Too Close to Home Now in Print

3 Jul

I’m very excited. Too Close to Home is now available in print for everyone who prefers to hold a book in their hands. And if you’re looking for a beach read, it’s definitely easier to shake the sand out of the pages than out of your eReader. 😀

Have a wonderful July 4th weekend.

Cheers!

Alison

Links for Too Close to Home

Amazon / Barnes & Noble / Samhain

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Hanging around the World Wide Web

17 Jun

Today I find myself in three places at once. That’s the beauty of the Internet. It can be done.

Thanks to Roxanne Rustand for hosting me on her fun blog, All Creatures Great and Small where I’m chatting about meeting the famous polar bear cubs at the Buffalo Zoo.

I’m also over at Just Romantic Suspense talking about how different Halloween, the movie, would have been if Jamie Lee Curtis’s character had a cell phone. Yes, the mind of a writer is a quirky thing. 🙂

Lastly, I’m also featured on The Suspense Zone. Thanks to Susan Sleeman for asking me some great questions. I talk about the inspiration for my latest release, Plain Pursuit, as well as give a little advice to new writers.

If you have a minute, stop by any of these sites and say hello.

Cheers,

Alison Stone

 

 

 

 

Guest Author: Kristina Knight

12 Jun

Please welcome Kristina Knight to my blog today. She’s going to tell us about her former career as a journalist and her latest release, What a Texas Girl Dreams.

Welcome, Kristina!

Kristi1Kristina: Hi, Alison! Thank you so much for having me here today!

Alison: Your bio says you live on Lake Erie, yet you wrote a series of books set in Texas. What do you think the allure of the Texas cowboy is?

Kristina: You mean other than the pictures on Pinterest? Those are seriously drool-worthy!! For me, the lure of the cowboy goes way back: I can remember watching old spaghetti westerns with my grandfather (who was a cowboy) as a kid. I loved those guys who stood up for what they believed in, who fought to save the day (or the damsel in distress) and always managed to win against the odds. I love a good underdog story, and a lot of cowboys were underdogs. I think we all like to be able to root for someone, whether in books or movies or TV shows, and someone who is brave, steady and fighting for right is always someone we can root for. And, it can’t be said too much, those pictures on Pinterest don’t hurt, either.

Alison: I suppose I should start following you on Pinterest. 🙂 Now tell me, how has your former career as a journalist helped with your current career as an author?

Kristina: Gosh, in so many ways. As a journalist there is a lot of hurry-up-and-wait. We hurry to a courthouse to get the mobster leaving in handcuffs, but then have to wait while the jury deliberates. Publishing is a lot like that: we write our books, polish them until they shine…and then have to wait weeks or months to hear back from editors or agents. Journalism also ingrained in me a need to beat a deadline. The five o’clock news goes on whether our stories are edited and perfect or not. That 11 o’clock print deadline is hard and fast. And so should our deadlines as writers, whether we are published or still waiting for that call.

Alison: Editors must love that you meet deadlines. When you sit down to write, do you plot your stories or do you just write organically and “see what happens?”

Kristina: My process is so weird. Technically, it’s a little of both. I need to know my characters and at least have an inkling of where the story is going. So, as I’m starting a new project I’ll make an outline of events that I think will happen. But that outline is always blown out of the water by the time the story is finished. Events are moved around, some deleted. My final drafts are always different from those early outlines!

Alison: I can relate to final drafts not resembling outlines. In the end, I’m sure it’s a stronger story, right? Now tell me about your perfect day.

Kristina: Oh, the perfect day. I would wake up totally refreshed, probably around 9 am, somewhere tropical. RadioMan, my own personal hero, would be my cabana boy, and he’d be waving a palm frond to keep me cool. There would be no 7 am pounces from bebe with the screaming-greeting of ‘Gooooooooooood morning!’ I would have plenty of time to get everything done – time to write, time to play, time to cook. Nothing would fall by the wayside.

Alison: Ah, waking up somewhere tropical sounds awesome! Your latest release, What A Texas Girl Dreams , revolves around horses. Your heroine’s horse is injured which leads her to the hero, a veterinarian. Did you have to do a lot of research?

