Friday, May 26, 2017

Welcome to the Cuckoo’s Nest by C. Kevin Thompson


C. Kevin Thompson

I just got done with another session of Saturday School. The last one of this school year, actually (I’m writing this on May 20th). As an assistant principal of a public middle school, I must point out that there are other pieces to the educational puzzle besides reading, writing, and arithmetic. Acceptable behavior in a group setting is a biggie. Classroom disruptions derail the academic process, which is why we get together in the first place.

Unfortunately, in a society that is slowly lessening the consequences of laws and rules day by day, it’s harder to get students to understand why certain behaviors are unacceptable, especially in a school setting. I mean, they go home and hear parents and relatives talk that way, so why can’t they? They hear the profane language in the movies they watch and the music piping through their ear buds. So, why Mr. Administrator, Mrs. Teacher, do you have a problem with it?

It seems at times we fight a losing battle. In many respects, that is true. As a Christian, I also have to view life through the lens of scripture. If you’ve ever read the book of Revelation, we lose a great many people to the power of Babylon the Great by the end of chapter 20. But Jesus predicted it in Matthew 7:13. So, it doesn’t surprise me when students react the way they do.

However, a comment made by one of the Saturday School teachers today encouraged me.

In Saturday School, we do what are called LEAPS lessons. A company designed lessons that teach social-personal skills to students who have trouble with that area of life, which in many cases, stems from having never been taught proper “etiquette” by their parents (for a variety of reasons). Each time we hold Saturday School—which is an alternative punishment for a referral and part of the progressive discipline ladder—we cover three of these lessons, one an hour, from 9:00 a.m. to twelve noon. Two teachers work the students through the scenarios given, and a hearty discussion takes place on the proper manner in which to handle those situations. Such topics as “Saying ‘No’ to a Friend,” “The Authority of the School,” and “Proper Interpersonal Relationships with Your Peers” are just a few of the kinds of topics discussed.

We finished today’s session, and one of the teachers told me that the lessons were superb, and she had noticed some students—who had been frequent flyers in Saturday School earlier in the year—were no longer being assigned to attend. It was true. Some students’ behavior had improved. Between what we were doing and what the parents were doing at home, the “data” showed those students had turned the corner in the maturity department.

So, what’s this got to do with writing?

The writing life, for me, is much like being an assistant principal. The hours are long. The business is grueling. The accolades are few, and the complaints run high…as do the emotions. Society appreciates authors about as much as educational professionals these days, it seems. They think nothing of paying five dollars for a cup of coffee that takes two minutes to make, yet squawk at paying $3.99 for a book that took months to produce (and if it’s a paperback or hard cover, then it lasts for a long time, I might add, and can be passed along to others in a myriad of ways).

The writing life is a job they would never want—and they think we’re nuts for doing it unless we’re on the NYTBL and making a boatload of cash—yet, when asked if they want to swap jobs, they look at you like you’ve escaped from Bedlam Hospital. I had a parent tell me once, “I’ve got two middle schoolers, and I want to strangle them sometimes. Why would I want 700? Are you crazy?” This statement can be compared to one I heard a reader make, “Oh, I could never do that (write). I could never sit at a computer that long.” Translation? We’re nuts to sit at a keyboard for hours on end, cooped up in an office, living vicariously through characters we talk to in our heads.

But what these people don’t understand is, they need us. And so do their children. Because within the decaying fabric of American society, there is still a part of a child’s heart that knows certain things aren’t right, and so those behaviors should change. There’s also a desire within the human heart for storytelling. There are students who are learning how to co-exist with their peers (behavior) and glean material from their teachers (academics). And there are some folks who do get jazzed about a book you wrote, even if they had to buy it. It’s those students and readers who keep educators and writers running up their electric bill well into the night.

And like educators, writers too have little victories that keep them going. It may be an unexpected review on a bookseller’s website. It may be a social media post. An email, perhaps. The little nugget of encouragement that keeps you going back to the keyboard one more day, knowing that someone found your words uplifting, entertaining, or thought-provoking. Your words helped someone “turn a corner” in their life, even if it was to escape this life for a while and firmly plant themselves in another world.

