On caregivers, faith, family, and writing…

Archive for April, 2018

COVER REVEAL: Tatia’s Tattoo by Linda Brendle

Today I’m excited to show you the amazing cover designed by Brianna Snyder at BookPros for my first novel, Tatia’s Tattoo.

Final_Tatia's Tattoo Cover trim size

Book Blurb:

As a successful D.C. lawyer, Tatia’s mission in life was to destroy the sex trafficking trade in small-town America. She knew where to find it. She’d been there. With only apathetic foster parents to protect her, she fell prey to the local pimp. Trapped in the sordid underbelly of a small Texas town, she survived by sheer will. Her friendship with her fellow victim Cindy was the only light of humanity in the darkness until she saw a familiar face. Would Mrs. G, a mama bear of an attorney, still think she had strength and potential? Would Jesse, the young Christian tattoo artist and biker, still look at her with a twinkle in his eyes? Or would they both see only the mark of shame Eric had etched onto her forearm?

Tatia’s Tattoo will be released by BookPros on or around July 1. To read the first couple of chapters, CLICK HERE. Pre-orders will be available soon.

Blessings,

Linda

We have pigs! | by Linda Brendle

Published in the Rains County Leader on April 24, 2018:

wild pig herdCity girls don’t know about pigs. We know that they can be delicious when processed and prepared properly, and we know that the pot-bellied variety can make cute pets when trained and house broken. What we don’t know, and don’t really want to know, is that wild ones can be really big and really mean and that there are approximately 2.8 million of them roaming around in Texas.

A couple of weeks ago David was doing his regular rounds of the yard, checking out the kingdom, when he noticed evidence of “rooting” toward the back of the lot. At first, we dismissed it, hoping it was the stray armadillo that used to live – and root – under the motor home. But more and larger new spots appeared, and we began to suspect the worst – pigs! (more…)

Author Interview: Stephanie Eding

UNANCHORED cover

Unanchored by Stephanie Eding

Publisher: Anaiah Press

Imprint: Surge

Genre: Young Adult

Release Date: April 17, 2018

Book Links:

Amazon | Goodreads

Blurb:
Cecily Hastings fails to escape her captor when he gambles her away in a game of dice. Now, instead of getting her first taste of freedom, she’s rotting in a cell on the Hellbound, a pirate ship under the command of Captain Finnigan Worley. Cecily, however, has no plans of sticking around with a captain known for his heartless deeds.

As soon as they make port, Cecily attempts to alert the Royal Navy. While trying to get away, she stumbles upon Captain Worley liberating people from a life of abuse and servitude, which makes her question everything she thought she knew about the infamous buccaneer.

Soon she’s recaptured and taken back to the ship, and Cecily vows to figure out the captain’s humanitarian angle. The more she learns, the more she believes in his benevolent mission. With the Royal Navy closing in, she must decide if she’s willing to fight beside Captain Worley or turn him over to the gallows for a chance at her own freedom.

Interview:

Stephanie, thank you for stopping by my blog today to answer a few questions for my readers about your new book, Unanchored. 

  1. Is this your first book?

Nope! Actually, when I first took the plunge toward becoming a writer, I started with a YA fantasy. It was about a group of teenagers who fought nightmares in the dream world. Not knowing a whole lot about the publishing process, I just jumped in headfirst and wrote the first two books in the series. It did not query well… At the time, it was my only idea, so I put a lot of weight on it succeeding. When it didn’t, I was pretty sure my writing career was doomed. Luckily, my childhood love for pirates and need for a high seas adventure took over my brain!

  1. What was your inspiration for the story, Unanchored?

This is a tough one to pinpoint. I feel like so many different ideas came together to create this story that it’s hard to narrow down my inspirations. For one, I am obsessed with antiheroes. They just always have the best banter (which is my most favorite thing)! I was watching ABC’s “Once Upon A Time” and really loved what they did with Captain Hook. I wanted to see if I could balance the image of a notoriously bad villain with a seemingly good heart. I didn’t do much developing of the idea until I laid in bed one night and got a very clear image of a girl passing a biscuit through cell bars to a prisoner on a pirate ship—someone she previously hated. That image made it from the first draft to the final copy of my book, so it must have been good enough inspiration!

  1. Who is your favorite character in the story, and who was the most difficult to write?

I think Captain Finnigan Worley (Finn) is my favorite. He’s always got a comeback for everything. He’s both cocky when it suits him and desperately empathetic. He has a really tough job with a very intimidating image to maintain, but behind closed doors, he’s just a regular guy who sometimes has food stuck in his teeth and would love nothing more than to get a cat for his ship.

Cecily, my heroine, has proved the most difficult to write, only because there have been so many different versions of her throughout the editing process. She has to react to an incredibly unusual situation in a natural way—but what’s really natural when you’ve been taken by some super-weird pirates?  