Kristina: I did, and it was so much fun! I blame the journalist in me, but I love doing research. I contacted a horse rehab in Texas to get the lay of the land, talked (a LOT) with our vet and an associate of hers who focuses on large animals. And then I fictionalized all of it and (I hope) still got it all right!

Texas GirlBlurb for What a Texas Girl Dreams:
Monica Witte has life the way she likes it. She comes home to be babied every few months and the rest of the time she has no strings holding her back. But after her horse is injured in a rodeo performance, Monica knows it’s time to come home and face her family – warts and all.

Trickett Samuels works best on his own. The large-animal vet likes his quiet life in the Texas countryside. When Monica Witte blows into town, demanding a quick fix to her horse’s big issues, his life is turned upside down. Trickett doesn’t understand Monica’s need to perform before perfect strangers or why she wants to keep the truth of their relationship from her family. And the more he gets to know her, the more he wonders if he can convince this Texas girl that having roots will only help her soar higher.

Buy Links:
Amazon
B&N
iTunes

Author Bio:

Once upon a time, Kristina Knight spent her days running from car crash to fire to meetings with local police—no, she wasn’t a troublemaker, she was a journalist. When the opportunity to focus a bit of energy on the stories in her head, she jumped at it. And she’s never looked back. Now she writes magazine articles by day and romance novels with spice by night. She lives on Lake Erie with her husband and four-year-old daughter. Happily ever after.

Website: http://www.kristinaknightauthor.com

Thanks for stopping by, Kristina! I’ll have to take a little trip to Texas and check out those cowboys! 🙂

Cheers,

Alison Stone

Happy Birthday

4 Jun

BirthdayToday is my youngest child’s birthday. It’s her last birthday in the single digits. 🙂 It’s also another birthday of sorts. My first Harlequin Love Inspired Suspense, Plain Pursuit, has an official paperback release of June 4th! It seems fitting somehow. And my beautiful daughter is excited that Harlequin chose her birthday to release my book.

It’s been a long road to publication. When I first decided to write a romance novel, I decided I wanted to have my name on the cover of a Harlequin. This was in the days before eBooks became popular. Yet, even as the popularity of eBooks exploded, I was still determined to sell to Harlequin. I am nothing if not determined.

A good friend of mine who also happened to be a writer sent me a lovely e-mail after yet another rejection from Harlequin. The editor had wonderful things to say, but she still passed on my book. I felt like I had hit a wall. My friend wrote:

If an editor said “I’m eager to get her under contract” I would have swooned. Do people still swoon? You’ve got it, kid. Don’t give up. At the very least, what a model for your kids on what it takes to succeed. Am I blowing smoke up your derriere? Nope. Close only counts when people use it as an excuse to bow out. Look at the many writers who struggled. I’m talking good writers who managed to believe in themselves no matter what. There are too many fools out there who make it because they are blind to their own BS. You just need to find your own unique voice, blend it to the “smooth, clean writing style.”

That e-mail is still in my inbox. It’s dated March 2009.  With my friend’s encouragement, I plowed ahead.

And then finally I had success. In the summer of 2011, I sold two books, Random Acts and Too Close to Home to the fabulous Samhain Publishing. I learned that sometimes dreams can be realized in unexpected ways.

I continued to write and in July 2012, I got “the call” from Harlequin.  My original goal achieved! Today, I can hold my first Harlequin Love Inspired Suspense, Plain Pursuit,  in my hand. In the dedication I wrote, in part, to my four children:

If you want something badly enough and you’re willing to word hard, dreams can come true. Thanks for helping me make my dream come true.

I hope I have taught my children something about perseverance and hard work.  I hope they have big dreams and are open to new, unexpected opportunities. I hope they never give up when success is almost within reach.

Happy Birthday, little one. May all your dreams come true.

~Alison Stone

Guest Author: Angela Breidenbach

22 May

Angela Breidenbach

Welcome Angela Breidenbach! Thanks for taking time to visit today.

Alison: Reading your bio, I can see you have a very active and busy life. How do you make time to write?

