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Love, Lace, and Minor Alterations by V. Joy Palmer

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weddingphoto.jpgI’m super excited to chat with Joy Palmer today about her novel, Love, Lace, and Minor Alterations, her writing process, and how she drinks her coffee!  Just as a heads up, the girl is hilarious and I have loved getting to know her.

Here’s the rundown on Joy: V. Joy Palmer is an avid blogger and co-founder of Snack Time Devotions. She is a youth leader at her church, and loves acting crazy and drinking coffee with the teens. When Joy isn’t urging the elves that live in her computer to write, she’s hanging out with her husband, their adorable baby girl, and their socially awkward pets.

So let’s chat!!

1. Tell me about your publishing history! How did Love, Lace, and Minor Alterations come to be?

I’ve always been obsessed with weddings, and I was single and frustrated with the man who is now my husband (that is a long story) when I first started writing and brainstorming. I started venting writing, and suddenly I just heard Izze chattering in my head. The idea of a single woman in the wedding business who wanted to get married and was fed up with the leading man fascinated me. I’ve really struggled with trusting God (especially with the events that inspired this story), so my heart is really for readers to see that they can trust God with their hearts. Because He has the very best in store for them. He loves to give us beauty for ashes.

  1. Give me a little rundown of your main character and what you love about her.

I largely based Isabel “Izze” Vez on myself. Very original, I know. 😉 However, I made her quite a bit feistier than I am. I’m an introverted bookworm. I tend to keep my adamant opinions to myself. It takes a ridiculous amount of internal arguing and anti-nausea medication for me to even broach the outside rink of social. Izze doesn’t really have those problems. In a lot of ways, she’s the bold person I wish I could be.

However, Izze also tends to be more of a loose cannon. She struggles with acting first, then thinking. While this makes for fun dialogue, it also is very eye-opening since this is something most of us struggle with in one way or another, at one time or another. I guess what I really love about Izze are her flaws! She’s imperfect. But those imperfections are a wonderful stage showcasing God’s awesomeness! All His forgiving, merciful, gracious, and loving awesomeness.

And we both like our coffee to resemble a liquid candy bar. ❤ I love that.

  1. Liquid candy bar! Lol! I love that. So what authors are you reading right now? Anything you recommend?

Oh, so many books! Haha! Since I also review books, that can be and dangerous question, and I’ll read almost anything if there’s a romance.

Right now, I’m finishing up Unraveling by Sara Ella, which is AMAZING! Then I’ll be reading The Memory of You by Cathy West, A Matter of Trust by Susan May Warren, and Solo by Kwame Alexander and Mary Rand Hess.

I’m pretty proud of myself for not listing twenty books. *eats brownie as a reward*

  1. I should eat a brownie too. Just thinking out loud here… 🙂 What’s your writing process? Outline? Fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants kinda girl? Scenes in order or out of order?

While I’m an everything-in-its-place perfectionist in most areas, I’d say I’m more of a pantser with my writing. When I started writing LLaMA, I wrote the scenes in order, and it was killing my creativity, not to mention I overexplained every mundane detail in the setting. Unsurprisingly, stuff came to a screeching halt. Then I went to my first American Christian Fiction Writer’s conference, and I heard seasoned authors talk about different techniques, including jumping from scene to scene. I wholeheartedly embraced that technique! So much so that I even came up with a major plot twist at that conference while chatting with an editor! “What’s the big conflict?” “Oh, this is going to happen!” Voila! 😉

I had to write some basic plot outlines recently, and it was SO hard! However, even with a basic plot written, I still allowed myself plenty of room to be creative with the scenes while I type my way to “The End.”

  1. I’m the same, but sometimes scenes come to me out of order. (Usually when I’m sitting in church! Ha! Then I’m scribbling down everything.) What book or series made you fall in love with stories?

I’d say there are four different books/series that have shaped me as a reader and a writer. I’ll just tell you about them in the order that I discovered and read them…

Wings of the Morning by Lori Wick. This story gave me a fresh love for reading. I can’t tell you how many times I have read this beautiful story. I stopped counting after thirty. LOL. Pirates. Adventure on the high seas. Romance. Mystery. This story has it all!

The Christy Miller Series (and all of the spin off stories!!!) by Robin Jones Gunn. I’ve always related to Christy. I started reading these stories when I was eleven, and since Robin Jones Gunn is amazing and keeps continuing the story, I get to go through life, marriage, and children with this dear friend. Christy and I even have baby girls!

