Monthly Archives: June 2013

Get your lanyards ready, rediscovering summer camp with my guest T. Greenwood

Today I’m thrilled to host Tammy Greenwood, author of so many titles it’s hard to list them all here, but I highly recommend you check them out. Tammy’s also a writing teacher and editor, and has been helping me with my latest WIP, THE KALEIDOSCOPE, so if you’re an author, I suggest you find out more about her uber helpful editing services and classes as well. Her lengthy summaries of good and >cough< not so good parts of my submission to her are keeping me busy making changes, and I know will make the book SO much better. I’ve posted her bio, photo and links at the bottom of this post. She’s graciously allowed me to repost her list of some books I’ve already added to my list of TBR’s, let us know if you find one you’d like to read, or want to, or perhaps another you’d recommend.

Here’s Tammy!

(Originally posted on May 26th, 2013 on Tammy’s blog.)

It’s Memorial Day weekend, which even here in sunny southern California, signals the advent of summer. And so I begin compiling my list of summer reads. And what better books to complement the season than novels set at summer camps?
Here are some I can’t wait to read and re-read (blurbs are from

The Last Summer of the Camperdowns“The Last Summer of the Camperdowns, from the best-selling author of Apologize, Apologize!, introduces Riddle James Camperdown, the twelve-year-old daughter of the idealistic Camp and his manicured, razor-sharp wife, Greer. It’s 1972, and Riddle’s father is running for office from the family compound in Wellfleet, Massachusetts. Between Camp’s desire to toughen her up and Greer’s demand for glamour, Riddle has her hands full juggling her eccentric parents. When she accidentally witnesses a crime close to home, her confusion and fear keep her silent. As the summer unfolds, the consequences of her silence multiply. Another mysterious and powerful family, the Devlins, slowly emerges as the keepers of astonishing secrets that could shatter the Camperdowns. As an old love triangle, bitter war wounds, and the struggle for status spiral out of control, Riddle can only watch, hoping for the courage to reveal the truth. The Last Summer of the Camperdowns is poised to become the summer’s uproarious and dramatic must-read.”

The Yonahlossee Riding Camp for Girls: A Novel“It is 1930, the midst of the Great Depression. After her mysterious role in a family tragedy, passionate, strong-willed Thea Atwell, age fifteen, has been cast out of her Florida home, exiled to an equestrienne boarding school for Southern debutantes. High in the Blue Ridge Mountains, with its complex social strata ordered by money, beauty, and girls’ friendships, the Yonahlossee Riding Camp for Girls is a far remove from the free-roaming, dreamlike childhood Thea shared with her twin brother on their family’s citrus farm—a world now partially shattered. As Thea grapples with her responsibility for the events of the past year that led her here, she finds herself enmeshed in a new order, one that will change her sense of what is possible for herself, her family, her country.

Weaving provocatively between home and school, the narrative powerfully unfurls the true story behind Thea’s expulsion from her family, but it isn’t long before the mystery of her past is rivaled by the question of how it will shape her future. Part scandalous love story, part heartbreaking family drama, The Yonahlossee Riding Camp for Girls is an immersive, transporting page-turner—a vivid, propulsive novel about sex, love, family, money, class, home, and horses, all set against the ominous threat of the Depression—and the major debut of an important new writer.”

The Inverted Forest
“Late on a warm summer night in rural Missouri, an elderly camp director hears a squeal of joyous female laughter and goes to investigate. At the camp swimming pool he comes upon a bewildering scene: his counselors stripped naked and engaged in a provocative celebration. The first camp session is set to start in just two days. He fires them all. As a result, new counselors must be quickly hired and brought to the Kindermann Forest Summer Camp.

One of them is Wyatt Huddy, a genetically disfigured young man who has been living in a Salvation Army facility. Gentle and diligent, large and imposing, Wyatt suffers a deep anxiety that his intelligence might be subnormal. All his life he’s been misjudged because of his irregular features. But while Wyatt is not worldly, he is also not an innocent. He has escaped a punishing home life with a reclusive and violent older sister.

