DAVID CROW – Emerging From a Life in Conflict / Mental Illness / Abuse

In The Pale-Faced Lie, David Crow presents a riveting account of growing up on the Navajo Indian Reservation with a mentally ill mother and violent father, an ex-con from San Quentin who groomed David to be his partner in crime.

DAVID CROW spent his early years on the Navajo Indian Reservation in Arizona and New Mexico. Through grit, resilience, and a thirst for learning, he managed to escape his abusive childhood, graduate from college, and build a successful lobbying firm in Washington, DC.

Today, David is a sought-after speaker, giving talks to various businesses and trade organizations around the world. Throughout the years, he has mentored over 200 college interns, performed pro bono service for the charitable organization Save the Children, and participated in the Big Brothers Big Sisters program. An advocate for women, he is donating a percentage of his royalties from The Pale-Faced Lie to the Barrett House, a homeless shelter for women in Albuquerque. David and his wife, Patty, live in the suburbs of DC.

Do you write in more than one genre? I have only written non-fiction so characters are real people, and the book captures what they actually did. I hope to write fiction in the future.

What brought you to writing? I always wanted to write but knew the process is completely different from ordinary business writing, which I had always done before. I studied creative writing but must confess that my publisher was my greatest teacher. Sandra Jonas took a very rough manuscript and helped me create a readable book that has been quite successful. The creative writing process, in my opinion, requires a great deal of study and practice. There has been nothing easy or quick about it. On the contrary, it may be the hardest thing I have ever attempted.

Tell us about your writing process: I write every day, but it can be painful. I struggle to get into a rhythm and to move the process forward. It took nearly ten years to write the book. The last two working with Sandra were very challenging because I still had a significant learning curve.

Has an association membership helped you or your writing? I belong to several writers groups, including the Western Writers of America. I have attended the Writer’s Digest Annual meeting in NYC and several others. Every one of them has helped me better understand what it takes to be a successful writer.

Who’s your favorite author? I have several favorite authors and new ones all the time. I am finishing Kristin Hannah’s, The Four Winds, a novel about the Dust Bowl—it is excellent. I loved Larry McMurtry, Cormac McCarthy, Erik Larson, Jeff Guinn, Chris Enss, and countless others. I am an avid reader.

How do our readers find you and your work?

Website: davidcrowauthor.com
FaceBook: http://www.facebook.com/authordavidcrow
Twitter: @author_crow
InstaGram: @davidcrowauthor

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FOUR AUTHORS WORKING TOGETHER – Part 4

DAVALYNN SPENCER is a Publisher’s Weekly and ECPA bestselling author with novellas in three Barbour collections, The 12 Brides of Christmas, The 12 Brides of Summer, and The Cowboy’s Bride.

Davalynn won the Will Rogers Gold Medallion for Inspirational Western Fiction and is the author of ten additional titles, both contemporary and historical. She blogs monthly for Christian Authors Network, Heroes, Heroines & History, contributes to the American Christian Fiction blog, and writes her own weekly inspirational blog. She appears on an area radio broadcast, Write Time Radio, and teaches writing workshops when not wrangling Blue the Cowdog and mouse detectors Annie and Oakley.

As the last author to join the Always a Wedding Planner collection, I had the advantage of coming into a story world that had already been created – a four-member team of friends who ran Weddings By Design in Loveland, Colorado. With the overall theme and setting established, I was free to concentrate on partner number four. I established a life, a personal story world, and a threatening challenge for my character, Saffron Fare, whom I made the chef for the business.

Each story is complete unto itself. In the writing of this collection, we four authors were in constant communication with each other, asking questions, double-checking on personalities, confirming the names and locations of key elements in a town like the business’s office. We’d often send emails to each other containing dialogue, followed by, “Would your character say it like this or not?” It was great fun reading excerpts from another author’s use of my character in a scene or two from her story.

I have contributed to several Barbour novella collections. Still, this one was unique in that all four stories focused on the same business yet were told from the point of view of a different business partner. We worked together to create the collection the same way our characters worked together in their wedding-planning business.

Where may our readers find you and your work?

Free Book and Quarterly Author Update: https://landing.mailerlite.com/webforms/landing/h3d8g8
Blog: https://davalynnspencer.com/subscribe/
Website: https://www.davalynnspencer.com
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/AuthorDavalynnSpencer
BookBub https://www.bookbub.com/profile/davalynn-spencer
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5051432.Davalynn_Spencer
Pinterest: https://pinterest.com/davalynnspencer/boards/
Amazon Author: https://amazon.com/author/davalynnspencer
CAN: http://christianauthorsnetwork.com/davalynn-spencer/
Instagram https://www.instagram.com/davalynnspencer/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/davalynnspencer

1 Comment

  1. Michael A. Black

    Sounds like an interesting variance of POV. Best of luck to you.

