The Awakening of Miss Adelaide by Linda Brooks Davis

2018_03-06_Davis_LindaBrooksGood morning, dear reader! Thank you for joining us on this lovely Saturday. I’m pleased to introduce you to author Linda Brooks Davis this morning. Linda is talking about the writing process. Let’s begin!

Tell us a little about yourself.

Linda: I’m a wife, mother, and grandmother with 73 years (and pounds) under my belt. I was born in 1946 on a farm in Raymondville, a small community in the southernmost tip of Texas—the Lower Rio Grande Valley. Living in the ‘40s, ‘50s, and ‘60s included such drastic changes in the world at large that you could say while I will growing up, the country moved from the Cleaver household in “Leave it to Beaver” to the Bunker home in “Archie Bunker”—and beyond.

I earned a Bachelor Degree in speech pathologist from Abilene Christian University in 1968 and many years later, a Master Degree from Houston Baptist. I was an employed-outside-the-home military wife and mother in the ‘70s and ‘80s and retired in 2008 after working with individuals with special needs forty years.

My husband Al and I have a son and daughter who are both veterinarians practicing together in San Antonio, Texas. We adore our six grandchildren.

Although i enjoyed writing all my life, I began writing in earnest when I retired in 2008. It didn’t take long to realize I had a lot to learn, so I set out to do just that, filling my study with books on writing and well-written novels, attending workshops, retreats, and conferences, and submitting samples for critique.

My efforts were reward in 2014 when my novel, The Calling of Ella McFarland, won the Jerry B. Jenkins Operation First Novel Contest. It was published in 2015 and won the 2016 ACFW Carol Award for Debut Novel.

I have subsequently released Book 2 in The Women of Rock Creek series: The Mending of Lillian Cathleen and Book 3: The Awakening of Miss Adelaide. I also have A Rock Creek Christmas Novella Collection, which includes novellas covering the space of time between Books 1 and 2.

At present, I’m working on a third Christmas novella to include in the Collection and am brainstorming about two new series, which will be sent in the Rio Grande Valley of Teas from the ‘20s to the ‘70s

What do you love most about the writing process?

Linda: By far: the research. I have to curtail my time researching so that I have time and energy for writing!

The writing of scenes is my next favorite part of the writing process. I do not enjoy the planning or outlining. In fact, I’ve begun to plot by the seat of my pants more now than I ever dreamed I would. I refer to a loose (and I mean VERY loose) outline with only 4 or 5 key “landmarks” and then let the creative juices flow to fill in the scenes between the plot points.

How many unpublished and half-finished books do you have?

Linda: I don’t do “unfinished” well. Can’t seem to leave it alone. So I’d say I have unpublished, unfinished ideas still rolling around in my head.

If you could give advice to your younger writing self, what would it be?

Linda: Write on a fixed daily schedule. Get the story down, not worrying about making it perfect at first. Submit to contests; the feedback is invaluable. (Even submit to freelance editors if you can afford it. They are a wonderful source of knowledge and expertise.) Get into a writing/critique group.

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What are common traps for aspiring writers?

Linda: (1) Separating oneself from other writers. (2) Allowing yourself to have a thin skin; never allow yourself to be offended; it isn’t worth it. (3) Fear of rejection.

What does literary success look like to you?

Linda: I began my writing journey shortly after my first grandchild arrived in triplicate form—two boys and a girl. They struggled for life in the NiCU 3 months, and I sat beside them. During that time of duress, I vowed to the Lord I would devote the remainder of my life to them and that I’d leave them a legacy of faith in writing. When my daughter said she was naming her daughter Ella after my grandmother, I knew I would write a novel with a heroine named Ella

That said, honestly, just fulfilling my vow is literary success to me. The cream on top of the cake is hearing readers tell about how they were emotionally moved and encouraged or their faith inspired by my stories Hearing such feedback is affirmation of my original vow and encourages me to continue.

Future Projects or WIP you can talk about?

Linda: In 1924, my ancestors migrated as a clan from Oklahoma to the Rio Grande Valley of Texas where they worked in back-breaking cotton fields and clearing thick, brutal brush from wild lands to prepare it for farming. Those folks left mighty big footprints to follow, and I’d like to write a series dealing with some of the struggles they endured in their time and place.

