Funny how certain things stay with you.

My grandson recently brought home a test he’d taken in school, one where they had to use spelling words in sentences. His mom noticed several smiley faces drawn on the paper by his teacher, and how one sentence in particular had garnered two smiley faces.

“I hope Hawaii won’t have any more abruptions.”

We laughed, teased about the cuteness of his answer, wondered how he knew about Hawaii’s volcanos, and even considered whether he’d coined a new word. It kind of made sense to us.

Definitions are Innocuous things, but sometimes they can be quite troubling. I mean, you know the meaning of the words you use, right? Or at least what you want it to mean.

Have you ever noticed how a song, a melody, a face, an insult or a compliment rattle around in your mind forever? For me it was abruptions, enough so I found myself searching Dictionary.com. By definition, abrupt means sudden or unexpected, while erupt means to break out of a pent-up state, usually in a sudden and violent manner.

As I pondered these meanings, it wasn’t difficult to see how a child might confuse the two words. That’s when I realized the Lord has sent many abruptions into my life over the years, and almost always when I’d grown complacent. (Complacent means pleased, especially with your own merits, advantages, situation, etc., and most often without awareness of some danger or defect; self-satisfied.)

Yikes! Convicted.

It’s time to rouse from my comfort zone. Again. At least this time, the Lord sent me a gentle abruption.

James 1:22 (ESV) says, “But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves.”

What Do You Read?

Writers, have you ever read your own work just for the sheer pleasure of reading a good book?

I’m a writer. I’m also an avid reader. I love getting lost in a good book that takes me to a different place. There, life’s distractions cease to exist for a little while. When I started The Imperfect Series, I pledged to give my readers a similar haven, somewhere they too could escape. Recently, I realized how imperfect was the promise I’d made.

While working on the fifth and final book of the series, I revisited the first book for information. I wanted to use a phrase, one I thought I might have already used. Since repetition is one of the many sins the writing authorities abhor, I picked up my paperback copy and thumbed through the first chapter. Hours and hours later, after reading Imperfect Wings cover-to-cover, imagine my surprise when I closed the book and marveled, “Did I really write this?”

I liked it. No, I loved it!

That was my latest epiphany moment. I had never read any of my own stories for the sheer pleasure of enjoying a good book. I had gotten so wrapped up in the mechanics of writing (outline, structure, plot, characters, edits, polishing, marketing that I couldn’t see the story for the chapters, scenes, paragraphs, and words. I’d depended on outside influences—critique partners, resources, beta readers, editors, and publisher—to validate my work. No wonder I battled doubts with every new release. I hadn’t read my own stories as a reader to see if I would like them!

Advice to authors: Take time to enjoy your work.

Give yourself time and space away from your story, and then sit down and read your story as a connoisseur of good books, not with a critical eye—because any writer will tell you the “fixing” never ends.

“Imperfect…” – Interview with Elizabeth Noyes

(August 21, 2018 Blog post Interview with Theresa Nash – My Writing Ventures)

This week’s interview is with Elizabeth Noyes, author of the “Imperfect Series.” Her fifth and final book of the series launches today. Take advantage of the one-day introductory sale price of 99¢.

TN: Welcome ElizabethWhy do you write, and what subjects or genre inspire you?

EN: I’ve always been a writer. In high school I wrote skits for the cheerleaders, a play for our acting club, and even won a local short story contest. Every job I’ve ever held always ended up with a writing requirement, likely because it’s my strength. Even in conversation it becomes apparent that writing is my passion.

I’ve also always been an avid reader, though it’s less about the genre than the quality of the writing. Give me a good plot, strong characters that come to life,  and I’m hooked. 

TN: What genre do you normally write in?

EN: My natural inclination leans toward action/adventure/suspense with a dash of romance thrown in for good measure. I like excitement and emotional upheaval, but I also like when the good guys win. 

TN: Describe your writing style. (e.g. narrative, lots of dialogue, first-person, etc.) 

EN: I prefer third-person point of view and try to mix up the various styles. Too much of any one loses the rhythm. 

TN: What is your biggest challenge when novel writing? And do you ever get writer’s block? 

