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Writer Wednesday with Award-Winning Author, Bob Hostetler

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I met Bob Hostetler at a recent ACFW-Indiana meeting. I had no idea how much I admired his work until I saw his book table. And there it was. A book that had a huge influence on my life as a youth minister and teen Sunday School teacher:

I raised my kids and a whole passel of other kids on this book. It’s an excellent apologetic in layman’s terms. I think I’ve quoted most of it for the past 20 years over and over again. The title itself is one of my favorite phrases.

I was fortunate enough to visit with Bob during our luncheon that day and he was nice enough to agree to an interview!

Grab your cuppa (I’ve got my iced tea ready!) and get ready to glean wisdom from an award-winning, best-selling author. 

Thanks for agreeing to the interview Bob! I’m really looking forward to your next book! And I don’t care if I am gushing like a giddy schoolgirl. Its delicious purple cover (purple is my FAVE) and delectable content has me salivating already!

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Bob says, “Don’t check your brains at the door!”

The Methuselah Project by Rick Barry

Methuselah

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Since I’ve been overbooked, I asked a friend of mine, Joe Fausnight, to read and review this book for me. Here’s his take:

Captain Greene was an American Pilot from Indiana who was flying missions over Germany in 1943 when he was shot down.  As his plane fell he cried out to God.  He landed in a woods between to giant oak trees destroying his plane but leaving him and the cabin of the plane intact.

He was picked up by the Nazis and a civilian car was following the truck he was in.  Taken to a secret underground lab he was number 7 guinea pig for a Nazi science project for long life and quick wound repair.

Rick Barry

Author Rick Barry

After they had gassed and worked on the men the place was bombed by the Allies. The scientist who had come up with the project was killed as well as number 1 through 6 men.  He survived as did the assistant scientist and he was kept in a cage for many years after the war was over as they experimented on him and tried to duplicate his success.  He looked and acted like a 30 year old even as decades passed.  He knew nothing of the outside world except what he was told that the war was still going on decades later.

They gave him lots of books to read to pass his time and after reading many classics he asked for a Bible.  He got a lot of comfort from it over the years.  He exercised daily as well as taking flying trips in his mind including all the safety checks so he didn’t forget how to fly.

Did he ever get free?  Did he ever find anyone who cared about him other than as a lab rat?  Did he ever discover the changes in the world since his capture?  You will find out and enjoy this book when you read it.  A very good read and worth the time to read.

I give this books five stars.

Star Review!

Kindly tweet this: Methuselah Project by Rick Barry gets a 5-star review!

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Character Mapping

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The first book I bought when I got serious about writing novels was Writing the Breakout Novel by Donald Maass. (I highly recommend both the book and the workbook together.) It was this book that taught me how to create a character map. If you’re new to creating characters and story lines, I highly recommend this. You’ll be surprised how many different ways you can connect your characters and it makes their back stories come to life almost on their own.

When I used this method for my book, The Pastor’s Wife Wears Biker Boots, it revealed a twist and surprise at the end. Here’s an example of a character map based on Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice.

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And here’s one for Shakespeare’s Othello:

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Sometimes your characters may not have very many interactions or relationships with one another. In my book, The Pastor’s Wife Wears Biker Boots, the setting was a small, close-knit community. A lot of the people were related and had grown up together for years. So the map looked like a maze much like the one for Pride and Prejudice. But in my current work in progress, the characters come together on a steamboat from different parts of the country and interact with passengers on the boat who are strangers to them. So there aren’t as many mysterious cousin-type relationships.

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If you’re stuck on a story, try using the character map. I promise it will get you unstuck and spark some exciting new ideas.

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The Devil Walks in Mattingly by Billy Coffey–4.5 stars

Billy Coffey is the author of four novels:  Snow Day (2010) Paper Angels (2011), When Mockingbirds Sing (2013) and The Devil Walks in Mattingly (2014).

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From his website:

“When you’re raised in small-town Virginia by a redneck father and a Mennonite mother, certain things become ingrained. And when you marry a small-town girl and have two small-town kids, all you want to do is pass those ingrained things along.

