Janice Boekhoff
 

What Do People Ask a Writer?

When people find out I’m an author, I get two reactions.

One: “Wow, that’s great!” Followed by many questions of what and how I write.

Two: “Oh.” Followed by a subtle eye roll and somewhat condescending questions about how easy it must be to use my writing to get rich without doing much work.

Thankfully, the first reaction is much more common, so I thought I would write up answers to the questions I’m most often asked. That way the next time someone asks me, I don’t even have to answer them, I’ll simply give them the link to this blog post (just kidding, I love to talk to people about writing).

Where do you get your ideas from?

Often from television. I love to watch a combination of science shows (think How the World Will End or Outrageous Acts of Science), true crime shows (Dateline or Fear Thy Neighbor), and adventure/history (Mysteries at the Museum or Expedition Unknown). So, my book ideas are really driven by my interests. 

But sometimes ideas will hit me out of the blue when I’m sitting at a stoplight or trying to pay attention in church, and I have to write them down or lose them, almost like God is playing a mischievous game of hide-and-seek inside my head.

What is your writing schedule like?

Routines feel like a too-tight sweater for me, and yet I get more done with a routine. So, I try to be flexible while giving myself freedom to get lost in the writing for longer than I planned or to quit early when I need to go to the grocery store because we only have ranch dressing and pickles left in the fridge. Usually, I write for a few hours while the kids are in school. I wish I could write longer, but when I do the errands pile up. Inconveniently, my kids and my husband need to eat more than pickles and ranch every day. At this stage of parenting, feeding the family is my biggest time sucker.

Where do you write?

My new home office!

That depends on what I’m writing. If I’m creating new words in a new story, then I work best
at a coffee shop with some distractions. But editing requires deeper concentration, and I prefer a quieter environment like the library or my office at home. But as most other writers will tell you, life is busy and you learn to write when you can. I’ve hand-written in the car pool line, in line to vote, and while waiting for kids at the dentist just to get the story out. And I have to get the story out, because that’s the only way it can take life in my books. 

 

Would you write other genres?

This usually comes from people who discover they like me as a person, but don’t like to read the genre that I typically write. The answer is yes, absolutely. I will write the story that comes into my head and excites me, then figure out which genre it fits best in. There are only two that I won’t write due to personal and moral reasons: Horror and Erotica.

Are you rich? How are your books doing? (A subtle way of asking, Are you rich?)

Nope, not rich. Most writers aren’t. In this new culture of self-publishing, there are more and more books produced every year and writers have the same problem as every other business person—how to get noticed among a sea of options. There are wonderful, fantastic books that don’t sell much, and there are awful books that make the best seller list, and then there’s everything in between. All I can do is write the best book I can, try to tell people about it, and leave the sales results to God. 

I could never be that creative, how do you do it? (said with a little bit of awe)

Many people look at art and artists as mystical people beyond comprehension, but the truth is we are just people who have a certain gift. God doles out the gifts and it’s merely up to us to use them. For instance, I have no idea how my son can swish a dozen 3-point shots in a row or how a friend of mine can make a gourmet meal for her family every night because I don’t have those gifts. If I could have picked my gift, for sure it would have been writing first, but I also would have liked for God to give me a beautiful singing voice (He didn’t).

I’ve always wanted to write, but I can’t …

This one isn’t a question, but I’m including it here because it comes up often and makes me a little sad. The words “I can’t” are always followed by a list of reasons why this person isn’t following their dream. The only thing I can do at that point is encourage them to let go of their fear and take the plunge. Writing can be addictive and time consuming, but it’s worth every moment when you hear from your readers and realize your book has really connected with them. 

Happy reading,

Janice

 

The Sound of Silver–Interview with Rachelle Rea Plus Giveaway!

Today I’m joining The Sound of Silver birthday blog tour! I’m posting today about Rachelle Rea Cobb’s second installment in the Steadfast Love series, an inspirational historical romance set during the 16th century!

Keep reading for info on how to win a FREE copy!!

