Wednesday, November 11, 2020

Author Behind the Story Blog Series - PeggySue Wells

Wow. We almost did it. Last month, we hit a record high number of page views of 985 (almost topped 1,000!). We here at ckevinthompson.com are so happy as we inch toward that 1,000 page view-a-month milestone and continue to grow our "Author Database," via our Authors Behind the Story blog series, continue to add salient articles, and more. From humble beginnings of 30-40 page views a month to what it has become, we are glad to bring information, interviews, thought-provoking articles and more to you. 

Thank you to our readers for making our blog what it is!

To help keep that string alive, we are happy to bring to you another author of whom you may have or may not have heard about...yet. (It's what we do.)

Interestingly, our next guest on the Florida Front Porch was someone I had some familiarity with. As I researched my Blake Meyer Thriller series, which deals with many subjects, one of which is human trafficking. I read several books, numerous articles, and other writings about the subject. One of those books was called The Slave Across the Street. The copy I had acquired had the author's name on it. Little did I know that our next guest helped her write this book. Later, when I was asked to be a guest on her blog, I saw a new book cover that included her name as well. I informed her of how I used that book along with the others to formulate my Blake Meyer series.

Small world, huh?

Without further ramblings, let's introduce our next guest to ABTS, PeggySue Wells!

Give us a quick bio. In fifty words or less, who is PeggySue Wells?

My favorite review said, “Eminently quotable, PeggySue Wells is a tonic—warm like your favorite blanket, bracing like a stiff drink.”


I am a history buff, and tropical island votary who parasails, skydives, snorkels, scuba dives, and has taken (but not passed) pilot training. Writing from the 100-Acre wood in Indiana, I’m the bestselling author of 29 books, translated into eight languages, including The What To Do series, The Slave Across the Street, Slavery in the Land of the Free, Bonding With Your Child Through Boundaries, The Girl Who Wore Freedom, Homeless for the Holidays, Chasing Sunrise, and The Ten Best Decisions A Single Mom Can Make. For five years I was a radio talk show producer and cohost, an experience I’m using for a podcast, Live Well, interviewing entrepreneurs, and exceptional voices to help people live better, together.

Before you ever got a notion of becoming a writer/author, how old were you, and what were you doing in that time of your life? 

In college, I blew out my knees as a dancer and shifted to the other subject that made my eyes light up - journalism. After being the editor of the college newspaper and magazine, I went to work as a news reporter and magazine editor. While raising my children, I wrote freelance and my first book was published in 1995.

Are you married? Single? Have kids?

I am the button-popping proud mama of seven grown children. While 2020 has been goofy for the world, this Mimi is getting three grandsons this year – I call them Mimi’s Mighty Men. Of my zany crew, two are professional writers, four enjoy reading, and three are allergic to reading and writing, (“That’s your gig, Mom.”)

We have one daughter who is allergic as well and a son-in-law who would rather "wait for the movie." :-)

I’m going to give you a shotgun list of favorites. In one sentence, tell us why you like these particular things.

Favorite Song of All-Time: "PeggySue" by Buddy Holly. Yep, I was named after that song. Great drum beat. (Did you ever see the Quantum Leap episode where we learned how Buddy came up with the title? I'll let you Google it.) 

Favorite Bible Verse: Ephesians 3:16-19: "I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love,  may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God."

To have God’s Spirit as a constant guiding presence and know how much God loves me is the best gift ever!

Favorite Movie: Sahara

Favorite TV Show: The Chosen

Favorite Novel (other than your own): Light of Eidon series by Karen Hancock

Favorite Author (other than you): John Erickson, Clive Cussler, Jan Karon, Richard Paul Evans

Favorite Sport: Waterskiing

Favorite Subject in School Growing Up: Reading for the stories

Favorite Subject Now: History to know what people did and why they did it.

Favorite Time of the Year: All of the year

Favorite Place to Vacation: Beach and Disney

Favorite Drink: Hot cocoa

Favorite Food: Salmon and chocolate (Hopefully not together...Yuk!)

 

If your life was a story, and you were the lead character, what kind of role would you play?

The adventurer who surfs, scuba dives, snorkels, rides horses, sky dives, travels and can’t pass pilot training because of the math (math is my four-letter word).

I saw a meme recently of two people, a man and a woman, sitting across a small table from each other at a restaurant. A first date kind of thing. She asks, "So, has there ever been a book that has made you cry?" He replied, "Algebra 1: Math for the Modern World." 

The struggle is real.

Do you have a favorite line from a movie or book?

Ha! If we removed movie and book quotes, vocabulary for my children and I would be reduced by half.

            You’re killing me, Smalls. – Sandlot

            But why is all the rum gone? – Pirates of the Caribbean

            Don’t take trash off the cat. – Hank the Cowdog

            I know practically nothing about that. – Hank the Cowdog

            I don’t think this is a normal shakedown. - Sahara

            No touchy. – Emperor’s New Groove

            Exactly so. – Scarlet Pimpernel (with Anthony Andrews)

            Clovis doesn’t like to be touched. – Apple Dumpling Gang

            Coffee – in cups. – Angels in the Outfield

            These mashed potatoes are so creamy. Mary mashed them. – While You Were Sleeping

            Yeah, why? - Frozen


Same here. We're always quoting movies and shows. My favorite is from the Disney animated Jungle Book scene of the vultures saying to each other, "What do you want to do?" We also use that exchange when we're trying to decide, of all things, where to go out to eat. We also like the hand gesture in The Kid where he bends his finger at the first knuckle and points with a face ready to explode. 

