Monday, July 30, 2012

An Author Who Speaks Her Mind...

          Gloria Clover, Christ-follower and Truth-seeker, writes romantic fiction with the hope of showing God's love and our need in both humorous and haunting ways. Currently, she is writing a speculative romance series called Children of the King.
       Washed Under the Waves, the first in the series released as an ebook in August 2011. The Fire Starter, the second book in the series, releases in August of 2012. From the Frozen Depths is scheduled for release in 2013.
       Gloria's contemporary romances, published by Barbour Books and Son-Rise Publications, include: The Remaking of Moe McKenna in the Race to the Altar anthology (a 2011 Carol Award winner), Brianna's Pardon, Tangled Truths, and ten volumes of Penned From the Heart, a compilation of 365 daily devotions.
       She directs a One Day Writing Conference each April, participates in writing/book days in local schools, and enjoys giving and receiving from her various writing critique groups.
       She is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers, participating in the book club and prayer loops.A member of Emmanuel Christian Church, Gloria's active in prayer ministry, women's ministries, American Heritage Girls, and various other projects.Married with dog, she writes from her little white box in western PA.
       Visit her at where you can find both her site pages and blog topics including prayers and book reviews.
 SDC:   Welcome to A Pen for Your Thoughts. Tell us about your book, Gloria.
 GC:     The Fire Starter is the second in my Children of the King series about a future time when the King sends out his children to reclaim his lost lands. Specifically for this series, the King's kids travel to the Archipelago of Solomnus, a group of islands unknown to us in the 21c.
      The Fire Starter is set on the small island of Celosia, founded by Greek stoics whose descendants believe only in what they can see and touch. A few generations before the book begins, the island was destroyed by a fire storm, and now the survivors live in fear of the outside world and its technology.
     Amaryllis Filippopoulos, the youngest daughter of the high lord of Celosia, has been groomed to rule. A crazy childhood lie dominates some of her adult choices and wreaks havoc with her father's decision that she marry before he dies.
      Enter Prince Valryan Molan, sent from the King, but chosen by Amaryllis's father to be her husband.
The romance is, of course, their journey to true love.
SKC: What made you decide to write in this genre?
 GC: Christian speculative romance. Foremost, I wanted to practice writing description in a place where I didn't have to get the facts right. It hasn't turned out that way, but I do have more freedom because with the series set in the future, it is speculative by nature. And since the novel is set on an unknown island ... well, I get to say what kind of animals and plant life grow there.

The romance part has always been the genre that I write. It's so natural it doesn't even seem like a choice any longer.

The Christian part also comes from who I am. To write a character without physical, emotional, and spiritual conflicts now seems empty and not true to the fullness of who we are as humans.
SDC:  After a long day of writing or doing revisions in a story what is the very first thing you do?
GC:Check my email. Answer the phone...Pat my dog. Whatever is the most urgent.
 SDC:   How long have you been writing?   
 GC: I finished my first complete romance novel the summer between by junior and senior year in college. Um, roughly 25 years. Yikes. Why do you ask that? Now do you want to know how much I weigh, too?  J
 Oh, this is how I should have answered. Twenty-five years. It seems I've been writing since the cradle.  J
SDC:   How do you encourage other authors you meet who are struggling with the craft?
GC:  I like to teach. I critique manuscripts. I belong to writing groups. I direct an annual writing conference that is all about encouraging the new writer and teaching craft. I exhort, but I don't often cheerlead.  So conversations with me might go something like this.  "Here's the plot holes I see in your ms so far. If you do this and this, you might be able to salvage it. However, decisions like that have to come out of the character or they won't be believable either.  So you have to convince me your character would want to choose that...."
Long ago I said I wanted to become known as the mentor who told other writers, "Quit if you can. If you can quit writing and still be a decent, sane human being, then quit." This writing business isn't for curiosity seekers or glory hounds.
 SDC:   What made you decide to choose your present publisher?
 GC:  Ah, Desert Breeze Publishing, an ebook publisher out of CA.  In 2010, I submitted to Desert Breeze Publishing after hearing the good things ACFW authors were saying about the company and the ebook industry. I wanted to try ebook publishing and DBP was highly recommended in that field. I'm pleased that DBP is now offering print books as well.
But I submitted because I wanted to try ebook publishing and DBP was highly recommended in that field.
 Why I've stayed with DBP:
  1.  Their cover artists
  2.  Their freedom in allowing the author to tell her own story
  3.  Because of #2, they don't mess with my themes and water down the gospel to suit every flavor of Christianity
  4. They were willing to take a chance on something speculative. I want to see it grow and benefit the company that took the risk for my vision.
  5. And lest I sound too righteous, my resolve hasn't been challenged by a bunch of big name publishers trying to woo me away. I've always played with the kids who were willing to play with me, and I didn't fuss about the ones who wouldn't.
 SDC:   What excites you most about your writing experience?
 GC:      Two main things vie for the top:
1.      When God reveals something to me (about me or Him) through the characters I'm writing.
2.      When readers tell me God revealed something to them through reading one of my books.
SDC:   What other books are you reading right now? And why?
GC:     Actually, I'm all caught up with my judging at the moment, so my fiction reading time is free. Coming up in ACFW book club is Mind Over Madi. I have a few DBP books in my ipad I want to get at, including Everglades and Nurtured in Purple. Then, the books on my Kindle and paperbacks on my TBR pile. I have so many books....

