Crazy Is As Crazy Does

Why stay in reality when one can lose themselves in storyworld? If you’re a reader, I’m going to guess we’re on the same wave length. Have you ever found yourself praying for a character you came to know in a book? Do you frequently think of said hero or heroine throughout the day?

Have you ever sent them an invite to a significant event?man-869215_1920

If you’re shaking your head with raised brows right now, questioning my sanity … you might not want to continue reading. Unless some kind of morbid curiosity has gripped you …

I’m Not Crazy; I’m a Writer
by Kimberly Rose Johnson

Have you ever read a book and couldn’t put it down, then when you were finally finished adult-18670_640with it, the characters had taken up residence in your mind? That’s what it’s like for me when I’m plotting a story. I cannot get those people to leave me alone! To make matters worse, they sometimes steal my sleep and visit my dreams.

Now a smart writer would use the pad and pen on the bedside table and take notes as her characters speak to her in her sleep. Nine times out of ten I refuse to open my eyes, and I tell myself, I’ll remember in the morning—nope. I think I might have remembered once or twice after a few hours of digging deep, trying to recall what came to me in my foggy sleep mode.

No I’m not crazy; I’m a writer. Whenever I am plotting a story, which is pretty much most of the time, I seem to live in a different world. It’s difficult to escape, and I imagine I come across as a little spacey. I tell my friends, I was writing. Most of them are used to it by now since I’ve been at it for over ten years. But those who don’t know me well, just smile and nod. LOL

I’ve spent a lot more time this past year writing than I used to, due to numerous deadlines. tree-1283772_640I imagine, my friends might think I am slightly crazy. I spent a great deal of time working on A Christmas Homecoming because the story, and the characters gave me a hard time.

Normally when I write Christmas books it seems to be summer time. A Christmas Homecoming was no exception, although, as I mentioned, this book took me a long time to write so it covered several seasons. To help myself get in the Christmas spirit, I played my favorite Christmas songs. I watched Elf as research for this particular book, and I even took an online interior design class to help me get inside of Bailey’s head.

You might think getting inside my character’s head is certifiable, but remember, I’m not crazy; I’m a writer.

***

Can the mystery of Christmas unite two hurting hearts?
a-christmas-homecoming-cover
Bailey Calderwood gives all she has to her job as an interior design assistant, but her best isn’t good enough for her demanding, bed-ridden boss. For some unexplained reason Mona has turned against her. At least not everyone is out to get her. A mysterious admirer is sending her cards and flowers. Could it be her boss’s son who’s recently returned home in time for the holidays?

Stephen Belafonte rushes home from France to be with his mother after her stroke, and is surprised by the rift between his mom and Bailey, her assistant. When his mom demands he fire Bailey, he’s torn between respecting his mother’s wishes and doing what’s best for the family business. Can Stephen find a way to heal the rift in his family as well his own heart, or will he be forced to let Bailey go?

Find A Christmas Homecoming on Amazon.

***

kj_063Kimberly Rose Johnson married her college sweetheart and lives in the Pacific Northwest. From a young child Kimberly has been an avid reader. That love of reading fostered a creative mind and led to her passion for writing.

She especially loves romance and writes contemporary romance that warms the heart and feeds the soul.

Kimberly holds a degree in Behavioral Science from Northwest University in Kirkland, Washington. She is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers.

Visit Kimberly on her website or join her Facebook group.

Let’s chat! We’ve all had reality slips … right? What were some of your strangest or most surprising? Share them here in the comments below or on my Facebook page.

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Nurture, Nature–Who Does Marji Laine Blame???

child-1429190_1920What kind of child walks into walls? Daydreams about surviving the Amazon jungle and flying with Mary Poppins–then actually attempts this using a post and umbrella.

What kind of adult becomes so immersed in her make-believe world, she brings a southern California SWAT team to her door–and racing up her staircase, fully armed? (I feel a Mishaps post building.)

Considering the depth of my … reality detachment, it’s no wonder my guest and I, Marji Laine, have become friends. The borderline insane stick together. And fuel each other’s madness (also expressed as–become one another’s crit partners).

