Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Laughter the Best Medicine

This joyful video has been making its way around the interwebs and has garnered millions of views. With, in my opinion, good reason. It's hysterical. And if there is any language that is truly universal it is laughter. What is it about laughter that makes us join in? I don't know, but what I do know is that we can all use a little more laughter in our days.

Influenced by books like The Secret Garden and The Little Princess, Lisa Karon Richardson’s early stories were heavy on boarding schools and creepy houses. Now, even though she’s (mostly) grown-up she still loves a healthy dash of adventure in any story she creates, even her real-life story. She’s been a missionary to the Seychelles and Gabon. And now that she and her husband are back in America they are tackling a new adventure, pastoring a home missions church in a new city while raising their family. Lisa is the author of several novels and novellas. Her most recent release is The Peacock Throne, a story where Jane Austen sensibilities meet Indiana Jones style adventure.    

Friday, May 20, 2016

What's in a Name?

Several months ago, I heard a Civil War movie was going to be coming to theaters this year. And I thought, “Cool!” I love historical movies, and the Civil War-era is a favorite of mine. It is filled with complex stories of loyalty and prejudice, of honor and brutality, and of tragedy and triumph. With more American casualties than all other American wars combined, the Civil War is a watershed event in American history and deserving of periodic treatment on film.

American dead at Antietam, Maryland. After the battle, Abraham Lincoln issued a preliminary Emancipation Proclamation, which paved the way for the abolition of slavery.

By 1861, Ulysses S. Grant had failed as a soldier, farmer, and shopkeeper, but the Civil War would be the making of him. Seven years later, he was elected the 18th president of the United States.

So, imagine my disappointment when I learned it was a Captain America Civil War flick. Um, okay. I’m not really much for superheroes, but I did once humor my husband and watch the first Captain America movie with him (and thus, proved to him that I really do love him), so I supposed that could work. I mean, the last few years have seen the Big Screen invaded by this.

And this.

Why not a time traveling Captain America who journeys back to the 1860’s?

But no. Turns out the movie isn't historical at all. It's just Superhero vs. Superhero. (And my husband said that while it was darker than the previous ones, he liked it more than he thought he would.)

Color me disappointed. Surely there's some kind of truth-in-advertising claim I can make?

And then it got me to thinking how many times a word or phrase misleads. Worse, oftentimes, it's not an innocent mistake but a deliberate act. People with an agenda redefine words because there is power in redefining a word, the power to shape a response.

Indeed, the ethos of our post-modern era is that all things are relative and there is no absolute truth. Lewis Carroll's Through the Looking Glass seems almost prescient.

“When I use a word,’ Humpty Dumpty said in rather a scornful tone, ‘it means just what I choose it to mean — neither more nor less.’

’The question is,’ said Alice, ‘whether you can make words mean so many different things.’

’The question is,’ said Humpty Dumpty, ‘which is to be master — that’s all.”

God has a lot to say about truth. Indeed, Jesus tells us he is the Truth, and he expects truth from us.

Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things. (Philippians 4:8)

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Wildlife Watch: Fox and Grouse

by Anita Mae Draper

A few weeks ago my husband mentioned that he'd like to have a camera with a zoom lens like mine in case he saw something interesting while he was out and about. Since I'd upgraded to a Nikon CoolPix P520, I gave him my P500 to try out. It's a great camera, but not quite the same zoom length.

I really like the images he's bringing back. So between the two of us we're cataloging quite an array of Saskatchewan wildlife. We've even started a little photo competition where we post what we consider our best shots of the day. (They're posted on my Draper's Acres blog as well as Facebook.)

Along with our photos, we made some videos and that's what I'd like to show you today... like the morning I looked out my living room window and saw a Red Fox on my lawn. If you don't see it below, check it out on YouTube. (Squeamish? Note: Fox eats small animal)

Red Fox Visit Apr 18, 2016:

Now that I'm having my morning coffee on my front patio, I'm seeing all kinds of birds that I recognize, and many tweets, chirps, and tunes that I don't.

