World Blog Tour – The Writing Process

My fellow Pelican Book Group author LoRee Peery asked me to participate in this blog tour, and of course I had to say yes. What other answer could I give to the chance to talk about my writing?

For those of you who may not be familiar with me, I mostly write sweet and inspirational romance. My first YA novel comes out at the end of this month (yay!).

The writing process is what this blog hop is all about. Each person who participates answers the same four questions, giving readers a glimpse into the minds of writers. Here are my answers to the questions:

1. What am I working on?

I’m always working on multiple projects, but the one I’m spending the most time on these days is a currently untitled inspirational romance. The hero is a veteran of the war in Afghanistan, and even though I’ve written several romances with vets for heroes, this one is unlike any I’ve ever written.

2. How does my work differ from others of its genre?

My writing isn’t always what you might expect for sweet or inspirational romance. Difficult topics regularly pop up in my stories, including PTSD and autism. The plots don’t always go in the expected direction, but that’s half the fun. It can also make writing the stories an interesting experience as the characters take unexpected turns and throw new obstacles in the path to a happy ending. And despite always having a happy ending, the problems faced by the characters aren’t magically cured by the end of the story. Autism and PTSD don’t go away just because you fall in love. I write to reflect that reality while also giving the characters hope for a happy future in spite of the challenges ahead.

3. Why do I write what I do?

Honestly, that’s something I wonder from time to time. No matter how many times I might wish I wrote lighthearted, humorous stories, I always end up writing stories with a more serious tone. I can only assume that the reason I write what I do is because that’s what I’m meant to write. It’s difficult writing some of the situations my characters end up in, but that just makes writing their happy endings that much sweeter.

4. How does my writing process work?

I’m a diehard pantser, which means I never outline. I write by the seat of my pants. An idea for a character or a situation will pop into my head, and then I start down the path of “What if…?” Then I start writing. Sometimes I’ll have a vague idea of where the story is going before I write the first chapter, but I usually just follow along and watch the story unfold as I write it. There’s nothing quite like learning about my characters the same way readers will, one page at a time.

Thanks for taking the time to read about my writing process! Check out these blogs next week (July 15, 2014) to learn more about three more authors’ writing:

Therese Gilardi

Cindy K. Green

Therese Travis

~~

Here’s an example of a book I didn’t know where it was going when I started writing. I learned a lot about Josh Teague (the hero) through writing Trust of the Heart (Veteran Hearts, Book 2), and I love him even more now. Readers apparently love him as well. Trust of the Heart is a finalist for the 2014 Readers’ Crown Award.

Trust of the Heart cover artBlurb

Josh Teague has dark memories from his time in Iraq. While he longs to share the burden of those memories with someone, he is afraid they will scare his girlfriend. Unwilling to risk losing her, he keeps the memories to himself and tries to keep a cheerful attitude despite the holiday season threatening to bring his mood down.

Leann Robak has her own set of memories causing trouble. Abandoned by her father when she was ten, she is devastated when her mother announces she’s taking a month-long trip to Europe over Christmas. Although Josh’s invitation to spend Christmas with him at his parents’ house holds exciting prospects, Leann can tell he’s hiding something from her. That knowledge leaves her wondering how well she truly knows him and whether he even wants to be in a relationship with her.

Can Josh and Leann learn to trust each other fully, or will their insecurities drive them apart?

You can purchase a copy of Trust of the Heart from Amazon, Amazon UK, Barnes & Noble, iTunes, Kobo, and other online retailers.

New Release – A Blessed Blue Christmas by LoRee Peery

My fellow Pelican Book Group author LoRee Peery is here today celebrating the release of her brand new Christmas novella, A Blessed Blue Christmas. I think it sounds like an awesome read. Take a look and let me know what you think!

A Blessed Blue Christmas cover artBlurb:

Dahlia Delisi has poured her life into her store, The Blue Dahlia. Once her faith was strong, and her life was on a different course. But when Sloan Letheby left town, Dahlia drifted away from God.

Sloan Letheby has been transformed. His brush with death brought new meaning to his faith in God, and he needs to right old wrongs. However, there’s a murder plot in the way of his reunion with Dahlia. Can he find a killer before it’s too late? And can Dahlia accept him…and God, back into her life?

