Celebrating Freedom and the Book Launch of Montezuma Intrigue

My guest today is Linda Weaver Clark who says she  enjoyed writing short stories and novels for several years but it took a lot of courage to begin submitting them. Linda has published an Idaho family saga series, beginning with award-winning “Melinda and the Wild West,” and a mystery series, Anasazi Intrigue, Mayan Intrigue, and her newest, Montezuma Intrigue.

Linda also tours all over the United States, teaching people the importance of Family Legacy, encouraging others to turn their family history and autobiography into a variety of interesting stories.

In celebration of our country’s Freedom and my Official Book Launch for Montezuma Intrigue, I’m having a Book Give-Away from June 27-July 7: Win a mystery/adventure novel with a touch of romance, at http://lindaweaverclarke.blogspot.com.

Adventure…Suspense…Romance…Intrigue…Humor! The search for Montezuma’s treasure, mysterious events, family secrets, and a good-looking rogue!

When a leather parchment of Montezuma’s map is found in great-grandfather Evan’s old chest, April and the twins know this summer is going to be a memorable one. The girls want to search for it but their father is against it for some mysterious reason. With Julia’s help, she and the girls convince John to go on a treasure hunt. Is Montezuma’s treasure a legend or reality? Whatever the case, John insists on keeping their little treasure hunt a secret. If certain people find out about it, the family could be in danger.

But that’s not all! I have more gifts for you! I will be having a drawing for 2 children’s books: The Magic Word by Sherrill S. Cannon and The Donkey and the King by Lorilyn Roberts. If you have already bought Montezuma Intrigue, I will email you 4 free e-books (pdf):

1. The Treasure of Isian by Serena Clarke. This is a fantasy/adventure novel with a touch of romance. This story is full of intrigue as you watch Garin and Elani search for the treasure of Isian.

2. Reflections of the Heart, which has 13 chapters of inspirational writings such as: The secret of Happiness, Laughter is the Best Medicine, Parenthood A Great Responsibility, Equal Partners in Marriage, and Music Soothes the Soul.

3. Writing Your Family Legacy, in which I teach you how to write your family history or autobiography. I travel all over the U.S., teaching this class.

4. The Donkey and the King by Lorilyn Roberts. This is a Christian story about a donkey named Baruch who longs for an easier life beyond the stable. Each page is beautifully illustrated.

Be sure to leave a comment and you’ll be eligible for the drawings!

Linda Yezak Debuts Novel: Give the Lady a Ride

Patricia Talbert is a high-class social coordinator from New York.

Talon Carlson is a rugged bull rider from Texas.

 He thinks she’s too polished.

She thinks he’s insane.

 Opposites aren’t quick to attract when the lady who enters the cowboy’s world is on a mission to sell the ranch. But a box of letters changes her mission–letters of unshakable faith and a love deeper than anything she’s ever experienced.

Soon she finds his integrity appealing. Her spunk draws him in. He has the faith she craves; she may be the love he longs for. But faith and love aren’t achieved in a single weekend.

 To buy time to explore the possibilities between them, she issues a challenge: “Teach me to ride bulls.”

 From here on, they’re in for the ride of their lives.


 Linda, thank you for joining us today. I thoroughly enjoyed reading Give the Lady a Ride. Is this your first published novel?

Yes, and I’m glad you said “published.” My first novel—my first truly awful novel–is dry-rotting away in a drawer somewhere. Ride is my first novel worth reading.

What was your inspiration for the story?

A combination of a couple of TV shows on CMT: “Cowboy U,” where city folks learned ranching chores, including palpating cows and riding bulls, and “Ty Murray’s Celebrity Bull Riding,” which was what it says, an opportunity for celebrities to match their strength and stamina against that of a 1200-pound bull (but I suspect the bulls were no more than 700-800 for the rookies).

How did the idea evolve?