Take heart, fellow writer. Like an educator, you never know when the next “Little Johnny” or “Little Janie” will grow up to be the scientist who finds the cure for a disease, and our “Little Johnnies and Janies” are the books, blogs, and articles we “pen.” For your treasures are truly not in books, computers, or words on a page that can be ruined by the mouth of a moth, the oxidation process, or the hand of a robber. Your treasures are being stored where the moth cannot fly. Where rust doesn’t exist. Where the thief cannot reach (Matthew 6:19-24).

We educators know something about this process. It’s called making a difference in the life of a person.






Something ominous lurks under the waters.

Dr. Evelyn Sims, a brilliant marine biologist, is being watched. Her husband's mysterious death at sea—with the only survivor of the Greenback telling a shocking, unbelievable tale—has thrown her personal life into chaos. Her scientific views are being scrutinized. Her husband's office and their home are investigated. Called in by the FBI to help solve the mystery, Evelyn is thrust into her toughest research project ever...and forced into a maze of deception and betrayal.

Micah Gregson, the Coast Guard captain who rescued the Greenback, is determined to find out why a special unit at the FBI—the one assigned to cryptozoological cases—is involved.

Together Evelyn and Micah will uncover a plot more deadly than anything the ocean could ever produce. One that will either save Evelyn's life and redeem her career, or destroy everything she—and myriad others—stand for.




C. KEVIN THOMPSON is an ordained minister with a B.A. In Bible (Houghton College, Houghton, NY), an M.A. in Christian Studies (Wesley Biblical Seminary, Jackson, MS), and an M.Ed. in Educational Leadership (National-Louis University, Wheeling, IL). He presently works as an assistant principal in a middle school.

His Blake Meyer series is out! 30 Days Hath Revenge - A Blake Meyer Thriller: Book 1, is now available! Book 2 of the Blake Meyer Series, Triple Time, is now available! Book 3, The Tide of Times, will be out in August 2017! Also, the second edition of The Serpent’s Grasp will be out in June 2017 through Hallway Publishing!

Kevin is a huge fan of the TV series 24, The Blacklist, Blue Bloods, and Criminal Minds, loves anything to do with Star Trek, and is a Sherlock Holmes fanatic, too.


To connect with Kevin and learn more, please visit:

Website:                                www.ckevinthompson.com/
Kevin’s Writer’s Blog:        www.ckevinthompson.blogspot.com/
Facebook:                              C. Kevin Thompson – Author Fan Page  
Twitter:                                 @CKevinThompson
Goodreads:                           C. Kevin Thompson




Thursday, May 25, 2017

The Joy of Multi-Author Anthologies by Terri Weldon

I recently had the privilege of writing The Matchmakers anthology with Jean C. Gordon and Lisa Belcastro. I had wanted to be involved in a multi-author project for quite some time, and let me tell you it was a blast. 

The three of us first began working on the project when a small press sent out a call for multi-author anthologies. Jean C. Gordon had the idea of basing the books around a dating service for Christians. The dating service would be run by an elderly couple, Libby and Blake, introduced in Jean’s novella. Eventually the idea evolved into a honeymoon travel company set in the Berkshires, but the elderly grandmother still had plans on playing matchmaker for her three single granddaughters. 

It was a fun idea and in no time at all we each had developed a plan for a novella. Unfortunately our writing schedules didn’t allow us to submit the proposal. Still, we wanted to write the books so we decided to indie publish the anthology. 

Writing an anthology based around a single core idea with two other authors proved to be fun. Libby and Blake appeared in all three novellas so descriptions, personality, and tone had to stay consistent. Also, there were times the heroine and hero of one novella popped up in another. I remember Jean asking me questions about what my heroine’s kitchen looked like and how it was decorated as well as needing a description of my hero. 

Jean’s heroine appeared in Lisa’s story along with Libby. And I built the relationship between my hero and Libby based on events in Jean’s book. Whew! Sounds like it would be tough, but with a little teamwork everything flowed smoothly. 

