Women of Faith and Fiction ~ Bonita Y. McCoy

Hello, dear reader! Thank you for joining me. Author Bonita Y. McCoy is with me this morning. Bonita and I work together on Inspired Prompt. I asked her to come and share her new book, Twisted Plot with you today. Let’s get started!

Personal

Who is Bonita Y. McCoy?

Bonita Y. McCoy is a woman who is saved by grace and depends on God’s mercy every single day. She is a wife to a wonderful man and a mother of three grown sons and two daughters-in-law.

Professional

Love the picture! Bonita, who is your all-time favorite character? This can be one of your own or another author’s character.

That’s a hard question. There are so many good ones. I don’t have a favorite. I guess one would be Scrooge, another Elizabeth Bennett, and Rebecca in Ivanhoe.

All great characters. Now, please share what your latest book is about?

My latest book is a cozy mystery called Twisted Plots. It is published by Winged Publications. The tagline reads “Amy Kate Anderson is southern trouble in high heels.”

Unique cover! ❤ Let’s talk about your writing process.

Gosh, my writing process has been going through a lot of transformations over the years. When I first started, it took a while for me to get the characters and settings figured out. Now, my character sketches go much quicker and unless I’m working on a new series with a new location my settings don’t take as long either. 

I do character sketches, then move into the plotting of the story. I usually have a beginning scene in mind before I ever start the plotting and then I try to plot out 30 scenes. I write in scenes not chapters. I also try to know my theme for the story because that helps me stay on point and not chase as many rabbits. Once I have the 30 scenes, I start the actual writing, knowing that other scenes will come to light as I go along.

Character sketches are my favorite part of writing. What is your favorite marketing tip?

I have two marketing tips that I am putting into practice myself in 2020. One, you can’t do it all, so choose one aspect of marketing and learn to do it well, and two, actually do market your books. You must market in order to grow your readership and your business. I learned this the hard way.

I agree. Learn something well and do it. Moving on . . . What advice would you give to an aspiring author?

Read as many of the books on writing as you can. When I asked the Lord in 2019 what I needed to focus on for my writing, He said craft. So, I started reading the books on the craft and boy did I learn a lot. Time well spent.

Studying the craft is very important. Do you choose a word or a scripture for each year or each story? If so, please share.

I go between these two. Some years I have a scripture. Some years I have a word or phrase, and some years I have both! This year I believe the word for me and my husband is streamline. We are streamlining several aspects of life.

I could use a little streamlining myself. LOL! Next question . . . Have you always wanted to be a writer?

I have always written. When I was in Junior High School, I was on the journalism staff for two years. Then as a senior, I worked on the yearbook staff and at a part-time job doing ad layouts for a newspaper over Christmas. So, when it came time to choose a major, I picked journalism. It seemed a natural thing.

It always amazes me how we find our gifts. From where does your inspiration come for your stories?

All over! The weirdest things will spark a new thought or idea for a book. I have a box where I keep them all written down, so I’m never out of ideas.

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?

God knows you inside and out. Trust Him to lead you right where you need to be. If you are walking with Him, He will never leave you nor forsake you. God is a sure thing.

I agree, Bonita. Thank you so much for joining me. Reader, you can connect with Bonita by following the links below.

“I don’t have a favorite. I guess one would be Scrooge, another Elizabeth Bennett, and Rebecca in Ivanhoe.” ~ Bonita Y. McCoy via @GailJohnson87 #interview #writing

Social Links

www.facebook.com/bonitaymccoyauthor

www.instagram.com/bonitaymccoy

www.bonitaymccoy.com

www.amazon.com/author/bonitaymccoy

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About the Book

Amy Kate Anderson is Southern trouble in high heels.

A Fire—

A Murder—

What’s happened to her quiet little town of Pine Lake?

Book shop owner, Amy Kate Anderson, thought she was having the worse day ever … until they wheeled a body out of the coffee shop next door and her friend, Matt Murphy, co-owner of the Beans and Leaves, became the number one suspect for the DA.

Can Amy Kate find a way to help her friend and keep her dreams for her bookshop from going up in smoke? Or will the handsome Lieutenant Gabe Cooper have his way and leave Amy Kate fishing for clues among the ashes?

In this delightful whodunnit, the people of Pine Lake, Alabama, will welcome you with open arms to their small town, but be careful, mystery, murder, and Amy Kate’s trouble magnet lurk around each corner.

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.

Personal

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.

Women of Faith and Fiction ~ Nike Chillemi

Good morning, readers! Hope your week has been great so far.

In this episode, Nike Chillemi is our woman of faith and fiction. I met Nike online when she visited this blog. We are now in the same ACFW crit group! I always enjoy talking with Nike because she has a great sense of humor.

Readers, you’ll notice the format is a little different this morning. I’m not losing my mind. Nike asked permission to change things up a bit to share more than a few words on each question. So, let’s get started!

Personal

Good morning, Nike. Thank you for joining me! Tell us a little about yourself.

I’ve been reading classic mystery novels, detective stories, and espionage/national security thrillers for a long time. I find them to be fascinating. I enjoy seeing the inner workings of the minds of the brave men and women characters who fight against terrorists and evil doers…and who push back that evil, so it doesn’t harm America. It thrills me reading a novel where I hold my breath as the heroine/hero pulls the fat out of the fire one more time.

For decades, I read Michael Connelly, David Baldacci, Robert Crais, Lee Child, Vince Flynn, Stuart Woods, Harlan Coben, Tom Clancy, and others. Yes, they’re all general market and their all guys, and their books are indeed realistically violent. Men like things that go boom, and they like to shoot it up. I found that it was the general market women thriller writers who began putting in the graphic sex scenes. Now, many of the men are doing that too which disappoints me, and I eliminate them from my TBR list.