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ABOUT The Sound of Silver

The stalwart saint and the redeemed rebel. One fights for faith, the other for honor…

After Dirk rescues Gwyneth from the Iconoclastic Fury, she discovers that faith is sometimes fragile—and hope is not as easy as it may seem. Gwyneth continues her quest to learn more about the love of God preached by Protestants she once distrusted.

Meanwhile, Dirk’s quest is to prevent his sullied name from staining hers. Will his choice to protect her prove the undoing of her first faltering steps toward a Father God? Once separated, will Dirk and Gwyneth’s searching hearts ever sing the same song?

Find The Sound of Silver on…

Amazon Paperback: http://is.gd/1HwJoi

Kindle: http://is.gd/EZ7DJ1

Barnes & Noble: http://is.gd/qhoCTc

Books a Million: http://is.gd/M2y5P2

Goodreads: http://is.gd/iBE2lJ

Interview with Rachelle Rae

Rachelle is also the author of The Sound of Diamonds, the first book in the series, and a newlywed! This summer, she married a man with the same first name as the hero of the series! I’m joining in this blog tour to tell you a little more about Silver and spread the news about the rocking giveaway Rachelle is hosting—make sure you enter using the Rafflecopter form to win the lovely necklace pictured and your choice of any of the Steadfast Love titles!

  1. When and where did you first get the idea for the Steadfast Love Series?

A song I was listening to on the radio inspired the title of the first book. So I wrote Diamonds, but when I finished it, I realized to my great frustration that the characters weren’t done with their story, even though I had been quite adamant that I would write a stand-alone novel. But the story wasn’t finished, so I kept writing.

  1. Readers often pick out favorite quotes from a novel. Do you have a favorite of your own from The Sound of Silver?

Yes! In fact, my friend Mindy, a calligrapher, even created a beautiful piece of art from one of my favorite quotes: “Within the pages of books one’s heart can be revealed.”

  1. Can you tell us what first drew you to writing Inspirational Historical Romance?

My first exposure to the genre came when I read Heartsong Presents novels when I was twelve. Those small books introduced me to how much I believe in the power of story, especially love stories set in times gone by.

  1. I saw on your website that you also write reviews, articles and offer editing services. What’s one of your favorite things beyond writing novels that you enjoy?

Editing is such fun! I daresay I enjoy editing a page full of my own (or others’!) words just as much as I enjoy splashing words onto a blank page.

And now for the GIVEAWAY!

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Enter using the link below to win a beautiful necklace created by Baubles, Beads, and Stuff and your choice of any one of Rachelle’s three books (the series begins in Book One, of course, but in case you have one or two of her books already, Rachelle will gladly send you the next one to read!).

International friends, the paperback & necklace giveaway is open to continental U.S. addresses only (sorry!). But do still enter, because one international winner will also be chosen to receive an e-book.

Click here to enter!

Fall Giveaway!!

Today, I have a fun surprise that I’d like to share with you.

To celebrate the beginning of fall, I’ve teamed up with more than 40 fantastic inspirational contemporary romance authors to give away a huge collection of novels, PLUS a Kindle Fire to one lucky winner! 

You can win my novel, Crevice, plus books from authors like Patricia Bradley and DiAnn Mills.

Enter the giveaway by clicking here: http://bit.ly/contemp-inspy

Good luck, and enjoy!

Janice

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Must Read Historical Romance!

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I don’t normally read historical romance, not because I don’t like history, but mainly because I find a lot of historical romances boring. Many historical authors spend too much time describing the customs of the time period and not enough time developing the story.

That is definitely NOT the case for Dawn Crandall. The Cautious Maiden is an intriguing tale of a redeemed bad boy who falls for the rule-following cautious maiden. Violet is pushed out of her comfort zone time after time and sent right into the arms of Vance (the repentant scoundrel). I loved these characters!

The writing is beautiful and the story is engrossing, so that it transcends the historical genre. This truly is a story all readers would love.

