This blog is the intellectual property of Patti J. Smith. Use of any quotation in part or whole, without her approval is illegal.

Sunday, November 23, 2014

KIND WORDS



Another box was opened this week which held my grandmother's Bible.  In it were little articles she clipped from magazines and newspapers.  Below is a lovely poem written by Lula Lamme.  If I listen hard enough I can hear my grandmother reading it aloud. 

 
KIND WORDS
 
Who knows, it may be little things that pave our way to Heaven;
So few of us perform some gallant task to leaven
The load of others, but each of us may do
Some little thing each day,
Though it be only one kind word we say.
 
I'm sure God never meant the pathway to His throne
Should be trod by only those who for noble deeds are known.
I think those gathered will be there for many reasons,
Some who thought to praise their God for sunsets and for seasons.
 
Those who meekly bear what it is they must,
And murmur low, "They will be done", as plans crumble into dust,
And I think those "little people" of whom no one has ever heard,
May find they've built a stairway with each kindly word.
 



Friday, November 21, 2014

WELCOME T.C. SLONAKER TO "AN AUTHOR SPEAKS"!



I was born in Philadelphia and grew up in the suburbs thereof.  As a child, I was into art and friends, sweets and shopping.  And I hated reading.  My grades were excellent, though teachers complained that I did not write complete sentences or explain my answers very well. As a teenager, my grades remained great, even though I had now also gained interest in sports, people-pleasing, God, and poetry.  Now I had softball and cheerleading, friends and youth group.  So any creativity I extended had to be brief. College was great, and a degree in elementary education made me read more.  The Freshmen Fifteen made me run more.  And though this was where I met my husband, Jeremy, we did not begin a relationship until I graduated.  So, graduation led to a teaching job (6th grade that first year) and a relationship led to a marriage in 1997.  A few years later, I moved to 2nd grade, and then down to kindergarten. What next? You guessed it.  Out of teaching to care for my own babies.  I now am the happy mama to Hannah, Christian, and Audrey. The funniest thing started happening toward the end of my teaching career.  I began writing children's books.  I felt I had some great ideas and liked keeping it short.  Another way of keeping it short? Contributing short devotions to God Stories. (You'll find me in vol. 3-7 thus far.)  As my children grew taller, my writing grew longer.  And so did the time I spent running.  They go together.  Running for hours gives one a lot of time to think.  What else are you going to do?  So I listened.  What did God want me to write?  Well, start the Angelmen series, and you will find out!  Happy reading to you!


What five words describe you?
 
God-loving mom who writes novels.
 
What are you working on at the minute? What is it about?
 
 I just sent back my second round of edits to my editor on Caedmon of the Angelmen (Book 3 in the Angelmen Series). I'm really excited about how that is turning out right now. After thinking so hard for the past few weeks, I'm going to reward myself by reading something fun. Then I will clean up a couple more of the Angelmen books so they are ready to submit. As far as writing, there is a prequel in the series I have not finished writing yet, so I will either see if I can turn that into something or work on one of the several other stand-alone novels I have begun.
Which actor/actress would you like to see playing the lead character from your most recent book?
Great question! In Asher of the Angelmen, my latest release, I picture Chris Pine (Captain Kirk from the most recent Star Trek movies) as Asher. He's probably a little old to play a high school student, but I could definitely see him as a charismatic football play
If you could have been the original author of any book, what would it have been and why?
Another fantastic question. I wish I would have written Les Miserables. The way Hugo incorporates important themes into such a compelling story is amazing. Character is also the most important aspect of a book to me, and you are hard-pressed to find better characters than in that book.

What is the hardest thing about writing?

 
Writing is fun. I even love editing! The hardest part is trying to market and sell what I've written. I understand that my publisher can only do so much, but I am just not a salesperson.
Any tips on how to get through the dreaded writer’s block?
 
What works for me is to go for a run and look around or listen to what's around me. Most of my ideas have come while my blood was pumping on a long run. One time, while writing Asher, I knew I needed one more really exciting event. I went for a run and my asthma kicked in. So a bad run turned into a good idea. And let's just say that it isn't a coincidence that Asher is a runner/ running back.
 
Where would your dream location be for writing?
 
Ahh, let's dwell on this a little, shall we? I am a beach person. Let's find a private beach, just as the sun is dipping into twilight. (Since I'm dreaming, I will pause time while I write.) I will settle my feet into the cool sand with my laptop (which will be impervious to any possible sand damage) on my legs, and a light breeze will pet my arms and brush through my hair to make my blood flow smoothly through my veins. Now, I'm ready to write. (Thanks for that little vacation.)
 
When creating characters, are they based on people in
your life?
 
Never! I am terrified of someone finding out and not liking how they are portrayed. Also, you never know when a story will require you to kill someone off. If a real person ever went missing, I could suddenly become a suspect.
 
Do you read your reviews? Do you respond to them, good or bad? Do you have any advice on how to deal with the bad?
 
I haven't had too many reviews, and I really haven't had anything bad yet. So I am still youthfully innocent about them. I always read them, but I will only respond to them privately if it is from someone I know.
 
If you couldn't be a writer, what would you be?
 
I was a teacher before I was a writer (6th grade, 2nd grade, kindergarten). I have trouble leaving that profession completely, especially when I work with my own three children. Recently, I had gone back to subbing for a year or so and really enjoyed it. I wouldn't mind either doing some more subbing or perhaps teaching at a college level. I also LOVE organizing things and have fantasized about starting a business to organize people's homes or classrooms.

 What would you tell your younger self that would have helped you in your writing career?
 
Read more. I have always been a slow reader, and so I didn't read a lot voluntarily. But lately, I have read some fantastic books. From them, I have learned all kinds of ways to create interest in my writing.

