The MacGregor Legacy - From Scotland to the Carolinas

(Book 1 - For Love or Loyalty) (Book 2 - For Love or Country) (Book 3 - For Love or Liberty)

Path of Freedom, Quilts of Love series

1858 North Carolina - When Quakers Flora Saferight and Bruce Millikan embark on the Underground Railroad, they agree to put their differences aside to save the lives of a pregnant slave couple..

Highland Sanctuary, (Highland series - Book 2)

1477 Scotland - A chieftain heir is hired to restore Briagh Castle and discovers a hidden village of outcasts who have created their own private sanctuary from the world.

Highland Blessings, (Book 1 - Highland series)

1473 Scotland - The story of a highland warrior who kidnaps the daughter of his greatest enemy and clan chief to honor a promise to his dying father.

Awakened Redemption (Inspirational Regency)

1815 England - A story that pierces the heart and captures the Regency era.

Monday, May 31, 2010

Gaining Experience Through My First Book Launch

By Jennifer Hudson Taylor

Now that I've officially survived the first month's book launch of my debut novel, Highland Blessings, I've gained some insight that I'll be sharing with you over the next few months. There are a few things I plan to change during the release of my next novel, Highland Sanctuary in October 2011.

While I had been planning for this moment my whole adult life (it seems), nothing could have prepared me for the stress. I don't know why I was so stressed out. It's in my nature to worry about things--and believe me--God has worked with me on it. I HAVE improved, but after May 2010, I think I have some more room to improve in this area. 


In the coming weeks I'll discuss some specific details in relation to setting up book tours, doing blog interviews, creating an influencer list, and setting up events and booksignings in bookstores, but today I want to concentrate on the spiritual aspect. It's easy to have a gracious and kind spirit when things are going well, it's another matter when things go wrong. And believe me, things will go wrong.

Some spiritual and ethical things to consider during a book launch:
1) Not worry so much. By the time a novel is released, all the preparation is done and the foundation is laid. Worrying won't change a 3-star review into a 5-star, or a 1-star into a 3-star. It is what it is. Don't post counter reviews, blog about it or post comments all over Facebook and Twitter. It will make you look unprofessional and petty.

2) Be gractious no matter what. Even if a person forgets to post a review or an interview that they have committed to do or looses the answers to an interview, be understanding and gracious no matter what. Things happen and when people mess up intentionally or unintentionally, we need to be merciful because there will come a time when we will mess up and we will want mercy.

3) Resist confronting people. If someone asked to be an influencer and requested a copy of a book, but never bothered to post a review or promote it in any manner, resist the urge to send them an email to confront them. It could be that the reviewer didn't like your book and would rather not say anything at all if they can't say anything good. Be grateful for this kindness. It could be that they had every good intention, but their schedule never permitted them time to read your book or things might have gone crazy in their life, such as an illness. Make note of it and put them on your alternate list for your next book, but not on your first-choice list. 


4) Be persistent. If a bookstore is giving you the run-around in setting up a book signing. Don't give up. Be persistent. Sometimes people don't like their schedules altered or they think an unknown, new author isn't going to bring them tons of new sales. That may be true, but even if you can't bring in tons of people like John Grisham or Nora Roberts, you CAN gain a couple of readers from their foot-traffic, and as an unknown author, that's your goal anyway. Plus, it forces them to buy copies of your book that they otherwise wouldn't buy. Even if you don't sell all of them, you can sign a few of them and then they can't send them back. You are guaranteed a couple of copies on their shelves, thereby, giving your books time to sell--a chance. It's much better than having them sit in a warehouse somewhere with no chance to sell.

5) Be a gracious visitor. Some bookstores don't do a lot of events and they aren't familiar at being a great host. Some people are better at hospitality than others. Even if you're treated like royalty at one bookstore and a janitor at another, be a gracious visitor as if you were being treated like royalty. The impression you leave with them and their customers is much better than the alternative--especially since you are trying to build your name, reputation and awareness.


6) Resist checking your sales ranking every hour. This was the hardest for me. The sales rankings on Amazon are confusing and questionable. It will fluctuate no matter what. It helps to know if you are selling at all, but beyond that, it doesn't give you a clear indication of how many books you've sold anywhere else. 


