Women of Faith and Fiction ~ Denise Weimer

Welcome to a new edition of Women of Faith and Fiction. Thank you for joining me. I’m so glad you’re here! My first guest of the New Year is Denise Weimer!

Personal

Denise Weimer writes historical and contemporary romance and romantic suspense set in her home state of Georgia. She’s authored eleven novels and a number of novellas. As a managing editor at Smitten Historical Romance and Heritage Beacon Fiction, Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas, she also helps others reach their publishing dreams. A wife and mother of two daughters, Denise always pauses for coffee, chocolate, and old houses.

Professional

Denise, who is your all-time favorite character? This can be one of your own or another author’s character.

Probably whichever one I’m currently writing about. LOL. I’m not big on favorites, but one I respected was Jenny White in my Across Three Autumns novella in The Backcountry Brides Collection (2018). She was inspired by a real woman from Revolutionary War Georgia, Nancy Hart, a six-foot-tall, red-haired, cross-eyed frontierswoman who spied on the British and held Loyalists and natives at bay with her crack shot. Jenny isn’t cross-eyed, but she is “ginger pated” and “raw boned” and utterly convinced no man could ever love her … especially compared to her dainty younger sister. Until she meets Caylan McIntosh, an impossibly persistent Scottish scout for Colonel Elijah Clark. Oh, what an action-packed love story. And I believe most women can relate to Jenny’s struggle to appreciate her own attributes.

I agree. My favorite character is the one I’m currently writing or reading about. Now, please share what your latest book is about?

I have two releasing in March. They’re quite a departure from my previous historicals. Spring Splash came about after fifteen years as a swim mom, so it captures all the heartache and comebacks that happen both in romance and sports. Traces was inspired by a TV show filmed in nearby Atlanta and actual military technology.

Spring Splash: When an injury sidelines college swimmer Anna Callaway, her dreams are crushed. She pours herself into her sports marketing practicum, helping a local special needs organization promote their athletic event. What she doesn’t expect is a swim team ripe for the Special Olympics—and their handsome but stubborn coach.

Craig Holt has dealt with eager and ignorant volunteers before. No matter how determined or persuasive uptight Anna might be about coaching his team to the Special Olympics, he has no intention of allowing her to raise the hopes of his swimmers, his sister, or his guarded heart.

Then Anna herself gets a second chance at becoming a champion. Will she pursue her lifelong goals or make room for a new dream?

Traces: When a failed romance and a $500,000 prize lure Kate Carson into participating in the reality TV show, Traces, the least she expects is to pick her partner. After all, she’s the PR spokeswoman of the company that derived a thirteen-lens, rotating camera from military use and installed it atop Atlanta’s tallest skyscraper. But she never would have chosen to evade techno hunters for twenty days with “G.I. Joe.”

Stoic, ex-military Alex Mitchell is the sort of man she always vowed to avoid, while the shadows of Alex’s past cause him to spurn emotional involvement. When Kate’s insider knowledge makes her a target of someone more threatening than game show hunters, Alex offers her only hope to reveal the dark plans of proponents of The Eye.

Love your covers! I’ll have to add this to my reading list! Please, tell us about your writing process.

I always start with research, typing everything I glean into a Word document where I also paste location and character images, maps, and timelines. I add the main plot points to make sure I don’t have any sagging spots in the story. Then I start to write, pausing to edit each chapter before going on to the next. My editing training has helped me to write tighter and cleaner up front, but I still call on several beta readers before sending any novel to my agent.

Thank you for those great writing tips! What is your best marketing tip?

Be prepared to invest time and money to get a return, especially as a new author. Plan a balance of online promotions and in-person signings. Invest your resources where your target audience is. And block time off from writing when your books release, because for about three months after your novel hits the shelves, marketing will become almost a full-time job. It requires a totally different side of your brain, and for most introverted authors, it can be draining. So consider focusing any writing during that window to guest blogging that will help promote your new novel.

Great plan! Moving on . . . What advice would you give to an aspiring author?

Prepare yourself before starting your novel by attending classes or reading books on the craft. Keep up to date on trends in publishing (i.e. deep POV, active voice). What would’ve sold ten years ago won’t necessarily sell now. Lean on a critique partner, beta readers, or a professional to edit your work before submitting. Meanwhile, build your social media connections. If you’ve previously published, promote those works to beef up sales numbers and reviews. Weakness in those areas are the main reasons we have to turn away submissions as managing editors with Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas—not lack of talent.