Do you have a crazy, interesting, behind-the-scenes story about the publishing world you’d like to tell your readers without boring them to death with industry gobbledygook?

I began my writing career as a news reporter and thought fiction writers were folks who didn’t want to deal with reality. Wanting to write in all the genres except horror (I get scared) and erotica (don’t want to write anything I would be embarrassed if my kids or grands read), I tried fiction. Holy smokes! It is tough to make stuff up that is completely believable, and so smart that I have to figure a way out. Penning fiction is addictive and my favorite genre.

Of all the stories/books you have written, which one is your favorite? And what compelled you to write this story? 


My favorite titles are The Patent (written under a penname because the audience is guys and guys generally prefer books written by men), and Chasing Sunrise. The Patent happened because my very smart friend called with a brilliant idea.

“Write it up, and I’ll polish for publication,” I said. 

“I’m an engineer,” he replied. “It has ten bullet points.”

So I turned electrical engineer and patent attorney Max Garwood’s ten bullet points into a 90,000 word novel. I’m halfway through the sequel, The Embolus.

Half of my books are co-authored. I enjoy the teamwork because I write well with others.

Tell us about what project you are currently working on. 

I’m putting together a resource-rich website community titled, Single Mom Circle, as a companion to The Ten Best Decisions A Single Mom Can Make. I’m also writing that epic novel that has been marinating in my brain for decades that is the beginning story for all my novels, as well as the prequel to Chasing Sunrise tentatively titled, Choice, and the sequel to The Patent, titled The Embolus. I typically write several books at a time.

What surprised you the most during the research for the book you are currently working on? 

Every place I explore, experience I have, fascinating facts I learn make my writing richer and multi-dimensional. Israel became a major part of The Patent and several other titles after I traveled there. St. Croix with its mile deep underwater wall, poisonous manchineel trees, and macho jumbies is the setting for Chasing Sunrise. Learning that human trafficking enslaves more people today than when slavery was legal in the United States was a sad shock when I wrote The Slave Across the Street and Slavery in the Land of the Free.

Tell us about your writing day. How do you go about writing?

When the children were young, after teaching school, I wrote in the middle of the busiest area of the house surrounded by the comforting sounds of family and life fully lived. I took my laptop (Macbeth) to the stands at horseshows, the sidelines during soccer practice, while sitting through orchestra practice. Once, I took a college writing course and the question on a test was, “What is the one thing every writer must have for success?”

I quickly wrote, “Passion.”

The question came back marked wrong. After class I asked the professor about the correct answer.

“Solitude,” he replied.

I snorted. As the Mom of seven children on a gentleman’s ranch in the country, if I waited for solitude, I’d never write.

Currently, I rise early, journal, read Scripture, pray, read for thirty minutes, and write for ninety minutes. Next, I work on business items, then write and work until dinner. Exercise in the evening and write before going to sleep.

If you had one person you could meet (think outside the Bible here) and could spend as much time as you wanted with that individual, who would it be? (Next question deals with Biblical characters.)

Patrick Henry. He experienced failure and lived with a lot of integrity. Despite heartbreak, he was a powerful force in the creation of a new nation. And he could fiddle!

If you had one person you could meet (think ONLY Bible characters here) and could spend as much time as you wanted with that individual, who would it be besides Jesus?

Mary, the mother of Jesus. What a wonder to be chosen as the mother for God’s son. I’m certain there is lots to her story.

What’s the craziest thing you have ever done? 

While having seven kids, taking them to as many places around the world as possible, giving them as many experiences as I could, it seemed natural to me, but many say that was crazy. I’m frequently surprised to meet kids the ages of my own who have not been places, had experiences, or tasted foods. There is so much in this vast world God created for us and I don’t want to miss a thing.

Why do you live where you live? 

We relocated from California to a little artsy country town in Indiana in 1995. I like the elbow room, the opportunity for my children to have animals and experiences. I stay because there is plenty of space so the kids and grands know they are welcome home anytime. This is a wonderful retreat for writers to come and focus on a project.

When my bestie from California calls and asks what I’m up to, I tell her, “I just did target shooting in the backyard, chain sawed a tree, am having a bonfire roasting s’mores, and I’m not getting arrested.”

“Show off,” she replies because none of that is permissible where I used to live.

We know “Readers are leaders, and leaders are readers.” Is there a book you’ve read in the past five years or so that has helped you become a better you? If so, which one was it, and how did it affect your life?

Not a book, but The Chosen - Season One has powerfully impacted my life in all the best ways. I’ve watched it five times through and probably will again. Because of The Chosen, I’m eager to read the Bible. Secondly, The Bible Project has also fed my spirit.

If you had life to do all over again, would there be any changes? If so, what would they be?

I would like to have learned much earlier to focus on the facts and not make up stories about those facts. For instance, when a publisher published two of my books, then passed on my next two ideas, I assumed that meant they didn’t want to work with me anymore. That was a story I made up in my head about the facts. However, the facts were merely that they decided to pass on my next two pitches that were not a fit for them. In this industry, keep pitching great ideas and networking.

