1.) I have been to 19 countries, but there are dozens more I’d love to see.
2.) I love scrapbooking and wish there were more scrapping supplies available here in Taiwan.
3.) Misused apostrophes drive me crazy.
4.) As a kid, I was always creating imaginary friends. I had plenty of real ones, but the imaginary ones were just too fun to give up until at least junior high. I had dogs, cats, a horse, a mummy, and a woolly mammoth, to name just a few.
5.) I love poetry. “Sonnet to Science” by Edgar Allen Poe is one of my favorites (and not because I like science. Click on the link to read the poem if you don’t know what I mean).
6.) I grew up without a television, have never owned (a working) one, and never want to. I believe that TV is responsible for many of society’s ills.
7.) I used to be a HUGE Star Wars fan. (I still enjoy it, but I’m no longer quite as crazy about it.) I saw Star Wars: Episode I in the theater seven times (and I still have all my ticket stubs!).  Here I am (second from the right) with my siblings right before we all went out to see it together.

8.) Morning glories are my favorite flowers. I dream of someday living in a house with a yard, and having different colored morning glories growing over the fence all the way around.
9.) I used to have the best climbing tree in the world in my front yard in Nairobi, where I grew up. With a little imagination, it became a castle, and I spent hours at a time in its various rooms. Once I brought a bag of books and a picnic lunch and spent the entire day up there. I loved that tree like a dear friend, and it felt as though I was leaving a friend when my family had to move away.

10.) The first time I read The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein I cried because it hit so close to home. Okay, actually I cried the first few times.
11.) The best teaching experience I ever had was when I taught in a one-room schoolhouse in Nabire, Indonesia for a year. There were six students in five different grades. Unfortunately, I was too inexperienced a teacher to really know how great I had it.
12.) I lived in Kenya for fourteen years and never got malaria. I finally came down with it in Indonesia. Not a fun experience.
13.) Indonesia has been my favorite country since 8th grade (four and a half years before I first went there).
14.) I love most soups, but split pea soup is my least favorite food. I’m convinced it bears a more than coincidental resemblance to swamp sludge.
15.) I rode on the back of a rhinoceros once. Here’s the proof!

16.) My first job was at a dog grooming parlor called the Poodle Puff. It was okay until I was attacked by a German shepherd. With blood streaming from my face, hand, and arm, I had to be rushed to the hospital for stitches… on the day I was supposed to get my senior picture taken.
17.) When I was a kid, I used to think I was going to run an orphanage when I grew up. My friend Hannah and I even drew floor plans for it.
18.) I’m not at all convinced that dragons never actually existed.
19.) One of my dearest dreams has always been to write a book that gets published.
20.) At various times, I have studied French, German, Spanish, Greek, Swahili, and Indonesian. Now I only remember enough of most of them to confuse me with my Chinese.
21.) My senior year of high school was by far the worst year of my life (and that had nothing to do with #16).
22.) One of my favorite treats is a mug of hot Kenyan chai (tea cooked with equal parts milk and water, plenty of sugar, and spices like cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, mint, and cloves). I often have it on Saturday mornings with a jam sandwich, and dunk the crusts in the chai.
23.) I also really enjoy nai cha (cold milk tea; very popular here in Taiwan). It comes in all kinds of tasty flavors – a few of my favorites are caramel, hazelnut, green apple, mint, and ginger.  In recent years I’ve gotten into green teas, too – especially pomegranate, passion fruit, lemon, and pineapple.
24.) For my 16th birthday, my dad took some friends and me camping at Lake Nakuru National Park in Kenya. Some monkeys broke into our boxes of supplies and stole my birthday cake.
25.) I’m not the kind of person who normally loves to shop a lot (I don’t do malls), but I really enjoy the Shui Nan Market here in Taichung. I go there almost every Saturday. (Take a look at my blog post about it here.)

Welcome to Christian Author Interviews. Enjoy our interview with Jody Hedlund, an award-winning historical romance novelist, in this episode. Listen in via the video or audio and share your thoughts in the comments. Don’t forget to enter the giveaway below and share this interview with your friends!

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QoZ6Co0zfHw?hl=en_US&version=3&rel=0&w=500&h=281]

Listen to the audio here:

MP3 File

About Jody Hedlund
 Jody Hedlund Author
Jody Hedlund is an award-winning historical romance novelist and author of the best-selling books, The Preacher’s Bride and Unending Devotion. She received a bachelor’s degree from Taylor University and a master’s from the University of Wisconsin, both in social work. Currently she makes her home in Michigan with her husband and five busy children. Her latest book, A Noble Groom, just released.