7) Don't beg people to buy your book. It is unprofessional and turns people off. Simply post updates on new things that are happening such as a new blog interview, review or an article that might highlight you or your book, but leave it at that. Once your book is out there, do your part to build awareness and promote your book, but leave the rest in God's hands. Your job is to plant the seeds, let God do the watering and the increase in a time frame that He sees fit. 


8) Don't whine in your comments, posts and email loops. If your book doesn't seem to be selling, don't complain to others. Pray about it. Take your petitions to God. He's the only one who can help you and open doors that you haven't thought of before. Let God be God in your life.


9) Don't compare yourself to others. There will always be someone out there selling more than you or less than you. Comparisons only plant seeds of envy, greed, pride, and jealousy. A humble and grateful spirit will keep you happy, thankful, and your sights where they should be--on self-improvement.


10) Learn from your mistakes and heed good advice. There are a few published authors who gave me some great advice. Without their guidance I would have been floundering. I heeded their wisdom and thanked them for being such wonderful friends. Surround yourself with people like this.

Friday, May 28, 2010

The History of Seizures and Epilepsy

By Jennifer Hudson Taylor

Seizures and Epilepsy have been around since the beginning of time, only people didn't have a name for it and they certainly didn't understand it. In ancient times, it was referred to as the "Falling Disease" or "Falling Sickness". Other people referred to seizures as fits or spells. The bottom line is, people didn't begin to understand it as a medical neurological issue until the 19th century and it has only been within the second half of the 20th century that the "bad" stigma of Epilepsy and seizures began to change and be more accepted. For instance, prior to the 1950's, a person with Epilepsy would not be given a job. Even today, some employers are still reluctant to hire an individual with Epilepsy. Without medication and a doctor's note, some individuals may not be able to drive.

Seizures are difficult to watch. For parents they are VERY painful to witness. I know from first-hand experience, and I have shed my share of tears. I have pleaded in prayer to God to heal my child. I have lain awake at night afraid to fall asleep, worried that she would stop breathing during a seizure and die. (The photo above is of my daughter when she was 10 months old on one of her many visits to the hospital.) If you are unaware about SUDEP, it stands for Sudden Unexplained Death in Epilepsy

The fear my character Evelina Boyd experiences in my second novel, Highland Sanctuary, is very real. It was my reality for the first five years of my motherhood--even with modern medications, science, technology, specialists and hospitals. I can only imagine what it would have been like for a parent in the late middle ages. Evelina would have not only fought her own fears in preserving the life of her child, but those of the world--especially that of the church--a place that should have been a safe sanctuary.

Throughout the Middle ages and into the Renaissance period, seizures were thought to be demonic. Clergy tried to cast out the demons through exorcisms, prayer and fasting. Families would offer sacrifices and/or make holy pilgrimages in hopes that their loved one would be cured and healed by God's mercy. Sometimes if an individual couldn't be healed or they lived in an area that would not tolerate their existence, epileptics were burned at the stake as witches, sorcerers, or demon possessed.

Highland Sanctuary is set in 1477.  According to William Brohaugh's English Through the Ages, the word "seizure" was not in existence until around 1470. Since there is only a seven year difference from the setting of my novel, a seizure might have been known among some prominent physicians, but not among general doctors in rural districts, and definitely not among the general population. Similarly, the word "epilepsy" wasn't in use until around 1545.

A study of historical Christian art from the 13th century to the present was conducted by experts through the Clinic for Neuropaediatrics and Neurological Rehabilitation, Paediatric and Adolescent Epilepsy Centre in Germany. Three hundred forty-one art samples were collected from various countries. A total of 143 people who possibly had epilepsy were depicted in 127 illustrations. Of those, 17 were infants, 35 children, 7 adolescents, and 84 adults. More men than women were shown with epilepsy. For there to be so much art showing this condition throughout centuries when it was least understood, seizures must have had a significant impact on these artists. 

The Bible does have one biblical story that indicates epilepsy is caused by demonic influence. This is where many Christians believed the exorcism of a demon was necessary, as well as prayer and fasting. This story is found in Matthew 17:14-21.

A man came to Him (Jesus), kneeling down to Him and saying, “Lord, have mercy on my son, for he is an epileptic and suffers severely; for he often falls into the fire and often into the water. So I brought him to Your disciples, but they could not cure him.” 