Great advice and thanks for stopping by today!

Click to Tweet: Author Linda Brooks Davis shares lessons learned in her writing journey #LindaBrooksDavis #TheAwakeningofMissAdelaide @InspiredPrompt


The Awakening of Miss Adelaide

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Orphaned as an infant, Oklahoma heiress Adelaide Fitzgerald has enjoyed every advantage. She possesses a unique gift for music and has excelled on the opera stage in Italy. She’s a philanthropist who is adored from America to Europe.

But Miss Adelaide is about to awaken in a 1918 nightmare.

When the Great War—and the Great Influenza—knock, Adelaide finds her uninvited guests more than unwelcome. They threaten her life and alter her identity and purpose.

When her Italian music instructor and mentor dies, he leaves her a sprawling ranch and villa in the Maremma district of Tuscany. This location proves ideal for her covert operations during the Great War. 

Having risked her life and security for her country, Adelaide welcomes the end of global hostilities in 1918. And she anticipates a continuation of her dream life—a bright return to the opera stage and a flourishing future as a land and cattle baroness.

But before the ink on the armistice dries, Adelaide’s world begins to crumble. The influenza pandemic creeps into the Tuscan hills and over the villa’s walls, leaving death and destruction in its wake. Adelaide contracts the dreaded virus and awakens as if fin a nightmare with her rare operatic voice ruined and with fresh questions about her life and loves, her faith and future, and God’s plan and purpose. 

In The Awakening of Miss Adelaide, war and peace, laughter and heartache, love and loss come together to ignite a fresh fire that reveals one woman’s hidden needs and potentials. 

What will gaining a fresh understanding of herself require of the Angel of the Opera?


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Linda Brooks Davis was born and reared on a farm in Raymondville, a small Rio Grande Valley community in the southernmost tip of Texas. Linda earned a Bachelor Degree in Speech Pathology from Abilene Christian University and a Master Degree from Houston Baptist University. She retired in 2008 after forty years as a special educator and administrator. Linda and her beloved husband Al worship and minister at Oak Hills Church in San Antonio and dote on six grandchildren, three of whom are triplets. Readers may contact Linda through her website, www.lindabrooksdavis.com.

Linda’s debut novel, best-selling The Calling of Ella McFarland (Book 1 in The Women of Rock Creek series), is set in 1905 Indian Territory prior to Oklahoma statehood. It won the 2014 Jerry Jenkins Operation First Novel Award. It subsequently won the ACFW Carol Award for Debut Novel 2016. The sequel novella, A Christmas to Remember, is set in 1908 Oklahoma and released in December 2016. A second novella, A Christmas Measure of Love, is set in 1910. It released in 2017 as a prequel to Linda’s second full-length novel, best-selling The Mending of Lillian Cathleen (Book 2 in the series), which is set in 1914 and released in October 2018. Book 3 in the series, The Awakening of Miss Adelaide, released in July 2019.

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The Calling of Ella McFarland

A Rock Creek Christmas Collection

The Mending of Lillian Cathleen  

The Awakening of Miss Adelaide 

3 Questions Wednesday with Leigh Ann Thomas

Hello, friends! Today, I’d like to introduce you to my friend, author Leigh Ann Thomas.

Welcome! Tell us, who is your favorite author?

Leigh Ann: Oh, this is tough! I have favorites in different genres. For example, in women’s fiction, I love to devour novels by Eva Marie Everson or Deborah Raney.  If I need a suspenseful rush, I reach for the works of Lynette Eason, Jodie Bailey, or DiAnn Mills. But if I must choose, there’s one author I read every day.  Oswald Chambers challenges my thought processes and points me to Jesus. I love his voice and his passion for God.

A great choice. Now…

If you could write about anyone or anything fiction/nonfiction who or what would you write about?

Leigh Ann: If my mind worked like Steven James or Lynette Eason’s, I would love to explore the world of mystery/suspense. I’m fascinated by the way suspense authors weave a complicated tapestry and bit by bit, reveal these crazy-tangled layers underneath a story.  Amazing!

I don’t see how they do it

If you could spend time with a character from your book or another book whom would it be? And what would you do during that day? 

