Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Amy Gregory - author of the Racing to Love series!

Today I'd like to welcome Amy Gregory to my blog. She's a fun, vivacious personality who also happens to be a remarkable author!

Amy Gregory leads an incredibly active lifestyle in Kansas with her husband and their three fantastic kids who keep them running in three very different directions. When she's not rushing her oldest daughter to tumbling, her youngest daughter to culinary lessons, or sitting track-side watching her son race motocross, she's taking the few minutes in between to scribble the next pages in her Racing to Love series.

When asked, "When do you have time to write?" Amy giggles. "In bits and pieces," she says.

Amy is known for her snarky, off the cuff sense of humor, which you'll find shining through in the characters she's created. Her debut novel, Racing to Love, Carter's Treasure, released in June, 2012, and Racing to Love, Jesse's Soul, released in December, 2012.

I've spent my whole life trying to figure out what I want to be when I grow up, and now I've finally found it. ~ Amy Gregory

     Jesse Frost lived the life most men would kill for. Fast bikes, fame, money and good looks. However, he wasn't a man that gave as much thought to that as most. Jesse was just an easy-going guy from a small speck of a town in Texas, a guy that worked hard for everything he had achieved in life. When everything else seemed to go his way, it was women that left him disheartened, and finding the right one always seemed to be just out of his grasp. After a run-in with his high-school crush left him even more confused and emptier than ever before, he had decided he would never find the type of love his best friend Carter had with Molly.
     Emery Kincaid had a last name that was revered in their world. Born into a world of gas, grease and speed, she was a woman in a man's world, but she grew up more comfortable with a wrench in her hand than a doll. Irish through and through, she has the temper and sass to boot, and a reputation that precedes her. Determined to carry on her family's legacy, despite the chromosomes she was born with, she works harder than any  man she's come across and never backs down. However, things aren't always as they seem. Emery had remained strong because she's had no other choice, but the pain she masks runs deep and hiding it is the only way she can survive.
     Thrown together by circumstance, and forced to be in each other's space day in and day out, sparks start to fly -- from chemistry and the brakes Emery desperately tries to throw on. Without a doubt in his mind, Jesse knows he has finally found her, but the girl that stole his heart has a stubborn streak a country mile wide.
     What Emery doesn't realize about Jesse is that he's a competitive guy, by nature and by profession, and he has no intention of letting her slip through his fingers. Not when she is the first woman to understand him, to appreciate his dedication to his career, and well, the fact that she's beautiful is icing on the cake in his mind. It is what Jesse doesn't know that could break his gentle heart. Hiding her true feelings for him is the only way for Emery to protect him, and in turn -- herself. She barely made it out the first time. If she lets Jesse in and he walks away, that's a risk her heart can't take.
You can find/follow Amy at:
Racing to Love, Jesse's Soul can be found on:


Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Cynthia Meyers-Hanson: Her publishing story & special highlights about the S.H.E. Anthology

Today I'd like to welcome a very special guest to my blog, Cynthia Hanson - author of Christian and Inspirational/nonfiction and fiction. She's going to share her writing and publishing journey, and also talk about the S.H.E. Anthology (A very special compilation - royalities will help charities involved in grief counseling or with mental health issues - especially for children therapies for the types of traumas witnessing massacres produce).

Welcome, Cynthia!      

Thanks for having me, Jan.

I work for GOD! I write many nonfictions that are really just scribing the history of HIS Stories. My tales are Christian based; at least one of those books points directly to HEAVEN. I explain how bad situations and good ones have the potential to bring hope and love along with stronger faith.

How did my writing adventure start? How do I do PR? How do I help others including other nonfiction authors? What is my latest effort? 

My early writing HISTORY comes first. In high school, with a math strong suit, I helped out in the library. At that time, I admired anyone that could write more than a five page term paper about science, history, math or some fact based subject. I was only good at nonfiction stories and joined the school's newspaper team. With my skills for logic, I went on to the telecommunications industry via computer programming, which was my college major. Until age 35, I avoided long winded writing until God handed me a book to scribe for HIM entitled Mom's on the Roof and I Can't Get Her Down. Many years later, God came knocking while pointing out that some of the prophecy mom and HE gave me and I copyrighted in 1994 was unfolding in the new millenium. In short, the account of mom's miraculous encounters with Heaven, angels, and God was proving itself to be true even without my help.

At almost the same time, people asked about Stacey. That girl was orphaned by her parents' deaths. When she was old enough to tell her story, she asked me to help her write Stacey's Song. In about that same moment in HIS story, friends and family asked if I'd write the story of our neighborhood's encounter with a curse; so I asked some of The Evans Terrace Girls to decide what might be said about their club's reaction to many deaths and their community's grief. Soon after those three books were written, other people asked me to co-author or direct their nonfictions. That writing with others kept me busy for a few years.