But for all my blunders, imaginings, and grand adventure daydreams, I’ve never once envisioned myself as the villain in the story.

Ah, the making of a writer. The journey to publication can be stranger than one might think.

The Making of a Writer
by Marji Laine

My best friend and I ran through the rain-soaked ally, desperate to escape the heavy footsteps that chased us. Almost an hour past sunset, the only light available reflected street-789626_640from random back porches through the puddles in the center of the lane.

My lungs burned. I’d never been a runner. Never won a race against anyone. The creep behind me was gaining. I couldn’t blame my best friend for rushing ahead. She’d always been fast.

A shot rang out. The black, bouncing braids on my friend fell slack, and she slowed. I reached her about the time she fell forward and caught her on the way down. There was no time to help her. No time to even see if she was alive.

The footsteps closed in.

Oh, yeah, I was seven at the time. My best friend and I wrote up this crime story when I was in second grade, and she was in third. We were the bad guys, thrust into a life of crime brought on by desperate situations, then followed and ultimately gunned down by a dirty cop. The very one who had pressed us into our criminal lives.

Tragic… but fun to act out! We played it over and over again with her little brother being the cop.

I guess that was the beginnings of my writing life. I always had stories going on in my tv-1639240_640head, complete with musical soundtrack in the background. I’d watch a TV show and then rework the episode to my liking. And yes, they were usually mysteries, The Hardy Boys series comes to mind.

As I grew older, I didn’t need a movie or a TV show to stimulate my ideas. Unique settings started my imagination rolling.

A couple of years ago, my family went to a huge hotel here in town that does an amazing job with Christmas décor. We wandered through a miniature river walk, viewing high bluffs near a facsimile of a Spanish chapel. My oldest daughter loved the chapel, simple and classic with a high bell tower and balcony.

“Wouldn’t that be the perfect place for a wedding?”

With a wedding party of one and a half, maybe. But I could see her point. The effect, with all of the color and lights below, would be magical.

We had continued to a makeshift amphitheater or dance floor as the case might be. On one christmas-present-83120_640side, an eight-foot wall reached up to the ground-floor level of the atrium. Giant Christmas presents, running trains, and miniature towns were viewable from our level. Not as easy-to-see as they were from the ground-floor, but still in view. A towering Christmas tree rotated slowly atop one over-sized gift box.

It was there that I got my inspiration. “What if…” My ideas tend to start that way, with a long pause while I rein-in my imagination and force the words into order. “What if the fellow who turns off the displays was killed last night? And his body was noticed until the morning shift turned on the displays. Then when the tree up there starts to rotate, it can push the body off the platform”

The start of a great new idea that has still never been written, but at least it’s an idea! Someday, maybe.

Sometimes, those conversations end up resulting in some strange looks. Once my
daughter and I discussed the placement of a victim for one of my stories as we unloaded my grocery cart.

“If we put the body in the car, there will be shopping-1232944_640too much evidence left behind.”

My daughter considered that. “Maybe you should kill him off before he gets to his house?”

The store clerk’s eyes got big, and she straightened.

My daughter chuckled. “My mom’s an author.”

The woman smiled. “I hoped it was something like that.”

Yes, my imagination gets me in trouble. I’ve learned to reign it in somewhat and keep my mouth shut more often in public. But deep inside, I’m still that seven-year-old girl running through the alleys with stories washing through my brain.

I hope they never stop!

How about you? Did you ever find yourself running for your life or jumping lava puddles, or solving the world’s hardest mystery? Share your thoughts, stories, and hilarity with us in the comments below.

***

cpcoverfCat McPherson felt she’d lost everything when her father died, but as the target of a madman bent on revenge, she still has much to lose. Her former boyfriend, Ray Alexander, returns as a hero from his foreign mission, bringing back souvenirs in the form of death-threats. When several attempts are made on Cat’s life, she must find a way to trust Ray, the man who broke her heart.

Keeping Cat safe from a fallen cartel leader might prove impossible for Ray, but after seeing his mission destroyed and several godly people killed, he knows better than to ignore the man’s threats. Cat’s resistance to his protection and the stirring of his long-denied feelings for her complicate his intentions, placing them both in a fight for survival.

