Women Who Write: Angie Grigaliunas

Welcome to the last week of the eight week blog series: Women Who Write. I hope you find this author showcase entertaining and enlightening as we dive into the world of female Christian authors. This series focuses on women who write Christian fiction, their books, and their perspective of the industry.

Gone are the days when women had to hide behind the veil of a male pen name. Though many authors still use pen names today, I think we can all agree we are thankful that women have the freedom to express their art…as women! Being a writer myself, I have to say I am overjoyed at the opportunity to talk with these authors and share their stories with you. So, let’s celebrate the women in fiction who followed their predecessors and continue to pave the way for the rest of us!

Don’t miss the giveaway at the end of the post, today is the last day to enter!

Author Angie Grigaliunas

Angie Grigaliunas (grig-ah-LOO-nahs) is a fantasy writer and blogger. She’s a country girl at heart, in the sense that she wants to be in nature and away from civilization. She loves Jesus, the woods, and the stars, and has always wanted to be a superhero with a secret identity. Seriously.

She has completed three books: one about elves that needs a massive revision before it ever sees the light of day, one that is part of her current story but also needs a massive revision to fit a new storyline, and the actual first book (Sowing) in her dystopian/medieval/grimdark/semi-romance series (The Purification Era). When she’s not writing, she’s usually Facebooking – ack! – or thinking about story stuff. Despite several of her writing friends claiming she’s Canadian, she is not; she lives in Ohio with her dear husband and their crazy cats.

How did you know you wanted to be a writer?

I’ve always loved writing and have started hundreds of stories over the years, but I got away from it for a while in my teens. Got distracted by wanting to be a singer. A series of books brought me back. (The Cirque Du Freak series by Darren Shan. Not Christian at all in case you look it up. It’s about vampires. But not sparkly ones. Ha! It’s kind of a horror series.) That series sparked some ideas in me, and I started working on them…and sometime in the early stages of writing the first book of my elf trilogy, I knew that this was what I wanted to do. It just felt right, felt like I’d found my place. That was almost eleven years ago, I believe.

What are your goals with your writing? What do you hope to accomplish?

I hope to share my heart, to communicate the things that I am most passionate about. One of those things is redemption.

When I first started this story, it was far different, more of a tale of a girl finding her place in the world. As it has evolved and expanded, it’s radically transformed into something else. One of the biggest things that changed was MY heart, though. I started out with this group of villains, the Hulcondans. At first, they were evil and knew it, but they presented themselves as good. But as I wrote more and wrote a couple of them on a more personal level, it hit me: no, they don’t merely present themselves as good, they actually think they ARE good.

That changed everything. I began to see these violent bad guys not as bad so much as brainwashed. Not that that excuses them from what they do, but it gives a reason. Everyone in my world is afraid of everyone else, and instead of trying to understand, trying to find common ground, they put up walls and attacked each other.

I’ve always had compassion on the “bad guys.” I remember hearing of a mass murderer, a guy who was going to end up on death row for what he did, and in my innocent little 8 year old heart, I wanted to tell him about Jesus and save him. I prayed for his salvation. I thought if I could just go talk to him, he could change.

It’s not a popular opinion or view, but I can’t help it. I have mercy for those that others write off. I want to help those that others view as beyond help. I used to joke how I’m always drawn to the bad guy – and many women are – but for me, it’s more than that.

My favorite thing in the world is when the bad guy…becomes good. When there is transformation, redemption, and healing. One of my favorite stories in the Bible is that of Manasseh. Horrible king, did awful stuff, ruined his nation…but at the end, he repented and did his best to reverse the damage he’d caused.

As I mentioned above, I deal with some extremely heavy topics, mostly racism (between humans and the creature race, itzalin) and inequality (especially between men and women). Most of the people – especially the soldiers – are brainwashed/indoctrinated and grow up learning all these horrible beliefs. Forced marriage and rape are massive problems in my world, as is oppression, corruption, and some other terrible things. I plan to delve quite a bit into slavery and human trafficking. Power doesn’t corrupt; it reveals the corruption lurking inside. It’s a really dark world, violent and brutal, and though I try not to be too graphic, I also don’t want to pretend these things don’t exist. Instead, I want to confront them and condemn them for what they are.

Yet, in the midst of it, I want to show that there is hope even for the ones who once gladly partook in the awfulness. At the heart of it all, there’s redemption for even the worst of the worst. Healing for those who need it most. Forgiveness for those who deserve it least.

What are the biggest challenges you face as a female Christian author?

For me, it’s being a Christian and writing what I write. I’ve never experienced any stigma over being a woman or a Christian…but I don’t write Christian fiction. Subtle Christian themes, yes. But to look at my story, my world…yeah, it is NOT a typical Christian story in any way, haha! Whenever I tell Christians about it, I try to make sure they know it’s not Christian. I never want to trick anyone; I’ve been tricked into thinking a book was fantasy when it was more like erotica (I was young and dumb), and I never, ever want to make anyone feel that way. *shudders* Not that you will come across sex scenes in my story – I don’t write that – but violence of all sorts…yes. Lots of that. Even when I start out with a lighter idea, it gets dark. My mind just goes there. I naturally want to show the light by contrasting it with the deepest dark. To go into the darkest places and save the people there.

Feeling like less of a Christian for it has been hard at times (I think that’s just in my head; I can’t think of anyone who has truly made me feel that way). I doubt what I write, doubt that it’s okay, that I’m doing the right thing. I fear it’s harder for God to be glorified in my stuff than in cleaner fiction. I step back sometimes and look at my characters, and I’m like, “Oh my gosh, all of my people are liars and murderers and it’s completely acceptable in this world… How can I call myself a Christian and have brutal killers in my story? Rapists? Racist men who are also super sexist…?”

It’s definitely a challenge to accept myself and my mind at times. To believe that God is in this story even if it doesn’t look as pretty as someone else’s.

Can you tell us a bit about one of your books? 

Absolutely! I only have one out at the moment, Sowing. (Working on book two, Quelling.) It’s a dystopian fantasy set in a medieval time period. It follows two sisters on opposite sides of a brewing rebellion in their city. The people in charge are a military regime that triples as the police and the government (think medieval Nazis); Rabreah hates and fears them, while Ariliah trusts them and thinks they’re the good guys. But “good” isn’t as clear cut as it may seem. Nearly everyone is “good” in their own eyes, and people can justify awful things if they’re done in the name of peace or bettering the world. Much of the book and series will deal with the varying shades of gray in humanity, especially in our interactions with each other and those we view as different than us.

sowing AGSowing: The Purification Era, Book One

People are dead, slaughtered like animals in the night.