Is there anything you'd like to share with our readers we have not already covered?

Writing permits me to possibly be the wind under the wings of another who is weary, disheartened, and disillusioned. I enjoy both the challenges and victories of the craft because it satisfies my spirit. I write because writing is an essential. Through writing I give voice to others, champion integrity, bring humor, and share stories. One in four homes is currently single-parent led. My hope is that The Ten Best Decisions A Single Mom Can Make will serve as tangible tips and practical hope to help solo-parent led families be successful.

PeggySue, I want to thank you for being willing to sit down on the Florida Front Porch, sit a little iced tea, and chat for a while. 

Readers, if you wish to learn more about PeggySue and her writing, you can find her at these cyber locations:

www.PeggySueWells.com

https://www.linkedin.com/in/peggysuewells

https://www.facebook.com/peggysue.wells

https://www.facebook.com/Peggy.Sue.Wells.Encouragement/


Until next time, may God bless America, and more importantly, my America Bless God, regardless of who was elected last week!


Kevin

www.ckevinthompson.com


PS - Looking for a Christmas story unlike any other? One that brings hope? One that bridges the gap between the tangible world and the spiritual? The Letters may be the one for you.



THE WORLD IS A CRAZY PLACE

WHEN THE LIVING ARE DEAD

AND THE DEAD ARE ALIVE.

Rachel Hamar—a Manhattan bank teller—lives nothing close to a Manhattan lifestyle. Residing in Washington Heights, NY, the only thing keeping her in The Big Apple is her mother—a long-time patient in a local psychiatric hospital. It’s December, 2014, and the twentieth anniversary of her high school sweetheart’s tragic death. She’s not sure how much more heartache she can endure, especially after being told earlier in the day she no longer has a job at the bank. A casualty of downsizing.

In the midst of spiraling depression, Rachel receives a mysterious letter in the mail. When she opens it, she becomes cautious and skeptical of its contents and discards it as a mistake, concluding it’s simply addressed incorrectly or a postal worker’s faux pas in the midst of a busy Christmas season. But another letter arrives the next day. And another the day after that. Before long, she is in possession of several letters. Each one more puzzling than the last.

Thinking that someone may be playing a cruel game, she contacts the police, and this propels Rachel and the two detectives into one of the most bizarre cases they’ve ever encountered. Is it a friend’s cruel joke? Is it some stalker’s perverse idea of manipulation? Or is it something more?


Monday, November 2, 2020

Kevin's Interview with Carrie from READINGISMYSUPERPOWER.ORG


Dear Readers,

I love doing interviews. They're fun, especially when the questions are creative. This interview with "MeezCarrie" @ ReadingIsMySuperpower.org was one the best as we discuss my latest award-winning book, The Letters!

I think you'll like the interview too!

And don't forget about the giveaway that goes through Nov. 9, 2020!


Reader the entire interview at the link below: 

https://readingismysuperpower.org/2020/11/02/author-interview-and-a-giveaway-the-letters-by-c-kevin-thompson/?fbclid=IwAR1eRbYx3FQFRtiktBM6URuUReIKZLts_MIZp9SoW5DnmDKrO5Fow9vdkO8


And if you miss the giveaway, you can find The Letters HERE!


Thanks for stopping by!

Kevin











Wednesday, October 14, 2020

Author Behind the Story Blog Series - Hope Toler Dougherty

Phase Three has been implemented in Florida, meaning all restrictions are lifted, and it's up to individual entities as to how they wish to proceed. Yet, mandatory rules for wearing masks with the threat of fines in other places are being reinstituted, like in Brooklyn and Queens, for example. In California, restaurant patrons are being urged to wear their masks between bites (you can't make this stuff up).

Some states have hardly been affected by the pandemic. Other states have been dealt several blows. The year 2020 has proven to us one very important fact: Election years are the pits. So is living out scenes from the movie Idiocracy

Therefore, in an attempt to infuse some sanity and normalcy back into the life of America, we bring you another installment of our blog series, The Author Behind the Story! 

Welcome our next guest to the Florida Front Porch, where rain bands from tropical storms and summer heat and humidity linger. Welcome, Hope Toler Dougherty!

Hope, give us a quick bio. In fifty words or less, who is Hope Toler Dougherty? 

I'm an introverted Christian Romance author who loves family, traveling, reading, live music, cooking, crocheting, public speaking, the Pittsburgh Steelers, and Jesus. Not in that order. Skills include changing the oil in a 1974 Mustang, playing the dulcimer, and soloing a Cessna 150.

That's quite the diverse resumé! Are you married? Single? Have kids?  

I’ve been married to my Kevin for 32 years. We have two daughters, Anna and Hattie, and twin sons, Lane and Quinn. Anna is in fashion in NYC. Hattie is in law school at the University of Pittsburgh, and the boys are first lieutenants in the US Army. Go Army! Beat Navy!

This year, Army beating Navy should not be too difficult.

Next question. Of all the things out there in the world, what makes you cringe the most? 

Here are a few: hearing people chew or swallow, pets sleeping in beds with people, bathroom humor, profanity, and wasting water (keeping the tap running when you’re brushing your teeth or washing dishes.)