    Reply

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FOUR AUTHORS WORKING TOGETHER – Part 3

LEEANN BETTS writes contemporary romantic suspense. Her real-life persona, Donna Schlachter, pens historical romantic suspense.

She has released nine titles in her cozy mystery series. Together, she and Donna have published more than 25 novellas and full-length novels. They ghostwrite, judge writing contests, edit, facilitate a critique group, and are members of American Christian Fiction Writers, Writers on the Rock, and Sisters in Crime. Leeann travels extensively to research her stories and is proud to be represented by Terrie Wolf of AKA Literary LLC.

When the idea first surfaced about writing an interconnected contemporary novella collection featuring the same characters with different main character roles in each story, several potential writers turned us down, believing we couldn’t be able to carry off the premise.

However, a dear writing friend, Darlene Franklin, who helped with the original idea, had recently published a similar collection featuring four friends who worked at different businesses but were involved in solving mysteries.

Our story was only a tad bit more difficult in that all four of our heroines worked for the same partnership and were not only co-workers but best friends.
Finding the perfect set of authors was probably the most difficult part of the process. We knew the stories would be a little tongue-in-cheek, so that was the number two requirement for each author. Number one was that they are followers of Jesus, strong in their faith and that their writing should reflect that.

Once we had the four in place, the process worked like a dream.

My approach to writing is to start with a one-sentence blurb – if I can’t encapsulate the story in twenty words or less, I don’t know what it’s about. Then I do the “back cover copy” or two to three paragraphs, and then I begin with the synopsis. I usually write all that by hand then transcribe it to the computer.
But before I write one word, I pray that the Lord would help me faithfully transcribe the story He wants told.

How may our visitors find you and your work?

Website: www.LeeannBetts.com Stay connected, so you learn about new releases, preorders, and presales, as well as check out featured authors, book reviews, and a little corner of peace. Plus: Receive a free ebook simply for signing up for our free newsletter!
Blog: www.AllBettsAreOff.wordpress.com
Facebook: http://bit.ly/1pQSOqV
Twitter: http://bit.ly/1qmqvB6

4 Comments

  1. Michael A. Black

    It sounds like you’ve got everything pretty well organized. Good luck.

    Reply
    • leeann betts

      Thank you, Michael!

      Reply
  2. leeann betts

    Thank you so much for hosting me on your blog today!

    Reply

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FOUR AUTHORS WORKING TOGETHER – Part 2

R.L. ASHLY is a master seamstress with a Master of Arts degree in Literature.

R.L. hopes to pursue a Ph.D. in Literature in the near future. A mother and grandmother, she is active in her local writing community, never says never to a home improvement task, and strives to one day write the Great American Novel.
RL Ashly writes on the run, enjoys a good mystery with a complicated plot, and iced tea is her beverage of choice. Hemmed In is her first traditionally published novel.

The nice thing about working on Always a Wedding Planner was the collaboration with the other writers. I enjoyed working with them and would do so again in a heartbeat. Leeann Betts and I share a mutual character, Camilla Parsons. We collaborated on Camilla’s characterization and how we were going to incorporate her into our stories. Leeann has a great sense of humor and when I read The Worst Kept Secret, I chuckle at how Leeann integrated Camilla into her tale. She did such a good job.

Since I am a seamstress by day, it was easy to give my lead character that career. The well-used saying, “write what you know,” works. It helps with planning the plot and adding flavor to the story. My approach to writing is different from other writers. I keep a notebook and my tablet in a bag and write on the go. I even write using my phone. Between work and chasing grandbabies, this system works best for me. In fact, I am writing this blog post on my phone while I sit in a waiting room for an appointment. Then I will finish it in my car before I run to my next stop on my errands.

One positive thing about living in this era—we have access to such wonderful technology. There is a learning curve, especially for us older folks, but it is so worth discovering how to use it. I can write while I’m taking a walk. Peddling on my exercise bike and writing is another option. I tied a shelf onto my exercise bike, and it holds my tablet. There’s something relaxing about writing and pedaling.

I have learned that it is important to write almost every day. It is easy to get out of the habit of writing and let life get in the way. There are days when getting any writing done is impossible. But I have found that even writing a few sentences keeps me in tune with my story and thinking about it. Then the next writing session will go faster because I processed the next scene or chapter in the story.