The reigning power, the Hulcondans, blame rebels. Rabreah, a rebel, knows it’s a lie. Her younger sister, Ariliah, doesn’t; like the majority of the townspeople, she believes those in authority, swallowing their words with complete trust. Besides, she’s too busy fighting her own silent war at home. While Rabreah dedicates herself to truth and freedom, Ariliah is just trying to survive their mother’s abuse.

But as unknown forces threaten to rip their world apart, the line between friend and enemy blurs. All is not as it seems.

In fact, nothing may be.

What can readers look forward to seeing from you in the future?

If everything goes according to plan, I’ll have book two (Quelling) out this year. My other series (series isn’t named yet, but book one is All the Shimmering Suns) is set in an Ancient Rome type of place and has more fantasy elements to it. I’m sure it will end up somewhat dystopian too. Here is the blurb for it:
“If they give you a chance, Aster, take it.”

Years ago, Aster’s parents smuggled her away to freedom, narrowly escaping the invading Nephele army. At seventeen, the past catches up with her. Torn between death or conversion to the Nephele faith, Aster chooses life – thereby signing that life over their military. A soldier’s path promises prestige…and the possibility of finding her parents.

Ruthless and devoted, Helios has never questioned the path before him. Though he despises the new recruits, he obeys tradition, doing his part to train them. It’s merely another step toward power and position.

An ancient chimera has other plans.

With the city in flames, Aster and Helios flee – only to end up underground, trapped and hunted. If they can find a way to trust each other, they might survive.

If they can’t, there may not be a world left to go back to.

To learn more, follow Angie on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and check out her website!!

***

Click here to visit last week’s showcase with Irene Hannon!

GIVEAWAY!

Today is the last day for your chance to win a $25.00 Amazon Gift card!

The winner will be announced and notified via email at the end of the 8 week Women Who Write series! Thank you for following, the next series, Tick-Tock, Writer’s Block will begin March 15th with a new giveaway!

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Women Who Write: Irene Hannon

Welcome to week seven of the eight week blog series: Women Who Write. I hope you find this author showcase entertaining and enlightening as we dive into the world of female Christian authors. This series focuses on women who write Christian fiction, their books, and their perspective of the industry.

Gone are the days when women had to hide behind the veil of a male pen name. Though many authors still use pen names today, I think we can all agree we are thankful that women have the freedom to express their art…as women! Being a writer myself, I have to say I am overjoyed at the opportunity to talk with these authors and share their stories with you. So, let’s celebrate the women in fiction who followed their predecessors and continue to pave the way for the rest of us!

Don’t miss the giveaway at the end of the post!

Author Irene Hannon

irenehannon

 

Irene Hannon is the bestselling and award-winning author of more than fifty contemporary romance and romantic suspense novels. In addition to her many other honors, she is a seven-time finalist for and three-time winner of the prestigious RITA Award from Romance Writers of America (the “Oscar” of romance fiction). She is also a member of that organization’s elite Hall of Fame. In 2016, she received a Career Achievement award from RT Book Reviews magazine for her entire body of work.

 

How did you know you wanted to be a writer?

It wasn’t a question of wanting to be a writer. I was born a writer. I think writing, like any other talent, is a gift. I could take art lessons until I was 100, and every person I tried to draw would still look like a stick figure. Writing is the same. That doesn’t mean you can’t constantly hone and improve your skills, but the basic talent is a gift. So I’ve written for as long as I can remember. But I like to tell people I made my official debut at the age of 10, when I was one of the honorees in a complete-the-story contest published by a national children’s magazine.

What are your goals with your writing? What do you hope to accomplish?

My first goal is to entertain—beginning on page one. If a book doesn’t grab a reader fast, you lose them. So the rest of the goals won’t matter. I also want my books to uplift and encourage. To convey the message that despite the setbacks we might encounter, there’s always hope of a happy ending. And finally, I want readers to close the last page of with a better appreciation for the power of love (and not just romantic love) to change lives.

What are the biggest challenges you face as a female Christian author?

No special challenges because of my gender. But it’s difficult to broaden my audience because many readers who would love a compelling book that didn’t contain explicit sex, profanity or gratuitous violence will never notice—or pick up—a novel in the Christian fiction section. The stereotype that all such books are preachy and heavy-handed is alive and well. Yet I believe there is a much wider market for this genre, if only general market readers would give it a try. As I tell people, if you like Debbie Macomber or Robyn Carr, you’ll like my contemporary romances. If you like Nora Roberts’ romantic suspense books except for the sex and profanity, you’ll like mine. But figuring out how to send that message is a challenge.

Can you tell us a bit about one of your books? 

I’ll have two books out this year—a contemporary romance and a romantic suspense.

spcoveih

 

Hope Harbor police chief and single mom Lexie Graham has zero time for extracurricular activities—including romance. Ex-con Adam Stone isn’t looking for love either—but how ironic is it that the first woman to catch his eye is a police chief? When Lexie enlists Adam’s help to keep a troubled young man from heading down the wrong path, sparks begin to fly. Could it be that God may have a different—and better—future planned for them than either could imagine?

 

diih

 

Trish Bailey is on overload trying to deal with a demanding job, an ailing mother, and a healing heart. When a series of unsettling memory lapses leads to a tragic death—and puts Trish under police scrutiny—her world is once again thrown into turmoil.  Detective Colin Flynn isn’t certain what to think of the facts he uncovers during his investigation. Did Trish simply make a terrible mistake or is there more to the case than meets the eye? As he searches for answers, disturbing information begins to emerge—and if the forces at work are as evil as he suspects, the situation isn’t just dangerous . . . it’s deadly.

 

What can readers look forward to seeing from you in the future?

As noted above, I’ll have a new romantic suspense book out in October. Dangerous Illusions is Book 1 in my Code of Honor series, which features three childhood friends whose bond has been strengthened by time—and danger. After Sandpiper Cove (my third book set in the charming Oregon seaside town of Hope Harbor, releasing in April), I’ll return to the coast again in spring 2018 with Pelican Point. One important note—even though all of my books are classified as part of a series, each can be read as a standalone novel. No plot points carry over from book to book.

 

To learn more, follow Irene on Facebook!