Follow Jody HedlundWebsite | Facebook | Twitter


Books Mentioned in the Interview:

The Doctor’s Lady

The Preacher’s Bride

Unending Devotion

Rebellious Heart

A Noble Groom

Enter to Win a Paperback Copy of A Noble Groom!

Enter below to enter the giveaway below:
a Rafflecopter giveaway Christian Author Interviews is hosted by Shelley Hitz of Crossreads and Body and Soul Publishing. We would like to send out a special THANK YOU to all of the CrossReads bloggers!

Even though we live in a busy city, there are plenty of gorgeous flowers to be found in our neighborhood!

Here’s what the flowers above look like close up:

I took most of these pictures a couple years ago, but you can still see flowers in most of the same spots around our neighborhood today.

Many of these just grow wild by the side of the road, though you can probably tell a few of the ones in these pictures have been planted and carefully tended.

I’m not sure why most of these flowers are lavender, but that does seem to be the predominant color!

I don’t know the names of many flowers, but the one below is a water lily.

These are orchids – very common here in Taiwan, especially as decorations in hotel lobbies, classy restaurants, and other fancy places.

I pass these ones (below) on my walk to the Shui Nan Market every week.

Have you ever seen more unusual planters?!

Title: Every Hill and Mountain (Time and Again) (Volume 3) By Deborah Heal

About the Book: Every Hill and Mountain 

Visiting another century…not the summer vacation she had planned. Those who have read Time and Again and Unclaimed Legacy know that Abby Thomas is a college student on a summer service project with 11-year-old Merri. And they know that the summer is not going the way Abby had expected—but in a good way. For one thing, she meets a very nice guy named John Roberts. And for another, she discovers a strange computer program called Beautiful House that lets her fast-forward and rewind life. Not her own, of course, but those of the people who lived in Merri’s old house. And the Old Dears’ old house, and…well, any old house. And since the program worked so well for the Old Dears’ family tree project, Abby’s college roommate Kate hopes it will help her find out more about her ancestor Ned Greenfield. And Kate’s fiancé Ryan thinks the program has lucrative commercial potential. Abby and John reluctantly agree to help Kate, but only on the condition that she and Ryan promise to keep the program a secret, because if it fell into the wrong hands…well, no one wants Big Brother invading their privacy.

The two couples take a trip to the tiny town of Equality, set in the hills of southern Illinois and the breath-taking Shawnee National Forest. According to Kate’s research, Ned Greenfield was born there at a place called Hickory Hill. The mayor, police chief, and townspeople are hospitable and helpful—until the topic of Hickory Hill comes up. They seem determined to keep them away, telling them, “There’s nothing there for you to see.” Eventually they find Hickory Hill on their own—both the mansion and the lonely hill it sits upon.

Built in 1834, Hickory Hill stands sentinel over Half Moon Salt Mine where the original owner John Granger accumulated his blood-tainted fortune. Abby and her friends meet Miss Granger, Hickory Hill’s current eccentric owner, and they eventually get the chance to time-surf there. Their shocking discovery on the third floor concerning Kate’s ancestor Ned Greenfield is almost too much to bear. What they learn sends them racing to the opposite end of the state to find the missing link in Kate’s family tree. And there they are reminded that God is in the business of redemption—that one day he’ll make all things new.

Download on Kindle | Purchase Paperback

Deborah Heal
 sticker picture

Deborah Heal, the author of the Time and Again time travel mystery series, was born not far from the setting of her book Every Hill and Mountain and grew up “just down the road” from the setting of Time and Again. Today she lives with her husband in Waterloo, Illinois, where she enjoys reading, gardening, and learning about regional history. She has three grown children, three grandchildren, and two canine buddies Digger and Scout (a.k.a. Dr. Bob). She loves to interact with her readers, who may learn more about the history behind the books at her website www.deborahheal.com and her Facebook author page www.facebook.com/DeborahHeal.

Follow Deborah Heal Website | Facebook | Twitter

Enter to Win a $50 Amazon Gift Card!

Enter below to enter a $50 amazon gift card, sponsored by author Deborah Heal! a Rafflecopter giveaway This book blast is hosted by Crossreads. We would like to send out a special THANK YOU to all of the CrossReads book blast bloggers!