Along with the other new counselors, Wyatt arrives expecting to care for children. To their astonishment, they learn that for the first two weeks of the camping season they will be responsible for 104 severely developmentally disabled adults, all of them wards of the state. For Wyatt it is a dilemma that turns his world inside out. Physically, he is indistinguishable from the state hospital campers he cares for. Inwardly, he would like to believe he is not of their tribe. Fortunately for Wyatt, there is a young woman on staff who understands his predicament better than he might have hoped.

At once the new counselors and disabled campers begin to reveal themselves. Most are well-intentioned; others unprepared. Some harbor dangerous inclinations. Among the campers is a perplexing array of ailments and appearances and behavior both tender and disturbing. To encounter them is to be reminded just how wide the possibilities are when one is describing human beings.

Soon Wyatt is called upon to prevent a terrible tragedy. In doing so, he commits an act whose repercussions will alter his own life and the lives of the other Kindermann Forest staff members for years to come.

Written with scrupulous fidelity to the strong passions running beneath the surface of camp life, The Inverted Forest is filled with yearning, desire, lust, banked hope, and unexpected devotion. This remarkable and audacious novel amply underscores Heaven Lake’s wide acclaim and confirms John Dalton’s rising prominence as a major American novelist.”

Shelter: A Novel

“In a West Virginia forest in 1963, a group of children at summer camp enter a foreboding Eden and experience an unexpected rite of passage. Shelter is an astonishing portrayal of an American loss of innocence as witnessed by a mysterious drifter named Parson, two young sisters, Lenny and Alma, and a feral boy called Buddy. Together they come to understand bravery and the importance of compassion.
Phillips unearths a dangerous beauty in this primeval terrain and in the hearts of her characters. Lies, secrets, erotic initiations, and the bonds of love between friends, families, and generations are transformed in a leafy wilderness undiminished by societal rules and dilemmas. Cast in Phillips’ stunning prose, with an unpredictable cast of characters and a shadowy, suspenseful narrative, Shelter is a an enduring achievement from one of the finest writers of our time.”
The Interestings“The summer that Nixon resigns, six teenagers at a summer camp for the arts become inseparable. Decades later the bond remains powerful, but so much else has changed. In The Interestings, Wolitzer follows these characters from the height of youth through middle age, as their talents, fortunes, and degrees of satisfaction diverge.The kind of creativity that is rewarded at age fifteen is not always enough to propel someone through life at age thirty; not everyone can sustain, in adulthood, what seemed so special in adolescence. Jules Jacobson, an aspiring comic actress, eventually resigns herself to a more practical occupation and lifestyle. Her friend Jonah, a gifted musician, stops playing the guitar and becomes an engineer. But Ethan and Ash, Jules’s now-married best friends, become shockingly successful—true to their initial artistic dreams, with the wealth and access that allow those dreams to keep expanding. The friendships endure and even prosper, but also underscore the differences in their fates, in what their talents have become and the shapes their lives have taken.Wide in scope, ambitious, and populated by complex characters who come together and apart in a changing New York City, The Interestings explores the meaning of talent; the nature of envy; the roles of class, art, money, and power; and how all of it can shift and tilt precipitously over the course of a friendship and a life.”Camp“Every secret has a price.For most girls, sleepaway camp is great fun. But for Amy Becker, it’s a nightmare. Amy, whose home life is in turmoil, is sent to Camp Takawanda for Girls for the first time as a teenager. Although Amy swears she hates her German-immigrant mother, who is unduly harsh with Amy’s autistic younger brother, Amy is less than thrilled about going to camp. At Takawanda she is subjected to a humiliating “initiation” and relentless bullying by the ringleader of the senior campers. As she struggles to stop the mean girls from tormenting her, Amy becomes more confident. Then a cousin reveals dark secrets about Amy’s mother’s past, which sets in motion a tragic event that changes Amy and her family forever. Camp is a compelling coming-of-age novel about bullying, mothers and daughters, and the collateral damage of family secrets. It will resonate with a wide teenage readership. Camp will be a strong addition to school recommended reading and summer reading lists, and it is appropriate for anti-bullying programs. Mostly, though, Camp is a mother-daughter story for mothers and daughters to share.”
T Greenwood
About my guest:
T. Greenwood is the author of seven novels. She has received grants from the Sherwood Anderson Foundation, the Christopher Isherwood Foundation, the National Endowment for the Arts, and, most recently, the Maryland State Arts Council. TWO RIVERS was named Best General Fiction Book at the San Diego Book Awards in 2009. Five of her novels have been BookSense76/IndieBound picks; THIS GLITTERING WORLD was a January 2011 selection, and GRACE is an April 2012 selection. Her eighth novel, BODIES OF WATER, will be released this fall.

