Thursday, April 24, 2014

Why Do We Write? ~ Author James. R. Callan

Hi everyone! Please welcome author James R. Callan.

Brief Bio of James R. Callan

After a successful career in mathematics and computer science, receiving grants from the National Science Foundation and NASA, and being listed in Who’s Who in Computer Science and Two Thousand Notable Americans, James R. Callan turned to his first love—writing.  He wrote a monthly column for a national magazine for two years, and published four non-fiction books.  He now concentrates on his favorite genre, mysteries, with his sixth book releasing in Spring, 2014.

And why DO we write?

I have many friends who wonder why I spend so much time writing. Or why I spend any time writing.

Why do we write? There are many reasons. Money. Fame. Fulfillment. Impart knowledge. Fill a void. Keep a promise. Pass on family history. Therapy. Nothing else to do. Get the truth in print. The thrill of tracking down a story. The need to write. To make someone laugh. And probably a hundred others.

Money? Non-fiction does supply many a writer with a decent salary. One can write as a reporter with a regular paycheck. One can, particularly if they have some area of expertise, make money on a non-fiction book.

But when we’re talking about fiction, only a few make significant money against the time and effort put into the writing. I’m sure some fiction writers start out with that in mind. Ninety-nine point nine percent don’t achieve that. While I make money writing, the hourly wage writing provides would not be worthwhile. I could make more money selling rubber bands to a trucking company.

Fame can be as elusive as money. And even more fleeting. Warhol said we all get fifteen minutes of fame. Please don’t set your hopes your fifteen minutes will come from writing.

The idea of passing on family history is an excellent reason, one why many people should write. Family stories and history are often appreciated only when the opportunity to preserve them has passed. The person who knew those fascinating facts didn’t write them down and now is dead. Those stories are likely lost forever.

Therapy is another good reason. I know a famous writer who got into writing for exactly this reason. It worked – on two fronts. The therapy worked and the world got a plethora of good literature.

We as writers should understand why we write and make sure that reason actually gets fulfilled as we write. If we write for therapy, we cannot let the pressure or frustrations that sometimes come in writing affect us. We must avoid those by remembering why we are writing. Frustration is not the reason. If we begin to feel pressure, we need to readjust our thinking, back off, change whatever is causing the pressure.

If we write for fame, we need to decide what constitutes “fame” for us. If it’s to be on national TV as the next great writer, we might want to include some intermediate steps along the way. Perhaps start with getting a good review in the local newspaper, or an invitation to speak at the local Lions Club. Fame covers a wide range. Don’t let the only measure be the most difficult to achieve.

Money? Perhaps start on the non-fiction side. Once you’ve made some money with that phase of your career, then tackle the more elusive money of fiction.

Whatever the reason, take a good look at what is required to satisfy that reason, what milestones there are to measure your success. Think baby steps.

And from time to time, reevaluate your real reasons for writing or continuing to write. Because, foremost among the reasons for writing should be—enjoyment.

This is why I write, for the enjoyment. When I have crafted a good book, I feel immensely satisfied. A good scene makes me very happy. Even a well crafted sentence can bring a smile to my face and joy to my heart. I feel good when I have written a satisfying paragraph. Writing offers many ways to enrich my life.
So, set goals which do not remove that most important reason for writing – the joy of writing.

Natalie here. Thank you, James. It's always good for us to examine our motives and count the cost--and rewards--of our pursuits. As in every area of our life as Christian writers, I know we hope most of all to bring God glory as we make use of our craft. And what indescribable joy and satisfaction He does give us as we follow His calling on our life out of a heart desiring to please Him! Then when He is pleased, we are pleased, and that is a wonderful combination.

James R. Callan's info:

Amazon Author page:      
Twitter:                                                @jamesrcallan

A Ton of Gold                On Amazon at:  or Nook at:
Crystal Moore stands on the brink of losing everything—her only family, her self esteem and her career. Because of a long-forgotten folktale, murders, arson, kidnapping, and firebombs besiege Crystal. And while she struggles to sort out the mystery, the man who nearly destroyed her emotionally reappears. This time, he can end her career. Crystal will need all the help she can get from a former bull rider, her street-wise housemate and Crystal's feisty grandmother. 