(Are you writing/have you written a book, but you’re not sure if it’s actually ready to publish yet? You may want to start by reading my blog post “I Wrote a Book! Now What?” – From Rough Draft to Publication and Beyond in 16 Steps. But if you’re sure your book is ready to publish in paperback form, read on.)
Are you interested in self-publishing your own paperback book on Amazon through KDP Print? (KDP Print is Amazon.com’s print-on-demand publishing service. They used to use CreateSpace, but that is closing up now, and authors’ books are being moved to KDP Print.) Here’s how it works:
1.)    Go to https://kdp.amazon.com/en_US/ and log in or sign up.
2.)    Click on “Paperback” under “Create a new title” (see the screenshot below). KDP will walk you through the necessary steps and prompt you to enter the required information. Most of it is pretty basic.
3.) When you come to the “Description” section, take your time and come up with a good one! This should be the same as the blurb on the back cover of your book and will be a major factor in customers’ decisions as to whether or not to buy your book. Click here to read my blog post about blurb-writing resources.
4.) In the “Keywords” and “Categories” sections (see the screenshot below), you can select up to 7 keywords and 2 categories that will help customers find your book. Choose carefully! I recommend this article about selecting keywords and this one about categories to help you make the most effective use of these options. (The one about keywords also mentions a program called KDP Rocket that can help find good ones for you. It’s on the pricey side but may be worth it if you plan to publish multiple books and/or don’t have a lot of time to put into researching good keywords. I have it and can attest that it’s a definite timesaver.)
5.) In the “Print Options” section, KDP will select certain options for you by default (see screenshot below), but you can change them if you wish. Your trim size refers to the physical height and width of your book. “Bleed” can be confusing to first-time authors, but it relates to whether pictures or other designs in your manuscript extend past the margins or not. If you are publishing a picture book, coloring book, or anything with lots of interior art, I suggest choosing “bleed”. (I learned that the hard way when creating my adult coloring book calendar). If your book consists only of text, with perhaps small graphics here and there that don’t stretch close to the edge of a page, “no bleed” will probably work well for you. Make sure all your print options are the way you want them before you publish your book! Some options in your KDP Print settings can be changed later if you decide you want to, but you’re stuck with those print options unless you delete your book from Amazon and start all over again.
6.) Before you come to the “Manuscript” section, you’ll want to make sure your manuscript is totally formatted and ready for publication. Yes, you can always upload a new version later if you need to, but do yourself a favor and make sure you haven’t forgotten anything important. Here are some formatting tips for before you upload your manuscript:
·         Take a look at this useful article with some suggestions for front matter, which every book needs at the beginning.
·         Make sure you have page numbers in your book, starting at 1 from the beginning of the first chapter (or prologue), not from the title page, table of contents, etc. Instructions for paginating correctly can be found here.
·         And you’ll need to make sure your manuscript is properly formatted; check out this article for some helpful instructions with lots of screenshots and videos.
·         You’ll want to make sure you avoid these Top Five DIY Book Layout Mistakes.
·         Widows and orphans don’t belong in a print book! Here’s how to dispatch them if you’re using Microsoft Word. (For other programs, sorry, you’re on your own!). Open the document containing your book.  Uncheck the box that says “Widow/Orphan Control” in the “line and page breaks” section of the “paragraph” menu.  You will need to go through your document and check for widows and orphans manually (because the automatic widow/orphan control can cause other formatting problems).  Widows are when a few words at the end of a paragraph appear as a partial line at the top of a page.  Orphans are when a new paragraph begins on the very bottom line of a page.  Both are considered unprofessional; you can try to get rid of them by deleting unnecessary words in a paragraph, rephrasing a sentence to make it a little longer or shorter, etc.  For orphans, you can use the Enter key to move the paragraph onto the next page, thus ending one page a little above where others end.  However, you should then do the same thing to the facing page so the two pages a reader will see at the same time match each other. If all else fails, you can fiddle with the kerning (making the words and letters in a certain line a little closer together or further apart). You can do this by first highlighting the line or paragraph of text you want to change, then clicking on the “Font” menu and choosing “Advanced”.  Under “Character Spacing”, change the spacing to either expanded or condensed by 0.1 pt.  If that isn’t enough, increase the amount a little at a time until the text fits the way you want it.
When everything seems perfect, save your document as a PDF. If you’re using Microsoft Word, you can follow these instructions, and then upload that to the KDP Print site.