We had so much fun writing The Matchmakers that we plan on doing another anthology together in time for a Valentine’s Day release. I can’t wait!

How about you? Have you ever written a multi-author anthology? Does it sound like something you might pursue in the future? Leave a comment and let me know.

Ellie Alexander is in love. And the only thing sweeter would be if Libby, Natalie, and Stephanie, her three unmarried, unattached granddaughters, could find the same happiness. Maybe with a little help from her and her beau Blake Parker . . .

A Match Made in Williamstown by Lady of Love Inspired Romance Jean C. Gordon — Libby Schuyler has avoided dating since her break-up with college-sweetheart Jack Parker. Out of nowhere, Jack shows up claiming Ellie is swindling his grandfather, Blake, through a travel agency partnership they’ve formed. Libby and Jack team up to protect their grandparents and get to the bottom of Ellie and Blake’s business and romantic relationship. While Libby and Jack fight their reignited attraction, Ellie and Blake conspire to bring the two together.

A Match Made in Sheffield by Terri Weldon— Natalie Benton bounced from one foster home to another until she landed on Ellie Alexander’s doorstep. Natalie’s vagabond childhood caused her to yearn for a secure life, which led to Natalie’s five-year plan: complete her law degree, marry the perfect man, become a partner at Montgomery, Haynes, and Preston, and produce one child. Getting arrested wasn’t in Natalie’s plan. Needing a public defender wasn’t in her plan. Falling for Grady Hunter, her public defender, definitely wasn’t in her plan. Can Grady convince Natalie there is more to life than her five-year plan? Is Ellie the only one who sees a future for Natalie and Grady?

A Match Made in Freedom by Lisa Belcastro — Stephanie Gould loves life on Martha’s Vineyard . . . until she runs into Kay and Tim, her former business partner and her ex-fiancĂ©, who just returned from their honeymoon. Surprised by the heartache she thought was gone, Stephanie heads to the Berkshires to visit family and friends. Arriving in Stockbridge, Stephanie meets Captain Henry Lewis. Little does Stephanie know, her grandmother has already met Henry, and Ellie thinks Henry is perfect. Stephanie has no interest in dating, Henry included. If only Henry didn’t turn up everywhere Stephanie goes. When he walks up beside her at the Norman Rockwell Museum, Stephanie can’t deny her attraction, but she’ll do her best to fight it.

Buy Links
Amazon Kindle & Print: http://amzn.to/2pb4HuK 
Nook, iBooks & Kobo: https://www.books2read.com/u/3neJnB
Barnes & Noble Print: http://bit.ly/2qbmqEtMatchmakers  

Terri Weldon is a lead analyst by day and an author by night. She enjoys gardening, reading, and shopping for shoes. One of her favorite pastimes is volunteering as the librarian at her church. It allows her to shop for books and spend someone else’s money! Plus, she has the great joy of introducing people to Christian fiction. She lives with her family in Oklahoma. Terri has two adorable Westies – Crosby and Nolly Grace. She is a member of ACFW and OCFW, a local chapter of ACFW. Terri is the award winning author of The Christmas Bride Wore Boots.

Readers can connect with Terri: Website: www.TerriWeldon.com or


 

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Flash Fiction by Voni Harris

Flash fiction is not an entire storm, but rather a moment of time in the storm lit up by a single lightning flash. You don’t have room in 1,500 words or less to be John Steinbeck or Jane Austen. Yet it is still your job as a fiction writer to fill the reader’s imagination with the image of that lightning strike. Flash fiction must flash bright and strong to show that moment in time.

Capturing the flash.

Let your mind’s eye rove over the picture captured in that flash of lighting.

Why the flash? It’s just a moment in time, but it still has plot stuff that came before, and plot stuff that comes after. That flash moment must mean something. It’s a moment of change. The husband raises his hand to hit her. The father reads something in his daughter’s journal. The sound of police sirens draws near the diner. Think of that lightning flash, and dig deep until you know what is changing in that moment. Why the sirens, the journal, the raised hand?