Excerpt:

The recent activity wiped out Dahlia, and time slowed. Surprisingly, she dozed most of the way back to Lincoln. On the street that housed her duplex, she roused from her lethargy.

Sloan cupped her shoulder, and she sat straight. “I’ll let you know tomorrow if we’ve had any kind of break. Hopefully, this will all be over. Remember to thank the Lord that Ken is going to be fine.”

“Are you sure you don’t think I’m a wimp, the way you’re telling me to take it easy? My little snooze is probably the only rest I’ll get until Christmas. Counting down the days, and Christmas Eve is always the busiest day other than Black Friday. For some reason guys put off that special gift purchase to the last minute. Not that I’m complaining.” She’d forgotten to leave Ken’s bracelet gift for Carrie. It remained in her purse. She unlatched her belt and reached for the door handle.

“Wait. I’ll come around.” He did more than open her pickup door. He pulled her to his side, tucked her against him, and walked her up the drive. She sighed, relished the familiarity.

Being so near to Sloan erased the years. Dahlia gave no thought to resting her head on his shoulder, falling into an old pattern.

Ever so gently, he shifted his stance so they faced one another. The icicle Christmas lights dripping from the eaves added a golden reflection to his eyes. “I won’t apologize. I can’t resist.”

“What for?”

“Shhh,” he said, sliding a finger across her lips.

He bent forward and replaced his finger with his lips, grazing her cheek with his face. His nose felt cold, but his lips shot fire through her. Dare she give in? She was too tired to allow her mind influence over the temptation of responding to his touch. This was Sloan after all whose touch and feel at one time were almost an extension of her own body. She got into the kiss. Within a nanosecond, hands were in motion. His and hers, roaming over arms, shoulders, backs, waists, as though their limbs held memory in the muscles. She skimmed her right hand over the ridge of ribs, firmness of body beneath layers, until her fingers reached his nape. She cupped the base of his skull, where the indented seven-shaped scar registered through her fingertips. Her traveling fingers rose higher and rolled his warm stocking cap into a heap.

He moaned, and pulled them out of the upsurge of heat. “We’ve both wanted this since we laid eyes on each other again.”

She swerved to the side, her world atilt, and bent to retrieve his cap. He took it from her grasp and balled it into his own fist. Then he picked up her hand with his free one, and lifted her wrist for his caress. She closed her eyes, marveled that such a minute touch at her pulse held enough force to set her senses on fire.

But she didn’t have time for all that in her life.

She pulled out of his arms. “Thanks for taking me to see Ken today. I need to get inside, and ready for tomorrow.”

His arms dropped to his sides, and he swayed a bit. So he felt shaken as well. “Dream of me tonight, Dahlia. And trust. Ken will be safe. The Lord will work out all the details.”

“There you go again. I’m used to working out my own details.”

~~

Purchase your copy of A Blessed Blue Christmas today! http://tinyurl.com/mf2392f

About the Author:

LoRee Peery author photoLoRee Peery is a lifelong Nebraskan who thanks her mother for teaching her to read when she was four. LoRee has devoured books ever since. She and her husband have tackled some interesting projects over the course of their married life. For one, they built the home they live in with their own hands. They used to want more acres further away from city life, but one day LoRee realized they had their “greener on the other side of the fence” already. All it took was removing the hedge made of trees and bushes. She feels grounded in her sense of place and considers it a blessing to have lived most of her life in the country. She is also blessed to have five children and eleven grandchildren.

www.loreepeery.com

https://www.facebook.com/LoReePeery

Interview with Author LoRee Peery

Please welcome inspirationalLoRee Peery author photo romance author LoRee Peery!

E.A.:  Why don’t you tell us a little about yourself?

LoRee:  I feel like I’ve been talking way too much about myself this April, so I will say something different from the bios on my website or at White Rose Publishing. A couple tidbits:

I learned to rake a yard the way you rake a hayfield, in windrows. Then you pile up the rows and make a “haystack.”

When I was a girl I loved to swing. I remember the way my hair swished through the grass when I leaned back. Once I swung so high I went over the bar and had the wind knocked out of me.

