Posted in authors, books, Christian, God, novels, purpose, womens fiction, writers, writing

Christian writer, Brenda Brown Elliott brings Courage Times Three

Please welcome Brenda Brown Elliott. She is a Christian woman who loves writing literary fiction and inspirational works as a source of comfort for all. Honesty & integrity are priorities in her life.

Brenda Brown Elliott
Brenda Brown Elliott

Joanne:  When did you first know you wanted to be a writer and was there a particular inspiration to get started?

Brenda:  The idea for my novel came to me while living and working in Phoenix, AZ back in 2001.  Many of the patients at the clinic I worked for were elderly, people who had emigrated from Europe and had survived the world wars over there in the middle of horrendous living conditions.  They ended up retiring in the warmth and sunshine of Sun City, AZ and became friends.  I worked as a Patient Service Specialist back then at the front desk.

Joanne:  Do you have a background in writing or did you take any special writing courses that helped you along the way?

Brenda: No, My novel was the first project I have ever written.

Joanne: How long did it take you to publish your fist manuscript?

Brenda: I wrote the entire story in four months in 2008 and but I just got it published.  I tucked it away for years due to chronic illnesses on my part.   Although I was bedridden most of the time while writing it.

Joanne:  Many of us cross over genres and it is difficult to pinpoint one to fit our books. What shelf would we find Courage Times Three  if it were in a bricks and mortar bookstore?

Brenda: I have a publicist, Hajni Blasko of Substance Books and she chose Literary Fiction for first genre and Inspirational Journey for second represented genre.

Joanne:  Why did you choose to go the self-publishing Indie route in lieu of traditional publication?

Brenda:  For me, it was the right choice. The cost effectiveness, my own choices, and quicker output were just a few of reasons.

Joanne: What were the deciding factors to choosing your publisher?

Brenda:  I heard good things about Create Space through Amazon.

Joanne: Would you recommend that same Indie publisher to a colleague?

Brenda: Absolutely

Joanne:  Authors and publishers are always talking about finding your “Voice”. Exactly what does that mean to you and how did you find yours?

Brenda: This story was in my heart, it was a Godly inspiration by the time I finally wrote it after I had been on my Christian walk for some time. I could see and hear the pain of living through these heavily accented voices of survivors how much they had overcome to get to their happy years in retirement.  Many widows by then tho.

Joanne: Do you follow a structure pattern such as staying in chronological order, or alternating points in time or different POV’s?

Brenda: I did read other novels to recognize how the flow should be patterned and to remember to go back to earlier references I had made in the story.  Not dropping anything of consequence was key to bringing it all together.

Joanne:  What was the hardest part for you in the writing process; the outline, synopsis, query or building the story itself?

Brenda: As a self-published author, I did not have to do any query letters or synopsis. With my illnesses, my cognitive abilities pretty much threw out my organizational abilities which caused me much frustration due to a lack of concentration. Also.  I just could not work on my project for several days.  On some days I couldn’t even get energized enough for a shower…I was very weak during those periods of time (which were frequent). So for me it was literally a physical struggle to keep going until the end of the story.

Joanne: That must have been very hard. I must commend you for sticking with it and accomplishing your goal. As I have heard many times, “It is easy to start a novel, it is finishing one that take real perseverance.”

As we know, it is not enough to write a book and wait for the money to start rolling in. What marketing techniques do you implement to increase your sales?

Brenda: I hired a publicist.  I created a website (quite poorly I think).  I started a blog on WordPress and I advertise on them with links to Create Space and Amazon.  I have set up my own appointments for book signings along with an upcoming radio interview.  I follow instructions daily from my publicist to give my novel further exposure.  I am joining various writing groups.  Looking to give and get reviews.

Joanne: Was there any mistakes you made in your writing process you could share with us and save a few steps for new writers?

Brenda: Don’t hand the manuscript over to anybody to read until you are near finished with it.  They may likely tear it apart wanting to seem knowledgeable. I found that minimal feedback works best for me.  If you don’t have a pretty good idea of just what you are working to achieve, nobody else really can either.

