Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Renee Blare Welcomes in a New Release!

Smack, smack! Waaaaaaaah! We have a new little baby! That's right. Our own Renee Blare has a brand spanking new release! We're all SO proud of this new addition to our Diamond Mine nursery! And since I can't wait to lay hands on that baby, let's mask up and dive in!

You can have a ecopy of this new bundle of joy for free! Leave your name and email in the comments section for a chance to win!

PT: Renee! Another new baby? Wow, what an accomplishment. This one has been christened, Racing Hearts. Give us a peek under that blanket. What genre would you say this one falls under?

RB: Racing Hearts is a bit different than my other books. I write suspense and mystery with a touch of romance for the most part, but this book would be labeled more Romance and Women’s Fiction. It does have some suspense and mystery in it but that’s not driving forces in the story.

PT: I know it is part of the Love is Series. They are based on certain Bible verses. What's this one based on?

RB:  In 1 Corinthians chapter 13, verses 7, we find an aspect of love. Within that verse, we find the words, “always trust” or “believes all things,” depending on your translation. This book explores that very thing and how important it is to the foundation of love in a relationship, especially when faced with the unexpected.

PT:  It is true that love is not just an emotion. It's action. So where did you get the premise of the book?

RB:  Racing Hearts is actually based on real life experience. I borrowed a slice of my own past and put the pen to the page. I changed characters, time, and space, but a lot of what you read in Racing Hearts is taken from my own heart and life as well as my husband’s. Not all, of course, and that’s what makes writing fun!

PT:  Really?! That makes the story even more touching! This is your fourth published book and there is rumblings of a fifth. How has being a writer changed your life?

RB:  It’s made it much busier, but amazing. I love the stories that the Lord gives me to write. I just wish I had more time to write them down. Promotion is a nightmare! As if I had time to write, marketing? Are you kidding? I’m a pharmacy manager and my time isn’t my own, but those I serve. But I know God has a plan for my writing, and I’ll continue to trust Him not me.

PT: What’s next for author Renee Blare?

RB: You mean AFTER Racing Hearts? Believe it or not, I have another release in November. The 18th to be exact. Crazy Woman Christmas, the first Christmas story I’ve ever written, is due out! 

PT:  Ah! So it's true! There's a fifth coming out. And so soon!

RB:  I can’t wait. I’m as excited about Crazy Woman Christmas as I am about Racing Hearts but for different reasons. Racing Hearts is such a personal story, and it’s close to my own heart because of it. Crazy Woman Christmas is special for other reasons. It’s set in the Big Horn Mountains of Wyoming and involves two people as different as night and day. How can they connect? It’s Christmas!

PT:  And we know anything is possible at Christmas! One last thing. I always love to ask five things of each author that have zippo to do with writing. So let's hear it, Renee. Go!

RB:  Five things but NOT about writing? Mmm, that’s a tough one. Let’s see…

-                      I love to hunt but won’t take an animal unless I know I can bring it down with one shot. I hunt with a .243 Remington Model 700.
-                      I’ve had twelve surgeries that I can remember, and many more I can’t, but my husband still has me beat at thirty-seven.
-                      I’ve been a pharmacist for eighteen years and worked in institutional, hospital, nursing home, clinical, and retail pharmacy. I’ve also worked for the Indian Health Service and the Veterans Health Administration.
-                      I love to take pictures of my Wyoming home. In fact, a relaxing day for me is taking a drive and doing exactly that, rain, snow, sleet, or shine.
-                      I don’t take anything for granted. Why? A fire destroyed most everything I loved when I was very young. Later, after I was grown, I woke to my husband at the bottom of the stairs. When we left Wyoming, I realized too late what I’d had outside my door. So . . . I’ve learned the hard way that “things” don’t matter, my strength is an illusion, and the future’s not a given.

PT: There's a wealth of knowledge in that last one, and I can visualize a lot of story starters from the others! Wow, it's been an extreme pleasure to visit you with your new little arrival. How about a little pic of that lil' dumpling?

Don't forget to leave your name/email address in the comment section to be entered to win a ecopy of Racing Hearts!

Bio:  Renee Blare has been buried in a book for as long as she can remember. Raised in Louisiana and Wyoming, she started writing poetry in junior high school and that, as they say, was that. After having her son, a desire to attend pharmacy school sent her small family to the University of Wyoming in Laramie. She’s been counting pills ever since. While writing’s her first love, well, after the Lord and her husband, she also likes to fish and hunt as well as pick away on her classical guitar.
Nestled in the foothills of the Wind River Mountains, she lives in Wyoming with her husband, crazy dogs, and ornery cat. She serves her beautiful small town as a pharmacist while penning her stories about struggling Christians as they travel along the journeys of their lives. She loves to interact with readers and invites you check out her website, blog, and social media.