A book without a reader is like a day without sunshine. In the beginning, we sold or gifted copies of those books to friends or local mourners. Soon, I began trying to find a larger audience. Nonfiction branding is much harder than people think; biographies of the non-famous can be hard to sell. I'm sure that is why many mainstream publishers avoid those book genres - until they go viral. While doing that facet of publishing, I always keep in mind that I need to differentiate myself and books - especially due to the explosion of eBooks and indie authors. What makes my witness in books unique starts with my sense of humor; I can make light of hideous situations and yet stay real and truthful about the harshness of those realities. My ability to see and convey the light keeps me going - which is remarkable since I was born blind; landmark eye surgery and tenacity got me to today. I chronicled part of that inspirational tale in my nonfiction entitled The Vision.

Meanwhile, I rarely submit pieces for anthologies announced online or through writer's societies because their editors are usually looking for fictional short stories or poetry. Recently a random invite happened; someone offered to add one of my stories or essays to their anthology helping Newtown, Connecticut. I heard about the massacre in their elementary school and submitted a story that I co-authored. That tale was steered and illustrated by my grandchild when she was five; she is now six. I thought her empowerment storybook might help the struggling people of Newtown and elsewhere. However, the editors rejected my entry because they wanted poetry and prose; they compiled adult reading level stories about how it might feel to be a Newtown resident.

I appreciated the editors' candor. However, I was amazed the compilers of that anthology didn't realize what the children (and adults) of Sandy Hook Elementary might really need to go forward. I thought that town might enjoy rhetoric from kindred spirits. Due to fears and anxieties, I felt those kids and folks might feel less alienated and alone if they were shown the light at the end of their tunnels. I wanted to find a way to empower those children while revealing to them a HOPE that things can and do get better. I felt bystanders including health care professionals might enjoy those types of stories too. After pondering the anthology rejection, I woke up one day as God illuminated my next step. Thinking of three books that I had partial copyrights to, I immediately had the title of an anthology in mind. I began compiling that book.

By the way, the S.H.E. Anthology is NOT a romance anthology but it was written by all females. In this book, the girls recollected traumas, mostly related to death, that they faced while in elementary school. Their stories reveal their path out of mourning along with many minor miracles that they encountered. Their tales of hope and inspiration are true accounts from those children turned authors. One writer and illustrator is only six; Thai wanted to be a part of empowering children to survive harsh things in life, so her piece is story number three in this compilation.

The abbreviation 'S.H.E.' also refers to Sandy Hook Elementary. Isn't God the best at setting up coincidences? This book is meant to empower Newtown as well as others that read it. We hope that this anthology also sheds some new light on grief recovery in the minds of teachers, mental health professionals, and adults handling major life changes. The compilation's royalties will help charities involved in grief counseling or with mental health issues - especially for children therapies for the types of trauma witnessing massacres produce. For example, one local group 'New Hope for Kids' (Orlando) will get some of the profits from this compilation because the group that started this organization helped Stacey over 20 years ago.

Speaking of the child, in one part of this anthology, there's great insight into being the victim of death and childhood loss. Stacey's Song is an intimate look at a ten year old girl's personal story about the results of her mother's death due to cancer. She also deals with the aftermath of her dad's subsequent suicide. Obviously, tragedies such as Sandy Hook Massacre touch home with her. In her book contained in this anthology, the young girl talks candidly and inspirationally about surmounting her PTSD. Her honesty through writing is only surpassed by the miracles and guidance from those around her including God. The excerpt that follows reveals how God taps into this young girl's anger and grief to show her hope and HIS love as HE answers her naive childhood prayer.

Hail, What's Next?

          Later in another conversation, Cindy told me, "There are a ton of reasons why you need to live. First, you haven't even seen all the world has to share with you. There are some really beautiful places left to visit.
          "I get two weeks vacation in December. We can drive into the mountains and find snow for the holidays."
          (Her child) Jenny was hospitalized after repeated infections. Her tonsils needed to be removed, and the promised trip was postponed.
          "I wish it would snow here!" My response arrived.
          "Get real! It rarely snows in Central Florida. If it does, it falls in January and never hits the ground. It melts on the way. It sometimes falls just north of us and stays a few hours but nothing close to snowman weather. We can drive to see snow next winter, but we are not flying anywhere this vacation."
          "I'm going to pray for snow within driving distance of our house. I am going to ask for it now." My style less angry these days converted to belligerent.
          "Pray away! But, it isn't possible," she added as the other car passengers giggled. At age seven and nine, they realized I could be unreasonable at times.
          The next day, the front page of the local newspaper pictured the hail storm that happened just south of our home. Hail stones piled into drifts so high that it appeared to have snowed in Florida...