I came to know Jesus as my Savior twenty years ago. So, I spent most of my life totally unaware of the need for a personal savior. However, in these types of novels, I did see the intense war between good and evil. I didn’t know anything about a personal God who cares for me. But it wasn’t hard for me to believe there was a devil when someone presented that to me. And, if there indeed was a devil roaming the earth seeing who he could destroy…then it wasn’t that hard to believe there was the opposite, a God who cares.

Along with this realization, I came to read Christian mystery and thriller writers such as Luana Ehrlich, Nancy Mehl, Robbin Carol, Mark Young, Donn Taylor, H. L. Wegley, Robert Liparulo, and others. I feel called to write Christian themed novels in this genre, and hopefully, my books will be fun entertainment for those who enjoy this type of novel. At the end of the day, perhaps my stories will help some to see that there is a God and that God does personally love them.

Nike, I love the way you began piecing the puzzle together by reading general fiction and Christian fiction. ❤ I enjoyed that testimony. Next question… Tea or coffee?

Tea or coffee? Both. I usually start my day with two large mugs of coffee. But later in the day, it will be hot black tea. Lipton, if I have a choice. Organic Lipton if Walmart hasn’t sold out of it. Don’t give me the fancy stuff. Perhaps that’s because Lipton was on the shelves of my mom’s cupboards. I find things in my life run into each other.

Share a favorite thing to do when not writing.

My favorite thing to do when I’m not writing or working is going out to eat with my local group of Christian writers. Four of us (Lynn, Lou Ann, Tracy, and myself) go out almost every Friday. As the weather in northeastern coastal Florida gets intensely hot and humid, I find myself asking the waitress for unsweetened iced tea with a wedge of lemon. We love all the local family oriented places that feature southern cooking including crab and shrimp boils, barbeque, and Caribbean cuisine. And we also try Thai, Indian, Japanese steak house fare, and other more exotic cuisines. I also love to cook and am trying to convert traditional American cuisine into lower fat and sugar versions, hopefully, that taste good. I use myself as the taste tester.

So, just as things maneuver themselves from my work life into my non-work life, they also move into my writing. Food, organic food, cooking and cooking healthy show up in my detective novels in one scenario or another. In my latest release, COURTING DANGER, secondary character Nicholas (Nick) Anastos is the head chef in a chop house owned by the heroine’s family. And this man can cook. Readers have told me when they’re in the middle of a Nick Anastos scene, their mouth starts watering, and they want to get something good to eat.

LOL. Sounds like fun! 🙂

Professional

For your first draft, do you use a pencil or keyboard? Do you plot or fly by the seat of your pants? Do you have a to-do list or do you work from a spur of the moment idea?

I use a keyboard for the first draft of my work-in-progress (WIP) I’m slaving over. For those who do not write, this is the novel I’m next gong to publish, ACTS OF MALICE. However, in general, for novels I have lined up for the series I’m working on, or ones I’m thinking of for a future series, I could do either. And for future novels, I’m a combination plotter/panster. I’m not a true plotter, as I don’t make a highly detailed outline. I could create files in Word where I’ll make notes in different colored fonts, or I’ll highlight things I want to point out to myself. If I choose to use a spiral notebook, I find I rip out pages I don’t care for which is gratifying. Both have their positives and negatives.

I never thought about ripping sheets from a notebook as gratifying. Maybe that’s why I use a spiral notebook. (Laughing.) Nike, thank you for sharing your thoughts with our guests today.

ClicktoTweet: “My favorite thing to do when I’m not writing or working is going out to eat with my local group of Christian writers.” ~ Nike Chillemi Women of Faith and Fiction @NikeNChillemi @GailJohnson87

Book Blurb

Newly installed Pelican Beach, Florida detective Katerina “Kat” Andruko fears the prime suspect will get off in the murder of a teen with the help of the department’s forensics psychologist, a man she’s just started to trust.

This case has national security implications that give former US Army Ranger, Dr. Dimitri Garmonin a opportunity to work with the FBI. The case could give him the chance to obtain the funds needed to expand his small Behavior Analysis Unit. He’s unmoved by the chic FBI agent sent to assist but is intrigued by Kat with whom he shares a Slavic heritage.

Kat and her partner detain two wrong suspects, giving the department negative press. The predator turns his anger on Kat, targeting her. Can Dimitri use his profiler skills to catch this killer before he hurts the woman he’s growing to love?

Purchase Link for Courting Danger

Bio:

Nike N. Chillemi writes contemporary detective novels, It’s been said she writes literature that reads like pulp fiction. Plenty of action, a dash of grit, wry humor as well as an uplifting message. There’s often a national security/public safety twist to them. She likes her bad guys really bad, her good guys smarter and better. Her newest endeavor is COURTING DANGER.

Nike is the founding board member of the Grace Filled Fiction Spotlight (formerly the Grace Awards) and its Chair, a platform to promote excellence in Christian fiction. She has been a judge in the 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2016, and 2017 Carol Awards in the suspense, mystery, and romantic suspense categories; the Genesis Awards in 2019; and an Inspy Awards 2010 judge in the Suspense/Thriller/Mystery category. Her four novel Sanctuary Point series (out of print), set in the mid-1940s has finaled, won an award, and garnered critical acclaim. The first novel in the Veronica “Ronnie” Ingels/Dawson Hughes series HARMFUL INTENT won in the Grace Awards 2014 Mystery/Romantic Suspense/Thriller/Historical Suspense category. She has written book reviews for The Christian Pulse online magazine. She is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW) and John 3:16 Marketing Network. https://nikechillemi.com/

Author Blog: https://nikechillemi.com/