I discovered Dawn’s blog and fell in love instantly! I love her Plot Swap Fridays. How she finds the oddest stories and hilarious texts is beyond me, but it keeps me in angst all week for it. She also does Tell Me Your Story Tuesdays, where she interviews other writers/authors. 

Dawn is super cool and I think you’ll dig her blog.

Dawn is a high school teacher by day and mystery writer by night. She has been married for 13 years to a wonderful, hockey playing, husband. They have two girls, ages 8 and 9,  born just under 13 months apart which she often says is proof that God often has plans that you don’t. 
J:I gotta say, Dawn, I’m a kinda glad those weren’t His plans for me! So dish, when did you get the writer’s bug? Has it always been something in you? Did you pen your first story with a jumbo crayon?

D: I started writing stories in elementary school. I would make “books” using colored folders with brads. Each one had a title page, back of the book blurb and a place for reviewers to write their comments. 
           I stopped sharing my work sometime in high school, but I never stopped     writing. In the past five years or so, I decided it was time to let a few people in on what I had be doing. Much to my surprise, no one laughed. That inspired me to focus on improving my craft and pursuing publication.
J: Very cool. You still have those old “books”? And even more importantly, do you snack while writing? Is so, what do you munch on?

D: I actually rarely snack while writing. If I do, it is baby carrots or mixed nuts and a glass of ice water nearby is an absolute must.

J: Carrots and nuts? Do you write for rabbits? 🙂 Kidding! What do you love most about writing? What do you find most challenging? 

D:I love the process of creating the story. I walk around for days with a little movie playing in my head about my latest plot. Most challenging? Definitely editing and revising.
        J:Honey, you ain’t just whistlin Dixie. Although, editing can be fun if I re-live the story and not just try to fix it.   How do you come up with story ideas?

 D:I get ideas from everywhere, news stories, conversations between the people behind me in line, pictures, songs, everywhere.
 J:Again, y’all have to check out her Friday Plot swap. Great and hilarious fodder there! So tell me this, Dawn, if you could be one hero/heroine from a book who would you choose and why?

D:Stephanie Plum. I love that she is so much like a real person, making mistakes and bumbling her way around. Of course, having two hot guys love me would be a nice bonus.
J:Uh, yeah it would! If you could be one villain from a book who would you choose and why?

D:This one really stumped me. I suddenly can’t remember a single villain from any book I have ever read.
J:Okay, well if you think of one, drop it in the comments. There must be one! What are you currently working on? Tell us a little about it.
D:I have three manuscripts going in various stages of completion/revision right now.  Here is the one I am working on today. 🙂
After the death of her father, Haylie Bradford is facing life alone with her non-existent love life and half of a college education. When the decision to stay one more night in her father’s empty house ends with her witnessing a murder, she finds herself running from a professional killer to the only person she knows can keep her safe, Race Welburn.
Since their father’s were best friends, Race has known Haylie most of his life but he doesn’t believe himself capable of protecting her. After all, the last woman in his care died in front of him, along with his own father. But, Haylie is clearly in danger. Can he put his insecurities aside enough to keep them both out of the crosshairs of a hitman?
J:Okay, I’m all about it. I totally love guys who feel like crap about themselves but really they’re like the greatest thing ever. (That was my inner teenager talking btw!) 

Is there a question you’d like to ask everyone? Because everyone who hangs out here, is the coolest and would love to answer your questions, right, everyone? See, they all cheered!

What is your favorite kind of hero? Strong and confident? Quiet and wounded? Sweet and funny?

You can connect with Dawn, and you so should by hanging out at her blog, find her on personal facebook page, her author facebook page, and twitter



If you could mix cotton candy, an apple, and glitter together, you’d get Lacie Nezbeth! She’s sweet, sparkly, fun and good for you! I’m so excited to have her today.

 Lacie Nezbeth is a stay-at-home mom with three young children. She spends her time running them all over town and loving it. Her love of books and history began when she read Little House on the Prairie as a young girl. Since then “the good ole days” have fascinated her and made her writing genre an easy choice! She loves to live “in the moment” with her family and enjoys traveling, shopping and baking decadent desserts…which doesn’t bode well for her shopping!

