3 Questions Wednesday with Anne Clare

Welcome to 3 Question Wednesday! Today our guest is Anne Clare, a historical fiction author . Let’s get to know her better.  Our first question, every writer has their own way about organizing their work space, describe your writing space.

Anne: My “writing space” consists of whatever flat surface I can clear off to plop a notebook or my laptop and the research materials I need for the day. Some days it’s on our dining table, others it’s in the church fellowship hall, and occasionally it’s a space in the public library’s study area. Tonight, it’s on our downstairs couch, which I’m sharing with a fifteen-year-old fluffy cat who seems to think that I’m the one invading her space.

Oftentimes, my writing space is dark except for the computer screen and lamplight, as writing time is usually after the kids are in bed or before they get up. If I get to write in daylight, it’s usually during the precious hour or two between dropping the kids off at school and starting my part-time teaching day.

My writing space almost always includes music- especially if I’m writing fiction- and if it’s a daytime writing session there will also likely be coffee and snacks. Others are welcome to visit my writing space as long as they’re ok with the facts that I’ll be distracted, and that they may end up being regaled with random bits of Second World War trivia.

How great to be so flexible with where you can get your writing done!  No matter where you are, you are getting those stories written. Good for you. Next question, give a shout out to a writer friend and your favorite book they’ve written.

Anne: One of my favorite parts of my writing journey has been the opportunity to meet some fantastic authors. Since I write WWII fiction, (and some non-fiction on my blog) it’s always extra exciting to meet others writing about that era.

This past year, Joy Neal Kidney published the story of her family’s experiences in the second World War. Her book, Leora’s Letters: The Story of Love and Loss for an Iowa Family During World War II, tells the stories of her five uncles who served, and of the family back home who hoped for their safe return. If you find true family stories from history as fascinating as I do, Joy’s book is definitely worth a read!

Can I get away with a second shout-out? I also had the opportunity to meet WWII fiction author Sarah Sundin at the Oregon Christian Writer’s Conference last month. Her Sunrise at Normandy series was both a great romance/redemption story and a well-researched, immersive WWII read. (The third book, The Land Beneath Us, was my favorite!)

Both sound like facinating authors and books I’ll add to my reading list! Final question, what genre have you never written, but would secretly like to?

Anne: Many of my first favorite books were fantasy novels. I attempted, as a 12-year-old, to write my own in a pink, spiral bound notebook. Reading it years later, I laughed to see just how much I “borrowed” from Lord of the Rings. I still love a good fantasy story in a well-realized world, but I don’t know that I have the skill set to come up with anything truly original in that genre.

I’ve toyed with the idea of trying my hand at a picture book set in Old Testament times – historical fiction still, but much further back than I usually write. I have it all planned out in my mind, right down to the beautiful oil paintings I’d use as illustrations. Of course, I haven’t done any research, planned any text, and I haven’t even touched oils in the last fifteen years or so!

Sounds interesting. Good to meet you Anne. Thanks for stopping by. Connect with Anne on any or all of her social platforms below.


Connect with Anne

Facebook: Anne-Clare Stories of the Second World War
Blog: The Naptime Author
Twitter: @anneclarewriter
Instagram: www.instagram.com/candace.west.posey.10


Click to Tweet: My “writing space” consists of whatever flat surface I can clear off to plop a notebook or my laptop and the research materials. Some days it’s on our dining table, others it’s in the church fellowship hall, or the public library’s study area. 


Anne’s Bio

Anne Clare is a native of Minnesota’s cornfields and dairy country. She graduated with a BS in Education in 2005 and set out to teach in the gorgeous green Pacific Northwest, where she and her husband still live. She also serves as a church musician, sings in and occasionally directs choirs, plays piano, organ, and coronet (the last only occasionally, when she forgets how bad she is at it.)

After the birth of her second child, she became a stay-at-home mom, and after the birth of the third she became reconciled to the fact that her house would never be clean again, which allowed her to find time to pursue her passion for history and writing while the little people napped. Although she’s back to teaching part-time, she continues to write historical fiction and to blog about WWII history, writing, and other odds and ends at thenaptimeauthor.wordpress.com


Book Blurb:

All that Sergeant James Milburn wants is to heal. Sent to finish his convalescence in a lonely village in the north of England, the friends he’s lost haunt his dreams. If he can only be declared fit for active service again, perhaps he can rejoin his surviving mates in the fight across Sicily and either protect them or die alongside them.

All that Evie Worther wants is purpose. War has reduced her family to an elderly matriarch and Charles, her controlling cousin, both determined to keep her safely tucked away in their family home. If she can somehow balance her sense of obligation to family with her desperate need to be of use, perhaps she can discover how she fits into her tumultuous world.