My wife is the same way with the people chewing issue, especially ice. She read an article that this was because people who have high IQs are prone to being annoyed by such things. Who am I to argue with the "science" behind the article? Especially if I want to live?

Besides the usual things authors face, has there been an unusual event that changed your perspective about being an author? 

In the spring of 2013, I had two novels written but no agent and no publisher. Friends in the industry and acquaintances kept signing with agencies and getting book contracts. I felt left behind. I couldn’t figure out the problem. I had an English degree for Heaven’s sake. Two, in fact. I learned a lot about pride and God’s timing during this season.

Our sons applied to West Point. One was accepted and one wasn’t. When Quinn received the good news at dinner, Lane was a wonderful brother. He congratulated his twin, saying all the right words, but it was a difficult evening in our house. We wanted to throw down and celebrate with Quinn, but we also wanted to be sensitive to Lane.

Checking on him later, I told him I knew how he felt. He didn’t say anything, but his countenance revealed negative thoughts, for sure. 

I explained my writing journey about watching my friends move forward on their writing path, being happy for them, but wanting my own journey to begin. I knew he was happy for Quinn, but he wanted West Point too. As he listened to my story, understanding dawned on his face. His mom could relate to his pain.

I knew right then if I never published a word of fiction, my writing journey was worth every disappointment because I’d been able to minister to my son on one of the worst nights of his life.

Here’s the happy ending: Lane graduated from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in ROTC with a Chinese degree, and Quinn is a West Point graduate with an Arabic degree. Their mother has published four novels so far. Praise God from Whom all blessings flow!

Great story about God's timing.

Of all the stories/books you have written, which one is your favorite? And what compelled you to write this story?  

All four of my novels hold special places in my heart and remind me of what was happening in our family when I wrote them, but Irish Encounter, my first, will always be dear to me. I wasn’t planning to write fiction in 2009. I had an idea for Guideposts Magazine. God wooed me onto the fiction path with the story of Payne and Ellen. He showed me that I could flesh out an idea, expand on a scene, and write a whole book with a beginning, middle and end.

Do you ever receive negative reviews from readers? If so, how do you respond when you see them?

I have one one-star review for Irish Encounter. The reviewer called it “religious propaganda” and chastised Amazon for not having some sort of warning flag for religious books. Clearly, she’d never read the back blurb which mentions God twice—not a higher power or a good energy source, but G-O-D. She rued the wasted hour and a half of her life that she’d “never get back.” Yes, I pretty much memorized her words. 

That review is one reason I don’t read reviews now. I check the numbers because reviews are vital to authors, but I don’t read them unless someone emails me or writes them in a real note.


I always pray that God gets my books into the hands of people He wants to read them, and I’ve prayed for that woman periodically for five years now.

I think we all have those kind of reviews. I had one that said almost the same thing about my debut novel. I've been praying for her as well. It's hard to see the Light when you're spiritually blind.

If you had one person you could meet (think outside the Bible here) and could spend as much time as you wanted with that individual, who would it be? 

Dolly Parton! She may be a caricature in some people’s minds with her bouffant hair, makeup, and costumes, however, she’s a brilliantly talented musician, a shrewd, community-minded business woman who praises God for her blessings. Her songs have crossed over into different genres for decades. Dollywood has provided jobs for several thousand people since 1986 in her home state. She has donated over a million books to young children. She’s funny, smart, creative, energetic, interested in life—oh, my stars! I would love to be friends with Dolly Parton!

What’s the craziest thing you have ever done? 

Neighbors thought we were crazy when we took our children aged 9, 7, 5, and 5 on a six-week home exchange to Ireland. We swapped houses with two families for three weeks each (one in Galway and the other in Bandon, County Cork) and added a week in France visiting our foreign exchange students. My husband was able to work remotely. It took months of planning and getting our house ready—housekeeping isn’t one of my strong suits—but the trip was a wonderful, learning adventure for all of us.

I have always wondered about that process. Is there a vetting process involved? I mean, the though of having strangers living in my house while I live in theirs seems so foreign to me.

We know “Readers are leaders, and leaders are readers. ”Is there a book you’ve read in the past five years or so that has helped you become a better you? If so, which one was it, and how did it affect your life?

The Hiding Place by Corrie Ten Boom. I saw the movie when I was a teenager but read the book only a few years ago. Corrie wrote about thanking God for the fleas in her concentration camp because it kept the guards from coming into their room. Thanking God for fleas? Wow. It gave me a new perspective on my soft life.

Our "soft lives." That is so true. I cringe every time I see a teenager wearing a shirt that says, "The struggle is real." Young one living in America, you have no idea what "struggle" really is.

What Bible scripture has impacted your life the most, and why?

An important verse to me is Psalm 73:26: “My heart and my flesh may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.” God gave me this verse during a frustrating time, and now it’s painted on the wall in my kitchen.

Hope, is there anything else you’d like to share with our readers about you, or anything we didn’t cover?

I came to the fiction party kind of late—because of fear, life circumstances…whatever. I’m grateful that God was patient with me. I’ve learned so much about God and myself, and I’ve met so many wonderful people on this writing journey.

If you have an idea that keeps niggling at you, I encourage you to pursue it. Don’t let people’s opinions or your age or fear steal your future. Wonderful things await you on the other side of fear.

Good advice!