It is the first book of a four-book romantic suspense series published by Write Integrity Press. Available for pre-order at a discounted price today, the book will release in early November.

***

marji-laineSchooled by experts such as Perry Mason, Jessica Fletcher, and Dr. Mark Sloan, Marji Laine writes the mysteries she craves with a touch of romance and a thread of faith. Her series are made up of stand-alone stories with satisfying endings where justice prevails. She sets most of her books in and around the Dallas area, where she has lived all of her life, or in the small towns of East Texas that she adores.

A homeschooling mom of four, she loves to discuss possible book scenarios with her daughters. Their conversations have even been known to alarm waiters and store clerks. At which point, one of her girls will roll her eyes and say, “My mom’s an author.” That pretty much explains the way her mind works.

Connect with Marji on her website, Facebook, and Goodreads.

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Summer or Winter? (Giveaway Alert!)

girl-15715_1920My husband and I have a battle going on over who has control of the thermostat. Add to this the fact that my body has its own heat-vs-cold war going on, and you’ll understand why I alternate between my electric heating pad and sticking my head in the freezer. This phenomena is exemplified when I eat. Or get hungry. My dad calls it my superpower. (Read about that HERE.)

Then there’s the whole season-confusion thing of living in Nebraska, where one can experience all four seasons in one day. Just when I’ve put all my sweaters away, an ice storm hits.

Today author  Candee Fick talks about the weather confusion she feels as she writes. And be sure to read through to the end, because she has a giveaway for her newest release, Dance Over Me!

What’s the Weather Like Anyway?
by Candee Fick

I spend a lot of time in an alternate universe. Case in point? Just this morning, I dodged the splatters of sizzling bacon while inhaling the cinnamon-roll-1591974_1280aroma of gooey cinnamon rolls wafting from the oven. A few minutes later, I walked through the door to hear my kids complaining about only getting granola bars or yogurt for breakfast.

My poor deprived children. They sacrifice a lot by living with a writer since I’ll be the first to admit that my characters do lots of things that I never do. Like bake fresh cinnamon rolls in the morning…or any time in the last decade for that matter. But before you start feeling sorry for my neglected husband and offspring, they’ve got clean underwear, nutritious-even-if-boring meals, and a semi-regularly sanitized house. And my undivided attention when they’re around. Usually.

The one you really need to feel sorry for is me. Yes, me. The author who can’t remember that fictional people aren’t real. That the Front Range University Cougars aren’t really going to a football bowl game. poses-1367416_1920That the dinner theater performing my favorite show is currently situated underneath a fast food restaurant. That today isn’t actually a Monday in early January but rather a Wednesday in late September.

Which brings me to the weather. How on earth am I supposed to remember the forecast when I spend so much time somewhere else? That’s why you’ll often see me in flip-flop sandals with a cardigan draped around my shoulders because I have no clue how I should be dressed at any given moment. (Yet another reason you could potentially feel sorry for my kids who head to school either over-insulated or shivering without a jacket.)

One minute I’m cleaning dead plants out of a flowerbed and stuffing the brown stalks into the trash bag beside me on the leaf-strewn yellow grass. All while dreading the next task of raking those leaves into bags of their own. A brisk wind holds the promise of snow as my eyes began to leak tears, my nose begins to run, and I survive with distracting thoughts of hot apple cider. An hour later, with a stretch of tight muscles, I move toward the front door…and outside to find tiny green buds beginning to open on the tree branches above a sea of yellow daffodils and hot pink tulips.

Or the afternoon I felt the crisp wintry wind on my face as I raced down a sledding hill and crashed into an icy drift…only to don shorts and a tank top in order to watch a child play baseball in the sweltering July sun.

As I said, I spend a lot of time in an alternate universe and while I’m there, I’m totally there with all of my senses living and breathing the setting. It’s why I can write about touring a Hawaiian pineapple plantation with the Rocky Mountains just a few miles away. Or why I can write about a sunny summer picnic with sweat trickling down my spine and the sweet tang of pink lemonade on my tongue while a torrent of rain and hail beats against my window.