Before the flash. Now, what brought your character to that moment? No room for back story, but something brought this character to that lightning flash. Hint at that. The wife screams, “I’m sick and tired of you hitting me.” The father’s hand hovers over the journal—but he needs to know where his daughter has been going. The criminal fingers the bag of jewelry as he thinks of his sick son. See the barest hints of what came before?

After the flash. You don’t have room to tell what happens next, but something does. Give the reader enough that their imagination can take over. The husband lowers his hand. The father rushes out of the room and gets in the car. The criminal sinks into a seat at the diner table. Leave the reader with an image that shows life has changed for your character.

Writing the flash.

I’ve been writing short stories since I was five years old (not that those stories are very legible, ha!). It took me awhile after I began novel writing to learn to layer in things like description and back story. Flash fiction is a different story when it comes to choice of details and words.

The Details. Write the story elements that embody the scene and mean something to the character or the plot — the elbows that stick to the diner’s tabletop, which makes the cranky mom lash out at her toddler, which shows her in a flash that she hates the kind of mom she’s become. That sticky tabletop does triple duty: setting, character, and plot. Flash fiction offers limited space. The details better multitask! Take your time to find the perfect, multitasking details illuminated in the lightning strike.

The Words. Writers are all about words, but in flash fiction, take a double — a triple — look at your words. Get out the thesaurus, even. Seek out those words that really bring the image alive. Instead of “restaurant,” use “diner.” Take a quadruple look at your verbs.

Take your time. Be choosey.

Flash fiction may be quickly read, but it is not quickly written. This is the challenge: To write that lightning moment with such power and clarity it stays with the reader.