EN: Distractions are my biggest challenge. I tend to immerse myself deep into the story and when the inevitable distraction occurs, I find it difficult to re-establish the connection. That’s why I’m prone to early morning writing—while the world is still sleeps.

TN: How many books have you written, and what inspired you to write your first book? 

EN: I have written five books, four published and one due to release August 21, 2018. I’ve also collaborated on two multi-author books.

I started writing after one of my favorite authors let me down. He did a really poor job of finishing up a novel that had a marvelous buildup. I couldn’t help but think he was up against a deadline and took the easy way out. Unforgivable. Disgusted, I thought to myself, “I can do better than that.” I’ve never bought another of his books.

TN: Why did you decide to self-publish instead of going through an agent or publisher? 

EN: I published through a small press, which is not quite indie, but not quite traditional either. 

TN: How did you come up with your cover design? 

EN: I stumbled across a picture, one of an eagle with a damaged wing but still flying high. My editor and I collaborated on the design, but I insisted on using the eagle. 

TN: What software do you use for your print version and/or for eBook? 

EN: I use Microsoft Word and Excel for writing. My small press publisher formats for both print and eBook versions. 

TN: What tips would you give to someone who is considering self-publishing the work? 

EN: There are lots of indie collaboration groups out there. Join them. Follow the threads. Identify those most knowledgeable and ask for advice. Pose questions to the group. In other words, educate yourself on all aspects of the process. There is a steep learning curve and you will make mistakes. Forgive yourself, learn from your errors, and move on. 

TN: Describe the plot of one of your books.

EN: The five books I’ve published are a a series. The stories center around a ranching family in Idaho—mother, father, and their five grown children. In the first book, Imperfect Wings, a young woman stumbles onto a drug operation and murder in Honduras, and in so doing bungles a special ops mission underway. The leader of the special ops team (the oldest of main family’s siblings) has to make a quick decision: complete the mission or rescue the woman. Of course, he rescues her … and falls for her in the process. The ensuing story is series of adventures and misadventures that take them on a wild chase across the country. It’s one of those edge-of-your-seat action stories that keep you turning the pages. As I like to say – not your ordinary romantic suspense.

TN: If you’ve written more than one book, which one is your favorite?

EN: The subsequent books in this series features one of the siblings with a connected threat that  continues throughout. Each one’s personality are revealed book-by-book. My intent was to create a strong family dynamic so the characters become like family to the reader.

If I had to choose a favorite, it would be book one (described above). it was my first published book, took me longer to write/edit/polish and then release, and it has garnered the most reviews simply by being the first in the series.

TN: Do you have any future projects/novel ideas in mind?

EN: I have my first ever manuscript waiting in the wings. I call it my practice lesson because in it I did everything a new author could possibly do wrong! I still love the plot idea, so the outline is pretty much there, but it will require a complete rewrite.

TN: Thank you Elizabeth for sharing with my readers.

Betty to Betty

(August 30, 2018 Thursday Morning Blogspot Interview with Betty Thomason Owens)

Hello, Thursday Morning readers! I have a special treat for you this morning, so pour another cup, and settle in.

Elizabeth “Betty” Noyes is one of my favorite authors. I’ll never forget the first time I picked up one of her books, also published by Write Integrity Press. I was so amazed by the world she created, the characters, and well-researched background. With the recent release of Imperfect Promises, the series is now complete.

So, let’s get down to business!

Thank you, Betty Noyes, for taking the time to visit with me. There are two very important elements in your Imperfect series: family and setting. As an introduction to the stories, please tell us a little about each of these elements.

Family – I am a Christian writing for a Christian press, but I don’t want to just ‘preach to the choir.’ As we age and die off, the choir must be replenished. I want to reach outside the Christian community for those readers searching for a good, clean, entertaining book that isn’t glutted with the profanity, explicit violence, and gratuitous sex so prevalent in today’s literature. My goal is to deliver a satisfying, entertaining story that readers can get lost in while ingesting some of the seeds I’ve sown. I want them to see Christians, not as adversaries, but as real people like themselves, people who struggle with the same problems, moral dilemmas, and failings. In my books, I want them to know what a strong, family unit can do through love, support, and devotion. I believe our country and way of life is in peril unless we reestablish and fortify the family unit.

