Thursday, November 14, 2019

Guest blog Interview by Lena Nelson Dooley

I so appreciate Lena Nelson Dooley interviewing me for the launch of Marisol. Here it is--and you can enter for the free book by clicking on her ending link and leaving a comment

Hugs, Elva

MARISOL ~ SPANISH ROSE - Elva Cobb Martin - One Free Book

Author Bio: Elva Cobb Martin is a wife, mother, and grandmother who lives in South Carolina with her husband and a mini-dachshund. A life-long student of history, her favorite city, Charleston, inspires her stories of romance and adventure. Her love of writing grew out of a desire to share exciting stories of courageous characters and communicate truths of the Christian faith to bring hope and encouragement. Connect with her on her web site at

Welcome, Elva. Tell us how much of yourself you write into your characters.
 Not a whole lot. But I do tend to write in my moral sense, strong belief in God and the power of prayer, and love of adventure.

What is the quirkiest thing you have ever done?
I guess it would have to be returning to college as an adult married mommy and going to night school for ten years, taking one course, one night per week. But we finally got that degree.

Good for you. There was a local news story this morning about a man who quit school to join the army in WWII. He just graduated from high school, and he’s in his 90s. When did you first discover you were a writer?
I started writing stories in seventh grade and loved to compete with my good friend for best stories. My horse hero won the race, even with a broken leg! LOL! My writing grew naturally out of my great love of reading. As a child I read constantly. First, fairy tales, then other fiction, like Black Beauty, Flicka, and Nancy Drew Mysteries. Later, I delved into Charles Dickens, Nathanial Hawthorne, Emily Dickinson, and Poe. In high school, I worked on the school newspaper and began writing poetry (to my first love).

When I started college, I had numerous poems printed in the student anthologies. I married after my first year in college.

About ten years later I returned as an adult student to finish my degree. I joined a new writers’ guild some of the English professors formed at that time, and really began to become a better writer. During these years, I also began writing and selling magazine articles, as well as studying novel writing. Magazines that published my articles include Charisma, Decision, Home Life, Living with Children, Mature Living, Pentecostal Evangel, The Christian Writer, and several newspapers.

My first published piece was in the college anthology my freshman year. Tell us the range of the kinds of books you enjoy reading.
Historical romances, Historicals, Mysteries (Robert Whitlow, John Grisham, Agatha Christie)

How do you keep your sanity in our run, run, run world?
I keep a strong daily prayer and Bible study time and stay in church weekly. Also, I have a prayer team, and we share requests and pray for one another. Otherwise, I’d probably be bananas.

How do you choose your character’s names?
In my first novel I inadvertently named my hero and heroine the same names as a twin niece and nephew in another city and didn’t notice until I was in the final draft. I decided to keep the names, but then my sister, their grandmother, remarked that I should also name somebody in the book after their older sister. So-o, like a good Aunt I went back and did a find and replace for a woman lawyer and changed her name to that older sister. But that proved problematic. We kept finding the old name in the proof copies, so I can’t recommend doing this. NOW I am going to use only deceased relative’s names, if any. Other names come to me by my characters reminding me of someone I know, someone who probably will not read the book, for example. :-) I do like Bible names and I do research names for times in history to make sure they were in use. I have a Baby Name book that gives best names by certain years and by country which helps also.

What is the accomplishment that you are most proud of?
Something immediately comes to mind, but I really can’t take credit, as I believe the Lord had the biggest hand in it. As an adult mommy, I dreaded going back to college to get a teaching degree because I knew I would have to take Chemistry and I had no high school classes in it or other college prep classes. But I stood up in front of our little church one Sunday, admitted this concern, and then confessed I was going to go on and enroll but I was going to take the Master Chemist with me. I ended up with an “A” in Chemistry which carried so many quality points it threw me up into graduating magna cum laude. I was in a pleasant daze through the graduation, but half-fearful they’d announce this designation an error before it was over. LOL

I graduated with a BA before I married, but I went to graduate school after marrying and having two children. I thought the students would kind of ignore me, but instead, they included me in everything even though I was so much older than most of them. If you were an animal, which one would be, and why?
I guess, a horse, as they are lovely on earth and will be in the supernatural future as Christ rides a white horse in Revelation when He returns to earth.

What is your favorite food?
Southern corn bread—I guess this goes back to my Cherokee great-grandmother.

What was your greatest writing problem/roadblock, and how did you overcome it?
I believe that would be POV and Deep Point of View and staying in it. I’ve done lots of study on it and now teach classes, but still occasionally find myself slipping out of the POV character’s head with a description or something, as my editor knows.

It took me until about my 3rd book to understand POV, and deep POV came later. Tell us about the featured book.
Marisol is Book 1 in my new Charleston Brides historical series. I already loved pirate tales set in Charles Town and the Caribbean (my first one was published in 2017, In a Pirate’s Debt). Also the idea of indentured servants who came to America from all over the world grabbed my interest. I began to imagine my heroine being born in the Spanish nobility but being forced to flee to the New World and ending up as an indentured servant. I researched Spanish women names and hit on Marisol, which means Mary of Solitude. I decided just how I could make sure she had to flee Spain in a great crisis, fall into many other problems, and would need God’s help and the hero’s help to find a fresh beginning and Happily-Ever-After in the New World. I also gave her my love of horses and a very special talent of dancing the Flamenco with an Andalusian horse partner.

The hero, Captain Ethan Becket, is a very special person also. I made him a former minister of Charles Town who now sails the seas as a privateer, sometimes pirate, grieving the death of his wife and child during birthing. The time period is also during the Spanish Inquisition. My book tag tells it all:

Escaping to the New World is her only option...Rescuing her will wrap the chains of the Inquisition around his neck.