***

Click here to visit last week’s showcase with Erin Healy!

GIVEAWAY!

Enter every week for your chance to win a $25.00 Amazon Gift card!

The winner will be announced and notified via email at the end of the 8 week Women Who Write series, don’t forget to come back next Wednesday for another Christian Author showcase!

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Women Who Write: Erin Healy

Welcome to week six of the eight week blog series: Women Who Write. I hope you find this author showcase entertaining and enlightening as we dive into the world of female Christian authors. This series focuses on women who write Christian fiction, their books, and their perspective of the industry.

This showcase features the author of one of my favorite books- Never Let You Go. I may have had a fan-girl moment when she agreed to take part in this series, so please join me in thanking her for stopping by!

Gone are the days when women had to hide behind the veil of a male pen name. Though many authors still use pen names today, I think we can all agree we are thankful that women have the freedom to express their art…as women! Being a writer myself, I have to say I am overjoyed at the opportunity to talk with these authors and share their stories with you. So, let’s celebrate the women in fiction who followed their predecessors and continue to pave the way for the rest of us!

Don’t miss the giveaway at the end of the post!

Author Erin Healy

erinhealy_2-med

 

Erin Healy is the bestselling co-author of Burn and Kiss (with Ted Dekker) and an award-winning fiction editor for numerous bestselling authors. Erin is the owner of WordWright Editorial Services, a consulting firm specializing in fiction book development, and she is a member of the American Christian Fiction Writers and the Academy of Christian Editors. Her novels include such thrilling stories as Motherless, The Baker’s Wife, and Stranger Things. She lives with her family in Colorado.

 

How did you know you wanted to be a writer?

I don’t recall a moment of knowing so much as an awareness that writing was what I liked to do, wanted to do. My family and teachers often praised my efforts, so I had encouragement to do it as well. Pursuing a career in editing is what opened doors for me to be published.

What are your goals with your writing? What do you hope to accomplish?

I hope to write stories that cause readers to say, “Interesting—I’ve never thought of that before.” And I hope that these thoughts are the kind that inspire us to be more compassionate, more humble, more hopeful people.

What are the biggest challenges you face as a female Christian author?

I can’t say I’ve experienced any uniquely female issues. As for being an author who is a Christian, the biggest challenge is clear: grappling with questions about matters of faith or doctrine (what better place to do that than in storytelling?) isn’t always welcomed by the Christian marketplace. In my experience, typical Christian readers don’t want to explore mystery; they’d rather affirm certainty. So it can be difficult to give questions a voice or leave the answers open-ended.

Can you tell us a bit about one of your books?
ehmotherless

 

My personal favorite is a novel titled Motherless, which explores one family’s experiences with deceit, self-deceit, and what happens to people when they discover they’ve built their lives on beliefs that are not true. For me such awakenings—personal, relational, spiritual or otherwise—can be disorienting and upsetting but also hopeful, even redemptive. So those are words I use to describe this novel.

Motherless is the haunting tale of two young adults who are trying to solve the seventeen-year-old mystery of their mother’s suicide

 

What can readers look forward to seeing from you in the future?

I wish I could be specific! I have several novel ideas in simmering on my mental stove, none of them near ready to serve up yet. It might be a few more years, but the stories in me will eventually find their way out.

 

To learn more, follow Erin on Facebook or visit her website!

***

Click here to visit last week’s showcase with Melissa Wardwell!

GIVEAWAY!

Enter every week for your chance to win a $25.00 Amazon Gift card!

The winner will be announced and notified via email at the end of the 8 week Women Who Write series, don’t forget to come back next Wednesday for another Christian Author showcase!

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Women Who Write: Melissa Wardwell

Welcome to week five of the eight week blog series: Women Who Write. I hope you find this author showcase entertaining and enlightening as we dive into the world of female Christian authors. This series focuses on women who write Christian fiction, their books, and their perspective of the industry.

Gone are the days when women had to hide behind the veil of a male pen name. Though many authors still use pen names today, I think we can all agree we are thankful that women have the freedom to express their art…as women! Being a writer myself, I have to say I am overjoyed at the opportunity to talk with these authors and share their stories with you. So, let’s celebrate the women in fiction who followed their predecessors and continue to pave the way for the rest of us!

Don’t miss the giveaway at the end of the post!

Author Melissa Wardwell

mwardwell-6

 

Melissa resides in a small mid-Michigan farm community with her husband and three children, all of whom they home school. Besides writing, she enjoys reading, taking photos, and motorcycle rides with her husband.  Her hope is that each story touches your heart, gives you hope, or just gives you a moment away from the chaos of life.

 

 

How did you know you wanted to be a writer?

Can I say I never wanted to write? LOL. At least not for public viewing. It is more of a call than me just deciding one day to download Word to my computer and write a story. I had visions of a story play out on the dash of my car every time I had to go somewhere. When I told a friend about it, she insisted that I write the story God was showing me. It nagged at me for months before I finally sat down and did something about it. This birthed my first novel “What God Brings Together”. Lesson 1 in “When God says do something, you better do it”.

 

What are your goals with your writing? What do you hope to accomplish?

I want my stories to minister to someone who feels broken down and need hope. Someone who needs to see a real-life approach to seeing the hand of God in their lives. Sometimes these concepts are not well received, and that is okay. I hope to also give a respite to those who just need a bit of a getaway. That is why I wrote “Finding Hope in Savannah”. It is a different location and it is a beautiful place.

What are the biggest challenges you face as a female Christian author?

The biggest challenges come from those who have preconceived ideas about what should be in CF and don’t like what is being written by up and coming authors. My stories aren’t all cozy and heartwarming. They have real world issues that face a believer today. Sins, a troubled past, the need to be forgiven even though it may be unforgivable – all are issues I approach.

Can you tell us a bit about one of your books?

Dance and Be Glad was released June 2016. It is my forth book and second in the Promises from Above series.

dance-and-be-glad_kindle

Jillian was content being a single mother and Michael was happy with bachelorhood but when they reconnect again after being apart for more than a decade, they learn to trust each other and God through tragedy and life changes. The only question is if they can trust their independent hearts as affections begin to blossom and see that love is not just a onetime deal.

 

 

Excerpt form Dance and Be Glad

(Jill is in a church service for the first time in many years.)