And I read for the joy of being swept into someone else's life.
 SDC: What book is it you wish to share as a donation and what do you hope readers will get from your story?
 GC:  I can offer either an ebook copy of Washed Under the Waves or The Fire Starter.  Or a print copy of Tangled Truths.  Winner's choice.
 I always hope readers walk away with the knowledge that God is in the process of writing the best story for each one of us.  Yes, sometimes it seems as though He's chased us up the tree and is throwing rocks at us (older romance writers will remember this writing help from the 1980s), but in the end, God is bringing us to the best happily-ever-after possible.

Thank you, Gloria, for your frankness.
Your book sounds exciting, and I look forward to drawing the name of your book winner.

Gloria wrote to us that she enjoys writing in her genre, because she wanted to practice writing description in a place where she didn't have to get the facts right. What do you as the reader enjoy the most about speculative fiction?

Thursday, July 19, 2012

That Colorful Character Has a Way of Drawing Everyone's Attention

 Keli Gwyn writes stories that transport readers to the 1800s, where she brings historic towns to life, peoples them with colorful characters, and adds a hint of humor. A California native, she lives in the Gold Rush-era town of Placerville at the foot of the majestic Sierra Nevada Mountains. Her debut novel, A Bride Opens Shop in El Dorado, California, set in the heart of the Gold Country where she lives is currently available.

When Keli’s fingers aren’t hovering over the keyboard of her newfangled laptop, she enjoys strolling past stately Victorian houses in her historic town, burying her nose in reference books as she unearths interesting facts to include in her stories, and interacting with other romance readers. Her favorite places to visit are her fictional worlds, the Coach factory outlet store, and Taco Bell.

Right now, Keli is working on another inspirational historical romance and have oodles more story ideas in the works as well.

A Bride Opens Shop in El Dorado, California

An ever-resourceful widow, Elenora Watkins arrives in El Dorado ready to go into partnership with Miles Rutledge. When he refuses, Elenora becomes the competition across the street. Is this town big enough for the two of them? Miles can’t help but stick his well-polished boot in his mouth whenever he comes face-to-face with Elenora. Can he find a way to win her heart while destroying her business? Miles’s mother, Maude, is bent on Elenora becoming her new daughter-in-law while Elenora’s daughter, Tildy, thinks Miles would make a perfect papa. How far will these meddlers go to unite this enterprising pair?

Love Is Gold in El Dorado, California

Widow Elenora Watkins heads to California with her nine-year-old daughter, Tildy, eager to become a partner in a mercantile. When the mulish owner withdraws his offer because she’s a woman, she opens her own shop. She’s determined to prove herself capable of running a successful business without the help of anyone—including her controlling father, her seemingly distant heavenly Father, and one Miles Rutledge.

Widower Miles Rutledge is not about to get involved with another willful woman like his late wife, especially when she’s his competition. But the beautiful Elenora may be too hard to resist. When another man appears out to claim Elenora’s heart, Miles searches for a way to win her back. . .while putting her out of business.