The Cautious Maiden is the first of Crandall’s books that I have read, and I enjoyed the privilege of receiving an early review copy. I can’t wait to read more of her books. If you love historicals, and even if you don’t, this story is for you. You can get your copy and get a peek at Crandall’s other books by clicking here

 

 

Release Week!! My favorite things about Crevice!

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I love a great many things about Crevice, not the least of which is that it’s my first book baby to be published. As I celebrate its release to the world tomorrow (August 23rd), I thought I’d list for you a few of the things I adore about it:

 

  • Two parallel stories, the modern-day treasure hunt and the historical life of the Dutchman 
       
  • The challenge of recreating someone’s life who died 100 years ago and making it relevant today
      
The Superstition Mountains in February

The Superstition Mountains in February

  • Doing the research for the setting—the Superstition Mountains of Arizona are an amazing testament to God’s majesty
      
  • The main character’s journey is one of accepting God’s unconditional forgiveness, something I think is difficult for us all
      
  • Often, the hunt for the Dutchman’s treasure has ended in tragedy, and I feel like this story is my way of honoring those who have died searching for the Lost Dutchman gold mine, and of course those who still live to hunt the treasure
      

I hope you get a chance to read my first release, and I’d love to know what you think. You can leave a review on Amazon or contact me directly at Janice@janiceboekhoff.com. The discounted price for the e-book ends tomorrow on release day, so if you want to pre-order and save a little, click here.

Blessings,

Janice

 

Survival Instincts: How can you survive being trapped in the desert?

In my novel Crevice, one of my characters spends seven days trapped in the mountainous desert near Phoenix, Arizona. That’s a long time to go without food and water in a dry climate. Garrick Hearst (the main character’s brother) walks off a cliff due to a lapse in his own judgment. First, he was climbing up a mountain in conditions so foggy he crevice_kindle_covercouldn’t see much of anything ahead of him. And second, he was distracted by a girl. Two big mistakes in a row, and suddenly you’re falling off a cliff. Does he make it out alive (you’ll have to read the book to find out)?

More importantly, how would you survive if you ever found yourself in the same situation?

Although I enjoy putting my characters into uncomfortable positions, I hope you understand I’m not making light of these types of accidents at all. Accidents in the wilderness happen to real people, and some of them have died as a result.

Often a person will die in the initial fall, but if God spares you, and you find yourself trapped halfway down a mountain, what should you do?

It can take only a few days in arid climates to die of dehydration, although some healthy young people have gone more than a week. To die from lack of food happens much slower, more than two weeks, sometimes over a month, depending on overall health and body weight.

Obviously, water is your biggest concern.

If you find yourself trapped in a desert, here are some basic survival skills:

  • If you’re with your car, stay there, put the hood up to signal distress and wait for help.
  • If you’re deep into the desert and there’s no one around, look for ways to get to civilization. Your best bet to survive is to help yourself.
  • If you can’t get out (or down the mountain), put out bright-colored clothing as a flag to signal you need help.
    Barrel Cactus

    Barrel Cactus

  • Search for water-bearing plants within your reach. Drinking water from cacti can be a good idea—if you pick the right one. The giant Saguarro cactus is poisonous, but the Barrel cactus has a drinkable milky sap.
  • Take advantage of any short-lived storms by putting out a piece of clothing (preferably waterproof like a windbreaker) to collect the momentary rainfall. Pour the water (or squeeze it out) into a water bottle.
  • Improvise a shade screen using clothing. If possible, sit above the ground, which can be up to 30 degrees Fahrenheit hotter than the air temperature.
  • Food will not be your biggest problem for at least a week, so don’t even worry about it. After a few days, your body won’t feel hunger any more. In fact, ingesting food adds to your body’s water needs to digest the food. The biggest concern is finding enough water to keep your brain and other organs from the effects of dehydration.

I won’t give away which technique(s) Garrick uses in the book or whether he makes it out alive. I hope you’ll read Crevice to experience his ordeal with him, and to discover how his sister, Elery, searches for him by hunting for the Lost Dutchman gold mine.

To pre-order the e-book of Crevice before the price goes up, click here.

