Softball and Author?

Brooke Cox is a
creative and feisty old tomboy and softball player. Last October was her 30th
wedding anniversary to her high school sweetheart, Tim. Their daughter Sara recently married and they proudly have 3 grand doggies. She has been writing or
“making up stories” before she learned how to write. Unfortunately, she didn’t get
serious about writing until after she had her daughter. She spent the previous years working
her way through college. She  still managed to graduate Summa Cum Laude. By the
way, there are days she would love to roll in infield dirt again.
What sparked the story for this novel?
A joke. I used
to joke about how I never fit in with my immediate family. Then I got to
thinking about it. I wanted to reach out to others who didn’t always fit in
either. I wanted them to know the only One we need to worry about pleasing is
Jesus. It went from there.
Share a bit of your journey to
publication. Was it short or long?
L-o-n-g. I
took classes on honing my craft for years, but the most important step I took
toward publication was joining the ACFW.
What would you do if you didn’t write?
I have a
degree in Accounting, but I don’t like doing that. What I love is doing taxes,
so I would probably get back into tax preparation. At one time I wanted to take
the enrolled agent’s test.
What makes you struggle as an author?
How do you handle it?
I struggle
with selling myself. I love the challenge of taking an idea and spinning it out
into a story. But selling that story to a publisher or reader is difficult for
me. First, I pray about it. Second, I read encouraging blogs and book from
other writers. Third, I give myself a little kick in the pants.
Where do you write: In a cave, a
coffeehouse, or a cozy nook?
No, I don’t
really have a place as much as a mood. I can write anywhere as long as I have
music to listen to. Music is my muse.
Do you prefer the creating or editing
aspect of writing? Why?
I love the
creating aspect. I have often said that I believe my being creative is part of
the reason God put me on this plant. And I am a math/science girl-not a grammar
girl!  I’d rather work an equation than
diagram a sentence.
Do you consider yourself a visual
writer? If so, what visuals do you use?
My mind’s eye.
When I write out a scene, I see it in my head as if I were watching a movie. And
I will try to imagine myself actually there. For example, what do I smell or
hear?
What are your top 3 recommendations for
a new writer?
1)  
Give
yourself permission to think outside of the box
2)  
Never
stop learning about or honing your craft
3)  
Join
a writer’s group. I have been in the ACFW for years and have made many
wonderful and supportive friends there.
Then what 3 things would recommend not doing?
1)  
Don’t
ever give up
2)  
Don’t
compare yourself with other writers. You can always learn from them, but their
writing journey is different from yours.
3)  
Don’t
write only to get paid. There are places I write for and don’t receive any
money, but I get my name and work out there.
What’s next for you?
Many things I
hope. I have other book ideas I’m working on. I want to get into speaking, but
I want to have a comedic edge to it. I love being goofy. I’ve had lots of
practice at it. And I want to get into Christian novelties. I have used my
poems as specialty gifts to my friends and they absolutely love them.
Deadly Doll
Adventurous twelve-year old Brooksie discovered a hidden
room in her grandparent’s attic. She opened up an old hat box and found her
mother’s favorite childhood doll wrapped up inside. Brooksie’s
great-grandfather sent it from Alaska and it was believed to have burned in the
trash pile years ago. After showing it to her father, he takes it from her. A
few days later he was murdered and the doll becomes a faded memory until it
reappeared six years later after a freak accident. What was it about the doll
that people kept hiding it? Could finding the doll have played a part in her
dad’s murder? If the doll had remained hidden would he still be alive? Brooksie
and her best friend Darlene delve deep into the doll mystery which has them
learning about a past that Brooksie never knew existed.
Along the way, Brooksie’s thirst for adventure and
acceptance has the girls stumbling on the edge of danger. What shocking family
secrets might she find and could they change her life? Will she finally
understand why God made her so different from the rest of her family and will
it draw her closer to Him? Can Brooksie finally accept who she is?

What If You Could Have a Conversation With Your 23 Year Old Self?