Character: The Heartbeat of the Novel, (Oak Tree Press, 2013)
On Amazon at:

A guide to Character Development. Learn How To... Sculpt your major characters, Create the bio, Develop motivation and conflict, Maximize The Fourth Dimension (The character Arc), Write effective Dialog  ...and MORE!

James has graciously offered a copy of his book Character: The Heartbeat of the Novel as a giveaway. Comment for a chance to win! (Remember to leave your email in the following format: email (at) address (dot) com.) Why do you write? 

*winner of last week's giveaway, Women of Valley View: Pam, is Courtney Phillips. Congrats! I'll be emailing you soon!

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Sharon Srock Interview

Hi, everyone. Please welcome author Sharon Srock!


Author bio.
Author Sharon Srock went from science fiction to Christian fiction at slightly less than warp speed. Twenty five years ago, she cut her writer's teeth on Star Trek fiction. Today, she writes inspirational stories that focus on ordinary women using their faith to accomplish extraordinary things. Sharon lives in the middle of nowhere Oklahoma with her husband and three very large dogs. Her books include: The Women of Valley View: Callie and The Women of Valley View: Terri, both of which are currently available. The Women of Valley View: Pam will release 11 April 2014.

Hi, Sharon! Give us a couple sentences describing what you write.
I share stories of ordinary women using their faith to do extraordinary things.

How would you label the overall mood of your stories: dark, gritty, poignant, sensitive, heart-warming, raucous, light, fresh, tummy-tickler (funny), educational, adventurous, witty, passionate, reminiscent, sweet, forceful, eye-opening.
I’d say heartwarming is the term I hear the most. Tear Jerker follows a close second.

What is the name of your latest book?

What is the theme of your story and how did you come to it?
Forgiveness and the fact that indifference to a person or situation is NOT the same thing. I think if we’re honest, we’ve all been there.

A sneak peek into what you're working on right now?
The series continues in book four with Samantha’s story. I’m currently working on Kate’s story.

Do you blog? If so, leave us the address.

Now the fun stuff... :)

On a dream research trip, where would you go? What would you ask to see/experience first?
Rome, Egypt, the Holy lands. There is so much history left there to see and touch. I’d be hard pressed to know where to look first.

When you read, do you prefer paperback, e-book, or audio? Why?
I love the feel of a book in my hand, but I find myself relying more and more on my e-readers simply for the ease and portability. My husband is grateful that we are no longer in danger of being run out of our house by books.

Connect with her at
Please visit her AMAZON page to find current info on her books:



Book blurb.
Pam’s divorce broke her heart. The cruelty of her ex-husband broke her spirit. A bottle of sleeping pills almost took her life. Four years later the scars of Alan Archer’s emotional abuse are beginning to fade under the love of her new husband. When Alan returns to Garfield, Pam must learn that buried secrets and carefully cultivated indifference do not equal forgiveness.
Alan Archer has returned to Garfield with a new wife and a terminal heart condition. His mission? To leave a Christian legacy for his children and to gain Pam’s forgiveness for the sins of his past.
Two hearts hang in the balance waiting for the delicate touch of God’s healing hands.

Wow, this sounds like a heart-rending story, but we trust there will be redemption in the end. With 50% of America's marriages ending in divorce, we do all we can to prevent marriage failure and hold high God's standard of "one man for one woman," but for the many who are on the other side of divorce, I'm sure this book will minister and bring the message of hope and healing through forgiveness. 
Which of these things can readers can do to help spread the word about this book?
Word of mouth, reviews,
Blog posts,
Tweets/Facebook posts,
Like the author's Facebook page, follow on Twitter, Pinterest, Google+, Goodreads,
If you win/buy a copy, post a pic with the book,
Repin book quotes or cover art from the author on,
Recommend to a library or book club, or start one with this book!
I think reviews and just sharing your enjoyment in any medium you prefer.

