Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Visiting This Week ~ Carole Brown with her latest ~ The Redemption Of Caralynne Hayman

Welcome to Journey's To Joy, Carole. 
Thank you for bringing your latest release, THE REDEMPTION OF CARALYNNE HAYMAN with you and for generously offering the book in two forms as gifts to the Journey's To Joy followers. There will be two opportunities to win Carole's new book:

First ~ let me introduce ~ Carole Brown
I’ve always wanted to be a writer; I just didn’t pursue it seriously until now. Writing has always been part of my life, part of me. It’s who I am. Nothing gives me greater satisfaction then when I’m writing or have finished a book.

I’ve done some newspaper articles, research, and some co-editing of magazines and newsletters throughout the years. I’ve spent time authoring children and youth stories and have written a little poetry. We’ve had a lot of fascinating experiences through out lifetime so its given me lots of fodder to choose from to write novels.

But I knew when it was time to turn to writing seriously, and went into it headlong, studying, joining writing associations and critique groups, attending conferences and learning as much as I could. I’ve worked hard and have written a lot.

Two years ago though I went through an extremely discouraging time, which is really not like me. I’m more of an optimist and usually bounce out of depression quickly. But that year, I almost quit. Almost admitted I couldn’t write; didn’t have it in me. After a dear older friend sat me down and encouraged me to pray: “I believe; help my unbelief,” I made that my mantra for several months. Early the following year an editor requested the full of this manuscript; I signed a contract later that year, and the rest is history.

Second ~ let me introduce you to ~ Her new book - released Oct 21, 2013

The idea for The Redemption of Caralynne Hayman came from my husband. We like to keep track of interesting events throughout the country, and several months ago the cult situation in Texas caught out attention. We started a “what if” session:
Ÿ  What if a woman suffered a terrible hurt through the cult?
Ÿ  How would she feel?
Ÿ  Could she forgive?
Ÿ  If she didn’t have God in her heart, how would she react?

And the question begs to be answered. Could you--or I--forgive? I know it’s easy to say, “with God’s help I would.” But I’ve seen people’s reactions. I’ve wept with them over the inexcusable deaths that happen, and I will say, sometimes, most of the time, it takes God. Without him--it’s a seemingly impossible act.

I want readers to realize there is always hope. No matter how deep or how bad a person may sink, hope is always there! People don’t always look for it in the right places. Most times, people, money, jobs, and position will never give the kind of hope needed. Only God can offer it.

About the book:
How far would YOU go to avenge a daughter’s cruel death? Cara is considered rebellious and inappropriate to befriend. Dayne is the apple of Elder Simmons’ eye—until he takes a stand against their teachings. Can his prayers and love reach Cara and show her the way to redemption? Will Cara realize God’s love and forgiveness before she goes too far?

The Redemption of Caralynne Hayman is a novel of hope shining through the darkness with strong elements of suspense and romance. This novel was a semifinalist in the Genesis contest and is receiving raving reviews! Release date was October 21, 2013 from the Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas, an ACFW approved publisher. The preorder link for the book which is on SALE NOW is:

 Third ~              ~  PLEASE LEAVE A COMMENT ~ 
Your preference of e-format ~ OR ~print format and Your email addy
Carole has promised to give away a book ~ Winner's choice ~ E-book or print to drawing winner recipient.
The tenth commenter will also receive a book of choice in print or e-format as well. 

More ways to connect with Carole:

I also am part of several other blogs:
Geezers Guys and Gals:  http://geezerguysandgals.blogspot.com/
Barn Door Book Loft: http://www.barndoorbookloft.net/

 Thank you for visiting this week on Journeys To Joy, Carole. Please let us know when your next release is to be, and we'll have you back.


Wednesday, September 25, 2013

ACFW - Conference Indianapolis - 2013 _RECAP_


       If you read yesterday's post you'll see that my passenger, Peggy Bennitt, and I made it to Indianapolis and with just moments to spare to get our ACFW Registration Packets before going to our rooms.

       I'd been praying ever since I registered that God would meet with me in Indianapolis in a very REAL way - a way I had  no doubt was Him, His message or word just for me. I'd been complaining about spending money for a rental car and bemoaning the fact Jerry wasn't able to keep those diligently-earned vacation days to cart Peggy and me to the conference.

