Induction into the Louisiana Writers Collection and Promo Giveaway

I live in Texas, but I’m in an anthology of mostly Louisiana writers.

I plan to attend this event.

Exciting!

 

My contemporary sweet romcom short story has shades of bittersweet moments and takes place on Kaitlyn’s wedding day. It tells of two couples in love, one just starting out and a devoted pair who are dealing with Alzheimer’s.

I’m doing a GIVEAWAY of this original watercolor painting of my character, Kaitlyn, to promote the release of the newest RWA NOLASTARS Anthology, Forever and Always A B & B Anthology.

Email me at donnastonem@gmail.com for further details.

Books will be discounted at $12 each for this promo. Contact me directly to take advantage of this giveaway and the discounted book price.

Please share!

Thank you, guys!

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Author Interview: Judy Christie’s Upcoming Release~Before and After

GIVEAWAY ALERT There is currently a Goodreads  giveaway for this book.

About the book: Before and After: The Incredible Real-Life Stories of Orphans Who Survived the Tennessee Children’s Home Society” is a unique nonfiction sequel to Lisa Wingate’s No. 1 best-selling novel “Before We Were Yours” and tells the poignant true stories of victims of a notorious adoption scandal—some of whom learned the truth from Before We Were Yours and were reunited with birth family members as a result of its wide reach. 

Encouraged by their contact with Wingate and award-winning journalist Judy Christie, who documented the stories of fifteen adoptees and their families in this book, many Tann survivors set out to trace their roots and find their birth families. Often raised as only children, many have joyfully reunited with siblings in the final decades of their lives. In a poignant culmination of art meeting life, long-silent victims of the tragically corrupt system return to Memphis with Wingate and Christie to reclaim their stories at a Tennessee Children’s Home Society reunion . . . with extraordinary results. The book releases Oct. 22 from Ballantine, an imprint of Penguin Random House.

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Y’all, Before We Were Yours was such an amazing book. It’s one of those that sticks with you long after you read it and I had to interview Lisa Wingate about it when it was fresh. I was on my 2018 Best Reads list. I am eager to read more, and, naturally, this new book Before and After is one of my must reads.

If you still haven’t read Before We Were Yours, go get it! But first read this post. 😉

Judy Christie is a wonderful writer and a sweet soul. I’m so glad she agreed to talk with us about Before and After.

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Before We Were Yours is such a heart wrenching read, I feel like it should come with a box of tissues. What emotional words would you use to describe the follow up book?

Inspiring. Hopeful. Bittersweet. Life-affirming. “Before and After” shows the resilience of every-day people and their heroic efforts to find brothers and sisters and to keep Georgia Tann from owning their stories. 

What was the most satisfying thing about working on this project?

—Saving these stories means so much to me, and I am blessed to have gotten to be friends with these great families. And what a delight to write with longtime friend Lisa. We had a great time working together, both in the same room and by phone. Neither of us had tried this approach to a book before, and it was incredible. The project sometimes felt like it was coming together by magic.

You’ve written novels, nonfiction books, and are also a reporter. Do you feel that one of these jobs prepared you better to write this particular book? How did each of these jobs come into play?

-It blew me away to feel uniquely qualified to do this project. My journalism experience helped me research and interview, and my novel-writing experience helped me structure the stories. I was the editor of a newspaper in West Tennessee, am married to a Tennessee native and am very familiar with the state. I’m a southerner and love visiting with folks. It all came together.

What do you feel was the biggest thing you gained by tackling this project?

-Realizing that no matter how much we plan our careers, we don’t know when the perfect project will come along, and we have to be open to good ideas. A little over a year ago, I had no idea I’d be writing this book. Working with Lisa was not only fun but a great learning experience.

Can you tell us about any future books you are working on?

—Oh, yes! I’m working on a new novel, and I’m quite excited about it. I can’t wait to tell readers about it when it’s a little further along.

Thank you so much for visiting with us, Judy. I’m looking forward to reading your new book!

Author Judy Christie has had 18 books published, including three Southern small-town novel series. An award-winning newspaper reporter and editor for 25 years, she has had lunch at the White House with First Lady Nancy Reagan; met Neil Armstrong, the first person to walk on the moon; and ridden across a Southern city in a hot air balloon. She’s run marathons—26.2 miles–in Alaska and at Disney World, been chased by a monkey on a city street, fished for piranha on the Amazon and once got a black eye playing putt-putt at the beach. She’s always up for a good story and a good adventure, and no matter what she’s doing, she enjoys reading, writing and talking about books. Sign up for her e-newsletter and a free guide to telling family stories at www.judychristie.com. Follow her on Facebook @judychristieauthor.