Readers, if you want to find out more about Hope and her writing, you can locate her at these locations:

http://hopetolerdougherty.com/

https://www.facebook.com/AUTHORHOPETOLERDOUGHERTY/

https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/13941031.Hope_Dougherty

https://www.pinterest.com/hopetdougherty/

https://twitter.com/HopeTDougherty

https://www.instagram.com/hopetolerdougherty/

https://www.bookbub.com/profile/hope-toler-dougherty

 

Thanks, Hope, for taking the time to stop by and share with our readers!

And Dear Readers, thank you for stopping by and helping make ABTS one of the ever-growing blog sites on the web!


Until next time, may God bless America, and more importantly, may America bless God!

Kevin

www.ckevinthompson.com 



P.S. - Looking for a great Christmas story? One that is more than just a silly, sappy, Christmas tale? If so, may I interest you in The Letters? Similar to A Christmas Carol, one reviewer said "the author skillfully wraps a sense of 'what happens next' in this cozy Christmastime story. It's a journey where we remember not all have peace on Earth and goodwill toward men. Yet, it's never too late to believe in the hope of Christmas." Based on the reviews posted on Amazon right now, both here in the US and in Canada and Australia, I don't think you'll be disappointed. It won an award, too, so others in the industry think that as well. :-)


THE WORLD IS A CRAZY PLACE

WHEN THE LIVING ARE DEAD AND THE DEAD ARE ALIVE.

Rachel Hamar—a Manhattan bank teller—lives nothing close to a Manhattan lifestyle. Residing in Washington Heights, NY, the only thing keeping her in The Big Apple is her mother—a long-time patient in a local psychiatric hospital. It’s December, 2014, and the twentieth anniversary of her high school sweetheart’s tragic death. She’s not sure how much more heartache she can endure, especially after being told earlier in the day she no longer has a job at the bank. A casualty of downsizing.

In the midst of spiraling depression, Rachel receives a mysterious letter in the mail. When she opens it, she becomes cautious and skeptical of its contents and discards it as a mistake, concluding it’s simply addressed incorrectly or a postal worker’s faux pas in the midst of a busy Christmas season. But another letter arrives the next day. And another the day after that. Before long, she is in possession of several letters. Each one more puzzling than the last.

Thinking that someone may be playing a cruel game, she contacts the police, and this propels Rachel and the two detectives into one of the most bizarre cases they’ve ever encountered. Is it a friend’s cruel joke? Is it some stalker’s perverse idea of manipulation? Or is it something more?



 

Wednesday, September 9, 2020

Author Behind the Story - Cindy Bonds

Me attending my first
Christian Writers Conference
Last month, we were hoping everyone was holding it together during these trying times of wearing masks in ninety-five degree weather, fretting about if your kids would be safe at school or should stay home, and if our supermarkets would ever allow us to travel both ways down an aisle every again.

I am here to say, there is light at the end of the tunnel. Well, aisle that is. I was in the grocery store this past weekend, and all the directional signs giving me permission to head west down one aisle while forbidding it in the next have been removed. We still have to wear masks, but we can now go east and west in the aisles.

I know. When I spell it out in such detail, it sounds absurd, doesn't it? To make a patron walk an extra one hundred feet because they have to go down Aisle 7 to get to Aisle 8? Passing people anyway because someone's Aunt Gertrude has camped out in front of the soup section, reading labels?

To many of you who may not have grocery stores in your areas with "X's" at the alternating ends of each aisle, it may sound even more ridiculous. In the year 2020 (the year when vision is anything but), where we "live in a time with a virus so deadly, we have to get tested to know if we have it," we should be thankful for the perceived idiocy, I suppose. It could be worse. It could be the military-grade strain of the bubonic plague with no known cure that's on the loose. 

Yeah, it exists, by the way. Now, that's scary.

So, let's all sit back on the Florida Front Porch, six feet apart, of course, and remove our masks because we are outside. Besides, we have some sweet tea and something to eat resting on the table too. That always gives us the green light to remove the masks. Hence, the quarantine "fifteen." :-)

Joining us on the front porch is brand-new Scrivenings Press author, Cindy Bonds! Welcome, Cindy!

Why don't you break the ice and give us a quick bio. In fifty words or less, who is Cindy Bonds?  

I’m Cindy Bonds, and I’m a wife and mother, finder of all shoes, shirts, and food items. I have a never-ending train of thought that asks questions and tells stories. My creativity runs a wide gamut besides writing, and I’m thankful God gave me the people in my circle.

Before you ever got a notion of becoming a writer/author, how old were you, and what were you doing in that time of your life?

When I started writing, it was because I had been reading a lot and my hyper-creativity was put on overdrive. I was a stay at home mom at the time, yes, a reward and a struggle in and of itself! Feeling as if I needed to contribute to our finances and torn between leaving my stay at home life with the kids for a job, I had exhausted several other avenues to find work from home.

But when I started writing, it just all flowed out as if I had stockpiled ideas for years! In all actuality, I had. Sleep was hard to come by as a new mom, so after my first child, when I tried to go to sleep, I had a running dialogue in my mind, kind of like a movie flowing through my conscious that lulled me to sleep. It focused all those rambling “mom thoughts” into just one train of thought and calmed my brain so I could sleep.

You've already mentioned that you are married and have children. Tell us a little about your family. 