Setting – The key to engaging a reader is to provide a connection for them—to a character(s), to an event or circumstance, and/or to a setting. The trick is to describe these people/events/places just enough to give something familiar to the reader, someone they can picture, an event they recall, or a place they’ve been to or seen. For example, I think just about everybody can remember a time spent in doctor’s office or hospital emergency waiting room. Enough description—uncomfortable chairs all lined up, squalid carpeting, antiseptic smells, sick people slumped over, a sobbing child, television turned to a boring program, dogeared outdated magazines—can drop you right back to that moment.

The opening scene of your final book is gritty, and kind of ugly, but a page-turner, because I want to find out why Jonas Cameron is in this place, doing what he’s doing. How would you describe your main character? Give readers a sense of who he is (without revealing too much).

It’s interesting to me that you see the opening chapter as gritty and kind of ugly because all of my male readers loved the realism. That’s been one of my biggest struggles while writing from dual point of views. As a woman, it’s hard to put myself into the mind of a man. That’s why I have several male beta readers I call upon all the time. This opening scene does not show Nigeria as the beautiful country it actually is, rather it reveals the mindset of the main character, a soldier. It reflects the resentment he feels for being there, the extended time his mission has taken, the harsh landscape and difficult weather conditions he’s subjected himself to, how he grapples with doing the deed, and the fact that he might not yet get to leave. All of these factors flavor his attitude, his state of mind, his thoughts.

As I mentioned earlier, all my characters are flawed, hence the name Imperfectin the titles. We all mean well, but seldom live up to our intentions. Jonas is the middle child, older than his twin sisters, but the youngest of the three brothers. While he followed in his brothers’ footsteps and joined the military right out of college, Jonas’s path took him down some pretty dark roads. Now separated from that life, he’s still bound by oath to keep those secrets, and struggles with the right or wrongness of his past decisions.

I loved the realism. I was immediately drawn in to the story. And you’re right about male readers. In the last couple of books before this one, I picked up the idea that Jonas is a little hopeless where love is concerned. It will take a special woman to deal with his past. So, who is Shea Townsend? Can you give us a glimpse into her character?

Jonas comes with the typical bachelor attitude. He’s watched his two older brothers and wants to sow his wild oats just as they did. But as his brothers and sisters all fall into committed relationships, he begins to recognize the emptiness of his life. He sees the joy his siblings have found, and wonders if it might be available to him, too.

Shea Townsend is a complicated character. She lost her mother’s influence at an early age, and was raised by a mentally unstable father who saw her more as another hand to help out than as a child to raise. Having grown up on a cattle farm, she became very knowledgeable about the biological workings of the world and yet remained intriguingly naïve with little real-world exposure. When her one foray into a relationship ended in betrayal, she chose to protect herself by shutting down any man who showed interest in her.

Shea actually appeared in book one of the series, and had several more interactions with Jonas as the series progressed. Their connection was a slow build, a necessary requirement given her wariness and his commitment phobia. They actually became friends first, before the attraction between them was allowed to sizzle. Shea’s character arc takes from self-inflicted independence and zero trust to accepting that others could love her without having a hidden agenda. She learns to accept Jonas as he is, while recognizing there are some parts of him she’ll never know.

About the author: Who is Elizabeth Noyes?

I’m a southern girl. I grew up in Mobile, Alabama, but lost much of my southern accent when I married an Army man and spent the next twenty-five years following him around the world. Now that we’ve settled in a small town on the outskirts of Atlanta, I like to say that I still speak the language.

My husband and I still like to travel, but we also enjoy spending time with our three grandchildren who live nearby. We go to soccer games and gymnastic meets, and babysit the g-kids and g-dogs whenever asked. I’m involved in several Bible studies and am active in our church, but I also enjoy playing bridge and baking. Oh yes, I’m an avid reader and usually consume 3-4 books a week.

Of course, there’s my writing. I’m not the typical author who sets a word count quota and works a little bit every single day. When an idea comes to mind, I will spend hours upon hours for days upon days lost in the story until I get it all down.

I like your writing style! You visited the setting of your Imperfect stories last year, and I believe it was a special time for you. Tell us a little about that adventure.