“When you hold a grudge, against one person or many, are you trusting God? When you make a move or make a decision without praying about it first, are you trusting the One who knows more about you than you know about yourself? How can we say that we trust God when we jump ahead of His plan for our lives? It could be a choice you made a week ago or decades ago. Either way, you didn’t trust Him to care enough about you to provide all that you needed and a bit of what you want from time to time.”

She heard him say a few more things, but they were jumbled words as they rolled around in her head. They made her think.

She thought she had been doing so well with her life on her own, well, their own. In reality, she had taken the reins of her life from the One who gave her life.

Different situations from her past flashed before her eyes like a movie reel on the back of the pew. She was such a trusting girl when she was younger, but somewhere along the line things changed.

When, God? When did I try to take over?

A teenage couple sneaking around to see each other. A lonely young woman standing at the altar looking into the face of a man she liked but knew things weren’t right. Opening a dance studio. And lastly, the most hurtful, choosing to leave a church in bitterness. She had done all of these things, and many others, without praying first and trusting God to take care of her. Not everything was bad, but she still hadn’t trusted Him to provide. And ever since Doug’s death, she had pretty much told God that she could handle it.

She bowed her head, closed eyes, and a lone tear escaped and landed in her hand.

Oh, God, I am so sorry. Forgive me for not trusting you with my life.

A soft feminine hand reached for hers. Before she could look to see who it was, the person spoke tenderly in her ear.

“He has never left you or forsaken you, so rejoice with dancing and He will turn your mourning into gladness and bring happiness out of your grief. Just trust Him.”

What can readers look forward to seeing from you in the future?

I am part of a novellet box set coming out at the end of April. That will be published through CelebrateLit Publishing. For those who have read Finding Hope in Savannah, you will want to read this story I have in there. You will see some familiar faces as I return to savannah.
I also hope to publish a wedding novella in July that is based on the couple from Dance and Be Glad and in November, I hope to release the third book in my Promises from Above Series called I Know the Plans. I have two series that intertwine with each other. So, while you read the wedding novella, I will be finishing up I Know the Plans. You will see a piece of the wedding in the novel. (I hope that makes sense -LOL)

 

To learn more, follow Melissa on

Facebook, Twitter, or visit her website!

***

Click here to visit last week’s showcase with Lisa Prysock!

GIVEAWAY!

Enter every week for your chance to win a $25.00 Amazon Gift card!

The winner will be announced and notified via email at the end of the 8 week Women Who Write series, don’t forget to come back next Wednesday for another Christian Author showcase!

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Women Who Write: Lisa Prysock

Welcome to week four of the eight week blog series: Women Who Write. I hope you find this author showcase entertaining and enlightening as we dive into the world of female Christian authors. This series focuses on women who write Christian fiction, their books, and their perspective of the industry.

Gone are the days when women had to hide behind the veil of a male pen name. Though many authors still use pen names today, I think we can all agree we are thankful that women have the freedom to express their art…as women! Being a writer myself, I have to say I am overjoyed at the opportunity to talk with these authors and share their stories with you. So, let’s celebrate the women in fiction who followed their predecessors and continue to pave the way for the rest of us!

Don’t miss the giveaway at the end of the post!

Author Lisa Prysock

lisaprysock

Lisa M. Prysock lives in the countryside of beautiful, rolling Kentucky just outside of the greater Louisville area near horse farms and four board fences with her husband of 19 years.  She homeschools the two youngest of their five children (three grown).  She and her husband live in an average, two story, Colonial style home they are continually updating– with a funny looking Heinz 57 dog; an adorably dainty lady cat; two teenagers; a vegetable garden; numerous flower beds; and a tree house undergoing a remodel.  When not in teaching or writing mode, she is teaching herself to play the piano and violin.  In regards to that, she laughs:  “It’s a pretty painful process, but I’m truly enjoying it!”

Lisa loves all things old-fashioned and has adopted a slogan of “The Old-Fashioned Everything Girl.”  A few of her interests and passions include doll houses, long dresses and hats, gardening, reading the Classics, butterflies, swimming, walking, working out, cooking, sewing, crochet, cross stitching, arts and crafts, scrapbooking, decorating, and drawing.  Recently, her husband remodeled a room in their home with a picture window overlooking a valley which contains a creek and wooded area, transforming the space into a serene and sublime writing office/sewing room.  “It’s a great source of peace and inspiration for me… and pure joy not to be writing from the busy kitchen amidst the household chaos on a laptop.  Growing teenagers eating every five minutes makes for a constant stream of happenings!”

Lisa is an Amazon bestselling author of To Find a Duchess, an Inspirational Regency Romance; a Victorian Christian Romance Series which includes Hannah’s Garden:  a Turn of the Century Love Story and Abigail’s Melody; and ‘The Lydia Collection,’ which includes The Redemption of Lady Georgiana (a Ruth love story of modern day Regency proportions), Protecting Miss Jenna (an Antebellum Era Christian Romance Adventure), and Persecution & Providence (a ‘Jane Austen-ish’ mail order bride story from the Pioneer Era).  She is also the author of a devotional/Bible Study, Arise Princess Warrior.  Lisa writes clean and wholesome literature that shares her faith in Jesus Christ.  She is a member of ACFW and Louisville Christian Writers.

You can find out more about Lisa at:   www.LisaPrysock.com

How did you know you wanted to be a writer?

I can remember from the earliest age of being drawn to books and writing.  My mother loved to read stories to my sisters and I before bed and always had a growing library in our home.  She was constantly putting the classics before me.  I loved them all!  I grew up as a latch key kid after my parents divorced.  From age nine on, we didn’t live on the farm in Minnesota anymore where I went to first and second grade… or the small country town of Apple Creek, Wisconsin where I went to kindergarten.  In my kindergarten class, I was the kid who wanted to write books instead of play with toys during free time.  I was the child using crayons to tell my story through pictures and asking the teacher to write in the words.  As if that wasn’t enough, I wanted her to staple my carefully designed pages together to make my own fully illustrated version of a story about Curious George

After the divorce, we moved to Ohio to be near my mother’s parents.  We were in a bigger city and I had to adjust from being able to ride my bike, run through the meadows, explore the woods, and jump out of the loft in the barn… to walking my younger sisters home and locking the door until Mom got home from work.  There wasn’t anything else that interested me as much as reading when you can’t go outside to play until your parents come home from work.  Also, I think not being able to fit my bike and doll house on the moving truck impacted me greatly.  These were two of my favorite things, but I had to get over it quickly.  To survive, my mom had to work a full time job.  The divorce stole my childhood, our home, and my paternal grandparents, half of my family, my father, and my mother from me– and there wasn’t a single thing I could do about it.  It had become a fact of life, like it or not.  In exchange, I had a plethora of chores and household responsibilities, my homework, and two sisters to watch over… which terribly strained my relationship with them.  What did I have left?  I had God and books.