The Dragon Keep Chronicles by Donita K. Paul. Speaking of characters I can relate to!! Kale!!! She is one of my favorite characters ever! I’ll think something, turn the page, and Kale is thinking the same thing. My husband relates to Kale’s husband, Bardon, and we would swap these books back and forth when we were teenagers. ❤ I see these books as another facet of our love story. ❤

Match Point by Erynn Mangum. ❤ I love, love, love Laurie. I get her, I relate to her, and I share her sense of humor. Yet I want to as bold as she is. Plus, we have the same married name! (That wasn’t planned. 😉 ) But I also owe my writing career to this story and author. I’ve heard so many writers talk about a book that changed things for them. Well, this is that book for me. Once I read Match Point, I knew what kind of stories I wanted to write. Funny. Real, flawed, lovable characters. Filled with God.

Oh girl! The Christy Miller series basically helped shape my worldview in middle school and made all the difference in my life going forward. Not to mention, made me want to be a writer! Robin’s writing made me realize that one good novel can actually make an impression for a lifetime. And I’m such a fan of Erynn as well! I especially love the Paige Alder series.

Thank you SO much for sharing with us today, Joy! I’m so glad to know you.

Here are all the ways to connect with Joy and to check out her novel:

joy

 

 

Caught by Surprise by Jen Turano

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I’ve just finished reading Caught by Surprise by the lovely Jen Turano and I loved it! For historical fiction fans who like a touch of humor, Jen’s your girl. I read this book while traveling and found myself laughing out loud while sandwiched between people on a plane, and then while riding in the backseat of my aunt’s Mazda. I’ve been a fan of historical fiction for years, but Jen’s use of humor sets her apart in my book. I became a fan when I first read her book A Change of Fortune, and honestly, I grabbed that one because I loved the cover so much. Then I loved the story so much. Now I’m hooked on Jen’s thYKRVVTNCwriting. Here’s a tidbit from Caught by Surprise:

Dear Miss Quill, or should I say, Miss G.?

I’m returning your shoe to you as a warning. Your identity has been compromised–your eavesdropping on a conversation you should not have overheard is now known to me–and you’d be well served to get out of the city as soon as possible.

Sincerely,

A dangerous gentleman

You’ve got to love a note that sends a shoe as a warning and is signed “A dangerous gentleman”! Such fun writing.  Hop over to Amazon to read more about this clever story.

Also, it looks like Jen’s got a novella for free on Kindle right now! Quick! Download!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Someplace Familiar by Teresa Tysinger

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Hi Loveys! Welcome to the Blog Tour for Someplace Familiar by Teresa Tysinger. I’m super excited to be posting today about this debut novel, a contemporary southern romance (yay!) with themes of faith, hope in new love, and grace. It’s the first in a series of books set in Laurel Cove, a fictional town in the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina. I’m joining other bloggers this week to tell you a little about the book and spread the news about the giveaway Teresa is hosting! Be sure to enter to win a signed book and more from Teresa at the end of this post. And leave your comments and questions below—Teresa will be stopping by to answer any questions!

Artist Livy Johnson needs a fresh start. That’s what a broken heart and forgotten dreams can do to a person. On little more than a whim, she reclaims her grandmother’s old home in quaint Laurel Cove, North Carolina and vows to restore its original charm. When she literally collides with childhood friend, Jack Bowdon, Livy wonders if she’s back for an entirely different reason.

Jack can’t believe his childhood crush is back. As the owner of Bowdon’s Supplies, and once again the town’s most eligible bachelor, he offers to help Livy with repairs. Together they embark on the project—and an undeniable whirlwind romance.

But it’s not all smooth sailing. Can they survive the destructive pain of their pasts to discover God’s grace waiting to renovate their hearts?

Find Someplace Familiar on
 Goodreads: http://bit.ly/2mo0GAc

Amazon Kindle: http://a.co/iYoxB1U

 

TeresaTysinger

Teresa Tysinger is a wife and mother transplanted from North Carolina to North Texas. When not working as the Director of Communications for a large downtown church, she writes charming southern romances inspired by grace. A member of American Christian Fiction Writers, Religious Communicators’ Council, and the Association for Women in Communications, Teresa has spent over a decade committed to telling stories of faith through written word. She loves coffee, caramel, and stories with happy endings.

Connect with Teresa on:
Web: www.teresatysinger.com
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/16536072.Teresa_Tysinger
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/teresatysingerauthor/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/tmtysinger
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/teresatysingerauthor/
Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/teresatysinger/
Amazon Author Page: http://amzn.to/2qHqhro

GIVEAWAY! WHOHOO!

