Friday, July 30, 2010
Anita Higman and Janice Thompson.
I'd read previous works by Janice but nothing by Anita before I was priviledged to read OZARK WEDDINGS by both Anita and Janice.
I can't honestly tell you who my favorite main character is, but in the first of the three stories, 'Larkspur Dreams', Larkspur is quite a gal a strong-minded one at that.
Then there's Clair in 'The Love Song' and she strikes a chord in me with her shyness.
There's Nori in 'Castles In The Air' who's loneliness made me want to sneak a peek at the end to make sure she had a happy-ever-after ending I love in a good romance, but I restrained myself and you'll really need to read it to find out for yourself.
Anita and Janice have produced a work that includes different personalities in their main characters coupled with page turning plots and great writing. Another winner goes on my shelf.
Now, I want to introduce Anita Higman and Janice Thompson - authors of - OZARK WEDDINGS - released June 2010.
Your Barbour Heartsong 3-in-1 collection is entitled, Ozark Weddings. Tell us a little bit about the three stories.
Anita: All three stories are set in Arkansas—Eureka Springs, Little Rock, and Hot Springs. Larkspur Dreams and Castles in the Air are romantic comedy, while the middle story, The Love Song, is more dramatic in tone.
Janice: Larkspur Dreams is a lighthearted, whimsical tale that will appeal to inspirational romance readers, particularly those with artistic leanings. The Love Song reaches into the depths of the reader’s soul, dealing with the topic of overcoming past hurts. Castles in the Air provides a humorous look at the way we are perceived by others, and teaches us that our prejudices (comical as they might be) often keep us from the very thing God has planned for us.
Anita, you and Janice co-authored the three stories in Ozark Weddings. How do writers go about co-authoring?
Anita: There are a number of ways to co-author a novel. One writer might do the research and the other writer may actually write the story. Or co-authors may each choose a character and write from that character’s POV. In the three novels, I guess you could say I wrote the body and wings of the stories, and Janice helped to make them fly. She has a gift for critiquing.
Janice: Working with Anita is a breeze because she conceives and fully plots the stories then lets me add my thoughts/tidbits to give them flavor. She is so quirky and fun to work with, and I am very proud of the stories we have co-produced.
Were there times when it was hard to work together?
Anita: Janice is not only talented, but easy to work with. There were a few times in one of the novels that I found myself writing in a way that strayed from the general concept of a Heartsong romance. Janice made some good suggestions, which steered me in the right direction.
Janice: I can honestly say that I’ve never worked with anyone who was so willing to accept critique and/or take suggestions as Anita. She is a precious friend and collaborative partner. I already knew she was talented (even before we began this project) but had no idea how gracious she would be. Since I’ve written for the Heartsong line for years, I was able to “teach her the ropes” (as it were) and she was a ready learner! That’s not to say she hasn’t taught me a thing or two. I’ve learned much from her throughout this process, particularly as it applies to romantic tension. She’s far better at that than I am, and I’m happy to admit it.
Why did you choose to be a writer?
Anita:Ever since I was a little girl, I had this need to express myself in some sort of artistic medium. I’ve tried a number of things: piano, painting, decorating, and acting. But I’ve never been very good at any these endeavors, except writing. I guess really then—writing chose me.
Janice: Like Anita, I’ve always been artistic. As a youngster, I sang, danced and played the piano. I was also very involved in theater as a young person. I’ve been writing since childhood. I wrote my first novella in 6th grade, then went on to write musical comedies for the stage before turning to books in the mid-90’s. Like Anita, I can truly say that I didn’t choose writing; it chose me. Or, perhaps I should say that God chose it for me, as a gift.
When did you have your first success as a writer?
Anita: After several years of writing, I had some gradual success—books for children, books of one-act plays, and nonfiction for women. These successes were enough to keep me going toward my ultimate goal, which was to write novels.
Janice: This may sound a bit silly, but my first real writing “success” happened my senior year in high school, when I was chosen to help write the senior production. I had a blast, and the scene I crafted (a 1930’s/Busby Berkeley-esque “The Show Must Go On” scene) was a huge success. I can’t tell you what fun I had, or how great it felt for people to respond as they did.
Do you have any special methods of getting into the writing zone, such as favorite scents, music, or certain foods?
Anita: In the past I used to go to a French café, order coffee and scrambled eggs, and then write a rough chapter. The noise, music, and bustle always energized me creatively. But now I’m more of a homebody, so I sit for long hours in my office, working on my stories.