Have you ever tried flash fiction to sharpen your writing, try out a new craft skill you’re learning, take a break from your other writing, build a blog following, or see what it feels like to write in a different genre?


~~~~~~


Voni writes from her family’s home on the beautiful Alaskan island of Kodiak, with a husband, a  golden retriever and a wheaten terrier to keep her from sitting at the computer too long at a time. She holds a radio-TV degree from Drake University, and her short story “The Wedding” was published in Heart-Stirring Stories of Romance (edited by Linda Evans Shephard). She has won First Impressions and Daphne DuMaurier unpublished awards. She enjoys capturing the flash when she writes flash fiction for her Leaning into Life blog at http://vonildawrites.wordpress.com.

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

From Book to Hallmark Movie 15 Tips and Tricks, Part 1 by Denise Hunter

Denise Hunter
In the spring of 2015 I signed an option with a producer who wanted to make one of my books, The Convenient Groom, into a Hallmark movie. Shortly afterward the same producer also optioned one of my novellas, A December Bride. To say I was excited is an understatement. I tried to temper my enthusiasm. After all, a lot can happen between signing an option and the actual film debut. But I crossed my fingers, said a lot of prayers, and waited patiently.

Then in March of last year I was notified that filming on The Convenient Groom was soon to begin. The movie was really happening! Partway through filming I was notified that A December Bride would also be filming soon and was slated for Hallmark’s Countdown to Christmas 2016. Two movies in one year—someone pinch me!

As I began sharing the news about the movies I found that other writers are curious about the book-to-movie process. So I thought I’d offer some ways to increase your chances of scoring a Hallmark movie and tips to make the ride go more smoothly if you do.

  1. Write a romance novel. Hallmark isn’t called “The Heart of TV” for nothing. Their movies usually revolve around romantic love, so romance novels that have lots of good “feels” fall right into their sweet spot. Hallmark also keeps their content clean so it makes sense that they’d actively seek wholesome novels. And they seem to go fishing in the Christian publishing pond for this very reason. If your novel hinges on a drunken one night stand—probably not going to happen.
  2. Publish your novels through a publisher that actively seeks movie deals. I’m sure there are many ways producers “find” novels. But in my case it was through HarperCollins Christian Publishing, whose rights department routinely pitches their novels for film rights. As it happens, this particular production company had already optioned a couple of other books and made them into Hallmark movies, so there was already an established history.
  3. If you watch Hallmark movies then you know most of the stories have compelling hooks, so start your novel with a gripping premise. High stakes don’t hurt either. Here’s the hook for The Convenient Groom
    A celebrity relationship expert with a best-selling book about finding Mr. Right finds herself jilted just before her highly publicized wedding. In a panic 
    she accepts the offer of a contractor—who secretly loves her—to step in as the groom in order to save her career.
    And A December Bride:

    What started as a whim turns into an accidental—and very public—engagement announcement. For Layla, it's the chance to save her career. But for Seth, it's his last chance to win her heart.
  4. Utilize a romance trope; they’re popular for a reason. If you can take a trope and spin it in a fresh way, all the better. The Convenient Groom is, of course, a modern day marriage of convenience story. A December Bride is a pretend engagement. 
  5. Many books are optioned for movies, but few of them actually get made. An option is when the production company reserves the right to make your book into a movie. The option expires after a period of time—usually a year. If your book gets optioned, celebrate! But realize that there are a lot of steps between the movie option and the film premier, not the least of which is funding. A lot can go wrong, so you can’t really count on the movie happening until filming is underway. The producer who optioned my books has a long and close relationship with Hallmark, which really helped my chances. 
  6. If your book gets optioned you will split the option payment with your publisher as per your book contract. If your book has not yet earned out, this payment will go toward earning back the advance. If the movie actually gets filmed, the production company will pay whatever was negotiated in the option agreement, usually on the first day of filming. You will split this with your publisher as per your book contract. If your book has not earned out this payment will also go toward paying back the advance. Everyone is curious about how much a Hallmark movie pays. I’m contractually prohibited from sharing the specifics, but suffice it to say you probably won’t be buying that yacht you’ve always dreamed about. The payment, however, could serve as a nice kick-start for your kid’s college tuition. 
  7. Don’t expect to write the screenplay for your movie. Just like novel writing, screenwriting is a craft that takes years to hone. And even if you’ve got experience with screenplays your production company may have favorite writers they prefer to use. I wouldn’t know the first thing about writing a script, and since I wanted “my” movies to turn out great I was happy to leave it in the experts’ hands. 