All that Charles Heatherington wants is his due. Since his brother’s death, he is positioned to be the family’s heir with only one step left to make his future secure. If only he can keep the family matriarch happy, he can finally start living the easy life he is certain he deserves.

However, when James’s, Evie’s and Charles’s paths collide, a dark secret of the past is forced into the light, and everything that they have hoped and striven for is thrown into doubt. Weaving in historical detail from World War II in Britain, Italy and Egypt, WHOM SHALL I FEAR? follows their individual struggles with guilt and faith, love and family, and forces them to ask if the greatest threat they face is really from the enemy abroad.


BOOK GIVEAWAY:  Anne is giving away a free, signed paperback of her WWII novel, Whom Shall I Fear? to one commenter* on this post.

 *While comments are appreciated from anyone, the giveaway is limited to U.S. residents. International giveaway laws get tricky!

The Rejection Badge of Courage

I have been asked to write a post on the “Emotional Highs and Lows of Writing.” I wish the blog powers-that-be would have given me a topic I know something about.

I’m kidding. I’m a kidder.

Actually, if degrees were given for Emotional Highs and Lows of Writing, I would have a doctorate. If awards were given, I would have an Oscar. If money was doled out based on those highs and lows, I would be a zillionaire.

When I first started writing as a calling, it was pure bliss. The exhilaration of putting words on the page and finishing a piece was wonderful. Then I decided to try to get some of those pieces published.

Well, hello, emotional lows.

In those early days, I got enough rejections to wallpaper my house. That’s a bit of an exaggeration, but not by much. And I have been rejected by the absolute BEST in Christian publishing.

Top-tier agents? Major publishing houses? Publishing companies in someone’s basement? Been turned down by all of them.

You can only be rejected so many times until you question yourself and your abilities. Yes, I have heard all the encouragement about rejection—it’s just not your time, your piece didn’t match their needs, it’s not a reflection of your talent. All true, but rejection still hurts.

Slowly but surely, I began getting acceptances. One year I had multiple devotions published in four different books. What an emotional high!

The next year? The lady who does my taxes asked, “Don’t you have any receipts from your writing?” I buried my chin in my chest and answered with a quiet, “No . . . but I’m trying.”

A couple of months after that encounter, I was preparing to attend a big writers conference. I had been preoccupied with my day job and found myself scrambling the week before the event to put together writing samples, one-sheets, and anything and everything else I thought I would need. I stopped for a moment and asked myself, “What am I doing? Why am I doing this?”

My agent was pitching several book proposals, with no word from anyone. Shouldn’t I just quit? Give up? Go fishing instead of to the writers conference?

I actually hate fishing, so I went to the conference, with the idea that I would cut up with my writer friends and maybe talk to some editors/publishers just for fun.

The second day of the conference, I got a call from my agent, telling me he had gotten a serious inquiry from a well-established publishing house about one of my book proposals. I had been on this roller coaster before, so I kept my emotions in check.

Another day passed, another call from my agent. “It’s looking good, but it still has to go to committee.” I wanted so much to get excited, but I suppressed those happy feelings.

The conference ended and I began the three-hour trek home, winding my way through a mountainous area with spotty cell service. Once I hit “civilization,” I stopped at a store to stretch my legs. I checked my phone and saw I had a missed call from my agent. I returned the call.

“We’re in! We’re getting a contract!”

I restrained myself from doing a happy dance in the middle of Wal-Mart.

That book, Adventures in Fatherhood (co-authored with Holland Webb), releases April 7. Proof that God is good and that there is hope in the middle of the highs and lows.

Hang in there, writer friends. It will happen.

Click-to-Tweet: Rejection hurts! “You can only be rejected so many times until you question yourself and your abilities.” The Rejection Badge of Courage – @carltonwhughes via @InspiredPrompt #writerslife #amwriting

Writing Prompt: Start a story using these three words: sunset, shovel, hardhat.


Carlton Hughes

Carlton Hughes, represented by Cyle Young of Hartline Literary, wears many hats. By day, he is a professor of communication. On Wednesday evenings and Sunday mornings, he serves as a children’s pastor. Carlton is an empty-nesting dad and devoted husband who likes long walks on the beach, old sitcoms, and chocolate–all the chocolate. His work has been featured in Chicken Soup for the Soul: The Dating Game, The Wonders of Nature, Let the Earth Rejoice, Just Breathe, So God Made a Dog, and Everyday Grace for Men. His latest book, Adventures in Fatherhood, co-authored with Holland Webb, releases April 7.

I Didn’t Write for a Month…And Lived!

By Jennifer Hallmark

I am a writer. My job in life is to pen words and share them with my world: family, friends, social media, and the Internet. My mission statement is “to write with God and bring hope and encouragement through my words, both written and spoken, to everyone I meet, both online and in-person.”