Angie: It’s tough sometimes, but there’s nothing like a deadline. I write best to deadline because of my workaholic nature. That’s like Mara Keegan in my new novel, A Healing Heart. I don’t really watch much TV. I work six days a week and schedule freelance, coaching, etc. on my daily schedule. I also take breaks between books to write articles and pre-load marketing and do interviews for the book or compilation that sold. I think the most important thing for writers is to actually schedule writing into your daily calendar. You don’t get anything done unless you plan to do it. I’m always working on what to cut out of my schedule!

Alison: How would you describe your perfect day?

Angie: The perfect day is never the same 😉 I’m not someone who can do the same thing over and over again. I need a lot of variety to keep from boredom. But my favorite things are spending time with my kids and grand kids, coaching, and speaking. So I think a few hours of each with some great eclectic food tossed in would be a delightful day. Make it sunny, warm, and near a beach and I might think I’m in heaven, lol. (Remember I live in the cold mountains of Montana.)

Alison: I see that you are a CTA Life Coach. In your experience, what is the single most thing that holds people back from living the life of their dreams? (Is it possible to answer this question in a few short paragraphs? :))

Angie: The single thing I see that holds people back from living the life of their dreams is a sense of victimization. Overcoming a victim’s attitude is crucial. It keeps people inside their heads, inside their defined box (usually defined by someone else), and fearful. I love watching someone bloom as they release the victim attitude and embrace the life God planned for them. It’s beautiful and stunning! That’s why I wrote my non-fiction book that gets used at women’s retreats, Gems of Wisdom: For a Treasure-filled Life. It’s my dream to help people let go of that victim’s attitude and leap into their life.

Alison: Favorite vacation spot?

Angie: Beach, beach, beach 😉 Okay, and I have dreams of spending a month each in Scotland, Sweden, and Australia/New Zealand. Then I want to write books set in those places.

Alison: Tell us a little bit about the next writing project you’re working on.

Angie: I am working on a couple of stories. The sequel to A Healing Heart is the story of Cadence Keegan, the graduating teen all grown up. That book is called Climb Every Mountain—Cadence is a fitness coach with a failing gym about to give up on her dream when a mischievous girl nearly burns her gym down. Cadence has to choose fight or flight when Jackson comes to get in shape for his dream to climb mountains.

Lucky’s Draw is an 1864 Montana Territory: Is thirteen a lucky number? A dozen Swedish widows turn to a Black Irish saloon girl for matchmaking after Hidden Draw’s devastating loss of their male population. Who better to choose their husbands than one who really knows male character?

A Healing HeartAbout A Healing Heart:
What would you do if the one man who can help is the one man you can’t trust?
A heart attack has stopped workaholic Mara Keegan in her tracks, leaving her daughter’s unfinished photo memory quilt hanging by a thread. Little does Mara know, this quilt—and the memories it bolsters—are the key to her rehabilitation. But Mara’s heart needs to be healed in more ways than one. And Joel Ryan is fraying her last nerve. With her daughter’s graduation fast approaching, even Mara starts to wonder if she—and her faith—can mend in time. Will Joel’s photo find a place on the quilt… and in Mara’s heart?

Praise for A Healing Heart:
A Healing Heart weaves tears, cheers, laughter and delightful moments to keep you saying, ‘this is my story, my own healing and my own victory.’”—Janet Perez Eckles, author of #1 best-selling Simply Salsa

“As beautifully woven as a keepsake quilt, A Healing Heart wraps itself around you, offering a cozy, heart-tugging story. This is definitely my kind of tale—one that pulls you in from the first page and keeps your emotions engaged throughout. Highly recommended.”—Janice Thompson, author of Queen of the Waves

Bio:
Angela Breidenbach’s family tradition is giving unique quilts of memorable moments spanning birth to graduation to their graduating seniors. Mrs. Montana International 2009, an inspirational speaker and author, Angela also coaches writers, pageant contestants, and weight loss/fitness in Missoula, MT.
www.AngelaBreidenbach.com
Twitter & Pinterest: @angbreidenbach

 

Thanks for stopping by, Angie.