Then Jesus answered and said, “O faithless and perverse generation, how long shall I be with you? How long shall I bear with you? Bring him here to Me.” And Jesus rebuked the demon, and it came out of him; and the child was cured from that very hour.

Then the disciples came to Jesus privately and said, “Why could we not cast it out?”

So Jesus said to them, “Because of your unbelief; for assuredly, I say to you, if you have faith as a mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move; and nothing will be impossible for you. However, this kind does not go out except by prayer and fasting.”
 

According to this biblical passage, if a healing does not occur, it is because of unbelief. Jesus never once blamed the person with epilepsy, nor did he try to destroy the individual through burning at the stake. He loved and healed them. Christians in the Middle Ages missed the entire purpose of this story. They let their fear and unbelief control their behavior and backward thinking. I am amazed at how human beings can take a piece of the Scripture and twist it into something evil due to fear and pride at not being willing to admit to a lack of understanding or a lack of faith.

We prayed for our daughter, had the church lay hands on her in prayer, and while we waited for her healing we took her to pediatric neurologists and gave her seizure medications to control them. We were willing to let God heal her in His time and in His way, whether it be by a supernatural miracle or through medical science. I praise God that she is now seizure free and medication free!

Stay tuned as I write Highland Sanctuary. This is a story that God has laid upon my heart. I feel humbled, blessed, and thankful that He gave me this story to share.

Update: After 11 years of being seizure-free and medication-free, my daughter's seizures returned 6 months after Highland Sanctuary was released on October 2011. These are Tonic-Clonic seizures (grand mal) where she loses consciousness, falls wherever she is at, and stops breathing for a short while. She was 14 years old. We believe the monthly migraines she experienced for a year were warning signs leading up to the return of her seizures, but we didn't know it at the time. After many tests, hospital and doctor visits, medication trials, we have discovered her seizures are due to a hormonal imbalance that adolescence brought on. Now my daughter is almost 17, and on a combination of meds and hormone therapy that has kept her seizure-free for two years with very few side effects. I thank God for modern medicine and technology.


Other Online Resources:


Monday, May 24, 2010

Death of Traditional Publishing?

By Jennifer Hudson Taylor

On one of my writing loops someone posted a link to a 5-part series blog post on Death of Traditional Publishers? by Author Kris Tuella. After reading it, I thought it was very informative and brought out some perspectives I haven't before considered, so I've posted links at the bottom of this post.

I've always been a staunch advocate of traditional publishers and will continue to be. I love my editor and publisher, Abingdon Press. They've been supportive, helpful, and wonderful to work with. I can't say enough wonderful things about my editor, Barbara Scott. However, I'm also one who believes in computers, online platforms, and author marketing. That said, as an author, I'd be like an ostrich with my head buried in the sand, if I didn't take every advantage of what a traditional publisher can offer me and what I can do in promoting myself, my work, and building my online platform. With the ever-present changing world of publishing, I've got to try and survive--to do my part. It isn't my publisher's job to build my platform. If those days ever existed, they're over. It is my responsibility to build my platform.

One thing these articles drive home is the fact that author brands sell books not publisher brands. To borrow from a key point posted by Tualla, no one goes around saying, "I just bought a Random House book." Instead, you'll hear people saying, "I just bought a Karen Kingsbury book."

I've had several individuals on Facebook ask me if Highland Blessings will be available on Kindle or the Nook. I'm taking this shift in the publishing market and the growing interest in e-books seriously. I'm already one of "those authors" who sells my books on both my website and blog.

Yes, both Highland Blessings and Highland Sanctuary are available in print, on Kindle and Nook. 

I offer my books on my website because I can provide something that no other bookstore can, my own signature and additional goodies and promotional items that some find to be a nice touch. Since I haven't asked for permission to quote this individual, I haven't included a name, but here is a comment I received from a reader who recently bought my book:

"If the readers of this blog don’t win a copy of Highland Blessings, I suggest they order it from Jennifer’s website. I did and the book came with nice personal comments, autographed of course, book marks, a nice personal note on really beautiful Highland Blessings stationery, and a post card. My wife read the note and said, 'Do you know this woman?'"


People notice when you go the extra mile or take a few additional steps to do more than you HAVE to do. They not only, notice, but they remember and appreciate it. They may even promote it to others. 

Below are the promised links to Kris Tuella's blog articles. 

