Tell us a bit about yourself? I am what you call a “Yankee transplant”. My dad’s job brought us to North Carolina when I was 16. Let me just tell you, we experienced culture shock when we moved from our small, dairy farming community in NY to the big city of Charlotte. My husband is a native Charlottean and we’ve been married for 26 years. He always jokes that I had to travel 750 miles south to find a husband! But we do disagree during football season. If you know anything about NFL team rivalries, well, you’ll understand when I say that he is a Washington fan and I’m a Dallas Cowboys fan. ‘Nuff said!
What is your book about? My story is a modern-day marriage of convenience, filled with second chances, redemption and hope. My two main characters fell in love eight years ago, but now the hero needs my heroine’s help to keep his company. Nate broke Meredith’s heart 8 years ago and he still regrets the way he treated her. Meredith is an accountant who is sent to his company to conduct a forensic audit. They marry but face a lot of obstacles, old hurts and misunderstandings along the way.
Why did you write it? I love stories of second chances, redemption and forgiveness. And three years ago when I wrote this story, I’d been watching a lot of Christmas movies. But I’d also been watching Married at First Sight. I had an idea for a Christmas story too, and thought, why not try? I could combine both these ideas to have a little different twist on a Christmas romance.
If you had a pet unicorn, what color would it be and what would you name it?
I never thought about having a pet unicorn, I’m doing good just to have a cat! But if I did, I suppose it would be a sea-green blue and I’d name it Charlie.
Do you need background noise when you write? It really depends. Sometimes I need it completely quiet. Other times, I like to have the tv on, with the volume turned down. And sometimes, I’ll listen to country music. It really depends on whether or not the characters are talking to me or if I need some additional inspiration.
What's your writing process like? Well, first I have to figure out who my main characters are, what are their occupations, I write out what they look like, how old they are (I’ll even find pictures online of people who look like what I envision my characters look like). Then I’ll interview them, find out what is their black moment event – this is the event that shaped who they are as an adult. Then I have to talk through the story, to get a general idea of where the story is going. I’m a plotter, I definitely have to write out the general story outline, along with the plot points on a huge post-it note and hang it on the wall facing me. And then I’ll set up the story outline in Scrivener, the writing software that’s been invaluable to me. Finally, I’ll write. I try not to edit as I write since I just want to get the story down.
Editing comes much later! If I think of something I forgot, I’ll jot it down on either in the notes section of Scrivener or a blank notepad I keep handy.
Fun fact about the book/character. In The Mistletoe Contract, my 2 main characters visit a small town called McAdenville, NC in the book. This is an actual small town about 40 minutes south of Charlotte. It is a town filled with Christmas spirit. The entire town is decorated for Christmas and then thousands of people from miles around visit the town – for free - to look at all the Christmas lights, the displays, take pictures as well as listen to Christmas music and sit on Santa’s lap.
Do you read as much as you write? Oh my goodness, I’m always reading! I read probably as much as I write. I have to do this in order to replenish my words as well as relax after a long day of working my full-time job and then writing at night.
Bible verse: Psalm 91:1-2
Book – just one? Persuasion by Jane Austen and Gone with the Wind by Margaret Mitchell
Cartoon – I’m going old school with Bugs Bunny
Cereal – not a big fan of cereal but I like Kashi Heart to Heart Warm Cinnamon
Color - pink
Movie – again, just one? LOL – Comedy: Galaxy Quest starring Tim Allen and Jane Eyre, starring Joan Fontaine and Orson Welles (1944)
Song – this usually depends on what I’m writing and where I get my inspiration from for the story. Right now, it’s Keith Urban’s Somebody Like You and Randy Houser’s, Goodnight Kiss
Where can we find you online?
It's release day! Join me as we talk to Laurie Wood and discuss her newest release.
Tell us a bit about yourself? I’m a military spouse to a serving officer in the Royal Canadian Air Force, and we have two adult children with special needs who still live with us. I write inspirational romantic suspense and also historical fiction, although I’m not yet published in historical fiction. And I’m a dog and cat rescuer and avid knitter/spinner.
What is your book about? Northern Protector (Heroes of the Tundra Book 2) is about the RCMP officer who was mauled by a polar bear in Book 1, Northern Deception. It’s about his recovery from PTSD and his painkiller addiction as he’s coming back to work and trying to solve the murder of a teenage girl at a summer party up in Churchill, Manitoba which sits on the border of the Canadian arctic. It actually takes place over about eight days, so that I could have that ticking clock going. But he does manage to fall further in love with his friend Joy Gallagher, who’s the head ER nurse in town.