But spending time there can be dangerous to my physical well-being if I can’t make the mental shift back to the real world. Otherwise I could be the only mom showing up at Friday night’s football game wearing shorts and wishing I had more than a light jacket stashed in the trunk of my car.

What about you? Have you ever struggled to transition from a fictional world to real life? What’s the weather like in the book you’re reading as compared to outside your window? Chime in and be entered to win a free copy (winner’s choice of print or e-book) of my newest release, Dance Over Me.

Buy Dance Over Me on Amazon as an ebook or paperback.

danceoverme-500x750-1Danielle Lefontaine, a fledgling actress raised to the lullaby of Broadway, searches for her long-lost brother and her place on the stage. But when a jealous cast member threatens to drop the curtain on her dreams, Danielle fears her one brilliant moment in the spotlight is about to become a dim memory.

Alex Sheridan is living his dream. Playing the trumpet. Helping run his family s dinner theater. But there s a hole in his soul that can only be filled with the love of that “someone special” — the better half of him. When “Dani” dances into his life, Alex thinks he s found his perfect partner. But will the bright lights of a bigger stage steal her away before they find their perfect song?

 

***

candee-fick_headshotCandee Fick is the wife of a high school football coach and the mother of three children, including a daughter with a rare genetic syndrome. When not busy with her day job or writing, she can be found cheering on the home team at football, basketball, baseball, and Special Olympics games. In what little free time remains, she enjoys exploring the great Colorado outdoors, indulging in dark chocolate, and savoring happily-ever-after endings through a good book.

Connect with Candee on her web site, Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, Goodreads, and Google+.

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Primping It Writer-Style (And Giveaway!)

11949150_10204815876492503_993726488554361965_nI’m so honored–and excited!–to have my friend and super talented author, Shannon Taylor Vannatter, sharing with you today!

If you think I’m crazy … 😉

Make sure to read through to the end of this post, because there’s a giveaway! Shannon is generously giving away TEN copies of her latest release, and the cutest pin board! Yay!

Avid Primper
by Shannon Taylor Vannatter

Back when I was an impressionable young girl, we had a beautiful neighbor lady. I wanted to be her when I grew up. But then one day, I saw her without her makeup. She didn’t even makeup-792129_640look like the same person. I decided right then and there that if my mother EVER let me start wearing makeup, no one would see me without it.

In my teens, Mama finally let me dabble with cosmetics. I pored over fashion magazines and Avon catalogs and learned to apply it. There was no turning back, I became an avid primper. I never went to school or anywhere without makeup again and planned to always wake up before my husband and never let him see me unadorned. But back when Grant and I were dating, I was sick and he stopped by. He didn’t run screaming, so gave up that pipe dream, especially since I’m not an early bird and he is.

When I graduated high school, I went to cosmetology school and became a hairdresser. What else is an avid primper to do? For years, I put my face on as soon as I woke up, didn’t even go to the mailbox without it. Until I was in my late twenties, I could count the people on one hand who’d seen me fresh-faced, all family members who love me.

That record came to a screeching halt in one weekend. My friend called and wanted me to pick up money my stuff had sold for at her yardsale. It was Saturday, my day off and I was makeupless. I told her I’d come one day after work. She said, put your sunglasses on and sunglasses-545193_640come on, you don’t even have to get out of the car. When I got there, her entire family—her mom, dad, brother, sister, and daughter came out to the car to see me. As a joke. They were heehawing, laughing, and pointing. I really didn’t think it was that funny.

A few years later, during the last two months of my pregnancy, my doctor put me on bedrest. With nothing else to do, I tried to find something to watch on TV. I happened upon a Dr. Phil episode that featured a woman who never went anywhere without her makeup. I was fine with that, didn’t see any reason Dr. Phil needed to counsel this perfectly normal woman. By the end of the show, he talked her into taking her makeup off on national television. That’s when I decided she was a lunatic.

