3 Questions Wednesday with Pamela Ferguson

On this week’s 3 Questions, we will get to know award-winning author, Pamela Ferguson.  Let’s start with our first question, what do you love most about the writing process? The least?

Pamela: The thing I love most about the writing process is getting into the zone. If you’ve been involved in any type of creative activity, you know what I mean. It’s when you become so engrossed in what you’re doing that time falls away. For authors in the zone, creative energy seems to flow effortlessly onto the page, and, afterward, you don’t know where the ideas came from. When I experience these moments, I feel a profound sense of gratitude.

Right now, with coronavirus dominating our lives, it’s been harder for me to get into the zone. I write sweet contemporary and historical romance fiction, so creating hope-filled stories with a touch of humor during these turbulent times requires even more focus. I’ve fallen into the pattern of writing in thirty-minute sprints and then checking the news for coronavirus updates. Definitely not as productive. Right now, I’m writing my next novel, Once Wished, a sweet contemporary romance about two people who thought they knew what they wanted. I’m also researching American soldiers in Europe during World War II for the sequel to my historical romance His French War Bride: Normandy. I pray daily for help with staying focused.

You are right. With the world in crisis, it is hard to clear our heads and find our writing zones. Stay after it. Next question, were you a young writer, late-bloomer, or somewhere in-between?

Pamela: I was a young writer. From scribbling poetry and keeping personal journals to publishing in student literary magazines and editing school newspapers, I’ve been writing since I could hold a pen. Writing is how I make sense of the world.

You have grown up writing! That’s great. Our final question,  if you could give a novice writer one piece of advice, what would it be?

Pamela: Turn off your internal critic, give yourself permission to write that terrible first draft, and have faith the book you imagine will come to fruition after you take that first step.

We could be missing great morsels of writing if we inhibit that first draft with being too critical. Thanks for stopping by. Connect with Pamela on any or all of her social platforms below:

Pamela’s Bio

Award-winning author Pamela Ferguson writes contemporary and historical romance fiction. Wings of Love, her first novel set in the fictional town of Lilac, won the 2017 Romance Writers of America Golden Heart® Award for Romance with Religious or Spiritual Elements. Readers can meet relatives of her contemporary romance characters in her World War II-era historical romances. She collaborates with two fantastic vocal artists, Stephanie Dillard (contemporary) and Rebecca Fine (historical), to produce audiobooks for all her stories. She loves to hear from readers. Drop her a line at pam@pamelaferguson.com.


Book Giveaway!

Today Pamela is giving away a copy of her sweet romance Love Accepted. One reviewer described it as, “A wonderful Christian story of second chances against almost impossible odds, this short tale will warm your heart, and rekindle your faith.”

Carly Day is on a mission: Make amends to her grown children and everyone else she’s hurt over the years. When she returns to Lilac to help care for her first grandchild, she quickly realizes that just because she’s sorry doesn’t mean folks are ready to forgive. Even Pete Warfield, her son-in-law’s uncle, keeps her at arms’ length, as if he’s afraid she’ll run off again. How can she prove she’s turned her life around?

More knowledgeable about carburetors than car seats, Pete Warfield should have his head examined for agreeing to help take care of a three-month-old baby. After a short marriage decades before, Pete’s been happy with his bachelor existence. That is, until Carly Day returns to town. Working with her around the clock to care for his grandnephew has him wishing for things he thought he didn’t want. Like love and a family of his own.

Leave a comment and you will be included in a drawing for a free book (print or audiobook).

Take care. Stay healthy!

3 Ways the Writing Community Helps During a Writer’s Peaks and Valleys

By Jennifer Hallmark

Emotional highs and lows.  Ebb and flow. Good and bad times. Wax and wane.

All writers have them. One minute you’ve sold an article or wrote a magnificent sentence in the novel or your book has been nominated for an award.

The next, you’re reading another rejection email addressed to occupant, scrapping half of your novel because of plot issues, or you notice a scathing review on Amazon. Or maybe you’re struggling to write because you’re worried about a pandemic. (I never thought I would write those words.)

Many people who pen words are solitary creatures, leaving the computer only for a grocery run or to go to their regular job. You know, the one where you are actually paid? Now many of us are home from the regular job and finding it hard to focus.

Being a writer is a difficult profession. What can we do? Who can we turn to for help in the peaks and valleys?

#WritingCommunity to the rescue.

How does the writing community help?

    1. Other writers give encouragement both online and at conferences/meetings. I cannot stress enough the positive difference in my life when I started going to meetings, then attended my first writing conference. Just knowing other people saw the world as I did was life-changing. The positive feedback gave me the courage to continue.
    2. The writing community can support us through reviews, offering guest post spots, and by purchasing our books. I began my “hobby” by contacting a faith-based free article site and asking if I could upload an article. My first attempt online led to guest posts from other authors, much-needed thoughts on my articles, and even a guest column on an Australian on-line women’s magazine. The community proved invaluable when I released my first novel, Jessie’s Hope.
    3. An important part of writing is to find people who will offer feedback and accountability. When I first began, I thought highly of all my work. Then I joined a local writing group and an online critique group. Yes, there was pain involved when I shared my “darling” and found out it wasn’t as perfect as I thought. But growth occurred and I became a much better writer. Also, writer friends would occasionally check on me to see how I was doing.
    4. They can spread the word on social media. The community, especially on Twitter, shared my articles and book news and even added me to lists about writing. Facebook helped me connect with many people within my own community and share about book signings and nearby places to buy my book.

The writing community took my writing from hobby to career and I’ll always be grateful. I try to pay it forward by offering guest posts and interviews on both my blogs, whether a writer published or not. I share a lot on social media and try to offer feedback when asked. And now I’m working hard to encourage people during this crisis. Pushing past my own fears and paying it forward.

