About Beth Ann Ziarnik

Author of Inspirational Romantic Suspense Her Deadly Inheritance available at Amazon.com, barnesandnoble.com, Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas, and through your local bookstore.

Some Thoughts on Losing Weight

“It’s not so much how much you weigh,
as it is how much you obey.”

I found comfort in those words because, as my friends and family know, I’m no skinny Minnie. Would I like to be slender again? Yes!

Am I expecting it to happen anytime soon? No.

So why did that little poem pop into my mind while once again I ragged on myself over those extra pounds and ample inch-pinchings? I stopped to think. And came to a conclusion.

That little poem is akin to something Dad used to repeat while I was a child in elementary school.

“I don’t care about the rest of your grades
as long as you get A’s in conduct and effort.”

Well, hey! Any time we concentrate on behaving and give our best effort to learning, good grades follow. Right?

Likewise, obeying God’s law of love brings peace. So the things that stress and drive us to eat for comfort should ease off .. .along with those extra pounds.

Eyes on obedience … not the scale. Hmm. It’s a thought … maybe worth a try.

What do you think? 

 

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A Writer’s Life: Fall Fun!

While I’m furiously at work on the new novel, attempting to get it ready to release next year, for sure record breaking fall fun is all around us!

Gardens. How about this heirloom tomato? Measuring 6 inches long by 5 inches wide and 4 inches fat, it’s a gift from my next door neighbors and good friends. Jackie and Dennis cleaned out their 2017 garden and brought over this last luscious beauty. Bacon, lettuce, and tomato sandwiches, anyone?

Bugs. Rick stopped over yesterday to power wash my house. “Mom, you’ve got a major infestation of box elder bugs!” Major understatement, my son. Can anyone say, “Guinness Book of Records”? If I had the patience to count these nasty nuisances, this year’s “crop” would make its record breaking pages easily. When I told Dave, who will spray my house and yard next week, he just laughed. “Not a one will be found when I’m done.” Oh well … so much for my chance to appear in the Guinness Book of Records.

 

Driveways. Isn’t the blacktop apron of my driveway pitiful??? The one good thing about it is that when the back tires hit that dip, I know my car is safe while I run across the road to grab the newspaper. And the good news? I’m arranging to have it fixed. Hopefully before winter.

Now admit it. You picture authors enjoying this cushy at-home job with a hot cup of coffee nearby while peacefully writing marvelous stories and witty social media. Okay, that’s what I thought until my first novel released. Now I know writers lead normal lives that need attention on a daily basis just like yours.

As for “marvelous stories and witty social media,” let’s not go there. We do our best and hope it delights you. Oh, and did I mention that <cringe> I never got into drinking coffee? (My apologies to all who love the this aromatic brew.)

All that said, I do love writing … and chatting with readers. Absolutely!

Your turn: What’s happening with you this fall as you prepare for winter?

Sandra Merville Hart Talks about A Rebel in My House

What happens when a Yankee woman in Pennsylvania finds a wounded Confederate soldier on her doorstep in the midst of battle? Find the answer in Sandra Merville Hart’s Amazon bestselling novel, A Rebel in My House. Released July 2017, it already enjoys a four-and-a-half star rating.

A Rebel in My HouseWhen the cannons roar beside Sarah Hubbard’s home outside of Gettysburg, she despairs of escaping the war that’s come to Pennsylvania. A wounded Confederate soldier on her doorstep leaves her with a heart-wrenching decision.

Separated from his unit and with a bullet in his back, Jesse Mitchell needs help. He seeks refuge at a house beside Willoughby Run. His future lies in the hands of a woman whose sympathies lay with the North.

Jesse has promised his sister-in-law he’d bring his brother home from the war. Sarah has promised her sister that she’d stay clear of the enemy. Can the two keep their promises amid a war bent on tearing their country apart?

A first page glimpse of the novel:

Friday, June 26, 1863

Two miles outside Gettysburg, Pennsylvania

Running feet on the dirt road outside quickened Sarah Hubbard’s heartbeat. Her fingers stiffened on her sewing machine and her back straightened.

Were they coming? Every conversation these days centered on the Confederate soldiers crossing into southern Pennsylvania.