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Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Interview with Barbara Britton and a Giveaway!

It's my pleasure to welcome the wonderfully talented Barbara Britton on our blog. I met Barbara for the first time at the recent American Christian Fiction Writer's conference in Nashville. Barbara will be offering a giveaway (US only) of one print edition of Providence: Hannah's Journey to one lucky commentor.

Barbara M. Britton was born and raised in the San Francisco Bay Area, but currently lives in Wisconsin and loves the snow—when it accumulates under three inches. She writes Christian Fiction for teens and adults. Barb has a nutrition degree from Baylor University but loves to dip healthy strawberries in chocolate. Barb kicks off her Tribes of Israel series in October with the release of “Providence: Hannah’s Journey.” Barb is a member of the American Christian Fiction Writers, the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators, Romance Writers of America and Wisconsin Romance Writers of America. 

Tracey: You write books set in Ancient Israel. Can you tell us why you decided to set your stories in this fascinating time period? Also, tell us a bit about how you research your stories.

Barbara: Providence was the fourth book I wrote. I had set stories in Wisconsin, Alaska, and Hawaii previously. Israel fell into place because my Tribes of Israel series is set in Old Testament times and the tribes settled in what we know as Israel.
I research my stories by reading the Bible and checking out books from the library. I have had friends vacation in Israel, so I look at their pictures, especially at the old ruins. The internet is great for getting a feel of the topography.

Tracey: Can you tell us how your faith journey is reflected in your books?

Barbara: I taught elementary chapel for many years at a local Christian school. My husband, who is an ordained minister, would tell me that there is a reason every story is in the Bible and to share with the kids the theology behind the story. I definitely want to write an interesting story, but I also want to share what I have learned about that Bible. The bigger picture, God’s redemptive plan, shows up in my novels. I hope readers see God in a grand way without my being preachy. I’ll leave the preaching to my husband.  
I became a Christian in elementary school. I felt the love and peace of God and I didn’t have to be afraid of death and the unpredictable world. I hope readers see how awesome God is in my books.

Tracey: What is the one thing readers don't know about you?

Barbara: I got my sales experience in Campfire Girls selling mints and Almond Roca. My mom would take us out on Saturday to retirement communities and we would unload a ton of goodies.

Tracey: Can you share your writing process with us? 

Barbara: I didn’t grow up with computers and I never learned to type, so I write all my stories on a notepad before hunt-and-pecking them into a computer. I have a fabulous critique partner, Betsy, who goes over my chapters and sends them back with ideas on how to improve the story. She is very honest about what works and what needs more attention. When I think my story is as good as I can make it, I send it out to beta-readers for more feedback. Then it goes off to my editor at Pelican, or to whoever wants to read it.

Tracey: What distracts you the most when you're trying to write? 

Barbara: My busy life is a distraction. I try to balance my time between writing, ministry, and family. Not necessarily in that order. I’ve always been active in my son’s lives. I was a basketball, football, forensics, and youth group mom. I loved being involved with my kids. Now that my sons are older, I still want to travel and visit them and make sure they’re eating well. I also want to do my part in my church family too. But there are only so many hours in the day, so I have to prioritize my time. I have to say “no” more often to jobs that are easily done by others, so I can follow my passions and be faithful to what I believe God is calling me to do. I’m a cancer survivor and I have to fit my follow-up care into my schedule. Each new day God gives me is a gift.
I think distractions will always be a struggle. It’s a good thing I can multi-task.

Tracey: What's next with for Barbara Britton? 

Barbara: I feel blessed to have my debut novel launching this month. Book Two “Building Benjamin: Naomi’s Journey” comes out this spring. I just finished a third Biblical Romantic Adventure, and an old historical of mine finaled in a contest recently. I am going over that manuscript. This is where the multi-tasking comes in handy—multi-tasking with chocolate breaks.

Thank you for having me on your blog today. I am thrilled to share my writing life and Hannah’s journey with you. 

As the sole daughter of the chief priest, Hannah is publicly shamed when the prophet of Israel refuses to heal her.
Determined to restore her family’s honor, Hannah escapes Jerusalem in hopes of finding the prophet and convincing him to heal her deformities. Gilead, a young Hebrew guard sympathetic to her plight, willingly accompanies her. On their way, they are captured by a band of raiders.
Hannah is forced to serve in the household of the commander of the Aramean army, an officer who is in need of healing himself. Meanwhile Gilead is being used as sword practice for the Aramean soldiers.
Hannah must act fast to save Gilead and herself. But survival means coaxing the prophet of Israel to heal an enemy commander.

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