7.) Go on to the “Book Cover” section (see screenshot below) and click “Upload a cover you already have”. Don’t have a cover for your book yet? Take a look at this post on my blog about creating covers; it also includes a list of cover artists for hire. You can also make one right there; just click on the yellow “Launch Cover Creator” button to get started.
8.) At the bottom of the page, click “launch previewer” to see an online preview of how the interior of your published book will look. (It often takes a long time to load, especially if your book contains images, so you may want to grab a cup of coffee or something to read while you wait.) KDP will tell you if there are any errors you need to fix; if so, you must fix them and upload a new version of your document before proceeding. Even if it doesn’t tell you anything is wrong, it’s still a good idea to look through every page in the manuscript to make sure everything else looks the way you want it.  Check for accidental blank pages, widows and orphans, inconsistent formatting, missing or incorrect page numbers, etc.  Make any necessary changes in your document and then re-upload it. You’ll have to go through the preview process again every time you do this.
9.) In the “Territories” section, rest assured that you hold distribution rights to your book in all territories (worldwide rights) unless you’ve ever signed a document giving up those rights.
10.) For “Pricing & Royalty”, the list price is what shoppers will pay for your book. Take a look at the “Royalty” amount at the right to see how much you’ll receive from each sale. For example, in the screenshot below, my book Prince of Alasia costs $9.99, and I receive $2.50 from each copy sold on Amazon.com. “Min. $8.73” means that that’s the cheapest I could make the book, based on how much it costs to print a book of that trim size, page count, etc.) If you don’t live in the United States, you may want to change the “Primary Marketplace” to one that matches your country of residence. For example, if you’re in the United Kingdom, you would select Amazon.co.uk. I recommend enabling “Expanded Distribution”, which makes your book available through other bookstores, libraries, etc. (though you get lower royalties from that than from copies sold directly through Amazon). If you click on “6 other marketplaces”, you can manually change the price in other currencies for shoppers who may view your book on Amazon.fr, for example, if they live in France.
11.) You’re nearly done! I suggest clicking on the link at the bottom of the page to order a paperback proof copy of your book to look over before you make it available to the general public on Amazon. When you’re holding a physical book in your hands, it’s much easier to notice little details that may not be quite right. This Guide to Reviewing Your Book Proof gives some reasons why and some suggestions as to what to check for.
12.) If the proof copy looks good (or if it doesn’t, after you’ve resubmitted your files and received a new proof that does), go back to the KDP Print website and click on “Publish Your Paperback Book”. KDP will email you within 72 hours (though usually it’s under a day) to let you know that your book is available on Amazon.
13.) If you wish to publish your book on Kindle (which I highly recommend!), you might find my other blog post, “How to Prepare and Upload Your Manuscript for Sale on Kindle without Hyperventilating”, helpful.
Many thanks to those whose websites, blogs, and good advice I borrowed from to create this list! I hope their input is as helpful to others as it has been to me.
If you discover any broken links, outdated information, etc. in the above list, I’d appreciate your letting me know so I can keep this information as current and useful as possible.  Thanks!

Book Blast: Wacky Wishes by Susette Williams, Illustrated by Jack Foster – Enter to Win a $25 Amazon Gift Card!
Title: Wacky Wishes By Susette Williams Author, Jack Foster Illustrator

About the Book:

Tommy and Suzie find a wishing well, and like children do, they begin making wishes. Imagine their surprise when their wishes start to come true! Are spacesuits the new dress code at school? What’s Tommy going to do with three heads? You’ve heard of, “Be careful what you wish for, you just might get it.” When Tommy and Suzie’s wishing gets out of hand, will they be able to wish away the mess they’ve created before their wishes run out?
Buy on KindleSusette Williams Author, Jack Foster IllustratorSusette_300_dpiSusette Williams is a Best Selling Author. She loves writing various genres, both for children and adults. She usually can’t resist the urge to let her ornery sense of humor shine through in one of her characters and has always believed that laughter helps you deal with the obstacles life puts in your way. Susette and her husband have six wonderful children, all with intriguing and different personalities, like the characters she creates in her novels. Jack Foster has illustrated over 25 children’s books. He is a Sunday school teacher, art teacher and the father of five terrific children and eleven wonderful grand kids. He lives just outside of Chicago with his lovely wife, dog and cat. Check out his work at www.jacksillustrations.blogspot.com Follow Susette Williams Website | Facebook | Twitter

Enter to Win a $25 Amazon Gift Card!

Enter below to enter a $25 amazon gift card, sponsored by author Susette Williams Author, Jack Foster Illustrator! a Rafflecopter giveaway This book blast is hosted by Crossreads. We would like to send out a special THANK YOU to all of the CrossReads book blast bloggers!

Click here to download on Kindle
Free Tuesday May 14th and Wednesday May 15th!
Persistent Love:
Christian Romantic Suspense Novella set in 1685, England.

Fear has been Tara’s constant companion since age nine when she witnessed her mother’s murder. Tara’s father moves his family to the ancient castle of Raven’s Cliff, far from the ships that could carry her back to India and the answers she believes lie there. Andrew offers her friendship and guides her gently to the One who will give her peace. Will she find hope for something other than revenge?