As I mentioned, my husband and I enjoy traveling. Alaska was one place I’d not been, but he’d made many visits there while still in the service. I finally talked him into going (I told him I was going with or without him!), and he agreed it would be fun. The cruise to Alaska turned into a train trip across Canada following the cruise, and then it morphed into a road trip across the northwestern United States the week before the cruise. We spent a year planning all the details.

On this road trip we took Route 93 down through Montana and Idaho to the (fictional) town of Hastings Bluff where the Camerons live. We stopped in the neighboring (real) town of Challis for lunch, toured the area, visited the library (yes, I sent them my books), and pointed out the places where different events in the books took place. What can I say? It’s was magical. Like coming home!


As this series ends, are you sad to say goodbye?

I’ve read many series that seem to go on and on … until I got tired of them and just stopped reading. I didn’t want my readers to reach that point. Could the story continue? Absolutely, I mean life goes on, right? Do my readers clamor for more? Yes, they do. Some have asked for a continuation, others want the parents’ story, and still others have asked for a spinoff. While I won’t rule out any possibilities, I’ve set my mind on another project for now.

Saying goodbye to Cate and Cody Cameron, Garrett and TJ, Wade and Lucy, Jonas and Shea, Mallory and James, and Cassie and Derek is … I’ll be honest, it’s hard. It hurts. They’ve become very real to me. They’re family, but I know I’m leaving them in the fond hearts of my readers, so I’m okay with The End.

What’s next for you?

I mentioned a new project above, but I actually have three I’m considering. One is a two-part story, another is a three-book trilogy, and the third is similar to The Imperfect Series, but with totally different characters. All three projects are screaming to be heard, but I need to get through the flurry of book release activities before I can settle in for a long day of writing. That’s when I’ll determine which of these new characters want most to be heard!

Birthing A Hero

(September 25, 2018 Interview with Sandra Ardoin – Seriously Write blogspot)

Birthing a Hero By Elizabeth Noyes

When a reader wants to chat about my books, I let them do the talking. With a few guided questions and a keen ear, their feedback can provide real reader insight. Some may prattle on about the plot while others revisit the location, the twists and turns, hijinks, and scenes that made them laugh or cry. Always, though, without exception, the characters are what kept them turning the pages. 

This Amazon review of my first book is from a complete stranger and sums up what many of my readers have told me:

“I am usually not a fan of adventure writing or masculine female characters. Everyone who’s already read Imperfect Wings knows it looks, at first glance, like a huge dose of each. Let me tell you, once I reached page 42, I could not put this book down. I loved TJ and Garrett, loved their romance (so refreshingly believable), loved the decency of the brothers and the whole family …” 

After seeing this, I knew my characters were golden. I also realized strong, well-developed characters populate the books I read. In other words, I write what I read.

How do you turn a character into a real, 3-D person that readers will love?

There are writing resources galore, any of which can explain the mechanics of character development better than I can, but this is how I go about it.

Step 1: Everything that looks too perfect is too perfect to be perfect.

My hero starts out as a vague idea with genetically determined characteristics. I can’t pick him out of lineup yet, so I sift through online photos until “The One” steps forward and says, “Hello, sweetheart. I’m ready to tell my story.”

Step 2: A rose by any other name …

Names are important. I dig through census reports, telephone listings, popular baby names of his birth year, and much more because the name has to fit his age, location, ethnicity, family socio-economic status, and his personality.

Memorable characters need memorable names. Think Holly Golightly, Atticus Finch, Inigo Montoya, Hannibal Lecter, Rocky Balboa, and yes, even Christian Grey.

Step 3: Nobody looks like what they really are on the inside.

Now that I know my hero’s voice and name and can pick him out of a lineup, who is he really?

Readers want living, breathing characters with personality, an ego, faults, feelings, failings, thoughts, reactions, regrets, vulnerabilities, emotions, and much more. These heroes have hopes and dreams, likes and dislikes, and sometimes they do stupid things for right or wrong reasons. Just like you and me. That allows the reader to relate … and connect. All we as writers have to do is imbue these traits in our characters through dialogue (internal and spoken), actions, and emotions. I know I’ve achieved this when I find myself laughing or crying over a scene.