Books were the escape for me from many of the sorrows of having to grow up too fast and too young.  At nine years old, I had the weight of the world on my shoulders and was babysitting three to four hours a day on a daily basis.  By age twelve, I was light years ahead of other kids my age both intellectually and emotionally from having so much responsibility, from growing up with my maternal grandparents helping out in their ministry as pastors, and from reading voraciously.  I was at the top of my class in every subject and still hungry for educational material.  Growing up around my fun-loving aunts, uncles, and joyful grandparents kept me from taking life too seriously.  I was finally, slowly, learning to laugh again– but deep down I was still laden with responsibility, a deep thinker with a serious personality, and I was learning about the power of God to transform lives by being a very involved preacher’s granddaughter.

Another thing that impacted my desire to become a writer was that I was surrounded with books even when I wasn’t at my own home or visiting the library, something my sisters and I loved to do with my mom.  My maternal grandfather had a personal library collection that filled the walls of an entire room and more walls of books at his office.  My maternal grandmother loved reading and always had a stack of books on her nightstand.  To further ruin me for anything else, my grandmother had sent me The Little House books when I was still in Minnesota.  How I loved those books!  I was certain I wanted to be a writer as I read those books.

I was also a very dreamy child… always creating stories in my mind.  If I was bored… or even remotely unhappy, I could instantaneously go away to a story of my own creation for hours on end.  In retrospect, I think there were times when I was very unhappy and heavily burdened after the divorce of my parents, though my early childhood had given me many happy memories and seemed normal on the surface.  There were arguments that I’m sure had affected me.  It would take some years, but down the road I realized God used all of these things to shape and form me with personal discipline and backbone.

This shaping was already beginning to surface on a deeper level by the time I was in junior high.  Some kids want to buy frivolities when they first begin to earn money.  I was abnormally different in this aspect, too.  I would look in the windows at the typewriter shop next door to the Ben Franklin every Saturday morning.  I had gone inside and bravely inquired if that second-hand Royal typewriter would be there in a few weeks if I could save up the $68.00 to purchase it.  The shop owner assured me it would be there.   And so it was that I earned my very first typewriter with my very first babysitting earnings.

It was with that previously used typewriter purchase on which I plunked out my first short story in 8th grade.  My story won a first place award in a writing contest and actually had a number of chapters in it.  Later that same year, some of my poetry won an award.  A painting we did in art class that year took another first place award.  That was it!  Not only was I sure I could illustrate my own stories someday, by this time, I was corresponding with an author, choosing books like The Diary of Queen Victoria to read… and was absolutely hooked on writing for the rest of my life in some capacity or another.  At thirteen years old, there were only two things I was sure about; what I wanted to be and who I was going to work for–:  I loved and served King Jesus, and I wanted to be a mother, wife, and writer to tell the whole world about Him.

I absolutely can’t leave out the entirely fabulous fact that through all of this, the Lord wasn’t blind to what He had asked me to walk through, which went from bad to worse before it got better.  These are things of which some events are too heavy for me to even share.  These are the things that drive one to their knees in prayer on battlegrounds where champions are made; places where only the Lord can raise you up.  He carries us on eagle’s wings in His very own arms.  My life would take a number of detours in response to some incredibly challenging circumstances that came along later, but God in His mercy kept bringing me back when I would start to drift away from Him and my dream of writing seemed lost and lay on the pile of wasted dreams.  My point is that the good Lord has a way of rewarding those who do not stop seeking Him and don’t give up on Him no matter what curve balls life throws.

In fact, I was shocked to discover He is concerned about our whole being, from our dreams to the things we have given up in circumstances far beyond our control.  For example, when my children were little ones, I was surprised when the Lord decided to navigate me through a second childhood right along with them when we moved to Florida for five years!  Little did I know, this would grow my writing dream and prepare me for becoming a better writer. 

He planted us an hour from Orlando in the heart of Florida, the Disney and beach capital of the world!  God totally amazed me with this chapter in our lives.  Though my husband and I worked harder than ever as the economy was difficult after 911, we also played like Kings and Queens!  For all of the hours I had given up as a child, He gave me memories I will always cherish.  We were able to discover and enjoy many stays at five star resorts; we rode the roller coasters and rides of Disney World; enjoyed season passes to Universal Studios; went to Sea World and the zoo; played on the west coast beaches of Tampa and enjoyed numerous visits to east coast beaches; and went deep-sea fishing.  We hiked through the Ocala National Forest; toured NASA; enrolled our children in the only magnet school in the nation with a space center that would teach them robotics and permit them to ride in a land rover; spent our summers in beautiful swimming pools; and enjoyed life in an upscale, brand new, gated community.  The Lord has also taken me to beautiful places in Canada, Mexico, many regions and about half of the United States, and four islands.  During these years, not only did I continue to read voraciously, I also began blogging and continued to keep hand written prayer journals, and wrote several testimonial study guides—and though I shared them with people who were able to benefit from them, God in His infinite wisdom never led me to publish them.  I still had a long ways to go with what the Lord wanted to do with me.  My writing journey did however continue to strengthen and evolve as I documented many of our adventures.  It would be some time before my husband and I would eventually settle in Kentucky, but when we did, things that Lord had shown me would happen in my writing journey nearly a decade earlier began to happen when I discovered how I could become published as an Indie author.  It was as though the doors swung wide open just for me… and I suppose a great many writers like me.  As far as I was concerned, when the publishing world cracked wide open, I knew it was for me.  The King hadn’t forgotten me after all and had revived dreams I thought might be impossible!

What are your goals with your writing? What do you hope to accomplish?

The Lord has a way of honing your ear toward His voice.  When He allowed me to become a writer, there were some things He made clear to me.  The first goal to always remember:  I’m not doing this for me.  Each book is a gift for my King.  I am always writing for the King of all Kings.  My writing is an act of worship to Him and for Him.  This is something I do for Him as a witness to His glory, His splendor, His Grace, His majestic beauty, His unwavering faithfulness and kindness in the face of adversity, trials and testing.  I hope readers enjoy my books, obviously… but the words I put on the paper I try to write with Him in mind first.  What will He think about my words and the message and how it is conveyed?  Are my words clean and wholesome?  Is the message His?