Since Stacey didn't see that version of snow in person, she kept praying for snow. What happened next? Read her full story in Stacey's Song or in the S.H.E. Anthology.

Also in that anthology, The Evans Terrace Girls give their account of what happened when 7 or more parents died within a year or 2 of each other in a small subdivision of about 110 homes. People started saying their land was CURSED. The children heard those rumors about their subdivision and were scared to death. When a neighbor lost her dad to a blood clot after surgery, the kids felt the need to help. When one of the girls heard the rumor that the mourning family ran out of milk, she set up a traditional solution or lemondade stand. That day, other angels or young children arrived; many of those neighbor kids ran door to door selling half glasses of hot lemondae. They raised enough quarters to buy milk and other perishables. More importantly, they formed a group that became a club and led their neighborhood out of grief. Find out how by reading their story; an excerpt follows.

'Tis The Season 

          One of the boys was just two weeks old and the other was eighteen months when their single mother died in her apartment of an epileptic seizure. These two miracles survived two days with their deceased mother before authorities found them. Their aunt's family was not well to do but had inherited two cribs for the boys. However, just near Christmas, they needed real beds for these toddlers.
          There were donations of new jewelry and Christmas items to raffle. We charged a dollar a ticket. On our little table sat our flyer of community services completed and goals to finish this year.
          As one guest read the document, she handed us a five-dollar bill whispering to my mother, "What is their goal?"
          "At least one bed," she responded.
          "Well, good luck. They probably won't even raise enough for a mattress," this woman added.
          "I've seen them sell one hundred and seventy one dollars' worth of lemonade and still have over half the original gallon. I bet they can get this bed," my mother defended.
          "Good luck," the guest reiterated.
           "I believe in miracles," Mom observed smugly. "'Tis the season!"
          The stranger stopped our movement back to our vehicles. "I'll let you have both beds for two hundred dollars but only if you can pick them up by tomorrow."
          "Sold!" We all screamed as Laura and Mom flinched. The club was sixty dollars from reality.

Did the girls find the cash? What other minor miracles happened when these angels joined forces with others to make wishes come true? Read The Evans Terrace Girls or their section in the S.H.E. Anthology.

By the way, I'm offering an eBook copy of the S.H.E. Anthology to anyone reading this blog. Use the link provided: http://www.smashwords.com/books/view/278511 . The promotional price will come up as $0.00 once you place the coupon code SZ68X in the box on that site's ordering page. This coupon expires on February 14, 2013 - the day of love. Please, leave favorable reviews if you freely download this book. Plus, feel free to share the eBook data. We hope you'll love the S.H.E. Anthology enough to buy copies of this book in paperback format for others to enjoy or at least be kind enough to leave a review. The paperback versions comes in black and white, and color.

Amazon -

Black and white version: 
Color version:
So come on, buy to be inspired and help grieving children. It's a WIN-WIN.
** A copy of this anthology went to Newtown's public library as well.
Author's bio:
          My favorite question during book interviews is: How did you get started writing? The short answer is that in 1991 my mother died. Some people dream of being authors; my writing began as what could be described as a nightmare! However - as she died, mom experienced what would be called a Christian Near Death Experience (NDE) or miracle. My witness became Mom's on the Roof and I can't Get Her Down. After that, I have co-authored or compiled other Divine and inspirational tales; they range from faith healing to other Near Death journeys. To date, my Christian books total seven. Meanwhile, I have ghostwritten novels including The Vision, which is based on a true story of overcoming blindness, bipolar dysfunction, and living 'The Golden Rule'. Also, I've produced four picture books for and with children. Finally, I wrote one historical, YA novelette. I use my real name, Cynthia Meyers-Hanson on nonfictions as well as children's literature. My pen name, Sydney S. Song is reserved for my fibs or novels. You can find out more about my writing on my author webpage which is at: http://mchanson714.weebly.com/ and you can follow my author blog indexed there too.
          I'm married with children and foster children. I also have two grandchildren under the age of seven; they are Stacey's girls. Their last name translates into SNOW. When Thai was born, I joked that we found a little snow in Florida in the summertime, too!
Other contact information:
My Smashwords generic link to all my eBooks is -- (they distribute to Sony, iBooks, etc.)
Amazon's generic link to all my Kindles and paperbacks --
My generic YouTube link to find my book trailers is --