  1. Did you have to do any research for this book?

Yeppers! But honestly, that was one of my favorite phases! I got a few pirate books to look at culture, watched some shows/movies/documentaries, and even watched tutorials on sailing ships. The history of the Golden Age of Piracy is so fascinating! While there’s not a whole lot of historical figures/situations in Unanchored, there will be in the next book. My husband and I keep saying we want to take a pilgrimage to all the places my crew has traveled—up the coasts of Ireland and Wales—and down to the gorgeous Caribbean. I can’t imagine anything better!

  1. What do you hope your readers will take away from your story?

Honestly, I just want them to have fun. Life is so serious, and I love books that take me away on an adventure, introduce me to new friends, and give me hope in dark moments. That’s what I want Unanchored to do for my readers.

  1. Which do you find easier during the editing process, being the editor or being the author?

So far, I’ve found this to vary depending on the book. With my pirates, I thought editing was a lot of fun! I could not stop tweaking scenes, adding things here or there, or diving into the nitty gritty of sentence structure. However, I recently finished writing a women’s fiction. The last 2/3 of that story just flew right out of my fingertips! Now that I’m finished, I just stare at the document with no clue as to how to even edit it. Which is bad. Because my career is in editing. J

  1. Sometimes in writing, the scenes don’t go where you expected them to go, and your characters don’t act the way you intended them to act. Did you experience anything like this in the writing of Unanchored?

Oooooh, yes. Honestly, those are my favorite things about writing! I love it when a character’s personality is stronger than my idea for them. When they throw me an unexpected scene, it just fuels me to play around with it and let them drive the story. Those always seem to be the strongest scenes too! One of my favorite “unexpected things” about Unanchored is my dear cabin boy Nikolaus. I never planned for the kid to even be a part of the story, and he just showed up and became one of the three main characters! I even have ideas brewing to give him a spinoff one day!

  1. What is your next project?

           Next, I’m going to work on a sequel and take these miscreants down to the Caribbean to stir up some trouble with a few notorious scallywags.

            I am also working on a women’s fiction. It’s about a 30-year-old woman named Josie whose emotionally abusive husband sends her packing after finding out she’s pregnant. Living with her parents, unemployed, and spending her last few dollars on an intense craving—a corn dog from the county fair, Josie runs into two friends from high school she’s lost touch with. As they chat, they discover that none of their lives panned out quite the way they had expected them to. They’d always heard that their thirties were supposed to be the best days of their lives, but they’re just not having it. The trio moves in together with one goal in mind: fix their messy lives before they turn 31. It’s a story of friendship, fresh starts, and a deep love affair with fried food.

 

Author Bio:

StephanieEding Head ShotStephanie Eding lives in Ohio with her husband Matt and child comedians Ross and Lizzie. She spends her days drinking coffee, working as an editor, and snuggling her three wild-eyed cats. Stephanie always wanted to be a pirate, but settled for writing about them to keep out of prison.

 

 

 

You can find Stephanie at:

WebsiteTwitter | Facebook | Pinterest | Goodreads

Stephanie, what fun answers! I’m looking forward to reading about the adventures of Captain Finn and Cecily.

Blessings,

Linda

5th Annual Nightwalk of Hope | by Linda Brendle

Published in the Rains County Leader on April 17, 2018:

HOPE

I first wrote about For the Silent’s Nightwalk for Hope in May of 2015. Here is an excerpt from my original post:

Slavery was abolished in the United States in 1865, but did you know that, according to a story released by KLTV on August 24, 2013, a form of slavery called human trafficking is a growing problem – not in Africa or Asia or New York, but in East Texas. Human trafficking is defined as “the illegal movement of people, typically for the purposes of forced labor or commercial sexual exploitation.” Traffickers often target at-risk young people, sometimes twelve years old and younger, in order to sell their bodies for cash. A Tyler expert was quoted by KLTV as saying that, in Smith County, 33% of girls and 17% of boys will be sexually abused, some of them at the hand of traffickers, before the age of eighteen.

For the Silent is a non-profit organization based in Tyler and dedicated to bringing “hope to teens silenced by sex trafficking and exploitation in the United States through prevention, intervention and community mobilization programs.” Their second annual Nightwalk for Hope was scheduled for April 24 [2015], but due to stormy weather, it was rescheduled for May 8. The event featured a two-mile walk through Rose Rudman Park with music and other activities planned at the finish line. During the walk, each participant would carry a lantern to symbolize hope and freedom for those silenced by human trafficking.