Leigh Ann: I was fascinated with Ted Dekker’s early works, including The Circle Trilogy (before Green came along). I would love to spend a day exploring the Colored Forest with Thomas Hunter and Rachelle. The author paints with such vivid strokes, and if I’m enjoying a breath-taking autumn scene, I sometimes make believe I’m in Dekker’s imaginary forest of intense color.

Make-believe is a writer’s bread and butter 🙂

Click to tweet: 3 Questions Wednesday with Leigh Ann Thomas. Learn about her new book, Smack-Dab in the Midlife Zone. #authorslife #amreading

Readers, if you’d like a chance to win a copy of Leigh Ann’s book,  Smack-Dab in the Midlife Zone, leave her a comment below. Keep reading for information about the book. Don’t forget to leave a comment or ask Leigh Ann a question!

 


Smack-Dab in the Midlife Zone

The infamous middle years:

  • Children move through school, fly the coop, and return home bringing more children
  • “Natural” highlights are—in reality—gray hairs
  • Clothes-shopping in Juniors brings guilt and undergarments get sturdier
  • Children need us less, parents need us more
  • Questions abound: Who is that woman in the mirror? What is my purpose? Where do I fit in? What now, Lord?

Over 40? No problem. With joy and transparency, Smack-Dab in the Midlife Zone uses scripture, prayer, and the power of story to show women in midlife how being smack-dab in the middle of God’s plans and purposes is the best place to be.

With the Lord’s guidance, this packed-with-transition life season can be infused with growth, discovery, and edge-of-your-seat adventure!


Leigh Ann Thomas is passionate about encouraging women to seek God’s best. She has penned four books, including Smack-Dab in the Midlife Zone: Inspiration for Women in the Middle and is a contributing author in 12 compilations. A staff writer for the parenting sites, InTheQuiver.com and Just18Summers.com, Leigh Ann has also contributed to Southern Writers Magazine, Power for Living, Charisma Magazine, and others.

She is married to her best friend, Roy, and they are thankful for the gifts of three daughters, two sons-in-law, three amazing grandsons and a grand-princess.

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Are You a Writer Trying to Break into Publication? One Word of Advice

By Jennifer Hallmark

Know that writing is hard work.

I see your puzzled look. That’s my advice?

Yes.

Writing is hard work. To be a successful writer, you need to be patient, persevering, and have a strong work ethic. Why? Some days you’ll grow tired of waiting. Tired of keeping on. Tired of the endless work.

Successful writers don’t only write. They study the craft, practice, try different ways to get published, study, then write some more. And let’s not even talk about marketing. Click to tweet: The job of writer is an endless journey you never arrive at. The journey is the destination.

If you truly want to be a writer, be prepared to do certain things over and over again.

  1. Write. Articles, blog posts, short stories, novellas, or novels. Pick your poison and practice, practice, practice.
  2. Rewrite. Once you’ve written whatever it is you needed to write, the rewrites begin. Read the article, story, or novel out loud and find ways to make it better.
  3. Practice humility. When you finally break into publication, you’ll be edited. Given advice. Some you won’t like. So, you better learn to be humble now or your journey will be short-lived.
  4. Push past the pain, tiredness, or boredom. You’ll deal with all three of these at different times and sometimes at the same time. Just like any other career, you have to do the job when you don’t want to. As I’m typing away on my laptop, I’m a week away from the release of my debut novel, Jessie’s Hope. I did not want to write this article today. It won’t post until July 15th. But I have a block of time to write now and I know it’s better to get it done. Who knows what the future will bring?

Let’s say this out loud and together: Writing is hard work. But I am in this for the long haul. Writing is what I want to do. I seek publication. So, I plan to work and write and submit and study and learn until my time comes.

For I am a writer.

Writing Prompt: Your assignment is to tell one person this week, who doesn’t already know, that you are a writer. Get over it now. Then write some more.

Writer journaling in a book

A Worthy Heart by Sara Beth Williams

Headshot photo 1 reducedGood morning, friends! Thank you for joining us on this lovely Saturday. We’re excited to have author Sara Beth Williams talking about writing tips and her newest release, A Worthy Heart. Let’s begin!

Tell us a little about yourself.

Sara Beth: I am married, with two spunky little girls, and I love to read, play guitar, and anything else that involves creativity. We reside in northern California.

What do you love most about the writing process?

