Wednesday, May 10, 2017

COMING HOME, a Tiny House Collection - Michael Ehret, and others - One Free Book

Dear Readers, tiny houses are a new concept. They’re featured on a TV show, and there’s a lot of buzz about them. Now this tiny house romance collection is available. And Mike Ehret’s novella is his debut book. So I’m interviewing him about the book and introducing you to him. I've known Mike a long time and worked with him on the ACFW Journal.

Bio: Michael Ehret has accepted God's invitation and is a freelance editor at WritingOnTheFineLine.com. In addition, he's worked as editor-in-chief of the ACFW Journal for the American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW). He pays the bills as a marketing communications writer and sharpened his writing and editing skills as a reporter for The Indianapolis News and The Indianapolis Star.

How did your story for the collection come about?  
How did I come up with the idea? You’re asking a Seat Of The Pants (SOTP) writer how he came up with the idea? I sat down at the computer, opened a Word document, and started writing. Okay, so there’s a little more to it than that.

When we knew we wanted to do this novella collection idea centered around tiny houses, my wife and I had just finished touring the Tiny House Road Show when it stopped here in Indianapolis. On a subsequent weekend trip to Cincinnati, we brainstormed a couple ideas about how it could be approached.

What if? What if the man in the story was a writer for an architectural journal who thought himself too sophisticated to do a story on tiny houses? What if the woman was the president of a company building tiny houses with the idea to use the proceeds to battle homelessness (and who also provides tiny houses, at cost, to those who need a place to live off the streets)? Then, what if both of these people had experienced homelessness in different forms and it had drastically affected their lives, but in different, opposite ways?

But I still couldn’t seem to get the story started in a way that fired my imagination. Then one day, I’m driving around the Northside of Indianapolis (where my place of work is located) and I spot a street sign for Timberly Drive and the voice of my female character just pops into my mind and starts talking.

I’m just going to put it out there. My name’s Timberley. Yeah, Timberley. Get over it; I did long ago, okay? What can a girl say? My father the dealmaker cut what he called a “win-win” with my mother. Trouble is, there were three people in the deal and only two of them “won-won.”

From there the story began to unfold.

Homelessness expanded her world and constricted his. Now she needs his help, but he only remembers the pain. Can they find big love in a tiny house?

Are these stories connected in some way? If so, how?
The only thing they have in common is that all involve a tiny house in some way.

What are you reading right now?
James L. Rubart’s The Long Journey to Jake Palmer.

I loved that book. How many other books have you had published?
This is my first.

What is the hardest thing about writing a part of a collection?
Truthfully, finding the time to write is the hardest thing. My job is very demanding, and I have other commitments that are important to me. But when God personally invites you into “a new season of writing” it’s hard to say no.

How did collaborating with this team impact you?
It was interesting. Particularly being the only male in the collection. My story definitely fits in the collection, but it is also definitely different. One great thing about the collaboration is that all of the other authors are great encouragers—and good friends.

What did you want the reader to take away from your story?
Two things. Don’t let the world define your life. Don’t find your identity in the things of this world. Second, the importance of personal integrity.

Please give us a peek into your story.
(This is a bit from the middle that’s part of my favorite scene. To set it up just a little, Rafe and Berly are about to have their second “date”. They are still feeling each other out and looking for common ground. There is attraction, but they’ve only just met so there’s also tension.)

Rafe saw Berly pull into the parking lot. Honda Accord, newer model. It looked like the Touring version, so a confident V6. He rose, trashed his cup, grabbed the notebook, and headed for the door. He didn’t want her and Carl coming into contact. Carl’s too chatty. Though he had seemed rather intimidated by his encounter with Berly and her determination.

Still, better to not risk it.

Ah, but Berly’s no-holds-barred confidence was a primary driver of his own interest. After the curly auburn hair, fair skin, blue eyes, and that laugh—the one that started in her eyes and ended in his heart.

He had to make this work.

He popped down his shades as he exited the shop. The sun was bright—plus he was feeling a little exposed.

“Nice car,” he said as Berly stepped out of the vehicle and closed the door.

“Oh, you startled me!”