And on top of that,  I just found out that my debut novel, Jessie’s Hope, finaled in the Selah Awards. Did I actually have the audacity to take time off?

Yes.

In taking a month’s sabbatical, my mission statement would be somewhat placed on hold. I found not writing extremely hard. After all, my life had been wrapped up in this chosen profession since 2006 when I attended my first local writing class. Fourteen long years of studying, writing, being critiqued, more writing, more studying, and attending meetings, conferences, and retreats. I’ve read over twenty-five books on the craft, listened to numerous podcasts, and taken tons of classes: in-person and online.

Factor in writing a few hundred blog posts, interviews, guest posts, three full novels and a couple of half novels and you can see I haven’t been idle when it comes to this writer’s life.

And that was part of the problem.

At first, I loved all of it. My hobby proved to be fun and for five years, I enjoyed penning words as a pastime. Then, I wanted more. Maybe a published author and, gasp, being paid money for something I’d written. Was that too much to ask?

My writing went to the next level starting with me attending the Blue Ridge Mountains Christian Writer’s Conference with lots of other writers. And work. My hobby became a job, second to being a mom and housewife and chicken farmer. 48,000 baby chickens raised every six weeks to be exact. Life was full but enjoyable.

My children grew up and moved out and before you could say empty nest, I had six grandchildren. Then my stepdad passed away and Mom moved nearby. As I think back, I really didn’t enjoy the grown children stage the way I would if I had it to do over. Parents, my word of advice: Enjoy the empty nest while you can.

In 2011, we sold our chicken houses and I started writing full-time.  And babysitting. And helping Mom as the only sibling in the state. Then a good friend became a widow and another good friend died. Life suddenly started to drain the life from me. Add in a few health issues of my own and I was totally being set up to fall apart. The plates I’d kept spinning for so long began to fall, one at a time, until I stood amidst broken glass, mourning so much change and so many losses.

So, I wrote faster. With longer hours to try and purge my soul of the pain that was piling up on me. I thought I could put these sorrowful thoughts on paper and they’d magically disappear. But they didn’t. I reluctantly contacted a therapist because I knew I was on the verge of a breakdown but didn’t know how to stop it. My first assignment? Read the book, Boundaries, by Henry Cloud and John Townsend.

Life-changing. The book and my therapist began to show me what I’d done wrong. No boundaries. No self-care. An aging body and more people who needed me. So I made changes. I started going to the gym, then changed my diet. See my article on my new way to eat.

From January of 2019 until today, I’d lost twenty-seven pounds and kept it off, then added strength training. I felt so much better physically. But setting boundaries was still hard for me. I’m one of those people who found it hard to say no but I’m learning. Self-care became more of a way of life and everyone around me is benefiting from it.

My only problem? I was still totally and completely mentally burnt out. You can’t keep it all going, seven days a week like I had for too long of a time. I had spent less and less time with real people and more time in my office and I became emotionally burnt out too. We were created for relationship and hiding doesn’t heal anything.

I made a major decision. Eight months after I’d released my first novel and with my agent shopping my second novel, I would take a month off.

February would be a time of renewal which also happens to be my word for the year. No writing fiction, articles, and no social media. More family time. Did you miss me on Facebook or Twitter? Probably not but somehow I’d gotten in my head that I was indispensable to the online world. And guess what I learned?

Social media went on without me. My book sales did drop a little without me marketing but not as much as I feared. And the rest and peace I received were well worth it.

I went back to work on March 2nd with more wisdom I hope, planning a four-day workweek for now. I have a planner to help me stay on track and am penciling in “me” time, a lot more than I ever have before. And it’s okay.

Everyone has to work with who they are and what their situations are in life. I tried to pretend it all didn’t bother me and failed miserably. But God, my family, friends, and writing buddies didn’t turn their backs on me. My blogging friends at Inspired Prompt kept the blog running. My family gave me some space and though the needs were still there with the grandchildren and Mom, I learned to say no or wait or soon. Not always yes, this minute.

Does anyone out there relate to this at all? Maybe you could share a comment below and tell me how you handle it all. I’m always thankful for suggestions as I journey on this new part of life…

Click to tweet: I Didn’t Write for a Month…And Lived! #amwriting The emotional highs and lows of writing. #WritingCommunity

3 Questions Wednesday with Candace West

Welcome to Wednesday! Today our guest is Candace West, an author since she was 12 years-old. Let’s get to know her better.  Our first question, what genre have you never written, but would secretly like to?

Candace: Although I write historical fiction, I would secretly try my hand at contemporary Christian romance. Contemporary authors such as Shannon Taylor Vannatter and Denise Hunter write stories that keep me turning pages. To create characters and situations similar to their style would be a fun challenge. Historical fiction will always be my first love, though.

