Fangirl Moments with Deborah Clack

I met Deborah Clack a few years back at an ACFW conference. We had finaled in the Genesis contest and hit it off with all our silliness. Both new to the writing scene, we hung out together at meals and got to know each other. She is an amazing person and has an incredible sense of humor.

Please welcome my friend, Romance writer Deborah Clack, as we share a few embarrassing fangirl moments.

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Fangirl and Fan-Guy moments are unforgettable moments in time. The first time you meet one of your favorite athletes, actors, or authors is an exciting event.

I remember the first time I met Lynette Eason. I was at the ACFW conference and had signed up for a critique of my manuscript. I found myself sitting across the table from her, the first few pages of my work in her hands, and suddenly realized…Oh, my goodness!! Lynette Eason read my work! I was excited and embarrassed at the same time. Time has passed, and that same EeeKkk feeling isn’t there. (Sorry, Lynette.) 😊 But I’ll never forget my first time talking with her and that feeling of awe.

And then there are those times that you’d like a redo. Those ‘did I do or actually say that’ moments.

Deborah Clack and I have had a few of those. Some more memorable than others. Lol!

Let’s start with one of Deborah’s unforgettable meetings:

Deborah:  My very first ACFW conference (The One Where I Met Sami Abrams), I was wowed by the amazing gala thrown at the end of the week. With everyone dressed to the nines and the inspiring speeches by the winning authors, I was in awe of the entire event.

After the awards ceremony was over, I went to the front of the room to congratulate a fellow unpublished author on her Genesis Contest win. I knew that she was sitting at a table with several big named authors, but I had absolutely no courage to say hello to anyone other than her (I become a blabbering mess when I come into contact with famous people).

The second I finished my well-wishes, I turned around and, I kid you not, I ran smack into none other than the amazing Susan May Warren.

I blurted, “Oh my gosh, I just ran over my idol Susan May Warren!” (Yes. Those are the exact words that came out of my mouth.)

You guys, she is the most gracious person on the entire earth. We had a good laugh, and then she proceeded to ask me what I was writing and how I enjoyed the conference. She turned one of the most embarrassing moments of my life into a completely normal conversation!

Sami:  Last year at ACFW, I volunteered to host two workshops for DiAnn Mills. Here I was working with and getting to know the amazing DiAnn Mills.

The first session went great. DiAnn and I had a good time together, and I hadn’t said anything weird or acted stupid in any way. I was pretty proud of myself for acting normal. Then came workshop number two.

If you know me at all, you know that my mouth can get ahead of me. I tend to tease, and sarcasm is my friend.

As DiAnn and I set up for the session and did final checks, around fifty people had already taken their seats. The microphones were on and working, DiAnn was attempting to organize her table of papers, and she says something about being unorganized.

That’s all it took for my mouth to get ahead of my brain. Yup, that’s right, I lift the mic and pipe in, “Yeah, DiAnn’s a hot mess.”

Are you kidding me? I had just called one of Romantic Suspense’s award-winning, and bestselling author’s a “Hot Mess” in front of everyone. The audience was laughing, and I was looking for an escape route. But what does DiAnn do? She looks at me, and with a straight face, says, “Yes, I am.”

Have to love that woman.

And my personal favorite Deborah blunder:  Several years ago, when I was fairly new to writing, I joined my local chapter of ACFW. After each monthly meeting, the group ate at a local Italian restaurant. One particular Saturday, I spent some time chit-chatting with members who I had only just met. To my left sat my new writer friends, and to my right sat some lovely authors who I already knew.

We were having the usual get-to-know-you conversations about where you lived, how long you had been writing, what you thought of today’s meeting. When one woman answered my questions, I moved on to the next woman and asked, “What do you write?”

My friend to my right, Joy Massenburge, almost spit out her food and started giggling.

My new friend answered, “I write contemporary romance.”

“Oh, wonderful. Me, too.” I smiled, wanting her to feel welcome. “And where are you in the process? Are you published?”

Joy laughed out loud and turned her head away from me. That’s odd, I thought.

The woman I posed the question to nodded and graciously said, “I am.”

When I glanced around the table, a few others would not make eye contact with me, and most seemed to be fighting back giggles.

