McCutcheon and The Emotion Thesaurus by Angela Ackerman and Becca Puglisi. Sometimes, I just can’t come up with the right way to phrase something. I use these books as a springboard to get my creativity pumping.

I like to read fiction that is similar in tone to the book I’m writing. It gets me in a certain mindset. If I’m writing something more dramatic, like my current release, A Reluctant Melody, I don’t want to read a lighthearted book. On occasion, I write in a more lighthearted style and want to read books similar in nature.

–Great suggestions. I also own a copy of  The Emotion Thesaurus. It’s super helpful. Now…

What secret talents do you have?

Sandra: Secret? Hmm … I’m a miniature open book when it comes to my talents. 🙂  I would never call myself an “artiste,” but I’ve enjoyed drawing and doing a little painting in my past. I also like crafts, though I haven’t much time for them anymore.

Writing definitely keeps you busy. Last question…

If we came to your house for dinner, what would you prepare for us?

SandraAre you sure you wouldn’t rather go out? My mom loved to cook. Me? Not so much.

Okay, how about pork barbecue, homemade potato salad, corn-on-the-cob, and buttermilk pie? Might as well go the whole Southern route and add a pecan pie to the table. Of course, there would be sweet tea for everyone but my husband. That ’Bama boy likes his unsweetened. Doesn’t that go against a Southern code or something?

No sweet tea? He couldn’t be from Alabama. 🙂 Thanks, Sandra, for dropping by!

Please leave a comment if you’d like to be entered to win a copy of A Reluctant Melody.

A RELUCTANT MELODY ARM Cover

Kit’s alcoholism ruined more lives than his own. Now sober, he wants to make amends by opening a mission for drunkards. But the most suitable location belongs to Joanna Cranston Stewart, a love from his sordid past. 

Friends of her late husband blame Joanna for his death. Although eager to flee from the rumors, she will let the walls of her rundown property crumble around her before she allows Kit back into her life. 

When a blackmailer threatens to reveal Joanna’s long-held secret, will she risk losing everything she owns to Kit … including her heart?

Sandra Ardoin writes inspirational historical romance. She’s the author of The Yuletide Angel and A Reluctant Melody. A wife and mom, she’s also a reader, football fan, NASCAR watcher, garden planter, country music listener, 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. Join her email community to receive occasional updates and a free short story.

Mornings

by Harriet E. Michael

Are you a morning person or a night one? I’m a morning person, so naturally this month’s theme of New Beginnings made me think of morning—the beginning of each new day. I love mornings, they always have a freshness to me as if they hold a secret promise of great things that might happen as the day unfolds.

morning sun

Some years ago as I was researching and writing my book on prayer, I came across so many passages in the scripture where one Bible character or another rises early in the morning to do something God had called them to do that day, or to seek God in some way. Here are some examples, just to list a few:

Abraham rose early the day he planned to offer Isaac as a sacrifice according to Genesis 22:3. He rose early again the day after Sodom and Gomorrah were destroyed and he hurried to a place where he could look down on the cities to see if they had been destroyed or not (Genesis 19:27-28).

Joshua rose early to travel to the Jordan before he crossed over (Joshua 3:1).

David rose early to obey his father Jesse and take supplies to his brothers in battle (1 Samuel 17:20).

God instructed Moses to rise early when he was to stand before Pharaoh and tell him to let God’s people go (Exodus 8:20).

… and on and on it goes. If you look for this pattern in the scripture, you will find it.

So, what’s the lesson here? Is this bad news for those of us who do not care so much for mornings and need a little time and maybe a cup of coffee before we can even begin to embrace the new day?

coffee

I don’t think so. I don’t think the Biblical point is to love mornings as much as it is to get on with whatever God has for you to do in life. In the Bible times, before electricity, if they were going to apply themselves in whatever action they felt God had asked of them, they’d better not waste any daylight; they’d better get on with it.

Today, doing what God has asked of you may require staying up late instead of rising early. But the point remains–embrace the day! Or rather, embrace what God is calling you to do, and get busy doing it, whether that means getting up early or sleeping late because you stayed up late the night before.

new mercies

Dawn

Me? I prefer getting up early. I love mornings. The scripture has a special blessing for mornings in Lamentations 3:22-23 which tells us that God’s mercies are new every morning, and his compassions never fail.

Writing Prompt – Using the dawn photo, write a short paragraph describing the scene. Remember, each time you answer a prompt, you’ll be entered in our blogaversary prize drawing!

 

 

 

Divine Dining: 365 Devotions to Guide You to Healthier Weight & Abundant Wellness with Janet K. Brown

owfi & Mothers Day 006Today I’d like to introduce my friend and author, Janet K. Brown. She’s written a wonderful devotional book for people struggling with any type of food addiction. Since I tend to be a nervous muncher, I’m reading through her book this year. It’s great! I know you’ll enjoy it also. 🙂

Hi, Janet! Glad you dropped by. Here’s your first question:

How long have you been writing?