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Guys, what’s next on your must read list? Go add this one to your Goodreads want-to-read shelf. There’s a giveaway that’s about to expire. Hurry and enter.

IG Bookmarker Giveaway

 

I’m doing my first Instagram giveaway. These are two book markers I made with watercolor. Head over to this IG post if you would like to enter. You chances are pretty good since not many entered yet. Ends tomorrow.

Do you do giveaways? Do you have any tips for me?

View this post on Instagram

I have a giveaway of two watercolor bookmarks. This giveaway is for the bookmarks only, not the book. These bookmarks are one of a kind, made by me because I liked the book so much. There is a quote from All the Bright Places on each one. 💕 If you would like a chance to win one of these please follow these simple rules. 1. Follow me on Instagram. 2. Like this post. 3. Leave a comment on this post telling me which bookmark you would like a chance to win, purple or floral. For extra entries, tag a friend. Winners will be randomly selected Saturday, September 1 at 6 PM CST. Continental US entries only. Happy Reading! #giveaway #watercolorbookmarks #watercolorbookmark #free #booklover #bibliophile #bookaddict #ilovetoread #ilovebooks #readerofinstagram #readersofinstagram #whattoread #instagrammer #instagood #bookphotography #allthebrightplaces #jenniferniven #reads #readinghabit #igreaders #bookmark #bookmarks #bookmarker #pretty

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Giveaway and Interview With Author Donna Everhart

THE ROAD TO BITTERSWEET by Donna Everhart

“Readers will find The Road to Bittersweet to be a lovingly crafted coming-of-age novel set in the unforgiving Carolina hills. Everhart understands the mindset of a young girl on the cusp of womanhood as her world fills with hardship, betrayal, and the wonderment of growing up. Readers will be struck by how beautifully Everhart captures the dialect of her well-drawn characters and the landscape – both harsh and beautiful. Here is a story that tugs at the heartstrings with its believability and evocative prose, leaving readers believing there is always hope when a family stands together.”- RT Book Reviews, 4 Stars

“Everhart (The Education of Dixie Dupree, 2016) is a good storyteller and makes her characters and their experiences come alive.”  Booklist

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I loved this book! I won a signed copy of Donna Everhart’s The Road to Bittersweet from the facebook group A Novel Bee, no strings attached. I enjoyed this novel so much, I asked Donna if she would come and chat with us a bit.

If you like coming of age stories with a strong voice, you should check out Donna’s work. I think The Road to Bittersweet is a great selection for book clubs.

~ GIVE AWAY ~  GIVE AWAY  ~ GIVE AWAY! ~

I thought you guys might like this book, so I decided to GIVE AWAY a kindle copy. Details below.

 

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Listen to The Pretty One by Pam Tillis, written about the book, The Road to Bittersweet.

 

 

As a reader, I seem to be drawn to historical settings. The Road to Bittersweet is set in the 1940s. Have you always been interested in that particular time in history?  

Not so much 1940 in of itself, but really anything from the 70s or earlier.  For instance, all of my books take place in the 40s, 50s or 60s.  I like writing about those times because while there were complex issues going on relative to what might have been in the news, lifestyles were much simpler than today.  For example, there were two, maybe three channels on TV to watch, and TV was the only medium – compared to the hundreds of channels today, plus we have all of these various devices on which we can watch those hundreds of shows.  Here’s another one – Oreos.  It’s a strange example, but an Oreo cookie used to be this one type of cookie, dark chocolate wafer with a cream filling.  Then came Double Stuff. Then came vanilla wafers.  Then mint flavored filling.  Then colors for holidays.  Just the other day I saw . . . Cherry Cola flavored.   I bet there might be fifteen varieties of the Oreo cookie now.  I could go on and on, but you get the idea.

I love Wallis Ann’s resilience and grit. Where did you find the inspiration for her character? 

Partly it came from books I’ve read where hardship was overcome through sheer will and determination.  For instance, some of my favorite characters who are similar to Wallis Ann would be Julie Harmon from Robert Morgan’s GAP CREEK, or Ruby and Ada in Charles Frazier’s COLD MOUNTAIN.  They were confronted by what seem like impossible situations, yet managed to overcome it by working hard, and keeping an attitude of persistence.  So, Wallis Ann certainly came from the influence of those stories, plus my own desire to create characters people can relate to and admire for their endurance and fortitude.  I would also say there’s a bit of me in these characters I write about, because I’m always thinking, how would I react?  What would I do?  Would I do this – or not?  Etc. etc.  Also, there is nothing better, in my opinion, than to have readers come away from a story feeling wrung out, yet happy with how it all turned out.