Picture yourself as a writer walking into the throne room of God with a gift for Him that isn’t of the highest caliber… that’s kind of the vision He has given me of what to avoid.  I want my characters to be real and my stories to be well received, but at the end of the day, my books have to be built on the solid Rock of Christ and told in a way that is pleasing to Him.  He is a holy God and the ultimate authority and creator of the universe.  He deserves our very best. He has taught me to listen first, and then weave His words and His message, and not merely my own, into my writing.  He always tells me what theme, topic, message, or type of book He wants me to write next, just before I finish my current work in progress.  I wrote my first full length novel, and realized it wasn’t good enough for the King.  He said to me, Lisa, you’re still writing YOUR words and not MINE.  OUCH!  I basically had to start over.

I did more research and took the premise of my book to a new level, and did my best to come up with a re-write that was my very best.  After I published it, I realized later there were one or two lines that I wished hadn’t been in the book.  They sort of ruined the joy over my gift to Him for me at that moment.  I thought the King would be disappointed in me.  I was kind of devastated to think that my best effort still had some degree of impurity to it… and probably more than what I had noticed in those couple of lines.  It was then that He spoke to me and said how pleased He was.  He knew I had given my very best effort from what I had been given.  I was stunned.  Absolutely stunned!

Another thing that has tremendously affected my writing goals– He tested me.   After that book was written, re-written, edited, published, God told me to take it down!  Oh, friends, I was so devastated.  I had to un-publish that book!  Of course Amazon and Barnes and Noble customer service reps thought I was absolutely nuts, but I had to obey the Lord’s voice.  So I un-published that book.  The files for the book lay dormant for nearly a full year.  My children were teenagers… one had graduated and I knew that soon, they would all be moving on with their lives.  My babies were growing up.  I felt dead during that time, but I did my best to keep my chin up.  To finally have re-discovered and captured my purpose and passion in life… and then to be void of that purpose was as if I lived that year with a knife in my heart.  My vision was dead and I had no other.  I was mechanically putting one foot in front of the other that year.  I couldn’t even tell anyone that on the inside I felt absolutely just dead.

Finally, God spoke to me at a fine arts youth convention and said I could re-publish the book!  He said: “Now I know your books will never be more important to you than me.”  It was a lightbulb moment!  I had laid the book on the altar of Isaac, though at the time, I didn’t know why.  God was done testing me.  He knew I would obey Him and love Him with my whole heart even if it killed me.

My Daily Goal:  ALWAYS keep Him FIRST.  There are days when I’ve been writing or marketing for eight to twelve hours, teaching school for a great portion of the day, and I crawl into bed and still have an hour of Bible Study ahead of me.  I’m on self-imposed writing deadlines that I frequently choose to lay aside to get some time with the Lord or at least take care of me so that I can go on living for Him.  My writing schedule is pretty rigorous… and I can only tell you that I just want to keep writing for Him, praising Him, and witnessing about Him as long as I have breath in my body.

Thirdly, my goal is to give the proceeds of my books to missions.  I’m following the model of Lydia in the Bible who gave proceeds from the sale of the cloth she made to Paul and Barnabus because the Lord had judged her faithful.  I believe that by joining with God’s missionaries, I will be a book missionary right along with those we are supporting and we will be able to make a difference in people’s lives for Christ.  My books currently help support one evangelist, one adopted child from Africa through Compassion International, and two other missionaries sporadically as income allows.  I have some fairly defined goals about this and am looking forward to seeing what the Lord will do.

Fourthly, I do hope to translate most of my books into French and Spanish to increase my reach.  I would also like to do some audio versions and expand my genre experience to include children’s books, contemporary women’s fiction, and journal publications.  I have a few other surprises planned too as I’m currently working on designing a coloring book and a Victorian paper doll set to go with my Victorian series.

What are the biggest challenges you face as a female Christian author?

As an Indie author, I find it challenging to do my own editing and marketing in addition to the writing.  I find beta readers are absolutely invaluable to our efforts.  We do so much in the process of publishing without a team of publishers and all sorts of departments behind us.  What an Indie author handles is a huge endeavor and absolutely massive undertaking.  I think juggling daily life responsibilities along with writing, editing, and marketing as an Indie author is a tremendous challenge.  I step back often just to remind myself to keep balance and enjoy the journey.  Since I give my proceeds to missions, marketing on no budget is another huge challenge, but the good Lord seems to open doors for me and teaches me ways to market my books that absolutely amaze me.  Finally, there is an unbelievable amount of research that goes into each of my books.  I don’t think Christian Historical Romance writers are taken as seriously as they should be given how much we put into our work.

What can readers look forward to seeing from you in the future?

The Shoemaker is in the final stages and is almost ready for release so I will tell you a little more about this Regency story! I hope it will be a Christmas story readers may enjoy for years to come… and one you can enjoy on a snowy day with a hot cup of tea or cocoa. I got the idea for this book about fourteen days before Christmas. It’s a sweet novel that is under 120 pages long with a theme on God’s mercy. It’s amazing how it has come together. I can’t wait for readers to meet Jorie! It may release in time for Valentine’s Day…

booklisaprysock

 

Follow Lisa on

Facebook, Twitter, or her website!

***

Click here to visit last week’s showcase with Author Lauren Frantz!

Click here for the next author showcase on Melissa Wardwell!

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Enter every week for your chance to win a $25.00 Amazon Gift card!

The winner will be announced and notified via email at the end of the 8 week Women Who Write series, don’t forget to come back next Wednesday for another Christian Author showcase!

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Women Who Write: Laura Frantz

Welcome to week three of the Eight Week Blog Series: Women Who Write. I hope you find this author showcase entertaining and enlightening as we dive into the world of female Christian authors. This series focuses on women who write Christian fiction, their books, and their perspective of the industry.

Gone are the days when women had to hide behind the veil of a male pen name. Though many authors still use pen names today, I think we can all agree we are thankful that women have the freedom to express their art…as women! Being a writer myself, I have to say I am overjoyed at the opportunity to talk with these authors and share their stories with you. So, let’s celebrate the women in fiction who followed their predecessors and continue to pave the way for the rest of us!

Don’t miss the giveaway at the end of the post!

