Wednesday, September 12, 2018

The Author Behind the Story - Lena Nelson Dooley

Just watched the movie, I Can Only Imagine. Now, that song has a different meaning for me. Not so much about what we will do in the presence of God when we finally arrive before Him, although that is a question I ponder as much as anybody else, I imagine (pun intended). That's why I wrote my manuscript, The Letters. There is a spiritual world around us now that will culminate in Heaven. And I believe that "scene" will be literally "out of the this world" and something we cannot fully describe on this side of it. The marriage of the physical and spiritual worlds will be something unforgettable, like Jesus walking through a door as if it wasn't there and showing His disciples his nail-scared hands and pierced side.

In the same way, this blog series is meant to help readers see the author behind the stories they pen. To have a new appreciation for the story lines, the themes, the truths, contained within its pages.

To further that journey, I welcome a fellow author who has written many a book, Lena Nelson Dooley!

Lena, welcome to the Florida front porch! Pull up a chair and give us a description to the reader who may not know who Lena is. Who is Lena Nelson Dooley? 

I’m a wife, a mother, a grandmother, and a great-grandmother. My family is the most important thing in my life. And I have loved Jesus for over seven decades. God blessed me by choosing me to write stories whose  characters will grip the reader’s heart.

Seven decades. Wow. What a blessing! 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 have written all my life. I came from a family of writers. However, I’m the only one with that profession. In May of 1984, God used events in one week to let me know He wanted me to be a professional writer. Your readers can read that testimony by going to my website, and clicking on the About Me tab.

What educational background do you have?

My father paid for my brother, older by 16 months, to go to college. He told me he’d pay for secretarial school or something like that for me because I wouldn’t be the breadwinner for a family. That’s how older people felt in the early 1960s. I wanted to go to college, so I worked my way through, working full-time in the summer and holding an on campus job and an off campus job during the school year. I chose Ouachita Baptist College (its name at that time), because my brother and many of my friends went there. When my family moved to Texas during my college years, I transferred to Howard Payne in Brownwood. Later I did graduate work at Abilene Christian College. It was the only one with graduate classes in Drama, my major.
I’m going to give you a shotgun list of favorites. List your favorite in each category and then tell us in one sentence why it is your favorite.

Favorite Song of All-Time: “Love Me Tender” I think it’s the most romantic song ever written.
Favorite Bible Verse: Jeremiah 29:13
Favorite Movie: I love Christmas movies and princess movies
Favorite Actor or Actress: Tom Selleck
Favorite TV Show: I love game shows and cooking shows
Favorite Novel (other than your own): Redeeming Love by Francine Rivers
Favorite Author (other than you): I have so many, and they are all Christian novelists
Favorite Sport: America’s pastime, baseball
Favorite Team (Can be any sport, any level): The Texas Rangers
Favorite Subject in School Growing Up: I loved all the literature classes
Favorite Subject Now: My grandkids and great-grandkids (KEVIN: Bet you get schooled often in those classes!)
Favorite Teacher in School: Mrs. Hater (that was her name, and she saved me from completely dropping out) (KEVIN: Glad she didn't live up to her name!)
Favorite Time of the Year: The holiday season including Thanksgiving all the way to Christmas
Favorite Place to Vacation: On cruises. I’ve only cruised in the Caribbean.
Favorite Drink: Iced Green Tea (year around)
Favorite Food: Lobster

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

One of the books I’m featuring here was a miracle from God. The publisher contacted my agent with what she wanted to publish this year. My agent told me that as she told my agent each thing, my name came to her with each one. So she didn’t offer it to the authors in her group. Because there had to be a short turnaround, I wasn’t sure I could do it. But God gave me the story, and He assured me that I could do it. I always pray about what I’m writing, but with this book I had to remain totally plugged into God to be able to get the book done in time. It was an amazing experience.

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

I’ve often been asked this question, and I answer, “The one I’m writing right now.” It’s the one I’m pouring all my writing ability into, and it’s the one most present in my thoughts. I loved writing the McKenna’s Daughters series. A Heart’s Gift was a book of my heart. I could go on with a long list The 12 Gifts of Christmas that released on September 4th is the book I was talking about in the other answer. Right now, it’s my favorite, both because of the story and because of how closely I was connected to God during the writing.
and why I loved that particular book.