She teaches creative writing at for San Diego Writer’s, Ink. She and her husband, Patrick, live in San Diego, CA with their two daughters. She is also an aspiring photographer.

More information on T. Greenwood can be found at her website: and her blogs: and



One Writer’s Encouragement for Hearing God’s Will

Welcome fellow Texas girl, Jayna Morrow, who’s got a great message of encouragement from a time when she experienced a fresh start in her own writing. (Love the bluebonnet cover, Jayna!)
Thanks, Bev!
For me, writing is therapy. Upon completing any project, I reflect on what I learned and anchor it to Bible scripture. My debut novel, Garrett, was a last-ditch effort to jumpstart a writing career that was going nowhere. Like Garrett, I was at a point in my life where I was ready to give up. The plan I had for my life just wasn’t working out. That’s when I stumbled across this scripture:
“You can make plans, but the Lord’s purpose will prevail.” Proverbs 19:21
Garrett COVER_72 dpi-1
And that’s when it hit me that I hadn’t consulted God about what was in the plan for my life. All I knew was that I had the urge to write around the clock and there was nothing I could do to make it go away. I know. I tried to quit writing for an entire year and couldn’t. Garrett Hearth felt the same way. An injury had ended his athletic career and he believed that his life held no purpose beyond that.
But Garrett Hearth is a fictional character?
There’s a saying that goes, “art imitates life far more than life imitates art.” Oscar Wilde wrote those famous words. So can we learn and grow through our art? I believe so absolutely. But more importantly, can God speak to us through our art? YES!
In my novel, Garrett finds an entirely different purpose than the one he had in mind. In my case, it was all a matter of turning my gift of writing over to God. Until that time, I had been writing traditional romance and going nowhere. A small voice told me I should be writing inspirational romance. Then a Christian friend told me the same thing at about the same time. That solidified things for me. I completed a Christian romance novel, and that’s when things started happening.
A double lesson from one scripture.
Sometimes the plan you have yourself isn’t the one God intended. And sometimes the plan matches up, but you’re not doing things for the right reason or in the right way.
One solution for both lessons.
Pray, pray, pray, PRAY! Turn your life over to God. Whatever your purpose, whatever your talent, whatever your interest or hobby. Find a way to glorify God in all things.
About Jayna:
Texas romance author, Jayna Morrow, has been creating imaginary worlds since a young age. As an elementary school teacher, Jayna juggles the demands of molding young minds, raising two precious daughters, and spending time with her husband/best

Jayna Morrow

friend…while making time for her passion of writing romance novels.
Find Jayna at or

on Twitter @JaynaMorrow
~ Sweet Life, Sweet Romance, Sweet Home ~
*GARRETTAvailable now from Prism Book Group*
*GABRIEL – Coming soon from Prism Book Group*
*HOLDEN – Coming soon from Prism Book Group*


Fresh Start Summer-now an Audiobook!

From the award winning novel, now in audio! Set in small town Cherryvale, where “neighbors care, gardeners share, and God allows do-overs,” you’ll fall in love with the folks who live around the CherryPath.

FSS audio cover












From an Amazon review of the book, “Novel Rocket and I recommend it as a thoroughly good read.” Ane Mulligan


With a smattering of humor, a touch of mystery, and a summer filled with fun, FRESH START SUMMER is perfect for those road trips, walking the dogs, or working in the garden.