“Miz Hubbard. Miz Hubbard, please let us in!”

Not soldiers but friends. Sarah’s body sagged at Elsie Craig’s voice, but why did she yell? Sarah dropped the gingham dress she’d been sewing and ran to throw open the front door. Alarmed at the fear lining Elsie’s dark face and eyes as she clutched the hand of her four-year-old daughter, Mae, Sarah scanned the horizon for Confederate soldiers. “Hurry inside.”

Elsie needed no second bidding. She guided Mae over the threshold and closed the door. “Miz Hubbard, you gotta hide us.” Her tall, thin body leaned against the door. “The Rebs are in town gathering up all the colored folks they can find. Someone said they’ll be taking them south as slaves and that they’re warning folks not to hide us.”

Sarah gasped. “Why do such a terrible thing?”

“Don’t make sense, does it? Some of us have lived in Gettysburg for years. Others like me have always been free, but it don’t seem to matter to the Southern army.” A long loaf of bread peeked out among jars and clothing in a well-laden basket Elsie set on the rug. She dropped to her knees and wrapped her arms around her trembling child

Exciting beginning, Sandra! Why did you choose this time period? When I was a young child, my adult relatives talked about how terrible the Civil War was, how brother fought against brother. That remained tucked in the back of my mind until a high school teacher sparked my love for history.

History books today don’t give a complete picture. They leave out many details that better explain prevailing attitudes of the time. Over 600,000 men died from battles, starvation, disease, or accidents during that war.

I studied the Battle of Gettysburg and read accounts by residents. Then I plopped my characters into the nightmarish setting and the days that followed to give readers a glimpse of the resilience of the human spirit even during those turbulent days

Has anything else prepared you to write this story? Because I felt a story waited for me in Gettysburg, my husband and I traveled to the town. We discovered that Tennessee troops were among the Confederate division that fought the first battle early on July 1st and then participated in Pickett’s Charge on July 3rd to end the battle. It seemed fitting to choose a fictional soldier from a regiment that history deemed important and I had my hero, but what about my heroine?

I visited several Gettysburg museums and tramped the streets during walking tours. The terror that the townspeople endured touched me. I had to write their story through the eyes of a Gettysburg seamstress.

What interesting fact did you discover during your research? I learned that the Confederates occupied this Yankee town. Imagine the horror of residents. Much more that will surprise readers as the story progresses.

What did you find most challenging about writing A Rebel in My House? it not only broke my heart, it changed me. I am hoping it touches the hearts of readers, too.

What do you hope readers will take away from your story? I hope they will be moved by the love and sacrifice of characters who find themselves in a situation that pushes them to their limits.

What keeps you writing? It fills a void inside me. I feel like I have to write. When I’m away from it even for a few days, I start to feel depressed. When my imagination soars as my fingers fly over the keys, it is so much fun.

Any advice for writers who are just getting started? Take writing classes or correspondence courses. Attend writers’ conferences. Begin writing. This career is similar to tossing a basketball into a hoop—you can read lots of books about it but can’t really learn until you practice. Your early writings may not be publishable, but keep at it. You are learning more than you know with each article, each story.

About Sandra Merville Hart: Assistant Editor for DevoKids.com, Sandra loves to find unusual or little-known facts in her historical research to use in her stories. Her debut Civil War romance, A Stranger On My Land, was an IRCA Finalist 2015. She is currently writing another Civil War romance. Visit her blog at https://sandramervillehart.wordpress.com/.

Book Trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_j3JI-wECyY&feature=youtu.be
Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/sandra.m.hart.7
Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/sandramhart7/
Google+: https://plus.google.com/u/0/100329215443000389705/posts
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/8445068.Sandra_Merville_Hart
Twitter: https://twitter.com/Sandra_M_Hart

 

 

Larry Timm Talks about Murder for Emily’s Sake

Please welcome debut author Larry Timm whose recently released novel, Murder for Emily’s Sake, boasts four-and-a-half stars on Amazon!

Here’s a bit about the book …

Murder for Emily’s Sake: On a moonlit night in Wichita, Kansas, a tormented father stands by the grave of his teenage daughter, Emily, and makes a chilling vow to avenge her death. Once he gets his hands on the three women he holds responsible for his daughter’s death, they will regret the day they met Emily outside the abortion clinic. And after their caskets are in the ground, they will die…for Emily’s sake.

