It’s Giveaway Time!

After delivering our gift bags to Fisher House, it’s time to give you readers the chance to win one of these amazing bags.  We have four insanely awesome bags to give away and the best news is they’ll be mailed out before Christmas, so enter for the chance for yourself or the reader on your shopping list.

Here’s what you could win:

3 Runner Up Reader Bags $160/ea Value:
Thirty-One Thermal Tote, 8-10 signed books, audio book, socks, handmade card pack, assorted extras, and more awesome author swag!
(Shown here is one unpackaged gift bag and the two other gift bags to be given away.  Winner of the unpackaged bag will not receive all three bags. Contents in the other two bags may be different than what is shown)

Grand Prize $250+ Value:
A4V monogramed Thirty-One Weekender Bag, 10 signed books, 1 audio book, fuzzy socks, post-it pack, nail kit, handmade card set, handmade bookmark, filled toiletry bag, candle, and lots of author swag!

What do you need to do to enter?  Click on the Rafflecopter below and enter as many times as you’d like.

Giveaway ends at 12:00 a.m. December 11, 2017.

Stay up to date on our charity, participating author releases and contests (yes, we have a few more goodies to give away over the coming months) by signing up for our newsletter here.

Authors, if you’re interested in hearing about our next charity drive, please sign up here to be notified when we’re accepting authors.  

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Shipping to Continental US only. Winners must collect their prizes within 30 days or they are forfeit.

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Desiree Holt has joined us

Do you have a personal connection to the military or what is the reason you chose to support Authors4Veterans?

I was engaged to a pilot min the Air Force who died in a training accident. I am friends with member current and former members of the military, and Saint Leo University, where I worked for ten years, is the 6th largest provider of education to the military.

Tell us a little bit about yourself. Where you’re from, where you live? Do you have one of those day-jobs?

I live in Tampa, with my cats (pause to grin!). I just moved back after 15 years in Texas. My late husband was a sixth generation Texan and we loved it there. But I love it here, too. I grew up in Maine and lived for many years in Michigan, so I am really glad to be living in warm weather. I am a huge football fan plus an avid Chicago Cubs fan. When I’m not writing I am reading, spending time with two of my children who live near me, or hanging out with friends. I am lucky I do not have to have a day job any more. Oh, and in case you’re interested, I recently celebrated my 81st.

What is your latest release and share one detail from your current release with readers that they might not find in the book?

Hide and Seek, Book #1, Vigilance, release date October 17. Logan Malik,my hero, looks like Jesse Lee Sofer in Chicago PD.

Do you have a secret talent readers would be surprised by?

I wish!

What is the one question you never get ask at interviews, but wish you did? Ask and answer it.

What’s the most difficult thing about writing characters of the opposite sex? Making them accurate. My late husband was great. He let me read scenes to him and wasn’t shy about telling me when I got it wrong. Now my son helps me.

Are there other military charities you support?

If so, please tell us which ones. Yes. Paws For Vets.

Do you write military characters in your books? If so, how did you research them?

Yes, I do. I am fortunate enough to know former Delta Force soldiers, former Air Force Ravens, a retired Marine Brig. General, a former SEAL team leader, a former Force Recon Marine, and I am still adding., They are all very accommodating about answering my questions.

What would you choose as your specialty if you were in the military?

Communications

Do you have anything you would like to say to our members of the military and their families?

I cannot thank you enough for your service. This country is safer because of the sacrifices all of you make and I only hope in my books I do you justice. You are all my heroes.

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Please welcome Winnie Griggs

Stacey and I have both met Winnie and we’d like to say she’s as sweet and nice in person as you will ever find.  Please welcome Winnie to Authors4Veterans.

Do you have a personal connection to the military or what is the reason you chose to support Authors4Veterans?
My husband served in the Navy during the Viet Nam era. I also have a nephew who served in the Air Force for eight years. And the husband of one of my nieces still serves in the Army.

Tell us a little bit about yourself. Where you’re from, where you live? Do you have one of those day-jobs?
I was born and raised right across the river from New Orleans and then moved to the opposite corner of the state when I married my college sweetheart.  We’ve raised four responsible, talented children and are now living the empty-nester life. I did have a day job – I worked for over 30 years for an electric utility company, moving from the information technology department, to project management to contract management. I’m now happily retired and enjoying my life as a full time writer.