      Once we got to the conference and the car had been parked in Valet Parking, I figured it would sit there burning parking money for the entire weekend. Another thing I'd whined about.
       I'd only been in my room a few minutes and knew I was expected to meet up with the STITCHES THRU TIME GROUP BLOG WRITERS - at least any who were able to gather for supper - so I hurried through freshening up and the phone rang. It was Lena Nelson Dooley. She'd posted on the Main ACFW Loop that she needed someone to purchase a specific food item that she'd not be able to carry inflight. I emailed her and made the arrangements to buy it and transport it in a cooler and deliver it to her room when she was ready.
      I told her of my evening plans and I told her I'd call her when I got back to the room. I was on my way to meet those in person I'd only ever met online and was getting more excited by the minute. I'd finally get to meet my room mate, even though she was expected to be with the Hartline Agency dinner instead of with our group and got another phone call. Jodie Wolfe, my room mate was stranded in the Baltimore, MD Airport. A lightning strike had taken out the tower- computers and all - flights were cancelled all over. She gave me a message for her agent and told me the earliest it appeared she'd be joining us would be on Friday mid to late afternoon. We were both disappointed. I went to find her agent and managed to meet Crystal Barnes, Jodie's crit partner and  Co-founder of the Stitches Thru Time Group Blog. Linda informed me that Jodie had just reached her by cell phone and Crystal and I gathered with a couple Non-group blog members and talked them in to joining us since our numbers were low. We headed across the Skywalk from the Hyatt to the mall and stopped to take pictures outside the diner we'd chosen to eat at. Jennifer Uhlarik opted to take pictures with several cameras and I think her friend Ruth even took some - yes - there were a lot of cameras.
The Thursday Night Supper place - 50's Diner - STITCHES THRU TIME GROUP BLOG MEMBERS

L-R - Jennifer Fromke, Crystal Barnes, Mona Hodson, Michele Morris & Joy Avery Melville  

L-R: Mona (from Arizona) Joy and Jen Fromke

Either. . .FLYING. . .or. . .DRIVING

We had a blast getting to know one another, sharing tid-bits about our home-lives and writing-lives. I found out two of our table-mates were past Michigan residents moved south . . .oh how I wish they'd stayed put. They're such sweeties. 

 L-R: Michele Morris,
          Ruth G.(pronounced Green)
          Jennifer Uhlarik -(My surrogate daughter - Gem)

  It didn't take any of us long to find out how filling the food was either. Good stuff. We sat and conversed for awhile and headed back to the Hyatt Regency. I knew I needed to get in touch with Lena soon.

Seconds from having taken the first one.
Check the traffic and the pinks in the sky
On the way back over the Skywalk Crystal and I looked out over the city street and to the West. Clouds broke and the sun was 
setting. . . 