This next video was a real surprise however, because I'd never see anything like it. The farmer who rents our undulating land had only planted the field yesterday and while I was sitting there enjoying the sun this morning, I saw 3 white spots come barreling over one of the hills. I zoomed in and saw a Sharp-Tailed Grouse trio with the two females being chasing a male if full display mode, ie with his head down, wings out, and his yellow eye patches and purple neck sac flaring. You see, he's courting the ladies and when he beats his feet on the ground and runs after them he reminds me of a crab. You can see it below or on YouTube.

Sharp-tailed Grouse Stalking Sequence

The male in my video looks like the one in this photo that I found on Wikipedia. Can you see the flared yellow eye patches and the purple neck sac? His pointed tail confirms he's a Sharp-Tailed Grouse.

Sharp-Tailed Grouse. Photo Credit: Rick Bohn. Courtesy of Wikipedia

On May 3rd Nelson managed to capture this great shot of a male Sharp-Tailed Grouse who wasn't displaying...

Grouse are territorial and along with the males displaying to attract females, they also do it to scare/fight off challengers.

This next video of 3 males facing off was taken by Nelson on a windy day. The grouse are kind of hard to see, but it's a great example of them challenging for the top grouse position. If you can't see it below, check YouTube.

Sharp-Tailed Grouse Males Displaying

When I first watched the completed videos of these grouse, I was very disappointed because of the blocky quality. However, my teenager showed me that my YouTube setting was on Auto and that I could change the quality. When I put it on 480p I had to wait longer for it to load, but the video was much better. So very glad he told me that because I've since found out that I can see so much better on websites that have birdcams and animalcams when I change the quality setting.

I wish the videos were better, but if we tried to get closer to the grouse they would have flown, so we're thankful for what we did get. This year is the first time I've witnessed these birds in action and I think they're very fun to watch.

Do you have any memories or thoughts on the Sharp-Trailed Grouse and it's display? What about an encounter with a fox or other wildlife?


Anita Mae Draper's stories are written under the western skies where she lives on the prairie of southeast Saskatchewan with her hubby of 30 plus years and the youngest of their four kids. When she's not writing, Anita enjoys photography, research, and travel, and is especially happy when she can combine the three in one trip. Anita's current release is Romantic Refinements, a novella in Austen in Austin Volume 1, WhiteFire Publishing, January 2016.  Anita is represented by Mary Keeley of Books & Such Literary Management. You can find Anita Mae at

Monday, May 16, 2016

Book “Babies” Need Lots of Prenatal/Prepublication Care! ~And a Giveaway!

Welcome Carrie Fancett Pagels to the Inkwell!
Carrie Fancett Pagels

First of all, thanks for having me on again, Susie!

I have an upcoming release, Saving the Marquise’s Granddaughter, that had so much help given to it that it feels like a seven to eight year birthing process for this novel!

I got started on the book eight years ago when I did some genealogical research and discovered an interesting ancestor, Johan Adam Rousch, who had a memorial from the Sons of the American Revolution dedicated to him because nine of his sons fought in the war. I asked myself, what would compel a young man from the Palatinate of Germany to come to the colonies? And I began researching. For a year or two I got assistance from my wonderful local librarians at Yorktown Library, including a special reference desk librarian who steered me toward a huge volume of European history that addressed the impact of the Hundred Years War on Europe and in particular the Palatinate/Germany. I also got to spend a special afternoon at the University of Virginia Rare Books collection, a climate controlled environment where the librarians wore gloves to handle the books. I was able to read from some volumes that were specifically about Johan and his descendants and felt I got to “know” him better. I was also blessed to be able to spend many hours visiting a real Palatinate house at the Frontier Culture Museum in Staunton, Virginia, and was able to discuss mid-18th century Palatinate with some of the staff there.  It allowed me to actually visit what would become Johan’s house and farm in the Palatinate! 

Besides researching, I spent a great deal of time on improving my writing craft. So I took every class that ACFW offered! Thank you to all the authors who have volunteered their time over the years! I “found” Camy Tang’s wonderful blog and began reading all her posts on writing and I took several classes from her for synopsis development. That was extremely helpful in getting a newbie ready to have the framework for writing the story. And I had my first experience with critique partners. I had some great help from my very first critique partner, and then joined a group that regrettably included primarily contemporary writers. Don’t believe people if they tell you although they don’t read or enjoy historical romance they can critique your work. It isn’t that you won’t get constructive feedback, but you won’t get the encouragement you’ll need from folks who enjoy reading your genre. Best to stick with writers in your own genre. 

