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/




 

Friday, July 17, 2020

How We Met (An Interview on Shannon Taylor Vannatter's Blog)


Shannon here: C. Kevin Thompson shares how he and his wife met, along with how his character’ meet, and an excerpt from his Supernatural/Mystery/Suspense novel, The Letters. Just a head’s up, Kevin’s book was published by the company I’m now partnering in. Comment or answer the question in this post to enter the drawing for a copy. Two books up for grabs for two winners. A paperback copy – US only and an e-book copy will include US and international. Deadline: July 24th, 11:59 pm central time. Here’s Kevin:

  • How did you and your wife meet? 

That’s an interesting question. We were in high school and had the same PE class period. The year was 1977. Cindy was in 9th grade, and I was in 10th. I was chosen to help her do handstands (this was back in the day of the “President’s Physical Fitness Award” program). I finally got up the nerve to ask her out. We went to the movies and saw American Graffiti. Seems so long ago now.




Read the rest of the article HERE!





Tuesday, July 14, 2020

What does an Author Read for Research? (A PeggySue Wells Blog post)


Kevin was featured on PeggySue Wells' blog, on July 14, 2020. This blog post came about when Kevin saw that PeggySue, a fellow CAN Author, had been the co-author of a book he had used for research purposes when writing his Blake Meyer Thriller series, delving into the world of human trafficking.

The chapter referenced in the blog post, from his book, Triple Time (A Blake Meyer Thriller - Book 2), is a fictionalized portrayal of what happens in the real world when it comes to human trafficking. People are getting bent out of shape about slavery that happened decades ago, yet they don't seem to be too bothered by the slavery that is happening today, all over the world, and even in our backyards.

If you want to read some other books Kevin used to help formulate parts of his Blake Meyer series, read:

A Crime So Monstrous by E. Benjamin Skinner
Sex Trafficking: Inside the Business of Modern Slavery by Siddharth Kara
The Slave Next Door by Kevin Bales & Ron Soodalter

You can also visit Kevin's website - the IN THE NEWS tab - and scroll down until you get to the Blake Meyer Thriller series section, particularly Articles #4-#9. 


You can read PeggySue's blog post HERE!





 

Wednesday, July 8, 2020

Author Behind the Story - Pamela S. Meyers


I don't know about you, but the summers seem to be getting a little warmer than I remember as a

kid. July and August in Florida are the hottest months of the year. If you don't like the heat here during that time, then I would suggest a right relationship with God. I hear Hades is much warmer, and there isn't a glass of ice water in the joint (Luke 16:19-31).

Our next guest on the Florida Front Porch probably isn't used to this heat. She comes from the state of cheese: Wisconsin. Maybe, she can bring some cheese curd, and we can share that while we sip on iced tea. Please welcome, Pamela S. Meyers!

Pamela, in ABTS tradition, pretend you are on an elevator with Jimmy Fallon, and he said, “Hi, I’m Jimmy Fallon, and I’m looking for average Joes & Janes with not-so-average lives to interview for my next new show segment. And you’re name is? Ding! The door just shut. You have twelve floors until you reach the lobby. Go! Give us a quick bio. In fifty words or less, who is Pamela Meyers?  

"I’m a novelist of books that your wife might enjoy more than you because they are historical romance. Although some men do read my books and like them for their historical content. They are written from a Christian perspective. Would that be of interest to you? If so, I’d love to tell you about my faith." (The doors slide open in the lobby, and he runs away as fast as he can. At least I’m thinking he wouldn’t be interested in hearing about God. Maybe I’m wrong. I hope I’m wrong.)

I'll be honest. I don't know why I chose Jimmy as the elevator pitch person...Don;t know if he would run or not. Therefore, let's pretend he doesn't and asks... 

"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?"

I grew up in Wisconsin and after some life-changing events moved to Southern California. I live in the Los Angeles area and worked for an advertising agency when I first moved there, but then worked a short time at Princess Cruises in the advertising department. I was laid off before I would have been eligible for a free cruise. I had several other jobs before I moved back to the Midwest. I spent a lot of time socializing, and I’ll let it go with that. God started getting a hold of me just before I moved back, transferring with my company to the Chicago office, which was actually in the suburbs.

What educational background do you have? 

Graduated from Badger High School in Lake Geneva, Wisconsin where I grew up. Attended several different colleges picking up classes here and there until I attended Trinity International University in Deerfield, IL (affiliated with the Evangelical Free Church) and went through their accelerated adult program. Received a BA in Group and Interpersonal Communication with a minor in English

Besides storytelling, what talents do you have? 

Artistic or craft-related things like knitting, crocheting, drawing, decorating.

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

Chocolate in any form. No explanation necessary.

Do they make chocolate-covered cheese in Wisconsin? (Inquiring minds want to know and all that...) 

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

I just purchased a new-to-me car a year ago. I wanted one in which I’d feel safe and had low mileage, no previous accidents, of course. I checked out ads online then picked out two to look at and went to the dealer. I’m got the main things I wanted and more. Love my car J

For all the pet lovers out there, answer this question: Do you have any? 