Janet: I’ve written most of my life. When my three daughters were children, I sold a few short stories. Once I added a demanding job to my already busy lifestyle, writing took a back seat. My retirement goal was to spend more time with my grandkids and write novels.

I began writing, going to conferences, workshops, and critique groups, and submitting my work in 2006. My debut novel released in 2012.

Why did you choose to write in your particular field or genre?

Janet: It chose me. First, let me explain that I write in three different genres, though all are inspirational.

My first stab at writing was inspirational romance. I had several completed (though not great) manuscripts. While I continued and still do write teen short stories, a magazine editor suggested that one of my stories become a first chapter for a young adult novel. I followed that advice, pitched the manuscript to 4RV Publishing, and received a contract two months later. So, my one and only YA was the one that released first.

Meanwhile, God woke me up one night and gave me fourteen devotions that I wrote before I could go back to sleep. They all involved food addiction which was a problem that I had suffered all my adult life. I thought God planned on using the devotions as a way of healing me, but by the time I had written 300 devotions over a period of four years, I pitched 365 devotions for the overeater to Pen-L Publishing and received a contract.

My first love is still women’s fiction with romantic elements, so I pitched a series to Pen-L of people struggling with addiction. My first released last year, Worth Her Weight, about a woman with food addiction. This year will see the release of the second revolving around drug addiction and post-prison prejudice. The third in the series is a work in progress about pornography.

Like I said, all three genres kind of chose me because of what I love, or where I was at the time, or my own battle with food.

What are some of the references you used while researching your book?

Janet: The book I wish to discuss today is Divine Dining: 365 Devotions to Guide You to Healthier Weight and Abundant Wellness. Much of it comes from my own journals of weight loss. I lost a hundred pounds and have kept it off twenty years. Journaling is a big part of that.

The book does list a bibliography. Here are three of the books I consulted:

Courage to Change complied and edited by Bill Pittman and Dick B., Hazelden Pittman Archives Press

Alcoholics Anonymous, third edition, by Alcoholics Anonymous World Services, Inc., 1976.

The Weigh Down Diet by Gwen Shamblin, Guidepost Editors, 1997.

What did you enjoy most about writing this book?

Janet:  During the four-year period, God opened my eyes to new and exciting facets of His love and power. Sometimes, He anointed a Bible verse and then showed me how it applied to something in my life. Other times, He sparked my mind with ordinary things like a tree, a river, or dogs to teach me a lesson and send me searching the Scripture for verses that reinforced that idea.

I guess the best part was my own spiritual journey and the healing it provided to me as I wrote. I just pray the work will do the same thing for others.

What do your plans for future projects include?

Janet: I have completed a companion workbook for Divine Dining weight controllers and am in the process of editing it before I pitch it to the publisher. This book offers thirteen complete lessons with thought-provoking questions, Scripture foundation, quotes, and suggestions for permanent weight loss God’s way. I include eating and lifestyle suggestions and several lighter recipes that I use myself to keep off my weight.

Of course, I’m also working on book three of the Wharton Rock/addiction series, and I’m going through edits on another young adult novel.

Sounds like some wonderful books! Thanks again, Janet, for stopping in…

Divine Dining: 365 Devotions to Guide You to Healthier Weight & Abundant WellnessDivineDining_Cover_FB

A 365 day devotional by Janet K. Brown. Her passion for diet, fitness, and God’s Word inspired her to help others in their search for a weight loss method that is in keeping with what the Lord wants for us. To the thousands of men and women who strive to be Christians, but suffer from compulsive overeating they can’t control . . . THERE IS HOPE!

Janet K. Brown lives in Wichita Falls, Texas, with her husband, Charles. Writing became her second career after retiring from medical coding.

Worth Her Weight is the author’s first inspirational women’s fiction, but it makes a perfect companion to her previously released Divine Dining: 365 Devotions to Guide You to Healthier Weight and Abundant Wellness. Both books encompass her passion for diet, fitness, and God’s Word.

Worth Her Weight marks Brown’s third book. Who knew she had a penchant for teens and ghosts? She released her debut novel, an inspirational young adult, Victoria and the Ghost, in July, 2012.

Janet and her husband love to travel with their RV, work in their church, and visit their three daughters, two sons-in-law and three perfect grandchildren.

Janet teaches workshops on writing, weight loss, and the historical settings of her teen books.

Find her at http:/ /www.janetkbrown.com

on Twitter at https://twitter.com/janetkbrowntx

on Facebook   http://www.facebook.com/#!/pages/Janet-K-Brown-Author/143915285641707

E-mail:  Janet.hope@att.net