I just expanded what I saw on “Cowboy U.” It wasn’t only macho men on that show. Pretty little long-legged models with painted nails and perfect makeup joined business women with expensive suits and superiority complexes. The look on their faces when the show’s hosts took away their blow dryers and moisturizing cream was priceless!

How did you find your publisher?

Before she became a publisher, I met Chila Woychik on Christianwriters.com. I loved her poetry; she loved my writing. She also writes non-fiction, and we ran some projects past each other for critique. When she bought Port Yonder Press, I asked if she needed help. She did, and I became one of her editors. Then, when I finished Ride and found out it was a hard sale because it’s so short, I asked if she’d consider publishing it. She already liked it, so it was just a small step to for her to publish it.

Do you have a background in writing?

I have a degree in English, but I ignored my desire to write for years—anything of any length, that is. One of my professors tried to encourage me to pursue writing, and I should have then, but I had an interest in law at the time and became a paralegal instead (back when you had to go to grad school to do it).

Do you belong to a critique group or do you have a writing partner?

What I wouldn’t give for a critique group! But, even then, I believe I’d rely mostly on my writing partner. My critter, Katie Weiland, and I have been together since 2007. I don’t put anything major “out there” without running it past her first, and she’s the same way.

Were you raised on a ranch or have you had any rodeo experience?

Uhhhh—no. You don’t know how much it hurts to admit that. It’s so unfair! My dad was raised in the country. Mom’s parents owned a ranch. My husband’s family raised cattle. Me? I’m a city girl. If I were answering this on Twitter, I’d type “#ampouting” after an abbreviated version of my response.

If a movie were made, based on Give the Lady a Ride, who do you envision playing your main characters?

Okay, I don’t know the new stars that well. If we were in the ’90s, I’d answer Meg Ryan and Dennis Quaid. Today, I’d lean toward Matthew McConaughey and Kate Hudson.

Are you a “Plotter” or a “Pantser?” Do you outline first or do you write as you go?

At the time I wrote Ride, I was a pure pantser—which means I had lots of rewrites. Now I’m a hybrid. My outlines are excruciatingly loose, and are usually formed as I go. I’ll write a scene, then my brain will kick in with “then this happens, then that,” and I have to get it down or lose it forever. I revert to my old ways occasionally, though, and toss out the outline.

What kind of marketing are you doing?

My family is enduring some trying times right now, so marketing is lax at best. Currently, however, personal appearances have been far more successful than cyber-techniques, and the off-beat stores have sold more than the bookstores. I’ve sold out twice at a pharmacy and twice more at a hair salon. Only one bookstore has come close to selling out. My secret weapons are my husband and my mother. Mom sold two copies while getting a blood transfusion, and three more after surgery.

Linda Yezak resides in the state of Texas, where tall tales abound and exaggeration is an art form. She lives in the heart of a forest with her husband, three cats, four ducks, and a pond full of fish.

Aside from being a member of  Women Writing the West (WWW) and The Christian PEN, she is a proud member of American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW). Her debut novel, Give the Lady a Ride, was a finalist in the 2009 ACFW Genesis contest, and her work-in-progress, The Cat Lady’s Secret, was a finalist  in 2010.

 A self-described nut, she says, “I keep both feet candy-coated, because there’s no telling when one or both will land in my mouth.”

Candy flavor of choice? “Peppermint. Chocolate melts too fast.”

 Linda is also an editor with Port Yonder Press, a traditional publishing company that caters to family-friendly authors, and she writes Christian chic lit and romantic comedies. Along with serving as a category coordinator for WWW’s Willa Award, Linda has served as a judge for several ACFW Genesis Contests as well as other, smaller contests. She is becoming a popular speaker and is available for engagements in the quad states: Texas, Louisiana, Arkansas, and Oklahoma (anywhere in driving distance!).

Website: http://lindayezak.com

Website: http://authorculture.blogspot.com

Also on Facebook and Twitter, among other social sites.

Published in: on June 20, 2011 at 6:00 am  Comments (8)  

Janet Oakley’s Advice for Researching Historical Novels

Janet Oakley, author of Tree Soldier, is back for Part II of her interview, sharing her advice and experience in researching for historical writing.