Thank you for that nugget of wisdom! My next question is . . . do you choose a word or a scripture for each year or each story? If so, please share.

I tend to choose a theme for each story. Some of the themes I’ve incorporated into past books include second chances (Fall Flip), God using what seems to be a failure/surrendering our gifts to God (The Witness Tree), self-worth (Across Three Autumns), and faithfulness and forgiveness (The Restoration Trilogy). My heroines in Spring Splash and Traces both struggle with perfectionism, while the men are challenged to let down walls they’ve put up through past hurt. I incorporate Scriptures as needed to support those themes as the characters go through their developmental arcs.

Along those same lines, I don’t like to write static primary characters, those who seem perfect and sweet the whole way through the story. I prefer to write about people struggling with a weakness or a past failure or loss who learn to overcome through God’s strength. If you see rough edges on my characters at the beginning of the story, those rough edges are covering up insecurity of some sort. Hopefully, this makes them relatable, and the reader will see God’s redemptive power at work in the changes that take place by the end of the story.

I agree. Readers relate to imperfect characters. Next question . . . Have you always wanted to be a writer?

Since about age 11, when I started scribbling in my notebooks after my parents took me to visit historic sites throughout the Southeast. My active imagination birthed stories about the places we’d been and the people who lived there.

From where does your inspiration come for your stories?

I believe it comes from God, as penning stories that share His truths is an inborn calling. Secondarily, I often find inspiration in the little-known events and places in the history of my home state of Georgia. I love to explore local legend and lore in story form.

Inspirational

Final question . . . I believe it’s important to encourage each other in our daily walk. Would you share a word of encouragement with our readers?

Please know you are invaluable to authors. A note from you on how a book has blessed your life may be the very word an author needs to keep going. On the flip side, a careless word could crush her spirit. There is just as much power in our words whether we are writers or readers. “The tongue has the power of life and death.” (Proverbs 18:21)

“Secondarily, I often find inspiration in the little-known events and places in the history of my home state of Georgia. I love to explore local legend and lore in story form.” ~ @denise_weimer via Women of Faith and Fiction @GailJohnson87

Denise, thank you for joining me. It was fun learning more about you. Readers, you can connect with Denise here:

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Elaine Stock ~ Women of Faith and Fiction

Elaine Stock is an award-winning author of Women’s & Inspirational Fiction. She joins us this morning on Women of Faith and Fiction to talk about life and writing.

Personal

Good morning, Elaine. Thank you for joining me today. Tell us a little about yourself.

A little? That’s more difficult than sharing a lot—LOL.

I grew up in Brooklyn, NY back in the days before it became a glamorous place for many up and coming professionals. However, I’ve lived upstate, happily married, for more years now than my city days to the point that though visiting cities may be interesting, they make me a bit edgy. Yet, I’m thankful for my childhood days in one of the biggest cities in the world, as well as the era I spent those years and believe I was meant to learn several life lessons there and then for a reason.

Although working at a day job 32 hours a week plus Life 101 keeps me plenty busy, it’s writing (whenever I can!) that keeps me sane.

I love visiting big cities, but I’m happy to see the countryside again. Let’s talk about your writing.

Professional

Why did you choose to write in your particular genre?

I think the genre has chosen me. When I first became serious about taking my passion for writing to the next step of publication I chose the route many were encouraging me to take because it was “easy,” and that was the romance genre for the ABA market. Lesson learned: writing romance (of any nature) is not easy or a sure bet. Any good book comes from hours of honing writing skills. Actually, I believe it’s an ongoing lesson and struggle. Plus, mastering the love of editing.

It wasn’t until I devoted my stories to honor God that I began to see major positive changes. Although I am working on a story that may be more suited for the ABA market, I will never be able to ignore the power and love of God and my faith to remove these elements from any of my novels.

I believe when we honor God, we will always see positive changes. Next question. In your opinion, what is the hardest part of the writing process?