Joanne: That is so true. You must believe in your work before anyone else can. What is the premise of Courage Times Three that we are promoting today?

Brenda: To be the best person you can be.  To serve God’s purpose for your being.  To appreciate all of our liberties here in the United States in comparison to numerous countries throughout the world.  To be kind and gracious to others.

Joanne: Those are lofty aspirations Brenda. Sometimes easier said than done. Perhaps your book will be a guiding light for others to find their way.  Where can readers find your book?   – website address – blog address – email

Thank you Brenda for being a part of Writing Under Fire’s Author Interview Friday.  Can you share a few paragraphs from your book to wet out appetite?

 Brenda Brown Elliott book cover

               Centrally located in the heart of the city, they were greeted by the concierge of the well established Hotel Concorde Saint Lazare. As with all prestigious guests, the concierge assumed full responsibility for their check-in and baggage. After receiving a quick history of the hotel, including the many amenities offered, the travel-weary, yet enthusiastic bride and groom comfortably settled themselves into their suite. A large sterling silver bowl, filled with various fruits, and an exquisite bottle of Dom Perignon, chilling in an ice filled silver bucket, awaited them in their luxurious suite. Madeleine was sure to remove the bottle from the ice once it had reached the perfect temperature of 45 degrees, a well known fact shared by most Parisians. 

Set high above the streets, the locality of their suite offered  sweeping views of the charming city. Never had Hal felt more like royalty. He had never been privy to that kind of luxury. But it also was a lavish treat for Madeleine.

The magnificence of the suite was more than intoxicating. Furnished in high-backed Queen Ann chairs and tables designed of rich marble, the rooms were dressed in finely hand-painted vases, filled with red, white and yellow long-stemmed roses strategically placed throughout their expansive quarters. Fluffy, white lace beddings adorned an enormous bed, lavished with soft, inviting pillows in the bedroom area. Massive, beautifully framed oil paintings, providing a taste of delicate French gardens, hung stately upon the softly painted walls.

The restaurant, located within walking distance of their hotel, provided a welcomed opportunity to stretch their legs as they leisurely strolled the cobblestone streets. Dining that first evening in Paris, Madeleine and Hal savored every bite of the fine French cuisine they’d been advised to experience. Always a necessary accompaniment with dinner, the fine wine they enjoyed was expertly chosen by the lovely Madeleine.

Feeling the after effects of their journey the lovebirds returned to their hotel for a good night’s sleep.

Standing on the terrace accompanying their suite, inspired by the nightly view of the city all aglow, they sent a sincere thank you to their Heavenly Father for providing their undeserving souls with such grandeur and beauty. With the charm of the city still enticing them, they closed the doors to the outside world, allowing themselves to fulfill each other’s Godly created desires.

Posted in writers

Author Interview Friday invites Janina Chung


Please help me welcome Janina Stankiewicz Chung to this week’s Author Interview. I first met Janina when she spoke at our local writers group, the Marco Island Writers about her book, Far East of the Sun in April. Her novel is heart wrenching and informative about her family that were displaced during World War II.

Janina Stankiewicz Chung was born in Belarus in 1938, and came to the United States with her family through the Displaced Persons Resettlement Program in 1951. Far East Of The Sun, her first novel, explores another side of World War II, that of the displaced person. Janina and her family endured thirteen years of life under Communist oppression in Russia, forced relocation to Hitler s Germany and its hellish concentration camps, and the confusion of postwar displaced persons camps. As a mother of four, with four grandchildren and six great-grandchildren, Janina thanks God everyday for my mother and father. They had the vision and endurance to bring us to freedom and opportunity that my family and my sibling’s families now enjoy.

Joanne: When did you know you wanted to be a writer and was there a particular inspiration to get started.