As it turned out, we didn’t walk that year. The skies had looked threatening all evening, and as we were checking in and picking up our event t-shirts, the heavens opened up. Everyone ran for cover to see if the rain would pass quickly, but instead, it worsened and added huge bolts of lightning followed by deafening claps of thunder. Metal framed canopies, strings of electric lights, and electrical music equipment seemed likely targets for the weather, so the event was cancelled. We had ridden to Tyler with Kent and Stella – Spike’s people – so Kent ran for the truck and David ran to drop our money in the donation box while Stella and I sought shelter under a covered picnic area.

Somehow, David and I missed the Walk the next two years, but a few weeks ago when Kent mentioned that it was coming up on April 14, I pre-registered on-line, and the four of us made plans to “double date” again. By Friday, the weather was predicted to be acceptable if not comfortable. Fifty degrees and windy with temperatures dropping after sundown is enough to make old bones want to stay inside – but we believe in the cause, so we pulled out long underwear, hoodies, gloves, and jackets, and piled into the truck.

The event had changed some since the last time David and I were there. This year people bounce housesbegan to gather at 5:30 pm, and by the time we arrived at 7:00, we had to park much further away than we did in 2013. We had quite a warm-up stroll before the Nightwalk began. There were also several bounce houses that I didn’t remember from before, and music that had a great beat but is definitely not played on “60s on 6.” Instead of a small concession stand selling tacos, nachos, and soda, there were four food trucks selling gourmet coffee and ice cream sandwiches, all things cheese, and a large selection of Tex-Mex. There was still a donation box, but there was also a raffle for a bicycle that had been donated. We still received an event shirt, but there were other t-shirt, tote bags, and souvenirs for sale. I hope that everyone sold out since the proceeds went to For the Silent.

David and I had eaten dinner at home, so while Kent and Stella stood in line at the food trucks, we watched people. All generations were represented, from babies in strollers to couples who looked older than we think we look. Some people were conservatively dressed, and others sported wild hair colors and haircuts. Some shared their dinner with their four-legged family members and others danced, but everyone smiled and laughed. And when the sun went down, we all gathered on the walking path for the same purpose.

Nightwalk2Before we set off, we were each given a battery-powered lantern but told not turn them on yet. Then, Kenny Rigsby, Founder and Executive Director of For the Silent took the microphone for a few minutes. He thanked us all for coming and told of the progress that is being made – the victims who are seeking help and the few brave ones who are testifying against their traffickers, the prevention programs that are growing, the education that is taking place in the community. Finally, it was time, and as hundreds of lanterns were turned one, he shouted, “There is hope in the darkness.”

Maybe you missed this year’s Nightwalk, but there will be another one next year. As longFor the silent as there are organizations like For the Silent, there will always be hope. If you would like to learn more about For the Silent and how you can donate or get involved, go to www.ForTheSilent.org or call 903-747-8128.

Blessings,

Linda

Different but still friends | by Linda Brendle

Published by the Rains County Leader on April 10, 2018:

FriendshipFriendship is not easily defined. The dictionary says a friend is a person whom one knows and with whom one has a bond of mutual affection, but friendship is more than that. During the ten years when I was single again, I met Mary one night at choir practice. Before the night was over, we had discovered that we were both raised in small towns in west Texas, we were both single after twenty-three years of marriage, and we both had one child. We had so much in common that we sometimes wondered if I had been switched at birth with her twin sister. We were and still are fast friends. Friendships are often based on common grounds, but sometimes it takes some investigation to discover those grounds.

Ten years ago I read a book titled Same Kind of Different As Me by Ron Hall and Same kind of different as meDenver Moore. It’s not unusual for two friends to write a book together, but Ron was a millionaire art dealer, and Denver was a former victim of modern-day slavery who escaped only to end up living on the streets of Dallas and Fort Worth. Their common ground was Deborah, Ron’s wife whose passion was helping the homeless, and their heart-warming story is well worth reading. (more…)

Celebrating Us | by Linda Brendle

Published in the Rains County Leader on April 3, 2018:

Wedding

My brother, Dr. Jim Robinson, performed the ceremony. His wife JoLynn was our photographer.

This weekend was a very special one for David and me. Not only did we celebrate the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus, but between Good Friday and Resurrection Sunday, we celebrated our eighteenth wedding anniversary. We didn’t go out on Saturday because David felt like he was finally coming down with the various upper respiratory ailments I’ve been dealing with for the last two months. Instead, we had a nice dinner at home and bored our Facebook friends with wedding pictures and a Facebook-created video.

People were very kind, though, responding to our photographic memories with lots of “likes” and comments. Most of the comments were simple anniversary wishes, but a few went further. Several mentioned what a cute couple we are, and one said we looked like we were out to have a lot of fun. The most interesting comments, though, were the two that mentioned how evident my happiness was. One said that I “glowed,” and Connie, my photographer friend, made some very interesting observations about the differing attitudes of the bride and groom. (more…)

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