Those three women, committed to defending the lives of the unborn, must now fight for their own lives.

Drawing for an autographed copy: Intrigued by the teaser? Enter the drawing for an autographed print copy of Murder for Emily’s Sake. Just leave a comment at the end of this post along with your email address. Drawing ends at midnight on Saturday, September 2 (CST). Open only to those living in the United States (USA).

So, Larry, why did you choose to write suspense? It’s not only my favorite genre to read, it’s a great way to grab readers on both sides of their brains and keep them engaged from chapter to chapter.

When did you realize you wanted to be a novelist? It first happened when I was a child. But it’s only in the last ten years that I took steps to make this desire a reality by writing a novel.

What sparked your idea for Murder for Emily’s Sake? I wanted to wrestle with the dangers that threaten or otherwise devalue the sanctity and sacredness of this precious gift from God called Life.

The concept for the story setting and some of the characters popped into my head one day, and I knew I had to start writing and see what happened. I also wanted to show the incredible bravery and commitment of people who stand up and defend Life.

What did you find most challenging in writing this novel? My biggest concern was that I develop the characters in a fair and realistic manner … complex, yet understandable. I wanted to show people reacting to whatever was happening in a way that readers could identify with, even if they didn’t agree with the choices the character was making.

For me, the biggest character challenge was Emily’s father, Jack. His mind was so consumed by hate, yet I wanted him to be “real.” In the mind of any sane person, there is no justification for the hideous acts he was planning. Yet I wanted the reader to step into his shoes and see how his mind led him to do what he was doing. I wanted readers to feel his pain, while loathing his actions.

What details/choices of material in the story relate to your own life (such as hobbies, professions, etc.) or special research? I’ve been a preacher for years, but at one time I was also a licensed funeral director. Things in Murder for Emily’s Sake draw from my experiences in both professions. Certain aspects of funerals, caskets, and other funeral-related items I referred to in the book are things I know about. I’ve also been in a morgue and a forensic science unit. And, of course, as the father of a daughter, I can relate to Lindsay’s dad and his emotions when his daughter is threatened.

What do you hope readers will take away from your story? I want readers satisfied that they just enjoyed a wild ride. I hope the lingering adrenaline rush will leave them wanting to read other books I write. But, in addition to being entertained by the story, I hope they will walk away with a renewed appreciation for the gift of life as a sacred blessing from God and be reminded that Life is not only fragile, it is also precious.

What do you like best about the writing life? The whole creative process gets my juices flowing. Since I’m a seat-of-the-pants writer, the thrill of creating, exploring, and watching a story unfold before my eyes is consuming. I love it!

When not writing, what do you most like to do? Hang out with my family.

What is your favorite food? Pizza buffets are one of God’s greatest provisions to man!

What advice would you offer to writers? No one else can write your stories. So, whether writing is your career or your hobby, pour your heart and soul into every story as though it’s your unique creation. Because it is! Writers just starting out must decide if they are willing to merely live with the warm and fuzzy idea of being a writer, or dedicate themselves to doing the hard work of being a writer. Write … a lot!

About Larry Timm: Husband, father, and writer, Larry is also a preaching minister with the Morton Christian Church in Morton, Illinois.

For more information: Find Larry’s website at www.booksbylarrywtimm.com

And don’t forget to enter the drawing! Leave a comment at the end of this post along with your email address. Drawing ends at midnight on Saturday, September 2 (CST). Open only to those living in the United States (USA).