After our son was born and I was sleep deprived, I did the mailbox jaunt once without my face, sunglasses in place. Sure enough, his future preschool teacher stopped to see the baby. I’ve never tried it again. A few times over the years, I’ve taken my son to school or driven my husband to pick up his truck from the mechanic with no makeup, wearing sunglasses. But I never leave my vehicle, make any other stops, or run any errands.

When my son has friends spend the night, I don’t leave my bedroom and bathroom until I’m put together. It takes me a good hour and a half to get ready to go anywhere. And I still use hot rollers. In a pinch, I can manage to look decent in an hour.

Since I finally found my true calling—writing—I work at home. At first, I’d get my son andwoman-792162_640 husband off in the morning, put my face on, and go to work. But one morning, the story was bubbling, and I went straight to the computer. I realized I’m more productive if I go straight to work as soon as the house is empty.

These days, I write in my jammies or warm ups with no makeup and hair barely combed. At two o’clock, I get presentable, go pick up our son from school, and venture out to do real life.

If you come to my house before two in the afternoon and you are not my parents, my husband, or my son, I will not answer the door. I don’t care if your here to fix my air conditioner, plumbing, or dryer. You need to call me and give me at least an hour before you show up. And it better be important because you’re cutting into my writing time. And I won’t be going on the Dr. Phil show to overcome this issue. I’m fine with it and besides, I have an image to uphold as a inspirational romance author. Right? That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.

So tell me, how do you feel about going around makeup-less? Or all decked out in your yoga pants and oversized sweats?

Giveaway Alert!

animal-memory-boardComment to enter the drawing for a copy of Reuniting with the Cowboy. Ten copies will be split among names drawn during the blog tour from Sept 1 – 27. One winner will receive a Noah’s Ark themed memory board personally crafted by the author. This fabric is special since it was in the Vannatter nursery 14 years ago and goes along with the float the characters in the book build for a parade. Great for a shower gift or displaying kids or grandkids. Winners will be revealed on the author’s blog on Oct 8th. Sign up to enter more giveaways: http://shannonvannatter.com/sign-up-for-shannons-newsletter/

Follow the tour:

Sept 1: http://rosemccauley.com/

Sept 3 & 7: https://writingpromptsthoughtsideas.wordpress.com/

Sept 5: http://jenniferhallmark.com/blog/

Sept 5: http://www.gailkittleson.com/blog/

Sept 12 & 15: http://www.shannonvannatter.com/blog

Sept 13: http://www.faithfriendschocolate.com/

Sept 16: http://www.jamesrcallan.com/blog/

Sept 21: https://jenpheobus.com/

Sept 27: http://brendaandersonbooks.com/blog/

***

reuniting-with-the-cowboy-coverA charming cowboy moving in next door shouldn’t be bad news. But veterinarian Ally Curtis knows Cody Warren—she’d never forget the boy who left her when she needed him most. Cody is doing everything he can to show his beautiful neighbor he’s not the wild bull rider he once was, from helping her find homes for her beloved strays, to protecting her when her business is threatened. But Cody has a secret that keeps him from fully reaching out. Yet as they continue to work together to promote her shelter, he can’t keep himself from hoping that Ally might have a home for him…in her heart.

Get your copy now on AmazonChristianbook, and BarnesandNoble.

***

shannon-taylor-vannatter-headshot-tealShannon Taylor Vannatter is a stay-at-home mom/pastor’s wife/award winning author. She once climbed a mountain wearing gold wedge-heeled sandals which became known as her hiking boots. Shannon writes inspirational contemporary romance and it took her nine years to get published in the traditional market.

Shannon hopes to entertain Christian women and plant seeds in the non-believer’s heart as her characters struggle with real-life issues. Their journeys, from ordinary lives to extraordinary romance through Christ-centered relationships, demonstrate that love doesn’t conquer all—Jesus does. In her spare time, she loves hanging out with her family, flea marketing, and doing craft projects.

Follow Shannon on her website, http://shannonvannatter.com, blog, Facebook, Goodreads, Pinterest, and Twitter.

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Criminal, me? No! I’m a Writer!