I have two freebies I’d like to offer your readers.
  1. A free PDF that introduces my women: 

2. A free Novella, FOR MERCIE’S SAKE:

Finally, a reminder to visit my blog or my face book page to sign up for my quarterly news letter.

Natalie here. Sharon is kindly offering a copy of THE WOMEN OF VALLEY VIEW: PAM to one reader who comments! Everyone finished with spring cleaning? Er...don't dare look at my house right now. Haha! Audiobooks and Kindle's text-to-speech options are wonderful to listen to when cleaning, though, right? Who else loves the flexibility of audiobooks?

Saturday, April 5, 2014

Pam Hillman's Kindle Fire Giveaway

Hey, everyone!

I interrupt our normal blog schedule to announce a very special giveaway!

Pam Hillman, author of Stealing Jake and her newest release, Claiming Mariah, is hosting a Kindle Fire giveaway during the month of April! You can enter using the Rafflecopter widget here in this post.

Claiming Mariah is on sale for $2.99 today on Kindle download!

I truly appreciate this author's writing, because she is not afraid to write about the precious blood of Jesus that takes away our sin! I especially remember that from her first book, Stealing Jake (available as an ebook).


After her father’s death, Mariah Malone sends a letter that will forever alter the lives of her family. When Slade Donovan, strong willed and eager for vengeance, shows up on her front porch, Mariah is not ready to hear his truths: her father’s farm, the only home she’s ever known, was bought with stolen gold. With Slade ready to collect his father’s rightful claim and force Mariah and her family out on the streets, Mariah must turn to God for guidance. Though Mr. Frederick Cooper, a local landowner, promises to answer her financial woes if she agrees to be his bride, Mariah finds herself drawn instead to the angry young man demanding her home.

With the ranch now under Slade’s careful eye, he unearths more than he ever imagined as a devious plot of thievery, betrayal, and murder threatens the well-being of the ranch, endangering those who hold it dear. As the days dwindle until the rest of the Donovan clan arrives at the Lazy M ranch, Mariah and Slade must rise above the resentment of their fathers and see their true feelings before greed changes their futures forever.

Pam's Author Bio:

Pam Hillman was born and raised on a dairy farm in Mississippi and spent her teenage years perched on the seat of a tractor raking hay. In those days, her daddy couldn't afford two cab tractors with air conditioning and a radio, so Pam drove the Allis Chalmers 110. Even when her daddy asked her if she wanted to bale hay, she told him she didn't mind raking. Raking hay doesn't take much thought so Pam spent her time working on her tan and making up stories in her head. Now, that's the kind of life every girl should dream of! Claiming Mariah is her second novel.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Do you have an eReader tablet? What do you like most about it?  

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Book News Update

Hey there, friends!

Several of you have asked when my book will be available, so I wanted to give an update on where I am in the process via my first ever vlog!

I haven't published yet. Believe me, I'll be having a Hallelujah Chorus episode when that happens. You won't miss it. :) But there ARE some exciting things happening. Without further ado...

Here's the video. Dun Dun DUUUUNNNN!!!! ;)

First ever video blog.  Sorry for the weird background noise. :)

Contact: nataliedmonk (at) yahoo (dot) com

Or visit my blog at: htpp://

Sign up for my newsletter on the right hand side of my blog page or click the "Get My Book News" button on my facebook page:

*** Next month I'll send out a free contemporary Christian short story written by yours truly to all who have signed up for my newsletter by May 1. I promise not to send yucky spam. Just book news updates. And a free short story! Sign up today! :)

I hope to pitch my story to one of my dream agents this month, so please keep me and my manuscript in your prayers!
So what do you think of video blogging (vlogging)? Have you tried it? I have to admit, I'm normally shy and I felt like a drama queen at 16 filming this. I'm not sure if I look more ditzy or snobbish. :s Yikes! Do you like being in front of a camera?

If you have any more questions about the publishing process or the specific steps required to get an agent, comment and we'll chat! :)

In the meantime, enjoy these writerly cartoons. :)