Then it hit me.

I turned my head to Joy and asked under my breath, “Did I just ask a famous author if she was published?”

She nodded, wiping back a tear. “Yes, ma’am, you sure did.”

I had just asked the fabulous, talented, award-winning Becky Wade if she was published!

Please leave us a comment about one of your fangirl/guy moments.

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Join me in June for an Interview and Giveaway with Debut Author Connie Queen.

Interview with Darlene L. Turner

Darlene and I first meet at the ACFW conference in 2017. We were Genesis Finalist buddies and quickly became real life friends. We spend time brainstorming, chatting, and encouraging each other on a regular basis. I am so proud of Darlene and her debut novel.

Please welcome Darlene Turner!!

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Darlene L. Turner

How does it feel to be a debut author? A.M.A.Z.I.N.G.   It’s all surreal as my dream is finally coming true. It’s also scary as there is SO much to learn, but I have amazing writer friends who’ve been helping me along the way. Of course, you get nervous about what readers will think of your “baby,” but you have to let it go and simply enjoy the ride!

 What did you do when you got “the call”?  While I was on the phone with my agent, I was jumping around the kitchen (and inwardly screaming YES!). The funny thing is my husband had the best reaction. When he came home from work (and he couldn’t get home fast enough for me!), and I told him, he stomped up and down the hall. He was so excited!

 Where did you get your idea for your book? I’ve crossed different borders into the States many times, and I’ve often thought it would be fun to put a female border patrol agent together with a police officer to solve a smuggling ring. When I started googling some ideas, the Doda drug came up and that’s when the storyline came to me.

How long does it take you to write a Love Inspired Suspense novel?  From start to finish – probably 3-4 months. It’s the editing process that takes the time because you have to go through many revisions of your novel.

Tell us a bit about your debut novel?  Kaylin Poirier and Hudson Steeves have worked together before, but it did not go well. They clashed at every turnDoda and now suddenly, they’re thrust into solving a deadly smuggling ring bent on infiltrating their country with a new powerful drug derived from poppies.

Kaylin and Hudson both have to face their pasts, learn how to forgive, and ultimately put their trust in God.

What is your typical day like?  I work full time, so after work, I give myself a break by getting on my treadmill and watching a show I PVR’d (I used to say “taped,” but someone corrected me the other day. Haha). Then I have supper and get to work either on writing, plotting, researching, marketing, or zooming with some amazing writer friends! 

When did you start writing? When I was young, I loved to read Nancy Drew, so I started writing my own version – the “Mindy Dobson” series. I wish I’d kept them as it would be fun to go back and read it (and laugh). I always wanted to write but stopped until I was older. I got more serious about writing ten years ago.

What is the hardest part about being an author?  Definitely, the marketing and social media. It’s so hard to “sell” yourself and not sound like you’re bragging!

Who is your favorite author?  I can’t just say one as there are SO many amazing authors out there. I would narrow it down to three – DiAnn Mills, Steven James, and Ted Dekker

 Now for the important questions:

Pepsi or Coke?  Neither! Ginger ale all the way, baby! 

Candy, cookies, or cake? How about all three? If I had to choose…probably cookies.

Coffee or Tea? Coffee!

Favorite vacation?  Maui, Hawaii!

Favorite TV show? I have many (mostly suspense shows) but would have to say When Calls the Heart – it’s such a wholesome show and has a handsome Mountie in it (What more do you want?) It’s also based on books by a fellow Canadian author!  I’m a Heartie!

Favorite Movie?  Lord of the Rings

Any hobbies? Pets? Activities?  I love to tole paint – this is painting on wood pieces. Of course, I love to read. No pets, but if my husband wasn’t allergic, we’d have a cat (or two).

Be sure to check out Darlene’s website:

Thanks for joining me, Darlene!

Come back in May for a special blog post discussion with Deborah Clack where we talk about our Author Fan Girl moments, and have an opportunity to enter a giveaway to win your choice from multiple prizes.

Interview with Valerie Hansen

I am always on the look out for Valerie’s latest and greatest book. So a while back, I got this crazy idea to contact her and asked if she’d be a guest on my blog and she graciously said yes.