Janina: I have always had the aspirations to write. With my mother’s passing at age 93, the story of my family’s life needed to be told. Fortunately for me, I was an avid reader throughout my life so that fact alone helped me to get started.

Joanne: -Do you have a background in writing or take any special courses that helped you along the way?

Janina: I don’t have any writing experience or training. I hired an editor to work with me. As I was writing, the editor edited my manuscripts and mentored me.

Joanne: How long did it take to publish your first manuscript?

Janina: It took almost two years.

Joanne: Are you published through a traditional publishing house? If yes, how did you find your agent and publisher?

Janina: My book is published through a traditional publisher. Getting a book published is not an easy task. First you have to find an agent to represent you. Then an agent does the leg work, getting the manuscript to the publishers. I sent out my manuscript to numerous agents, all turned me down due to work load so big, that they couldn’t take on additional projects. “That was their excuse.” Publishing companies won’t talk to you without an agent. So….my editor opened her own small publishing company and a year and a half later, my book was the first she published.

Joanne: It is not enough to write a book and wait for the money to start rolling in. What marketing techniques do you implement to increase your sales?

Janina: If you are not with a “big time publisher,” to start the money rolling in, it takes a lot of leg work. You can’t expect to see any money for a long while. Most of my marketing has been through speaking engagements and book signings. It is one way to reach the reader, “on one-on-one” basis. Other promotional techniques are through the internet blogging, sales through a variety of different websites such as Kindle, Ebook and Amazon.

Joanne: What advise would you give to new writers just getting started with their new manuscript?

Janina:  Discipline and concentration. Be consumed with your story. Don’t take too much time away from your desk. Your story should be fresh on your mind at all times.

Joanne: Are you currently working on a new manuscript? If so, can you give a sneak peek into the premise of your story?

Janina: Yes, I am working on a new manuscript. It is based on my life.

Thank you Janina for being a part of Writing Under Fire.  Readers, you may purchase her novel, Far East of the Sun by going to


Now readers, please enjoy a sneak peek into the first page of Far East of the Sun

Chapter One



Sasha’s cheeks were red: lips chapped, pressed tightly together were turning blue from the bitter cold wind. Wisps of wet, blonde hair escaped from the rough handmade cap, formed small icicles on his forehead that melted against his skin like teardrops. Intense cornflower blue eyes full of despair squinted through snow-covered eyelashes, searching for the winding road buried under a foot of falling snow.

Pine trees, tall and majestic with branches covered in snow and ice, hung low with long icicles that reached out like fingers against the passing sled, like sentries protecting the occupants from the howling wind and blowing drifts.

Sasha was perched on the small front seat of the sled. His muscular arms strained, as he pulled on the reins, guiding the tired mare in the right direction on the once visible dirt road. Wild-eyed with fear, the mare whinnied, blowing puffs of steam from her nose, she desperately, shook her head to rid the snow off her long mane which blinded her vision. Her hooves slid on ice, causing her to stumble, threatening to overturn the precious cargo inside.

“Whoa! Szarna…Pomaludku. Whoa! Szarna… Easy now,” in a raspy voice barely audible to her ears, Sasha tried to soothe the skittish mare.

Huddled in the back of the sled was his wife Anya. Gripping the sides with frozen numb fingers, she tried to shield herself with wet threadbare blankets from the falling snow.

Agonizing moans muffled by the wind reached Sasha. Anya moaned again. This time, long, deep, guttural. Each bump of the sled was like a knife stabbing her back, causing a new contraction, each one more intense. Her deep blue eyes, brimming with tears, were full of terror. Gasping with dry lips, she prayed: Hospudzi Pomarzy Nam….Hospudzi Pa Miluj Nas…God help us….God love us, let this child be born safely. Anya took a deep breath and closed her eyes before the next contraction ripped through her.

I must find shelter soon….or we will perish….Hospudzi…Pomarzy nam….God…. Oh, God….Help us!…I have to find a way out of this whiteness. Sasha’s thoughts echoed his wife’s plea. He was lost and desperate.