Monday, June 9, 2014

Writer's World Blog Tour

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Hey, y'all! I have been invited to participate in the world blog tour by my sweet, dynamic writer-friend, Amber Schamel. Her blog post went up last week at

Amber and I met online through the ACFW critique loop a couple years ago (How has it been that long????). Amber has traveled extensively throughout the United States, Europe, and the Holy Land. She writes biblical and historical fiction with a gift for immersing her readers in the setting and teaching while entertaining.




For this blog, I was given four questions to answer: 

1. What are you working on? 
Right now, I'm finishing the last copy-editing pass on my novel Heart of Valor before I start querying and working on the second in the seriess. 
My premise for Heart of Valor is, What if the prodigal son had come home to find his father already dead, his family farm set to auction, and his childhood sweetheart planning to marry his brother who stayed behind? What if this story was set in 19th century Mississippi? 

Here's the blurb:

            Leaving her took all he had. Winning her back will take more than he’s got.

            In 1878, America’s first “Great Depression” tightens its lingering fist. The Civil War blockades have long ago ripped the roots of King Cotton from the South, and moonshine floods in to fill the economic gap. The Temperance movement is purging the nation city by city, but somehow it overlooks the little town of Charity Creek, Mississippi.
A struggling new Christian, Blane Roeper leaves his Tennessee logging job and heads home to Mississippi to beg his family’s forgiveness…and his sweetheart’s. Instead, he finds his father dead and the family farm set to auction. After everything he’s done, will God listen to his plea for help?
           Temperance activist Valor Hill listens well. As a child, she listened helplessly to her best friend’s cries when the girl’s drunken father beat her. Later she listened when neighbors said her first love Blane would never return. When the best doctor in three counties gave her no hope of having children. When the preacher said God always has a plan.
But her heart refused to listen.
Now six years later, her goal to rid the town of liquor comes second only to her heart’s foremost desire of taking in Blane’s orphan sister as her own child. To do that she needs a husband, so Valor pursues the attention of the last bachelor in town—Blane’s brother.
Blane’s return rekindles more than Valor’s anger, but she vows to show him she’s moved on with her life. When Blane’s brother is injured in a strange accident, the local saloon owner’s veiled threats against Valor grow increasingly suspicious. Can Blane conquer old fears to save the farm and win back his lady in time? Or will he forever relinquish a heart of valor?

2. How does your work differ from others in its genre?
This story has a suspense thread darker than some historical romances, but also a humorous side. I wanted to present a broad spectrum of emotion through scenes based on experiences these characters might have lived, since we face many of the same issues today. Each author has his or her own voice and past experiences to bring to their work. With this novel, I drew from a personal experience when my hometown began dividing over the issue of alcohol. As a result, there are several humorous, sad, enraging and encouraging situations in the story inspired by real life events.

3. Why do you write what you do? 
There is so much in our world--and in ourselves--that discourages and beats us down.
My goal is to encourage fellow Christians through fiction and offer a Christ-honoring form of reading entertainment.
Also, we learn from others' experiences, whether heart-warming or heartbreaking, and draw hope from the well that others have digged. Hope in the knowledge that we are not alone in our pain, love, joy, anger or surprise.  
With Christian fiction, I am able to share those deeply personal moments through a medium that protects the innocent...or not so innocent. This particular story has themes of forgiving one's self and trusting God for the future. A major subplot works through issues of alcohol abuse, temptation and domestic violence. I wrote this novel to offer hope.  

1884 temperance illustration
1884 temperance illustration
Library of Congress

4. How does your writing process work?
Once I brainstorm a loose plot line based on a story idea I've prayed over, I put the turning points in an Excel spreadsheet, then fill in the remaining cells with one sentence descriptions of scenes that will get the characters will get from one plot point to the next. The story usually changes along the way and scenes grow more cohesive. Once the draft is down, I set the story aside for a bit and catch up on some reading while I plot the next story. Then I go back and use self-editing tools I've learned from blogs and online classes. On my first novel, it has taken about 8 substantive editing passes to get the story logical. :) Then I print out the MS for a line edit. I actually woke up last night in the wee hours when a logistics problem popped in my head, so things are still coming to me that need to be changed, though I'm mainly checking for grammar at this point. After 8 or 9 passes, I'm definitely excited to start working on another story soon and there are plenty in the pipeline. :)

I've "tagged" three sweet friends, who will answer these questions on their blogs next week on the 16th. Be sure and check them out!


Heather ManningHeather Manning writes swashbuckling historical romance. Her first novel, published when she was just 16 (wow!) -- Swept to Sea, reminds me of MaryLu Tyndall's work. It's an excellent first novel for anyone, whether 16 or 60! She has won multiple competitions for her writing with “Nextgen Writers” and placed first in some writing contests with the “Go Teen Writers” blog and is a proud member of ACFW. She lives in Missouri where she attends high school, acts in community theatre, eats donuts and reads every Inspirational Historical Romance she can get her hands on. Check out her blog here:

Courtney Phillips writes inspirational contemporary romantic fiction about the lives of quirky Southerners in need of God's grace and mercy. She often surprises me with a particular turn of phrase when I'm reading her work, and I think, "That's so me!" She has a gift for writing characters readers relate to and tackling deep subjects with grace and humor. Be sure to catch her answers to these questions next week at

Photo taken by Sweet Simplicity Photography

Sara Ella's favorite stories are about young adult heroines who have some sort of flaw, whether it be external, internal, or both. She loves redeemed villains and fairy tales with a twist. If she's not working on her novel, you can find her catching up on Once Upon a Time or reading books checked out from the YA section of her library. It’s her dream and desire to reach teens (and anyone who enjoys YA) through writing stories about true love and inner beauty. She has an awesome website, so be sure to check out more than just her blog:


  1. A great blog post cp! Your deliberate approach shows in the high quality of your work! Well done!

    1. Thanks, Piper!! You're such an encourager! Can't wait until Mid-June to hear Amazon's Breakthrough semi-finalists! I know I'm going to see your name there! :)

  2. Fun! I love reading posts about your writing. As you know, I'm super excited about reading Heart of Valor in its entirety.
    Thank you for "tagging" me, and thanks for the sweet words. I'm often rereading my work and think, "Where did THAT come from?" Apparently, my writing brain is pretty sarcastic.
    So excited to answer these questions at!

    1. Hey, Courtney!! Haha! I know! I catch a lot of sarcasm in my own work in my readthroughs. I've never even thought of myself as a sarcastic person, but it comes out in every POV I write, lol.
      Can't wait to read the answers to your questions next week!

      Oh, my goodness!!! I just realized I forgot to include your blog link! I'm so sorry!!! I actually forgot to answer the questions myself when I scheduled this post, so it went up as just a list of questions. Oops! LOL. I'll fix it right away! :)

    2. No worries! Haha! Seriously, I just added that in case someone was interested.
      Forgetting to answer the questions sounds like something I would do! Ha!

  3. "Heart of Valor" sounds amazing! I loved hearing about it. Thank you for tagging me! :)

    1. You're so kind, Heather!! Can't wait to read your post next week!!!


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