Saturday, February 1, 2014

Interview with three authors of "A Dozen Apologies"

Please help me welcome three authors of "A Dozen Apologies" to Butterfly Journey. Jennifer Hallmark, Pat Dyer, and Phee Paradise have graciously answered some questions so we can learn more about them. I've not been able to post pictures on my blog so I'm sorry we won't have pictures to go with the interview.

 1. Tell us about your most recent book/or the book we are focusing on.

Pat: A Dozen Apologies is the first book to which I have contributed, so it’s really exciting for me. It’s a collaborative effort of twelve authors and an awesome publisher, Tracy Ruckman, owner of Write Integrity Press. The previous offerings of these group authors have had great reviews and I’m looking forward to seeing this one hit the top of the charts as well.

Jennifer: I love Write Integrity Press’s latest release, A Dozen Apologies. The storyline showcases forgiveness and the touching scenes mingled with comic relief make it a fun read.

Phee: I’m really excited about A Dozen Apologies. It’s not a standard romance in so many ways. Mara, the main character goes on a journey to ask forgiveness from twelve guys she hurt when she was in college. Some are more forgiving than others, but in the process she learns a lot about what it really means to be sorry. She also discovers she’s not the suave, sophisticated woman she thought she was. Because she has lost her job in the fashion world, she takes any job she can find and keeps losing them because of her own ineptness. Her experiences are funny, touching and inspiring. And of course, since it’s a romance, in the end she gets the guy.

2. What was your journey to publication like?

Pat: My journey has been quite different so far than those of other writers. In this case, I won a contest in which the prize is having my chapter published in the book. I’ve been writing a relatively short time compared to most of the people I know, and have yet to write my first book proposal, though I do have a work-in-progress that I’m excited about and hope to finish this year.

Jennifer: I’ve been studying and writing seriously since 2006. I’ve had short stories and articles published, but this is my first publication of a longer work. I actually met Tracy Ruckman at the third writer’s conference I attended and a few weeks later she asked me to be a part of this book project.

Phee: This book was one of those blessings that all authors dream about. I was asked to participate by the editor. So I didn’t have to send out manuscripts. Instead, I was given the back story and asked to write my own scenario that would combined with ten others. I have to say, the other writers are so good, I was surprised at how little editing I had to do. But, oh my, the promotion was scary. Writing is fun, finding a publisher was not an issue, but promoting the book is a lot more work than I ever imagined.

3. What advice would you give authors who are on their own journey to publication?

Pat: The best piece of advice I’ve been given is “never quit.” I would also say read as many books as you can possibly consume, particularly in your preferred genre, study, accept all the constructive criticism you can get, become a grammar geek (very important, though I miss the mark more than I like), and keep on writing, writing, writing.

My own maxim is “if you want to grow, align yourself with people who are smarter than you are and learn from them.”

Jennifer: Don’t stop learning. I kept reaching plateaus where I thought maybe I had arrived. Then I would discover a wide valley in front of me of undiscovered knowledge and wisdom. I’ve decided you never really arrive. Stay open to change. It will come.

Phee: Get to know other writers, editors and publishers. Join writer’s groups, go to conferences, follow and comment on blogs, communicate in any way you can with others. The writing world is a community and the best way to reach your goals is to be part of it.

4. Do you have any books or websites that have helped you with your writing that you could share with us?

Pat: Well, I must say, I do love the “Idiot” books, so one of my favorites is The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Writing Christian Fiction by Ron Benry. I also like The First Five Pages by Noah Lukeman, and three books by Angela Ackerman and Becca Puglisi: The Positive Trait Thesaurus, the Negative Trait Thesaurus, and The Emotion Thesaurus.

Jennifer: I love all the writing books by James Scott Bell. Plot and Structure, Writing Fiction for All You’re Worth, Revision and Self-Editing for Publication, and my favorite, The Art of War for Writers.

Phee: I haven’t read as many books as I should have, but I love Eats, Shoots & Leaves by Lynne Truss. I highly recommend where I really learned how to polish my craft and I follow several Facebook pages, including The Tactical Editor and Superior Editing Services.

5. Please let us know where we can find you on the web.

Pat: You can find me on my blog, “Ramblings of a Crowded Mind,” at, on Facebook as Patricia Mezick Dyer, on Twitter via

Phee: I have a devotional blog called Delighted Meditations,  I also have an account on Faithwriters where my short stories and essays can be found.


In college, Mara and her sorority sisters played an ugly game, and Mara was usually the winner. She’d date men she considered geeks, win their confidence, and then she’d dump them publicly. When Mara begins work for a prestigious clothing designer in New York, she gets her comeuppance. Her boyfriend steals her designs and wins a coveted position. He fires her, and she returns in shame to her home in Spartanburg, South Carolina, where life for others has changed for the better.

Mara’s parents, always seemingly one step from a divorce, have rediscovered their love for each other, but more importantly they have placed Christ in the center of that love. The changes Mara sees in their lives cause her to seek Christ. Mara’s heart is pierced by her actions toward the twelve men she’d wronged in college, and she sets out to apologize to each of them. A girl with that many amends to make, though, needs money for travel, and Mara finds more ways to lose a job that she ever thought possible.

Mara stumbles, bumbles, and humbles her way toward employment and toward possible reconciliation with the twelve men she humiliated to find that God truly does look upon the heart, and that He has chosen the heart of one of the men for her to have and to hold.


Pat Dyer was transplanted from upstate New York to Florida at the tender age of five.  Now married to a Georgia cracker for almost fifty years and retired from a public service job, she enjoys writing and spending time with her children, grandchildren, and ten great-grandchildren.

A member of American Christian Fiction Writers and ACFW Central Florida Chapter, Pat has served as past secretary and publicity chairperson.  Writing inspirational stories from the heart, she strives to provide encouragement and light through Jesus to those who read them.


Jennifer Hallmark: writer by nature, artist at heart, and daughter of God by His grace. She loves to read detective fiction from the Golden Age, watch movies like LOTR, and play with her two precious granddaughters. At times, she writes.

Her website is Alabama-Inspired Fiction and she shares a writer’s reference blog, Writing Prompts & Thoughts & Ideas…Oh My! with friends, Christina, John, Ginger, Dicky, and Betty. She and Christina Rich share an encouraging blog for readers called The Most Important Thing.

Jennifer and her husband, Danny, have spent their married life in Alabama and have a basset hound, Max.

Phee Paradise is a freelance writer with diverse writing experience, including book reviews, newspaper articles and short stories, and she writes devotionals for her blog, Delighted Meditations. Her work has appeared in several anthologies, including the recently published A Ruby Christmas. She also teaches public speaking at a community college and teaches Sunday School at her church. You can see some of her work on