Click to tweet: Small acts of kindness. One writer to another. Help in navigating those deep, lonely valleys. A high-five from others while standing on the mountaintop. Both needed, both appreciated.

Thank you, #WritingCommunity!

Writing prompt: Share in the comments below one way the writing community has helped you, especially during hard times. We’d love to know!

3 Questions Wednesday with Marina Bromley

Happy Wednesday! Today our guest is Marina Bromley, a woman on the move, literally. She and her husband have moved eight times in the last ten years. But along the way she has experienced God’s faithfulness, and met some great friends. Let’s get to know her better.  Our first question, describe your writing space?

Marina: I have always loved writing at my kitchen table, and that is how I “found” my blog name, Marina’s Kitchen Table. It’s the center of the home, a place where friends and family gather, the place I’m most comfortable praying, and I’ve always imagined that what I’m writing, I’m “speaking” to my friends gathered around.

I started blogging in the late 1990s and no matter where we have lived, no matter what the home’s floor plan was, I always settle in that same spot. Actually, I’ve moved 8 times in the past 10 years, and each house has been very different! I’ve lived in little country houses and grand brick homes, and no matter what the space looks like, the kitchen table is the place I’m most comfortable with, and creative in. I may store my laptop on my bedroom desk, but I WRITE at the kitchen table!

Great. You’re right, the kitchen always seems to be the heart of the home. Next question: who is your favorite hero or heroine?

Marina: I didn’t read Little Women as a kid, but when I saw the 1949 version of the movie in my late teens, I fell in love with Jo March. She was a lot of things I related to; bold, outspoken, confident, and curious. Over the years (and as I’ve become and grown in my Christian faith) I’m not so sure I’m as brave as I used to be, but I still love her character. I’m also still a life-long learner, as I think she was meant to be. Insatiably curious, and of course, a writer. I love in the 1994 version how Jo responds to Mr. Mayer’s statement of suggesting she should be a lawyer, with her confidence, “I should have been a great many things, Mr. Mayer.” That’s how I feel too. I’ve been blessed to have had many careers in my life, and there are still many things I’d like to do in my future! I’ll be honest with you though, I love the first two versions so much (for different reasons) that I have not seen the 2019 version yet! The time has come to re-read them and watch the movie, (hmmm…which would be the better prize, reading or watching?)

Reading or watching…it is a difficult decision, either way, it’s a great story with strong characters. Final question: give a shout-out to a writer friend and your favorite book they’ve written.

Marina: Oh, this is tough. I’ve really got a few books that I recommend to people. A MOST favorite book is “Girl Meets Change” by Kristen Strong. We’ve not spent time together in real life, but we’re kindred spirits online. She’s a military wife (now retired) and has had many changes in her life, many moves, and surprises.

The book doesn’t focus on just one kind of change, but many, and she weaves scripture in to remind us that God is the Author of change. It’s beautifully written with stories of women who have faced all sorts of change in life, from moving to losing a spouse, from divorce or death to disappointments in parenting, empty-nesting, and life changes in general. It’s a great reminder that the God who orchestrated change will walk with us through those changes too. It’s full of hope for anyone facing a life-changing circumstance.

God is faithful! Good to learn more about you. Thanks for stopping by. Connect with Marina on any or all of her social platforms below:

Check out her books on Amazon.


Click to Tweet: I didn’t read Little Women as a kid, but when I saw the 1949 version of the movie in my late teens I fell in love with Jo March. She was a lot of things I related to; bold, outspoken, confident, curious.


Marina’s Bio

Marina Bromley has always wanted to be a wife and mother. Married to Mark for over 30 years, they’ve raised their family of 3 and now have 10 grandkids to make memories with. In the past 10 years they’ve moved 8 times, where she’s loved making each house a home and treasures the friendships that have grown in their front yards.

She believes in the gift of forgiveness, the sacrifice of love, the importance of discipleship, the blessing of community, and the power of prayer. A favorite saying is, “Learn from my mistakes, they won’t cost you a thing!” and she shares her stories through writing on her blog and Facebook pages. You can find her at Marina’s Kitchen Table, The Workaholic’s Wife, and Women Helping in Missions, where she shares what it’s like to be a Parent of a Missionary (POM).

You can find her photography featured at Meeting in the Meadow on Facebook and online, where she serves as the VA and Social Media Manager for Roy Lessin, writer and retired co-founder of DaySpring.  In her spare time, Marina can be found living a quiet but amazing life in Alabama, where she enjoys photography, gardening, feeding birds, quilting, crafting, corresponding with friends, hanging out in the front yard with the neighbors, and worshiping God in the midst of every little thing.


“You can learn from my mistakes, and it won’t cost you a thing!” is one of Marina Bromley’s favorite quotes. Over the years she’s had time to reflect on her life lessons and the grace-filled ways God has turned them into blessings. This book is based on what she’s learned through those mistakes, much as she’s shared around her Kitchen Table online and in person over the past 35 years. If you’ve longed to have an older friend, someone who won’t gloss over the mistakes she’s made and will own up to the realities of life, then this book is for you! Take this 30-day journey of scripture focus and practical life application and reflection in Morning Meditations at Marina’s Kitchen Table. “When you read Morning Meditations by Marina Bromley you will enjoy the opportunity of entering her kitchen and getting to know her better. Reading her words is like hearing her talk…her spiritual gifting also comes through the pages. Her voice is as a gentle charge with a clear “giddy-up” encouraging God’s people to press on in their everyday walk with Jesus.”
– Roy Lessin, Author, Bible teacher, and co-founder of DaySpring.
Share a comment on this post and be included in a drawing for a free book. Marina will be drawing on Friday, March 27th.

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!

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