A Brief Q&A with the Author, Laura J. Marshall.
Q: Do you hear from your readers much? What kinds of things do they say?
A: I have heard from several people who have read both my nonfiction and fiction work. I love to hear from and interact with readers. It’s amazing with technology the way it is these days to be able to connect on Facebook or Twitter.

Laura J. Marshall is the full-time mother of five sons and part-time writer and blogger. She operates a popular blog called The Old Stone Wall. Laura is the best-selling author of the Battle Cry Devotional Series. Visit www.LauraJMarshall.comto find out more about Laura’s books.


This is a map I created using Smart Notebook software to show the fantasy world in my Annals of Alasia series (Prince of Alasia and In the Enemy’s Service).  It’s still a work in progress; I’m currently writing two more books, so I’ve been adding cities and other features to the map as I think them up.  Also, I must confess the map isn’t entirely to scale, although I do hope to fix that eventually as I go back over certain details from the first two books.

One other detail worth noting: the bridge across the Grenn River northeast of Sazellia does not yet exist at the time of my two currently published books.

I’ve been teaching a unit on poetry to my fifth grade class here at Morrison Academy, and my students have enjoyed writing poems in a number of different styles.  Now that we’re finished, I’ve chosen the best ones (at least one from each student) to put together into a poetry anthology.  The class is very excited that this has now been published as a Kindle eBook and is available for sale on Amazon.com!

The book only costs US$.99, and the class voted to donate all proceeds to Josie’s Angels, a nonprofit organization in the Philippines (more information below).  This is a great ministry that some of our high school students have worked with on mission trips to the Philippines.

I chose our book’s title from among several lines in various poems that I felt presented vivid and interesting word pictures, and then I held an optional cover-designing contest among my students.  There were seven different entries, some created individually and others in pairs.  As you can see, all those who participated did a great job and were quite artistic!  I showed the students all the entries on the big screen, and they voted for their favorites.  (I know these aren’t the best quality photographs; they’re just pictures I took of the artwork lying on my desk.  Yes, that’s the shadow of my hand with the camera across each of them!) 

Below is the final version of the winning cover design.  I scanned it on the school’s color scanner, and then our computer teacher graciously volunteered to touch up the colors a little in Photoshop and add the black border.  You can see the difference!

Here’s the “product description” (like the blurb on the back of a paper book) that I wrote about our anthology.  I tried to use tidbits from as many students’ poems as possible:

In the mood for adventure?  Step inside these pages and experience crazy coasters and soaring stunt planes, a terrifying tsunami and an atomic bomb.  You’ll meet characters ranging from heroic Jedi to monsters of all varieties; sprinting soccer stars to a malicious doctor who eats his patient (who happens to be a chicken).  Join us for a trip around the world: listen to nature singing in harmony in the peaceful countryside of Ostfriesland, Germany; run barefoot across a beach in Busan, Korea; dodge the noisy traffic of a street in Vietnam; sample a soft pineapple mooncake in Hsinchu, Taiwan; and wrap yourself in the dangers and charms of New York City.  Prepare to mourn the tragic deaths of a lovely butterfly and a lonely wolf; then console yourself with music as relaxing as blankets and comforting as pillows.  Along the way, watch out for wayward Frisbees and the sun about to crash into the earth.  Hold your breath as you’re blasted with ash from that erupting volcano and sprayed with the seeds of an evil tomato.  But who needs a shower when you have liquid sunshine leaking over you?

Created by fifth-grade students, Sunshine Leaking features poetry in a variety of styles, from free verse to diamond poetry, tanka, and haiku.  Proceeds from the sale of this anthology will benefit Josie’s Angels, a nonprofit organization that provides food, education, and a secure living environment for impoverished, abused, and at-risk girls in the Philippines.  Learn more at http://bit.ly/josiesangels.
Sunshine Leaking is available on your Kindle or any device with a Kindle application.  The app can be downloaded for free from Amazon for the iPad, iTouch, iPhone, Android, PC or Mac, Windows 7 Phone, etc.  Click here to view or purchase our poetry anthology on Amazon or download the Kindle application.  Morrison’s fifth grade students and Josie’s Angels appreciate your support!

Click here to read about A Boom in the Room, the anthology written by my last year’s class.

Interested in putting together your own anthology (or other eBook)?  Click here to see the step-by-step instructions I put together on how to go through the process.  It isn’t exactly easy, but it’s free and very doable for those willing to put in the time.