These days, it’s sitting down and writing. By this, I mean making time. I love writing, editing, and even marketing and rather would do this than anything else, job wise. Yet, I have to help make ends meet and I’m physically removed from my faithful laptop far too many hours than I desire. But…I’m working hard on my writing to change that. It all boils down to putting everything in God’s Capable Hands and trusting Him.

I agree, Elaine. Submitting and trusting Him is the perfect solution to our problems. First draft: Pencil or keyboard?

Definitely keyboard. I am a huge seat of the pants writer and am in love with my laptop. I tend to type faster than write by hand and if a story is flowing I love the physical feeling of tapping it out on the keys. LOL—there are quite a few letters on my MacBook Air that have nearly vanished.

Plotter or pantser?

Before I begin writing a story I let the idea—mainly the story’s premise—stew and grow in my mind. Then the characters come to life around these ideas. However, as I said above I am a pantser all the way! Before I gave myself permission to be a SOP writer and would attempt outlines—long or short—I always ended up sighing heavily when the story reached its bye-bye moment. I have a lot of fun seeing where the story takes me rather than where I take the story.

Tea or coffee?

Coffee, please. I must have at least 2 hefty mugs in the morning to fire off my brain. Later on in the afternoon hot decaf tea, hot chocolate (if winter), or plain water is always my companion.

Favorite thing to do when not working?

I enjoy long walks, cooking, reading a good novel, watching an old TV sitcom that makes me laugh (i.e. Frasier) or a movie musical, listening to Bach or Beethoven, or exploring with my husband a quaint New England town, one preferably by the ocean.

Sounds like my kind of adventure!

Inspirational

This year’s theme is sharing hope. In Hebrews, the writer tells us to encourage each other while it is called today. Would you please take a moment to share a brief testimony to encourage our readers?

Hope is a great word to latch onto and to never surrender. Coincidentally, hope is my author’s theme: Women’s and Inspirational Fiction to Uplift with Hope of Better Tomorrows. Why do I center on this? Truthfully, as a child and teen I did not have a lot of hope of a better tomorrow. My family had many problems; I do not have many happy memories. I believe God has always reached out to me—my earliest recollection of believing in some sort of Supreme Being was at the age of 6. It wasn’t until I embraced Jesus as my Savior in my young twenties did joy come into my life. This is why I have a passion to encourage others that brighter days can and will happen.

Elaine thank you so much for joining me and sharing your thought with our friends. Thank you, dear friends, for joining us.

Before you go, Elaine is offering a free book when you sign up for her newsletter. Here’s the link: https://elainestock.com/free-gift-for-you

“I have a lot of fun seeing where the story takes me rather than where I take the story.” ~ @ElaineStock via @GailJohnson87 #authorlife #WFF https://gailjohnsonauthor.com/2019/08/16/elaine-stock-~-women-of-faith-and-fiction/

Book Blurb

The journeys in life take you to unexpected destinations. The love of a good person brings you home.

Kierra Madden, proprietor of the Kindred Lake Inn, struggles for stability after her engagement ends, family strife continues, and business slows. When her mom, sister and teenage niece move in with her, life becomes a lot more complicated. There’s certainly spare room…until one guest arrives…on his bicycle.

Ryan Delaney is fit and trim…quite the eye candy.Ryan, a TV news anchor on a leave of absence following a horrific incident, enjoys the peace long-distance biking offers. Only in town to mend his strained relationship with his teen daughter, he never expects to fall for Kierra fast and hard. Despite her policy of separating business and pleasure, mutual attraction pulls them closer until unforeseen consequences threaten to wedge between them.

Surrounded by springtime beauty, will the temptation of desire bloom into a more powerful and lasting love?

Bio

Elaine Stock is an award-winning author of Women’s & Inspirational Fiction to uplift with hope of better tomorrows. Her novel, Her Good Girl, received the Outstanding Christian/Religious Fiction in the 2018 IAN Book of the Year Awards, 2018 Readers’ Favorite Silver Medal in Christian Fiction and the 2018 American Fiction Awards in the Christian Inspirational category.

Elaine is a member of Women’s Fiction Writers Association, American Christian Fiction Writers, and the Romance Writers of America. Born in Brooklyn, NY, Elaine has now been living in upstate, rural New York with her husband for more years than her stint as a NYC gal. She enjoys long walks down country roads, visiting New England towns, and of course, a good book.