An interview with James L. Rubart by Allen Arnold


I met James L. Rubart back in 2009 and we became friends almost instantly. I had a hand in shaping three of his novels, Soul’s Gate, Memory’s Door, and Spirit Bridge, but his latest is one I’m discovering for the first time just like most of you. 

So was excited when he asked me to interview him on Novel Rocket for the just released, The Five Times I Met Myself. First, a bit about the story and then we’ll dive into my interview.

What if you met your twenty-three-year-old 
self in a dream? What would you say?

                
Brock Matthews’ once promising life is unraveling. His coffee company. His marriage.


So when he discovers his vivid dreams—where he encounters his younger self—might let him change his past mistakes, he jumps at the chance. The results are astonishing, but also disturbing.


Because getting what Brock wants most in the world will force him to give up the one thing he doesn’t know how to let go . . . and his greatest fear is that it’s already too late.

Q The Five Times I Met Myself is your seventh novel, James. Does it get old? Seeing another novel come out?

Not even close. It’s still a rush to see that box of books show up. I posted on my Facebook author page the other day that I feel like George McFly in Back to the Future at the end of the movie when his book shows up in the mail and Lorraine says, “Your first novel!” And this novel is pretty special to me.

What about this one makes it so special?

All of my novels contain a lot of me in them, but this one more than most. Close friends will definitely see things about me in there that will make them smile, along with serious elements that will hopefully make people think. 

Plus, a slice of trivia for you, the story I tell in the novel of how, Brock my protagonist and his wife met, is the exact story of how Darci and I met back in 1984.

Did you have a theme in mind as you wrote it?

The desire in my mind the whole time I wrote the novel to give people hope for the future no matter the choices they’ve made in the past. I wanted to tell a story that shows how to escape the continual cycle of regret we often put ourselves through and into the freedom God wants for all of us.  


What early opposition did you encounter to your love of writing and how did you get past that?

I fell in love with writing when I took a journalism class in eighth grade. At the end of that year, when the journalism teacher asked who wanted to be part of the school paper in ninth grade, I almost sprained my arm I raised it so quick. 

Wasn’t chosen. Made me believe the lie that I had no talent. I buried my desire to write for twenty five years. It was Jesus and my wife going on a three day fast that finally showed me the way to step out of the shadows and pursue the dream.

When you ask God what he thinks of your writing, what do you hear him say?

That’s such a great question, Allen because when I ask God that question, he says, “This is fun, isn’t it? You and Me. Creating stories together. Writing the stories you’d love to read yourself.”  

When I hear that, it takes all the pressure off. It makes awards and sales figures and deadlines fade away and I remember why I write.  I love the feeling of being exactly where I’m supposed to be, the place closest to the deep desires of my heart, playing with words on a page. 

Q  Who is your favorite character from LOST? Why? 

Love Jack, love Sawyer even more, but John Locke wins. He’s the man of faith, he’s the one that has gone through so much pain and yet chooses to believe anyway. He’s resolute and has a fire that doesn’t come out often, but is always there simmering beneath the surface. He continues to grow, stretch himself, push into the mystery. 

What’s the book or books that haven’t been written yet, that you can’t write, but that you want most to read? 

At the end of the gospel of John, he says, “And there are also many other things which Jesus did, which if they were written in detail, I suppose that even the world itself would not contain the books that would be written.” 

I read a little bit of the gospels every day and when I finish John, I start over. Every time I find myself saying, I want to read those other stories. But I’m not the one to write them. Anyone? 

Are you excited about the new Star Wars movie coming out? 

Yes and no. Yes, because I’m a huge Star Wars fan. No, because I have no idea what it’s about. I don’t want to know anything. I want it all to be fresh when I get to the theater. Probably comes from a phone call I got back when Return of the Jedi came out. 

My best friend at the time called me up and said he’d just been to the movie. I asked him how it was, if he thought I’d like it. He said, “It was great! Darth Vader repents!” No, I’ve never forgiven him for that.

I’ve already seen exceptionally strong reviews for The Five Times I Met Myself. Did you expect people to resonate with this book as deeply as they seem to be doing?