Sara Beth:  I love the ability to create. Creating imagery, creating characters, creating emotional responses, all with words. It’s so much fun. I love also the process of self-discovery. A lot of writing really involves telling the world some kind of truth that comes from your own life experiences, even if it’s well hidden.  

How many unpublished and half-finished books do you have?

Sara Beth:  Too many! I think I have four, now that I can say I finished this 2nd book in my series  finally!

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If you could give advice to your younger writing self, what would it be?

Sara Beth:  Do NOT sit on your first draft and edit it to death. Finish it all the way through.

What are common traps for aspiring writers?

Sara Beth:   Editing everything over and over and over before it’s necessary. along that same note, NOT hiring a professional editor before you submit to a publishing house or agent. Also working on too many projects at once. Wanting to hurry the process of publishing up. 

What does literary success look like to you?

Sara Beth:  I think if I can earn my keep writing books – as in the money I earn is paying for me to continue to market and write more books, then I will consider myself successful. 

Future Projects or WIP you can talk about?

Sara Beth:  I have just finished my 2nd book in my contemporary romance series, and am finally beginning revisions for my third in the series! A young man who loses everything he’s ever wanted is plagued by anxiety and grief. To climb out of the pit of his despair, he might have to admit he loves someone other than the woman he wanted to marry.

Great advice and thanks for stopping by today!

Click to Tweet: Author Sara Beth Williams shares her writing advice and her latest book, A Worthy Heart. #amwriting   @InspiredPrompt


A Worthy HeartA WORTHY HEART BOOK COVER

Joel Bennett has always known Serena Hayes as his sister’s gregarious best friend. In the three years since Lacey began college, Serena became a regular houseguest, but lately, she’s absent more than not. When Joel discovers she’s in an abusive relationship, protectiveness from within roars to life. 

 With only a part time job to support her and nowhere to go, Serena fears leaving her current relationship would jeopardize her chances of graduating college. After a brutal attack leaves her no choice, she courageously moves out. On her journey toward regaining confidence, self-worth, and independence, Joel falls in beside her, encouraging her. The way he emulates Godly love and compassion draws her close—not just to him, but to the God who can satisfy her longing for love better than any man,

 Attraction sizzles between them, but events from their pasts cast shadows of doubt. 

When the unthinkable happens, can Serena open her heart to a second chance at love, or is she destined to be alone?

A Worthy Heart newly released …Click here to buy now


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Sara Beth Williams is a wife, mother of two daughters, and temporary caretaker of a loveable old lady pit and a spunky Pomeranian. She lives in Northern California. When she’s not held hostage by the keyboard, she enjoys music, teaching, reading and spending time with her family. She is all about connecting with readers! Find her on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Goodreads, and Bookbub.

 

 

Travel Writing: Chasing the Janes

By Jarm Del Boccio

“And of this place,” thought she, “I might have been Mistress!”

So says Lizzie when she visits Pemberley, Darcy’s magnificent estate, with her aunt and uncle. Because her sister Lydia, through her improper behavior, has tainted the family’s reputation, Lizzie is sure — especially after refusing his offer of marriage once — that he will never ask her again.

My daughter and I, both writers and avid Brontë and Austen fans, took a memorable trip to England on what I call a “Chasing the Janes” tour. It was quite the challenge to plan from over the pond, but well worth it.

We planned on one of our days to visit both ‘Pemberleys’ from the 1995 BBC film with Colin Firth (our favorite), and the latest Kiera Knightley version. We tried the impossible and succeeded to see those two and Haddon Hall, which is where our favorite 2006 BBC version of Jane Eyre was filmed. Two were only three miles apart, but our favorite Pemberley was over an hour away. I can’t tell you all the people who helped us get to our destinations, and the situations that made it possible, but, it was truly amazing to us.

First, we visited Chatsworth House, which is where Kiera’s version was filmed:

The outside was featured, as well as two locations in the house itself:

The Great Hall, and, of course, the sculpture gallery (not my usual photography, but I wanted to be discreet):

A little angel caught my eye . . .

This house’s original owners were Bess of Hartwick (Henry VIII) and her husband. It was eventually completely remodeled and became the residence of the Duke and Duchess of Devonshire. The present D&D love modern art, and have pieces in almost every room. It was a little irritating to see it mixed in with Tudor and Medieval art. But, there were a few fascinating pieces:

A cozy library and seating area. . .