What is your latest release and share one detail from your current release with readers that they might not find in the book?
A Tailor-Made Husband released in June 2017. It’s the 9th book in my Texas Grooms series. However, I had actually intended for it to be number seven. In fact I actually started this story three times, with three completely story lines, none of which seemed to work for this series. So I put it aside and wrote the next two books before coming back to Hazel and Ward’s story. And during that time, the characters continued to talk to me until I finally realized the story I needed to tell.

Do you have a secret talent readers would be surprised by?
I don’t know if this qualifies as a ‘secret talent’ but I absolutely love working on brain teasers and logic puzzles.

What would you choose as your specialty if you were in the military?
My college degree is in Mathematics with minors in Computer Science and Accounting. My favorite role in the day job I had was those years where I did Project Management and Process Improvement work. So I would probably try do something in IT or Project Management.

Follow Winnie on social media to learn more about her.

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Melissa McClone is in the house!

If you’ve been following our posts, you’ll know that we got the idea of the Fisher House donations from Melissa.  You see, she does this charity in her home state of Washington. So supportive of us when we approached her about starting our own charity for Fisher House and explained how she did it and then helped us select our ThirtyOne bags. So, it is with pleasure that we introduce you to Melissa McClone.

Do you have a personal connection to the military or what is the reason you chose to support Authors4Veterans?

Many of my family members are veterans. My dad was in the Air Force during the Korean War. Three uncles fought in World War II. My brother-in-law flew helicopters during Desert Storm.
 
I chose to support Authors4Veterans because I’ve been doing something similar for two Fisher Houses in Washington state since 2013. In 2018, we’re adding a third Fisher House that recently opened and I’m so excited about that! The Fisher House is an amazing organization that does so much for military families from offering a place to stay during medical treatments, to getting plane tickets for family members in times of emergency, to providing scholarships… plus so many other things!

 
Tell us a little bit about yourself.  Where you’re from, where you live? Do you have one of those day-jobs?
 
I was born on the east coast but have lived all but the first 18 months of my life in the West—California, Arizona, Oregon, Washington. I currently live in the Pacific Northwest with my husband, three children, dogs, and cats. My hobbies include reading, animal rescue, and sending care packages to deployed service members. I write sweet contemporary romance. I’m also an independent consultant for Thirty-One Gifts (I’m addicted to bags, totes, and purses!) 

 
What is your latest release and share one detail from your current release with readers that they might not find in the book?
My latest release is called Jenny and is a standalone story in the Beach Brides series. Part of the book is set in Berry Lake, Washington where a new series of mine will be set. It’s fictional, but I used two towns I’ve visited (and don’t live that far from) in the Columbia Gorge to create it.
Do you write military characters in your books?  If so, how did you research them?
I do write military characters in some of my stories. Jenny features a hero who is an Army Ranger. I usually rely on friends to answer my research questions. Some are veterans or current servicemembers. Others are friends/family of friends. I also take advantage of the public relation phone numbers I find on websites. When I was writing Jenny, I spoke to two different military hospitals to make sure what I’d plotted out was plausible.
Do you have anything you would like to say to our members of the military and their families?
 

What you do is so important.  Thank you for your service and the sacrifices you and your family make for all of us.

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Delivery Complete!

On Friday, November 17, 2017, Stacey and I made the trip to Milwaukee to deliver the ThirtyOne bags to Fisher House.  Some observations about the area are important to mention.

Stacey and I have both been to Milwaukee many times. As a matter of fact, Stacey lived there for 7 years. But as we turned onto the Zablocki Grounds it was like stepping back in time. The historic grounds still hold some of the original buildings from back in the day. You see, Abraham Lincoln, in 1865, authorized the first ever Soldiers’ and Sailors’ Asylum to help honorably discharged members of the Union and Naval troops convalesce.  The Zablocki VA in Milwaukee was the first.

Now some of those historic buildings are in need of major repair, but since they’re on the historical registry, it’s insanely expensive to bring them up to habitable conditions. During our visit to Fisher House on Friday, Kathleen, one of our tour guides and the Volunteer Coordinator for Fisher House Wisconsin, told us HUD has agreed to help reform one of the buildings to be used to house homeless veterans. I’ll be watching that project come along, as its long over-due.

So, we made our way through the maze of buildings and roads and parked at Fisher House. Our first impression was that it was a beautiful house, but looks like it’s been there for years. Not so, Jennifer Kiefer – Fisher House Manager, told us. Fisher House Wisconsin is only one and a half years old.  The $7.1 million dollar project took the community and VA time to organize and raise the funds.  Determination on when and where a fisher House will be built is based on the need of the area.