Janice: An "ideal" writing situation for me would involve someplace like Starbucks (or otherwise) with a cup of my favorite hot beverage in my hand (to be discussed below). Ironically, when I'm at home, I can't stand having music going. I find it terribly distracting... something about the "beat" drives me nutty. Having the television on is okay, but it's often muted. Crazy, I know. I'm a fanatic about my Diet Dr. Pepper and several flavors of hot tea. I particularly love Earl Grey and Chai Latte, among others. And I'm nuts about hot chocolate in the wintertime. I'm also crazy about my puppies. I have two red mini-dachshunds named Sasha and Copper. They usually settle in next to me on the sofa, Sasha on my right, Copper on my left. When we're all in place (with a cup of tea or a Diet Dr. Pepper on the end table, depending on the season) I'm ready to begin. Of course, I usually have to weed through several emails (clearing a path) before I can actually start writing. Whew! Sounds like quite a process, doesn't it?! It's a wonder I get anything done at all!
What is your best advice for aspiring writers?
Anita: If you feel called to write, don’t let people discourage you. I’m sure they don’t realize the impact of their words, but negative remarks can undermine our courage and joy. Comments similar to: “Maybe you weren’t really meant to be published.” Or, “Are you making any money at this yet?” Perhaps you’ve heard, “Why can’t you write like my favorite author?” Honestly, I could go on and on here. Writing is a great and honorable profession—one that can challenge, inspire, and change people’s lives. If you love words and love arranging them into stories, then don’t let the battering influence of dispiriting comments shatter your dream. Keep pressing on!
Janice: I often say this to young/new writers: Learn the craft, but don’t necessarily write what the publishers/agents/houses tell you to write. Trends change. Stick with the stories God places on your heart and if He intends them to be published, He will find the right publishing house in the right time.
What are your writing plans for the future?
Anita: I’d love to just keep doing what I’m doing. But I think I’d also enjoy writing novels for the young adult market.
Janice: I’m open to whatever God wants (and I really mean that). If He shifts me in a new direction (women’s fiction, for example) I’m following His lead! If He asks me to lay the writing down for a season in order to accomplish a different task, I’m open to that, too.
Ladies, I want to thank you so much for allowing me to interview you and for being one of those privileged to influence others to read your book,
- OZARK WEDDINGS -
Is there anything you'd like to add?
We’d love to have each of your readers visit our websites at www.anitahigman.com and www.janiceathompson.com. If you’re interested in our Heartsong collection, Ozark Weddings, it can be purchased in bookstores or ordered online at www.amazon.com.
Joy, Thanks for inviting us to your blog!
And there you have it my dear followers. Pick up a copy of OZARK WEDDINGS as soon as possible and have a wonderful read.
Friday, July 16, 2010
K. Dawn, I would like, as would the readers, to know more about you, the woman, the writer, and the story you have to share.
Are you single or married?
I'm married and have been for 15 years. Our first date was to church on a Wednesday night. We're best friends and have been pretty much inseparable ever since.
Do you have children?
I have a wonderful step-daughter, Brittany. She's my pride and joy and even though she's not mine biologically, she's mine in my heart. She's grown into a beautiful, strong Christian woman who I'm proud to call my own.
When did you begin to write?
I began writing about three years ago. I love a challenge and found learning the craft and seeking publication to be a worth while one. I still buy every book I can find on writing. If I can learn one thing to make my writing stronger, it is worth the purchase.
Did you begin with Christian Fiction?
I did begin with Christian Fiction. My first book, KILLING TIME, to be released August 1st through Desert Breeze Publishing. My second book, QUEEN OF HEARTS, released in April. Even though it was my second book, it came out first.
What brought you to ACFW?
I'd already decided that I wanted to write Christian fiction and when I found ACFW, it was a dream come true. I'm amazed at the amount of talent in that organization. The members are absolutely wonderful and so helpful. It's awesome when well-known authors take the time to answer the questions of a newbie.
How long ago was that?
I've been a member for two years.
KILLING TIME is my August 1st release.
Mindy McLaurin, thinks it's the end of the world
In which genre your newest novel?
KILLING TIME is a contemporary romantic suspense.
What is it about that particular genre that interests you the most?
I write what I love to read. Suspense is my favorite. Throw in a little romance and we have a deal! I especially love unpredictible books. Throw me a zinger! Because I love those books, that's what I write. Readers should expect thte unexpected when they read my work.