I admit it: I get some strange stares if (okay, when) I give voice to a thought running through my brain. But as you’ll soon read, I’m not the only one who gets “those looks.” And I’m most definitely not the only one who thinks these thoughts. It’s a writer thing.

I’m Not a Criminal, I Just Think Like One
by Karin Beery

On-line businesses are big money. These days you don’t even have to have your own website, you can sell things FBA – Fulfilled by Amazon. I won’t go into the specifics, but here’s the gist of it: you buy, price, and ship things to Amazon, who lists and sells them on photo-1449247666642-264389f5f5b1their website.

What does this have to do with writing?

My husband is an FBA seller, and I often help him prepare his shipments to the mega retailer. That requires lots of bubble wrap, boxes … and packaging tape. The packaging tape is what trigger my last episode of writer’s brain.

Me: Honey, don’t you ever worry about selling something to a serial killer?

Husband: (blank stare)

Me: (holds up tape) Think about it – my DNA and fingerprints are on dozens of pieces of tape around the country. What if someone frames me for murder?

Husband: (rolls eyes, goes back to work)

That’s the thing about writers. We don’t simply see the world as it is, we see it as it could be, and sometimes – if we read mystery and suspense novels – we see the twists and kinks.

We also see the unbelievable. Not the ghosts-living-in-the-attic unbelievable, the I-don’t-think-the-author-ever-tried-that unbelievable. Like when a person, wide-eyed, sneezes. Or the man who walks down the beach, doing a thorough 15-minute are-you-feinvestigation of the two mile stretch. My favorites, however, are the kisses. There have been several times when I read a romance and the man cups a woman’s face as he kisses her, and she wraps her arms around his neck, holding him close – sounds romantic, right?

Try it.

Go ahead. Go home, grab your spouse, and see how comfortable it really is to have two man elbows smooshed between you. One description or the other works, but together? Not so much.

Honestly though, not many people will notice, because not many people are reading books from a writer’s point-of-view, but I can’t help it. I’m always testing theories to see if it’s really possible to laugh and drink at the same time, and every-day, inanimate objects inspire thoughts of criminal actions. It’s just the way I’m wired.

So please be patient with the writer in your life. You never know what weird scenarios might be playing in her head.

How about you? Do you ever “see” things that aren’t really there? Or do certain items or circumstances make you wonder about something completely off the wall?

***

2-color-240x300Owner of Write Now Editing and Copywriting Services, Karin Beery has had more than five hundred articles published in various periodicals, in addition to writing her novels. She is an active member of American Christian Fiction Writers, the American Christian Writers Association, and Christian Proofreaders and Editors Network. She is represented by literary agent Steve Hutson at Word Wise Media. You can connect with her on Facebook, Twitter, or at her website, www.karinbeery.com.

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Mystery and Mayhem! Oh My!

2015-08-24-21-51-27

From GasWorks Park in Seattle, where Beth, the heroine in “Breaking Free” and her bestie enjoy a lovely summer outdoor concert. Ask me about the real life story behind this! And see more “Breaking Free” scene pics on Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/jenslatte/breaking-free/

With every novel release, readers often ask me, “Is this book based on your life?” My response: “In bits.” Then I leave it to them to decipher which parts are real, or at least, partially real. 😉 I’m noticing a new trend however, one that could easily alter my love for writing. (Well, not really. My brain would explode should my fingers cease typing, but things have become a tad creepy. Thrice now, storyworld has come alive, after the fact for me, and two of those times were in some pretty significant ways. I’ll have to share. But not today. Today we’re talking … murder, and how much of mystery writers Lillian Duncan’s nail biting scenes originate from her day to day.

Is This Book Based On Your Life?
by Lillian Duncan

Is This Book Based On Your Life? I should hope not since I write suspense and mystery novels, detective-1039883_640but people ask me that question anyway. Let me assure you, I’ve never been running for my life or hunting down a killer. And I’m pretty sure if the opportunity came up, I would say NO thank you and call the police instead.

So then how do I come up with my ideas? It varies from book to book. In fact, I’d say that almost every book I’ve written had a different start to it.