But that experience gave me the impetus to join another critique group through the Fellowship of Christian Writers, which I belonged to for a few years. There I found critiquers who gave me the encouragement to begin submitting my work! So I went from little to no impetus from others that I was doing much right to being told I needed to start looking for an agent! And, thankfully, I soon met Joyce Hart, who later became my agent after Lena Nelson Dooley gave me my second professional critique, one during the ACFW conference and another later, and Lena offered an endorsement to Joyce. I was floored!

Hartline Literary AgencyThen the realization hit. I had to have my manuscript all completed and polished before I submitted it to Joyce. My FCW critiquers, in particular Vicki McCollum and Lynn Squire, helped me get started on organizing myself.Then God sent me Kimberly D. Taylor, a petite spitfire from out west who was in the Tidewater, Virginia, area for a few years while her husband completed some studies at Regent University. Every week we’d exchange chapters and return them to each other. Later, I agreed to also work with Sarah E. Ladd, Kim’s critique partner, who was entering the Genesis with a story that had already won accolades but, like mine, needed to be finished. The three of us tended my book baby as well as each others’!  Then came the time I needed an editor’s help, and once again God blessed me by sending Susan Lohrer to help. She was an amazing editor and gave me so much insight into the more subtle, and some not-so-subtle, things I was doing wrong that my fellow newbie critique partners and I weren’t seeing. It was like having someone point out that your child shouldn’t really be dressed in mustard yellow nor would people caring for the child want to know certain “things.”  I learned a lot and we all shared our thoughts on how to use the feedback for each of our stories. 

There is so much MORE that went into the creation of this upcoming release, but I hope this little bit is helpful to someone who is new to writing and wonders what it takes. Some people may tell you they read a ton of books in their genre and then sat down and wrote. That didn’t work for me, nor does it for most authors in my opinion. Working on my own isn’t my style, so I am very grateful God has brought me a lot of helpers and I hope I’ve been able to return the assistance, too!

Saving the Marquise’s Granddaughter releases in ebook in early June (Pelican Books) and is available for pre-order now!  The paperback will be available in July. Bloggers, please note the PDF will be available from NetGalley during the month of July for download for reviews.


Giveaway: Winners choice of any one of Carrie's currently released books, choice of format (Kindle, Nook, or paperback). Answer the question to enter. Question: What experiences have helped your “book babies” along the most?

Please leave a way to contact you (email address). Winner will be drawn at random at 12:59 pm EDT Thursday, May 19, 2016, and announced the following day. Void where prohibited.


Bio – Carrie Fancett Pagels, Ph.D.
Carrie Fancett Pagels is a multi-published award-winning author of Christian historical romance. All three of her Christy Lumber Camp books were finalists for Family Fiction’s Book of the Year. Twenty-five years as a psychologist didn't "cure" her overactive imagination! She resides with her family in the Historic Triangle of Virginia, which is perfect for her love of history. Carrie loves to read, bake, bead, and travel – but not all at the same time!

Links to purchase:
“Requilted with Love” in The Blue Ribbon Brides Collection (Barbour, November 2016)
Saving the Marquise’s Granddaughter (White Rose/Pelican Book Group, June 2016)
The Steeplechase (Forget-Me-Not Romances, February 2016)
“The Fruitcake Challenge” in the Christmas Traditions Collection (Forget Me Not Romances, July 2015)
“Snowed In”, in A Cup of Christmas Cheer, (Guidepost Books, 2013)
Contributor to God’s Provision in Tough Times (Lighthouse of the Carolinas, 2013)

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Beginnings and Endings

When you start a new story, where to you begin? At the beginning, of course. But which one?
Everything starts somewhere, though many physicists disagree. But people have always been dimly aware of the problem with the start of things. They wonder how the snow plough driver gets to work, or how the makers of dictionaries look up the spelling of words. ~Terry Pratchett
How do you know how far back to go? It can be one of the hardest choices an author has to make. It might go like this: The scene where John saves the woman’s cat from the burning building is full of hold-your-breath action, but if I don’t show the author how John lost his own cat in a fire when he was nine, they won’t understand his angst. And if I don’t show how the owner of the current cat lived next door to John all those years ago and accidentally set the fire, the reader won’t understand the potential conflict between the two. And if I don’t go further back… If you’re not careful, you’ll convince yourself that your contemporary suspense novel needs to start with a prologue showing the main character’s great-grandparents on a homestead in Oklahoma.