Cheers,

Alison

Guest Author: DiAnn Mills

15 May

DiAnnMills-2012

Welcome, DiAnn, to my blog. I love your husband’s challenge…looks like it lead to your writing career!

1. Your bio on your website reads, “I had always dreamed of becoming a writer, but I didn’t have the courage to take the first step.” First published in 1998, you now you have over 50 books published. What finally pushed you to take that first step?

My husband challenged me to write a novel. “Stop telling me you’re going to one day write a novel. Do it now. Quit your job, and if you get anything published in the next year, you don’t have to go back to your day job.” 🙂 I never went back to my day job.

2. Why did you decide to write for the inspirational market?

My faith and desire to offer hope to believers and unbelievers in a nonthreatening environment. We all have family, friends, and neighbors who will never step inside a church, attend a church function, or read a Bible. But we can hand those people a novel in which one or more of the characters solve their problems according to a Christian world view, and those people begin to see what following Christ is all about.

3. What is your writing process like?

First is a what-if that includes a character and a plot idea. From there I develop characters, the longest segment of the preparation to write process. I use psychology and counseling books along with personality testing. I spend lots of hours imagining how the characters would react/respond to various situations. Plotting comes next. I keep the word “antagonist” firmly planted in my mind to show the strong probability of the antagonist winning the goal. I plant twists and turns to show the complexity of life. And I do whatever it takes to research a topic appropriately.

4. Describe your perfect day.

Writing all day without emails to answer, laundry, phone calls, errands, and the words running like a waterfall. (I’m a dreamer too.)

5. What’s up next for you?

I’m working on the first book of a new FBI romantic suspense series. Nearly finished with the first draft.

 

DiAnn Mills is an award winning writer who believes her readers should expect an adventure. She currently has more than fifty-five books published.

Her titles have appeared on the CBA and ECPA bestseller lists and have won placements through the American Christian Fiction Writer’s Carol Awards and Inspirational Reader’s Choice awards. DiAnn won the Christy Award in 2010 and 2011.

DiAnn is a founding board member for American Christian Fiction Writers and a member of Inspirational Writers Alive, Romance Writers of America, and Advanced Writers and Speakers Association. She speaks to various groups and teaches writing workshops around the country. DiAnn is also the Craftsman mentor for the Jerry B. Jenkins Christian Writers Guild.

She and her husband live in sunny Houston, Texas.

Connect with DiAnn:

 Thank you for stopping by, DiAnn. I enjoyed your interview.

Readers, check out one of DiAnn Mills’ latest books, The Survivor, out now.

Blurb for The Survivor:

Is it her next bestseller . . . Or her last words? In The Chase, award-winning author DiAnn Mills introduced you to the world of Kariss Walker, the bestselling suspense author with a nose for trouble. In The Survivor, Kariss gets the chance to tell her most powerful story yet. But will it revitalize her writing career? Or bring it to a violent end? Kariss meets Dr. Amy Garrett, who survived a brutal childhood attack in which the assailant was never found. Now Dr. Garrett wants her story written in a novel. Kariss wishes she could seek the advice of Special Agent Tigo Harris, but she broke off the relationship a few months prior and seeing him again would be too painful. She interviews Amy and conducts her own research, stepping unaware into danger. Tigo misses Kariss and wants her back, but he understands why she broke off their relationship. Instead, he concentrates on solving a car bombing and bringing the killer to justice. As Kariss’s new story attracts an onslaught of danger that she never expected, can Tigo save the woman he loves and find out who wants her dead for writing about an unsolved cold case?

 

Cheers,

~Alison

Welcome Guest ~ Merrillee Whren

8 May

Merrillee Whren

Welcome Merrillee Whren! I love chatting with fellow authors. Thanks for answering my questions. And be sure to check out Merrillee’s latest release, A Place to Call Home.