About that sneak-peek of the content I mentioned to our readers?
Here's the exerpt. You can also download he first few chapters for free upon release, August 1st at Amazon.com. If you dont have a KINDLE, you can learn how to download the free KINDLE app on my blog at;
Enjoy the following from ~KILLING TIME~
Mitch was waiting for her in the visitation area. Mr. Blair, his attorney, at his side. Delacy ushered her to a glass-front cubicle. Mindy longed to touch Mitch, to draw strength from someone stronger than herself, but the glass made this impossible.
Mr. Blair smiled and nodded toward the phone. Mindy picked it up, anxiety making her a little light headed. She shivered as the cold hard plastic of the receiver came into contact with her ear.
"Hello, Mindy," the elderly attorney said. "It's good to see you again. I wish it were under better circumstances."
"Me, too." They'd come to get her. She was going home.
"I can't represent you. I'm semi-retired and handle mostly real estate transactions. This is out of my league, so I'm going to call a good friend of mine, Bill Sands, and ask him to get in touch with you. He's a good attorney."
"Thank you." Tears threatened to overflow.
"I need to ask you some questions though. Okay?"
"What led up to your arrest?"
"A few days ago, I realized that someone had gone through my desk at work. The signature stamp I use to endorse payroll checks was missing."
Mr. Blair touched his mouth with the top of his pen. "Whose name was on the stamp?"
"My boss. His name is Mr. Warner. I kept a few personal items in my desk, like deposit slips for my own bank account. Someone used the stamp to endorse checks and then deposited them into my personal account." Embezzlement. What an ugly word.
"Any idea who did this?"
"I believe it was my boss' son, Rick. I've had a bad feeling about him from the time I met him. I don't trust him. When he moved back from out west, Mr. Warner gave him an executive position in the company and check cashing privileges."
"Why would he frame you?"
"He started writing big checks. Thousands of dollars. He was so afraid I'd tell on him that he threatened to have me fired."
Mr. Blair scribbled furiously on a yellow legal pad. "What'd he need all that money for?"
"I heard a rumor that he has a gambling problem and owes a lot of money to dangerous people."
"Anything else?" he asked.
"Do you have the money yet from selling Grandpa's house and land?"
"Any day now."
Mr. Blair had represented Mindy in the closing. She'd held back selling as long as she could, but the house was too large for her to maintain. The new roof and plumbing problems had almost drained her bank account.
Mr. Blair's eyes met hers. "I'll call Bill today with this information. He'll be in touch. Good-bye, Mindy. Take care." The sympathy therein spoke volumes. He handed the phone to Mitch.
"Hey, Baby," he said in a voice as smooth as milk chocolate.
Mindy's heart tugged when Mitch smiled. His good looks weren't lost on her. He could turn on enough charisma and charm to benefit him in any situation. "Mindy, honey. I'm sorry that you're in here, but I need your help. Do you remember the new case I told you about? The one where that young girl died of overdose."
Mindy's overloaded brain scrambled to keep up. She nodded.
Mitch ran his fingers through raven black hair. "Keep your eyes open, love. That client is paying me a lot of money for information about her daughter."
"I'll ask around when I go back to the pod. What time am I leaving?"
"Not today," Mitch said. "I need you. I need that information."
"You're not getting me out of here?" Mindy's voice rose to hysteria.
Mitch couldn't have slapped her in the face and hurt her more. Reality washed over her in a chilling wave. She wasn't going home. He was leaving her to work undercover.
Hot tears of anger blazed a trail down Mindy's cheeks, but she didn't care. "You're not going to leave me here," she spat, as if the demand itself had the power to force him to change his mind.
"Not for long, baby. You'll be okay. You're a strong woman. That's one of the things I love about you."
"Please don't leave me here, Mitch." Mindy's voice trembled. "You don't know what it's like back there. Please take me home. I just found my sister."
"Your sister? What are you talking about?"
"Remember? I told you I have a twin? I've got to get out of here so I can help her." Mindy placed her hand on the glass, the tears on her palm smearing her reflection. "Please, Mitch."
"It's not for long, baby. You'll be okay." His expression faltered for an instant and she thought he was about to change his mind. Just as quickly, his eyes hardened. "I've got to go now, baby. Take care of yourself."