Generally, the best place to begin a story is with something interesting. That may seem like a ridiculously obvious statement, but it bears saying. Quite often, writers in the early stages of their careers choose to begin in places that make perfect sense to them but do nothing for the reader (or the editor they hope to impress). I’ve sat in on several editor panels and have heard this advice given over and over. Do not start your novel with:

  • Someone driving and thinking about how her life is changing
  • Two people sitting at a table drinking coffee
  • Someone waking up to start the day
  • An overly-long, overly-detailed description of scenery

Obviously, there are exceptions. My book, Vinnie’s Diner, starts with a woman driving, but by the third page, she’s in a car accident that sets up the entire plot of the book. Let’s look at the openings of a few popular novels.
There are some men who enter a woman’s life and screw it up forever. Joseph Morelli did this to me – not forever, but periodically.  One for the Money, Janet Evanovich
Why does it work? Immediately, we can feel the tone of the book. The main character’s voice is distinct. And, we want to know what it is about this Morelli that makes him worth the trouble, more than once.
It was raining the night he found me. Demon: A Memoir, Tosca Lee
Why does it work? There is a sense of foreboding in this line. We know the main character is in for something unexpected (because he was found) and it’s probably not going to be pleasant.
By the time you read this, I hope to be dead. 19 Minutes, Jodi Picoult
Why does it work? How can you not want to know more about the person who wrote that line? This book is not written entirely in first person POV. It changes to multiple, third-person, past tense POVs. But that first line stays with you as you read. One of the characters has a secret so big, they hope to be dead before anyone finds out. Which one?

Don’t give up hope if you’ve already started a story with one of the “don’t”s in the list. Keep writing! Don’t stop! But when you’ve finished, go back and think about the best way to invite the reader into the world you’ve created and how to hook him so he can’t stop reading. Quite often, you won’t know that for sure until you get to the end.

Speaking of the end…
There is no real ending. It’s just the place where you stop the story. ~Frank Herbert
Endings have their own unique challenges. Depending on the genre, there are rules for what needs to be there.

  • Category Romance – In a true romance, the characters need to find their happily-ever-after ending. There is one line that prefers you include an epilogue with the characters getting married.
  • Mystery – The person who committed the crime must be caught and all the loose ends happily tied up.
  • Women’s Fiction – This is a little more nebulous, but the most important thing seems to be that the main character has learned something about herself and the people she loves.

Because I don’t want to accidentally give away the ending to a book you might want to read, I’m only using one example, from an older book. Even if you’ve never read it, you probably already know how it ends.
“I’ll think of it all tomorrow, at Tara. I can stand it then. Tomorrow, I’ll think of some way to get him back. After all, tomorrow is another day.” Gone With the Wind, Margaret Mitchell
Why does it work? This is one of those endings that a lot of readers dislike. It hangs there, leaving so much unanswered. But at the same time, it tells you everything you need to know. Throughout the entire book, Scarlett has faced one crisis after another, and every time she finds a way to get through it. Quite often, it’s by doing something questionable, but she survives. By going back to Tara, she’s reconnecting with the thing that grounds her and gives her strength. Rhett is a strong man, and he’s been terribly hurt, but is there really any doubt that Scarlett will win him back?

Think back to some of your favorite books. In fact, go to your bookcase (I know you have at least one) and take three or four of them off the shelves. Read the openings and endings. Why do they work? Is there anything you’d change about them? How can you apply it to your own writing?

So many ways to begin, so many ways to end. Only you will know when it feels right, and even then, someone may tell you it’s wrong. Be open to advice, but when all is said and done, you are the one who’s responsible for the story you tell. The choice is yours.
The opposite of the happy ending is not actually the sad ending – the sad ending is sometimes the happy ending. The opposite of the happy ending is actually the unsatisfying ending. ~Orson Scott Card