1. I love your story of perseverance on your journey to publication. Can you share a little bit about how you kept going in the face of rejection to eventually find publishing success? In the early years, I expected rejection, and I was too ignorant to know that receiving a rejection five months after I submitted was not a sign that the editor had actually read the whole manuscript. Although I had read a couple of books on writing romance and a couple of others on writing novels, I learned so much more after I joined Romance Writers of America and the local chapter, Georgia Romance Writers. Also being part of a critique group helped keep me going. A year after I submitted my third manuscript to a publisher, I got a request for revisions. It took me too long to do the revisions because I had just started a new teaching job. Anyway, nine months later I got the rejection, but it was a very good rejection. Sometimes, when I got overwhelmed with discouragement, I would pull out the rejection letter and read it and remind myself that an editor had said some very good things about my writing. Another thirteen years passed before I made my first sale. During that time, I stayed active with my local RWA group wherever that might have been since I moved numerous times. I entered writing contests for feedback and began to place or final in them. My best win was the RWA Golden Heart that I won in 2003, the year before I made my first sale to Love Inspired. I somehow worked my way through the bad news and rejections and clung to the good news. As I look back over that time, I see that God was leading me to write Christian stories.

 

2. What is your writing process like? I’m mostly an organic writer (seat-of-the-pants). The kernel of an idea—either a character or a setting—comes to mind in a beginning scene. I take it from there. I have a difficult time seeing the whole story, so it is hard to plot things ahead of time, but if I want to sell on proposal, I have to come up with that synopsis. Even after a dozen books, it doesn’t get easier.

3. Describe your perfect day. A perfect writing day would include completing 2500 words. That doesn’t happen very often because I am not a fast writer. Otherwise, a perfect day includes a long walk during which I think about the story I’m writing, a visit with my granddaughters and an evening watching my favorite TV shows with my husband.

4. I love the cover of your new book, A Place to Call Home. Why did you decide to “go indie” when you published it? Thanks, Alison. I love the cover, too. Kim Van Meter did an excellent job helping me capture the concept of the story. I decided to “go indie” with this book because it is the manuscript that won the Inspirational Golden Heart in 2003. It is too long for Love Inspired, since they lowered their word count a number of years ago. I don’t believe I could place it with other publishers because it isn’t a story that would work as a single title. It lacks the subplots necessary for a single title book. Thankfully, authors have choices now that allow stories that fit nowhere else to find a home.

5. What’s coming up next for you? I’m waiting to hear on a proposal that I have with Love Inspired. While I’m waiting, I’m working on a book that looks like it’s also going to be an indie book. It’s what I call my “basketball story.” I think it has some elements that are very relevant to today in college athletics. Again it is a story that is difficult to place, but may find readers in the “indie” market. It is also a story that requires a lot of research.

 

STARTING OVER

WEB MERRILLEE WHREN for FB (427x640)After serving six years in prison for the false charge of manslaughter in the death of his wife, Kurt Jansen must overcome a world of bitterness if he wants to start a new life. But his first priority is securing a restoration job to pay a private investigator to find the real killer and a lawyer to get his kids back.

Hiring a convicted wife-killer isn’t what kind-hearted Molly Finnerty bargains for as part of the prison ministry she supports. However, she begins to believe Kurt’s claim of innocence and gradually finds a great deal to like about him—perhaps more to like than she should.

Can they overcome the past and find forgiveness and love?

Buy Links:

Amazon

Barnes and Noble

A Place to Call Home looks wonderful. Congratulations. Thanks for stopping by my blog.