I climbed into the hayloft at age nine to play with my cat. She was making strange noises, so I picked her up. When she jumped off my lap, a baby kitten was left. Naturally, I stayed to watch the others come into the world.

E.A.:  Wow, it sounds like you had an interesting childhood! I bet your adventures have given you plenty of fodder for writing. Why don’t you tell us about your latest release?

LoRee:  Why would God bring together an older widow and a younger man?

BlRainn on My Parade cover imageurb:

After firefighter Rainn Harris rescues Geneva Carson from being stuck in a tree, she feels she owes him. Helping to care for his autistic niece comes easy, but her attraction to Rainn is a different story. Being drawn to a man twelve years her junior metes internal havoc as Geneva attempts to balance responsibility and personal fulfillment. And the prospect of becoming a middle-aged mom to a special -needs child sends Geneva into a tailspin of conflicting emotions.

As the custodial parent for his young niece, Rainn is determined to be a better parent than his absentee sister. When Geneva agrees to help care for Mia, Rainn is overjoyed. He admires Geneva’s compassion and enthusiasm for life, and expects she’ll be a positive influence on Mia. What he doesn’t expect is to fall in love with the beautiful and vital woman. But Geneva’s hung up on their age difference, and he must convince her of his sincerity before they will ever have a chance at happiness together.

As tension threatens to pull them apart, both must learn to rely on the Lord to direct their futures—whether that means two lives joined or paths in opposite directions.

Excerpt:

Get a grip, woman, and act your age.

The sirens drew close. She soon heard activity below, but she kept her eyes clamped shut.

“Hold on, Ms. Carson. Don’t be scared,” a disembodied voice that didn’t belong to her future son-in-law spoke from below. “Just hold on.”

“I assure you, I’m too scared to let go.” Geneva’s voice quivered. But she couldn’t help smiling at her predicament.

The extension ladder whirred softly and creaked as it reached for the top branches of the tree.

She squeezed her eyes tighter.

“I’m right behind you now.”

“Thank you, Lord.”

“Not God, just me.”

The firefighter chuckled.

Her eyes popped open when she felt him close behind. Thankful for the cropped-pajama bottoms she wore instead of a nightgown, Geneva frowned at the unexpected shiver as she attempted to place the voice.

“Whenever you’re ready, just let go.”

“Thought you told me to hold on.”

“Well, I’m here to catch you now.”

She caught the humor in his voice. And hated it.

“Oh, good grief. I’m too heavy for anybody to catch me.” She lowered her eyes to half mast.

“Spunky, most likely,” came from under his breath.

She doubted he meant for her to hear.

Is that professional behavior? Well, that’s pretty nervy of the guy. But then again, I am caught in a tree. She snickered, wondering if she was hysterical. She tried for a deep breath but it turned into a gulp around her sternum. “Are you sure I can let go?”

“Geneva, trust me.” That popped her eyes wide open.

The confident urging voice and the use of her first name drew enough courage to peer downward.

Rainn Harris.

And he was way too close for comfort.

Eric would never live this down at the firehouse. His future mother-in-law rescued from a tree, by his buddy.

She remembered her first look at him. Rainn was a few years older than Eric, but they became fast friends when they met at University. Geneva may have heard Rainn’s name a time or two before Eric started working on Moselle’s loft, but she hadn’t any reason to pay attention. Since then, she’d seen him with Eric many times.

Rainn probably knew more about her than she did him.

Before she could fathom any further thought, Geneva let go and found herself wrapped in the strongest arms and pressed against the strongest chest imaginable.

I’d climb the tree again if this firefighter would come for me.

E.A.:  Love the excerpt! What inspired you to write Rainn on My Parade?

LoRee:  While I was writing Moselle’s Insurance, a line in the dialogue gave me the idea. It wouldn’t let me go. I have yet to read an older woman/younger man Christian romance. So I told Geneva’s story. Geneva is Moselle’s mother. Rainn is Eric’s friend. Eric is the hero in Moselle’s Insurance.

E.A.:  Where can readers purchase a copy of Rainn on My Parade?

LoRee:  http://whiterosepublishing.com/
www.amazon.com

E.A.:  What is your favorite part of writing?