For more tips see, 26 Tips for Surviving in the Desert (http://www.desertusa.com/desert-activity/desert-survival-tips.html).

7 Things I Learned at Disney World

Disney 2016 at Castle

1.   The surface of the sun has got nothing on Orlando. Seriously, I had sweat running down the back of my legs because my bootie was sweating.

2.   Older ladies or men (no discrimination here) in rented scooters navigating through huge crowds is a recipe for disaster. About a dozen times, I narrowly avoided becoming road kill due to these elderly drag racers.

Zach in Disney t-shirt

As a dinosaur fan, I love this!

3.   If Disney puts it on a T-shirt, someone will buy it—like this little beauty I bought for my son.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

4.   My children hover too much. They kept stepping on the back of my sandals, causing the Velcro to fly open (painful, yes) and me to literally walk out of my shoes. My mantra became: DO NOT walk behind mom!

5.   The best way to take the fight out of my feisty kids is to dehydrate them, stick them on the surface of the sun (see #1) and force them to walk 20,000 steps per day (thank you fit bit for tracking our torture). They did all of this with surprisingly little complaining for the promise of a 3-minute ride every hour—amazing!

Riley fighting DV at Disney

You get him, baby girl!

6.   Watching your kids in Jedi robes on-stage fighting Darth Vader is truly the BEST thing EVER!! 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

7.   Walt Disney had it right. Life is so full of responsibility—work, school, cooking, cleaning. We all need to remember how to play, dream and imagine more. It’s good for the soul (at Disney, though, not so good on the bank account).

When was the last time you went to Disney? How was your experience? Tell me what your plans are for the summer to play and relax? 

Happy Birthday Jesus!!

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For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.

John 3:16-17

What we celebrate at Christmas is that YOU came!

You cared enough to put feet on Your spiritual legs and step on the broken dirt of this world.

Why?

Certainly not because of anything wonderful we ever did.

No, You came to rescue us. You came to meet us where we are so we could leave this Earth and be with You forever. You first met us here … and here You are still meeting us.

In some way every day, You touch our lives. Through the Holy Spirit. Through Your words in the Bible. Through the ordinary occurrences we like to call coincidences. It’s all You.

In a manger, as a frail baby boy, You came long ago … but You’ve never left us.

Happy Birthday, Jesus!

 

Photo Credit: ID 35255299 © Ninetteluz | Dreamstime.com

Mary Did You Know?

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While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son she wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.

Luke 2:6-7

One of my favorite Christmas songs is “Mary, Did You Know?” A song about Jesus’s mother and whether she could tell that her sleeping baby boy was God. I think I love this song so much because I can put myself in Mary’s shoes, imagining the mysterious plan God might have for my baby.

I always want to know God’s plan for the future, especially when it comes to my kids.

I’m sure Mary knew God had a special plan for Jesus. And I’m just hazarding a guess here, but God probably didn’t let her in on the ending because Mary wouldn’t have approved. It would have been too much.

Some people feel the same way about Jesus’s life and death. It is too much.

Too many rules. Too much faith required. Too many miracles to believe.

Like spiritual ostriches, they bury their heads in the sand.

But we all believe in some ‘ordinary’ miracles. A living, breathing, complex human being, composed of cells, and chemical reactions, and electricity is a true miracle. And yet, here we stand.

Jesus is all about the miraculous. And He is all about us.

On the other side of history, we don’t have to guess, as Mary did, what God’s plans were for Jesus. His miracles, His life, and His death are recorded in the Bible to give us examples, to teach us how to live, and to remind us that God is into the miraculous.

Jesus isn’t too much—He is everything!

Dear Lord, when I’m convinced it’s all too much to believe, give me a glimpse of You. Remind me that my existence is a miracle, as well as the everlasting life You promise. In Jesus’s name, amen.

Photo Credit: photo credit: <a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/60532802@N07/6439494853″>The Newborn King 45</a> via <a href=”http://photopin.com”>photopin</a> <a href=”https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/”>(license)</a>

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