ENTER HERE (https://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/e36c22633/) to win a signed paperback copy of Someplace Familiar, a custom 8×8” canvas painting by artist Cyndi Browning (in honor of the book’s heroine, Livy, who is an artist), and $10 Amazon Gift Card. Winner will be announced on Teresa’s website on June 18 once the tour wraps up. (Open to continental US residents only; sorry international readers!)

Q & A with Teresa!

    1. Where did you get the inspiration for Someplace Familiar? The inspiration for the book came from two places. First, my memories of my own great-grandmother’s charming home and gardens inspired Livy’s Gram’s cottage. It gave me the chance to catalog my memories into a living story. Also, I am completely enamored with the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina. Having grown up in Florida, when I attended college in the mountains, I fell in love with the area and knew writing a story with it as the setting was meant to be!
    2. What is it about the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina that made such an impression on you as the setting for this book? Oh goodness, the list is so long! I love the four distinct seasons—each offering something uniquely beautiful and enchanting. The culture is rich, eclectic, and full of whimsy. And don’t forget the slow pace of easy rocking chairs, bubbling brooks, rustling trees, and the gentle roll of both the mountains and the southern drawls. I love it all!
    3. Christian romance is a popular genre. What defines the genre for you as a writer? The story of Christ’s love for us is the truest, most pure romance. So, when a book of fiction can combine the love story between two humans with the transforming, powerful love of God it’s the best of both worlds. I personally enjoy romances that show readers that real life and relationships are messy and the “happily ever after” isn’t necessarily riding off into the sunset, but rather comes with sacrifice and compromise. So, that’s what I aim to write, too!
    4. What is your favorite part of the writing process? My favorite part of writing a book comes at the earliest stages. I love naming characters and being creative putting the plot together. At that stage, anything is possible and it’s okay to be a little messy with it!
    5. What was the biggest challenge about the decision to self-publish Someplace Familiar? Oh boy! Self-publishing has taught me so much about the business of being a writer. The most challenging part is keeping all of the spinning plates moving and not crashing to the floor. Editing, design, marketing, networking, etc. These days, however, even traditional publishing requires authors to be major players in every step of the process. So, I think all authors must learn to multitask—and, for me, that’s a challenge.

 

 

 

 

Stories of Our Lives: Origins of The Last Summer

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Confession, loveys: I watched Days of Our Lives back in high school, and college, and I loved it. (The school I went to had half days on Fridays, so I’d watch every Friday and get caught up on the week.) Stefano DiMera, Sami and Carrie and Austin, Marlena and John–all of it. And at the beginning, I remember the intro saying, Like sands through the hourglass, so are the days of our lives. Later in college, I swapped Days for General Hospital and watched that through the rest of college–coming home at lunch and turning it on–and I dragged Jeff into the story during our first few years of marriage. No regrets. Those were good times. Jeff may not admit it, but he was just as hooked on finding out if Carly and Sonny would make it as I was.

The days of our lives really do go fast. And they tell a story. Our stories.

The Last Summer Front Cover

We’re five days out from the release of The Last Summer. (Eek! I’m SO excited!) I told you that I wrote the first draft of this twenty years ago, my first year of college. In fact, I still have the original spiral notebook.

Here’s a cool story, lovey. It’s just incredible to me.

After I’d written this last draft and sent it off to editors and publishers and finally heard back that it was going to be published–I realized something. In that first spiral notebook, I’d written the story of seven friends who love each other like family. The story has reshaped since then, but the plot has remained the same. The friends have remained true to their characters, but names changed over the years as I rewrote the story. In that spiral notebook are the original names that I came up with when I was eighteen years old.

Three of those names are Ashton, Lillian, and Everett.

My three children are named Ashtyn, Lillian, and Lincoln Everett.

The crazy thing is that this story never even came into my mind during my pregnancies. I was twenty-eight when I was pregnant for the first time. Ten years and a long way from the eighteen year old girl who’d gone away to college.

When I was pregnant with Ashtyn, my first child, I sometimes scribbled names on a notepad (usually during staff meetings!). Someone suggested Ashton to me, but at that time, it looked a bit masculine to me. I scribbled the name over and over on a notepad, and suddenly wrote Ashtyn, and it clicked. I loved it. Lillian never changed, I’ve always loved it. And I’ve loved the name Everett since I saw the movie With Honors way back in the 90s.

When I first realized that the names I came up with as a teenager are the names of my children–I’m not kidding when I say it sent chills over me. The truth that those names have been in my heart–in me–since I was just a girl . . . And have stayed with me for all these years, and have been passed on to the most important people in my life . . . without me even realizing it–well, I guess it’s just the connecting of all the days of my life.