When you were researching for this book, what historical tidbit or event did you find most interesting? 

Some years ago my husband and I hiked to a historic cabin in Doughton Park, NC off the Blue Ridge Parkway.  The structure survived the 1916 Basin Cove flood, and this cabin was the impetus for the story.  The family that lived there consisted of eight people, two adults and six children, and it was fascinating to know how they lived and thrived there before the flood.  It was a very rustic cabin, no bigger than about three hundred square feet.  The closest town was eight miles away.  They were true survivalists, killing for meat, growing vegetables and fruit trees, hauling water, chopping wood, preserving foods, sewing their own clothes, milking cows, and on and on.  Their job was never-ending, but they were used to that hardscrabble life.  And yet, I could see how a flood would be an incentive to leave because all they’d worked for would be gone.  How would they expect to get back to where they’d been?  What if they’d stayed?  Could they have recovered?  It was interesting to explore these questions.

What life lesson did you learn while writing your novel? 

I had no idea where this story was headed at times, or what I was doing, but I kept at it, persevering like Wallis Ann.  In a nutshell, perseverance is a wonderful thing – as long as you know when to try a different approach if something isn’t working and don’t beat yourself up over it if the goal you intended to reach shifts – or changes altogether.

What are you working on now?

Well, my third book is done.  It’s a story that takes place in 1955, on a cotton farm in Jones County, NC.  All of my books are coming of age stories, and my main character in this one is a twelve year old girl named Sonny Creech, a girl who loves cotton farming, her family’s land, and knows how to divine water.  After a tragedy, she and her family become entangled with a reclusive, bigoted neighbor.  I’m really excited about that story.  It’s in the production phase, meaning I’ve already been through the copy editing part.  I’ll soon receive page proofs, the final step before it goes to print.  The title is THE FORGIVING KIND and it’ll be out in February of 2019.

My newest project is in the really (I mean REALLY) ugly first draft stage.  This story’s main character is sixteen year old Jessie Sasser and she’s quite unhappy with her lot in life.  Born into a family legacy of moonshining, she wants no part of it because she’s certain this is what killed her mother.   So far, I’m having fun with it, while trying not to pull my hair out.

Donna Everhart is a USA Today bestselling author who writes stories of family hardship and troubled times in a bygone south.  A native of North Carolina, she resides in her home state with her husband and their tiny heart stealing Yorkshire terrier, Mister.  Readers can visit her at www.donnaeverhart.com.

 

 

Thank you for visiting with us, Donna! I can’t wait to read The Forgiving Kind. 

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Giveaway Time! I am giving away one kindle copy of The Road to Bittersweet. Click here to go to the entry form.

Here’s a question for my readers. I love coming of age stories. What’s your favorite coming of age novel? Do you have one you recommend?

 

Giveaway | ☕ Book Break ☕ | ~Open Circle by Stacy Monson~

~Open Circle by Stacy Monson~
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I have an ecopy of this book to give away, and Stacy is giving away a signed copy. A link to giveaway details is at the end of this post.

I was given a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. .
Open Circle is an adult daycare center where Minnie Carlson works, and she is tasked with the job of revitalizing it or it will shut down. Jackson Young is a famous photographer who has just learned his Granda Em, who he thought was dead, is alive. He has fond memories of his Grandma Em, but he hasn’t seen since her since was child. Now she is ill, and he drops everything to comes to town. Minnie, not only the director of Open Circle, is an adopted granddaughter of sorts to Em and ha been so for the last twenty years. She is suspicious of Jackson’s sudden appearance into Em’s life.

This book came at the perfect time. I needed to take a break and this inspirational contemporary was just the thing. I liked it well enough to ask Stacy Monson for an interview! You can read about it on my blog.

It took me until chapter three to really get into the book, but once I got that far I became involved with the characters. I thoroughly enjoyed the descriptions and the interplay between the different characters in the novel. I was intrigued by the setting.

If you enjoy Contemporary Christian Romance, you will probably like this book. It is exactly what you would expect for inspirational Christian fiction, hitting all the right notes with no surprises. .
I am glad this novel found its way to me. A good weekend read.

Giveaway!! I have an ecopy to give away, and Stacy is giving away a signed paper copy. For a link to details click —->>here. Giveaway ends May 31, 2018.

Linked up at #LMMLinkup

Interview With Inspy Author Stacy Monson and Giveaway

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Mindy Lee “Minnie” Carlson’s dream job has dropped into her hands, but there’s a catch. She has four months to revive Open Circle, the town’s only Senior Adult Day Center, or the doors will close, leaving her beloved seniors stranded, and eliminating the only job she’s ever wanted.

