Monday, July 14, 2014

I’d like to thank Diana Stevan for inviting me to join her blog hop! Her new book, A Cry from the Deep sounds fantastic! Please take a look at: .

She has asked me to answer a few pointed questions as a writer, and it’s been my pleasure to post my answers here on my blog. At the end of this blog, I will introduce you to a writer who has inspired me along my journey. She will follow me with her own blog post on July 21st.

What are you working on?

My new novel, The Sanctum, is currently in the hands of several publishers. I’m hoping for a book deal in the very near future since my literary agent has been working hard toward that endeavor. As she does that, I’m writing the sequel to The Sanctum, called The Pinnacle. I’m extremely excited as I see this turning into a series. So to bring you up to date, it’s my pleasure to give you a short description of The Sanctum:

Neeley McPherson accidentally killed her parents on her fifth birthday. Thrown into the care of her scheming and alcoholic grandfather, she is raised by his elderly farmhand, Gideon, a black man, whom she grows to love. Neeley turns thirteen during the winter of 1959, and when Gideon is accused of stealing a watch and using a Whites Only restroom, she determines to break him out of jail.

The infamous Catfish Cole, Ku Klux Klan Grand Dragon of the Carolinas, pursues Neeley and Gideon in their courageous escape to the frozen Blue Ridge Mountains. After Gideon’s truck hits ice and careens down a steep slope, they travel on foot through a blizzard, and arrive at a farm of sorts—a wolf sanctuary where Neeley crosses the bridge between the real and the supernatural. It is here she discovers her grandfather’s deception, confronts the Klan, finds her faith in God, and uncovers the shocking secrets of the family who befriends her. Giving sanctuary, the healing power of second chances, and overcoming prejudice entwine, leading Neeley to tragedy once again but also granting her the desire of her heart.

The Sanctum is a coming-of-age Southern tale dusted with a bit of mystery, and set in a volatile time in America when the winds of change begin to blow. 

And, one short note on something else I’m working on. I’ve started a non-fiction book called The Congregation. A book of testimonies, if you will, on the lives of those who have escaped the horrors of churches with a choke hold on their members. Legalism runs rampant in congregations across this country, and since my novel Televenge was published in 2012, so many people have come to me with their own stories. It’s time to put their words to paper.

How does your work differ from others of its genre?

For me, it is within sanctuaries of brick and mortar; places of clapboard and canvas that characters hang ripe for picking. From the primitive church services of the mountain clans to the baptisms and sacraments in cathedrals and synagogues all over the world. From the hardworking men and women who testify in every run-down house of God in America to the charismatic high-dollar high-tech evangelicals televised in today’s megachurches, therein lie stories of unspeakable conflict, the forbidden, and often, the unexplained.

Why do you write what you do?

I write about religion and spirituality with paranormal twists unearthed from my family’s history. I studied creative writing, but I believe my best education came from the professionals—mentors and writers in the trenches. I write about my passions, what moves me, what shoots out of me like a rocket. My key inspirational force is my spirituality.

I was born in the South, a coal miner’s granddaughter, but my father escaped the mines, went to college and moved his family to Ohio to work for the rubber companies in 1959. I spent every weekend as a little girl traveling back to the Appalachian Mountains. My memories of my childhood run as strong as a steel-belted radial tire and as deep as an Appalachian swimming hole. As a little girl, I was a transplanted hick in a Yankee schoolroom. I grew up in the North. So my influence comes naturally from both regions. But the dust laden roads in the coal towns of the ‘sixties are where my career as a writer was born.

How does your writing process work?

Process? What process? I get out of bed, stumble to the kitchen for coffee, and then plant myself at my computer until noon. Some days I spend the morning on social media, but usually it’s to review and edit what I’ve written the previous day. I can spend as many as 12 hours a day writing, or as little as one or two. But generally, it’s an eight-hour day. Although lately, I’ve been distracted by house-hunting with my realtor, and other family matters so it all cuts into my writing time. I think my best hours spent with my characters are between 9 p.m. and two or three in the morning. That’s when the house is quiet, every distraction flies out of my head, and there is nothing between my story and me. I guess you could say that’s my process. Mix it up with research and reading time, it seems I have no solid process. But that will all change … if I ever find a new publisher!

Now, allow me to introduce you to my guest blogger. Please check out her books. I assure you, you won’t be sorry!

J. Hannah Lloyd, author of Survivor Dynamics, Living Life on the Edge

Bio:  J. Hannah Lloyd is an author, poet, and freelance writer whose articles, stories, and poetry have enhanced the lives of many. Although she spends many hours developing her writing craft, her family is most important. She hangs out with an understanding husband, two grown (but irregular) children, a gymnast granddaughter, and two demanding felines.