What kind of research did you do for this book?

The research was extensive, beginning with an overview of the program published in the government resources, but I was working for the Bellingham School District in a pioneer/outdoors program and had been introduced to some retired foresters who volunteered with the kids. Through one friend, I met and interviewed a number of men who had been in the “Three Cs” as it was sometimes called. One gentleman couldn’t understand why I’d be interested. He wasn’t a war hero, but I told him it was important to know. His stories just leaped out at me. I also read the local newspaper not only for announcements about the camps being built and the arrival of boys from back east, but for what was happening in the world at the time: movies, sports, radio shows, the price of chickens. And I went out looking for the projects.

What advice do you have for new authors who want to write historical fiction?

Well, you have to have a good story just as in any genre. Once you get the muse going, you’re going to have to do some research. There’s no getting away from that. In writing historical fiction you are dealing in worlds that had their own technology,culture, mores and media. I have researched four different eras for my novels: WW II, the early 1900s and  mid-19th century in the Pacific NW, and the Great Depression. For each I had to do some grounding. I did it old school and new authors should too. Hit your library and get out some solid books on the era you are writing in. There’s a tendency to just jump on the Internet and read Wikipedia, but the information out there is scattered and sometimes not reliable. Read the bibliographies in the back of books. Even fabulous non-fiction writers like Eric Larson have great bibliographies to lead the writer onto source material that will help things make sense. Some publishers (I think Writer’s Digest) have put out good books on life in a certain era that are helpful. Read newspapers and it you are lucky like I was, interview.

Create category files. For my WW II novel, I have them on the Gestapo in Norway, resistance groups, rationing, spy equipment, fishing and fisherman, occupation, deaf culture, etc. I started off on cards with a number on the card that went back to its place in my bibliography, but I seem to just photocopy everything now OR I write on sheets with a topic line. The most important thing is putting the notes with its source. This is not only vital for finding it while writing, but now that I’m going out on book tour, I see how important it is for talks. I can go to my notes and refresh my knowledge and write pieces like this.

Create a chart of topics you need to know about. See chart to right. What was the techonology of the times? How did they heat their homes, cook food, preserve food? Get around? Ship? Wagon? What was the medicine, communication? Politics? As you fill the chart you will come up with more questions, I’m sure. In Tree Soldier, a tree literally falls on my hero. I had him up in some sort of cast as I thought my brother was in during the late 50s, but after talking to a doctor friend of mine, discovered that in the 30s you were bound up with a figure-eight contraption with both arms in slings. For three weeks. Ulp. How would my guy feed himself? Enter the love interest.

After you get going on your background reading, taking notes however you want to do that, then you can go to the Internet and look at what’s really cool there- digital libraries and social media like Twitter and Facbook (Yes, museums tweet – I’m following the Gettysburg and Civil War ones right now) where you can read materials from the times, connect with historical organizations and find answers to your questions from experts. Having some background in the beginning will better prepare you for this phase.

One other advice is don’t get all bound up in the research. Keep the story going. Is Hannah really mad at her sister Rebecca going to the calico party (Huh? What’s that?) People are people throughout the times but as Diane Gabaldon said on a panel I went to on historical fiction, you have to take the times as they are especially in the roles of women and not put 21st century sensibilities on it. I’m researching the mid-19th century for both fiction and not fiction projects. There are definitely spunky women in literature as in North and South (the 1850s novel) The 1850s is the beginning of women’s rights, but there are consequences you have to consider. Keep it honest. And have fun.

Where can we find copies of Tree Soldier?