JENNIFER ALLEE was born in Hollywood, California, and spent her first ten years living above a mortuary one block away from the famous intersection of Hollywood & Vine. Now she lives in the grace-filled city of Las Vegas, which just goes to prove she’s been blessed with a unique life. When she’s not busy spinning tales, she enjoys playing games with friends, attending live theater and movies, and singing at the top of her lungs to whatever happens to be playing on the car radio. Although she’s thrilled to be living out her lifelong dream of being a novelist, she considers raising her son to be her greatest creative accomplishment. She's a member of American Christian Fiction Writers, Romance Writers of America, and Christian Authors Network. Her novels include The Pastor’s WifeThe Mother Road, A Wild Goose Chase Christmas, Last Family Standing, and Vinnie's Diner from Abingdon Press; Diamond in the Rough, Vanishing Act, and Curtain Call from Whitaker House and co-written with Lisa Karon Richardson; the novella Comfort and Joy in the Christmas anthology, Mistletoe Memories from Barbour; and A Worthy Suitor from Harlequin's Heartsong Presents.

Monday, May 9, 2016

Saving the Ones We Love: Guest Blogger Christine Lindsay

Please welcome author and speaker Christine Lindsay back to Inkwell Inspirations today. She's celebrating the release of her latest book, Sofi's Bridge, and talking about personality traits and how they influence our lives. And the lives of our fictional characters.


I have always been fascinated with the study of personality traits. What aspects of personality affect people’s choices of work, family, exploits or their lack of exploits.

  • What is the good side and the down side to our personality traits?
There are many different types of personality tests such as 16 Personalities and Myers Brigg’s. In one test I found myself as a Protagonist under the heading for Diplomats. They describe this personality as:
Everything you do ripples outward and affects everyone. Your posture can shine your heart or transmit anxiety. Your breath can radiate love or muddy the room in depression. Your glance can awaken joy. Your words can inspire freedom. Your every act can open hearts and minds.
Which all comes in very handy considering that I’m an author and motivational speaker, but the down side is I can also lock myself away for hours on end with my laptop. I tend to be a workaholic, and prefer my solitude a bit too much.

While developing the characters for Sofi’s Bridge, I wanted to know the good side and the bad side to the personality traits of a doctor. On the site Medoholic the following traits are listed as the three most predominant personality traits in clinical students.

Conscientiousness—“Controlled by or done according to one’s inner sense of what is right, principled. Careful, painstaking, particular, meticulous, scrupulous.”

Extraversion—“The act of directing one’s interest outward or to things outside one’s self. The state of being concerned primarily with things outside the self, rather than with one’s own thoughts and feelings.

Empathy—“Cognitive empathy, sometimes called perspective taking, refers to the ability to identify and understand other people’s emotions.”

Clearly these are the traits of a doctor who will go beyond himself to save others. But what’s the
possible downside? In the Supporter Personality tests doctors and nurses are referred to as “Supporters” with the passion to be saviors.

 • So, what’s happens when a healthy individual with the personality traits to make a good doctor finds himself in a personal situation that twists his passion for saving others into circumstances that will destroy him?

I have seen the savior complex to mild degrees in my family, loved ones working hard to fix the circumstances in the lives of others. But I’ve also seen that the very service they offer hinders what God wants to do in that person’s life.

 • Have you ever stopped in the middle of helping your kids or a friend out of a jam, and thought, “maybe it would be better if they took their lumps and learned from their situation?” 

This particular truth inspired my latest historical romance Sofi’s Bridge. The hero and the heroine in this book are both savior personality types.

In Sofi’s Bridge, both Sofi Andersson and Dr. Neil Galloway must learn the same lesson that I had to learn in my life—that we cannot save the ones we love. Only Christ can do that.

Click HERE to read chapter one of Sofi’s Bridge.

Seattle Debutant Sofi Andersson will do everything in her power to protect her sister who is suffering from shock over their father’s death. Charles, the family busy-body, threatens to lock Trina in a sanatorium—a whitewashed term for an insane asylum—so Sofi will rescue her little sister, even if it means running away to the Cascade Mountains with only the new gardener Neil Macpherson to protect them. But in a cabin high in the Cascades, Sofi begins to recognize that the handsome immigrant from Ireland harbors secrets of his own. Can she trust this man whose gentle manner brings such peace to her traumatized sister and such tumult to her own emotions? And can Neil, the gardener continue to hide from Sofi that he is really Dr. Neil Galloway, a man wanted for murder by the British police? Only an act of faith and love will bridge the distance that separates lies from truth and safety.