A chair in the sculpture gallery. . .

And the DNA of the present family interpreted as a 3D wall covering!

Well, this post isn’t about art, so on we go to our favorite Pemberley, (Lyme Park is its true name) owned by Mr. Darcy (Colin Firth), the handsome heart throb of many a young lady’s heart:

They call this the ‘iconic’ view of Pemberley. The one you see in all the photos. Funny thing is, in the film, Lizzie and her aunt and uncle were brought to the back door via the circular drive:

Here is the area where Lizzie and Darcy took a ‘turn’ in the garden together, which is to the right of the back door:

And just look at the beautiful scenery around Lyme Park:

Unfortunately, we arrived too late in the afternoon to take the tour of the interior, but, since nothing was filmed inside, we didn’t really mind. We were just thrilled that we made it onto the grounds so we could take pics. The Visitor’s Center was just closing as we walked up, but the young lady gave us ample information to make our visit a success!

In between the Pemberley visits, we toured Haddon Hall, the location for the filming of our favorite 2006 BBC version of Jane Eyre:

I can’t even describe what it was like to see this castle. We were ooo-ing and ahh-ing the entire visit. Feeling as if we fell back into time, we fully expected to see Jane walk down these stairs:

Here is the great hall where many scenes were filmed. I was disappointed that the ‘Tudors” were doing their reenactments, but you can get an idea of the space:

Here is the little room where Adele, her charge, took her lessons:

Then we went into the garden and were completely overwhelmed with its charm:

Some views of the backside of Haddon Hall (Thornfield in the 2006 BBC version of Jane Eyre):

And the beautiful surroundings:

We just couldn’t get enough of this place!

It’s always my goal, whenever I visit a new locale, to find an interesting site related to an author or piece of literature. We found a goldmine on this day.

Writing Prompt: Imagine Lizzie and Darcy strolling in the Pemberley gardens. Relate their conversation after Darcy changes clothes and Elizabeth realizes she has misunderstood Darcy’s character.


 The Heart Changer

Can an Israelite captive, wrenched from all she loves, serve the very man who destroyed her village?

Miriam is asked to do the impossible: serve the wife of Naaman, commander of the Syrian army. Clinging to treasured memories of home and faith, Miriam faces captivity with worry and bitterness. Little does she know the Heart Changer is wooing and preparing her for a greater mission—far beyond what she could imagine.

This middle-grade historical novel reflects the heartache and angst of a young refugee in a foreign land where all hope seems lost.

Link: https://amzn.to/2SCcPnx


Jarm (‘J’ pronounced as a ‘Y’) Del Boccio finds her inspiration in everyday life, but in particular, when she travels the globe, observing the quirky things that happen along the way. Focusing on lives of characters from the past, Jarm is devoted to breathing new life into the pages of history.

Jarm loves to travel, is passionate about visiting new places and determined never visit the same location twice. Unfortunately, sometimes she has to break her own rule. Having journeyed to six out of seven continents, she’s slowly checking off destinations on her bucket list. Jarm’s next dream destination is a stay in a Mongolian yurt with plenty of yak milk to drink!

Some interesting factoids about the author: Her first job was working in — no kidding — a Chinese laundromat! After meeting a bat head-on, Jarm had the distinct privilege of sporting black eyes for eighth grade graduation. Her secret desire? To get caught up in a flash mob singing a tune from a favorite musical.

Jarm has a background in elementary and high school art education, and served four years as school librarian. She spent two years in Papua New Guinea, teaching three missionary children in an isolated bush village without modern conveniences.

Jarm is a member of the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators and American Christian Fiction Writers, Children’s Book Insiders and has published two articles in The Old Schoolhouse magazine.

Jarm Del Boccio is content with the journey God has placed her on, and lives with her husband, adult daughter and son (when he lands at home), in a tree-lined suburb of Chicago. Her debut middle-grade historical fiction, The Heart Changer released with Ambassador International April 26th. You can connect with her at: https://www.jarmdelboccio.com/  or her author’s Facebook or Instagram accounts.

My Passion is to Make Scripture and History Come Alive for my Readers: Illuminating the Past. Making Sense of the Present. Offering Hope for the Future