When did you get the writer’s bug? Has it always been something in you? Did you pen your first story with a jumbo crayon?
Nope. No jumbo crayon works of art for me. Although, I did write a short story in the 4th grade that I was pretty proud of. Got an A+ and everything but that’s as far as writing went for me as a child.
I first got the writer’s bug when I was pregnant with my first child, back in 2004. I was stuck at home a lot due to the constant retching that plagued me daily for my first trimester. Reading was the only thing that kept me from cursing motherhood altogether. One particularly rough morning, after I finished reading an especially frustrating book, I said, “I’m gonna write my own book. One without all those stupid problems that keep the heroine and hero apart for so darn long.” That tells you how much I knew about what I was getting into. J But the idea stuck and I’ve enjoyed learning more and more about how great books come to be.
We do ache to have them together quickly don’t we? It’s fun keeping them apart as the writer, though! Yum! Speaking of yum, do you snack while writing? If so, what do you munch on?
No. I’ve found that when the words are ready in my head, trying to eat and type at the same time just slows me down. Apparently, I’m not a very good multi-tasker. But when I’m stuck somewhere in my story, bring on the food! Something sweet and chocolatey…if I can find it.
Bake one of those decadent desserts, then call me over! What do you love most about writing? What do you find most challenging?
My favorite thing about writing is getting lost in my stories. For me (since I write historicals) it’s fun to imagine what it must have been like to live without all the modern conveniences that we all love. I’m constantly wondering if I would have survived. I like to think so.
Finding time to write or being consistent in my writing is the hardest thing for me. When I have 37 other things I know I need to do, I sometimes feel guilty taking the time for myself. And then there are those days when I’ve hit a road block in my story anyway, so those 37 other things can also look pretty good.
37 things? Really? That’s all? You need to be busier. 😉 How do you come up with story ideas?
This is one area where I don’t struggle at all. Thankfully!  A new idea will randomly sneak into my head…usually while I’m driving or researching. I keep a running list of book/plot ideas on Evernote. Some really need to be fleshed out and others are ready to go. I just can’t write fast enough.
I have tons of ideas while researching and driving too! We’re twins! If you could be one hero/heroine from a book who would you choose and why?
I would probably choose Anne Shirley from Anne of Green Gables. She is so spunky and fun and imaginative. And she never lets anything stand in the way of her goals. Plus, who doesn’t want to use phrases like “kindred spirits” and “bosom buddies” without creeping people out? J
LOL! Yeah, bosom buddies is a tad frightening! If you could be one villain from a book who would you choose and why?
I’m using “villain” loosely here because personally, I don’t think she is one, but Scarlett O’Hara from Gone With the Wind would be my choice. Man, that woman had some nerve and determination like I’ve never seen. Her methods were a bit…let’s say…skewed. But her motivations of protecting her family and land were very noble.
She happens to be one of my favorite characters. I could go on and on, but “I’ll have to think about that another day.” (Hand over forehead as if I might pass out.) So, what are you currently working on? Tell us a little about it.
Prairie Breeze is a mail-order bride story gone terribly wrong. Victoria Sutton impulsively accepts an advertisement to marry Benjamin Black, who is headed west to Oregon Territory. Only Benjamin has no interest in marriage whatsoever and is clueless to the marital ad his well-meaning father placed in his name. When the two meet, naïve to the others’ identity, sparks fly. But not just the good kind.
Is there a question you’d like to ask everyone?
I love to shop! And I’m always curious where other ladies buy their clothes. So, share with me. Are you a designer diva or do you hunt for the sales? Where do you go most often when shopping for your clothes? J
I, personally, love to thrift shop and I find all sorts of divalicious designs for penny prices! Well that’s my two cents…get it…two cents…;) I’ll stop now.
You can connect with Lacie on twitter, facebook and her blog! You can…and you really should!

See you Wednesday!

Must Meet Monday: Sheri Salatin

Sheri Salatin writes inspirational romantic suspense with a farming flair!  She’s the real deal, folks. A true cowgirl. I met Sheri through My Book Therapy on a discussion board for critique partners. Since we both write romantic suspense, x-nay farming flair with me, we decided to swap stories and give it a go.
Sheri has the coolest style of writing and it turns out we love the same books, authors, and think very much alike. Please still like her! Online, we’ll lol because we’re saying almost verbatim the same thing. She’s great and super savvy–the girl next door you want to know!
Sheri tell everyone a little about yourself.