In 2007 she received two awards for her work at the Blue Ridge Mountain Christian Writer’s Conference in Ridgecrest, NC. As poet and writer, her articles, stories, and poetry have been published in adult and children’s Christian literature, as well as online through Miss Lloyd also contributes poetry bi-monthly to Critter Magazine.

Other works have been published in Slate & Style, Shemom, Harold and Banner Press in Primary Pal: Pacific Press Publishing Association in Our Little Friend, MS Focus and MS Connection Magazines, Who’s DANN?, Gospel Publishing House in LIVE, The Pentecostal Evangel, Heartland Boating, and The Upper Room magazine. She has served as Assistant Editor at Several poems were presented on WORD Radio in Greenville, SC. She was also interviewed on WGGS TV16, and contributed grief documentation via video at

Currently, she retains membership in Greenville, SC with CrossNPens, The Writer’s Plot, and Women in Crime.

Books by J. Hannah Lloyd

Ordinary Sayings and Southern Cliché
Tied to Terror – Secrets of a Battered Wife
Escape from Abuse Survivor Guide

Visit her online at

Friday, March 28, 2014

Mentor Book Club - The Faithful

It's been a frightful while since I've been here on the blog. I've missed it. I think Facebook has taken over for some bloggers, including me. You can find me on Facebook every day. Both on my personal page and book page.

Personal page:
Book page:

But I've been blogging since 2005 and I don't think I'm ready to give it up entirely. Facebook does not fulfill a writer's need of expression. So I'm giving my blog another chance, even though I'm not sure how many of us are faithful at reading blogs every day. I know I'm not. I do good to keep my own online.

My life is filled with many distractions at the moment. The biggest being yet one more edit on The Sanctum. I started writing this second novel over five years ago, and I think God is trying to teach me the virtue of patience, no matter how hard my head tends to be.

Even with all this work, including my frustration with the publishing industry, I'm hoping to sign with a great editor and publishing company in the very near future who will take my work to new levels. Someone I can work with a long time, believes in me, and loves what I write. The good news is that I really like my new Literary Agent. Sarah Joy Freese with WordServe. I did not anticipate such a nice working relationship, but shocker, it's been great.

In the meantime, below are a few pictures of a recent visit to the Mentor Book Club, near Cleveland, Ohio. What a hoot! One of the best book clubs I've ever come across, these ladies have read more than 98 books since they started the club! My novel, Televenge, was their March pick. I wasn't surprised by their questions, and there were A LOT of them. Wonderful, beautiful ladies who I hope will have me back with The Sanctum is published. Thank you all, for your faithfulness.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

What It Demands

Essential to the writer is the art of reading. I'm juggling three books at the moment, each as intense as the other. I wish I could clone myself to read, write, and keep up with social media ... alas, I'm not one who can find a balance to the three.

Lately, I've also been studying how books adapt to film. The reason everyone usually loves the book more is obvious, but often a film can stir the interest in a particular writer. These days, I'm reading Truman Capote. He died in 1984, and yet his work is as popular as ever. Maybe because two films, "Capote" and "Infamous" have sparked interest, which is true in my case.

In the film, Infamous, Toby Jones brilliantly plays Capote and Sandra Bullock (who should've been nominated for an Oscar) portrays the elusive Harper Lee, childhood friend of Capote.

Harper (Sandra) made an amazing statement that struck me to the core. Something I'll never forget.

"I read an interview with Frank Sinatra in which he said about Judy Garland - every time she sings she dies a little. That's how much she gave. It's true for writers too, who hope to create something lasting. They die a little getting it right. Then the book comes out, there's a dinner, and maybe they give you a prize, and then comes the inevitable and very American question ... What's Next? But the next thing can be so hard because now you know what it demands."

Many writers can spit out a book every six months. I'm always amazed at that. But for some of us, writing takes more than blood, sweat, and tears. It takes a piece of our existence. I guess if you want to know why a few writers take forever to come out with the next book, you should remember what Harper Lee said ... "they know what it demands."


Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Climb Every Mountain

Climb Every Mountain ... that beautiful song from the Sound of Music rings in my head these days ...

I think this is longest I've ever gone without posting a blog since I started blogging in 2005. There's a reason for that as I ... ford every stream ...

Other than posting daily on Facebook I'm writing another book. I'm also working through yet one more edit of The Sanctum since there continues to be interest from major publishers. So please forgive my absence, while I follow every rainbow ... but it's hard to be in more than one place, even though the "experts" say we writers need to maximize our social media exposure.

I'm afraid ... 'til I find my dream, my exposure time is consumed with writing novels.

Stay tuned ... and please don't give up on me ...

Until then ... blessings to you and yours.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

What Were You Trying To Prove?