My wife, Darci isn’t a big reader of novels, but she has an innate sense of people and stories, whether it’s on TV, in movies, or in novels. So when she said The Five Times I Met Myself had replaced Rooms as her favorite of my novels, I took notice. 

That told me there was a good chance others would like it as well. I’ve already had readers e-mail me telling how powerfully the book has set them free from past regrets and that’s the greatest feeling in the world.

The best way for people to stay in touch with you? 

Probably the best way is to head for my website and sign up for my newsletter. 

Any final advice for people not as far along the writing path?

I believe that in God’s way of looking at life there is only definition of failure: You didn’t try. When we shed this mortal coil, the money, awards, reviews, recognition that comes from writing won’t matter for even a breath. 

What will matter is God saying to us, “I gave you talents, maybe not as many as the other guy. Not ten or five, maybe just one. What did you do with it?” And when we answer, “I tried,” His response will be, “Well done.” 

James L. Rubart is 28 years old, but lives trapped inside an older man’s body. He thinks he’s still young enough to water ski like a madman and dirt bike with his two grown sons, and loves to send readers on journeys they’ll remember months after they finish one of his stories. He’s the best-selling, Christy, INSPY, and RT Book Reviews award winning author of seven novels as well as a professional speaker. During the day he runs his marketing company which helps businesses, authors, and publishers make more coin of the realm. He lives with his amazing wife on a small lake in eastern Washington. More at www.jameslrubart.com

Interview with Debut Author Shellie Arnold

Edie here. Today I’m excited to introduce you to a new writer on the publishing scene. Her book is a wonderful read and her personal story is an encouragement to us all!

Shellie Arnold is a
wife of 29+ years and a home school mother of 3. She believes every marriage
can flourish if both parties listen to God, and Living Happily Even After is
just one obedient-to-God choice away. Shellie’s blog and other resources can be
found at www.shelliearnold.com
where she shares what she’s learned the hard way about building a godly
marriage.    

What sparked the story for this novel? Three things: First, I’ve wanted to help marriages
since I was in the second or third grade and knew my parents’ marriage would
end. Second, I’ve found myself in both Laurie and Pierce’s shoes. Third, after
God healed my brain (which you’ll see below) He gave me images in my head of
several scenes from the novel. I couldn’t not
write it.
Share a bit of your journey to publication. Was it
short or long?
My journey to
publication has been very long. I attended my first writers conference in
January, 1994, and dabbled at writing for many years. I worked toward writing
non-fiction until 2002 when I became ill. On May 18, 2005, God healed my brain
and turned my head to fiction. I said, “That’s not what we were doing.” God’s
response was, “That’s what we’re doing now.” So, I started learning about
fiction in 2006/2007 as a total newbie after being out of the industry for
several years.
What would you do if you didn’t write? Ha! Refurbish houses. It’s a dream of mine. I love
power tools (I have my own table saw, grinder, and sander), love heavy work,
love getting dirty and turning something ugly into something beautiful. I want
to refurbish homes and rent them out to families in need.
What makes you struggle as an author? How do you handle it? On the outside: time. My time
is packed and stretched beyond its limits. I have several projects going at
once—both fiction and non-fiction. On the inside: time. I fight feeling pulled
in too many directions. I’m an introvert, so I recharge only with uninterrupted
solitude—which I never get, because I’ve home schooled for over 20 years. How
do I handle those? I am constantly fussing at—ahem, make that having
discussions with God about my priorities, time management, and how to stay on
track with what He wants me to do in a given moment. I don’t trust my judgment
on priorities, especially during times of high stress (which is most of the
time).
Where do you write: In a cave, a coffeehouse, or a
cozy nook?
I write wherever I can. I
have a corner in our front porch I’ve turned into a “pretend office,” sometimes
I go to the library, or I often work in my truck if I’m running errands and
waiting on a child. Parking lots are great places to get work done. I do a lot
of writing in my truck.
(Do you have a photo of your
writing space we could share with our readers? If so, can you send it to me in
a jpeg file?)
Do you prefer the creating or editing aspect of
writing? Why?
That’s a hard
question! Creating has its own joys and anguish—the creating, yes, getting on
paper what you see in your head. But editing (for me) is kind of a fun reminder
of what I’ve written, and I see it as the opportunity to improve what’s on the
page. I don’t resent editing. I enjoy finding a word, sentence, or paragraph I
can improve, then experiencing that feeling of “Yes!” when I know I’ve made it
better.
Do you consider yourself a visual writer? If so, what visuals do you use? You’re going to
laugh, but I had to Google “What is a visual writer?” to answer this question.
And, of course, Google is always right, (LOL) so here goes. I’m definitely a
visual writer. I’ve been told my writing is vivid and has a literary flair. To
me, I’m just telling the story as I see and feel it in my head. To me the
feeling is paramount; the seeing must support the feeling conveyed or I’ve
failed in that sentence/paragraph/scene.
What are your top 3 recommendations for a new writer? Wow. The best advice I was ever given came from the
president of the agency which now represents me. Years ago I was told “Your
writing isn’t good enough. You’re not ready.” That was an owie (is that a
word?) but it pushed me to be a better writer instead of settling for my craft
level at that time. Second, I’d say, read, read, read, then read more great
authors who write what you want to write. Third, get into a fabulous critique
group like Word Weavers International at word-weavers.com. I would be nowhere
without Word Weavers and attending writers conferences.
Then what 3 things would you recommend not doing? Don’t throw up during your first critique! LOL (like
I almost did because I was so nervous). Not kidding. First, don’t resent good
critique, embrace it—one little idea
could be the turning point to great improvement of your writing. Second, never
stop reading. Never, ever, ever. And third…don’t stop placing your talent,
calling, and craft before God. You’re a steward, not the source. Don’t stop
seeking the Source.