Sometimes, I come up with a premise, such as what would happen if a big city lawyer fell in love with a farmer? (Pursued)

Often a scene just pops in my head from nowhere. Like when a woman receives a phone business-19148_640call from a young girl asking for her aunt and she knows it can’t be for her because she doesn’t have a niece. Or does she? (Deception)

Sometimes a story comes about because of characters from another story. Both Betrayed and Redemption happened because I wanted to know what happened to my characters after Deception.

My Deadly Communications series happened when my writing life crashed into my other life as a speech pathologist. The series features a speech pathologist who gets way too involved with her clients!

Birthright, my only horror novel, was based on a dream I had. As soon as I woke up, I ran to my computer and wrote it down. That night, I wrote some more and some more and some more!

So, like I said my story ideas can come from anywhere at any time. GAME ON is no exception. I got it from watching a TV talk show of all things. And no, I’m not going to tell you which, but I can assure you it wasn’t Jerry Springer! Of course, all I got from the show vintage-tv-1116587_640was a germ of an idea. After that it’s all about the work and the creativity

So what’s GAME ON about? Congressman, Lucas McMann wants to throw his hat into the political arena for the U.S. Senate. It’s the next step on his journey to the White House, but he believes he’s the victim of an elaborate stalking game.

The problem is no one believes him.

He can’t move forward until he stops the game. He can’t stop the game until he discovers who’s behind it. To do that he needs someone who believes him enough to help him get the proof he so desperately needs.

And he knows just the person.

If only she’s put their past behind her.

secret-1142327_640Private Investigator, Nikki Kent makes a living finding out other people’s secrets, but she has one of her own. When Lucas shows up asking for her help, she refuses. She can’t take the chance of her secret coming to light. But her new-found faith won’t let her turn her back on someone who is desperate for her help—even if he was the first man to break her heart!

Game On is filled with enough twists and turns that it should keep any reader turning those pages late into the night. I really had fun writing it and hope readers will have fun reading it. My publisher outdid herself with the book trailer for GAME ON so I hope you’ll check it out at: https://youtu.be/t6MK2UGB1P0.

To celebrate the release of GAME ON, I’m giving away a virtual basket of goodies at www.lillian-duncan.com, including Amazon gift cards. For all the details go to my blog, Tiaras & Tennis Shoes. Simply leave a comment on the blog post GAME ON and you’ll be entered. Be sure to tell me what blog you read about my new book on. Thanks!

***

Politics is no game when a stalker nears and there’s nowhere to hide.

Game OnA run for the senate is just a step on the road to the White House for Congressman Lucas McMann. But his public profile has put him in the middle of a crazed gunman’s twisted game of stalking. If he wants to win the election and reclaim his life, he’ll need the help of the one person who’d rather leave their past behind them.

Private Investigator Nikki Kent knows how to dig up secrets and discover those who exist in the shadows. She should. She’s good at hiding secrets of her own. Can she risk her own discovery for someone so desperate for her help? For the first man who broke her heart?

With new-found faith, she’ll help Lucas search for the answers. But with the truth comes a danger they must face together.

Check out the book trailer video for GAME ON at  https://youtu.be/t6MK2UGB1P0

Find Game On on Amazon and Pelican Books.

***

Lillian DuncanLillian is a multi-published author who lives in Ohio Amish country with her husband. After more than 30 years working as a speech pathologist for children, she believes in the power of words to transform lives, especially God’s Word.

Lillian writes the types of books she loves to read—fast-paced suspense and mystery with a touch of romance that demonstrates God’s love for all of us. To learn more about Lillian, you may visit her at www.lillianduncan.net or www.lillian-duncan.com. She also has a devotional blog at www.PowerUpWithGod.com.

Your turn! Have you ever read something in a book then later had the scenario or event play out in real life? Or maybe have you encountered something so strange you thought, ‘This would make a great story!’ Share your stories and experiences with us in the comments below.

Before you go, I absolutely must invite you to visit me and my hilariously goofy writer friends at Modern Day Mishaps where we’ve been mishapping all over the place!

When a grown woman’s ice breaking statement includes the phrase “DNA swapping,” you cringe. Then run the other direction. Read about Mikal Hermanns incredibly awkward moment HERE.