His laugh must have amused her, because she looked at him sideways for a moment, as if measuring him. It seemed her glance lingered briefly on the notebook. “Thanks, it’s the touring model.”

“V6?”

“Of course.”

Rafe nodded and walked around the car, checking her tire choice, running his hand over the hood. Trying to think of how to start.

“It’s not for sale,” she said.

“I’m not in the market … for a car.”

Was that a step too far? Maybe, but he didn’t think so.

“Some days I live in that thing, traveling from site to site,” she said, choosing to ignore the line.
Rafe nodded. “I’ve found you can tell a lot about people by the cars they choose to own. This one tells me you’re safe, reliable. Close to staid, but not quite. Not with the six. You have your lead foot moments.”

Her hands on her waist issued a challenge of their own. “And yours?
“Black Beemer.” He tilted his head to her left.

“Ah. Well, to me that screams, Ostentatious. Overrated. Overpriced.” And after a brief pause, “Compensating.”

Rafe fought down a laugh and forced a frown. “You didn’t even look, Ms. Charles.”

I love that scene, too. What is the best piece of advice you received as an author?
It came from Allen Arnold: He taught me the importance of writing with God and not for him. His class on this was a turning point for my writing.

Where can my readers find you on the Internet?
I have a rather inactive site for my freelance editing business that I now need to revamp. You can look for me there (https://writingonthefineline.com/). Alternately, I’m really active on Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/michael.l.ehret.7) and fairly active on Twitter (@WritingFineLine).

Thank you, Mike, for sharing this new book with us.

Readers, leave a comment for a chance to win a free copy of the book. You must follow these instructions to be in the drawing. Please tell us where you live, at least the state or territory or country if outside North America. (Comments containing links may be subject to removal by blog owner.)

Void where prohibited; the odds of winning depend on the number of entrants. Entering the giveaway is considered a confirmation of eligibility on behalf of the enterer in accord with these rules and any pertaining local/federal/international laws.

The only notification you’ll receive is the winner post on this blog. So be sure to check back a week from Saturday to see if you won. You will have 4 weeks from the posting of the winners to claim your book.

If you’re reading this on Goodreads, Google+, Feedblitz, Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin, or Amazon, please come to the blog to leave your comment if you want to be included in the drawing. Here’s a link:

34 comments:

Southern-fried Fiction said...

Lena, I have to tell you when I read Mike's opening paragraph, I was hooked. And excited! I love his voice and his story is so good!! I can't wait for the world to hear our Mike. He's a great editor and I know form experience. He edited the magazine in which I had a humor column. He always made me better.

Congratulations, Mike!

Linda Yezak said...

I am so excited that Mike joined us in this collection. He has a unique, delightfully snarky voice that's just fun to read. Looking forward to much more out of him.

Squeeee!

Good job, Mike!

Michael Ehret said...

See, Lena, I told you the other authors in the collection were encouragers! Lol. Thanks Ane and Linda ... you both made me and "Big Love" better.

Peter Leavell said...

So cool, Mike!!! Congrats. And great interview!

Pamela S. Meyers said...

It's been fun working with Mike on this collection. I haven't yet read his entire story, but the blurbs I've read so far have me looking forward to when I can sit down and read the entire story all in one sitting. I've known for a long time he has great writing chops. He shared the first chapter of something he was working on with us Penwrights (the online group from which Coming Home was born) some time and I was blown away. For years I kept asking him for more chapters. Well, the story in our collection isn't the story he was noodling back then, but if he wrote it, I know it's going to be a winner. Great interview!

Yvonne Anderson said...

I'm enjoying stepping out of my comfort zone with you, Mike. This has been a new experience for me, too, but I can't think of a better group of people to work with.

Michael Ehret said...

Peter, thanks! Just remember, you and the rest of the Thesaurus Wrecks crew are like Shake n Bake ... you helped!

Thanks Pam. Beyond December, what I shared with you earlier, is still in my heart and (mostly) on paper.

Melanie Backus said...

Great post!!! Thank you, Lena! Thank you, Mike!

Melanie Backus, TX

Michael Ehret said...