Ashtyn and Lily and Lincoln Everett were always meant to be. They were always part of me. From years ago when I was a girl myself, spilling out a story that would hold pieces of me forever. (Before I even met Jeff!)

It makes me cry.

Their names were there–at the shaping of a story, at the shaping of my life. Little hints of who I would be and the children who would make my life wonderful. And I didn’t realize it, but it all came together.

I’ve been asked before about how I write my stories, lovey. For me, it’s just like that. They come together. A bit mysterious. The story unfolds and you see the connections later–and then you get it.

And I cry.

Our stories are being pieced together like puzzles–at the end you see the picture and you smile and you realize, Oh, that went there. Oh, right, of course that fit there. I see it now.

Loveys . . . stories–fictional and real–are amazing. They’ve been shaping me since I was a young thing. They’ve captivated me.

And this story I’m about to share with you–it’s a piece of the story of my life.

I’ll treasure it forever.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Cover Reveal Time

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Loveys, we are seventeen days from the release of The Last Summer (picture me squealing with excitement!). How fabulous! Today, Carrie from Reading is My SuperPower is doing a cover reveal! Hop over right now and join the excitement!!

http://readingismysuperpower.org/2017/05/24/cover-reveal-last-summer-brandy-bruce/

Six Weeks from The Last Summer

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I cannot believe we’re six weeks out from the launch of The Last Summer! How is this even possible?! It’s actually already available for pre-order on Amazon. The publisher is working on the cover. Final corrections are being made to the proofs. And this is feeling really real, y’all.

I’m scared.

I was putting together a list of early readers this weekend, and the thought of people actually READING this story started to give me a little anxiety. Remember, these characters first came to me when I was 18 years old. A lifetime ago. They’ve been living in my head all this time. Now their story is finished and about to be available for people. I think nerves are just part of the process.

Nerves and excitement. I’m thinking of a book launch party and other fun, book-release things and excitement is part of all that. I’ve loved every book I’ve written–of course I have. You pour yourself into the writing and spend hours upon hours with your characters.  But this book, lovey. This book.

It’s just different.

I love it in a nostalgic, memory-filled, roots kind of way. Because I remember forming these characters on the bottom of a bunk bed while living in a dorm room with five other girls, one of whom has already gone to heaven, which breaks my heart. We were just young girls then.

And then I remember re-writing it, living with Leah in dorm 23. Then Courtney and Kat. Dave Matthews or Matchbox Twenty on the radio. And then in our apartment while living with Laurie. Staying up late in my room, typing away on this same story.

Then becoming an intern for a publishing company and letting Mick and Kathy read it, getting feedback and feeling terrified as real, grown-up editors read my writing. Working on it while sitting with Samantha Krieger in one of the houses I was staying in during our internship. I think back on that and smile, thinking that’s what it looks like when you’re writer-friends. Come over, and bring your laptop, and we’ll sit together and type!

Then taking a break from it and writing Looks Like Love. Time passed during those years and life changed and I became an editor and lived out my dream job. Babies came. Then I wrote Table for Two, then Second Chance Café, then Recipe for Love. All while editing the books of so many others.

And finally, while pregnant with my third baby, I decided to start with a blank page, and rewrite this novel (in first person this time, which I loved while working on Looks Like Love).

So as Lily grew inside me, I wrote, for the last time, Sara’s story, The Last Summer.

And now, we’re six weeks out from release date.

But in my heart, we’re twenty years in. And I could just about cry.

So I’m scared and excited and happy and relieved and ready. I could use your help, loveys, to get the word out about this story. I hope to do a cover reveal in the next few weeks. And you can see the hashtag in the photo above. Once the book is out, I’d be so thankful to see readers with it, and please include that hashtag. Please leave reviews–you don’t even know how invaluable that is for authors. Share the book announcement on your pages. Contact me with any questions about how you can help! brandybrucewrites@gmail.com.

It’s nearly time. The COUNTDOWN is beginning.

Oh gosh. I’m so happy!

 

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Book Releases!

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Loveys, I’ve got two book releases to tell you about! The book my sister and I have done together, Chosen, is available now in print and on Kindle at Amazon. com! Sara and I are so thrilled. If you’re on Instagram, you can follow the book at #the_chosen_trilogy. There are lots of really great posts! Sara and I have been doing a lot of book promotion on Insta, you can follow both of us @sahanson and @alittlebitofbrandy. If you read Chosen, please leave a review on Amazon or Goodreads and let us know what you thought about it! This book has been a labor of love for us, and to see it finally available and in the hands of readers is just wonderful. Hop over to Amazon and see what other people are saying about it.