Tree Solder is available at

Createspace https://www.createspace.com/3493477

Amazon in Kindle and book form. http://www.amazon.com/Tree-Soldier-J-L-Oakley/dp/1453896473/ref=tmm_pap_title_0

And select bookstores such as Village Books. (I really want to support the indie book stores)

I’m blogging at http://historyweaver.wordpress.com and on Twitter at @jloakley

Tree Soldier’s at Facebook http://www.facebook.com/pages/Tree-Soldier/177455642270948

Published in: on June 15, 2011 at 6:00 am  Comments (7)  

Meet New Historical Author: Janet Oakley

My guest today is fellow Pacific Northwest author, Janet Oakley, and I’m delighted to feature her first published novel, Tree Soldier. Fast-paced, entertaining, and informative, this historical novel has it all: romance, rivalry, revenge, and redemption.

Synopsis: One mistake can ruin a life. One mistake can transform it.

A government forestry camp set deep in the mountainous forests of the Pacific Northwest might not seem the likely place to find redemption, but in 1936, Park Hardesty hopes for just that.

Blaming himself for the fiery accident that causes his brother’s disfigurement and results in the death of the bootlegging woman he loved, planting trees, building bridges and mentoring tough, homesick New Jersey boys brings Hardesty both penitence and the renewal of his own self-worth.

When he wins the love of Kate Alford, a local naturalist who envisions joining the Forest Service, which allows only men, he also captures the ire of a camp officer who refuses to let her go. Just when Hardesty is ready to seek his brother’s forgiveness, he is falsely accused of rape. Every aspect of his life he has tried to rebuild is put in jeopardy.

In the end, the only way he can defend himself is to tell the truth about his brother, but he risks being kicked out of the camp.

Worse, he could lose Kate’s love forever.

Janet, would you share the inspiration for this book?

My 96 year-old Mom is a native of Idaho and during the summers she often went up to her Uncle Lawrence’s ranch in Lowman just north of Boise. One summer around 1933 a Civilian Conservation Corps camp appeared about a mile away. Some 200 young men were there working on projects. Some were from New Jersey. Years later when I had to write a term paper for a history class, her stories came back.  I began to explore CCC projects around my county in Western Washington. A story of a young man from back East who is running away from a past mistake  began to form.

Is Park Hardesty modeled on a real person?

Hardesty is totally out of my imagination, except that he is from Western Pennsylvania where I grew up. I wanted him to be someone who had integrity, was a decent person, but felt guilty about being the catalyst in his brother’s tragic accident. He felt damned until he came West to work in a CCC camp.

Who do you envision would play him if a movie was made of Tree Soldier?

Now that’s question. I haven’t really thought about that. I did a quick search of the hottest actors under 25, but they’re too pretty. Hardesty is good looking, but he’s just a man of his times.

Tell us about the significance of the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) in Washington.

The CCC is responsible for some of the most beautiful structures, campgrounds and parks on both side of the mountains and the Pacific Northwest for that matter. The young men, working in squads of 6-9 men, also planted trees, built roads and bridges, backpacked fish into remote lakes, and did reclamation work, including dams. In Whatcom County they built the Glacier ranger station, Silver Fir and Douglas Fir Campgrounds and the Warming Hut up at Mount Baker.

The program was responsible for saving the lives of countless families for while the boys worked, $25.00 out of the $30.00 they earned when to their families. That was a lot of money back then. The CCC trained the young men in forestry and wood craft, provided after hours schooling, and taught them to work as teams. In the end they tackled some of the worst  environmental problems caused by soil erosion and over-logging. Many have said the environmental movement started with the CCCs.

Tell us about your background.

I’m the daughter of Northwesterners who grew up back East. I have a degree in American History, and after a spell at home flew out to Hawaii on a whim and met my future husband there. I got a degree in Textiles from UH and after returning to the Mainland, got certified to teach. I love teaching history hands-on to kids and l love researching and writing about history, both fiction and non-fiction. I’m published at Historylink.org and have memoir essays in the Cup of Comfort series, one of which was the 2006 winner in non-fiction at Surrey International Writers in BC. I’m currently researching a 19th century bark involved in coastal trading. Tree Soldier is my second novel, but the first published. My sons are grown, my husband gone almost ten years. I often say writing saved me.