Thanks, Denise! That's great information, especially tip #6.

Come back next Tuesday for the remaining eight tips on the process of turning your book-into-a movie. Never happen to me, you say? No, you never know. Dream big and save these two post! ~ Angie

Tweet: What happens when your book becomes a Hallmark movie? @DeniseAHunter http://bit.ly/book-to-movie-tips-1
About the Author
Denise Hunter is the internationally published bestselling author of more than 25 books, including "The Convenient Groom" and "A December Bride" which have been made into Hallmark movies. She has appeared on The 700 club and won awards such as The Holt Medallion Award, The Carol Award, The Reader's Choice Award, The Foreword Book of the Year Award, and is a RITA finalist.

Denise writes heartwarming, small-town love stories. Her readers enjoy the vicarious thrill of falling in love and the promise of a happily-ever-after sigh as they savor the final pages of her books. 

When Denise isn't orchestrating love lives on the written page, she enjoys traveling with her family, drinking good coffee, and playing drums. Denise makes her home in Indiana where she and her husband have three boys and are rapidly approaching an empty nest. 


You can learn more about Denise through her website www.DeniseHunterBooks.com or by visiting her FaceBook page at https://www.facebook.com/authordenisehunter

Mark your calendar: Denise is celebrating her latest release, Sweetbriar Cottage, with a Facebook party, June 13, 2017 at 8 p.m. EDT. 

Sweetbriar Cottage 
When Noah and Josephine discover their divorce was never actually finalized, their lives are turned upside down.
Sweetbriar Cottage
by Denise Hunter


Following his divorce, Noah gave up his dream job and settled at a remote horse ranch in the Blue Ridge Mountains of northern Georgia, putting much-needed distance between himself and the former love of his life. But then Noah gets a letter from the IRS claiming he and Josephine are still married. When he confronts Josephine, they discover that she missed the final step in filing the paperwork and they are, in fact, still married.

Josephine is no happier about the news than Noah. Maybe the failed marriage—and botched divorce—was her fault, but her heart was shattered right alongside his, more than he would ever believe. The sooner they put this marriage behind them, the better for both of their sakes.

But when Josephine delivers the final paperwork to his ranch, the two become stranded in his cottage during the worst spring snowstorm in a decade. Being trapped with Josephine is a test of Noah’s endurance. He wrestles with resentment and an unmistakable pull to his wife—still beautiful, still brave, and still more intriguing than any woman he’s ever known.

As they find themselves confronted with each other and their shared past, old wounds surface and tempers flare. But when they are forced out into the storm, they must rely on each other in a way they never have before. Josephine finally opens up about her tragic past, and Noah realizes she’s never been loved unconditionally by anyone—including him. Will Noah accept the challenge to pursue Josephine’s heart? And can she finally find the courage to trust Noah?

Monday, May 22, 2017

Springtime Blessings by Mary Manners



Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.”
                                                                                                ~ James 1:2, NIV ~

 

Sometimes I’m so caught up in the day-to-day responsibilities of life that I forget to thank God for how very blessed I am. Springtime, with its new life and burst of color, is a perfect season to reflect upon the many blessings that fill our lives.

 

I have so many reasons to be thankful. My loving husband, Tim, is a man with whom I share a real-life romance filled with love and laughter, adventure and fun. Tim supports and encourages my passion for sharing the written word. He understands that my love of writing is more than a job…it is a ministry. I’m so thankful God brought him into my life.

 

I’m thankful for my daughter, Danni, who has grown into a beautiful young woman. Danni just graduated from college and is prepared to spend her future teaching young children the joy of learning. She brightens my life with her loving, generous spirit. Danni's a friend to everyone. She holds a special place in her heart for the elderly, children, and the hurting. As she comes into her own, I realize with a greater and deeper understanding just how much she is truly a blessing to me.

 

The friends I've grown closer to through the years, especially my precious writing friends, are a reason to give thanks. These wonderful people completely understand when I mention the ‘voices’ that speak to me while I’m brainstorming a new book. They don’t mind if I take a time-out from our lunchtime conversation to jot down an idea for future reference. I love them dearly.

 

But, most of all, I am thankful for my Lord and Savior, who has given all of this and more to me. What an amazing blessing to know His love and grace are never-ending! Even in times of trial, I know that He is working in me to provide for greater things. My faith has taught me to embrace hardships and disappointments as an opportunity to grow spiritually.
 
 
 
So, as spring eases into summer, take a moment to joyfully reflect on the many blessings that fill your life.
~~~~~
 