Twilight of the British Raj, Book 1 Shadowed in Silk, Book 2 Captured by Moonlight, and the explosive finale Veiled at Midnight. 
Christine’s Irish wit and joy in the use of setting as a character is evident in her contemporary romance Londonderry Dreaming. 
Her newest release Sofi’s Bridge features a dashing Irish hero, and her current work in progress is set on the majestic Irish coastline.
Aside from being a busy writer and speaker, Christine is the happy wife of David of 35 years, mom to four grown kids, and Nanny to five grandsons. She makes her home on the west coast of Canada, and in Aug. 2016 she will see her long-awaited non-fiction book released, Finding Sarah, Finding Me: A Birth Mother’s Story.
Please drop by Christine’s website or follow her on Amazon or Twitter. Subscribe to her quarterly newsletter, and be her friend on Pinterest, Facebook, and Goodreads.

This book can also be purchased on Barnes & Noble, Pelican Book Group, and ChristianBooks.Com


Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Where the Light May Lead -- Stories of Women Living Their Faith in Extraordinary Circumstances

Get ready to expand your reading palate!

Six authors, six genres, six bite-sized stories of women living out their faith in ordinary and extraordinary circumstances. When the heart is willing to follow, where does the light lead? 

Sample Old West justice. Watch a romance unfold over light years. Laugh as an introvert finagles her way out of a bridal shower. Agonize with an FBI agent as she negotiates for a child's life. Imagine a shape-shifting cat who tracks down a kidnapper. And peek behind the scenes as a guardian angel argues with a double-talking auto mechanic. Learn again that the light of faith can lead you anywhere.

That's How She Rolls by C.L. Wells 
Tessa, a self-conscious introvert, attempts to avoid a party and everything goes wrong. When a handsome stranger offers to lend a helping hand, she isn’t sure things will ever be right again. 

Leopard's Find by Kimberly A. Rogers 
Ever wonder what your favorite characters were doing before you read about them for the first time? Sparks fly whenever Raina and Baran from The Therian Way are together. But what exactly was she doing before she met him? 

Whatever Raina’s up to, it’s never boring. 

Upsie-Daisy by Jane Lebak 
Did you know guardian angels have a sharp sense of humor? It’s a requirement for the job, otherwise they’d run screaming instead of dealing with us. If you’re new to the Lee and Bucky stories, welcome to the world of sarcastic mechanics and pun-slinging angels. This story takes place about four months before any of the full-length novels, that way you can dive right in. 

Circular Horizon by Bokerah Brumley 
As a speculative fiction writer, I’m forever intrigued with the ‘what if.’ For instance, what if there was real-world science fiction featuring a God-fearing astronaut? This brain-wandering led to a story, and I briefly explore this idea with Mae McNair in Circular Horizon. 

'Tis So Sweet by Faith Blum 
Eleanor Miller has always loved her younger brother, even through all the bad things he has done. But when he almost kills a man, she needs to let him go and trust God to draw him to Himself. Will she find out how sweet it is to trust Jesus in everything, no matter what happens? 

The Quinn Case by Julie C. Gilbert 
Law enforcement’s a tough career to make it in both physically and emotionally. The Quinn Case takes place several years before the events in Heartfelt Cases Book 1: The Collins Case. Herein, you’ll meet a young FBI Special Agent named Ann Davidson who must find a missing child even as she struggles to put another case behind her. 

Immerse yourself in six clean, sweet, Christian novelettes in this awesome multi-author anthology fiction box set....and maybe encounter your next favorite author!

What is your story and genre?
Faith Blum: My story is titled “’Tis So Sweet” and is a Christian Western about Old West justice.
Bokerah Brumley: My contribution to the anthology is called Circular Horizon. It’s science fiction romance ¾ a second chance, romance through letters story.

Julie C. Gilbert: The Quinn Case is a Christian mystery prequel to the Heartfelt Cases series.

Jane Lebak: Upsie-Daisy is Christian chick-lit with an angel. Think: “romantic comedy with a side of angels and a whole lot of wordplay.”

Kimberly A. Rogers: My story is Leopard’s Find, which is an urban fantasy and is a prequel to my prequel for my current urban fantasy series.

C.L. Wells: That’s How She Rolls. It’s a Christian romantic-comedy.