Tell us about what project you are currently working on. 

Right now, I’m working on filling out the details of a book that I dreamed about a few weeks ago. It’s working title is The Small Green Cottage, and it’ll be what they are calling a time-slip story, where there are two time periods and two sets of characters but happens in one place.

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?

My mother. She died when I was seven years old. I’d love to know her as an adult. Learn the wisdom she would have passed on to me, had she lived.

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’ve always been fascinated by Queen Esther. I’ve studied her at length. I even wrote a dramatic monologue of her that I’ve shared with women’s groups and at women’s retreats. Her situation was unique, emotional, and intense. She could share a lot of wisdom with me, too.

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?

Adventures in Prayer by Mary Jo Pierce. This book has meant a lot to me, and I’ve used it when mentoring other women.

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

I love my readers. They are the reason I work so many hours writing. I want to entertain them. I want to make them think … and feel. And I like to connect with them on many levels.

They really bless me when they write reviews of my books. I love hearing from them on social media. They are the reason I’m there. Nothing pleases me more than knowing how one of my books changed a life. I’ve been known to sit and cry before the Lord, because He used me to do that very thing.

What a great way to end our interview! With the readers!

Lena, thank you for taking time out of your busy schedule and stopping by the Florida front porch. Many blessings to you and your writing ministry!

Dear Readers, if you wish to learn more about Lena and her writing, you can visit her at these sites listed below!

Blogtalk Radio, The Lena Nelson Dooley Show:

Until next time, May God bless you all, and may you bless God!


Friday, August 24, 2018

Empathy for the Dark Side (A Seriously Write Blog)

We’ve all heard it said, “Walk a mile in someone else’s shoes.” In other words, have some empathy. Try to understand how that “someone else” lives, what they deal with on a regular basis, and why that person comes to the conclusions he or she does, whether you agree with those decisions or not.

For us, the author types, there is no position we should have more empathy for than an editor.

That’s right. I said it. In some of your minds, I just slipped on my Darth Vader helmet and asked you to come over to the dark side. But hear me out first before you rally the rebel forces.

Imagine yourself sitting at your desk. You’re the new editor for XYZ Publishing, in charge of making this new division not only solvent, but profitable. You have six months to a year to make that happen. It’s week four, and in your e-mail inbox are two hundred query letters, each complete with a synopsis, a marketing plan, an author bio, and the first few chapters of the work. About sixty pages each, give or take. And these are just the agented but unsolicited manuscripts that have arrived in your inbox. More arrive each day.

To see the remainder, click HERE!

Thursday, August 23, 2018

A Chat with MaryAnn Diorio (A CAN Blog)

School is back in session here in Florida. That means there are thousands of mothers out there either breathing into paper bags (because they are first time school parents) or breathing a sigh of relief, looking forward to hours of quiet time with a book, a cup of coffee, and a house filled with silence (because they’ve been there, done that with the whole school thing). So, for those ready to read, I introduce to you novelist MaryAnn Diorio!

To see the remainder of the article, click HERE!

Wednesday, August 8, 2018

The Author Behind the Story Series - Molly Noble Bull

It's August now. We're nearing the time of year when the humidity and daunting hurricane forecasts are at an all-time high. However, there is one thing soaring higher than anything else: the frustration levels of parents waiting for school to start again. If you have kids, you know exactly what I'm talking about. So, over the next ten months, send your child's teacher a gift card every month. Vary it. One for coffee. One for lunch. One for dinner. One for a department store. One for a movie. Be creative. Trust me. It's the cheapest babysitting fee you'll ever pay.

Okay, enough of the Teacher Appreciation advertisement. :-)

We're here to meet authors, and I have another one you need to meet. So, without further ado, please welcome to the Florida front porch, Molly Noble Bull!

Hi, Molly! Give us a quick bio. In fifty words or less, who is Mary Noble Bull?

My name is Molly Noble Bull. I am a Christian wife, mother, and grandmother. I write novels. Some have won contests for published authors, and my one and only non-fiction book explains a lot. It’s titled, The Overcomers: Christian Authors Who Conquered Learning Disabilities.

I'm sure you are going to enlighten us later as to which learning disabilities you mean exactly...besides the obvious "writers are crazy and need therapy." :-)

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?

As a young child, my mother copied down made-up poems that came to my mind. So, at that time in my life, I attended kindergarten.   