When did you start writing? I started writing stories when I was in second grade. I still have my handwritten and illustrated books, Funny Bunny Climbs Mount Everest, Funny Bunny the Prince. By fifth grade, I was writing historical fiction. I loved pioneers and anything with horses back then. My research skills, however, were limited.

Have you always been a reader? Definitely. My mom read to us and I just read oodles from first grade on. We didn’t have a TV in the home until I was around 14 and I was a bit shy. Books just took me anywhere. I devoured my local Carnegie Library. Loved the Black Stallions series, Wizard of Oz, Narnia, Mary Poppins. When I went to summer camp I read from the library in the mess hall.

Where can we find copies of Tree Soldier?

Tree Solder is available at

Createspace https://www.createspace.com/3493477

Amazon in Kindle and book form. http://www.amazon.com/Tree-Soldier-J-L-Oakley/dp/1453896473/ref=tmm_pap_title_0

And select bookstores such as Village Books. (I really want to support the indie book stores)

I’m blogging at http://historyweaver.wordpress.com and on Twitter at @jloakley

Tree Soldier’s at Facebook http://www.facebook.com/pages/Tree-Soldier/177455642270948

Please join us again on Wednesday when Janet shares her insights on historical research and writing.

Meet Award-Winning Children’s Author Donna McDine

 Donna McDine is an award-winning children’s author, Honorable Mention in the 77th and two Honorable Mentions in the 78th Annual Writer’s Digest Writing Competitions and Preditors & Editors Readers Poll 2010 – Top Ten – Children’s Books category – The Golden Pathway.

Her stories, articles, and book reviews have been published in over 100 print and online publications. Her interest in American History resulted in writing and publishing The Golden Pathway. Donna has two more books under contract with Guardian Angel Publishing, The Hockey Agony and Powder Monkey. She writes, moms and is the Editor-in-Chief for Guardian Angel Kids and Publicist for the NWFCC from her home in the historical hamlet Tappan, NY. McDine is a member of the SCBWI and Musing Our Children.







Thank you for this interview, Donna.  Do you remember writing stories as a child or did the writing bug come later?  Do you remember your first published piece?

A: When I was a child, I enjoyed watching the television program, Lou Grant with my dad, and became mesmerized on how a reporter put a story together and I dreamed of becoming a reporter one day. For some reason or another, I did not follow this early dream and worked in administration for several Fortune 500 companies for many years. Not until I came across the Institute of Children’s Literature aptitude test in 2006 did my dream of becoming a writer reawaken.

What do you consider as the most frustrating side of becoming a published author and what has been the most rewarding?

A: The waiting. I am very much hurry up, let’s get it done mentality. Over the last several years I’ve learned that patience is truly a virtue. My most rewarding experience was the day my children acknowledged me as a children’s writer to an adult I was having a conversation with.

Are you married or single and how do you combine the writing life with home life?  Do you have support?

A: Balance, balance, and some more balance. To find it at times with (as many fellow writers) the responsibilities of wife, mother, daughter, friend and my work as a virtual assistant can be quite daunting at times. Even though summer vacation is in full swing I find it essential to rise at least two hours before my children, so I can get my exercise, shower, and writing in. By the time the girls rise, I’m all set to have breakfast with them and then I’m ready to switch gears to my virtual assistant position with International Business Leaders Forum. This way I can remain much more focused on my VA work when I get my writing session in first. Oh and yes, this isn’t the army, so there are times my schedule gets thrown out of whack depending on what the day throws me (i.e., basketball camp and F.I.T. camp car pools).

Can you tell us about your latest book and why you wrote it?

A: Be transported through time to the Underground Railroad, where high-pitched screams echo each night. David’s cruel Pa always chooses the same victim. Despite the circumstances during slavery, David uncovers the courage to defy his Pa. Raised in a hostile environment where abuse occurs daily, David attempts to break the mold and befriends the slave, Jenkins, owned by his Pa. Fighting against extraordinary times and beliefs, David leads Jenkins to freedom with no regard for his own safety and possible consequences dealt out by his Pa. I have always been fascinated by American History and it was a natural pull for me.