Please welcome Valerie Hansen!!

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Valerie Hansen

Tell us a bit about your April LIS release Canyon Standoff that includes your novella Canyon Under SiegeI was surprised at how heroic National Park Rangers are once I started researching this subject. They can be police, fire fighters, rescuers and much, much more.

 How long does it take you to write a Love Inspired Suspense novel?  The answer to this question depends upon a lot of factors. A novella is shorter, which is why there are two in one for this book. If I’m on a roll, the words flow so well I can hardly type them fast enough. If not, a break or chocolate may be called for. Deadlines help too. It seems as though the more rushed I am, the better I work. Call it the “PANIC” method.

 What is your writing process? Get up in the morning, drink coffee, check email, then dive into the ms., reviewing what I wrote the day before, polishing it a little if necessary, then moving ahead. By the time I reach the halfway point I’m always sure it’s terrible but soon after that I hit my stride again and power through to the end. (It’s never really terrible. I’m just insecure sometimes)

 When did you do publish your first book and what was it?  Eons ago I wrote under a pseudonym. That person died a terrible death at the hands of my conscience and was reborn around 1986 as Val Whisenand for Silhouette Romance, beginning with “Treasure Hunters”. She then reverted to her maiden name, Valerie Hansen, for Love Inspired in about 1999 with “The Wedding Arbor”. 

Where do you get your ideas for your books?  Anywhere and everywhere. Sometimes an editor will suggest something, as happened when mine asked for a National Park Ranger novella. Sometimes I’m slower in developing an idea and it can go through multiple plot possibilities before it’s settled on.

What is your typical day like?  The dogs wake me. Every day. Without fail. They do not take weekends or days off into account, which means I have a pretty strict schedule. Up with the sun – and the dogs, then coffee and doggie treats (for them, not for me) Breakfast. Email. Maybe a little scattered web surfing if I’m not sure where the book is going, then I’ll usually knuckle down and write. Unless I don’t.  As the years have passed, I’ve discovered I’m a better writer if I’m not worn to a frazzle or obsessing over deadlines. I sometimes need to give myself permission to goof off.

When did you start writing?  I have written all my life. My first short story was published while I was in high school. I wouldn’t remember except my mother saved the magazine it was in! What I first sold was a genre romance to New American Library back in the dark ages. Everybody was trying to find the secret that made Harlequin so successful and there were many opportunities then. I also did some for Kensington and Silhouette Romance before it became a part of Harlequin.

What is the hardest part about being an author?  Convincing myself, over and over, that I really do know what I’m doing. It doesn’t take much to shake my confidence no matter how many successes I’ve had in the past. I suspect self-doubt is typical of many of us. And I’ve written over 70 books.

Who is your favorite author?  No fair asking that question. I have so many dear friends in this business I can’t begin to choose. What I read when I’m working, however, is usually out of the romance/suspense genre. It needs to be different from whatever I’m writing at that time. Otherwise it’s not pleasurable. I end up critiquing when I should be losing myself in the story. The same thing happens with TV and films. Give me a plot hole to stumble over and the whole show is spoiled for me.

Now for the important questions:

Pepsi or Coke?   Alas, water. I used to practically live on Pepsi!

Candy, cookies, or cake? Hey, as long as it’s chocolate, I’m open to any and all.

Coffee or Tea? Coffee hot and tea iced. Raspberry iced tea is my fave.

Favorite vacation?  Anniversary trip to Norway where my dad was born.

Favorite TV show?  NCIS as long as Leroy Jethro Gibbs is on it.

Favorite Movie? “Romancing the Stone” or the “North Avenue Irregulars.” The first because she’s a romance writer and I almost got thrown out of the theater for laughing so much. The second because it’s a women’s Sunday School class vs. the mob and hilarious.

Any hobbies? Pets? Activities?  My three dogs would be disappointed if I listed them as pets. They are my doorbell, my constant companions, my guardians, my lap warmers, my food scrap cleanup crew, my critter chasers, my psychologists, and my best buddies. I also love to garden, weather permitting. The dogs help with that, too.

Thank you, Valerie for joining us!!

Please come back in April for an interview and giveaway with debut author Darlene L. Turner!