All the best,

Alison 

Guest Author ~ Missy Tippens

24 Apr
I’d like to welcome fellow Love Inspired Author, Missy Tippens to my blog today.
MissyTippens20131. Congratulations, I heard your Love Inspired book,  A House Full of Hope, has been named a  Romance Writers of America Rita Finalist. What was it like to hear your book was nominated for RWA’s most prestigious award?
It was an amazing moment, something I had only dreamed of. In fact, it was so unexpected that when I got the call, I had no idea what Cindy Kirk was calling me about. I immediately thought she was calling to possibly invite me to a brainstorming retreat! 🙂
2. When you were writing A House Full of Hope, did you realize this book was special? 
There were a few moments in the book where I cried while writing the scenes. I was also blown away to have my editor accept the manuscript with no revisions–that and the line editor wrote a really sweet note about how much she enjoyed it. I’m thrilled to find it well received by readers as well. I think a theme of forgiveness resonates with a lot of people because it’s something we all deal with at one time or another.
3. Describe your perfect day.
My perfect day would involve sleeping late and then having a relaxing cup of coffee while watching the news. Then a productive writing time where the words pour on the screen effortlessly. Lunch with friends. Time to read a good book, preferably outside in a comfy chair. And later, dinner on the deck with my family followed by snuggling on the couch to watch our favorite shows. I’m not too hard to please. 🙂
4. When you’re not writing, what do you like to do?
I love to read, of course. I also like to shop with my daughter. Talk physics with my son. Go to movies with my husband or friends. Study (and eat out) with the women in my Bible study group. Sing in the church choir. Indulge in Menchie’s frozen yogurt or Starbucks coffee.  And did I mention reading??
5. This might be a loaded question for an author, but what are some of your favorite books and authors? 
This is impossible answer. I’m always finding new authors I love. I belong to a book club with a group of women in my church, and they’ve really expanded my reading choices. I’ve also been reading a lot of young adult novels the last several years and can’t even begin to choose a favorite.
Congratulations again on your RITA final, Missy. I’ll be there to cheer you on in Atlanta! By the way, your perfect day sounds right up my alley.  Readers, be sure to check out Missy’s latest release, Georgia Sweethearts.
Blurb for my newest book, Georgia Sweethearts:
GA_Sweethearts_Med_Res_9780373878079A Pattern for Love…
After inheriting her great-aunt’s failing yarn shop, Lilly Barnes is determined to make it a success. All she wants is stability, something she doesn’t think possible in the small town of Corinthia, Georgia. Then Pastor Daniel Foreman rents space in her store to hold meetings for his growing congregation, and this proves to be her lifeline. At first Lilly wants nothing to do with Daniel’s big dreams, but she soon finds herself starting to share his goals. Yet trouble between her customers and his congregation make them both doubt the path they’re on. That is, until practical Lilly shows him that love is a risk worth taking.
Buy links:
Also available in stores and other online retailers
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Motivational Monday ~ Enjoy the Moment

22 Apr

Motivational Monday ~ Enjoy the Moment

Recently, the news has been filled with unbelievable tragedy and sadness. It’s at times like these, I stop and remember all the reasons I have to be grateful.

On Saturday, my youngest made her First Communion. I love this photo because it oozes personality. She’s tired of having her picture taken at this point. 🙂 But I wanted to make sure I captured the day.

During Mass, I held her hand and tried to stay present in the moment. I have three older children and I am all too aware of how quickly times go by.

Enjoy the moment.

Cheers,
Alison

Motivational Monday ~ External Inspiration

4 Mar
Now available in print

Now available in print!

I’ve always been a firm believer that no one can motivate someone else to do something they don’t want to do, not for the long run anyway. I often say this about my children. They have to want good grades. I can encourage them. Provide the tools they need, but I can’t do it for them. (I refuse to do it for them!)

To be successful in anything, a person has to be self motivated. This is especially true for writers. How else is a person going to go from idea to finished novel? It’s a long journey. The desire has to come from with-in.

However, a little “external inspiration” never hurts when it comes to fanning the flames of self-motivation. Mine came in the March 2013 issue of RT Book Reviews. Random Acts, my debut romantic suspense received 4 Stars (out of 4.5 stars) and this wonderful review:

Romantic suspense fans, hold onto your hats because Stone evokes a whirlwind of emotions from the moment her book begins. This engaging story with a tough-as-nails heroine kicks off with a mystery readers will want to sink their teeth into, and the vast array of characters helps it all come together. Though a bit vague at times, Stone’s story is still easy to follow and so good it’s terrifying.

Whenever I get in a lull in my current project, I think back to this wonderful review and keep chugging along. How do you motivate yourself when you’re feeling uninspired?

One last thing, Random Acts, currently available as an eBook, will be out in print tomorrow, March 5, 2013. Check it out if you get a chance.

Cheers,

Alison Stone