Next book! The Romano Family Collection is available now in print and on Kindle! You guys know how partial I am to the Romano family. I wish I could pull up a chair at one of Leo’s restaurants and dive into a plate of Lobster Magnifico! You can also follow this one on Instagram at the hashtag #romanofamilycollection. And if you’re reading The Romano Family Collection in any form, I’d love for you to post a picture with the hashtag!

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I mentioned before that this new repackage includes a bonus short story and recipe! I’m going to give you the first page of the short story as a teaser! Enjoy! And hop over to Amazon to grab this collection. You might want to grab something to snack on while you read!

A Southern Belle Road Trip

 A Romano Family Collection Short Story

Ashley Gray looped her light brown hair into a loose bun on the top of her head, then stood with her hands on her hips, surveying the chaos of her apartment. Well, her apartment for the next week.

The front door opened and her friend Mandy peeked inside.

“I hate moving,” Ashley said, by way of greeting.

Mandy walked inside and set a plastic bag on the kitchen island. “At least the weather is decent. You won’t be driving in snow.” November had been a bit warmer than usual for Denver, Colorado. And while there was plenty of snow up in the mountains, Ashley was very grateful the roads where she lived were currently clear and dry. Traveling in cold weather was bad enough, snow would have been more than she could handle.

Mandy pointed to the bag. “Leo made a quiche this morning, and it was delicious. I brought you leftovers.”

“Hallelujah!” Ashley made a bee-line to the food. Mandy’s husband happened to be a talented chef, and Ashley’s stomach rumbled at the thought of breakfast. Mandy rounded the corner of the island and opened one of the cupboards.

“I see you haven’t packed the mugs yet. Or the coffee maker.”

“Fortification,” Ashley explained, pulling out a plastic container with two slices of quiche. She popped the Tupperware in the microwave for a minute while Mandy poured herself a cup of coffee. “I need the coffee to keep me going till all this is done.”

Once the food was warm, both girls sat together on barstools at the island, Ashley devouring the delectable egg-and-bacon quiche and Mandy sipping her coffee.

“So don’t move,” Mandy said. Ashley rolled her eyes and used her fork to motion to their surroundings.

“I’m halfway packed. I didn’t renew my lease. I have to move.”

“Tell me why.”

Ashley paused, her heart squeezing at the sight of her best friend’s sad look.

“You know why. We’ve talked about this. It’s time for a change.”

“But you’re going back to Virginia,” Mandy countered, tucking her hair behind her ears. “Is that the right kind of change? You’ve been there, done that, remember? You left for a reason.”

Ashley mulled that thought for a moment and then swallowed. “I left for adventure. A job opportunity opened up, and I’d never lived anywhere except for Sommersville, Virginia. It was time for me to spread my wings. I dreamed of moving out west and finding an amazing guy who’d fall head over heels for my Southern accent.”

Mandy smiled. “Well, it is pretty charming.”

Ashley was quiet for a moment.

“The thing is,” she finally said, “things didn’t quite turn out like I’d hoped, Mandy. Working at the church drained me, and I ended up so burned out. Working with the singles group was fun until everyone paired off or found someone or moved. And I felt like I was pulled in a million directions, helping with a ton of ministries, leaving no time for myself and not enough money to match the cost of living in Denver. I never met anyone—”

“Greg—” Mandy began but Ashley held up her hand.

“Do not mention Greg.” Ashley had no interest in talking about the one guy she’d dated, who happened to also be the worship leader of the church. Five months of dating had ended with him telling Ashley that they were better off as friends. Two weeks later he’d started dating another girl, and married her within six months. The fact that the girl had looked like a supermodel and Ashley’d had to continue working at the church in near proximity to the lovebirds—well, the whole experience had left Ashley feeling less-than-Christian for a good, long while.

“Okay. But you could do something different without moving.” Mandy glanced down at her buzzing phone. “Sorry. Leo’s watching Antonio and Olivia, and it looks like Antonio might have hijacked his phone. Either that, or Leo’s sending me text messages in some kind of code.”

Ashley chuckled and stood up to grab another cup of coffee for herself.

“Honestly, Mandy. You have to understand. You found your happily ever after. You got the gorgeous Italian, who can cook to boot. And now you’ve got two amazing kids. All I have is a drafty apartment. I’m out of options.”

“Ash,” Mandy said softly. “I remember you telling me once that there’s always another option. It’s called faith.”