Like believing the best life is one lived in the country enjoying the pleasures it provides—summer nights beneath the stars, rocking chairs on the front porch, deer grazing in the fields. And believing that no matter how iffy life can get sometimes, there are some things that are eternal and unchanging.

But above all else, believing that in everything there is story waiting to be told.”

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BillyCoffey.com

If there’s one thing Billy Coffey knows how to do it’s write a story. His syntax is as compelling as the story itself.

How did I like this book? Not as much as I liked When Mockingbirds Sing.  And that’s not because it was poorly written. I think it’s because it was a heavy, emotionally-wrenching story. Which is probably what Coffey was going for. You definitely feel invested in the characters because he makes the weightiness of their guilt very real to the reader.

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BillyCoffey.com

Basically, the story is about a sheriff and his wife going through life carrying a load of guilt for something that they did in high school that resulted in a death. There’s another character that feels this weight as well. They do all sorts of things to appease the weight of their sin. They go through life unaware of available grace.

What I do like about Coffey books are the ghosts. Not in the Casper-sense. But metaphorically and perceptually. The mountains and hollows of Virginia are known for such things, and the setting for this book was perfect for the “ghosts” that haunt the characters of this book.

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BillyCoffey.com

I read all 385 pages in one sitting. It didn’t bore me and that says a lot about how well this book was written. I’m easily distracted when reading fiction and I like a story that keeps me engaged. This one did.

In some ways, Coffey’s writing in this book reminded me of Ted Dekker’s. I’ve not read all of Dekker’s books, but the ones I have read deal with supernatural issues similarly. If you like Dekker, I have no doubt you’ll like Coffey.

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BillyCoffey.com

I’m no expert, but I think if Coffey could have incorporated a few breaks of levity in the book, I might have enjoyed it more. Again, it was a heavy read emotionally. But if you like a book that grabs you by the collar and won’t let you go, a book you can’t stop thinking about after you put it down, you’ll like this one.

I give it 4.5 stars.

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Tweet This: The Devil Walks in Mattingly–4.5 stars!

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Introducing inspirational author, Paula Mowery

Paula Mowery, Author

Paula Mowery, Author

From the time I met Paula online, I’ve felt a kinship with her as a pastor’s wife and homeschool Mama. I’m very pleased to have the opportunity to introduce my readers to her wonderful writing!

Paula is a pastor’s wife and a former homeschool mom to a daughter who just started Liberty University Online. She works part-time as an assistant in a Pre-K and is a published author, speaker, and acquisitions editor for Prism Book Group.

And now for the interview!

And now for the interview!

Paula, I’m so happy to have you here today on my blog. Please tell my readers about your writing space! (I don’t know why I’m intrigued by people’s writing caves but I am!) Where do you write?

My husband calls it my writing hole. I have a wonderful L-shaped desk in a back extra bedroom. It is somewhat like being in a hole since it is at the end of the house away from everyone and most distractions. On one side of the L is my laptop. On the other side is stacked notes and lists of my present projects for writing and editing.

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Sounds fantastic. What is your process? (Spreadsheets, Snowflake, Lists/Outlines, Seat of the pants?)

I’m what you might call a combo writer, meaning that I’m not totally seat of the pants but also not a big outliner. I normally get an idea and scratch it out on a piece of paper, putting it into a file. As I have other ideas for that story, I will add notes to that file. I usually make a short list about what the story is about, who it is about, and where it is headed. When I’m ready to start writing, I skim my lists and notes and then take off. I’m categorized as old-school because I write out my stories first in spiral notebooks. The only things I can compose directly on the computer are articles and blogs. I just can’t write a novel that way.

I love notebooks!

I love notebooks!

I use notebooks, too, but usually when I’m on the run. Tell us about your book, Be The Blessing.

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My novella, Be The Blessing, released on September 13th. The main character in this book is a pastor’s wife named Addy. She wants to follow what God would have her to do but struggles when God asks her to be a blessing to others even when she is suffering through trials of her own.

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Another title, Brave New Century, released November 14th. This is an anthology of four stories set in cities in the 1900’s. My story is called “Forgiven” and is particularly special to me because of a scene that I included that really happened to my paternal grandfather.