14 Murder, She Wrote Tips for Balancing Your Writing Life, Part Two

Believe it or not, it’s time to get back to “14 Murder, She Wrote Tips for Balancing Your Writing LIfe.” March 9, I shared the first half of those tips. I promised you seven more. So let’s not waste any time. Here is Part Two of …

14 Tips for Balancing Your Writing Life

Jessica Fletcher, best-selling mystery novelist in the fictional Murder, She Wrote television series, had to manage the many facets of her writing life just as we do,  That included not taking, but making …

  1. Time to write. We often saw Jessica sitting at the kitchen table of her home in Cabot Cove, pounding the keys of her typewriter. As she attempted to beat the publisher’s deadline for her new novel, she refused to be interrupted by all but dire needs. Later, in her New York apartment, she turned to writing at a computer  … and sometimes dealing with computer problems. Even Jessica had computer problems. Unlike us, they usually led to solving a murder mystery.
  2. Time for research. Do you remember Jessica poking around in the book stacks at a library? Or searching for information online? How about interviewing experts and visiting her novels’ settings to ensure the accuracy of her stories? I especially liked the scene where she made up a dummy to be the “murder victim” in her WIP (work in progress) and then acted out the scene to make sure the imaginary bullet’s trajectory was possible.
  3. Time for conferences. Every writer from beginner to published needs to spend time at writers’ conferences and seminars,and Jessica was no exception. Of course, when she showed up to network with other writers, or meet with her agent, editors and publishers, she invariably wound up involved in a murder mystery. I have to admit that with all the conferences I attended, not once was anyone threatened, much less murdered. So, you are not only safe going to a writer’s conference or seminar, you will love it. Here I am with three friends at Write-To-Publish, John, Cindy, and Kris.
  4. Time to teach. And how about those criminology classes Jessica taught at a college in New York? Or when she spoke at a writer’s conference? She not only became adept at writing and at solving crimes, she shared her knowledge with others. She also occasionally made time to read unpublished writers’ stories, offer suggestions, and encourage them to continue their pursuit of publication.
  5. Time for readers. No matter how famous  Jessica became, she made time for her readers. Time to autograph books. Time to speak to fans gathered at a meeting to hear her read from her newest novel and share some interesting facet of the writing of it. I loved the time she wound up involved in solving a murder mystery when she stumbled on a Jessica Fletcher fan club whose members had read all her books. Here I am, signing a book for Nancy who was kind enough to attend my novel’s book launch last year.
  6. Time for business. Yes, Jessica met with her editors and publishers, but she also had to stay on top of her investments. She was one of the authors who actually made a living writing her novels! No doubt she also had someone to take care of tax matters.
  7. Time to pray. Imagine my surprise at catching an episode in which Jessica prayed. You know the routine, Against a pressing deadline, we get stuck. There she sat at her typewriter, frustrated. Suddenly she folded her hands in prayer and looked heavenward. Yes, even Jessica had to pray to make progress with her WIP. I like to think that she, too, knew the importance of prayer to succeed in writing well.

And there you have it … the last of the “14 Tips.” I hope you enjoyed them. The truth is: fictional author or not, we all have to face similar challenges in our writing lives.

What biggest challenge as a novelist have you faced and, hopefully, overcome?

 

Missing in Action?

Missing in action? Yes, the last time you saw a post was the end of May, and I truly apologize. You are important to me.

But, sometimes life takes us by the hair and drags us wherever it wants. Have you ever felt that way? Well, that’s exactly what happened over the last two months while I was mysteriously ill. Finally, this past Sunday, whatever-it-was let go.

And I’m so glad to be back with you once again!

You all amaze me with your wonderful support. Within the past twenty-four hours, another five-star review of Her Deadly Inheritance appeared on Amazon: “Loved this book! The opening line to the last line keep you turning the page.”

What encouragement as I’m now physically able to work on the edits requested for the second novel by my editor at Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas, Darla Crass. Once those edits are approved, LPC will set a release date for this novel. When that happens, I’ll be sure to answer your frequent question, “When is your next novel coming out?”

In the meantime, thank you so much for making Her Deadly inheritance a top-selling novel on Amazon since it came out last year, I’m so grateful to you and to the Lord.

Contract Signed for sequel to Her Deadly Inheritance

“When is your next novel coming out?” Bless you, dear readers, you’ve been asking that question since Her Deadly Inheritance released in January last year.

Good news! We will soon know the answer!

Today I signed the contract for the sequel to Her Deadly Inheritance. According to the U.S. mail, publisher Eddie Jones at Lighthouse of the Carolinas will receive the three copies in Pennsylvania on Tuesday, May 30.

As soon as managing editor Darla Crass lets me know the new novel’s projected release date, I will pass that happy information on to you!

Thank you for your continued interest. You are great encouragers.