The entire family can listen in as Hollywood arrives in small town Cherryvale. After the two worlds collide, fires break out, and a townie most vocal about their intrusion goes missing. Are the new arrivals the culprits, or will they be the cure to helping mend a friendship in need of repair? With themes of prejudice, forgiveness, and fresh starts, the fun abounds with colorful characters, adorable pets, and a delightful small town setting where folks meet life head on, and rely on their faith to face life together.

DW Garden path

Selected as one of’s Great Summer Reads of 2011 and recipient of the San Diego Christian Writer’s Guild Excellence in Writing award, and narrated by the talented Hollywood actress, Connie Ventress, FRESH START SUMMER is now available for download on and Amazon.


About the Author:


Bev HS 1

Beverly Nault lives in Southern California with her high school sweetheart, Gary, where they take turns spoiling their two granddogs for practice. Besides writing The Seasons of Cherryvale series, she’s the co-author of the best selling LESSONS FROM THE MOUNTAIN, WHAT I LEARNED FROM ERIN WALTON, with Mary McDonough, about the actress’s life growing up on the classic television series. Find her at, on Facebook, twitter @BevNault and Pinterest. 

5 Authors Share Lighthearted Moments and Insights about their Process.

This is part II of a post I started last month talking shop and having fun with published authors about their process. I know you’ll find their answers as interesting as I did. And when you’re finished, check out their books and blogs, especially if these excellent authors are new to you. Here are Dona Watson, Ashley Ludwig, Dineen Miller, Nancy Farrier and Joanne Bischof. Welcome ladies!

First, here are the questions:

1. What’s something funny or ironic that happened to you while writing/researching one of your books?


2. What’s one thing you find most helpful when developing a character?

Welcome Dona Watson, who writes, reads and breathes fantasy fiction. Her most recent release, Deathchaser, is in the online magazine, Sorcerous Signals. Hey, Dona!

Hi! First of all, thank you for giving me the opportunity to share. Writing can be an intriguing adventure.


1. While researching for a science fiction novel that I’m working on, my main character needed to break into the computer network of a corrupt government. However, in order to make it believable, I needed to know how the technology works. I searched Google diligently, and when my son, the technology guru in our house, ran diagnostics on our home network, he noticed that we had become the target of someone with very advanced technology trying to break past our extremely secure firewall—and succeeded. We traced the incoming signal and realized it was very likely we had become the target of the NSA, who had flagged my searches!

2.  When I’m developing a character, I try to mentally put myself in their shoes to imagine how they would respond emotionally to certain circumstances. Another way is to imagine I’m the interviewer and ask my characters what their story is, then record their answer. As long as they’re talking to me, life is good. Like they say, “Writer’s block is when your imaginary friends stop talking to you.”

Ashley Ludwig writes sweet romance, and her stories will sweep you away, I guarantee! I love Ashley’s writing voice. You’re up, Ash!

AshleyIronically, my answer to question 1 dovetails into question 2! I love writing sweet romance, but have always been a huge fan of romantic suspense. While veering from it  (By Another Name, and His Darling, which both explore re-finding your joy after an abusive relationship, I find myself back in my wheelhouse of Romantic Suspense. While All or Nothing is a historical romantic suspense, my current characters live in a contemporary setting. I love developing characters, getting them in those impossible dilemmas, and helping them sort it all out. I find inspiration in things that happen every day, especially in moments when I’m developing character back story. I discovered something MOST disturbing about a villain for my next manuscript (Working Title) In Seconds when listening to a country song, “Don’t Lie.” I  asked my hubby, “Doesn’t this guy sound creepy?” He and my kids laughed at me, saying, “That’s not what this song’s about…” but apparently my subconscious turned the *ahem* nice guy in the song, into a sinister stalker. Just wait. He’s absolutely HORRIFYING. But no match for my hero. 😉

2.  When I sit down with a new story, I let my characters bounce around a bit. I start at the meet, and they usually whisper their names, and their names gives me clues as to their personalities. I read that you can put the same two people in MANY different situations, and see how they play off of each other. Everyone has weaknesses and strong points, even villains. The most challenging is making my heroines likable, and my villains truly evil.