Why did you write it? Well, it’s the sequel to Book 1. (smiles) But I mainly wrote it so I could tackle three subjects: PTSD among first responders, painkiller addiction which is also common among first responders who often have work-related injuries and can get hooked easily on prescription drugs, and violence against teenage girls.
These are all big topics, but I tried to give some hope to anyone with a family member, or someone who might be suffering from these things themselves. And to give them the reassurance that it takes guts to ask for help, but the help is out there if you reach out for it. I don’t like to see people suffer needlessly.
Plus, I hope it’s just a plain, good old police procedural/mystery/and love story!
If you had a pet unicorn, what color would it be and what would you name it? If I had a pet unicorn, it would be purple with pink and silver mane and tail and I’d probably call it Athena or Aphrodite because I loved the Greek gods and goddesses of mythology when I was in school.
Do you need background noise when you write? I use noise-canceling headphones because everyone in the family is working from home. I’ve just made playlists for all three of my books, so that’s been fun and I’ll be putting out their links to Spotify on my website soon. But I use them when I’m editing or proofreading to get me back into the “feel” of the book. I need quiet when I’m actually getting new words down.
What's your writing process like? I use a binder for each book I write. I’m old school that way, I’ve never gotten the hang of using Scrivener. I do deep character sketches for my characters and I can’t start writing the book until I really feel I know them. They change and grow as I interview them, find photos I like that give me the “feel” of them or the look of what I’m imagining, and then when I feel like I’m hitting the centre of my conflict I’ll start writing.
I also am a fan of outlining the main plot points so I have something to aim towards. It just saves time and time’s a premium asset. I wish I could write faster than I do, so that’s why I outline. I may change the plot points, but I have an idea of the beginning, middle crisis moment, and how the book will end before I start writing.
Fun fact about Northern Protector: the original heroine was Sarah Thorvald from Northern Deception, who’s the Conservation Officer who tranquilizes the polar bear that attacks Constable Ben Koper. I thought she seemed to be the likeliest heroine, so I wrote pages and pages on her and her backstory, I wrote the beginning 20K of the book and it was just horrible. I hated it. I wanted to give up the whole story, because I just couldn’t get the two characters to mesh or fall in love or even get a spark between them.
And I didn’t know what was wrong with me until I had lunch with an author friend, who told me she’d had that happen to her on a book, and she suggested I just toss out Sarah and start over from scratch. So, I started reading Northern Deception over again, and came across ONE sentence where I mentioned Ruby Gallagher (who owns the town’s main Café and store) having a daughter and granddaughter–no names to the characters. And bam! I had the heroine’s name, her occupation, etc. all jump into my head within an hour and I’d sketched out her character backstory. I was away to the races and never looked back. She and Ben fell in love so fast I had to do re-writes to back them off, lol.
Bible verse: Romans 8:38 “For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
Book: The Winter Sea by Susanna Kearsley
Cartoon: I don’t watch cartoons
Cereal: Lucky Charms because my birthday’s St. Patrick’s Day and my mother used to buy them for me on my birthday. Otherwise, Cheerios, if I had to pick.
Movie: Last of the Mohicans (remake with Daniel Day-Lewis)
Song: Theme from Outlander
Where can we find you online?
To celebrate her new release, Laurie is giving away a complete e-book set of her Heroes of the Tundra series! For your chance to win, enter here.
Constable Ben Koper is still healing from the polar bear attack that almost killed him. Nine months after it happened, he returns to Churchill, Manitoba, a changed man—scarred more than just physically. PTSD is his new shadow, haunting his every step, and he can’t seem to kick the pain meds he shouldn’t need anymore. He’s determined to prove, to himself and his colleagues, that he’s still up to his job. Failure isn’t an option.
ER nurse Joy Gallagher spent the entire last winter texting with a healing Constable Koper. What started as friendly concern from this single mother has grown into full-fledged romantic feelings, and she’s eager to level up their friendship and introduce him to the idyllic comfort of small-town life. Until a teenager is murdered at a summer party. The crime is strikingly similar to the cold case murder of Joy’s foster sister, stirring old trauma Joy has never fully dealt with.
When another victim is snatched in town, Ben and Joy must confront their own demons, and join forces to track down an elusive killer. The race to rescue the next victim before it’s too late will test Ben and Joy to their limits. Can they survive their encounter with this heinous killer, or will the past destroy them?
Welcome to my blog for this stop of the 2020 Christmas Round-Robin.