Why will readers want to read these?

I would encourage readers to pick up Be The Blessing for encouragement and even challenge for your Christian walk. The novella includes a short Bible study for further personal application.

Readers will enjoy Brave New Century for the sweet romance and historical aspects.

Ah, romance!

Ah, romance!

How did your book come to life?

Be The Blessing is actually the second in Addy’s story. When the first, The Blessing Seer, was completed, my editor asked if there would be a sequel. I hadn’t considered it until she asked. That evening the ideas starting coming, and Addy’s story continued.

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Brave New Century was the brainchild of co-author, Lisa Lickel. She put out a call on a writer email loop for those interested in writing a story set in 1900 in a city with romance. Lisa, Teena Stewart, Kathy Rouser, and I corresponded. The result is the anthology, Brave New Century.

Who is your favorite character in the book and why?

In Be The Blessing I have to say that Conrad is my favorite character. I don’t want to give away anything about him. Let’s just say he is a little different and mysterious.

In my story, “Forgiven,” I really like Henry. Henry Smith was my grandfather. I never had the opportunity to meet him, because he died before I was born. I do have this newspaper article about him which is where the whole story was born.

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How did you name your characters?

For The Blessing Seer and Be The Blessing I used a Christian baby name book. I wanted the names of the characters to have a significance as to their personality or importance in the book.

“Forgiven” utilizes my grandparent’s real names as well as the names of people in the newspaper article.

Why will readers enjoy your book?

As with anything and everything I write, I pray readers will enjoy my books because of the impression that is left on them. I hope and pray that they can be encouraged in their Christian walk or maybe encounter a need for a Savoir for the first time.

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Anyone who says they have only one life to live must not know how to read a book. ~Author Unknown

Is anything in the book based on your own life?

Be The Blessing does include some real occurrences from my experience as a pastor’s wife. Some of the events that Addy must endure and go through with church members has happened in my life.

What is your favorite scene in the book?

My favorite scene in Be The Blessing is the moment that Conrad tells Addy that she looks more like Jesus. I crave that!

Oh to be like Jesus!

Oh, to be like Jesus!

Why Christian fiction?

I only read Christian fiction and some nonfiction. I only write Christian literature. First, I feel God has called me to a writing ministry. Second, I desire to communicate Christ through what I write so that others may encounter Him, too. I want to encourage Christians to fulfill what God has planned for their lives.

Is there anything else you’d like us to know?

All I can add is that God has so blessed me as well as humbled me by allowing me to write for Him. I promised Him long ago that if a book I write only touches one for Christ, that is enough reason to write it.

Find Paula Online:

Blog: www.paulamowery.blogspot.com.

Book reviews and articles: www.christianonlinemagazine.com.

Find her editor bio under “submissions” at www.prismbookgroup.com.

Paula, thanks so much for sharing your books with us today! Have a question for Paula? Please send them to us below!

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Tweet This: If a book I write touches one for Christ, that is enough reason to write it.

 

 

 

 

Introducing pre-published author, Tom Threadgill!

I’m extremely excited to introduce you to one of the best writers I know: Tom Threadgill.

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When I first read Tom’s work, I was blown away by his talent. When you read his book, you’ll see why. His writing is seamless and spell-binding. Usually when I read a break-out author’s first work, I find myself editing. When I read Tom’s, I got caught up in the story. It gave me the creeps. And that’s a good thing, because he writes creepy Christian fiction! I see big things in this man’s future!

If you want to be among the first to get to know the next John Grisham/Dean Koontz/Ted Dekker, here’s your chance!

Take it away Tom!

Karla:  Tell us a little about yourself.

Tom: I worked for a large corporation and moved all over the southeastern U.S. for almost thirty years before retiring to a small rural community in west Tennessee. My wife and dog tolerate me as much as possible, though I sometimes catch them conspiring. We have two sons, two beautiful daughters-in-law, three grandsons, and were recently blessed by the birth of our first granddaughter!