And what happens when a slightly flighty writer is turned loose in the chaotic, and slightly terrifying Atlanta airport terminal, when her real life hero is hours away and absolutely powerless to help her? Find out HERE.

Then there’s the little parenting fiasco that occurred the day before I met the sweet the Krista Phillips. Moms, you need to read this one on your worst day. It’ll make you feel better. Seriously. 😉 Read all about her no good, rotten, and rather stinky day HERE.

 

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The What If Game

judge-300552_1920My mind can bounce in a thousand directions, working every scenario a hundred ways, resulting in humorous and often irrational situations.

Inside my head, there is never a dull … nor quiet … moment.

What if our pilot falls asleep, there’s a technological malfunction, and our plane goes spiraling into some unsuspecting farmer’s barn?

(Now imagine you’re the farmer. Interesting … )

What if I leave my computer in my hotel room, someone takes it, and I’m unable to make deadline? Or worse, the housekeeper just happens to be an aspiring author and steals all my story ideas (which have been rejected 50 times) and becomes the best selling novelist I’ve always wanted to be?

What if the world suddenly stops spinning on its axis while we’re facing away from the sun and we remain in perpetual darkness?

20160825_142027You have Ted Dekker to thank for that last one, as I’m pretty sure creative brilliance is contagious. (At least, that’s my hope.) (I absolutely had to find a way to throw this encounter into this post. Seriously, y’all–Ted Dekker!)

Okay, so maybe I’m not as neurotic as my brain spirals above imply, but I can spin things past logic.

Though my poor, rational-minded husband might disagree, I’ve come to see this as a gift, one that leads to fanciful worlds and nail biting moments of conflict … for my characters, and on occasion, for me. But we’ll focus on the former, shall we?

The what if game …

It’s a curse and … a blessing. 😉 It all depends on how my exploding thoughts are channeled.

I’m often asked where my story ideas come from, and honestly, that’s a hard question to answer. In fact, I’m not sure I’ve given an answer, except to say they unfold in my head, often in vivid, three-dimensional detail.

And yet, upon further thought, I’ve discovered these storyworlds have a trigger, a starting point, and those starting points are birthed in the what if. In the innate ability to imagine, whether those imaginings are positive or negative.

To all you worriers out there, relax and celebrate. Perhaps God has something great planned for your catastrophic thoughts. 😉 (At least, that’s what we tell ourselves when we’re up late at night fretting over things others haven’t even considered.)

They say every gift has a weakness, and here is ours. Or perhaps we should flip things and say every weakness has a gift.

Hm … now there’s a notion.

What if we found ways to channel those things we struggle with most? person-110303_1920To somehow find the good in them? What if we were able to surrender the gunk, the absurd, the irrational, and let God turn it into something beautiful?

This last weekend, Ted Dekker talked about metanoia, about changing our thinking so that it aligns more with Christ’s. But he took it a step further, encouraging us to align our actions with who we were meant to be. The real us hidden within.

See, I’m meant to be a worrier.

Not really. But those thoughts that explode a hundred directions faster than popcorn kernels in a frying pan–I’m relatively certain they come by God’s design. At least, that’s what I’m telling myself, as I grab a pen and tablet and explore all the what ifs in life and story.

What about you? Is there something in your personality, perhaps a character trait, that has caused you angst but, if examined in light of grace, could also bring you and others incredible joy?

Now for the fun part. I invite you to “what if?” with me, to allow your thoughts to wonder in every which direction, so that you can see the fanciful and dip your toes, but for a moment, into a world of your own making. Some might call such behavior crazy; I call it creative. 😉

Here’s the backdrop:

A single mom of twins returns to her hometown to reinvent herself and begin again. What might she be running from, and why?

Share some possibilities in the comments below or on my Facebook page, then share some questions of your own so we can keep the fun going!

But before you go, I invite you to read about a real life what if situation–what happens when a scatter brained author becomes trapped in Atlanta? They say live your life in such a way that you point others to Jesus. Well, this is one way to do it. Read all about my modern day mishap HERE.

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