Here's how it works: At each author’s blog post, you will find a question that can be answered by checking out the free Amazon preview of their book. Provide the answer here. Note: You must answer the questions for every author in the round-robin to be considered to win the $350 first place, $250 second place or $150 third place Amazon gift cards. [Note: these prizes are USD values. If you are not a U.S. resident, you will get a gift card from the Amazon store for your country; however, it will be valued at these USD amounts.) At the end of my post is a link to the next blog, who will provide a link to the next blog, etc., to the very end.
Nothing is more embarrassing than Grace Dixon’s dog peeing on the new mailman. Except maybe when she thinks she’s hit the handsome man with her SUV.
When he’s assigned to cover an injured co-worker’s route, Evan McDonald assumes it will be like any other mail route he’s done. But then he meets Grace Dixon, and he’s thrust into total Christmas chaos.
As Grace spreads the love of God and Christmas cheer to her community, she encourages Evan to join her. The two grow close as Evan learns about giving of not just possessions but of time and grace, setting him back on the path to God.
Grace is a force to be reckoned with, though, and when she shows compassion in a situation that Evan disagrees with, he realizes he might not be the right man for her. Will Grace’s lifestyle of giving overwhelm him, or can he muster some of that grace and compassion she so easily spreads?
I have previously published three romantic suspense novels. Giving Grace is my first contemporary romance and I loved writing it. I hope you love reading it! It was a challenge for me to switch from romantic suspense to romance. Usually, if I get stuck in the story I can shoot someone or blow something up. Not the case with this novella. I also had a difficult time with the "black" moment. IN romantic suspense, I use a kidnapping or critical injury to separate the characters and make them realize how much they love each other and question whether they'll ever get to see each other again.
I admit I made myself laugh out loud a couple times while writing this novella. Especially with the antics of Grace's dog. I named the dog after my dad. Not only is the dog named after him, but he acts a bit like him, too. A tad ornery.
The question you need to answer is "What is the name of Grace Dixon's dog?" You'll find the answer here. Look inside and record your answer here, and visit the next blog.
Thank you so much for visiting! The next author on the tour is Chautona Havig, who is telling us all about her Christmas book Christmas on Breakers Point. You can find it here. Remember that you must answer every question from all 36 authors in this collection and that the round-robin will end on December 12th at 11:59 PM EST!
Tell us a bit about yourself? I live in southeast Wisconsin with my husband and two sons. My day job entails data analysis and service contract chaos, but I love to write and wish I had more time for it! I also enjoy taking walks, playing board games, baking, and spending time with my family. I’ve published two contemporary Christian romance novels and two Christmas romance novellas.
What is your book about? First Class Christmas is about two people who meet on an airplane due to a last-minute change in seat assignments. Although they hit it off, Mandy is fresh out of a long-term relationship, which throws a wrinkle into CJ’s plans. Below is the official blurb:
When Mandy Brockman flies home from her friend's destination wedding, her heart is on empty at the thought of spending Christmas alone. It doesn't help that her ex is on the plane, seemingly unaffected by their breakup. But the kind-hearted man seated next to her seems to have it all together—and he's handsome to boot. She knows her emotional healing won't come in the form of another guy, but will the source of this man's peace and joy help Mandy find the Christmas she's looking for?
CJ Hawkins is captivated by the beautiful, feisty woman he meets on his flight. The only thing is, she's fresh out of a relationship, and he has no interest in being anyone's rebound. But the more he learns about Mandy, the more he's drawn to her unique mixture of compassion and spunk.
Can he figure out how to make their relationship take off before this First Class Christmas is grounded forever?
Why did you write it? I had an image in my mind of two people meeting on an airplane (pre-Covid, of course), and the rest of the story sort of developed from there. It’s a really light, sweet, and fun tale. A perfect distraction from the heaviness of the world right now, especially around the holidays.
If you had a pet unicorn, what color would it be and what would you name it?
If I had a nickel for every time I was asked that… 😊 I’d say white with pink and purple sparkles and a dark purple stripe down its mane. I’d name it Joy.
Where can we find you online?
Choose a couple to answer:
Do you need background noise when you write? No, I actually get distracted by background noise and prefer it mostly quiet.
If your book was to be made into a movie, who would you want to play your Hero and Heroine? I think Liam Hemsworth and Dakota Fanning would fit the bill nicely!
Do you read as much as you write? I try, but I do both quite sporadically. Wish I had more time for both!
Bible verse – Philippians 4:6-7. “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”
Book – As much as I primarily read romance, I really enjoyed the Hunger Games series.
Cartoon – Be Cool Scooby Doo
Cereal – Cinnamon Toast Crunch
Color – Black
Movie – So many good ones, but Field of Dreams has a special place in my family
Song – Almost anything by Nichole Nordeman