Death of Traditional Publishers?



Friday, May 21, 2010

Scotland's Burning of Heretics & Condemned Witches (1470's)

By Jennifer Hudson Taylor

For the novel I'm currently writing, I'm researching the persecution of innocent souls who were condemned to be witches, heretics, or demonically possessed in 15th century Scotland. Even though Scotland is known to be a nation that was once deeply rooted in Celtic Paganism, they participated in these persecutions due to the influence of the Christian movement throughout Europe at that time.

When looking at the religious state of a country during a particular period in history, one must first consider the rulers in charge. King James III came to the throne of Scotland as a nine year old lad in 1460. His mother ruled as Regent until her death and Bishop Kennedy was guardian of Scotland. James III was a weak king and criticisized by much of the nobles of Scotland. They rallied his son against him, a lad of 15, who promised to help them only if his father wasn't harmed. In 1488, James III was killed and James IV harbored much guilt from it.

Christianity was introduced to Scotland in the sixth century when an Irish monk, St. Columba came to the Isle of Iona for his mission work. A generation later, Aidan, a missionary from Iona preached among the Angles between the present-day border of Edinburgh and England. St. Cuthbert, Bishop of Lindisfarne, worked to spread Christianity among the lowlands of Scotland (d. 687). As you can imagine, some of the pagan rituals still existed in the highlands for much longer, but were eventually converted to Christianity--especially as a result of the persecution they suffered. If a person is given a choice between conversion and being tortured to death or burned at the stake--conversion was quite convincing.

As a Christian, I grieve for this part of our history. Jesus didn't go around beating non-Christians or torturing them or persecuting them to death. He gave them love and taught those who wanted to be taught, but he never forced His teachings upon anyone. God doesn't want puppets. That's why He gave us free will. He told His disciples that if they were not received in a city or house, to wipe the dust from their feet and when they depart, take their blessings with them. (Matthew 10:14)

By the 1470's, Scotland was deep into Catholicism and still clinging to the old feudal system and their long-standing alliance with France, a Roman Catholic country. The Church was very powerful and busy acquiring lands and material gains from the people. Tension and division rose between the clergy and the people. Since the Church always sided with the crown, people and even nobles, had no one to turn to for assistance in politics or to influence the country forward in new movements with new ideas.

In 1407, a follower of the John Wycliffe movement (or the Lollard Movement) pleaded for an open Bible and a more Christian daily life. He was condemned as a heretic and burned at the stake. Bibles were only available to clergy, and people were at the mercy of hearing what the clergy chose to read to them and teach them. Also, most Bibles were printed in Latin.

Here is a list of Witch Trials in Scotland from the 1400's to the 1700's.

Why was the most preferred method of torture and persecution burning at the stake? It's because of the old belief in baptism by fire. In actuality, when the Bible refers to baptism by fire, it is referring to a spiritual baptism, but people in their lack of knowledge and education back then took this meaning in a literal sense. 

Sources:
I've listed links in the above texts, but I've also used James G. Leyburn's book, The Scotch-Irish: A Social History.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Author Interview - Stephen Bly

For those of you who like historical westerns and cowboys, please welcome fellow author, Stephen Bly.


Describe your writing journey. How did you first get published?

I never wanted to be a writer. My wife, Janet, attended some writers’ conferences and asked to submit some excerpts from my sermons that she edited into stories and articles. One day in December 1976, I received two checks in the mail from two different magazine editors. That encouragement caused me to think I might be able to write. In 1981 Janet helped me submit a book proposal for a nonfiction project…developed from a class I taught to college kids from the Book of Mark. Moody Press published it as Radical Discipleship. In the late ‘80s I began writing westerns, as Frank Peretti’s This Present Darkness became a bestseller and Christian fiction took off. 
  
What advice or tips do you have for writers who are just getting started?  

We mentor students for Jerry Jenkins Christian Writers Guild. In addition, we receive numerous requests from folks wanting to get published. We tell them to go to writers’ conferences—to take the classes, meet with editors and other writers. This is crucial, we believe. It’s how we got started. It’s the main way to get up close and personal and understand today’s market. Also, we encourage them to sign up for correspondence courses, such as CWG. This isn’t a guarantee of getting published, but will help with the writing craft. Many are going the self-published route. This can work if you’ve got a ready market of buyers of your book. But we caution them to go with reputable self-publishers and stay away from scams. Going to a writers’ conference provides guides for self-publishing too.