Author Laura Frantz

laura-frantz

Award-winning author Laura Frantz is passionate about all things historical, particularly the 18th-century, and writes her manuscripts in longhand first. Her stories often incorporate Scottish themes that reflect her family heritage. She is a direct descendant of George Hume, Wedderburn Castle, Berwickshire, Scotland, who was exiled to the American colonies for his role in the Jacobite Rebellion of 1715, settled in Virginia, and is credited with teaching George Washington surveying in the years 1748-1750. Frantz lives and writes in a log cabin in the heart of Kentucky.

According to Publishers Weekly, “Frantz has done her historical homework.” With her signature attention to historical detail and emotional depth, she is represented by Janet Kobobel Grant, Literary Agent & Founder, Books & Such Literary Agency of Santa Rosa, California.

Readers can find Laura Frantz at www.laurafrantz.net

 

How did you know you wanted to be a writer?

I was one of those 7 year olds who said she wanted to be a writer without really understanding what that meant. All I knew was that I loved reading and anything having to do with words was like heavenly magic to me.

What are your goals with your writing? What do you hope to accomplish?

Lately I’ve had some friends pass and have given some thought to obituaries. What will be said about me once I move to my real heavenly home? I’m thrilled that I can be called a Christian novelist, among other things, the foremost being a mom and wife. Personally, the highest writing accomplishment is to have been a book missionary, sharing Christ’s hope and love wherever my stories happen to land. Knowing that something I’ve written touches people on a spiritual level just amazes and inspires me to do my very best for Christ.

What are the biggest challenges you face as a female Christian author?

Being taken seriously as a writer of Christian historical romance. I’m involved in some literary circles where genre writers are not looked upon very highly. Many don’t understand that much of inspirational fiction today is quite well done, and often of higher quality than what is generally found in the ABA. The CBA has grown enormously in the past decade. I’m thrilled to be a part of that!

Can you tell us a bit about one of your books?

My latest release, A Moonbow Night, is my most historical novel to date. Romance readers, beware ;). I do include several sweet scenes and promise a happy ever after ending. This book is especially dear to me because it has to do with my hero, Daniel Boone, and my beloved state, Kentucky. My heroine, Tempe, is caught up in the midst of some very turbulent history relating to a little remembered incident in the life of the Boone clan. I set the story in one of my favorite locations, the romantic, very picturesque Cumberland Falls region where the moonbow appears. So hope readers enjoy the story as much as I enjoyed writing it!

What can readers look forward to seeing from you in the future?

I’m deep into edits on a story set in Colonial Williamsburg ca. 1775. Spy theme. Handsome Welsh hero. A heroine by the name of Liberty. Historical fireworks! Releases January 2018.

Take a look at Laura’s book, A Moonbow Night.

lfrantzbookAfter fleeing Virginia, Temperance Tucker and her family established an inn along the Shawnee River. It’s a welcome way station for settlers and frontiersmen traveling through the wild Cumberland region of Kentucke–men like Sion Morgan, a Virginia surveyor who arrives at the inn with his crew looking for an experienced guide. When his guide appears, Sion balks. He certainly didn’t expect a woman. But it is not long before he must admit that Tempe’s skill in the wilderness rivals his own. Still, the tenuous tie they are forming is put to the test as they encounter danger after danger and must rely on each other.

With her signature sweeping style and ability to bring the distant past to vivid life, Laura Frantz beckons readers to join her in a land of Indian ambushes, conflicting loyalties, and a tentative love that meanders like a cool mountain stream.

Click here to find A Moonbow Night on Amazon.

To learn more about Laura, you can visit her on

Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, or her website!

***

Click here to visit last week’s showcase with Author Angela Ruth Strong!

GIVEAWAY!

Enter every week for your chance to win a $25.00 Amazon Gift card!

The winner will be announced and notified via email at the end of the 8 week Women Who Write series, don’t forget to come back next Wednesday for another Christian Author showcase!

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Women Who Write: Angela Ruth Strong

Welcome to week two of the Eight Week Blog Series: Women Who Write. I hope you find this author showcase entertaining and enlightening as we dive into the world of female Christian authors. This series focuses on women who write Christian fiction, their books, and their perspective of the industry.

Gone are the days when women had to hide behind the veil of a male pen name. Though many authors still use pen names today, I think we can all agree we are thankful that women have the freedom to express their art…as women! Being a writer myself, I have to say I am overjoyed at the opportunity to talk with these authors and share their stories with you. So, let’s celebrate the women in fiction who followed their predecessors and continue to pave the way for the rest of us!

Don’t miss the giveaway at the end of the post!

Author Angela Ruth Strong

angela-strongAngela Ruth Strong studied journalism at the University of Oregon and published her first novel, Love Finds You in Sun Valley, Idaho, in 2010. With movie producers interested in her book, she’s rereleased it as part of a new series titled Resort to Love. She also writes romantic suspense for Love Inspired Suspense. This Idaho Top Author and Cascade Award winner started IDAhope Writers to encourage other aspiring authors. She currently lives in Idaho with her husband and three teenagers where she teaches yoga and works as a ticket agent for an airline when not writing.

 

How did you know you wanted to be a writer?

My mom was a writer, and I grew up reading stories about me in magazines like Women’s World. In high school I wrote a story about an experience that happened to me and sent it in to a magazine because I figured, “That’s just what you do, right?” My story was published in American Cheerleader Magazine and I was $100 richer. Though it hasn’t ever been that easy again, there has never been anything else I wanted to do. I went on to study journalism at the University of Oregon, and since I stayed home to start a family, my writing grew up with my kids. First rhyming stories for Hopscotch Magazine then a middle grade series. Now I write the kind of books I’ve always loved to read. Love stories.

What are your goals with your writing? What do you hope to accomplish?

My mission statement is to inspire, create, and encourage hope in myself and others, and that’s why I write Christian fiction. It offers hope. Being that my audience is already Christian (presumably), I’m not writing the hope of the gospel message. I’m digging into the lives of Christian characters to shine a light on different ways we can lose hope even if we say we believe in Jesus. Being a Christian doesn’t solve all our problems. Sometimes it even creates problems. For example, the manuscript I sent to my agent last night has a missionary for a hero, and he mistakenly believes God NEEDS him. When he gets to the point he has nothing left to give, he has to admit he doesn’t trust God to care enough to take care of him if he can’t take care of himself. This is something I’ve battled in my own life, and it’s been a humbling lesson for me to learn. I’m not writing Christian stories to confirm what Christian readers already believe, I’m writing Christian stories to challenge them to continue to grow.

