Monday, July 18, 2011

Make-A-New-Friend Monday with Lillian Duncan

*Sigh* I am way out of whack! It's a good thing . . . I think. I'm really busy with The Heart's Lullaby and planning a 5K walk/run in my hometown for my best friend who passed away from ovarian cancer. Still, I wish I could stick with a schedule for this blog. Please bear with me as you always have and I'm continue to do the best I can.

Today I'm tickled to bring you a new friend . . . Lillian Duncan! Here's a little about her:

My journey as a writer began long, long ago in a galaxy far, far away. Okay, maybe it wasn’t in a galaxy that far away, but it was long, long ago.
I remember learning to read the Dick and Jane books and from that time on books grabbed hold of my imagination and transported me around the world. Where ever I went my book went.
I went on to wander about Africa, thanks to Curious George and then there was Pippi Longstocking. And Heidi and the Swiss Alps. Anyway, you get the idea.
So, loving books and loving to read were the first steps in me becoming a writer. For me, I always had stories in my head. Most little girls play house with dolls and rock them and put them to bed....but my dolls didn’t have it quite that easy. They had extensive story plots to act out.
I’m old enough to remember when Mr. Potato Head was just plastic parts that you put on a real potato. And then there was his wife, Mrs. Potato Head and a bevy of children. Well, in Potato World, I was the queen and I would make up all kinds of problems for the Potatoes and their friends. And that was just the beginning of my stories.
I can’t remember not having stories in my head. Unfortunately, that’s where the characters and stories stayed—in my head.
Fast forward a few years and now, I’m 40, restless and unhappy. And a couple different things happened at around the same time. First, I was watching a TV show, probably Oprah. And a guest suggested you write you own obituary to give you guidance as to what you want to do in your life.
I felt silly but I did it. One of the things in my obituary was that I was the author of numerous bestselling novels. But how could that be? I hadn’t ever written anything except some poetry.
And then another Oprah suggestion—I was reading this little pink book called Simple Abundance. And a major theme of the book was finding your creativity and using it.
And that’s when the light bulb went off.
These stories in my head were the stories I was supposed to be writing down for everyone to enjoy—not just something for me to pass the time with while I was driving back and forth to work.
So, I started writing that day and I haven’t stopped yet.

And we are so glad you haven't! Welcome, Lillian! Thank you for coming on our blog and letting us all get to know you better. Now, time for a little Q & A.

We kind of already know the answer to this, but when did you first discover that you were a writer?

I was a late bloomer. I was 40 when I realized all those stories rumbling around in my head were the stories I was supposed to be writing down for others to enjoy.

What other books/short stories/articles/poems have you written, whether published or not?

I have 3 other books published. They are SHATTERED, SERENITY SPRINGS, OHIO, and IN A CORNER OF HER HEART.

Do you have an all time favorite book? Which genre do you prefer to read and why?

That’s a hard one. I love Gone With The Wind, but who doesn’t? I prefer mystery and suspense with a little romance thrown in.

How do you keep your sanity in our run, run, run world?

I walk! I’m a low key type of person and when I feel I’m getting out of balance it’s easy for me to just take a few steps back and relax.

What is the accomplishment that you are most proud of?

Hard question. I hate to brag but certainly working and retiring from a large metropolitan school district is right up there at the top.

What was your greatest roadblock in writing this book and others, and how did you overcome it?

ME! I am my own worst critic. I often feel like I’m not good enough, smart enough to do this thing called writing. But God gifted me with a spirit of tenacity so I keep writing.

What advice would you give to an author just starting out?

READ! READ! READ! Not just in your genre but in all genres. Classic and contemporary. WRITE! WRITE! WRITE! Until you start writing, you don’t know whether you can do it or not. The more you write the better you’ll get.

Now, tell us about the featured book - back cover blurb plus what this story means to you.

BLURB: Reggie Meyers has spent her life pursing the American Dream, but now she’s the one being pursued— by an unknown killer. Putting her trust in Dylan Monroe, a man she barely knows, will either be the best decision she ever made or the last.

Reggie’s a big city lawyer and Dylan’s a country farmer. In the normal course of events, their lives would never intersect but some accidents just aren't meant to be avoided. When Reggie crashes into Dylan, it makes a bad day even worse or so she thinks. Dylan, on the other hand, is intrigued by the feisty lady lawyer and wrangles a way to spend a bit more time with her by offering to drive her home after the accident. And so the journey that will change both their lives begins…

WHAT THIS STORY MEANS TO ME? PURSUED is a story near and dear to my heart. I wanted to write a story that showed some of the differences between "big-city" and "small-town" living, but in the end those differences are only superficial. The important thing is a person’s character not where they live or what they do for a job.

Check out her trailer! It's awesome!

How can readers find the book and where can they find you on the Internet?

It’s at all the major online bookstores along with being at

Bonus question: Tell us one interesting fact about you that your readers would find interesting, and maybe even surprising.