I’m married and have been for almost 16 years to my awesome husband. We met at college, and he’s been the best thing God’s put in my path! We have two children, Conner is 11 and is starting 5th grade, Kenzie is 9 and starting 3rd grade.

Besides storytelling, what talents do you have? 

At one point in time, I anticipated myself to be a professional tennis player. After going to college and attempting to practice and play the sport as well as balancing my studies, that fell to the wayside! I do have a rather large creative streak and have dabbled in art and painting, scrapbooking and photography…

Tell us about what project you are currently working on. 

I currently have several stories saved that I’m searching through at the moment! I want to continue this writing gig, so I’m going back and editing what I can and trying to choose the story that will fit best. Most of my works have a military background, something I want to perpetuate as I publish! 

Currently, I’m torn between a reluctant, retired Recon Marine with a British operative friend in trouble and the storyline of a retired Navy Seal who has taken on a job within a tactical response unit and is faced with protecting a fiery red-head. Both stories complete, I’m trying to edit and decide which one to present to publish. Anyone want to give me their opinion?

Okay, readers, which one should she pursue next?

While they are thinking about their answer, tell us about your writing day. How do you go about writing? 

My writing shifts consistently. With two kids that are involved in extracurricular activities, I can only plan so much around schedules.  I work out of the house during the day, so I use my lunch to get through blogs (such as this) or return emails. But as for writing, I do tend to write more in the evening. I’ve been known to stay up late on the weekends when I don’t have work the next day to write.

Before I had a full-time, out of the house job, I was definitely a night owl! I would stay up late and type, get up early to get the kids up and then after they left for school, I’d go back to bed for an hour or so before I would begin my day!

Knowing what you know now about writing, publishing, etc., what piece of advice would you give to the person thinking about writing that novel they have always wanted to pursue since they were young, or the person who believes they have a non-fiction book in them that would be helpful to others? 

Get involved! There are a lot of different writing conferences that range from a few hundred dollars to several hundred. Go, go, go! I’m not exactly an extrovert, so when I went to my first one, I was more than nervous. It was a small group, literally 15 minutes from my house. Everyone was welcoming and kind and the knowledge I received at that first one was groundbreaking.

Going to these conferences gives you so much information and can help you make connections in the industry. In that first conference, I met the owners of a small publishing company, a cover art expert, several published authors and was able to get the first few pages of my manuscript edited. All those things and those people guided my path and they are the reason I kept writing and was able to get my novel published!

Let's switch gears for a minute. If you had one person you could meet (think ONLY Bible characters here) and could spend as much time as you wanted with that individual, who would it be besides Jesus? 

Peter. I admire Peter so much and his story has given me so much hope. He walked with Jesus, ate with Jesus, was rebuked by Jesus and forgiven by Jesus. Peter denied his friend and Messiah, despite the love he obviously had for Him! And yet, Jesus readily forgave him. How often we turn our back or walk away from Jesus and His Word. But Jesus constantly forgave and constantly forgives now. There’s hope for people like me that fall short all too often!

The apostle with the foot-shaped mouth. Peter seems to be a popular answer, for that very reason. :-)

Why do you live where you live?  

We live in a small, rural community. This town is where my husband was born and raised. When he graduated from college, it was during the recession back in 2009. We moved around, trying to find a job that could become a career. After moving out of state to Oklahoma, we had our second child and then we were looking for a permanent home. All of our family—well, the grandparents—still lived in Arkansas. He was finally offered a job in his hometown that actually had to do with his degree, so we moved back. 

Growing up, I never really considered myself a country girl or a city girl, neither was typical of where I lived. I had friends that had cows, horses and such, but I was not one of them. The “city” we lived in was small, I graduated with about 140 students. Now that we live here, on a farm, surrounded by cows, I do consider myself country. And we are definitely raising country kids!

When you are looking for a book to read, what are the things that are important to you?

I am a genre snob, I admit it. I’m not necessarily proud of that fact! I do try and branch out, to read other Christian novels, especially by those I know! But I love suspense! I need that mystery and conflict that pushes and pulls. When I go to the library, I start with Christian books and go from there. It’s the back cover that pulls me in. I want to know where the conflict lies and what’s at stake.

Is there anything else you’d like to share with our readers about you, or anything we didn’t cover?

Writing became my creative outlet at a time when I was feeling as if I was at a standstill. As I wrote, I tried to think of those that might not know God and how I could give something in my story to help them see Him. We all live in this fallen world and as a follower of Christ, I want my readers to see a glimmer of hope in my stories. I want others to relate to my characters and understand that being fallen doesn’t mean unreachable. After all, this is my mission field, and I do feel as if God called me here!

If you go to my website and sign up, I’ll send updates about the next novel that makes it to publication!

Cindy, we thank you for taking time out of your day to answer a few questions for us and wish you all the best on finding time to put "pen to paper," as it were. 

And dear readers, if you wish to get to know Cindy better, you can find her at these locations:

https://cindybonds.com/ 

https://scriveningspress.com/cindy-bonds/

 

Until Next Time, May God Bless America, and more importantly, may America Bless God,

Kevin

www.ckevinthompson.com


Wednesday, August 12, 2020

Author Behind the Story Series - H. L. Wegley


Anyone got a student going back to school soon? Have a relative in that boat? Do they have the same answers most people do? "I don't know." There's a school principal who posted a TikTok video where she was answering questions parents threw at her about reopening school. In a funny way, she simply said, "I don't know" to each question with differing tones of voice. It was a comedic way of expressing the answers one gives to "unprecedented times." How can anyone know all the answers to things they have never experienced before, right?