I’m married to my best friend, Daniel and we have 3 kids – Travis 7, Andrew 5 and Lauryn 3. We are full time alternative farmers in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia on our multi-generational family farm – Polyface. I’m passionate about farming as well as writing. We use creation as our template for raising clean healthy animals.
I’m active in our church, serving as nursery director and AWANA Sparks Director.  When I’m not reading or writing, you can find me baking, sewing, gardening, canning, quilting, knitting and homeschooling.
Sheri, I love baking and covering up with quilts. My birthday is in October. hint hint! I also enjoy eating baked goods. 😉 Tell us when the writer bug bit yah.
I have been writing stories since I was old enough to spell.  I remember as a child, I used to create stories to send to my Great Uncle John every week. He always wrote back and I miss him still.
Another funny thing. I wrote a story about a young girl named Katie Salaton when I was 14. If you notice my current last name (spelled just slightly different) – this was before I met my husband. I had forgotten all about that story until after we started dating and I was looking through my old story notebook. I still get goosebumps with this one.
Oooh…I got goosebumps too. The writer bug and the love bug in one! Who else can say that? 🙂 When you’re writing do you snack?
Nope, I’m not a snacker. Actually, I’m just the opposite. When I get enthralled in something, I tend to forget to eat or drink.  I can go all day before remembering that I have eaten anything yet. I know –  I’m weird.
Nah, you’re not weird. I can’t snack and write either. I need two hands! How do you come up with story ideas?

Lately, it’s been from my dreams. lol.  I usually dream a story, then start asking questions. i.e. Why was she running? Why, why, why.  It all seems to flow from there and by the time I’m done it doesn’t resemble the dream at all anymore.
             If you could be one hero/heroine from a book who would you choose and why?
Hmm. I would have to say Belle from Beauty and the Beast. (maybe I’ve been watching Disney too long with my kids) It would be awesome to be in an enchanted castle and the beast only stays that way for so long. Ha!
So true, then you get a lifetime with a hunky prince! And Belle likes to read at the speed of lightning…just like you! So, if you had to choose a villain, who would you want to be?
Phew, this is a hard question. I’ve never wanted to be a villain before.  Okay, I’m going to go movie/book again. I think it would be fun to be Shere Kahn, the tiger from Jungle Book. How cool would it be to roam the jungles and have no fear of anything other than fire?
Really? You’ve never wanted to be a villain? Wow, I have a top five! ha! What do you love most about writing?
I love the creating part of it. Pulling ideas and stories from mid-air and putting them to words.  I love the fact that no one else has my story – it’s mine until I share it.
        What are you currently working on? Tell us a little about it.
      Laura Taylor is desperate for answers to her past but her sister’s life hangs in the balance if she tries to find them. Determined to save her sister and uncover what really happened to her parents, she will have to trust Matt Knight, a convicted felon and a cowboy who wants to lasso her heart. But he’s not as dangerous as the Servant who will go to any length to keep the truth a secret. Can Laura save her sister and discover the meaning of unconditional love before it’s too late?
      Sounds like a page turner. I’m enjoying the opportunity to watch it all unfold. What would you like to ask everyone reading this post?
      What do you think makes for an interesting blog? That is – what is the first thing that you notice when you visit a blog and what makes you stay to read the articles posted there?
Excellent question. Sheri has just started a new blog and I encourage you to pop over and follow. She always writes interesting things.  Here’s how you can connect with Sheri:
@SheriSalatin on twitter
The Hen house (her polyface farm blog)
Thanks for joining me today, Sheri. I’ve had a blast. Thanks everyone for coming back and listening to my drivel 3 days a week. I appreciate it and LOVE to read your comments. 🙂

Must Meet Monday: Michelle Massaro

I’ve decided to add a new feature to my Mondays. Why? One, because I can. Two, because I know so many incredible people and have met tons of amazing writers on-line and I want you to meet them too.


Mondays have now become Must Read or Meet Monday. Today, I’m excited to introduce Michelle Massaro.

Crazy story…

I was bouncing around some ideas for a book title and wondered if what I was looking for had been used. When I googled it, it led me to a youtube. I watched the book trailer and then found Michelle’s blog. I saw she was a member of the CWG (Christian Writers Guild) and facebooked her. By the way my current WIP is not Beauty for Ashes. It’s Eye of the Beholder.

We started chatting online and became friends. We had the chance to meet in person at the CWG Writing for the Soul Conference in Denver. How cool is that? I know!

Everyone, meet my friend Michelle.

     Tell everyone a little about yourself!