I was a group home mother many years ago for a Jewish organization. One of the things we had to do was run a Kosher house. It was a very interesting experience, especially keeping the dairy and the meat separated.

Wow! That IS interesting! Thank you again for stopping by, Lillian! If you, my friends, have questions or comments for Lillian, please leave them here and I'll make sure she gets them! Blessings to all!

Monday, July 11, 2011

Make-A-New-Friend Monday with Michele Clark

 Good Monday morning, my friends! And since it's Monday, I have a new friend to introduce to you. But first, quick update: I found out this past week that the release date to The Heart's Lullaby has been pushed back to March. :o( This was very disappointing news, but all things happen for a reason and maybe part of that reason was to focus immediately on the "5K for Patty" to benefit Ovarian Cancer Cancer Alliance. It's is moving along at a decent pace - even though I have NO IDEA what I'm doing - with the help and encouragement of some wonderful friends and I'm believing the Lord will bless our efforts. I have to believe this or I'll quit. Honestly. It's a big load on one's already full plate and I really would quit if I didn't believe with every fiber of my being that it will be a success. Please, PLEASE, pray this for me. I'll be posting a link for you to register (or donate) soon. But for now . . . meet Michele Clark!

Michele is a wonderful person who has been through a lot, but has sought the Lord through it all. What I will always remember most about Michele is one day when my Patty was in the hospital in Cleveland, Ohio, and I was stuck in Nashville, TN, going out of my mind that I couldn't get to my best friend, Michele selflessly went to the hospital for me to visit my Patty - someone she'd never met! She took Patty a little "Footprints" plaque, I think. It meant the world to Patty that someone would care so much and it meant the world to me. She's committed to being involved in my 5K for Patty and I love her so much for her willing spirit. You can learn more about her by following her blog: Now here's a word from Michele:

I thought coming up with a post for your own blog was difficult. Trying to decide what the right thing to write about for someone else’s blog is so hard. I mean – you guys don’t know me. You don’t know my crazy journey or my quirky personality. I’m not only showing you a little bit of myself (and I’m used to embarrassing myself) but I’m representing Jen and she’s a pretty special lady.

That being said, I guess I should give you a quick summary of my background. I became a single mom just over a year ago. It was a very difficult decision but in the end the right one. Setting out on my own after almost two decades was intimidating enough, but to move halfway across the country with three children could have been a disaster. I decided to move back home to be closer to my family. I quit my job of seventeen years and left my support system behind. Thus how I met Jen. My author friend Teresa from church sent me a copy of Jen’s first book. You know – the one about the single mom from Tennessee who moves to Ohio and finds true love? Guess where my adventure started and ended up?

(That’s me on the right. I was doing laundry right before going out. My friends didn’t believe me so I sent them a picture lol!) (This is Jen now. UNFORTUNATELY, when I copied and pasted the beautiful presentation that Michele put together for me, the pics didn't come so I ripped a pic of her FB page that I think she looks absolutely stunning in. Hope that's okay, Michele. We'll all believe you did the laundry! ;o) )

Right as this journey was beginning, the kids and I went to church camp. It was here that I got some pretty great advice: “Put it in God’s hands.” I have to admit I didn’t really grasp the true meaning of this. But I started to do it anyways. I prayed about my job search. I was going for the perfect job – the one that I would love and was exactly what they were looking for. But I had a feeling the morning of the interview. I got down on my knees and told God “I know this is the perfect job for me, but if it’s not the right one for my family please show me the one that is.” When they described more of the day to day details they mentioned that there would be a lot of 12-14 hour days. I knew right then I wasn’t going to get the job. It was down to me and another girl and she ended up with it. Two days after that I got called for an interview for my current job. The first thing my potential boss said was “family comes first.” Well, there ya go. No contest. I love my job and am grateful for the flexibility it provides. I put my family in God’s hands. What could have been a year of turmoil turned out great. The kids made friends right away. They loved their teachers. The school is awesome. We found a great church. My son asked me the first day we went if he could go there every day. I knew we were home.

The one part of my life I really resisted placing in God’s hands was dating. I figured I could handle it. Truth be told, I wasn’t exactly going about the search the way I knew God would want me to. Every so often I had a nagging sensation telling me I should really just hand over control. But I fought Him for another nine months. My conscience was really starting to bug me but still I ignored it. One day at work, one of my co-workers said “I really think you should put this search in God’s hands. I know He has the right man hand-picked for you and He’s waiting for you to let him have the reigns.” I was shocked. There was no way he could have known what was weighing on my heart. But God did. He knew I wasn’t quite getting the message. Apparently the string of really bad dates didn’t give me a clue or I was just too stubborn to listen.

Well, I figured that it was time. I’m always waiting for the big yellow flashing sign saying “Michele – this is what you are supposed to do.” This was close enough. I finally gave God control.