LoRee:  I absolutely get tingles when the characters take over. When something pops out of their mouths that I hadn’t hat a conscious thought of, I get blown away. God is so good!

E.A.:  I agree completely. Of course, characters taking over the story is something most writers don’t think about until it happens to them. What advice would you give to new writers?

LoRee:  Never stop learning. When distractions and life get in the way, make sure you always have a notebook or paper nearby so you can jot down those ideas or details. That way, you have a starting place when you get your fingers back on the keyboard.

E.A.:  Great advice! I can’t count the number of times I’ve had ideas come to me when I’m far from the computer. And speaking of computers, where can readers find more information on you and your books?

LoRee:  My website is www.loreepeery.com

E.A.:  Is there anything you would like to add?

LoRee:  Sometimes we get so wrapped up in our writing—and writing can consume time and energy—that we forget to place the focus where it belongs. And that’s on Christ. He is the driving force of my life. My greatest desire is that my words work in the hearts of those God has chosen to read what I’ve written.

E.A.:  What an amazing goal! And a wonderful reminder of why we write Christian fiction. Thanks for stopping by, LoRee, and congratulations on the release of Rainn on My Parade!

 

E.W.:  Why don’t you tell us a little about yourself?

 

L.P.:  I feel like I’ve been talking way too much about myself this April, so I will say something different from the bios on my website or at White Rose Publishing. A couple tidbits:

 

I learned to rake a yard the way you rake a hayfield, in windrows. Then you pile up the rows and make a “haystack.”

 

When I was a girl I loved to swing. I remember the way my hair swished through the grass when I leaned back. Once I swung so high I went over the bar and had the wind knocked out of me.

 

I climbed into the hayloft at age nine to play with my cat. She was making strange noises, so I picked her up. When she jumped off my lap, a baby kitten was left. Naturally, I stayed to watch the others come into the world.

 

E.W.:  Please tell us about your latest release.

 

L.P.:  Why would God bring together an older widow and a younger man?

 

Blurb:

 

After firefighter Rainn Harris rescues Geneva Carson from being stuck in a tree, she feels she owes him. Helping to care for his autistic niece comes easy, but her attraction to Rainn is a different story. Being drawn to a man twelve years her junior metes internal havoc as Geneva attempts to balance responsibility and personal fulfillment. And the prospect of becoming a middle-aged mom to a special -needs child sends Geneva into a tailspin of conflicting emotions.

 

As the custodial parent for his young niece, Rainn is determined to be a better parent than his absentee sister. When Geneva agrees to help care for Mia, Rainn is overjoyed. He admires Geneva’s compassion and enthusiasm for life, and expects she’ll be a positive influence on Mia. What he doesn’t expect is to fall in love with the beautiful and vital woman. But Geneva’s hung up on their age difference, and he must convince her of his sincerity before they will ever have a chance at happiness together.

 

As tension threatens to pull them apart, both must learn to rely on the Lord to direct their futures—whether that means two lives joined or paths in opposite directions.

 

Excerpt:

Get a grip, woman, and act your age.

The sirens drew close. She soon heard activity below, but she kept her eyes clamped shut.

“Hold on, Ms. Carson. Don’t be scared,” a disembodied voice that didn’t belong to her future son-in-law spoke from below. “Just hold on.”

“I assure you, I’m too scared to let go.” Geneva’s voice quivered. But she couldn’t help smiling at her predicament.

The extension ladder whirred softly and creaked as it reached for the top branches of the tree.

She squeezed her eyes tighter.

“I’m right behind you now.”

“Thank you, Lord.”

“Not God, just me.”

The firefighter chuckled.

Her eyes popped open when she felt him close behind. Thankful for the cropped-pajama bottoms she wore instead of a nightgown, Geneva frowned at the unexpected shiver as she attempted to place the voice.

“Whenever you’re ready, just let go.”

“Thought you told me to hold on.”

“Well, I’m here to catch you now.”

She caught the humor in his voice. And hated it.

“Oh, good grief. I’m too heavy for anybody to catch me.” She lowered her eyes to half mast.

“Spunky, most likely,” came from under his breath.

She doubted he meant for her to hear.

Is that professional behavior? Well, that’s pretty nervy of the guy. But then again, I am caught in a tree. She snickered, wondering if she was hysterical. She tried for a deep breath but it turned into a gulp around her sternum. “Are you sure I can let go?”

