Must Meet AND Read Monday: April W. Gardner

April W. Gardner

Morning, everyone! Today I am pleased to introduce you to, April Gardner.

April resides in Georgia with her USAF husband and two sweet kiddos. In her free time, she enjoys reading, gardening, and DIY. In no particular order, she dreams of owning a horse, visiting all the national parks, and speaking Italian.
Librarian, reviewer, and avid reader, April adores anything books. She writes a regular column for the joint blog, Reflections in Hindsight, and is the founder and senior editor of the website, Clash of the Titles. She is the author of the best-selling novel, Wounded Spirits.

I met April through a mutual friend, Michelle Massaro, and through COTT (Clash of the Titles). If you haven’t checked it out, you should. It’s a literary website where authors compete and readers judge! Tons of fun!

Everyone, meet April. April, meet everyone! Tell us about your first novel?       

My first published novel is Wounded Spirits, which is set in 1813 during the Creek Indian War in what is now Alabama.

I had the pleasure of reading Wounded Spirits when I won a drawing on a blog! I loved the book, felt like I was right there with them as they experienced war…and love! Sigh. 🙂 How did you come up with the idea for this book?

I grew up hearing that my many times great-grandfather was Chief Red Eagle/William Weatherford. Turns out, he’s probably not, but I still cherish as my own the stories of his bravery in the face of Jackson’s overpowering army. It was the story of his extraordinary leap from the bluff that made me wish to read the account in novel-form.

I’d never written more than a high school paper, but I figured that if this particular story was ever going to be written, why not do it myself? Eight years later, I held the book in my hands.

I loved that this book was set to real events. Which character was the toughest to write?                                                                                                       

Zachariah was probably the toughest. I have nothing in common with him, and he’s been through some pretty horrific stuff. Stuff I could only take a stab at imagining. How a person might respond emotionally, physically, and spiritually wasn’t the easiest to create. I pray I did it justice!

You did! My heart broke with him and cheered with him. Even though you haven’t been through some of the things Zachariah went through, would you say a little piece of yourself is in one or all the characters or not?                              

I actually try to steer clear of putting myself into my characters. It probably comes down to the fact that I’m a very private person, and even if no one ever knew that that particular part of my heroine was a look into myself, it still makes me uncomfortable. Yeah, I’m weird.

That makes sense. Now when we read we’ll always get the mystery of wondering if a little piece is you or not. At least the stalker in me will! What do you find most rewarding about writing and most challenging?                        

Most rewarding? Creating worlds and people to fill them. Most challenging? Returning to my own! I love every bit of my real life, but there’s something addicting about stepping into my pretend world. Once there, I get sucked in. Kinda like Facebook. Lol!

As they say in MS, “You ain’t just whistlin Dixie!” Or at least I think they say that here, I’ve never actually heard anyone but myself. I think all writers would have to agree. Stepping into storyworld is like crack.  Don’t even get me started on fb!

Tell us 3 random fun facts about yourself!                                                                           

  • I can solve a Rubik’s cube. It takes me about ten minutes, but I can do it!
  • I’ve visited 24 different countries on three different continents. Lived in five of them.    
  •  I frequently choke while drinking or swallowing my own spit, and, yes, it’s embarrassing.

 ROFL!! We’re going to have to Skype so I can experience the choking. 🙂 I couldn’t solve a Rubik’s cube if a gun was pointed to my head. 

If you could live off one food for the rest of your life, what would you choose?    

Rice. Love all forms of rice. Maybe because I was born in Asia?

That’s the only reason I would think , lol!
 What have you learned about the craft that you would like to pass on to other writers? 

I’ve learned that there is never an end to learning! Just when you think you’re arriving, bam! You realize how much further you have to go. Recently, I discovered author K.M. Weiland’s website. She’s a talented author who has boat loads of great tips for writers.

Thanks for sharing the tips and the website! Great advice. April, it’s been so much fun and I know everyone has had a blast getting to know you. What are some other ways they can connect with you?                                                         

I love to hear from my readers! You can reach me on Facebook, at my site  or at Clash of the Titles

Awesome! Just my own little plug here, Clash of the Titles has unpubbed weeks and it’s great exposure! I won my round and semi-finaled in the final clash. It was through semi-finals that I met my dear friend, and clash buddy, Jodie Bailey!

Here’s a sneak peek of Wounded Spirits and April has a question for you!

“On the frontier, Adela McGirth’s life is simple, rugged, and exactly to her liking. Her greatest concern is whether to marry the settlement’s most eligible young officer. When a distant war among the Natives spills over into a nearby skirmish, life takes a perilous turn. Deep in enemy territory Adela must choose between the man she loves and a baby that has yet to be born.
A peace-loving yet loyal Creek warrior, Totka is forced to align with the extremist Red Stick faction whose purpose is to eradicate the Whites from Creek soil. In the midst of battle, Totka is assigned to protect those he is expected to hate–and kill. Life was simpler before his enemy became a beautiful face with a quiet strength and dignity he cannot resist.
Having lived a life plagued with death and loss, Zachariah McGirth is a man on a mission – he’ll have his revenge or die trying. Blinded by grief, he can’t see his way clear of yet another tragedy. Why has God taken everything from him…or has He?”