Thanks for stopping by, Melanie. It was fun to be here with Lena.

Jim H said...

Young person--you did a fine job on that interview. I really liked "writing with God" vs. writing for God. Can't wait to read that story.

Jim Hamlett Greenville, SC (Home state to the NBAA National Football champs--Clemson; the Women's Basketball champs--USC; and the National Baseball champs--Coastal Carolina; and home to a lot of folks struggling with humility this year! :) )

Terrie Todd said...

Michael! I am so proud of you and I can hardly wait to read this creative and timely collection. I hope the houses are the only tiny thing about this book's journey as it hits the market.

Terrie Todd said...

Woops, I didn't follow the instructions. Although, technically, I did... since I do not live in a "state or territory or country if outside North America." I live in Canada. It's inside North America. A pretty big chunk, actually.

Michael Ehret said...

Aww, thanks Jim and Terrie! Miss you guys!

Michael Ehret said...

Shoot, Yvonne, you snuck in there on me! LOL. Yeah, can't wait to read yours, Y. Have always loved your writing.

Larry W. Timm said...

Great to hear about the book, Mike. I look forward to reading it. And I'm also glad to hear you're a SOTP too! I don't think I ever knew that. Awesome.

Lane Hill House said...

Gorgeous cover. Would like to read stories inside! Kathleen - Lane Hill House - MO

Lane Hill House said...

Gorgeous cover. Would like to read stories inside! Kathleen - Lane Hill House - MO

Michael Ehret said...

Larry, SOTP writers unite! Hope you enjoy the book. Would love to know what you think of "Big Love."

Lane Hill House, so glad you like the cover! I'm thrilled with it too. It is the work of the very talented Ken Raney, http://kenraneyartandillustration.blogspot.com/.

Raechel said...

This is really neat! I've seen some of the tiny house shows and find them very enjoyable to watch - never considered a book including them! That sounds fun to read.
Thanks for the interview and giveaway!
Raechel in MN

Michael Ehret said...

Raechel,
Tiny houses are fun! It was so interesting to see the 15 or so different houses that were part of the Tiny House Roadshow.

rubynreba said...

I have watched several TV shows featuring tiny houses. I would love to read these stories!
Beth from IA

Beth Gillihan said...

Love the cover. Friends of mine are selling their house to buy a tiny house. Sounds like a great collection of stories.

Beth in Montana

Michael Ehret said...

RubyNReba and Beth Gillihan,

Thanks for stopping by! The stories are great, I think. They are everything from funny, to poignant, to romantic, to ... all of it!

Connie said...

Congratulations on the publication of your first book. I have seen the Tiny Houses and I think that they are great for sone people but they would certainly limit my book collections! Thanks for sharing the excerpt and offering a giveaway.
Connie from KY
cps1950(at)gmail(dot)com

Clarice G. James said...

While you've been occupied helping others, we've been waiting not-so-patiently to see your name on a book! So glad it's finally happening! You're in good company, too. Congratulations to you all.

Michael Ehret said...

Connie, I know? What would I do with all my books, not to mention CDs and DVDs ...

Clarice, thanks! I'm pretty excited.

Jackie Tessnair said...

I love tiny houses and would love to read this book.I enjoyed reading your post Mike.Thanks for the chance to win this book.

Michael Ehret said...

Jackie, glad you stopped by! Tiny houses are a blast ... my wife and I love to tour them, just for the fun of it.

Linda Kish said...

I wish I was creative but, I am so glad I don't have all of those voices in my head. I love tiny houses and I would love to read this story.

Linda in So Cal

lkish77123 at gmail dot com

Sharon Richmond Bryant said...

Enter me!!
Conway SC.

Michael Ehret said...

Linda,

What voices? (Shh ... he doesn't hear us!) I don't hear any voices. (Combovers are attractive. Your wife would love it!) I'm sure I don't know what you're talking about. (You can still wear those shorts, of course you can! 57 isn't old!)

Sharon,
You got it!

Lourdes said...

Great interview I love the idea of tiny houses and I am looking forward to reading the book.

Lourdes Long Island, NY

Michael Ehret said...

Thanks Lourdes!

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