 Three of us had gotten as far as the escalators - not my favorite part of the Regency -(going up- ok - going down - not so much) and my phone rang - IT WAS JODIE. . . She could get a flight into Indianapolis but the airport shuttles stopped at 11pm and she wouldn't be in until after 12:30 am. . .oh dear. . .what to do . . .what to do . . .oh wait. . ."Jodie, I have a car. I'll meet you at the airport - get that flight out. We talked a few more seconds and I hung up, walked rode the escalator to the bottom and it hit me (not the escalator). . .we were downtown INDY and I had NO IDEA WHERE THE AIRPORT WAS! I turned to Michele Morris on my right and said. . ."I'm going to the airport after midnight, and I have no idea where I'm going or how to get there." I started to say PRAY and before I got out the word,  Michele responded, "Already on it." Love that kindred stuff, don't you? I HAD to get to my room and call Lena so she didn't go without her delivery so I told the gals I was headed for my room. IF I REMEMBER RIGHT. . .Crystal Barnes went with me and stopped at the check-in desk, asked for a Mapquest map and directions to the airport and we talked and joked about the situation with those in hand on our way to my room. I'd only been in the room for a short time, called Lena, got her stuff together and got a call from a Michigan gal ,wanting to know if she could come up. I told her to come on up and before I'd hung up Michele Morris knocked at the door and she had a gal with her she introduced as Andrea Nell. A beautiful tall gal and just as sweet as those others I'd met over the few hours I'd been in Indy. Michele said, "I overheard Andrea say she has a room mate coming into the airport about 1:00am and needs a ride and she'd love to go get her but has no car. Joy?"  WHEN MICHELE PRAYS - WATCH OUT - I GUESS. . .
I'm sure I screamed at that point as the door was opened to allow Peggy Wirgau, the gal who called me, entrance. I was so excited. "YES, YES, YES! I'd love to have you go with me to the airport to get your room mate. Mine will be coming in about a half hour before that. Only problem is . . .I have no idea where I'm going. We picked up this map at the desk, but it's like Greek to me." Andrea just smiled her gorgeous smile.  
       I left the room after telling them to all make themselves to home - I had a package to deliver a floor up. I got a HUGE blessing when I got to see Lena again. I'd met her in person in St Louis in 2011, but we'd not talked a lot at that conference. She introduced me to her traveling companion, Margi, another writer. It was such a treat for me. Lena started to pay me for the package I'd gotten for her and I told her it was just too good a chance to spend time with her for me to pass up and the blessing was ALL mine. She went over to a bag, reached in, and asked if I had the three books she held out to me. NOPE - I have some of hers, but not those. She OFFERED THEM ALL TO ME and then in her sweet humble TX twang asked, "Would you like them signed or unsigned?" Are you kidding me? Seriously? "Signed, of course."
       I got back to an empty room with three books in hand.':D 
       Andrea and I met at the check-in area at midnight or shortly after, went to the Valet station and I handed the head Valet my ticket. He asked if we were checking out or if we'd be back yet that night. We both said, "We'll be back." I added that we were going to pick up to delinquent writers. The guy must hear it all. . .he just grinned. 
       While we waited for the car, Andrea took the map and directions and asked the guy if there were simpler directions for getting to the airport. He waved the Mapquest page away and stated, "It's easy. Go out the drive take a sharp left go straight on Capital and it goes up into I70 and stay on that to Exit 68 and take a right into the airport." Andrea and I laughed and I said, "I think I can do that one." There was little traffic, the weather was PERFECT and the road was OURS.  Thank you, Lord.
        It was easy peasy. . .got there just as Jodie called to say she had her luggage and would we be able to meet her at the SOUTHWEST AIRLINE DOOR - we were right there. We loaded her and her luggage and had to wait for Terri (or it may have been Terry) she phoned to say they were running just a bit behind. We weren't allowed to sit in front of the door areas so we began taking VERY SLOW CIRCLES out of the Arrival area and down around to right back to the Arrival area - VERY SLOW CIRCLES and if I'm not mistaken it took about seven times around. We joked about not having trumpets with us to blow on the seventh time around. Even waiting for Andrea's room mate the three of us got acquainted and got to laughing and giggling as though we'd known each other forever.
         Once we got Terri/Terry's luggage packed in the car and headed back, we found it was as easy going to the hotel as it had been going to the airport. LITTLE DID I KNOW AT THE TIME. . . THAT would be very important information!  

I didn't moan, groan, complain, gripe or whine about having a rental car OR that the car was parked in Valet Parking for the weekend again. . .I DID confess and ask forgiveness for a bad attitude and I PRAISED HIM for using me. I GOT TWO THURSDAY BLESSINGS and THE CONFERENCE HAD YET TO BEGIN.

I DO wish I'd gotten pics of Andrea, the car,  the airport and our room mates. . .didn't know at the time, I'd be blogging about the experiences there.

Tomorrow's post:  FRIDAY IN INDY. . .


Tuesday, September 24, 2013

ACFW - Conference Indianapolis - 2013 _ RECAP_

Have I got a story for you. . .

Nope this isn't a pitch - this is all about real-life connections I made in Indianapolis, IN Sept 12-16, 2013

I'd start from the very first thing and go to the last - but you'll be blind from reading the print by the time we're through the entire post - I've asked God to give me highlights to share with  you. . .sigh. . .still gonna take a very long blog post to get it all out there.

Might just have to do this outline style - BORING - but effective? Ah. . .I know. . .better yet. . .Let's do a post per day and use each of the days at conference as separate posts. Some posts will by virtue of the amount of things crammed into a particular day,  be longer than others. There are some days I have LOTS of pics and some days I didn't take many - if any. With a tremor in my left hand too bad to hold a camera for candid shots any more, I missed some terrific things I could use to blackmail dear ACFWers. I'm pretty sure.

 I'm going to give you readers what writers call an INFO DUMP - yes -  DREADED BACKSTORY  -  NOT APPROVED BY AGENTS OR EDITORS - and as a Critter - I SHOULD Know better than most. . .but it gives you what you'll need to understand the rest of the posts to come this week and why the weekend became so much more to me than pitches and workshops.