Meanwhile, Maude Rutledge, Miles’s meddling mother, longs to see her son make a good match. And Tildy is just as bent on gaining a loving papa.

The battle of wills begins, but can anyone win when the competition is more than they bargained for?

The following is an excerpt Keli  
has graciously offered for us to share.

The following interchange takes place minutes after Miles Rutledge and Elenora Watkins meet. They’re alone in the backroom of his shop following a tense introduction that leaves her wondering what’s wrong. His meddlesome mother handled his correspondence and neglected to tell her son that his new partner is a woman. Ellie is unaware that Mrs. Rutledge has withheld that information from Miles.

Mr. Rutledge grabbed a bentwood chair and placed it in front of her, but he didn’t sit. Instead he strode a few paces away, wheeled around, and held his fisted hands at his sides.
“You’re a woman.”
“You’re observant.”
He inhaled deeply, his nostrils flaring. “You’re going to continue your game, are you?”
“Game? What game? I don’t understand.”
He stalked toward her one slow step at a time, his fists planted on his waist, until he towered over her. “I rarely get upset, Mrs. Watkins, but your charade is…is…contemptible.”
She leaped to her feet, her chest heaving, and stared into icy-blue eyes. Mere inches from him, she heard his labored breathing and saw his jaw flex. What could she have done to drive him to such an ungentlemanly outburst?

Keli has a great question for all, and it takes us back to a crucial note in her biography, above. Of course, this is one of those questions so important to all of us! (smile) Be sure to send in your responses and get an opportunity to win a copy of Keli's book.

Keli 's question to you. "I'm a Taco Bell addict and have been since I was a teen. What fast food restaurant is your favorite?"

We can find out more about Keli at the following places:

Facebook Timeline –
Facebook Page –
Twitter –!/KeliGwyn
Goodreads –

Friday, July 13, 2012

Something Else Entirely?

Join a geocaching adventure in the spectacular Lake of the Ozarks wilderness. Will four young women find the treasure they’re looking for… or something else entirely?

Closet believer Lyssa Quinn steps out of her comfort zone to help coordinate the Rainbow’s End geocaching hunt her church is using as an outreach event. She’s not expecting her former humanities prof–young, handsome, anti-Christian Kirk Kennedy–to be at the Lake of the Ozarks at all, let along in a position to provide sponsorship to the treasure hunt. How can she trust someone who once shredded her best friend’s faith?

Excerpt: Topaz Treasure, 1st novella in Rainbow's End

Lyssa Quinn clutched a bright-pink folder stuffed with advertising forms against her chest and squeezed her eyes shut. Please God. Help me be brave. She squared her shoulders and released each cramped finger individually. She could do this.

Frigid air conditioning laced with the odor of new carpet blasted into the Missouri humidity as Lyssa shouldered open the glass door of Osage Beach’s newest shop. This looked like the kind of corporate sponsor the Rainbow’s End Treasure Hunt needed, with a name like Communication Location: Home of Gizmos, Gadgets, and More—gadgets that included cell phones and GPS handhelds, if the posters plastering the windows were to be believed. Along with a smaller sign that announced Opening Soon. Well, she didn’t have time to wait, not if she was to have all the advertising and sponsorship in place before the middle of June. Only a month to go.

At least the door was unlocked and the fluorescents blazed down. Stacks of cardboard boxes lined the aisles next to partially filled shelves. Somebody must be around. If she was lucky, somebody sympathetic.

But what if they weren’t? Maybe she should come back another day. Or never. How had Noah talked her into this? She glanced at the folder in her hands, covered with decals from her third-grade class. Cute stickers with chalkboards and apples. #1 Teacher. If she could face twenty-nine kids five days a week, surely she could face one manager.

A guy in jeans strode out of the back room, his face and upper body obscured by the box in his arms. “Good morning, and welcome to Communication Location. How can I help you?”

That voice. Lyssa froze. Even muffled by cardboard, it shot her straight back to her college days. But it couldn’t be. There was no reason her humanities professor would be here in Osage Beach, stocking shelves.