Inspired by an author friend, I developed a worksheet called “Creating 3D Characters” which is available on my site. This worksheet asks in-depth questions from the high level (eye color, height, birthday, place, etc.) to favorite foods, habits, etc. By the time I’m halfway through, I know exactly who each character is, what phraseology they lean toward, and how they will respond in any number of situations!

Dineen Miller

Dineen Miller‘s debut fiction, The Soul Saver, had me turning the pages until late into the night. She also writes nonfiction for families in unequally yoked situations. Here’s Dineen!

HI Bev!  1. When I started planning The Soul Saver, I knew Lexie and Hugh Baltimore has lost their toddler daughter to a brain tumor. I also knew Hugh was a physics professor at Stanford University. A few months later we found out our youngest daughter’s worsening headaches were due to a malignant brain tumor. Then after her successful surgeries to remove the tumor, we found out her radiation treatments would be designed by a physics professor from Stanford! God is always in the details and we ARE His details!

TheSoulSaverSM2. Motivation. I’m fascinated by what drives us to do the things we do. Is it a lie we believe of ourselves or the world? What a character wants most—is it rooted in a rejection from the past? Or a past failure and a need to prove he or she can succeed? Amazingly, I’ve found that when I was able to identify the lies I held onto in my own life and give them to God to replace with His truth, that creating these premises became much easier to create for my characters. LOL! How funny is that? Yes, motivation is crucial in so many ways. Good and bad.

Nancy Farrier  writes sun-drenched, Southwestern fiction, and it feels so real you’ll need sunblock and a cold lemonade while you’re reading! Look for her novella in Immigrant Brides, releasing July 1st. Go for Nancy!

1) After finishing the final draft of a book and sending it to my editor, having them return the galley for my perusal can take a few months. During that time, I will be working on another book, researching other stories, or writing more proposals. The book that is already written is often completely out of my mind as I focus on a new work.Immigrant Brides

With one of my novels, at the time I received the galley, I was going through a difficult circumstance in my life. I’d been praying for guidance. As I began to read the galley of my book, I was amazed at how God’s answer to prayer came through the spiritual teaching in that novel. I had put from my mind what happened in the story, and now found myself facing some of the same angst my heroine faced. The words I’d prayed about and penned months ago, now spoke to my heart and helped me through a tough time.

2) Characterization has always been tough for me. I usually have a general idea of what the character is like, but that isn’t enough. I find a picture and write up a short description: hair, eyes, height, weight, notable features, etc. Then I write a few pages of background, depending on the importance of the character. If this is a main character, I will begin with their birth, the family they are born into, siblings, family status and location. Then I write major events in childhood that would have shaped them into the person they are at the beginning of the story. If I “lose sight” of my character, or think they aren’t acting like they should, I can go back and reread the character background to get a renewed feel for who they are, what they believe, and how they might change through the book.

And here’s Joanne Bischof, the author of the Christy nominated, Be Still My Soul, the first book in the Cadence of Grace historical series set in Appalachian. Hey, Joanne!


Hi, everyone. I like to do a lot of hands-on research into the Appalachian way of life in the early 1900’s. This involves baking bread to keeping chickens and all sorts of odds and ends. There are a handful of details in  BE STILL MY SOUL that revolved around moonshine. Fear not, I didn’t make moonshine, but I did ask some friends to bring some home from Tennessee. I’d been hoping to test a recipe I did for Moonshine Pecan Pie, and as I was baking that day, the researcher in me couldn’t completely resist. I think I tasted about a teaspoonful, and that was quite enough research for me!

And the last question about characters–Great question! One thing I really find crucial to developing a character is digging for their “humanness.” Developing characters goes  beyond finding nearly-perfect people but allowing the raw and incomplete pieces to come forward. I think not only can we relate to them more, but  the character can grow– giving that person something we can root for. To see those changes come full circle for a character from beginning to end is always one of my hopes as a storyteller.  

Thanks, ladies, this has been so much fun!