I’m a cat lady. Was raised having cats and lived with roommates who had cats and have had at least two for the past couple of decades. My two rescue cats are Jack and Meg who are named after my characters in my book, Surprised by Love in Lake Geneva.

How do you come up with the names for your characters?

I look for lists of proper names of people born at the time of my characters and scan the list until a name catches my eye. For surnames I will look through names connected to the country the character was originally from or his ancestors. I also make sure it’s not a name of someone who lived in the town back then unless I choose to use that actual person.

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

Can I say my current series? 

Yes. Of course.

It’s really the story of my heart spread out over three books so far and one more is currently being written. It’s set in my hometown of history-rich Lake Geneva and begins at the outset of the Great Chicago Fire which forces the well-to-do people to move their families to Geneva Lake in Wisconsin where they build magnificent homes on the lake shore to house their families while Chicago is rebuilt. They came and never left. So many interesting people. My series spans four generations of the original family, in each story a strong woman is the heroine. I love learning about the time of the story and all that was happening in the town then and in the world. 

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

I’m always surprised by interesting things I learn. In my current book, I was surprised to learn that female pilots were hired to ferry brand new bombers to the airfields for the war pilots to use in the war. All the pilots were busy at war and they needed the ladies to get the bombers to where they could be put into service.

Looking back, have you ever wondered if choosing a different genre would have worked better for you, as a writer? Have you ever thought about switching genres, or writing in different genres? 

I have switched from contemporary to historical because an acquiring editor asked me to write a historical set in Lake Geneva. Until then I’d only written contemporaries, but I wasn’t going to say no. I did some research on the town’s history and discovered the Riviera Building that sits at the lake front was built in 1932 and 1933 with it’s grand opening in May of 1933. I decided to center the story on the building and felt comfortable with the 1930s. They drove cars and had telephones. I did not want to have them riding in buggies. Although later I did write in the horse-and-buggy era when I started writing my current series. I had a lot to learn. LOL

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?

I’d love to meet and spend time with Peter. In many ways I can relate to him, especially the times he’d blurt things out without thinking and how after he’d denied knowing Jesus three times just as Jesus predicted he would, Jesus came to him and asked him three times if he love Him and Peter said yes. Then Jesus said he was to feed his lambs. I’ve sinned greatly in my life and after I came to my senses and repented and asked for the Lord’s forgiveness he led me to more involvement in ministry. Just like Peter, I was given ministry involvement I never dreamed of before.

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

There are many scriptures that have impacted me but the one that made a huge difference and ushered me into surrendering my life to Christ was the account of the crucifixion in any of the four gospels, Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John. It was sitting in a church on a Good Friday afternoon as those passages were read aloud and the realization came over me that Jesus did that for ME personally. He suffered horribly, taking on my punishment for my sins, every stinking one of them. I felt humbled and a huge weight seemed to lift off my back. I wasn’t in a church that taught salvation by faith alone and not by works, but I walked home feeling like I was ten feet off the ground.

That is so awesome! 

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

I love to write stories that connect with people deep in their hearts by writing about real issues people face in real life. My books are romance but with a heavy dose of women’s fiction, going deep into my characters thoughts and emotions.

Pamela, we appreciate you talking the time to stop by and help our readers get to know you. Both those who are already fans, and those who have been coming to this site to find new authors to check out! 

Dear Readers, if you wish to find out more about Pamela and her writing, you can find her at these locations on the web:

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pamela.meyers

Twitter: https://twitter.com/pamelameyers

Website: https://pamelasmeyers.com

Amazon Author Page: http://amzn.to/2kqP5CC


Until next time!

Kevin

www.ckevinthompson.com





Friday, June 26, 2020

The Last Days (A Seriously Write Blog)



Photo Taken at the
Florida Christian Writers Conference
2017
(Thanks to Tez Brooks for the pic!)

Here's the Original - I cropped out Tez and Dan Walsh :-)







It is with fond memories that I write this post. In October of this year, it would have been six years since I started writing for SW. My face becoming part of that box on the home page labeled “Regular Contributors” was a fluke, of sorts, actually. I was asked by Dawn Kinzer, one of the hostesses if I would be willing to write a post for “Fortifying Fridays.” I interpreted that invitation —wrongly…or maybe it was rightly—to be a monthly gig and not just a one-time stint. I think Dawn hated to commit to me for that long (not knowing me well at all, really), but she did. I remember her stating that they had just lost a male writer, and the team wanted to continue to have a male voice amongst their stable of writers, so she took my “misunderstanding” as a prompting from God.


You can read the remainder HERE!


(A FOOTNOTE: Becoming a writer has been so rewording. Beyond the published books. Beyond the royalty checks. Beyond the 5-star reviews. It's the new friends I've made who have become some of my best ones. Here at SW. In the CAN group. IN Word Weavers. At the writers conferences. Our common interests, coupled with our common rejections, our common successes, and our common, everyday frustrations makes places like writers conferences and these other groups great places to not only network, but to encourage, vent, uplift, pray for, and find support. Even though I am stepping away from SW for now, it is only because I wish to spend more time in writing and more time with God. Thanks to all my fans and readers who have stopped by every fourth Friday to "see what Kevin's written this month." It's been a blast!)