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Karla: How precious! Nothing like a new baby granddaughter. I have four of them! We’re blessed, aren’t we? It’s hard to tear yourself away! But back to writing. As a new author, it’s important to develop a solid online presence. Where can we find you online?

Tom: The best place to start is on my website, aptly named tomthreadgill.com. I’m also on Facebook, Google+, and Twitter.

Karla: When you’re not cuddling your grandchildren, where do you write?

Tom: Usually I’m in a leather recliner in the living room with a laptop. I’m easily distracted so I use earphones to play music and coffitivity.com. My co-writer/dog is usually somewhere nearby offering advice.

Karla: Sounds like my “office,” too. What is your process? (Spreadsheets, Snowflake, Lists/Outlines, Seat of the pants?)

Tom: Definitely a seat-of-the-pantser, although I prefer the term “organic writer.” I’m pretty much making it up as I go! I started with the vaguest of notions about the story, and fleshed it out as I went. The downside is that at several points in the story my characters surprised me and I had to rework some of my previous work.

Karla: I know how that is. I do the same. Tell us about your book.

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Tom: Hollow Target is a suspense/thriller novel about FBI agent Jacob Thomas as he pursues a serial killer. The murderer is using the Old Testament as his instruction manual, and Jacob is “spiritually scarred” due to an event in his past. It’s written so that the reader sees the world through each of their eyes.

Karla: Why should readers pick it up?

Tom: First of all, it’s Christian fiction. That can mean a lot of things, but for me it means it’s a story of redemption. Secondly, I try to write in a way that shows Christians as real people with struggles, doubts, and problems, but there’s no preaching in the book. Finally, I think it’s a great story with fantastic characters. But I may be a little biased. 🙂

Karla: How did your book come to life?

Tom: That’s a novel in itself! I never set out to write, but decided for my thirtieth wedding anniversary to pen a semi-autobiographical book for my wife. It was epically bad, and I figured I’d better learn something about writing before trying again. Hollow Target actually originated from a writing prompt I saw in a magazine.

Karla: That’s fascinating! My current work in progress actually originated as a short story. I love when that happens. Who is your favorite character in the book and why?

Tom: Tough call. I think the one I have the most fun writing is the serial killer, Ryder (Levi) Talbot. I’m not sure what that says about me though. But I think my favorite is probably Maggie Keeley, Jacob’s partner. She has some quirks that are based on my wife, and I’m a sucker for a strong female character.

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Karla: I love that! How did you name your characters?

Tom: Not well, apparently. They’ve gone through several name changes so far!

Karla: Are the characters based on people you know?

Tom: I use a few mannerisms from different people I know, but nothing too specific. I intentionally stayed away from tying any character to someone I know. Except the serial killer. You know who you are.

Karla: What is your favorite scene in the book?

Tom: I can’t tell you, because it’ll ruin it. I can say that while I was writing it, I kept flashing back to one of my favorite scenes in the original Indiana Jones movie.

Karla: That’s funny. What a lot of people won’t know when reading this book is how naturally funny you are. If they read your blog, they’ll pick up on that. I hope you write a humorous book soon. But tell me, why Christian fiction?

Tom: I don’t want to put anything out that wouldn’t be pleasing to the Lord. If I have any talent in writing, it’s from Him.

Karla: Is there anything else you’d like us to know?

Tom: I’m a big hockey fan (Go Preds!), which oddly enough is pretty rare in a southern farming community. Who knew? My wife and I like to spend most of our vacation time in the Smoky Mountains, and love riding our Harley there. I’ve also started doing a little woodworking as a hobby. So far I still have all ten fingers.

Karla: Another thing I love about you–Harleys and the Smoky Mountains! (These are a big part of my book, The Pastor’s Wife Wears Biker Boots.)

Tom is modest as well as funny, and is a gifted photographer. Be sure to check out his blog to see his photos, too. I am honored he’s given me permission to use them on my Silent Sunday blog posts. (Click on pics to see them in all their splendor.)

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Tom

Watch for Tom’s book and I’ll keep you posted, too. When it comes out we’ll do another interview. I can hardly wait to see it in print! Write on, Tom! And congratulations on that beautiful granddaughter!

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