How may our visitors reach you and your work?

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/rl.ashly.1
Twitter: https://twitter.com/rl_ashly
Website: https://rlashlyauthor.wixsite.com/rlashly
Buy the book~Paperback link on Amazon: https://amzn.to/3qNivJ8
Kindle link on Amazon: https://amzn.to/3kiQQgL
Barnes and Noble-Nook (eBook): https://bit.ly/38hPTAx

1 Comment

  1. Michael A. Black

    I imagine being a seamstress is a lot like being a writer, taking some materials and putting them together to create something nice. Good luck with both of your careers.

    Reply

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FOUR AUTHORS WORKING TOGETHER – Part 1

Working Together in a collection by authors of “Always a Wedding Planner” Romance

TONI SHILOH is a wife, mom, and Christian fiction writer. Once she understood the powerful saving grace thanks to the love of Christ, she was moved to honor her Savior. She writes to bring Him glory and to learn more about His goodness.

When I was first presented with the opportunity to join the Always a Wedding Planner collection, I immediately jumped at the chance to have a character who was a wedding cake baker because . . . cakes! Although I have no experience baking on that level, I do love to bake. So, I delved into the world of cake baking and pinned way more cakes than was necessary on my Pinterest board for inspiration.

But I also wanted to create a character who had a deep desire to be married but couldn’t. Through brainstorming and maybe inspiration I saw through real life, I came up with a character who wasn’t able to have kids.

Felicity Edwards never knows when is the perfect time to tell a guy she’s dating that she’s infertile. This is a major conflict in her life and the reason she feels she’s remained single. But when Will Davenport walks into the story, she has to decide if being vulnerable is May 31st
worth the risk.

How may our visitors find you and your work?

Facebook: www.facebook.com/authortonishiloh
Twitter: www.twitter.com/tonishilohwrite
Pinterest: www.pinterest.com/tonishiloh
Instagram: www.instagram.com/tonishiloh
Goodreads: www.goodreads.com/tonishiloh
BookBub: www.bookbub.com/authors/toni-shiloh
Newsletter: http://tonishiloh.com/subscribe
Blogs I’m part of: www.inspyromance.com; http://diversitybetweenthepages.wordpress.com

1 Comment

  1. Michael A. Black

    Interesting concept having a wedding cake baker, Toni. Did you know that in ancient times it was a custom to throw the wedding cake at the bride? Good luck with your writing.

    Reply

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M.M. Chouinard – USA Today, Publishers Weekly, and Amazon Charts Bestselling Author

M.M. Chouinard is the USA Today, Publishers Weekly, and Amazon Charts bestselling author behind The Vacation, a standalone psychological thriller. The Detective Jo Fournier series, featuring The Dancing Girls, Taken to the Grave, Her Daughter’s Cry, and The Other Mothers.

What brought you to writing? I’ve been a writer for as long as I can remember—my first fiction piece was published in a local paper when I was eight. My guess is the desire to write was born from being exposed to wonderful stories in books since I was a baby.

Where do you write? What, if any, distractions do you allow? I’ve tried hard to write in as many different situations as I can: at home, in cafés, in hotels, on public transit, etc., (even while waiting in the doctor’s office!) and with whatever distractions occur. The reason is I’ve tried to train myself to be able to focus wherever I am, so I can meet my deadlines no matter what’s going on.

Tell us about your writing process: I’m halfway between a planner and a pantser. I start with what I call a ‘roadmap’—it’s nowhere near as detailed as an outline, but it gives 10-20ish stops I want to make along the way. I always know who my murderer is (and why they’re murdering), what my main twist will be, and have my characters ready to go. From there, I find that the story will come together in ways I never expected, and I love that. But, I believe the writing goes far more smoothly when I have the journey generally laid out.

What is the most challenging part of your writing process? The days when you feel like every word you write is horrible, and it’s like pulling teeth. Some days I can write 3,000 words, almost as easy as breathing, and other days it feels like I’m slogging through mud, and I struggle to get a thousand. The only way to break through it is to keep writing, so I just chant to myself, “You can’t edit a blank page, you can’t edit a blank page, you can’t edit a blank page.”

Has an association membership helped you or your writing? I’m a member of Sisters In Crime and Mystery Writers of America, and they’ve both been amazing! I wish I’d joined sooner, and I’d advise any new crime fiction writers to join one or both ASAP.