So, let me tell you a bit about Zachary and Elizabeth Fisher, the patrons of the Fisher Houses around the world. I’ll paraphrase, but please click on the link above and read all about them. Zachary Fisher was a builder, philanthropist and generous supporter of the military members. A need was presented to him and he jumped at the chance to help out. Both Mr. and Mrs. Fisher are now deceased, but their legacy lives on and its quite a legacy.

So, you’ve been reading about our generous author supporters and we’ve been telling you about the more than generous donations of these fabulous authors. Not just the books they’ve signed and sent, but socks, journals, snacks, bags, toiletry items, nail care and oodles of swag. We packed it all into ThirtyOne thermal bags (the donations were so voluminous that we had to be plastic bags to put the ThirtyOne bags in and remaining donated items. We loaded Stacy’s van and made the two hour drive to Milwaukee.

We met Jennifer and Kathleen and they gave us a tour of the facility and we were both awed. Beautifully decorated and appointed the house, though large, feels homey and comfortable. The expansive kitchen boasts two areas for cooking should families choose to make their own meals, but there are volunteers who come in and cook for the families as well. While we were there, Maggie, a volunteer was there making stroganoff and the gorgeous cupcakes she made and decorated looked too good to eat.  The delicious aromas wafting out from the kitchen was a welcome home scent if ever there was one.

A library area, common area with sofa’s and a television and a large patio area are all available to military families while they stay at Fisher House.  The pictures don’t do it justice, but you can get a good idea of what the home looks like.  There are Queen bed rooms and twin bed rooms based on the need of the family staying, but both are gorgeous and comfortable.

 

      

We took the opportunity to take our picture with Jennifer and Kathleen after we brought all the bags in (not all are pictured). Spoke with them a bit about donations in the future and came home.

Stacey and I both agree that we’re very proud of our support of Fisher House and so proud of our author community for stepping up to help families of our veterans.

Authors – We’ll be organizing two donation drives per year, the next around Mother’s Day, so if you want to be made aware of the opportunity to be part of that sponsorship, please sign up for our mailing list.

Readers – stay tuned because we saved four fantastic bags filled with goodies for you.  We’ll be giving them away on our site here beginning on November 27th.

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Please meet Lorhainne Eckhart!

It’s our pleasure to introduce you to Lorhainne Eckhart.

What is your latest release and share one detail from your current release with readers that they might not find in the book?

What am I now working on? I’ve just finished writing the Parker Sisters, a series that spans five books and five sisters, set in Wyoming, another big family saga. But, as I promised my fans earlier in the year, the Friessens will return in October 2017 with not just one book but a series, the Friessen Family, with new stories, more complications, and a brand-new generation.

What is the one question you never get asked at interviews, but wish you did?

What people know about me is that I am a New York Times and USA Today bestselling author and Readers’ Favorite award winner with over sixty titles published in audio, eBook, and paperback, with translations in both German and French. My big family romance series have become a worldwide fan favorite and been at the top of Amazon’s bestseller list countless times.

But what many don’t know is that I am probably one of the most rejected authors out there. No one would publish me. Every literary agent and major publishing house turned me away. Added to that is the fact that I am a single mother of three, one of whom has autism, and that at one time the four of us were homeless. It was humbling and as close to hitting rock bottom as I have come, when for a time we were forced to live in a tent because we couldn’t find a home in our community. There were days I was scared because leaving would have meant giving up all the sacrifices I had made to get my autistic child the help he needed. I felt very much alone because I didn’t know what was around the corner and didn’t have the answers to get us out. At the same time, I learned pretty quickly that no one was going to rescue us. I had to be our rescuer. From then on, I swore I was not going to allow anything to keep me from achieving my dreams.

I never gave up. I moved us through those hard times, and I found us a place to live. I had to start all over at the bottom, advocating to get my son help, and never once did I give up on my dream of being published even though all the experts in the industry told me it couldn’t be done, even though they said, “We don’t want you.” What I believed and what I was told were two different things, and not giving up on my dream has allowed me to find the strength and vision to truly believe anything is possible. It’s never too late for anyone to start living and pursuing their dreams. I took risks, stayed focused, and worked my butt off to the point that I now have over sixty published works, a career, and a rewarding life for my children and me. Even though I sometimes write about overcoming the darkest hurdles, there is always hope, because if you truly believe as I do, anything is possible.