Therefore, in that spirit, as we take the first steps into school re-openings this fall, let us remember to pray for the health, safety, and welfare of all involved. And the sanity and patience of all involved as well. These next few weeks should prove interesting, to say the least.

Now, let's switch gears and welcome our next guest to the Author Behind the Story blog series, H. L. Wegley! His friends call him Harry. So, Harry, give us a quick bio. In fifty words or less, who is H. L. Wegley?

I served as a USAF Intelligence Analyst and a Weather Officer. In civilian life I performed research in atmospheric physics, then spent two decades developing computing systems for Boeing before retiring near Seattle, where my wife and I enjoy small-group ministry, grandchildren, and where I write Christian novels.

Seattle, eh? I'm sure our readers would like to know how safe you are up in that neck of the woods. Maybe you could elaborate in the comment section. 

What educational background do you have? 

My wife and I both graduated from Grants Pass High School in Southern Oregon. I attended Southern Oregon College, Oregon State, San Antonio College, then the USAF sent me to Texas A&M to get a degree in meteorology. Gig’em Aggies! Years later, I picked up an MS in Computer Science from Washington State, because they had a center for graduate studies where I worked, Pacific Northwest Labs on the Hanford Atomic Energy Reservation. Go Cougs!

I have a friend who is a staunch Aggie fan. He'll be glad to see the Gig 'em. 

When the words aren’t flowing, what is your favorite comfort food and why?

Recently, I found out that I have a health issue that restricts me to a no-acid diet. Foods with a pH below about 6.5 are a no-no. If I want a sweet snack, I turn to Graham Crackers, because they have a neutral pH (7.0). But if I were free to choose, I would have a vanilla bean, soy latte with about 3 shots of espresso. Now that stimulates the writing!

Everybody seems to have a bucket list. Do you? If so, what’s on it? If not, why not?

My wife’s and my favorite vacation spots are warm, sunny beaches with warm ocean water for snorkeling. Many years ago, while doing research for the Federal Wind Energy Program, I wrote the Wind Energy Resource Atlas for the U.S. Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico. I studied detailed maps and high-resolution photos of the islands and was sure my research would garner me a trip to the Virgin Islands. Sadly, it did not. A vacation to St. John, St. Thomas, and St. Croix is still on my bucket list.

Do you have a favorite line from a movie or book? If so, what is it and explain why it is special to you?  

I like unexpected humor when it’s properly injected into a story. My favorite such line comes from the classic John Wayne movie The Searchers. A small group of Texas Rangers is hunkered down behind logs while a huge band of hostile Comanches races straight toward them to attack. Just before the shooting starts, old Mose Harper, who is a bit slow, launches a prayer. “For what we are about to receive, we thank thee, O Lord.”

Besides the usual things authors face, has there been an unusual event that changed your perspective about being an author?

From the spring of 2018 to late winter of 2019, I wrote and self-published 5 full-length novels. Book sales took off and I had reached my goal of supplementing our retirement income solely through my writing. As the summer of 2019 approached, I got sick, little by little. My condition deteriorated and everything the doctor did made my condition worse, until I wondered if I would survive.

Eventually, I knew I needed to change doctors, or I may not survive whatever was happening. That is no easy task once you are forced onto Medicare at age 65. But I found another doctor and also read material from other doctors provided online. I found that I was being treated wrongly for my condition. To know that much was a relief, but I also learned that I would have to go on a rigid diet, indefinitely. The diet and the new doctor helped me, and I recovered, though I still have a diet that restricts me to about 1% of foods that most people eat.

I tell that story because I thought after publishing 5 books in less than a year I was unstoppable. But I learned that I can write only if God allows me to write. After the illness, I found that I cannot concentrate for as long a time, so my writing rate has plummeted to less than half what it was. I think God was telling me He had more for me to do than to write 16 hours a day.

We writers can become a cloistered bunch, if we are not careful. 

Of all the stories/books you have written, which one is your favorite? And what compelled you to write this story?

My favorite novel of those I’ve written is Voice in the Wilderness. I love the characters, and I love the

plot. I wrote this story in 2015, a year in which rumors were rampant about the 2016 election. Some people were even saying there may not be an election. That gave me the idea for the story. What if a president made plans, years in advance, to stay in office indefinitely? What would he/she have to take care of? My two-page list of obstacles to overcome contained one that I thought was not possible to overcome (not gonna spoil the story by telling you here). It became the downfall of the tyranny-minded president.

Another motivation was my great grandfather. He was killed by the Bolsheviks for refusing to give his crops to them, because his family needed them to survive. My grandfather then left Russia and brought his family to America. They kissed the ground on Ellis Island. Like my grandparents, I love this country and do not want to see it slide into tyranny. Voice in the Wilderness illustrates, through two young people, the courage it takes to stand up to a powerful, would-be tyrant.

Do you ever receive negative reviews from readers? If so, how do you respond when you see them?

