Today I welcome 2014 Editor’s Choice Award winner and debut novelist Cindy Ervin Huff. Check out her free book offer.
I'm giving away a copy of Secrets and Charades to one lucky commenter. Ask me questions about my research, my characters or the writing life. Carol will draw the name of the winner who will be contacted privately for a mailing address. Good luck!
Carol, thank you so much for allowing me to visit your readers. I look forward to finding new friends among them. I’ve been writing for over 40 years off and on as life interrupts me. But about ten years ago I heard God say to take my writing more seriously. He had given me the creative ability to write and allowed characters to parade through my head. After I laid out a fleece, God made it clear he meant what he said. I took the Christian Writer’s Guild online courses and attended my first writer’s conference ever in Colorado Springs Colorado. It took me a few years to realize Write To Publish Conference was in my back yard. I’ve been attending it every year for a decade.
An introvert, the stereotype of a writer is not me. I’m the one who greets new people and carries on conversations with strangers. Drawing out people sitting on the sidelines and learning their stories always inspires me. Sometimes these are best-selling authors. All these new acquaintances have taught me so much to propel my writing career forward.
I was first published in third grade. I wrote a poem that was mimeographed along with other classmates and passed out to the school. But it wasn’t until eighth grade when my teacher encouraged me to submit a short story I’d written for a contest. I didn’t win, not even honorable mention but the die was cast. I wrote for the high school newspaper. My senior year I was Assistant Editor. During that time, I also wrote skits for Thespians and church youth group. But my first paying gig was a radio script for Children’s Bible Hour back in the late 70s as a new mother.
Secrets and Charades took ten years from conception to contract. Lots of research, learning the craft and 20 rejections before I won the Editor’s Choice Award from Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas. I’m grateful for the open door this provided for publication.
Here is the back-cover copy for Secrets and Charades:
Jake Marcum’s busy ranch leaves him no time for courting, and his wounded heart has no place for love. When battlefield nightmares disturb his peace and his tomboy niece, Juliet needs taming, somehow a mail-order bride seems like a logical solution.
Dr. Evangeline Olson has no idea her niece is writing to a rancher on her behalf, and she sure isn’t interested in abandoning her medical practice for a stranger. But when an inheritance threatens to reveal a long-buried secret, she travels west to become Jake’s wife.
Jake soon realizes Evangeline is more than he bargained for, especially when her arrival causes a stir in the community. As the two try to find their way in a marriage of convenience, their fragile relationship is further tested by cattle rustling and kidnapping. Can their hearts overcome past hurts to create a real marriage?
Evangeline’s dilemma formed in my mind and it is so relatable. Christian’s often receive God’s forgiveness but can’t forgive themselves. Their trust in others becomes tainted. They assume they aren’t worthy of anything good from God. They strive to prove themselves and put up walls so no one will ever hurt them. I wrote Evangeline and Jake’s story for them.
I’m currently working on the sequel to Secrets and Charades. The working title is Bride in Disguise. A secondary character from Secrets & Charades begged me to tell her story. She tends to put her will before the Lord’s and trouble keeps tripping her up.
I’ve also completed a Contemporary Romance, the working title New Duet. It tells the story of an abused widow and a wounded warrior. It’s set in Aurora, Illinois where I live. Like Secrets and Charades, this story’s characters spoke to me. They presented me with a compelling what if moment.
I started my blog Writer’s Patchwork to encourage writers and share things I’ve learned and am continuing to learn along the way. My biggest encouragement to new writers. Don’t give up. Stay the course. Persistence pays off. Take the time to learn the craft. Network with fellow-authors. Join a writer’s group or two. Find a critique partner or group to show your work too. Read submission guidelines, submit, set rejection aside and repeat the process over again and again. Make your writing time a priority. if you only write a paragraph a day. over time that’s a lot of words. Words to form a short story or a novel.
Ecclesiastes 3:11B is my mantra. He hath made everything beautiful in his time. Even the darkest times in my life have redemptive qualities. He has restored and rebuilt brokenness and taken me on surprising adventures I would never have agreed to on my own. These life experience make my writing richer.
At present, I have no special writing space. I gave up my office when my adult children moved back home. So, I write at the kitchen table, or on a portable desk in my bedroom. For a while, I shared my husband’s office space. But so much of that space ended up storage because of extended family that he kept putting his stuff on my desk. My perfect writing space would have a door to keep the world out and a sunny view when I look up from the keyboard. Someday in his time, I’ll get a beautiful new workspace.
I love meeting new people. Please visit me on any of my social media links below and I’d love to hear how you likes my story. I’m excited to be giving away two copies of Secrets and Charades. One in Kindle and one paperback. Leave a comment. Ask me questions about the writing life or my book and be entered in a drawing.
Here’s Secrets and Charades link:
Amazon link: https://www.amazon.com/dp/1946016144/
Amazon Author page: https://www.amazon.com/author/cindyervinhuff
Here is my blog: Writer's Patchwork Blog www.jubileewriter.wordpress.com
Like my Author page: https://www.facebook.com/author.huff11/