Wow. That's pretty young. What educational background do you have?

As with all dyslexics, school, especially elementary school, was hard for me. But I tried harder, and harder, and harder. I completed four years of high school, and graduated from a local Texas college with a degree in elementary education, a minor in art, and a specialization in early childhood education. I’ve taught in public and private schools, but all these locations will remain private.

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

I’d be the heroine, of course. I’d get the handsome prince, and live happily ever after. Despite some bad times during my early years in public school, I married my prince. Though I once had trouble learning to read, now I write books that other people read. Is this happily ever after, or what?   

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

I write because it’s what I do, and my favorite novel is always the one I am working on at the moment. I’m writing three novels now. I work on one for a time; get stuck, and move on to another, It keeps me busy writing even when writers’ block comes to call. This works for me.  

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

I write under the name Molly Noble Bull. Noble is my maiden name. I used Noble to honor them. But if I had it to do over I would be Molly Bull. It easy to remember and has a funny ring to it. Don’t you think? 

Has your writing crossed over into other areas? If so, how? If not, will it?

I have a blog, but don’t use it much anymore. However, I have been posting one Bible scripture or more a day at my page at Facebook since August 30, 2017. That anniversary is coming up soon. I’ve spoken in front of groups on writing, and some time ago, I was a guest on a Christian television station for a grand total of two days.

Why do you live where you live?

I was born in the cattle ranching country of South Texas where my husband and I live today, but we lived in Germany when we first married. He was in the U.S. Army then, and we also traveled to France, Switzerland, Austria, and Italy. We also lived in the Texas hill country. But as they say, there is no place like home.   

Those are beautiful countries. Hard to beat that part of Europe. When you look for a new home, what are the things that are important to you?

My father and my grandfather were ranch foremen, real Texas cowboys, and I spent part of my growing up years on a sixty thousand acre cattle ranch in South Texas. Is it any wonder that I like to write Christian westerns? I like country roads, open space, and the sound of cows mooing in the distance, birds chirping, and dogs barking, if not too loud. But I also like to hear the haunting whistle of a train, calling out—breaking the silence on a dark night.

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

For me, the first sentence is the most important sentence in the entire book. Dyslexics are easily bored. If the first sentence doesn’t catch my interest, it is unlikely that I will read sentence number two. However, if the first sentence grabs me, I’ll read the first paragraph. If I am still not bored at the end of page one, there is a good chance that I’ll buy the book.

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

I love to read the Bible, and look forward to reading it every night. I talk to the Lord when reading the Bible, and during that time, we grow closer together. But it would be hard to choose a favorite verse because I love them all. As readers get to know characters, inside and out, from reading novels, I get to know the Lord better and better from reading the Bible. I would never want the Lord to turn me away because he never knew me.

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

I am a born again, spirit-filled Christian, but you already knew that. Some people say I am a funny lady, and some of my books might make you smile. Cinderella Texas and one of the books I am writing now comes to mind. But I might also be called a genre smasher because not all my books are funny. Well, maybe a little amusing via the dialogue, but mostly serious.

Today, I am posting the covers of When the Cowboy Rides Away and Gatehaven because they are two of three books that won contests for published Christian authors. The third is titled, The Secret Place

Sounds like you've been a busy writer of late. Molly, thanks for stopping by and letting our readers get a glimpse of the Author Behind the Story!

Readers, if you wish to learn more about Molly and her writing, you can visit these locations on the web:

Her book: Gatehaven

Until next time, May God bless America, and may America bless God!


Friday, July 27, 2018

A Twist of Hope (A Seriously Write Blog)

I was browsing around the internet the other day, looking for some things screenplay related, and I ran across a blog by a British screenwriting bloke. In the upper, right-hand corner of the blog, it said something like this:

It’s not the rejection I’m afraid of. I can handle rejection. It’s the hope that drives me mad and has me up at night.

Ever been there?

“Oh, I hope that agent calls me back. She was so excited about my WIP.”

“I think my novel could easily be made into a movie.”

“Just imagine my non-fiction book stacked up five high, multiple stacks, just inside the doors of Barnes & Noble, displayed for all to see. Right next to all the big authors.”

“I’ve submitted my book into the awards contest. I hope I win.”

Hope can be a funny thing. 

Want to read the remainder of the post? Click HERE!