I’ve learned from negative reviews how to split them into two categories—those that have a legitimate criticism that I can learn from and those that come from people my story has “ticked off.” I’ve written several political thrillers, always framed in a Christian worldview. When reviewers finish the book, but nit pick it to death, unjustly, you know that either they didn’t like the politics, or they didn’t like the Christianity. How do I know this? The pattern is repeated too many times to ignore. Also, in some cases, I’ve been able to determine who reviewed a book, and I subsequently looked at their social media posts. Bingo! They lean the opposite direction politically, or they have a beef with Christians or their beliefs.

Everybody's a critic today. Literally.

As a writer, if you had one thing you would do over again, what would it be?

I drafted my first novel at the tender age of 63—cold turkey, no classes, no seminars—I just sat down and wrote it in a little over a week. Not until I had the manuscript critiqued did I realize how much about the craft of writing fiction I still needed to learn. I had a very demanding job for my last twenty years in the workforce. Regardless, if I had it to do over again, I would have started learning the craft at a much younger age, even if I wouldn’t have time to write much until I retired. It took me 7 years to reach the point where my books won awards and garnered significant sales. But it didn’t have to be that way if I had started earlier.

Tell us about what project you are currently working on.

My current project, Resisting, is book 2 in a self-published series about the geopolitical fragmentation of America in a de facto succession that occurs as the cold civil war we see now grows hot. This series presents my thoughts on what will happen to America if we cannot come together on constitutional

principles as one nation under God.

Sounds interesting. 

What’s the craziest thing you have ever done?  

When I was 16, my buddy and I discovered an abandoned logging landing in the mountains. When the loggers left, they dumped almost a case of dynamite behind a log and left it. When we found it, the sticks were coming apart and the powder was smoking (that was the nitro). We scooped it all up in a large grocery bag and rode double on my motorcycle back to an old abandoned car about a mile from my buddy’s house. We scrounged up a blasting cap and some fuse. Packed a half-gallon milk carton full of old unstable dynamite, set it on the engine block, draped the fuse over the front fender, closed the hood, and lit the fuse. We did have a 5-foot thick pine log to get behind, about 30 feet from the car. We plugged our ears and hid behind the log. The explosion rattled windows in my buddy’s house and his parents had some questions for us. But the biggest mystery is what happened to the hood of that car. We found it a week later a quarter of a mile away. We also found out later, that it was a good thing we didn’t have a spill on my motorcycle as we rode home with ten pounds of wet, smoking dynamite wedged between us in a paper bag.

We asked for crazy, not insane. Wow. The whole "blown to kingdom come" could have been a real event for you both, right? Wow. And we worry kids today might slide down a hot metal slide in the summer and burn their little tushies...

Ahh, the good ole days. 

So, this next question is a great segue. Why do you live where you live? Did you have to move because of the dynamite incident?

We live in the foothills of the Cascades about 17 miles from Seattle. It’s too populated here now, and we would like to move back to where my wife and I were raised in rural Southern Oregon, but we have 6 grandchildren in the local area. So we will be staying here for the foreseeable future.

Not teaching them about dynamite, we hope. :-)

When you look for a new home, what are the things that are important to you? 

We recently moved and downsized. Our nearly 4,000 square foot house was waaaay to much for us to keep up with as we approached 70. We bought a townhouse less than half the size, but it took a few months to find the right one.

I wanted a quiet neighborhood and a room for an office for my writing and my library. My wife is much more perceptive than me. She can look at a house and see immediately what it would be like to live there and then give it a thumbs up or down.

I deferred to her, and we got a two car garage (almost impossible to find in a townhouse in our area), a large office big enough for both of us, a guest bedroom, and a large deck and patio that require minimum maintenance but provide a great place to entertain or relax during the summer months.

Harry, is there anything else you’d like to share with our readers about you, or anything we didn’t cover? 

Ten years before retiring, I started studying Christian apologetics with the intent of writing a book or class material for teaching Christian worldview. It seemed that many Christians I knew, of all ages, had no solid foundation for their faith. Sadly, they were easily confused or led away into false teachings or false religions and philosophies. By the time I felt somewhat qualified to start writing, the real professionals who had dedicated their lives to this area of study started cranking out books, class materials, videos, and they conducted seminars. I wouldn’t even contemplate competing with them.

So what about my ten years of study? C.S. Lewis once said, “Any amount of theology can now be smuggled into people’s minds under the cover of fiction without their knowing it.”

He’s right. So that’s what I do. But at some point, people need to know that the ideas are God’s, not mine, and that they are true.

Very well put. I've found that fiction, although it can convey spiritual truths, can also be taken the wrong way or just seen as a good allegory but not taken as seriously as it should be. Said all that to say this, don't discount the non-fiction writings you wanted to write. Write them, even if it's just for you, to formulate in your mind sound doctrine. That helps when we talk to people, write our stories, etc.

Readers, if you'd like to get to know more about Harry and his writing, you can find more information at these locations: 

Amazon Author Page: https://www.amazon.com/H-L-Wegley/e/B00B1XMR56/

Web site: https://www.hlwegley.com/    

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/HLWegley/  

Twitter: https://twitter.com/hlwegley  

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/4460203.H_L_Wegley


Harry, thanks for being a part of the ABTS series! We wish you the best!


Readers, until next time, stay safe, and may America bless God.


Kevin

https://ckevinthompson.com/