A Christian Writer’s World ~~ Characters who grip your heart

(August 21, 2018 Interview with Lena Nelson Dooley – A Christian Writer’s World Blogspot)

IMPERFECT PROMISES – Elizabeth Noyes – One Free Book

Welcome, Elizabeth. Tell us how much of yourself you write into your characters.

I believe most authors will tell you there’s a little piece, and sometimes a very large piece of themselves, in every character. That’s certainly the case with my characters in the Imperfect Series.

What is the quirkiest thing you have ever done?

I once accepted a dare to cross a railroad bridge that spanned a river in my hometown. As someone who’s afraid of heights, this proved rather foolhardy on my part. Halfway across, I heard the train whistle, panicked, and jumped from the trestle into the river. To this day, I refuse to walk across a bridge and won’t go near train tracks on foot.

When did you first discover that you were a writer?

I’ve always been a writer harking back to elementary school days. I wrote skits and plays, and even won $5 for an essay. Even in the jobs I’ve held over the years, writing always seemed to become a focal point.

There was a defining moment when I decided to try my hand at writing a novel. I had just finished reading a book by one of my favorite authors and was so disappointed with the ending. The book started with a bang like all his others. He built the tension, had me on the edge of my seat … and then let me down. The ending collapsed with mighty crash as though he had a deadline to meet and couldn’t spare any more time for a proper ending. I came away thinking, “I can do better than that,” and so the challenge was picked up.

Tell us the range of the kinds of books you enjoy reading.

I am an avid reader, usually plowing through 4-5 books each week. I read across lots of genres—romance, suspense, thrillers, dystopian, young adult, science fiction, historical fiction (I especially like a good ‘hysterical’ fiction), westerns, and biographies. I do not care for war stories, tedious espionage, or books riddled with so much technology that it makes my head hurt.

How do you keep your sanity in our run, run, run world?

I consider reading a ready escape and writing as therapy. Because so many of my characters carry some of my own personality traits, I can vent my anger, work out problems, and often write my worries away.

How do you choose your characters’ names?

There’s not a single cut and dried method to this madness. First, I consider the gender, age, personality, ethnicity, and the era. Occupation and locale play an important part. I often look up census lists for a particular area, but I also keep a list of names that catch my attention. For me, some names can carry a negative or positive connotation because of past experiences, so depending on their good guy/bad guy status, that can come into play. Name combinations also have to have a certain ring or rhythm. In the end, the name has to fit the character’s personality—I’ve been known to change a character’s name two or three times during the course of a first draft as his personality emerges.

In one of my early books, I gave a character a name, but when I was writing, I kept typing another name. Finally, I changed it to what kept coming. I guess he didn’t like the first one. What is the accomplishment that you are most proud of?

The accomplishment that stands out most in my mind is when I submitted my first book to a contest. It took me three long years to write Imperfect Wings (I was still working full time then), and another year to call an end to the endless edits, tweaking, and polishing. It took a great deal of courage for me to then lay my baby out there for strangers to read and critique. I was thrilled to receive the call that it had been awarded second place in the contest.

That’s great. If you were an animal, which one would you be, and why?

I would be a lion because I can make decisions, am very goal-oriented and persistent, have strong opinions, and often fall into leadership roles.

What is your favorite food?

Ahhhh, pasta. I love the carbs, though they don’t necessarily love me!

What is the problem with writing that was your greatest roadblock, and how did you overcome it?

When I first received a contract for the book I’d written plus the other four (as of then unwritten), I also received a deadline. For a short while, I allowed that deadline to influence my writing, which was not good. Everything I wrote felt forced, stilted. Pleasure became business, and some of the joy dissipated. I talked to my publisher about my concerns. She eased my fears about failing to meet a deadline; gave me great encouragement and support, which took the burden away.

Tell us about the featured book.

The Imperfect Series centers around a ranching family in rural Idaho—the mother, father, and their five adult children. The initial premise was a story about the parents, but halfway through one of the sons began to dominate the story. I set the parents aside and tried to write the interloper out of my head … and that became the first book in the series. Of course, each of the siblings all began to clamor for their own story at that point, so I set out to do just that. And that’s how the series was born.