APRIL 2013
All the goals were on target for the year leading up to Conference 2013 in Indianapolis. I’d entered the Genesis Contest, I’d written the first 1/3 of my second novel in my INTENDED FOR HER TRILOGY, managed to have a proposal written for the first story and a Sell-sheet for it, and was preparing to teach a workshop in Grand Rapids, Michigan. My CRITIQUES BY JOY business was booming and had received one of the nicest Critter-Compliments a professional critter could possible desire – especially unsolicited- and the author was generous with a full paragraph on the Acknowledgment Page stating I was a great help to her as a writer and how much she appreciated what I’d done. My head and heart swell with all she said. Hmmmm - PRIDE GOETH BEFORE A FALL?????

MAY - Sept 2013
            The bottom dropped out of my world within the first couple weeks. I won’t bore you with all the things that hit me over the head that month, but I didn’t meet my writing goal for May by a very very long way, and that was just the last straw in the stack of physical, emotional, spiritual and even mental irritants. Even recognizing I’d hit a ditch under spiritual attack and knowing how to pray about it, didn’t give me the umph I needed to climb out of the slippery gully. It seemed someone was at the edge of it pushing back every time I got above that muddy lip.
            When my husband, who'd not been my biggest supporter when it came to writing and critiquing (often calling me obsessed with the computer), saw what was going on, he prayed with me, asked me if I intended to give up, and then calmly – but firmly – stated, “You’re going to that ACFW Conference this year if I have to find a way to pay for it and drive you there and back myself.”
            The following week he brought home a sales bonus check – the largest he’s ever received at one time – and handed it to me. He told me to put it in my writing fund and register for the ACFW Conference. Once I’d followed through with that, he put in for two vacation days. The first to take me and another writer on Thursday, Sept 12th to Indianapolis and the second to go get us and bring us home on Monday, Sept 16th.  I worked hard on critiques and redid my one-sheets with the graphics and layout help of Crystal Barnes in exchange for some critique work for her.
             Getting ready for the conference, keeping up with some extra critique work for others, planning to pitch in Indy, and trying to polish my first book of a trilogy, kept me hopping, and heat and humidity took a huge toll on me physically over the summer months.
            Just as I saw things coming together for the conference, my dearest informed me his vacation days had been taken away. His boss was to have a knee replacement the week before the Indianapolis conference, and Jerry had to be at the store to help prepare for the county fair exhibit and work in his boss’s place, both at the store and at the fair grounds. That meant I had to get a rental car, and I managed to finally get that money together.          
            Whew, I was going to make it. Then, two and a half weeks before I was to leave for Indianapolis our five-year-old, five-pound Yorkie, Otis, got gravely ill. Nearly hemorrhaged to death. By the time I saw he was sick (evidently had been bleeding internally for some time), called and got him into the vet, he’d dehydrated drastically as well. He spent thirty hours in Doggie ICU, and before I could take him home I had to pay the money I’d saved for the rental car, part of the hotel bill and the gas money just to get him out the door. That was a bit scary since our budget couldn't afford to use a credit card to pay for anything. I managed to reserve the hotel room and the car rental with our credit card, but fully intended to pay cash at each place when I was done.

SEPT 12, 2013
         And then it was time to pick up the rental car, meet my passenger, Peggy Bennitt, a fellow-state-chapter member at my house and load our things before leaving. Packing the car with ALL the extras I'd promised different ACFW members I'd haul so they didn't have to try to check special bags or try to get foodstuffs through Security, took up plenty of room. A large cooler and a medium suitcase with my printer for those who'd not want to try to carry One-sheets, Proposals, Sample chapters and the like. Our mid-sized car was plenty full.
       We managed an uneventful, good trip to Indy with only one stop in a five hour trip. NOT BAD for this woman who normally has to stretch the leg muscles every couple hours. The Lord granted good travels and our conversation was fantastic fun. 
       Our arrival at the HYATT REGENCY INDIANAPOLIS was nearing five o'clock in the evening and our Valet checkin, the Room registration check-in, and even with a fifteen minute window to claim our Registration packet, it all went flawlessly and we headed with the luggage cart and a great bellhop first to Peggy's room to drop off her belongings and then on to my room to drop me and my belongings. It was as smooth as any check-in I've ever experienced. I'd been in my room all of five minutes and got a call from Crystal Barnes, then one from Jodie Wolfe, my room mate, informing me her flight had been cancelled due to a lightning strike to the airport tower in Baltimore, MD. She didn't think she'd get in until Friday mid afternoon and that disappointed us both.
       Then I received a call from Lena Nelson Dooley, one of my goody recipients expecting me with her packet. We made plans for later evening and Crystal came to meet me for our group blog dinner at Johnny Rockets - a 50s diner on the mall connected to the Hyatt by a skywalk.