Valerie Comer's life on a small farm in western Canada provides the seed for stories of contemporary inspirational romance. Like many of her characters, Valerie grows much of her own food and is active in the local food movement as well as her church. She only hopes her imaginary friends enjoy their happily ever afters as much as she does hers, gardening and geocaching with her husband, adult kids, and adorable granddaughters. Check out her website and blog at .
Rainbow's End (4-in-1 collection releasing from Barbour, May 1, 2012)

"Topaz Treasure" (first novella in Rainbow's End) by Valerie Comer

You can find Valerie at:
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Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Another One Gone to the Dogs?

Join me in welcoming Emma Lane to A Pen for Your Thoughts.  Emma Lane lives in Western New York near Lake Erie on a few picturesque acres with her ever patient husband. They own and operate a small herbtique which keeps their days busy and interesting during the summer months. They have two brilliant grown-up children and a wonderful pair of grandchildren. In one way or another, the entire family contributes to her stories. They are her biggest fans and she is ever thankful for it.
One of Emma's favorite quotes: “I never saw a printed word I did not like.”

Skc: Welcome Emma. How long have you been writing and when was your first book published?

EL: I’ve probably been writing since I learned the alphabet, but seriously to be published around 10 years. Don’t you think the tendency is always there for those who write? It wants only for an author to sit down and put the words on paper that have been floating around in our heads. I published a Traditional Regency, A SCANDALOUS DESIGN, in Oct of last year.  SANDPIPER Affair, a Romantic Suspense, @ Desert Breeze followed soon afterwards with the sequel, GONE TO THE DOGS this year.

Skc: Tell us who your favorite character is in your newest book and why.

EL: There’s a sassy black Labrador on the cover, but I have to say that my heroine, Abigail Naycomb is my favorite. She has flaws, but she is honest about them. Her job as a wildlife photographer allows me to follow her around and enjoy nature through her eyes.

Skc: Where do you write, Emma?

EL: I have a lovely office with wide windows that look out into a park. I’m a lucky lady.

Skc: Tell us what you are currently reading.  

EL: Only one book? I usually have several going at the same time. I’m reading a Julia Quinn historical that a friend gave me, a Jan Karon and rereading an Anne George. I have a line of ebooks I want to read when I get a moment to breathe.

Skc: What accomplishment(s) are you most proud of, writing-related or not?

EL: Well, I made it through the growing up years of my children. I’m pretty satisfied with how they turned out. I managed a college degree. I intended to get my masters but I flunked parking lot.  I have a small plant business, I do flower arrangements for church and other places, I paint-and, of course, I pound the keyboard for sheer fun. I used to have a pretty wicked back hand in tennis, but I gave it up when a painful tennis elbow arrived. 

Skc: How long does it normally take you to write a book? How many books do you write per year?

EL: It depends on the length. I can write a short story in a day or two. GONE TO THE DOGS and its prequel took me over a month. That was just the first draft. As we all know, that’s just the beginning. Edit, edit, edit follows.  Sometimes I’ve written more than three in a year. Other times I just edit the heck out of the ones I’ve already written. I have seven ebooks either under contract or published, both at Desert Breeze and Musa Publishing.

Skc: Do you edit as you go or wait until completing the first draft? How many drafts do you normally do for each novel? Do you have a certain editing procedure that you follow? 

EL: I write the first draft before I edit. I edit until it’s complete. Some go faster than others.

Skc: I'm just full of questions, aren't I. What do you have within reach as you write?

EL: On my desk are an Oxford dictionary and a Thesaurus. One bag of shelled walnuts, a calendar, stacks of printed emails I must attend and a can of Arizona ice tea/lemon.  Nearby is a bookcase with favorites I like to grab and read a bit now and then.

Skc: Which book are you offering as a giveaway? And please tell us how we can find you online.  

EL: SANDPIPER AFFAIR is a prequel to GONE TO THE DOGS. I offer a copy of it with the hopes of interesting the reader in the sequel. I think you’ll fall in love with Abby and Adam (the handsomest man in the world).

You can join me in a chat on Facebook. I’m Emma J Lane there. My blog is . Leave me a comment and I’ll get back to you. email is

Question for the viewers: Why do you want to read this book?