       I like slow walks along the beach… ahem… I met Mike in eighth grade and we’ve been married almost 16 years.  I’m mom to four kids ages 2 to 15. I’m the Assistant Editor for Clash of the Titles, where one of my duties is overseeing the Blog Alliance, sort of my baby.  Currently, I’m working on a new draft of my first novel, Beauty for Ashes. I also sing on my church’s worship team. 
    How did you know you wanted to be a writer?
      For a long time, I denied it.  It sounded too lofty for me. (I’m very pragmatic). But being so introspective makes me imagine wild situations and think “what if”, and storylines birth themselves.  I’m also a tough critic, and would often think “hey, I could do better” when reading (lol, if only it were so easy). So I finally opened up a Word doc and began my journey.
She is a tough critic. I should know!
  Why do you write the particular genre/material that you do?
      I’m a deep thinker and feeler.  I want stories that resonate to the core.  My passion is evangelizing through fiction.  As for genre (Contemporary) there are two reasons: 1. There’s less research (ha!) and 2. It’s a world I can relate to.  The bills, the traffic, the speech, even the state of the church.
     What do you love most about writing? What do you love least?
      I love watching a story come to life.  Watching characters go from faceless shapes to complex human beings.  Writing a scene that makes me cry. I least love coming up with a new plot line. It’s scary for me, when those characters are fuzzy and the premise isn’t fleshed out. There’s nothing unique yet to give me validation as a writer.  Is that bad, to need validation as a writer?
     How do you come up with story ideas?
      Prayer!  I want to give God my pen, and to do that I know I must seek Him for what message He wants me to convey through my stories.  I wrote an article about this very thing: 3 Steps To Writing a Christ-Centered Novel here 
 What do you love in a good book?
      A spiritually and emotionally rich experience.  Sweep me up in your story world and leave my soul changed.  I love depth in a book.  Give me something real.
     Who is your favorite author and why?
      Francine Rivers, hands down.  Nobody can touch her as far as putting you in her characters’ world.  Her Mark of the Lion series had a huge impact on me.  From the opening line of A Voice in the WindThe city was silently bloating in the hot sun, rotting like the thousands of bodies that lay where they had fallen in street battles.—you are smack-dab in her story.  I dreamt of her characters, I longed to spend time with Hadassah and glean from her faith.  Francine inspires me to write stories that will elicit the same response in my readers.  I’d love to meet her one day.
    What’s your favorite writing snack?
      lol, I can’t help but giggle at this.  I’m all over the place.  Usually some form of candy like Reese’s pieces (love!) but I have to be careful or I mindlessly eat the whole bag (and not the snack-sized ones!)  Other times I have no snack and might forget to eat my meals altogether.
     If you could be one hero/heroine from a book who would you choose and why?
      Hmm. Good question. I’d have to go with Lucy from the chronicles of Narnia.  I’d love to dig my fingers and bury my face in Aslan’s mane.  And who wouldn’t want to live in a world with unicorns and mermaids, in a castle, with a magic flask to heal all wounds?
If you could be one villain from a book who would you choose and why? Goodness me! A villain?  Well… I guess I’ll say Cinderella’s wicked stepmother because I wouldn’t be doing my own housework.
  What is your current book titled? Share what it’s about! 
My WIP is a Contemporary Women’s Fiction called Beauty for Ashes:
John Douglas’ faith in God dies with his wife and daughter. His despair drives him to the bottle and then into the bed of a paid stranger. Broken by shame, John finds restoration in Christ and rebuilds his life.
But when his past comes knocking on his door, his future is shredded. He must decide whether to bury his secret, or risk his new life—and love—by revealing the truth. Can God make the tattered pieces of his life into something beautiful?

  What advice do you have to give others who want to write fiction.

 My advice if you want to write, first of all, is start! But also, take time to learn the basic skills before you begin a full-length novel.  Read blogs like this one, find articles on the writing craft, meet other writers. Get familiar with terms like POV, pacing, voice, and hooks.  It’s much harder to apply skills to a manuscript after the fact.  Trust me on this.

Here’s how you can connect with Michelle!
Watch the trailer: here 
 Find me on facebook twitter (@mochashello), and my blog Adventures in Writing  Drop by any time and say “hello”.

Oh! One last thing– what question would you like to ask the readers? (and thanks so much for coming by)
My question for readers is what was your favorite read in the last year or two.  Also, what do you look for in a novel? 

 Feel free to answer the question or leave a comment! Have a great Monday, friends!