Can you share an excerpt?

A: He crept into the barn. A sweaty odor clung heavily in the air. His first attempts to help Jenkins hadn’t gone well. Jenkins use to cringe when he saw David. Fearful he was there to inflict another beating. But over time, David gained Jenkins’ trust with promises he was not there to harm him, but to help. Tonight, the wounds from the whip were worse than ever. The welts looked like caterpillars lodged under his skin. David dared not touch the wounds with his bare hands, afraid his calluses from farming would make the welts worse.

Where’s your favorite place to write at home?

A: The dining room table away from my computer. This way I am not distracted by email and because the natural light fills the room.

What is one thing about your book that makes it different from other books on the market?

A: Even though there are illustrations, The Golden Pathway is not a picture book, but rather a story book geared towards 8-12 years old.

Tables are turned…what is one thing you’d like to say to your audience who might buy your book one day?

A: The protagonist David shows that we can overcome negative influences with love and perseverance.

Thank you for this interview, Donna. Good luck on your virtual book tour!

Thank you to Cheryl C. Malandrinos of Pump Up Your Book Promotion for this original interview.

VBT – Writers on the Move continue to swirl through cyberspace, visit with Dallas Woodburn on June 9th at http://dallaswoodburn.blogspot.com as she features Jennifer Gladen .

Cowboy Rules

A little Cowboy humor to give you a chuckle (no offense to anyone intended.)

Cowboy rules for:

Arizona, Texas, Oklahoma, Colorado, New Mexico, Wyoming, Montana, Utah, Nebraska, Idaho, and the rest of the Wild West are as follows:

1. Pull your pants up. You look like an idiot.

2. Turn your cap right, your head ain’t crooked.

3. Let’s get this straight: it’s called a ‘gravel road.’ I drive a pickup truck because I want to. No matter how slow you drive, you’re gonna get dust on your Lexus. Drive it or get out of the way.

4. They are cattle. That’s why they smell like cattle. They smell like money to us. Get over it. Don’t like it? I-10 & I-40 go east and west, I-17 & I-15 goes north and south. Pick one and go.

5. So you have a $60,000 car. We’re impressed. We have $250,000 Combines that are driven only 3 weeks a year.

6. Every person in the Wild West waves. It’s called being friendly. Try to understand the concept.

7. If that cell phone rings while a bunch of geese/pheasants/ducks/doves are comin’ in during a hunt, we WILL shoot it outta your hand. You better hope you don’t have it up to your ear at the time.

8. Yeah. We eat trout, salmon, deer and elk. You really want sushi and caviar? It’s available at the corner bait shop.

9. The ‘Opener’ refers to the first day of deer season. It’s a religious holiday held the closest Saturday to the first of November.

10. We open doors for women. That’s applied to all women, regardless of age.

11. No, there’s no ‘vegetarian special’ on the menu. Order steak, or you can order the Chef’s Salad and pick off the 2 pounds of ham and turkey.

12. When we fill out a table, there are three main dishes: meats, vegetables, and breads. We use three spices: salt, pepper, and ketchup! Oh, yeah … We don’t care what you folks in Cincinnati call that stuff you eat… IT AIN’T REAL CHILI!!

13. You bring ‘Coke’ into my house, it better be brown, wet and served over ice. You bring ‘Mary Jane’ into my house, she better be cute, know how to shoot, drive a truck, and have long hair.

14. College and High School Football is as important here as the Giants, the Yankees, the Mets, the Lakers and the Knicks, and a dang site more fun to watch.

15. Yeah, we have golf courses. But don’t hit the water hazards – it spooks the fish.

16. Turn down that blasted car stereo! That thumpity-thump ain’t music, anyway. We don’t want to hear it anymore than we want to see your boxers! Refer back to #1!

Published in: on June 6, 2011 at 10:30 pm  Comments (2)  
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