Tell us about your latest book.  

On June 1st, Cowboy For A Rainy Afternoon will be released in hardback, by Center Point Publishers. It’s about a 10-year-old boy. Six old cowboys. A ’49 Plymouth with open back. And a damsel in distress. All the fixings for an adventure on a rainy, summer’s day in 1954 Albuquerque. You might discover that you weren’t born 100 years too late. You can order this book through www.Amazon.com or www.BlyBooks.com/store.htm or through your local library.

Where do you get ideas for stories?  

From reading western history. From travel all over the west, especially down unpaved, dirt roads. From stories folks tell me. From personal experiences. Cowboy For A Rainy Afternoon is the closest novel I’ve written to a memoir. Memories from times spent with my own grandpa filter through. In fact, in 1954 I was 10-years-old, so I recall many of the scenes in the 1950s. Janet and I love New Mexico. Much of the research comes from our trips there.  

Favorite scripture and/or quote:
 
Ever since I began to follow Jesus Christ as my Savior and Lord, I’ve relied on this verse: “Seek ye first the kingdom of God and his righteousness and all these things shall be added unto you” (Matthew 6:33). I consider the articles and stories and books as part of the ‘added things.’ I always try to remember that God’s kingdom comes first. One of my favorite quotes: I must do those things in life that I would regret not doing. Don’t know where I got that, but it’s helped me keep my priorities straight.  
What are your favorite writing conferences and why?  

Our favorite has always been the Mount Hermon Christian Writers Conference near Santa Cruz, CA. That’s because it’s where we grew as writers. But there’s many other Christian writers’ conferences where we’ve taught or gotten great feedback that provide excellent helps for beginning and published writers, such as: Billy Wilson’s Florida Conference; Marita Littauer’s Glorieta (NM) Conference; Blue Ridge Mountains Conference; Sandy Cove Conference; Maranatha (MI) Conference; Jerry Jenkins’ Writing For The Soul Conference; Marlene Bagnull’s Write His Answer Colorado Conference; Northwest Christian Writers Renewal; and Oregon Christian Writers Conferences.  

In your opinion, what is a writer’s greatest struggle?
 
Self-discipline. Realizing the whole process is hard work. No one’s forcing you to do this, so life slips by and the slush pile of words don’t get written. Or the writer’s done the creative work, but doesn’t want to do the plodding effort to find someone to publish his or her gems. And after the work’s published, doing the whole marketing scene. None of it’s easy, though beginners or non-writers often think this is one of the ‘plush jobs."

Thank you, Steve, for joining us! 

Monday, May 10, 2010

First Week of the Book Launch for Highland Blessings

Well, I've made it through the first week of my book launch for Highland Blessings and my first book signing at Barnes & Noble on Saturday in Greensboro, NC. Today I begin week two.

Romantic Times Magazine hosted me on their Book Review Blog to discuss how I incorporate my genealogy research into fiction. Check it out here.

More Good Things to Come

Here are a couple of stops along my Blog Tour that include reviews and interviews and giveaways of Highland Blessings!

May 10, 2010, Tea and a Good Book

May 10, 2010, Once Upon a Romance

May 12, 2010, Jodie Bailey's Blog

May 13, 2010, Inkwell Inspirations Blog

May 14, 2010, Tea and a Good Book

Joseph-Beth Booksellers Signing, Charlotte, NC
When: Sat, May 22, 3pm – 5pm
Where: Joseph-Beth Booksellers, Southpark Mall, Charlotte, NC (map)
Description: Jennifer will be signing copies of Highland Blessings. Please come on by.  

LifeWay Christian Store Book Signing
When: Sat, May 29, 11am - 2pm
Where: LifeWay Christian Store, Charlotte, NC (University Area)
Description: Jennifer will be signing copies of Highland Blessings. Please come on by.



Friday, May 07, 2010

Mother's Day - A Tribute to My Teen Mother

i
By Jennifer Hudson Taylor

You were only 16 when you brought me into this world. Frightened, you bravely met your new role as my mother. You've often told me the story of my birth and how you cried because you wanted your mother there with you. When they laid me in your arms, you whispered, "Now I have someone who will really love me." Those words could never be more true. I love you, Mama.