And let me tell you how good it feels. When The Forgotten Child hit the Amazon Bestseller list and stayed there for two years running selling more than 500,000 copies worldwide, and now translated into French & German. I never expected the response from fans, which then sparked the long running Friessen Series which all began with The Forgotten Child,  the first book of The Outsider Series ‘Over 800 Reviews’ “A woman finding her strength, a child finding love and support, a healing of family, and a complicated love story.”

What would you choose as your specialty if you were in the military?

I would be the one in the Buds training, becoming a Navy Seal!

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And Now, Sherrie Lea Morgan is here

Thank you Sherrie for joining us here at Authors4Veterans. It’s a pleasure to meet you.  So, tell us a bit about yourself.

First, do you have a personal connection to the military or what is the reason you chose to support Authors4Veterans? 

I am fifth generation military myself. My baby boy (only boy) joined the Marines several years ago and it really hit home the wounds these men carry back with them. Whether it’s physical or emotional, they still need our support. I’m happy I can be part of something to help others.

As mothers to active duty and veterans ourselves, we are right there with you. Thank you to your son for his service. What is your latest release and share one detail from your current release with readers that they might not find in the book?

My most recent traditionally released book GHOSTDRUMS has the hero dealing with P.T.S.D. as well as an injury. One of the scenes involving the hero was created based on a phone conversation I had with my son while he was serving in Afghanistan.

Do you write military characters in your books? If so, how did you research them? 

My first novel has a Marine and an General from the war. My father does genealogy and I get information from him regarding names, dates, etc.

What would you choose as your specialty if you were in the military? 

I served in the Navy as a Corpsman.

Thank you for your service as well.  Do you have anything you would like to say to our members of the military and their families? 

Soldiers: Civilians cannot truly understand a military mentality. It isn’t their fault, so don’t blame them. But, always know that you are not alone and even though you may be home, you still have comrades here that you can reach out to, for help.

Family members: Please know that your soldier needs you, but there is always going to be a place in his mind that you cannot go. Accept it and just be supportive.

Well said and thank you for those words.

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Shannyn Schroeder is here!

I’d like to welcome Shannyn Schroeder to Authors4Veterans. We’re happy you could join us.  Let’s get to know you better.

First of all, do you have a personal connection to the military or what is the reason you chose to support Authors4Veterans?

I am married to a U.S. Marine who served in Operation Desert Storm/Desert Shield (many, many years ago). In addition, my father and grandfather were both in the Army.

Thank you so much for their service. Tell us a little bit about yourself. Where you’re from, where you live? Do you have one of those day-jobs?

I live in a Chicago suburb. I’m a mom of three and a former high school and middle school English teacher. I do have a day job – a few actually. I work as a curriculum editor and I teach college level English grammar and a middle school enrichment program on Saturdays. I also do some tutoring. My schedule is always packed, especially when you add in the kids’ activities (swim team is a killer). I do find downtime and when I can, I love to bake cookies and I watch a lot of TV. And of course, I read.

You’re a super busy lady. Tell us about your latest release and share one detail from your current release with readers that they might not find in the book?

I have a book releasing on October 12, Meeting His Match. I had a lot of fun researching for this book, which pits a professional matchmaker against a YouTube pick-up artist to see who can help three women find love. I spent a lot of time reading about matchmaking and the techniques pick-up artists use. If my husband ever looked at my browser history, he’d probably freak out.

OMG! I bet he would freak out. What’s the most difficult thing about writing characters of the opposite sex?

The most difficult thing about writing men is that most men aren’t talkers, especially when it comes to emotional stuff. In romance, we need the characters to communicate or nothing would ever happen. It’s a tough balancing act to get them talking without making it sound like a bunch of women chatting.

I have to agree with you on that one. What would you choose as your specialty if you were in the military?

I’m really too much of a chicken to be in the military, but if I had to choose, I think sniper. I have no problem working alone. I can handle being silent for long periods of time. And I have excellent focus and attention.

Do you have anything you would like to say to our members of the military and their families?

Thank you so much for all that you do and that you’re willing to sacrifice to protect our country. Without people like you, we wouldn’t have the freedom and peace of mind we take for granted every day.

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Say Hello to Donna Michaels

Please give Donna Michaels a warm welcome to Authors4Veterans.  We’re so happy to have her here.

Donna, do you have a personal connection to the military or what is the reason you chose to support Authors4Veterans?