Every once in a while I’m asked to explain Televenge, because secular folks don’t want to be preached at, and Christians don’t want to face the darkness that exists within the church. Granted, faith is powerful, it can be exploited, but some have been crushed beneath the heels of their own pastors, and should we choose to write about it, it becomes a delicate balancing act.

It was my determination that Televenge evolve as a story about how those who abuse their position in the pulpit can over time; literally destroy those who faithfully sit in the pews week after week. I wrote it as a woman of faith, not "an angry lady jabbing at any one pastor or specific religion because a mean church hurt me once," or someone trying to get attention. I can think of better, safer ways to call attention to myself.

For me, the gold perk of writing is working alone, months on end, in sweats and fuzzy socks with no thought of time or the way I look with no makeup. Despite what some may think, my faith sustains me daily. But I recognize that thousands have blindly followed only to have their family units, their core beliefs, and their way of life slaughtered by a “thus saith the Lord” from a man or woman in the pulpit. My biggest revelation, breaking free from my church, was that “touch not my anointed” works both ways.

In the end and without hesitation or apology, and regardless of denomination, Televenge uncovers the madness within the church, as well as big flamboyant pastors and their miracles. But more than that, the story embraces the healing balm of Gilead, the real faithfulness of Jesus Christ, and the peace of God that passes all understanding.

My answer to those who hesitate, “… just jump in and enjoy the story.” Can I hear an amen?

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Patience For Pamela

Summer has come and gone and I've not blogged for a good while. I've been ... well ... wrapped up in other things and blogging (something I've held on to since 2005) just doesn't appear at the top of my list.

The Sanctum is currently in the review process with editors, via my literary agent, and I'm working on the next book, as well as putting together another collection of short stories. Southern Fried Faith. An edgy cross between Televenge and Southern Fried Women.

This entire process of publishing The Sanctum has been grueling, to say the least. I expected to see it published last spring. But as fate took over, a literary agent came into my path and the plan to self-publish was put on the shelf. A good thing, really.

So ... this story that is near and dear to my heart will take a bit longer than expected. Patience, a virtue that was left out of my DNA, has been ground into me as the years go by. It's painful and at times I feel as though I'm going to crawl out of my skin, but I've come to the point where I finally realize ... I'M NO LONGER IN CONTROL.

I can't steer this ship on my own. I've tried. In the end, if all I manage to do is write my stories and get them out there on Amazon, then fine. I've grown like the Apostle Paul. I've learned to be content in my situation.

And frankly ... that's all I have to say today.

Blessings to you and yours.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

What Do You Bring To The Page?

As a writer, I've wondered what do I offer my readers? Do I possess what it takes? What do I have to say that anybody wants to hear?

Lofty volumes of prose line many library shelves. Some deliver profound messages, soothing to the ears. Some hold you spellbound with intrigue or humor. And then some curl the hair on the neck as you quickly turn the page to discover the killer. Besides constantly polishing your knowledge of the writing craft and striving for the title of great storyteller, there's another element to this writing thing.

The author's ability to share knowledge, life experiences, and enlightenments within the context of a story. To make it matter.

What have you learned or experienced in your life that you bring to the page? Many of us bring our writing degrees, our teaching degrees, our years of contributions to magazines, lit mags, newspapers, and we bring awards. Oh, so many writing awards. And, that's wonderful. Commendable, in fact. But that's not what I'm talking about.

To quote Dorothy Allison (one of my favorites.) She made this profound statement at the Maui Writing Conference many years ago. " ... writers come to the page for many, many reasons. In fact many of us do come in the hope of justice! We do come in the hope of balance! We do come with an agenda of love! But I'm telling you now, lots of us start with a desire for genuine revenge."

Do you bring revenge to your written pages? Anger? Truth?

"Are you saying there has to be some deep, dark reason why we write? Can't I just write for fun?"

Of course you can, and many do. But once again, in my humble opinion, the writing that lasts for generations is written from the cobwebbed corners of a writer's mind. Those basements and attics where the writer fears to tread, but goes anyway.

"But," you say, "I write humor."

Ah, yes. Dissect that humor. Much of our humor also comes from pain. You know that old cliche spoken in the midst of anger and frustration ... "We're going to laugh about this later." Laughter through tears ... it's a powerful emotion. Take it to the page.

"Do you mean, then, write what you know?"

Not just what you know, but what you feel. What you've seen. What matters. The gut-wrenching moments in your life that cut deep into your heart. Write about that. Write about the scars. Who gave them to you, and how you healed, or how you still suffer from those scars. Give your character a piece of your life story that you want to share with the world. Dig out the best and worst of your memories, and include them in your stories. Write not just what you know, but what brought you out of a dark spot. What event turned you inside out, not just what made you uncomfortable. Write your passions, your desires, what moves you. Write that.

Those are the guts of a good story. Bring that to the page.

Blessings to you and yours.