Why did you write this story?
Faith Blum: I had toyed with the idea of writing a backstory of one of my villains, but had never done it. When this opportunity came up, I thought it would work.

Bokerah Brumley: I love the idea of an overtly Christian astronaut, not that Mae evangelizes NASA, but everyone understands that she is a believer. She operates through this worldview.

Julie C. Gilbert: I wanted to write something that would introduce readers to Special Agent Ann Davidson. I enjoy delving into the emotions. Working for the FBI probably has plenty of opportunities to deal with stress, so I wanted to explore the notion of carrying on even after a case goes bad.

Jane Lebak: The Styrofoam heads. Someone saw my knitted hat modeled on a Styrofoam head and told me about someone she knew who did exactly what Dr. Myron does with the Styrofoam heads. I just multiplied them a bit and had twenty-four of them facing Lee out of the back of an Audi trunk.

Kimberly A. Rogers: For this anthology we had a lot of wiggle room regarding theme and I had several stories niggling at me that I wanted to explore. Raina’s voice was loudest and the fun in figuring out just what she was up to before she arrives on the scene in my series was very appealing.

C.L. Wells: Well, I’m drawn to issue-driven fiction. I published my first book last year and now I’m working on the sequel. While there are plenty of funny moments in my stories, they tackle serious topics. I thought this anthology would be a great way to try my hand at something a bit lighter.

What is your favorite moment (from your own story and/or the anthology whole)?
Faith Blum: My favorite moment in my story is when Patrick O’Toole shows up. He’s a hilarious Irish descendant and I thoroughly enjoyed writing his accent.

Bokerah Brumley: My favorite moment from my story? Where Mae finds out about Penelope and teases Michael about his secret girlfriend. I’m a mom and that is something I would probably do to my boys. Also, I dedicated Circular Horizon to the Challenger Crew and mention each of their last names in the story at least once.

Julie C. Gilbert: There’s a “little twist” as one reviewer put it, that completely took me by surprise as well but it made perfect sense. I love that feeling of a story coming together.
As to the anthology as a whole, it’s been an honor and privilege to read each of the stories in the beta reading stage. Getting to share it with the world now is pretty cool too.

Jane Lebak: In my own story, I love the moment when Lee meets the submarine and introduces herself to it before admiring every little bit of it. Lee has this skewed view of the world, and she’s got a problem with telling the truth, but her core is genuine goodness and in that one moment, she’s absolutely true. There’s no guile in her and no calculation in the way she admires it. For once she’s shed her self-consciousness and she’s fully alive.
Over the whole anthology, I’d have to say the moment in “Circular Horizon” when Mae is sitting in the observation chamber looking out into space’s infinity and singing a hymn. I really liked the way Bokerak juxtaposed isolation and intimacy, infinity and insignificance, in only a few paragraphs.

Kimberly A. Rogers: There are two moments in my story that are particular favorites but one is VERY spoiler-y, so I’ll just mention one. There is a moment in the beginning where a blue jay dive-bombs Raina and just won’t leave her alone. I admit this was inspired by watching the blue jays in my yard pester the neighborhood cat and the squirrels plus I loved being able to put Raina in a situation that usually winds up happening to Baran in the main series.
For the whole anthology, oh it’s hard to pick just one scene because I enjoyed reading all the other stories for a myriad of reasons.

C.L. Wells: This is going to sound insane, but I have an odd sense of humor anyway. In my story, I do a simple ‘word play/pun’ on the word creeper. I always laugh at that part when I re-read. I’ve no idea if anyone else found it remotely funny.
My favorite as a whole is hard to answer, but when I first read Kimberly’s story, I remember my brain was trying to guess at what the main character was. I can’t say too much or I might spoil it for someone. But, I loved how the tidbits of information led to the revelation.

Will we see more of your characters? Where?
Faith Blum: My short story is based on the villain in my novel, “Lilly of the Valley”, and his sister. The sister will also show up in an upcoming novel in my next series.

Bokerah Brumley: I haven’t decided yet. If so, I might turn Circular Horizon into a longer novella. Or maybe I’ll tell Michael and Penelope’s story. Michael does get to go back to Mars. That could be fun.