Imperfect Promises is the fifth and final installment of the series, and centers around what I consider the most controversial of the siblings. This book includes many of the recurring characters the readers have come to know, and also tons of edgy action, but in this story the main protagonist reveals a vulnerable side not seen before. It’s a roller-coaster of emotions and heart-pounding action, but (hopefully) also provides a satisfactory conclusion to the series.

Featured Writer on Wellness: Elizabeth Noyes

(August 22, 2018 – Interview with Colleen Story on her Writing and Wellness Blogspot)

Rejection is a soul-killer that naturally leads to depression, anxiety, self-doubt, isolation, and just plain wanting to give up and crawl in a hole.

You’ve heard the term, “Your own worst critic?” That’s me. I brood and simmer and stew for a couple of days, but eventually I pick myself up and try again.

I have a motto that I often hide behind: Whether my work gets published or not, whether anyone likes it, I’m still going to write. It’s who I am.

How I Discovered What Rejection Really Is

How do I cope? I suppose I would call what I do a form of meditation. I need alone time to get inside my head and separate my thoughts from the buzzing of all the characters who live there.

Road trip through Idaho
September 2017

One thing my mother always said: “Never lie to yourself.”  That’s when I pull out all the hurt, pain, and rejection, and examine them for what they are—distractions. After all the self-analysis, I realize I’m happiest when writing. Time ceases to exist when I’m in the zone. Worldly worries fall away.

The small fictional town of Hastings Bluff, Idaho is one of the settings in all five of The Imperfect Series books.

One Solution for Writers with Reynaud’s Syndrome

When I get into the “zone,” I find myself sitting for hours at a time. This is problematic for my arthritis and MCTD, so I set reminders every hour to get up and stretch. Unfortunately, I don’t always follow through, especially when I’m chasing a scene. I did invest in a quality, ergonomically correct chair. I also keep a small space heater under my desk year-round since my feet and hands stay cold (Reynaud’s syndrome).

“The key to my creativity: I read. A lot.

Route 93 plays a prominent role in The Imperfect Series.

I love finding a quirky turn of phrase or some original thinking. It’s stimulating and

encourages me to think outside the box. I also do what I call sleep writing. When I hit a stumbling block or can’t figure my way out of a box, I lie down on my bed, close my eyes, and shut the world around me out. Without visual or audial distractions, my brain relaxes and clarity returns.

My “nap” sometimes lasts five minutes, sometimes an hour, but it works every time.

True Writers Can’t Walk Away

My darkest moment came with my first rejection. Everyone told me I would need a thick hide, but I had read all the teaching books, studied other authors’ techniques, attended conferences, took classes, and then edited and tweaked and polished until I was sure I had the next bestseller. And then came the “no thank you.” It broke my heart, crushed my spirit, and left me with the realization that my dreams were foolish. I walked away from my computer, determined never to try again. Except that true writers have an urge that can’t be denied.

Writing is a bit like therapy. You get to create a fictional world where you get a second chance to make a different decision, to cast out all your demons, to try new adventures. True writers can’t walk away.

A Contest Can Create Surprising Benefits for a Writer

It took me three long years to write Imperfect Wings and another year to say, “Enough!” to all the polishing and tweaking. And then I had to work up enough courage to let others read it.

I chose a small contest hosted by a group in Texas. I mean, no one knew me there and it was unlikely I’d ever meet them, right? I entered the contest and promptly put it out of my mind.

Imagine by surprise, delight, and giddiness when I received a call from the contest coordinators. Imperfect Wings had taken second place in the Romantic Suspense category! Others—professionals—had read my book and liked it enough to honor it with an award.

Salmon River

My husband and I followed the very scenic Route 93 along the Salmon River all the way from the Montana border the small town of Salmon, and then on to the even smaller towns of Challis and Mackay (pronounced MACK-ee).

My Local Fans Have Become Like Family

I have a local fan base that are rabid about my books. They can’t wait to get them and then read through them in a single sitting! They support me in church, in my community, online, and even give my books as gifts for Christmas, birthdays, any holiday.

I feel a deep sense of gratitude and commitment to them and will do everything in my power to not let them down. They’ve become family.

Advice for a Young Writer: Use It As Your Own Personal Therapy

I have been asked for advice several times. My first question is always, “Why do you want to be writer?”