What are the biggest challenges you face as a female Christian author?

As I stated above, I want to keep growing, so I know my writing can always improve, but a frustration I face is an audience who often doesn’t want to grow. It seems many people read Christian fiction because they think it’s safe. If Christian fiction is anything, it should not be safe. It should be thought-provoking and challenging. It should create a burning passion inside us to overcome fears and step out of the boat.

Can you tell us a bit about one of your books?

Finding Love in Park City, Utah is the third book in my Resort to Love series and releases in March. The first book was originally published as Love Finds You in Sun Valley, Idaho in 2010. I was able to get my rights back and reprint it as the first in a series so I could write love stories for the other brothers too. This story is about the youngest Lake brother:

C.J. Lancaster’s job as a tabloid journalist takes her to the Sundance Film Festival to interview an actress. She tries to charm her way past the movie star’s youngest brother-in-law, Sam, and somehow ends up on an “undate” with him. If C.J. were ready to date, the fun-loving veteran would be her first choice, but since she’s still healing from her ex-husband’s affair, she knows it will be safer if she scares her new “friendboy” away.

Sam Lake is intrigued—he’s never had to pursue a woman, and he can’t get C.J. out of his mind. Whether it’s how she likes to eat ice cream in winter or the way she gets his nieces and nephews to gang up on him in a snowball fight, he feels more at home with her than his oversized family. But when his own issues arise, he realizes C.J. might be right about avoiding a relationship with him.

Can the two of them overcome the emotional mountains in their lives to be together, or will they remain a “noncouple” forever?

What can readers look forward to seeing from you in the future?

Besides these rom/coms, I also write romantic suspense. Presumed Dead releases in February from Love Inspired Suspense. 

You can learn more about Angela Ruth Strong by following her on Twitter, Facebook, and visiting her website!

Take a look at her books here!

                                 park-city-cover-as               presumed-dead-cover-as

 

Click here to visit last week’s showcase with Author Dana Pratola or here for next week’s author, Laura Frantz!

GIVEAWAY!

Enter every week for your chance to win a $25.00 Amazon Gift card!

The winner will be announced and notified via email at the end of the 8 week Women Who Write series, don’t forget to come back next Wednesday for another Christian Author showcase!

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Women Who Write: Dana Pratola

Welcome to week one of the Eight Week Blog Series: Women Who Write. I hope you find this author showcase entertaining and enlightening as we dive into the world of female Christian authors. This series focuses on women who write Christian fiction, their books, and their perspective of the industry.

Gone are the days when women had to hide behind the veil of a male pen name. Though many authors still use pen names today, I think we can all agree we are thankful that women have the freedom to express their art…as women! Being a writer myself, I have to say I am overjoyed at the opportunity to talk with these authors and share their stories with you. So, let’s celebrate the women in fiction who followed their predecessors and continue to pave the way for the rest of us!

Don’t miss the giveaway at the end of the post!

Author Dana Pratola

dana-pratola-week-one

Dana is the author of the Descended series among other titles. When given the chance to describe herself to readers, she says:

“God has blessed me with a wonderful husband and three dynamic children, all of whom are destined to make wide, colorful splashes in this world. We share our New Jersey home with three dogs. I have no hobbies to speak of, unless you include writing. I don’t. ”

I asked Dana a few questions, to gain some insight into her perspective on being a female Christian author.

 

How did you know you wanted to be a writer?

It was never a question for me if I wanted to or not, I just “was.” I LOVED to read and wrote my own stories when I was a kid. When I wasn’t writing, I was imagining. I was probably a nutty kid, but the only ones I have to ask are family, and they lie 😉

What are the biggest challenges you face as a female Christian author?

I don’t know if being female has as much to do with it as my writing romance. Men seem to be afraid of romance novels, so I don’t get many readers from the Y pool 😀  The challenge comes when sincere Christians tell me I shouldn’t write this or that because it’s not in the Bible. Let me say, I try to be really thorough when it comes to knowing what is and isn’t Biblical, and I won’t change anything the Bible has to say. I think the trouble comes in when I write something the Bible doesn’t speak on, specifically, this group of men in my Descended series, who have superhuman abilities. The concept is foreign to some minds, and therefore couldn’t possibly be Christian. First, I’ll remind them IT’S FICTION, FOLKS. Secondly, the Bible doesn’t speak on some things, so I feel free to create characters that have superpowers.

What are your goals with your writing? What do you hope to accomplish?

What I hope to do at this point is pull readers in who aren’t necessarily Christian, by giving them something other than the typical sugary sweet stories the Christian genre has offered in the past. Those types of stories are great, but generally geared toward older women who’ve spent most of their lives in church. Which, let me say, IS WONDERFUL. But I don’t want to write just for believers. I want to reach non-believers by giving them thought-provoking stories that also entertain.  I don’t write the sweet, goody-goody characters our parents would have read, and while some avid Christian readers might close one of my books a few pages in when they read about the rescue of child sex-workers, the overwhelming response has been positive.

Can you tell us a bit about one of your books?

A good example would be Descended~JETT, the first in the series. Jett has some interesting powers and hates God, when the story begins. He holds Him responsible for some terrible things that happened in his childhood, but because of those things, he’s dedicated his life to rescuing kids and young adults trapped in sex-trafficking and abuse. Sometimes he kills, and frankly, he enjoys it. Enter Haven. She is a Christian and can’t understand his contempt for God, but in getting to know who Jett is inside, she falls in love with him just as he is, and his heart is softened by her love. He still kills, lol, but… I don’t want to give too much away 😀

What can readers look forward to seeing from you in the future?

I just released the final book of the series, ULRICK, and am working on several novels, one of which focuses on homosexuality. I can expect to be fired at from both sides of the line, but I’ll deal with that when I get there, lol.

Dana’s book, Descended: JETT, is free for a limited time! You can download it here.

descended

To learn more about Dana, follow her on Twitter, Facebook, and Goodreads!

You can also visit her website to check out all the books she has available!

Click here to check out next weeks featured author, Angela Ruth Strong.

GIVEAWAY!

Enter every week for your chance to win a $25.00 Amazon Gift card!

The winner will be announced and notified via email at the end of the 8 week Women Who Write series, don’t forget to come back next Wednesday for another Christian Author showcase!

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