Where can we buy your books?
 
 

 

I recommend Amazon or Barnes and Noble at the following sites:

 
 
 
 
 
 
 

 


How can we keep up with you? Blog, Facebook, etc...…
My website has all kinds of information about my books and me - even sample chapters. That site is: http://www.tcslonaker.com/index.html

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

A Change for the Holidays




Grief, especially around the holidays, is difficult. Although I knew it would be, I didn’t think it would be this bad.  Well, so much for thinking.  Dread is creeping in as Thanksgiving and Christmas approaches.  No one would know it by looking at me; I could probably win an academy award for my performance … But, if there were a window to my heart, one would see it breaking into little pieces.
 
My mom was always a holiday early bird …  the first one to start preparing menus, decorating and making lists of cards to send and gifts to buy.  I caught her infectious enthusiasm and became an early bird too … Until now.

This is the first holiday season without her, and it’s a week before Thanksgiving, and nothing is done.  I would already have Christmas cards and gifts ready for mailing, I’d have everything purchased for Thanksgiving dinner and a menu planned for Christmas. 

Following advice from professionals, and after a heart-to-heart with my dad today, we decided to change it up a bit this year by breaking traditions and doing everything differently. We are hoping a change will lessen the pain, and I know mom would want us to do whatever we need to do.

Regardless of how or where we celebrate, I know we'll still shed some tears, but that’s okay too.  Washington Carver said it best:  “There is a sacredness in tears. They are not the mark of weakness, but of power. They speak more eloquently than ten thousand tongues. They are the messengers of overwhelming grief, of deep contrition, and of unspeakable love.”

We might be doing things differently this year, but one tradition my mother started many years ago will continue. After grace at Christmas dinner she always said, “Happy Birthday, Jesus.”  I’ll say it this year and smile, knowing she’s telling Him in person. 



Tuesday, November 18, 2014

WELCOME SUSAN REINHARDT TO "AN AUTHOR SPEAKS"!


Susan J. Reinhardt started off as a non-fiction writer. Her publishing credits include: LIVE!, Vista, The RevWriter Resource, The Secret Place, and numerous other periodicals and anthologies. She changed gears and began writing fiction after an experience in Gettysburg. Surrounded by history, she *heard* the voices of the forefathers as fading echoes. Attempts to write a poem or non-fiction piece were unsuccessful, so she put the thoughts aside and prayed. Eight months later, Susan and her late husband were discussing that event when he declared, "That's it! That's your book, and it will be written in 4 months and be called Ghosts of the Past." The first draft was written in 4 months and underwent a name change to Echoes of the Past. Later, it became The Moses Conspiracy. Now, after 2 years of caring for her husband through cancer until his death and 6 years of honing her fiction skills, The Moses Conspiracy has been published. A widow, stepmom, daughter, and follower of Jesus Christ, Susan enjoys reading, couponing, gardening, family time, and searching for small treasures in antique shops.
 
 
What five words describe you? 
 
Dependable, Devoted, Detailed, Loyal, Loving 
 
What are you working on at the minute? What is it about? 
 
I'm working on the third book in The Moses Trilogy called, "Out of the Mist." A new girl is in town, and she's a feisty one. She's giving our folks from the other books lots of worry and frustration, but she's also won the sympathy of some.  
 
Which actor/actress would you like to see playing the lead character from your most recent book? 
 
I'm not a big movie person, so I'm drawing a blank here. I think I'd consult with some of the major producers of Christian movies for their advice. 
 
If you could have been the original author of any book,  
what would it have been and why? 
 
Redeeming Love by Francine Rivers would be my choice. The story of God's love combined with superb writing make it my all-time favorite Christian novel. 
 
What is the hardest thing about writing? 
 
It's easy to get my characters into a heap of trouble, but hard to get them out. LOL! The situation mimics real life. 
 
Any tips on how to get through the dreaded writer's block? 
 
I take a short break from the manuscript, pray, and then do something I enjoy. I trust that God will give me the answers I need as I turn over possible scenarios in my head. He always comes through. :) 
 
Where would your dream location be for writing? 
 
Where I write now - my home office. It's quiet, filled with books and things that inspire me. 
 
When creating characters, are they based on people in your life? 
 
I tend to store little details in my head - quirks, character traits, voices, mannerisms, etc. Each character has a backstory that they reveal as I write. As a rule, I don't base them on people I know. We're all so unique, and I do my best to create individuals rather than clones. 
 
Do you read your reviews? Do you respond to them, good or bad? Do you have any advice on how to deal with the bad? 
 
Doesn't everyone? If I know a person, I'll thank them for a good review. I don't respond to bad reviews. Everyone has a right to their opinion.  
 
Bad reviews can give the positive reviews credibility. A lack of bad reviews can raise red flags for readers. After all, everyone isn't going to love our work. 
 
If you couldn't be a writer, what would you be? 
 
Since I'm not a full-time writer, I can answer this with no problem. As an Administrative Assistant, I deal with lots of details. I like being the person behind the scenes, as well as the writer behind the characters.  
 
What would you tell your younger self that would have helped  
you in your writing career? 
 
Learn the business before you present your work to agents/editors. I had no clue what I was doing in the beginning. I could have saved myself a lot of time, energy, and even rejection if I'd done my due diligence. 
 
Where can we buy your books? 
 
My ebooks and print books are available on Amazon, while ebooks are also available on Barnes & Noble and Kobobooks. Below are the links for Amazon Kindle: 
 
The Moses Conspiracy 
 
 
The Christmas Wish (Note: This is a peek at a 4-month period between the other two books.) 
 
 
The Scent of Fear 
 
 
How can we keep up with you? Blog, Facebook, etc... 
 
 
 
 
 
Twitter - - @susanjreinhardt