Back cover blurb:
Marisol Valentin flees Spain after murdering the nobleman who molested her. She ends up for sale on the indentured servants’ block at Charles Town harbor—dirty, angry, and with child. Her hopes are shattered, but she must find a refuge for herself and the child she carries. Can this new land offer her the grace, love, and security she craves? Or must she escape again to her only living relative in Cartagena?

Captain Ethan Becket, once a Charles Town minister, now sails the seas as a privateer, grieving his deceased wife. But when he takes captive a ship full of indentured servants, he’s intrigued by the woman whose manners seem much more refined than the average Spanish serving girl. Perfect to become governess for his young son. But when he sets out on a quest to find his captured sister, said to be in Cartagena, little does he expect his new Spanish governess to stow away on his ship with her six-month-old son. Yet her offer of help to free his sister is too tempting to pass up. And her beauty, both inside and out, is too attractive for his heart to protect itself against—until he learns she is a wanted murderess.

As their paths intertwine on a journey filled with danger, intrigue, and romance, only love and the grace of God can overcome the past and ignite a new beginning for Marisol and Ethan.

I would pick up this book because of the cover and the back cover copy. Please give us the first page of the story.
Cadiz, Spain 1740
Marisol Valentin pressed her tearful face against the warm neck of her beloved mare, blocking out for a moment the sickening smell of human blood in the barn corridor. “Goodbye, my dear Jada.”

The horse nickered and nuzzled her, as if understanding. Dragging her feet out of the pregnant Andalusian’s stall, Marisol could no longer squelch the sob that escaped her lips.

She averted her eyes from the form lying in the moonlight near the tack room entrance. The still body of Diego Vargas, nobleman of Spain, sprawled across the dirt passage.

She’d killed him, but it had been her only choice.

Her breath strangled in her throat as she inched by. Somehow she made it across the shadowed stable courtyard and up the rear stairs of the hacienda. Bursting into her bedchamber, she shoved the door closed, and leaned against it. The pressure in her chest, the awful bile churning in her middle, they both rose up to strangle her. She drew in ragged breaths as tears flooded down her cheeks and onto her ripped gown.

Her maid Carmela dropped the camisole she was setting out on the bed. “Oh, my lady, what has happened?”

“Diego Vargas came into the foaling barn after I entered to check on Jada and he...” Her voice broke down. She wrapped her hands around herself and clenched her eyes to block out memories of his savage attack. “He’s ruined me, and I stabbed him.” Her lips trembled. “I only meant to stop him. Not kill him.”

Carmela gasped and her hand flew across her mouth. “Madre de Dios!”

13. How can readers find you on the Internet?

Thank you, Elva, for sharing this book with my blog readers and me. I’m eager to read this story.

Readers, here are links to the book.
Marisol ~ Spanish Rose (Charleston Brides)  - paperback
Marisol ~ Spanish Rose (Charleston Brides Book 1) - Kindle

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.

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Wednesday, November 13, 2019

Never Give Up! Five Steps to a Book Contract

Wednesday, November 13, 2019

Friends please Note: this blog appeared today, Nov. 13, 2019, on Seriously Write -a great help to writers!   Invited by author Sandy Ardoin  Check them out!

Never Give Up! By Elva Cobb Martin

Have you ever thought of giving up on getting your book finished and published? Well, I want to encourage you. Never give up that dream. God is in the business of helping you finish what He has begun in your heart, according to Philippians 1:7 “Being confident of this very thing that he which has begun a good work in your will perform it...”

I wrote my first novel, Summer of Deception, after attending a writers' conference. Once I started submitting it to publishers and agents, it was rejected 26 times. But I kept revising and rewriting. Meantime, my husband and I were called into full-time ministry, and the manuscript went into my attic for the next 20 years. End of story. Right? 

Nope. Summer of Deception, an inspirational romantic suspense, was contracted and published in 2017, thirty years after that first draft. It has spent time on Amazon’s 100 Best Sellers’ List for Women’s Religious Fiction. A prequel, In a Pirate’s Debt, the story of the pirate ancestor of the hero in Summer, soon followed. 

Book 1 in my new Charleston Brides series, Marisol, released this week, depicts a heroine who would not give up. She epitomizes this spirit of not giving up when greatly tempted by circumstances. 

My Five Steps to a Book Contract

Step 1 – Keep God’s Confidence in Yourself and Never Give Up
Many may reject your manuscript, but someone will love it, if you don’t give up.

Step 2 – Hone Your Craft (Check out my Planning Your Novel blog series at

Carve out praying time, writing time, sharpening craft time, and reading time in your genre.

Step 3 – Find Writing Workshops and Critique Groups
How about your local American Christian Fiction Writers’ Chapter?

Step 4 – Help Other Writers
This is a spiritual principle. You will reap help you need when you sow into others.

Step 5 – Learn how to Submit to Editors and Agents
 Follow their submission guidelines.

Can you add to my list? What helped you not give up?


Elva Cobb Martin,  a mother and grandmother, lives in South Carolina with her husband and a senior mini-dachshund named Lucy, and a sea green bird named Atticus. She is the upcoming president of her state chapter of American Christian Fiction Writers, a retired teacher, minister, and now calls herself a full-time writer. Better make that rewriter. A life-long student of history, her favorite city, Charleston, inspires her stories of romance and adventure. She desires to share exciting love stories of courageous characters and communicate truths of the Christian faith to bring hope and encouragement.