How old were you when you discovered the love of reading, and which novel was it that first impacted you?

Frivolous Friday: What’s a Perfect Ending?

I happen to love a happy ending. I don’t like closing a book unsatisfied. Katie Ganshert wrote a great post on Monday about tension and frustration and the difference.

She said, “Avoid drawing things out for an eternity.

Yes, we want to prolong tension. But not to the point of frustration.”
She’s right and this got me thinking.
Where’s the fine line between frustration and tongue hanging out and panting for more, when ending a book and leaving the hero/heroine apart?
Here’s what I think.
What to do to keep readers from getting frustrated when a hero/heroine don’t end up together in the end.
1. Make sure they know you have a sequel/series coming and the story isn’t over.
Unless you plan to finish out their story in a sequel or a series, don’t rip them apart. I personally don’t want to go away feeling like, well hey, if I wanted the real world, I’d have just called my cousin. Her relationship is on rocky ground. By the time she answers, he’ll be out the door and I can cry and boo hoo and feel unsatisfied without paying $15.99. So glad I bought the unlimited minutes plan.
2. Give them lots of moments with romantic tension, flirting, touches and a few sizzling kisses–or sweet ones depending on what you write.
The whole point of reading a romance is for the romance. Profound. I know. I know. I want to read a book that is full of flirting, glances, touches (mostly appropriate ;)) and swooning moments. If you do that and then pull them apart at the end, while I know it really isn’t over see 1., I’ll be screaming with anticipation for the next book. Not frustration.
3. Tie up and resolve sub-plots, twists, or murders. Again, this depends on what you write.
When I know they’ve caught the bad guy (unless it’s a sequel and he’s still on the loose–but for the love give us something to resolve) the secret is revealed, the twist gets straightened out then I have some gratification. I feel the book is over, even if the relationship between the hero/heroine isn’t. I don’t feel like it ended with a thlump!
I certianly don’t want to frustrate a reader, but I think if written well, we can leave the story hanging…until the next book.
Just to clarify, I know life doesn’t always end in a fairy tale. I think you can write a believable journey with plenty of grit and grief, convey the message, point to Christ, and still have a happy ending. I’ve seen it in hundreds of books.
Now it’s your turn. Do you like happy endings? Do you feel satisfied when the hero/heroine don’t end up together, but you know another book or two with more story is coming?
I really want to know your thoughts. Have a great weekend, friends.

I’ve Been Tagged…You Might Be Too!

Normally, I do a book review or introduce a new friend on Mondays, but last Friday I was tagged over at D.U.O says. Thanks, so much D.U.! I appreciate it.

So, I’m playing along because it looked like fun!  I’m gonna follow the rules and tag a few folks myself, if you want to play great, if not…it’s all good. You’ll just die a slow, gruesome death. 🙂


Do you think you’re hot?
Only when I’m sweating bullets by the pool.

Upload a picture of the wallpaper you are using.

My daughter made this for me! Isn’t she sweet?
Right after she made it, she asked for an iPhone.

When was the last time you ate chicken?
Does Crow count? It falls into the poultry category, right? I eat it about every day!!!

What song or songs have you listened to recently?
The Script, For the First Time  I’ve been listening to it over and over on my CD while writing a few scenes.

Do you have any nicknames? If so what are they?
Jesse, Jess, and my sister calls me J.R. My cousin calls me Jessa K. And then of course, I was called “Ozzy”and “Oz” because of my maiden name, Osborn, and  “shorty” in highschool. Real original, huh?

Tag 5 bloggers
Here’s where you fall into categories. You either hope: “Pick me this looks like fun!” or “Oh, dear Granny, please don’t pick me.” You try to fade into the background of my mind so I won’t call on you. You slink down on your side of cyber-space and chant, “no, no, no.”

Brandi BoddieBrandi is really wonderful, and I love her blogs about life and writing. She’s just been recently contracted!

Sheri SalatinSheri writes romantic suspense with a farming flair. She also writes great book reviews and yummy recipes as well as other cool random things.

Marji LaineI met Marji through twitter. She’s like the friend you’ve always had. I enjoy reading her blog. She writes whodunits with a side of Texas sassy!

Loree HuebnerLoree is a civil war reenacter (is that a word? reenacter?) and she writes historical fiction and inspirational romance, mainly Civil War era. I always leave her blog feeling smarter about history!

Brett MinorBrett’s sarcasm is hysterical. We grew up together–imagine the stories we have! When I want a good laugh, I know Brett is gonna give me one. I just wish he blogged at least 3 days a week…ahem!

So I’ve passed on the mantle! Just link back to this site when you post, if you post, and I’ll be sure to come by and comment! 🙂 Happy Monday, y’all.

Question: What song best describes you?