“Geneva, trust me.” That popped her eyes wide open.

The confident urging voice and the use of her first name drew enough courage to peer downward.

Rainn Harris.

And he was way too close for comfort.

Eric would never live this down at the firehouse. His future mother-in-law rescued from a tree, by his buddy.

She remembered her first look at him. Rainn was a few years older than Eric, but they became fast friends when they met at University. Geneva may have heard Rainn’s name a time or two before Eric started working on Moselle’s loft, but she hadn’t any reason to pay attention. Since then, she’d seen him with Eric many times.

Rainn probably knew more about her than she did him.

Before she could fathom any further thought, Geneva let go and found herself wrapped in the strongest arms and pressed against the strongest chest imaginable.

I’d climb the tree again if this firefighter would come for me.

 

E.W.:  What inspired you to write Rainn on My Parade?

 

L.P.:  While I was writing Moselle’s Insurance, a line in the dialogue gave me the idea. It wouldn’t let me go. I have yet to read an older woman/younger man Christian romance. So I told Geneva’s story. Geneva is Moselle’s mother. Rainn is Eric’s friend. Eric is the hero in Moselle’s Insurance.

 

E.W.:  Where can readers purchase a copy of Rainn on My Parade?

 

L.P.:  http://whiterosepublishing.com/

www.amazon.com

 

E.W.:  What is your favorite part of writing?

 

L.P.:  I absolutely get tingles when the characters take over. When something pops out of their mouths that I hadn’t hat a conscious thought of, I get blown away. God is so good!

 

E.W.:  What advice would you give to new writers?

 

L.P.:  Never stop learning. When distractions and life get in the way, make sure you always have a notebook or paper nearby so you can jot down those ideas or details. That way, you have a starting place when you get your fingers back on the keyboard.

 

E.W.:  Where can readers find more information on you and your books?

 

L.P.:  My website is www.loreepeery.com

 

E.W.:  Is there anything you would like to add?

 

L.P.:  Sometimes we get so wrapped up in our writing—and writing can consume time and energy—that we forget to place the focus where it belongs. And that’s on Christ. He is the driving force of my life. My greatest desire is that my words work in the hearts of those God has chosen to read what I’ve written.

It’s Autism Awareness Month!

Autism awareness puzzle piece ribbon imageHappy Autism Awareness Month! In an attempt to help raise awareness about the realities of life with autism, I’ll be posting on a different autism-related topic each Tuesday throughout the month of April. Tomorrow, on April 2, I’ll post a special autism-related post in honor of World Autism Awareness Day.

It’s a busy month here at The West Corner, and it will wrap up on April 29 with an interview with inspirational romance author LoRee Peery about her new book, Rainn on My Parade, which released today! I’m sure you’re wondering how an inspirational romance ties in with Autism Awareness Month. In this case, LoRee has included an autistic child in the story, which makes it perfect for this month. So, if you’re looking for something new to read, check out Rainn on My Parade and come back on the 29th to learn more about the author!

Rainn on My Parade cover image

Blurb:

After firefighter Rainn Harris rescues Geneva Carson from being stuck in a tree, she feels she owes him. Helping to care for his autistic niece comes easy, but her attraction to Rainn is a different story. Being drawn to a man twelve years her junior metes internal havoc as Geneva attempts to balance responsibility and personal fulfillment. And the prospect of becoming a middle-aged mom to a special-needs child sends Geneva into a tailspin of conflicting emotions.

As the custodial parent for his young niece, Rainn is determined to be a better parent than his absentee sister. When Geneva agrees to help care for Mia, Rainn is overjoyed. He admires Geneva’s compassion and enthusiasm for life, and expects she’ll be a positive influence on Mia. What he doesn’t expect is to fall in love with the beautiful and vital woman. But Geneva’s hung up on their age difference, and he must convince her of his sincerity before they will ever have a chance at happiness together.

As tension threatens to pull them apart, both must learn to rely on the Lord to direct their futures-whether that means two lives joined or paths in opposite directions.

Rainn on My Parade by LoRee Peery is available in print and as an ebook from White Rose Publishing.