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Women of Faith and Fiction ~ Patty Smith Hall

Good morning, dear reader! I’m excited to introduce you to author Patty Smith Hall! Patty has a fantastic story to tell, so I won’t keep you waiting.

Good morning, Patty. Tell us a about yourself.

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I’m a wife, a mother and a grandmother to the sweetest little boy on the planet(I’m a little bias!). I’m a Georgia girl who loves to mess around in my garden, sit out on my back deck and spend time with my family. I started writing almost twenty years ago and have been published for the last ten years.

Patty, I think every grandmother should be biased! Now . . .

Professional

Why did you choose to write in your particular genre?

My writing is my ministry, a way of showing the world that Christians are real people with very real problems, the only difference being is that we (hopefully) rely on our faith to help us through them.

Exactly. Please share something you wish the reader knew about your book.

Most of my characters are named after family and friends, and they love it! Of course, none of them are villainous, though some of them have asked me to use them that way. It’s my way of showing them how much I love them.

I love that. Thomas Kinkaid painted initial inside his puzzles. Now, in your opinion, what is the hardest part of the writing/working process?

Typing! I’m a terrible typist! I spent my typing class flirting with the boy sitting next to me!

LOL! I love your honesty! How about some fun questions? First draft: Pencil or keyboard?

Pen, and not just any pen. I use a Pentel EnerGel with navy blue ink. I’m weird about my paper too—I use Vera Bradley notebooks. They’re wider and I can get a thousand words per page.

I’m picky about my pens. I’ll have to check out the notebooks. Plotter or pantser?

I’m a little of both. I plot out a story on notecards, usually scene by scene. But if a character throws a wrench into a scene, I’ll follow him and see where things go.

Tea or coffee

Sweet tea with two lemons and extra ice.

Now you’re talking! Nothing beats sweet tea and lemon! Crushed ice, please. Favorite thing to do when not working?

I love to spend time with my family, especially my grandson. He’s two and learning new things every day! I also garden, read(a lot!) do word puzzles and binge-watch BBC with my husband.

You’d love it at my house. 🙂

Inspirational

This year’s theme is sharing hope. In Hebrews, the writer tells us to encourage each other while it is called today. Would you please take a moment to share a brief testimony to encourage our readers?

As I mentioned before, I don’t type well so I write all of my manuscripts long-handed. Which makes things interesting when you’ve got multiple deadlines looming and you’re a find-and-pick typist. I had played around with tablets and writing apps, but nothing worked for me.

When the iPad Pro came out, I thought it might work for me, but the price was out of my range. We were in the midst of losing our home and money was very tight. Things were so bad, I thought about giving up my writing and finding a steady part-time job to help out.

One particularly bad day, I decided to go to the mall and window-shop but when I got there, I couldn’t make myself go inside. I sat right there in the parking lot and just poured my heart out to the Lord—all my failures and mistakes, my worries about this writing ministry I’d started. I was just finishing up when my phone rang. It was the local public television station that I donated ten dollars a month to (remember, we watch BBC shows.) They wanted to let me know that I had won the grand prize from a recent drawing.

An iPad Pro and an Apple pencil.

God showed up when I needed encouragement the most. I still have my doubtful moments, but then I look at that tablet and remember that God has a definite plan for this ministry. All I have to do is follow Him.

Patty, I love this. What an amazing testimony! Thank you so much for sharing that with us. And thank you for visiting with Women of Faith and Fiction.

ClicktoTweet: “They wanted to let me know that I had won the grand prize from a recent drawing.” ~ Patty Smith Hall for Women of Faith and Fiction @pattywrites @GailJohnson87 #authorlife #amwriting


The Southern Belle Brides Collection

Hometown Bride by Patty Smith Hall
Marietta, Georgia—1870
Jilly Chastain never lied, but when her mother fabricates a marriage with her childhood sweetheart, Grayson Hancock, Jilly goes along with it, never expecting Grayson to show up, ready to make their make-believe marriage real.


A multi-published author with Love Inspired Historical and Barbour, Patty lives in North Georgia with her husband of 35 years, Danny; two gorgeous daughters, her son-in-love and a grandboy who has her wrapped around his tiny finger. When she’s not writing on her back porch, she’s spending time with her family or working in her garden.

You can connect with Patty Hall on Facebook and Twitter.