I love you for not looking at my birth as an end to your life because you were only 16--for not thinking of me as a mistake. I love you for keeping me and raising me. I love you for sharing yourself with me. I love you because you have shown me who you really are--who God is.

Thank you for leading a 9-year old girl to the Lord after she watched the Jesus movie and cried so hard she couldn't speak. Thank you for taking me to church and making sure I knew who I was in Christ. Thank you for teaching me how to pray and depend on faith when things looked so very bleak. Thank you for letting me cry in your arms as a child and an adult through my daughter's seizures, job layoffs, and other disappointments. Thank you for sowing so many spiritual seeds in my life. Thank you for being my spiritual mentor.

I will always treasure the talks we had each night. The memories of your grandparents are now memories of my own as I think back to our talks--even though I never knew them. You instilled a love for reading into my life and pushed me to go to college. You encouraged me to dream. When I hand wrote my first novel on a spiraled notebook at 12, you read it and gave me my first critique. You didn't let me win at checkers, you made me learn how to play. You taught me to stand up for myself and you gave me courage when I needed it. You attended my track meets and pushed me to keep practicing in the summer when I wanted to be lazy. You gave me so much practical advice and Godly wisdom.

I wasn't 16 when I became a mother. I was 25. I felt overwhelmed and frightened that I would fail in some way. How in the world would I ever fill your shoes as a mother? I only had to be the mother of one. You were the mother of four. I had one child with special needs. You had two, one with a learning disability and the other needing speech therapy.

I now carry some of the same wisdom and traditions of your motherhood into my motherhood. We had her photo taken in the very dress you brought me home from the hospital. I've had the honor of leading my daughter to the Lord. We watch girlie movies just like you and I did. We read together. I was a Girl Scout troop leader just like you were. We've hand-picked our strawberries in the Spring, just as we did. I tell her everyday that I love her, just like you did for me. And now, my sister is a new mother, spreading the same deep rooted love with her daughter, who is named for you, your grandmother, and great-grandmother.

You may have only been 16, but God knew what He was doing when He chose you to be my mother. Through you He gave me the gift of life--here on earth--and eternally through faith. Now your fruit is prospering in me and in a new generation through my daughter and through the words He's given me to weave into stories as parables, a witness to others. 


God gave me my debut novel on my birthday in 2008. Now in 2010, I feel so very honored to hand-deliver to you the fruit of your labors so long ago when a 12-year old girl dreamed of being a novelist, and you patiently encouraged her by reading and critiquing every word. How very fitting to be able to give you this gift on Mother's Day weekend. 


But more importantly, thank you for teaching and sharing with me God's greatest gift of all--His unconditional love. 

"Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up; does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil; does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never fails." (1 Corinthians 13:4-8)

Note: The first photo above is of my mother holding my daughter. The second photo is of my sister, me, and my mom.

Wednesday, May 05, 2010

Author Interview & Book Giveaway with Lena Nelson Dooley

Please welcome my dear friend and fellow author, Lena Nelson Dooley! I first met Lena at an ACFW Conference in Dallas, TX. We were at Michelle Sutton's Chocolate Party! I was a little depressed because after 10 years, I still had not received a contract offer, and I began to wonder if God was going to bless my writing or if His silence on the matter was my answer.

Lena prayed with me and encouraged me. She is a wonderful encourager and she has a writing critique group where she works with a number of inspiring writers and new authors.

She has agreed to give away one copy of her new novel, Love Finds You in Golden, New Mexico. Please leave a comment with your email address so I can contact you if you are the winner.

Please welcome.....Lena Nelson Dooley!

Of the books you’ve written, which is your favorite and why?

I am often asked this question. Answering it is like answering the question, “Which of your children is your favorite?” And the answer is much the same. I love all my books for differing reasons. They’re all unique. Sometimes I quip, “It’s the one I’m writing right now.” I thoroughly enjoyed writing my newest release.

Tell us about your latest book.

Love Finds You in Golden, New Mexico, is a book of my heart. I love the characters. I enjoyed watching them grow during the book. I didn’t want to let them go at the end.