Before I answer, I just want to thank you for allowing me to be a part of this wonderful charity. ❤️

Yes, I do have a personal connection to the military—my husband, Michael. The military has been part of our life since day one. He was a year ahead of me in high school, we were friends, but when he went to boot camp the summer after he graduated, we started dating through the mail (no social media back then…lol) while he was at Ft. Benning, GA. Now, thirty-five years later, we’ve been married for thirty-one years, and have four children. Michael has thirty-five years part time National Guard, and twenty years full time active duty Army National Guard. He is part of the reason I chose to support Authors4Veterans, but mostly it’s for all the men and women who serve, and their families, and the sacrifices, I know firsthand, that they make for me, my family, and our country.

Oh, please thank Michael for his service. Tell us a little bit about yourself. Where you’re from, where you live? Do you have one of those day-jobs?

You already know that I’m married, and that Michael and I have four children. Three are boys, Nick, then the twins-Kyle and Zach, then our daughter, Jestina. We live in northeastern Pennsylvania, where the fall is truly beautiful, and the winters are a much too long for my liking. I had all sorts of day jobs: data analyst, data entry, assistant shift supervisor at check printing factory, and I cleaned schools at night, but a few years ago, I was able to leave that behind to write full time. You can learn more about me and my books at  www.DonnaMichaelsAuthor.com

Congratulations for being able to leave your past jobs to write full time.  What is your latest release and share one detail from your current release with readers that they might not find in the book?

Since I’ve been working on my current book for the last two months, my latest release was back in June. I actually had two releases in June. THE RIGHT RANGER, Book 3 in The Men of At-Ease Ranch series, (it’s book 4 that I’m working on now), and ELITE PROTECTOR, which is part of Elle James’ Brotherhood Protector Kindle World. While I was writing this book, I lost my muse. My cat Halo was my writing partner for nearly ten years. Poor thing was diagnosed with cancer last year. She was a trooper, though. She lasted nearly a year to the date of that diagnosis. Needless to say, it was tough to finish the book without her. I actually had to find a new writing place. But, I do still feel her absence every day.

So sorry to hear about Halo, it’s so hard losing a loved one. What’s the most difficult thing about writing characters of the opposite sex?

The most difficult thing about writing male characters is toning down their…um…unique way of expressing anger. lol I write realistic characters, so I won’t lie, sometimes I don’t bother to tone down the hero, or his buddies, if it doesn’t feel right for the scene.

I know what you mean about “toning down” the, eh hem, expressions.  😀 Do you write military characters in your books? If so, how did you research them?

Yes, I do write military characters in most of my books. If they are Army, I ask my husband or his buddies about the accuracy of my scenes. For other branches of the military, I have a few people in those branches I contact for the same reason.

Do you have anything you would like to say to our members of the military and their families?

I would simply like to say, thank you from the bottom of my heart. Your sacrifices, and those of your family, are never, ever taken for granted in my house. God bless.

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Welcome to Donna Fletcher

I’ve never meet Donna but I sure hope I do one day. She’s generous, compassionate and kind.  Find out for yourself!

What is your personal connection to the military or what is the reason you chose to support Authors4Veterans?

My grandfather, my father, my uncle, and my husband all served in the military and all during wartime. I honor them as well as all veterans and those serving today by supporting Authors4Veterans.

Thank you to your family for their service. Tell us a little bit about yourself. Where you’re from, where you live? Do you have one of those day-jobs?

I’m a Jersey girl born and bred. I’ve lived in different areas of New Jersey all my life and I’ve finally settled on the beautiful Jersey Shore and love it! Morning walks along the beach does wonders for creativity. I’ve been a published author for nearly thirty years and my day job is my writing. I feel blessed to be doing work I love!

Morning walks sound awesome. What’s the most difficult thing about writing characters of the opposite sex?

Whether male or female, characters in general can be difficult, since you think you know them and all of a sudden they do something you don’t expect. That means taking a closer look at your characters and seeing what you missed and how that’s going to effect the plot. I’ve had characters come to me in dreams and tell me it’s just not working for them and I need to make changes. Surprisingly, it has always worked out for the better.

I agree with you on characters telling you “it’s not me, it’s you!” What would you choose as your specialty if you were in the military?

Military strategy is what I would choose. I sometimes send my Highland warriors into battle and I like laying out a plan and seeing how best to conquer the enemy. It always fascinates me when I watch a film where they show a large table, the top a map, and troops of soldiers/warriors, ships, archers (depending on the time period) and how they intend to move them toward victory.

I think that’s fascinating too.  Do you have anything you would like to say to our members of the military and their families?

Thank you does not seem adequate to say to members of the military and their families for all they give and do. I want them to know how much I appreciative the sacrifices they all make and that they are forever in my prayers.

You can find out more about Donna and her fabulous books on the web.

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