Less than two weeks later I met Wayne. He’s amazing! We are sooo right for each other. He told me he put the quest for love in God’s hands and He sent him an angel. How do you argue with logic like that? It’s mind-boggling that he did the same thing I did and let God take control. Wayne is from Ohio but was living in Michigan. He had lost his job in September. He truly believes that God made him lose the job so he would finally move back home. And then he found me. Or better yet, followed God’s direction and walked right into my life. By the way, the picture of me with the towel was taken the night I met Wayne :)

So, a year later, I’m sitting at church camp again. Typing this in the few minutes of peace and quiet I have as the kids take a hike. Reminiscing on all that God has done for me and my family in just a year. Excited for what he has in store for all of us in the future. Needless to say I’m putting it ALL in God’s hands from now on. He has blessed me so much. I am able to give my testimony for others because what He did for me.

I challenge you to figure out what parts of your life you haven’t given God control over yet. Pray on them. My hope for you is that you have just as incredible a year as I have. God bless!

Thank you, Michele! What a blessing that was and a reminder that God truly does have our best interest at heart even through the yucky parts! Readers, feel free to leave comments for Michele or connect with her on her blog or on FB:!/manchesterclark.

Next Monday I'll be hosting author Lillian Duncan so make sure to stop back! Have a great week!

Monday, July 4, 2011

Make-A-New-Friend Monday Introduces . . .

 I missed last Monday as I was on vacation in Colonial Williamsburg and Virginia Beach with my family. As you can see, we had a blast and it was a much needed break but now I'm once again behind the 8-ball.

So for today's Make-A-New-Friend Monday and in honor of the birthday of our country, I'd like to introduce you to AMY BEAUREGARD, a new face in Harvest Bay.

Welcome, Amy! Tell us a little about yourself.
Okay. Well, what do you want to know?

Let's start with where you're from. I mentioned that you're new to Harvest Bay. So where do you call "home" and why did you come to Harvest Bay?

I grew up on an orange farm in Southwestern Florida, but it hasn't been my "home" since my dad died when I was twelve. My mother left when I was really little so all I had left was my grandparents. They did the best they could but I left as soon as I turned eighteen.
Is that when you came to Harvest Bay?

No. I spent a year and a half basically being a beach bum. Then I got pregnant and realized that a great tan and surfing all day wouldn't support my kid so I became a medic in the United States Army. After serving for 10 years, including 2 tours in Iraq, I got out for good and came to Harvest Bay so my son, Dominick, could meet and develop a relationship with his father.

Are you going to tell us who Dominick's father is?

I'm sorry. That's confidential . . . for now.

Okay, then, tell us about Dominick. (Great name, by the way.)

Dominick is an amazing kid. He was born early and there were some complications which resulted in him becoming deaf. He’s really smart though and he loves any game with a ball.

So does that mean you know sign language?

Unfortunately, no. I was gone too much to learn it, but I'm slowly picking it up. My grandma, who was Dominick's guardian while I was stationed in other states and over seas, learned it with him. And his new stepmom is fluent in sign language. What else do you want to know?

Uh, well, since you are a veteran, tell us what the 4th of July means to you. 

I thought you might ask this. *Sigh* Since I've just recently left the military I'm presently recovering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, and according to my psychiatrist I'm doing really well, but at this point fireworks are really bad. The noise and the sudden flashes of light -- they take me back to places I don't want to be. That said, I love this country. I've been stationed in other countries so I know first hand there are none better than the United States of America. I hate that so many, including my closest friend, have paid the ultimate price for our freedom, but I'm proud. Period.

I think I speak for all my readers when I say thank you for your service and I'm really sorry you experienced such loss.  


Moving on . . . so, Amy, what do you think the future holds for you and Dominick in Harvest Bay?

Hmm. I'm not sure. I've really felt "at home" here and made some really great friends . . .

Like who???

I'm sorry. That's confidential.

Right. Sorry. Please continue.

I've been advised by one of my, ahem, "friends" to open my heart to the possibilities and I'm just trying to do that. Your guess is as good as mine as to what the future holds.

One last question for today: the books in this series that you have become a part of are of strong Christian values and themes. Can you tell us where you are on your faith walk?

Well, as you can imagine, after losing my dad the way I did . . . 

Which is how???

I'm sorry. That's confidential. 

Right. Sorry. Please continue.

And then experiencing the, for lack of a better word, ugliness of war, I'm not at a very good place right now. But, as I said before, I'm trying to open my heart to the possibilities. And another friend told me to try seeing with my heart instead of my eyes. That one's a little trickier, but I'm working on it.  

Well, Amy, thank you for stopping by today and giving my readers a little peek into your life. I want to wish you a happy 4th of July and, again, thank you for serving our country.

Yep. Now, if you'll excuse me, Angel's waiting.

And who exactly is Angel?

*Calling over shoulder* Sorry. It's . . .

I know. Confidential.