All that glitters is not gold. It’s 1892, and Golden, New Mexico, is a booming mining town where men far outnumber women. So when wealthy old miner Philip Smith finds himself in need of a nursemaid, he decides to place an ad for a mail-order bride. His friend Jeremiah Dennison opposes the scheme, arguing that any woman crazy enough to come to Golden will be a gold-digger like everyone else in town. Jeremiah appears to be right when the ad is answered by Madeleine Mercer, a young woman who arrives in town under a cloud of suspicion. But just as she begins to win over the old miner—and Jeremiah himself—a stranger comes to Golden armed with new accusations that could tarnish Madeleine’s character beyond redemption.

If you can’t find the book where you live, you can order it using this link:


What are you currently reading?

Thin Places by Mary DeMuth. I don’t read a lot of nonfiction, except when doing research for a book, but this memoir is wonderful. I highly recommend it to your readers.

What accomplishment(s) are you most proud of that may or may not be writing-related?

Not my accomplishment, but being loved by a wonderful man for over 45 years is way up there.
Raising two daughters who are successful adults.
Helping over a dozen authors learn enough to get their first book contract.

What a wonderful testimony to a great marriage and being a mother so close to Mother's Day! A few of my friends are in your critique group and they love it. As for your writing, do you edit as you go or wait until completing the first draft? How many drafts?

I edit as I go. I can’t help myself. That’s just the way I’m wired. Probably no more than 4 drafts.

What are some ways that readers of your books can help you as an author?

If you like my books, tell your friends. Have them come to my blogs. Write reviews on the Internet book sites. Encourage your friends to write reviews as well. Pray for me.

What are your favorite writing conferences and why?

Since I write fiction, the national American Christian Fiction Writers conference each year is a must for me. But there are also some very good regional conferences. I’ve spoken at both the Texas Christian Writers Conference in Houston and the North Texas Christian Writers Conference in Roanoke. But both of these are for people who write all kinds of things, not just fiction.


Thank you Lena, for visiting with us!

If you would like to learn more about Author Lena Nelson Dooley, you can visit her website at:
www.lenanelsondooley.com.
______________________________________

Remember, if you would like a chance to win a copy of Love Finds you in Golden, New Mexico, please leave a comment with your email.

Monday, May 03, 2010

Rethinking the Static Website Thing

By Jennifer Hudson Taylor

With all the new features Blogger has incorporated into their blogs such as the new template designs that can be customized, the java and html that can be coded into one's blog, the static page options now, why would I keep a separate static website? I can still purchase my domain names and just host the info here on Blogger. It's no different than hosting them on Doteasy or some other server. The terms of service agreements are about the same. Blogger is so much easier to manage, I wouldn't have to hand-code html like I do now, and I wouldn't have to invest in a Dreamweaver software program. We have Dreamweaver where I work and I manage the website there. 

I've set up an RSS feed from my blog to my static website to keep fresh content on there, but to be honest, everyone still goes to my blog. I'm slowly transferring my forms to my blog. Why maintain two sites? It isn't making sense anymore. I don't want to host a private blog on my website. I like Blogger better.

Right now with the changes taking place in my life, I need fast, convenient, and simple. So don't be surprised if you go to my website one day and it looks just like my blog.

What about you? Have you consolidated yet whether it be on your own hosted site or a blog hosted site?

Saturday, May 01, 2010

Today's the BIG Day for Highland Blessings!

Today has finally come. The BIG launch for my novel, Highland Blessings!

All month long I'll be on a blog tour giving away a few signed copies here and there with interviews and reviews. I'll start my first book signing at Barnes & Noble on May 8th in my hometown of Greensboro, NC.

If ever there was a dream to come true, this is it! Highland Blessings took 14 years to come to fruition and I want to enjoy this moment as much as possible.

There are moments when I become so overwhelmed by the feeling that all I can do is sit and let silent tears of happiness roll down my face. There are no words. These times come most unexpectedly. The one thing I love best about those unexpected tears, is the closeness I feel to God at that moment.

It's as if He's reaching down and stroking the back of my head and saying, "See, my child, you only had to wait and not give up and I had all this waiting for you."

Please stop by and visit the blog launching my book today. Sharon Kirk Clifton was kind enough to host me and I'm so grateful to her. She has become a dear friend to me and I'm so excited to be on her blog this morning.

Sharon Kirk Clifton wrote both a review and provided a review of Highland Blessings. I'll never forget after she read my book, how she described it as, "an aerobic exercise for the heart".

Sharon's Interview
Sharon's Review