Before Mindy had the chance to reply, Mitch replaced the receiver. She looked at Mr. Blair. Her face must have conveyed the terror and sense of abandonment she felt. His expression was one of sorrow and helplessness.
Mindy watched Mitch exit the room, his head high and step light. He never looked back.
K. Dawn, would you share your professional bio-sketch with our readers so they will have your contact information?
K. Dawn Byrd is an author of inspirational romance. QUEEN OF HEARTS, a WWII romantic suspense released in April and was Desert Breeze Publishing's bestselling novel for the month. KILLING TIME, a contemporary romantic suspense to be released August 1, also with Desert Breeze Publishing.
K. Dawn Byrd is an avid blogger and gives away several books per week on her blog at
http://stores.desertbreezepublishing.com/-strse-103/k-dawn-byrd-killing/Detail.bok (there will be links at this site to purchase from Amazon, Barnes and Noble, the Sony ebook store and others)
Every week I interview three to five authors on my blog who give away a copy of their books to a lucky reader. Most of them signed by the authors. They can register at;
I want to express my appreciation to you for joining us this week, K. Dawn.
Thanks so much for hosting me on your blog, Joy!
You are very welcome, K. Dawn.
Be sure to read this e-suspense novel by writer, K. Dawn Byrd ~KILLING TIME~ to get the 'rest-of-the-story'.
Until next time~ this is Joy Avery Melville, Joyfully thanking you, the reader and our guest, K. Dawn Byrd, for spending time with us today!
Friday, May 28, 2010
It's that time again. We have a wonderful opportunity as AMERICANS, CHRISTIANS and most of all COMPASSIONATE HUMAN BEINGS to celebrate and remember those who have served or are serving in our Armed Forces; those men and women of Valor, Spirit and Dedication who desire to keep AMERICA FREE.
AMERICA has had millions of men and women who have placed their personal safety in the hands of their brothers and sisters during war-time. They have chosen a path that gives them purpose, direction and honor.
Granted, not every service person who has enlisted plans to go to war, but the other night on the news I was amazed at the number of men and women choosing to put their life on the line to keep FREEDOM possible for AMERICANS and those who believe in democracy.
I want to personally thank my brothers, Vernon and James for their choice to serve. MY brother Vern went to Germany to drive transport for the Army and Jim, also in the Army, went to Viet Nam. My nephew, Jason (Vern's only son) went into the Army before Desert Storm. He was stationed in Germany like his father before him. Although he was to be discharged and was planning for his upcoming trip home a call came through for volunteers, he was one of the very first to say, "I'll go. Where do I sign?"
I am so proud to know I have family members who are/were willing to die for our hard-fought-for freedoms.
For those of you who have served, are serving, who have family members in those categories, or who have paid the ultimate price, it is with deep gratitude and a huge 'Thank you' from the bottom of my Joy-Filled heart!
Joyfully enJoying the freedoms others have earned for me,
Joy Avery Melville
Monday, May 24, 2010
I want to express my gratitude for my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, for the opportunity I have to write for His glory.
A fellow writer saw my need for some help in working with another site and came along side, figuratively speaking, volunteering assistance in the middle of my struggle. She didn't boast her technilogical prowess, she didn't ask for repayment. Instead she offered her time, expertise and most touching of all, a gesture of friendship. How do you value that encouragement and support? I see it as priceless. It may take mere moments, it may take hours, but the generosity and willing heart of someone who chooses to help another rather than selfishly keep her time and projects or knowledge to herself is someone to be commended and is Joy~Fully welcomed.
To be that type of friend is to be prepared by being open to the needs of others; to be observant; to be willing to ignore the self-cost of effort, time and possibly money for the sake of another. Seeking to help a person who could easily be competition is a true mark of a Joy~Filled Spirit extending an open hand of kindness.
"But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness..." - Galatians 5:22 NASB
I experienced just such an example of that kindness last week. I felt supported by her encouraging, selfless act of friendship in a time-consuming task. Not once did I see a hint of restraint from this busy writer and new-found friend.
Joy certainly filled my heart and continues to glow from within.
Friday, May 21, 2010
It will be my pleasure to write in such a way you'll leave encouraged and uplifted.
I hope you'll come back often.
My first blog/journal posting will be the week of May 23, 2010
Feel free to leave your comments. I only ask you keep your language clean and leave out any sexual innuendos or vulgarities.
Thank you. I sincerely pray you will be blessed for having visited this site.
Joyfully writing to encourage and serve.
Joy Avery Melville