What’s next for you? Oh, boy. The second book in The Barn Church series
will be released in October 2016. I’m working on book 3 now, and also my first
stand-alone novel. I’m about to begin doing free online webinars on various
marriage topics and will be releasing my pre-recorded seminars, which will be
available for purchase through my web site. I’m also working on my first
non-fiction book regarding sexuality in marriage. I have a different take on
the subject than others I’ve seen, and I can’t WAIT for that book to be
published. 

by Shellie Arnold

What happens when the
miracle God gives you threatens to destroy your marriage?

Laurie Crane is happily married. And she is usually able to overlook her
husband’s moments of quiet sadness. If only God would give them a child …

Pierce wants a child as badly as Laurie and has spent years praying alongside
her. But he has no idea that a “yes” from God will unearth
long-buried memories and bring their marriage to the brink of catastrophe.

In The Barn Church trilogy’s first novel, “The Spindle Chair”,
Shellie Arnold explores what happens when “happily ever after”
becomes more than one couple can handle.

An Interview with Kimberly Rose Johnson

Kimberly Rose Johnson

KIMBERLY ROSE JOHNSON writes sweet inspirational romance. She married her college sweetheart 25 years ago. Her hobbies include reading, watching chick flicks, playing the piano, long walks with her hubby and their yellow lab, drinking coffee and eating dark chocolate. 


Kimberly holds a degree in Behavioral Science and is a member of ACFW. 



What sparked the story for this novel? 

Back in 2011 I took the Amtrak to Leavenworth, Washington and while I was there I visited a bed and breakfast. The B&B sparked something in me and a story began to grow in my head. A few months later, I stopped working on my series that takes place in Leavenworth, WA and wrote Island Refuge. 

Island Dreams is the second book in my Wildflower B&B Romance Series. This book continues the story of Zoe and Nick who we met in Island Refuge as well as introduces the new heroine Piper Hunt. When I started the series I had no idea there would be a story about a woman who wanted to develop a resort on the island. 

I knew I needed to pitch a series, so I brainstormed with my husband and we came up with the main story idea for Island Dreams and the third book Island Christmas. My husband is the best at brainstorming. 

Share a bit of your journey to publication. Was it short or long? 