It is fun to try new genres and challenge our writing. Next question,  who is your favorite fictional hero or heroine? Villain?

Candace: Atticus Finch is my fictional hero. A single father raising his children in times of inequality, Atticus takes a stand against his friends and peers to defend an innocent man presumed guilty. Though he has everything to lose, he refuses to let skin color define justice. He is brave and knows how to articulate his beliefs. Best of all, he passes that bravery on to his children, especially Scout, who befriends the town’s misfit and outcast. One of the things I love most about Atticus is that even though he knows they have little chance of winning, he still fights with no sign of giving up. When he and his children are threatened, he refuses to shrink away. He retains his self-respect while gaining the esteem of a community.

To Kill A Mockingbird had some very strong characters. Great choice. Our final question, give a shout out to a writer friend and your favorite book they’ve written.

Candace: Kathleen L. Maher is one my favorite author/friends. She writes beautiful historical romances with a powerful message of redemption and reconciliation. Her Sons of the Shenandoah series chronicles three brothers through the American Civil War. Powerful stories! As a writer, I learn so much from her style. She has novellas in Barbour books Lessons on Love and The Victorian Christmas Brides Collection. On March 15th, she is re-releasing Bachelor Buttons, a novella. I’m very excited about this one. To pick a favorite of her stories is almost like asking me to pick my favorite song! In a pinch, I pick The Abolitionist’s Daughter!

Good to learn more about you. Thanks for stopping by. Connect with Candace on any or all of her social platforms below.

Facebook: www.facebook.com/inspirationalnovel
Online: www.candaceweststoryteller.com
Twitter: www.twitter.com/candacewest111
Instagram: www.instagram.com/candace.west.posey.10

Check out her books on Amazon.


Click to Tweet: Atticus Finch is my fictional hero. A single father raising his children in times of inequality, Atticus takes a stand against his friends and peers to defend an innocent man presumed guilty. Though he has everything to lose, he refuses to let skin color define justice.


Candace’s Bio

Candace West was born in the Mississippi delta to a young minister and his wife. She grew up in small-town Arkansas and is a graduate of the University of Arkansas at Monticello. At twelve years old, she wrote her first story, “Following Prairie River.” In 2018, she published her debut novel Lane Steen. By weaving hope-filled, page-turning stories, Candace shares the Gospel and encourages her readers. She currently lives in her beloved Arkansas with her husband and their son along with two dogs and three cats.


 

Life Interrupted

Congratulations! You’re finally writing that best-seller. The words are flowing, your characters are playing along, and your plot is mind-blowing. Life is good. Then it seems everything that can go wrong suddenly rises to meet you.

During these unexpected interruptions, you may find it hard to focus on your WIP. Don’t worry. There are still things you can do to keep your skills sharpened.

Time Management

Writers' Resolutions for 2017 by Karen JurgensLast year brought my writing time to a halt as I faced more responsibilities with elderly family members plus my own health issues. As days turned to weeks and weeks into months, it became necessary for me to write on the go. Here are a few places I found time to write.

Waiting in the doctors’ offices

In the nursing home parking lot

Waiting for my daughter to get out of class

While riding on long trips

While cleaning and cooking

Writing on the go isn’t easy. But with a little imagination and creativity, you’ll be surprised at how many words you’ll have written by the end of the week! Now, let’s look at what we can do with those words.

Goals

During difficult times, it’s easy to become overwhelmed with a project. If yours is a long-term interruption, why not set smaller goals. If you can’t work on your story, work on smaller pieces. Write articles, devotions, or short stories. Each small goal will hone your skills as you wait. The most important thing is to keep writing and reading.

Reading

If you are a writer who can’t write unless you have absolute solitude, try reading. Reading will hone your editing skills. Reading a well-written book makes you aware of plot patterns and sentence structure. It will also fill your creative tank and get the ideas flowing once more. Keep those ideas tucked away in a safe place until you can begin writing again.

Self-Care

I want to add a caveat here. If you are facing a physical ailment, family responsibilities, or the loss of a loved one, take some time off. Do not feel guilty for needing time away from the computer. The book will be there when you are ready. Your health is the most crucial issue. There is only one you. And guess what, you can’t do everything. Believe me. Take care of yourself.

Remember, God holds it all in His hands. He knew everything that would come our way on this journey. His timing is perfect. Our jobs are to submit to His plan, follow His directions, and be ready when the time comes to share what He’s given to us.

Happy writing, dear friend!

Click-to-Tweet: Learn how to deal with life’s interruptions. You might try writing on the go. Life Interrupted by @lgjohnson87 via @InspiredPrompt

Writing Prompt

Use your imagination and write down ways you can continue writing when life brings interruptions.