Wednesday, September 04, 2013

.ARKANSAS WEDDINGS - by - Shannon Vannatter

WELCOME to Journeys To Joy, Shannon. I was so intrigued by this book - I can hardly wait to read it for myself.

I find I'd like to visit the place that became the foundation of your soon to be released book.

I stumbled upon Romance, Arkansas in 2009. In my pursuit of getting a novel published, I'd learned that a publisher in Ohio was looking for inspirational romances set in real life small towns with local flavor. I got my atlas, searched my home state, and found Romance, Arkansas.
Since I live in Cleburne County and travel to Little Rock often, I'd seen the Romance sign but never turned off Highway 5 to go there. I vaguely remembered something about a Love series postage stamp being released there and people getting married there. With a little research, I realized Romance, Arkansas was the perfect place to set my romance and made several research trips there.
Romance, Arkansas, population 1772, is in west central White County. According to legend, the community of Romance was named many years ago by a school teacher who thought the view from the bluffs on the community’s eastern side was particularly romantic. Couples used to spark at a gazebo in front of the old general store. Over the years, members of the community have maintained the gazebo and it still stands.
Romance is one of several post offices to participate in the re-mailing program. Romantics send stamped, addressed Valentine’s cards and wedding invitations in manila envelopes which are re-mailed from Romance, AR with a hand-stamped postmark.
According to former Postmaster Angie Davis, they have three or four weddings a year on Valentine’s Day at the post office. Couples exchange vows in the lobby or outside the office often near a heart someone carved in the parking lot declaring it the Heart of Romance.

I incorporated the re-mailing program and the falls into my book. After nine and half years of writing and over two-hundred rejections, my setting captured an editor's attention and my dream of publication came true. The book turned into a series of three, all set in Romance, Arkansas.
When the news came out that 3700 post offices might close, I wondered about Romance. According to Lisa Tolliver Gay at the Arkansas Postmasters Office, the Romance Post Office is safe. For now.

Looking for a more romantic wedding setting? The Romance Waterfalls--once a popular swimming hole--is now a wedding destination. Owner, James (Buck) Weatherly gave me a tour of his privately owned property, which he and his wife rent to the public for weddings and events. Wisteria drapes over an archway leading to the landscaped garden with numerous flowers and bushes. A wooden walkway leads down to the waterfalls, surrounded by jutting rock/steps.

You can hear the waterfall long before you get there. Mr. Weatherly built two gazebos and balconies overlooking the waterfalls and he opens his home for receptions and family reunions. When real flowers are out of season, silk blossoms add beauty to heart-shaped flowerbeds and archways, along with numerous planters. 

And the book?
Arkansas Weddings: 
Love’s never easy in three Arkansas romances.
Pastor Grayson loves his wife. The problem is, Sara was killed by a hit-and-run driver two years ago. He knows he needs to move on, but it’s not until florist Adrea Welch arrives at his church that the seeds of healing are planted in his heart.
Laken left home eight years ago and never looked back. Who knew when she applied for the promotion to postmaster that she’d end up in Romance, Arkansas, and much too close to her past—and Hayden Winters?
Shell doesn’t have a good reputation. But no matter what everyone in Rose Bud, Arkansas, thinks of her, she’s back in town with a job to do. Ryler also has reasons for being in Rose Bud, and they don’t include Shell.
But God’s love can soften the hardest heart and overcome the darkest past. These hearts may not know it, but they’re about to change.

Central Arkansas author, Shannon Taylor Vannatter is a stay-at-home mom/pastor’s wife. Vannatter has won the 2011 Inspirational Readers Choice Award in the short contemporary category, The 18th Annual Heartsong Awards 3rd Favorite New Author and #1 Contemporary Award.
Her books are available at christianbook.com, barnesandnoble.com, amazon.com, harlequin.com, and barbourbooks.com. Learn more about Shannon and her books at http://shannonvannatter.com and check out her real life romance blog at http://shannonvannatter.com/blog/. Connect with her on Facebook: facebook.com/shannontaylorvannatter and Twitter: @stvauthor

Thanks for coming by, Shannon and for sharing your latest with us at Journeys To Joy...

Leave a comment AND your email address to get your name in a drawing for a PRINT COPY of ARKANSAS WEDDINGS -  Drawing will be held Monday evening, September 9, 2013