 
Love blooms in the most unlikely places…

Hattie Cutler and Anthony Moretto have both survived the death of their spouses. With children grown and the Cutler Nursery business flourishing, Hattie decides it’s time to turn her attention to other endeavors. A community garden on the church grounds is just the place to start. She spearheads the project, and when Anthony steps in to offer his assistance more than gardening is on the agenda. The two have shared a long-time friendship which has blossomed into love; that truth is clear to everyone—with the exception of Hattie and Anthony. But can the two learn to sow more than vegetables and, in turn, reap a beautiful future together?
~~~~~
 
Mary Manners is a country girl at heart who has spent a lifetime exploring her joy of writing. She has two sons, a daughter, and three beautiful grandchildren. She currently lives along the sunny shores of Jacksonville Beach with her husband Tim.
A former teacher as well an intermediate school principal, Mary spent three decades sharing her love of learning. While growing up in Chicago, Mary worked her way through a variety of jobs including paper girl, hot dog vendor, grocery store cashier, lifeguard, swim instructor, pizza chef, and nanny. Many of these experiences led to adventures that bring humor and insight to her stories. Mary loves long sunrise runs, ocean sunsets, and flavored coffee.
Connect with Mary at her website: www.MaryMannersRomance.com. “Like” her author page on Facebook and follow her on Twitter.

 


Friday, May 19, 2017

Chasing Two Rabbits by Christa Kinde



Have you ever wondered what it might be like to write under TWO names? What would it take? Just thinking about it makes my head spin! Christa Kinde has found ways to juggle the demands. Enjoy as she shares a part of her writing world with us. ~ Dawn


Chasing Two Rabbits

My childhood was steeped in stories, but I never thought of becoming an author. Yet when I stumbled into a circle of writers who urged me to try, I gave it a go. And found something unexpectedly precious.

I love writing. The challenge suits me.

Early efforts lead to traditional publishing contracts. But when one of my other story ideas didn’t catch a publisher’s fancy, I researched the indie option. That’s why my publishing journey forks.

Two names. As a hybrid author, I publish Christian titles under my own name. Bibles, Bible studies, and devotionals are lined up on a shelf with my fiction debut, the middle grade Threshold Series [Zonderkidz]. However, I also independently publish family-friendly fantasy under my maiden name—C. J. Milbrandt.

Two hats. Is it hard balancing two publishing plans? Not if I stay flexible. I can adjust CJ’s deadlines and release dates to accommodate incoming traditional contracts. Do I like being my own publisher? Yes! All the big choices are mine to make—story development, cover concepts, titling, trim size, and interior design.

I enjoy planning. The challenge suits me.

Two websites. As authors, we’re expected to maintain an online presence through websites, blogs, and social media. That means double duty for me. My two personas each have a slightly different focus. For example, Christa tweets about #amwriting, but CJ talks about #amreading. How do I juggle both? Scheduling my posts ahead of time, so there’s a steady stream.

Two audiences. We all know that writing is hard work. Why complicate things by maintaining dual accounts? I prefer to think of “leading a double life” as an adventure. One I can share with two audiences. Christa’s books appeal to Christians, but CJ’s suit any readers who enjoy stories with magic in the mix.

I crave variety. The challenge really does suit me.

Two goals. According to an old Russian proverb, “If you chase two rabbits, you will not catch either one.”If you’re thinking about establishing an alter ego, be wise. Splitting your efforts might only slow you down. Spreading yourself too thin might frazzle your nerves. But if you can be flexible, adaptable, tenacious, and cheerful about the attendant challenges … why not give it a go? You might find something unexpectedly precious.






Ewan, Zane, and Ganix—three half-brothers take sibling rivalry to new lengths as they race each other across their homeland. The Byways Books by C. J. Milbrandt, 2016 Moonbeam Children’s Book Award, “Best Book Series – Chapter Books,” bronze medal. Magic isn’t the only legacy Mr. Ian Johns wants for his bickering sons. Liberty’s Postmaster hoped the boys would bond during a family trip, but they twist his vacation plans into a race. Ewan, Zane, and Ganix soon find themselves far from home, facing choices that are far from easy.

Book #11, Beneath the Torch: A Ewan Johns Adventure. Ewan’s and Zane’s teams have reached their shared waypoint, but it’s easy to get lost in a city as big as Beacon. A case of mistaken identity leaves Ewan tongue-tied. An urgent letter sends Jovan rushing through the maze of squares. And Zane is having all kinds of trouble with two little tagalongs. [Releasing May 23, 2017]




Faith in a Father whose ways are mysterious. Hope in a Friend who’s coming again. Love that bears fruit in far-off places. Christa Kinde believes in bright colors, good manners, crazy socks, word games, cat naps, and postage stamps. But most of all, she believes in God. She writes about her faith with studies, stories, and devotionals that bring truth into focus and give faith a practical spin. Christa also writes family-friendly fantasy as C. J. Milbrandt. Her award-winning Byways Books take sibling rivalry to new lengths as three brothers race each other across their homeland. And in her Galleries of Stone trilogy, statues on the legendary Moonlit Mountain have a life of their own.

Connect with Christa:
GoodReads: Christa Kinde
Twitter: @ChristaKinde
Facebook: @Christa Kinde
Pinterest: /ChristaKinde

Connect with CJ:
GoodReads: C.J. Milbrandt
Pinterest: /mrsmilbrandt
YouTube: CJMK Books