I’d say a little long for my taste, but in reality it was only six years from the time I started writing to when I signed my first contract with Harlequin’s Love Inspired Heartsong Presents line. 

What would you do if you didn’t write? 

I would be teaching piano lessons. I taught piano lessons for eighteen years and stopped the school year after my first book released. Who knows, maybe I’ll take it up again some day. I taught my eighteen-year-old son to play this past summer before he headed off to college a few weeks ago. He’s majoring in music and is required to know how to play the piano. It’s been a challenge at times to be both mom and teacher, but I love it! 

What makes you struggle as an author? How do you handle it? 

I’m not sure. There are a lot of challenges for me as an author. For example, my last contract had very tight deadlines. I wrote half of the third book in this series in just two weeks time due to a scheduling issue with my editor. It was the biggest challenge I have ever faced as a writer. What got me through though was lots of people praying for me and grit. I refuse to fail at something I put my mind to. I set a daily word count goal that I had to write in order to finish the book on time and still give me time to edit and proofread. 

Where do you write: In a cave, a coffeehouse, or a cozy nook? 

LOL I write in my home. I sit either at my desk or in a recliner with my laptop. I like complete silence when I write, so writing in a public place doesn’t work well for me.  

Do you prefer the creating or editing aspect of writing? Why? 

Definitely the creating aspect is more fun for me. I love seeing the story play out in my mind for the very first time. Editing is where the real work comes in and that’s not fun to me. 

Do you consider yourself a visual writer? 

If so, what visuals do you use? I don’t really know what that means. I do see the story play out in my head if that’s what you mean, but I don’t use visual aids like pictures of celebrities. 

What are your top 3 recommendations for a new writer? 

Go to writer’s conferences, learn the craft and make friends, have patience, and keep your priorities straight. 

Then what 3 things would recommend not doing? 

Don’t spend years and years on the same manuscript. I know there are people who would disagree with this, but I don’t think working on the same manuscript every day for ten years is a good use of time. Yes, for a few, those manuscripts have been published, but generally speaking it’s not a good use of time.
Don’t quite your day job. For most of us writing doesn’t pay well. I mentioned that I don’t teach piano anymore, but when the Heartsong line ended, I needed income, so I have a new “day job” now.
Don’t let the constructive criticism of other writers throw you off path. Learn from what they say, or if it’s way off base toss it and move on. Writing is a tough business and being highly sensitive only hurts you. 

What’s next for you? 

Island Christmas, the third book in Wildflower B&B Romance releases in October. I’m thrilled to have a Christmas book as part of this series.
Insert your book’s back cover copy here: Piper Hunt arrives on Wildflower Island to develop family property into an upscale resort knowing this may be her last chance to prove her worth to her father. With grandiose ideas, she soon finds herself at odds with adjoining property owner, Chase Grayson. As she begins to appreciate the simplicity of the island, she struggles to maintain balance between her father’s wishes, preserving the natural beauty of the island, and her attraction for Chase. 

Chase Grayson values the peace and quiet of Wildflower Island. That serenity is threatened when Piper Hunt discloses her plans to develop an upscale resort that not only butts up to his property, but will turn the island into a busy tourist destination. In fighting her plans, he also finds himself fighting his attraction to her. If he doesn’t stop her plans for the resort, his life will be altered forever. If he succeeds, it means he will never see her again. Can he live with either choice?

* * * * * * * * * * 
Ronie Kendig is an award-winning, bestselling
author who grew up an Army brat. After twenty-plus years of marriage, she and
her hunky hero husband have a full life with their children, a Maltese Menace,
and a retired military working dog in beautiful Northern Virginia. 
She can be
found at www.roniekendig.com,
on Facebook (www.facebook.com/rapidfirefiction),
Twitter (@roniekendig), Goodreads (www.goodreads.com/RonieK), Instagram (@kendigronie), and Pinterest (http://www.pinterest.com/roniek/)!
Ronie’s upcoming release, Falcon,
received 4.5 stars from RT Book Reviews: Kendig blows away
fans…Falcon is a must-read!