How long did it take you to write your first book? The first book took over a year to write the first draft. Since it still isn’t published and still needs revision, you could say I’m still writing it…The first book that actually got published I wrote in six weeks (bad first draft). Part of that is because I was no longer working full-time at another job. Still, part of it was learning how to turn off that internal editor and trust myself to get that first draft down on paper.

Give us a hint about your latest project: My current release is The VacationOne of them is missing… One of them did it…

The Thanksgiving retreat was meant to be a time for them to get away from it all, miles from the secrets that threaten to tear their family apart. But they’re each hiding something:
Rose hopes the pretty house overlooking the sea is just the break her family needs. But as she gazes at the water and remembers her childhood, she is utterly terrified.
Brandon knows his wife Rose has barely forgiven him for his affair. He’s started drinking again, a road that led him to disaster once before.
Brianna, Rose’s sister-in-law, is recovering from her fifth miscarriage. When she looks at her adorable niece, she can’t help but see the daughter she deserves.
Then three-year-old Lily disappears from her bed in the villa. Isolated in what should have been paradise, it quickly becomes clear that one of them took her.
As one by one their secrets are uncovered, who will be destroyed next?

We hear of strong-willed characters. Do yours behave, or do they run the show? Mine tend to do exactly what they want, exactly when they want to do it. If I try to force something on them, the writing dries up. So if I’m having a hard time with a scene, the first thing I do is back-track and figure out what I’m making them do that doesn’t fit their personality in that situation and fix it. Their reactions play a huge role in why I can’t do a full outline—sometimes I’ve quite surprised with what I discover.

Do you have subplots? If so, how do you weave them into the novel’s arc? In my series, I try to make sure my detective’s personal life has parallels to whatever’s happening in the main plot. I try to make sure the case she’s investigating gives her something to think about and potentially learn from. In The Vacation, every character is bringing their own subplot to the main plot, so the main plot is really a tapestry of the consequences of those subplots.

What kind of research do you do? I always do a lot of research about the crime that’s being committed so I can do my best to get the forensics facts, legal facts, and police procedural facts right (hopefully!). But I also do a lot of specific research for each book too. With The Vacation, I did a lot of research about Jamaica (even down to what you can buy in pharmacies there), Lake Merritt and Children’s Fairyland, and a thousand other little things. That’s one of the things I love about writing—I’m always learning things, and I never know what I’ll need to look up on a given day!

Where do you place your settings—real or fictional locations? A blend of both. For example, my detective series is set in Western Massachusetts but the exact county my detective works in is fictionalized. For The Vacation, every location was real. And for the private investigator novel, I’m writing, all of the locations are real places in the Bay Area, except for the town my PI lives in, because I had a very specific idea of what I needed for her where she lives.

What is the best book you ever read? That’s like asking which cell in my body is my favorite!! But a few that I love with all my heart are Murder on the Orient Express, The Murder of Roger Ackroyd, Pillars of the Earth, The Princess Bride, and The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy.

Do you have any advice for new writers? Don’t give up! Keep writing and improving. And join an organization like Sisters in Crime or Mystery Writers of America (or whatever is relevant to your genre) sooner rather than later. There are so many resources that will turbo-charge your writing.

Anything else you’d like to tell us about your books?
The Vacation is available for pre-order now:
Amazon: http://ow.ly/XAzQ50DWhlN
Apple: http://ow.ly/116j50DWhlP
Kobo: http://ow.ly/DxA250DWhlO
Google: http://bit.ly/30F7BcV

My Detective Jo Fournier series, which begins with The Dancing Girls, is available wherever you buy books.

How do our readers contact you?

Website: www.mmchouinard.com
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/mmchouinardauthor/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/m_m_chouinard
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/mmchouinard/

6 Comments

  1. Glenda Carroll

    I am totally absorbed with your write-up for The Vacation. You made me want to run out and read it. Excellent interview!

    Reply
  2. Vinnie

    Enjoyed reading this and learning a bit more about you, Michelle.

    Reply
  3. Michael A. Black

    Love your “road map” analogy, MM. It sounds very similar to my writing process. Good luck with your Vacation.

    Reply
    • Michelle Chouinard

      Thank you so much! I’ve struggled with how to describe it, since I’m halfway between a pantser and a planner, and plantser just sounds strange! 🙂

      Reply
  4. Tammy Qualls

    I can’t wait to read your latest book!

    Reply
    • Michelle Chouinard

      Thank you so much! Let me know what you think if you do. 🙂

      Reply

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