Julie C. Gilbert: The Collins Case is officially Book 1 in the Heartfelt Cases Series. It takes place several years after the events in The Quinn Case. Ann and Patrick then return to deal with The Kiverson Case and The Davidson Case. There’s also an unpublished novel called The Keres Case that’s in the beta reading stage. People interested in the series are welcome to sign up to be on the beta reading list.

Jane Lebak: Lee and Bucky are stars of The Adventures of Lee and Bucky, but I bet you could have figured that out without my explanation. The first book in the series is Honest And For True, and it takes place about four months after Upsie-Daisy. The series also has Forever And For Keeps, and if I ever finish writing it, Please Pretty Please.

Kimberly A. Rogers: Raina is one of my main characters in The Therian Way series, so she is definitely staying around. There are currently three books out (with the latest book launching today) and five more slated for the main series plus whatever side stories Raina decides needs to be told…or she just invites herself to join.

C.L. Wells: Possibly. I’ve been told by a few people that they wanted more of Tessa. We’ll see.

What has been the most challenging part of writing a multi-author anthology? What has been the most exciting part?
Faith Blum: Most challenging: Getting everything worked out to fit everyone’s schedules, meet the deadlines, and then get it published. That and getting Amazon to pricematch for us.
The most exciting part was getting to know all these lovely authors and work with them to put together an anthology.

Bokerah Brumley: The most challenging thing? Linking the wide variety of genres to one another in a logical way. The most exciting part? Meeting amazing new authors and reading their work.

Julie C. Gilbert: It’s been exciting to see the multi-genre aspect of this anthology actually work. I was a little unsure how it would pan out because of the wide range of genres. Working with other people has been great but it’s challenging to move things forward quickly when you need to gather six consenting opinions for major changes first.

Jane Lebak: Most exciting: Learning from everyone else. Publishing is in many respects like the wild west, so collaboration helped all of us leverage our varied skills. I loved learning from the other writer’s perspectives and experiences.

Kimberly A. Rogers: I think the most challenging aspect was our grand quest in getting Amazon to price match. Oh and finding the connecting theme between our wildly different stories.  The most exciting aspect has definitely been working together and getting to know these lovely ladies so we were all able to bring our own skills to the table and just meld them together so we could tackle the unique challenges of a multi-genre anthology and win the day.

C.L. Wells: This hasn’t been nearly as challenging as I thought it would be, though I must admit, I’ve had it easy. What has been the most exicting part? Having a group of people who are excited about the exact same thing you are at the same time is just plain fun.

Can we expect more anthologies in the future?
Faith Blum: I hope so!

Bokerah Brumley: There has been some discussion about “the next one,” so maybe so.

Julie C. Gilbert: I’m game.
Jane Lebak: Abolsutely! I’m up for it if everyone else is!
Kimberly A. Rogers: We are currently in talks about future anthology entries so hopefully that’s a yes and I am looking forward to working with everyone again.

C.L. Wells: It’s on the table. We’ll have to see.

Between the six of us, we have 31 years of publishing and 43 books published.

Faith Blum is a historical fiction author who also loves to do pretty much any right-brained activity, especially if it involves crafting. She lives with her family on a small family farm in Wisconsin.
Bokerah Brumley is a speculative fiction writer making stuff up on a trampoline in West Texas. She lives on ten acres with five home-educated children, four peacocks, three dogs, two cats, and one husband. In her imaginary spare time, she also serves as the blue-haired Publicity Officer for the Cisco Writers Club.
Julie C. Gilbert writes in several genres including Christian Mystery, YA Science Fiction, and Mystery/Thriller. Regardless of category, she writes about people who face hardship and right wrongs because they have an innate need to do so. In other news, she is obsessed with Star Wars and has a day job teaching high school Chemistry in New Jersey.

Kimberly A. Rogers writes urban fantasy with a Christian twist. She lives in Virginia where the Blue Ridge Mountains add inspiration to an overactive imagination originally fueled by fantasy classics such as the works of C.S. Lewis and J.R.R. Tolkien.  

C.L. Wells is a JANE-OF-ALL-TRADES, with a passion for writing and animals. She lives in Kansas with her family, which includes a fat doggie who is not named Toto and a cat who moonlights as an escape artist. Feel free to ask her about the ‘escape artist.’ She plans to write about it someday. She would love hearing from you.

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