Globe-trotting photographer Jackson Young documents the forgotten people of the world, focusing on the poor and elderly. After decades on the road, he’s stunned to learn his beloved Grandma Em is still alive in the small town he’d had to leave decades earlier.

Overjoyed, Jackson races back into town to reconnect with her and discovers she’s been Minnie’s adopted grandma for the past twenty years. When Grandma Em has a stroke, his ideas about her care pit him against Minnie’s determination and expertise. For Grandma Em’s sake, and the future of Open Circle, they’ll need to do the impossible—find a way to work together.

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It’s not my policy to agree to review books in exchange for a free copy, but something about this one caught my eye. I can’t say why that is, exactly. This book came to me a perfect time. I needed an inspy and this one fit the bill. As a bonus, I found a new writer friend!

After I read Open Circle, I asked Stacy if she would be willing to do an interview for us, and she said she’d be happy to!

I loved the idea of setting a story in an elder care environment. Can you tell us a little bit about your inspiration for choosing this particular setting?
I started writing Open Circle while my mom was in the midst of her Alzheimer’s journey. It’s such a terrible disease, and yet we experienced moments of joy, even humor through those years. I got to know caregivers, administrators, and other families on a similar journey. I also learned about the wide variety of programs available for families, research, and organizations committed to providing support, encouragement, and education for clients and family members/caregivers. As difficult as the journey was, watching my fiercely independent mother decline over nearly a decade, I was inspired by the people who cared for her, as well as the others like her. She’s been gone nearly 7 years now, which is hard to believe.

What are the main things you want readers to take away from Open Circle?
That everyone deserves respect no matter their age, mental capacity, illness, and that our elders have earned the right to age with dignity, and be loved unconditionally. All of my books have the underlying theme of who we are in Christ; our identity in Him doesn’t change just because we lose our memory, or our bodies get old.
I love the title. Can you tell us what the title means to you and why you chose to name the adult daycare center in your novel Open Circle?

It’s actually the name of an adult day program where my in-laws were involved. I co-facilitated a caregiver support group with Carol, the social worker of that program. I got to know the staff and was immensely impressed with all of them and their programming.

What can we look forward to reading about in your future work?

I have several ideas percolating! What I’m working on right now is a series called My Father’s House, about sisters who discover (as young adults) that they’re adopted. Two of them have been raised as twins. The stories (each book follows one of the sisters on her journey to discover who she “really” is) look at adoption, identity, family, consequences. After that, I’m focusing on a more lighthearted book, perhaps a novella, about online dating.  🙂

My question for all of YOU:  I’d love to know which genres are your favorites. Comment below and you’ll be entered for a chance to win an autographed copy of Open Circle.
My favorite is contemporary (obviously!) but I’ve also grown to love historicals as I know a number of historical authors and appreciate all the work they put into making their stories accurate as well as interesting!

About Stacy

Stacy Monson is the award-winning author of The Chain of Lakes series, including Shattered Image, Dance of Grace, and The Color of Truth. Her stories reveal an extraordinary God at work in ordinary life. A member of American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW) and the MN Christian Writers Guild (MCWG), Stacy is the area coordinator for ACFW in Minnesota, past president of ACFW MN-NICE, and is the Events Director for MN Christian Writers Guild. Residing in the Twin Cities, she is the wife of a juggling, unicycling physical education teacher, mom to two amazing kids and two wonderful in-law kids, and a very proud grandma of 3 grands.

For news about upcoming books, contests, giveaways, and other fun stuff – stop by Stacy’s Author Website here. 

To learn about bringing Stacy’s speaking ministry, WINGS, to your event, visit her blog here.

She also on Facebook  Twitter  Instragram and  Pinterest.

Thank you, Stacy!

I struggle to pick a favorite type of fiction. It’s like asking me to go to the buffet and pick one favorite food. I love a good story that makes me laugh or cry. The best ones do both.

OK, ya’ll, we have TWO  Giveaways!

Giveaway ONE

This is a bit different, as I am moving my blog. Go here to enter the giveaway so we are sure you get counted in.

Click here—>>> here to enter Stacy’s giveaway for an autographed copy.

Giveaway TWO

As an EXTRA, sign up for my author newsletter here or for a chance to win an ecopy of Open Circle. If you’re on my mailing list and provide a valid email, you are in. One chance for  an ecopy per email valid address, but you can enter BOTH giveaways one and two.

Both giveaways close on May 31.2018.