There is no right or wrong answer, though some reason will support you better through the difficult course of learning. I would tell them to read. Voraciously. Learn from other authors. Attend writing conferences where you network, attend courses led by those who have already walked your path. I would advise them how hard the journey will be, with both ups and downs. Last, I will say, “Write. No matter how hard life gets, no matter how blocked your creative side becomes, no matter how painful the rejection (or critique)—write. Use it as your own personal therapy.”

The Imperfect Tie Between Characters, Themes, and Titles

(Blog written for the September-October 2018 CelebrateLit Blog Tour)

The Imperfect Tie Between Characters, Themes, and Titles

I love reading across all genres. If it’s well- written, I’m an easy catch. What I don’t like is when fictional characters are portrayed as model-worthy with perfect looks, perfect physiques, and perfect personalities. Yuk! I’ve never met a perfect person.

To quote Mark Twain, “The only difference between reality and fiction is that fiction needs to be credible.”

I want characters with the same flaws as you and me—judgmental, short-tempered, guilt-ridden, egotistical, defiant, withdrawn, too-skinny, compassionate, couch potatoes, foolish, silly, serious, low self-esteem, arrogant, hurt, guilty, deceiving, generous… in other words, real people. These are character traits I relate to, and they come alive on the pages, giving hope that we can also learn from our mistakes and grow into something better.

The characters in the Imperfect Series let themselves and others down. They struggle with life issues, make poor decisions, grieve over mistakes, and then pick themselves up and go on.

In Imperfect Wings, guilt and low self esteem plague TJ, while her male counterpart, Garrett, struggles with anger issues. In Imperfect Trust, yeah, trust was a problem for both Lucy and Wade. With Imperfect Bonds, Cassidy fights for her sister’s forgiveness as she deals with feelings of inadequacy … both of which carry over into her relationship with Derek. In Imperfect Lies—yep, another obvious theme. Lies from the past come back to haunt Mallory and James.

Get The Imperfect Series on Amazon

In the final book of the series, Imperfect Promises, the main male character, Jonas, is by a nature a control freak. He suffers from guilt over a perceived failure when at his deepest core he is a protector and perfectionist. Shea, the female protagonist, rose from the ashes of a devastating childhood to forge a new life for herself. Both discover that promises made to themselves and to others can’t always be kept. Despite best intentions, life sometimes gets in the way.

Read For The Sake of Reading … Even Your Own Stuff

I’m a writer. I’m also an avid reader. I love getting lost in a good book that takes me to a quiet place. There, life’s distractions cease to exist for a little while.

When I started The Imperfect Series, I pledged to give my readers a similar haven, somewhere they too could escape. Recently, I realize how imperfect was the promise I’d made.

While working on the fifth and final book of the series, I revisited the first book for information. I wanted to use a phrase, one I thought I might have already used. Since repetition is one of the many sins the writing authorities abhor, I picked up my paperback copy and thumbed through the first chapter. Hours and hours later, after reading Imperfect Wings cover-to-cover, imagine my surprise when I closed the book and marveled, “Did I really write this?”

I liked it. No, I loved it! That was my epiphany moment.

I realized I had never read any of my own stories for the sheer pleasure of enjoying a good book. I had gotten so wrapped up in the mechanics of writing (outline, structure, plot, characters, edits, polishing, marketing) that I couldn’t see the story for the chapters, scenes, paragraphs, and words. I’d depended on outside influences—critique partners, resources, beta readers, editors, and my publisher—to validate my work. No wonder I battle doubts with every new release. I hadn’t read my own stories as a reader to see if they passed my own discriminating standards as a reader!

Advice to authors: Take time to enjoy your work. Give yourself time and space away from your story, and then sit down and read your story as a connoisseur of good books, not with a critical eye—because any writer will tell you the “fixing” never ends.

Get The Imperfect Series on Amazon

Launch Week Activities



Read Elizabeth Noyes interview ith Theresa Nash




Imperfect Promises on the Fussy Librarian Newsletter






Interview on Lena Nelson Dooley’s blog








Imperfect Promises makes Andrea Bailey’s Recommended Reads List









Interview with Colleen Story