Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Author Ann Shorey - THE EDGE OF LIGHT - Free Book

I'm happy to welcome Ann Shorey with her debut novel. Ann, tell us how much of yourself you write into your characters.

A little bit of myself works its way into many of my female characters. In The Edge of Light, the little girl, Luellen, is me as a child.

What is the quirkiest thing you have ever done?

My husband and I danced on a tabletop at a military ball when we were dating, just like in the old Fred Astaire films. Crazy, but fun. Neither one of us drinks alcohol—we were just in love and goofy. Fortunately, the table held our weight or it wouldn’t have been so funny.

How romantic. When did you first discover that you were a writer?

When I was in high school. In my junior year we were given an assignment to write a story. When my English teacher handed the papers back, she encouraged me to continue writing. Before that, I’d made up stories and scenarios with my sister all through our childhood—just didn’t write them down.

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

Almost everything but sci-fi/fantasy, and even some of those if the story captures my imagination. I’m never without a book or two on my nightstand. I love historical novels, literary fiction, and read mysteries for fun. I also enjoy nonfiction, such as Jon Krakauer’s Into Thin Air. One of the best things about reading is being entertained while learning new things. A recent novel, The Hearts of Horses, by Molly Gloss, is a good example. Her captivating story is set in eastern Oregon during World War I. It fascinated me to learn how that conflict affected families in rural areas. And of course, as a writer of historical fiction, I read many nonfiction books for research.

What other books have you written, whether published or not?

I wrote a nonfiction family history, which was privately published in 1998. The title is A Great Cloud of Witnesses. That’s the project that inspired my fiction series. I’ve also written a couple of “practice” novels, which I’m now grateful were never published.

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

With quiet times of Bible reading and prayer; walks with my dog; and escaping into a good book.

How do you choose your characters’ names?

I look for names that reflect my characters in some way. For instance, in The Edge of Light, there is a blacksmith named Jered Pitt. To me “Pitt” sounds kind of dark and harsh, which fits my image of this character.

What is the accomplishment that you are most proud of?

I’d have to say it’s the friendship between my grown daughter and myself. Throughout her childhood, I prayed we’d have a lasting, loving relationship, and the Lord has graciously granted my request. On the professional level, I am thrilled to have my three-book series, At Home in Beldon Grove, contracted by Revell.

If you were an animal, which one would you be, and why?

A wild and free lioness. I love the desert, and the images of lions in Africa conjure up warmth and freedom. On the practical side, being a beloved dog would be comfortable, but there’s something about the idea of running across the open veldt just for the joy of it . . .

My friend, Lisa Harris, who with her family is a missionary in Africa, often has videos of lions they've seen on her blog. I love watching them. Now what is your favorite food?


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

Discouragement. So often I’d be on my knees asking the Lord if He really wanted me to write, or should I quit? I never sensed Him telling me to quit, so I persevered.

I spent many years like that, too. What advice would you give to an author just starting out?

Consider your first book or two as practice runs. There’s no better way to learn to write fiction than to write and re-write. If a book is rejected several times, learn from it and start another. Take your writing seriously and don’t let people diminish your dream. Go to every good conference you can afford and take the classes offered that pertain to your work.

What would you like to tell us about the featured book?

The Edge of Light is set in 1838 in Missouri and Illinois. Molly McGarvie has three small children and is pregnant with her fourth when her husband dies of cholera. She believes life can’t get any worse—but it does. The story offers a look at women’s lives in a time when their options were severely limited. According to advance readers, how Molly carries on in the face of disaster is page-turning fiction.

How can readers find you on the Internet?


Thank you, Ann for spending this time with us.

Readers, you can order The Edge of Light by using this link:

Leave a comment for a chance to win a free copy of the book.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Author Kaye Dacus - STAND-IN GROOM - Free Book

I've watched Kaye during much of her journey to publication, and I'm pleased to introduce her to you with her debut book. Welcome, Kaye, tell us how much of yourself you write into your characters.

There’s usually a pretty good bit of me in every character I write, even when they’re nothing like me. Because I’m not an adventure-seeking kind of person, each character I create is a way for me to experience situations I would not necessarily want to put myself into, so it’s a way of living vicariously, of challenging myself to see what decisions I might make if I were faced with the kinds of conflicts I throw at my characters. The act of writing is an act of self-exploration, of stretching myself beyond the limitations on my own life—whether of my own making or of outside influence. And it is through my characters that I’m able to work through my personal struggles and issues by layering those emotions, questions, doubts, and concerns into the makeup of my characters.

What is the quirkiest thing you have ever done?

I’d have to say that the quirkiest thing I’ve ever done would be when I took Rachel Hauck and Susan May Warren to the Bluebird Café a few years ago so they could experience one of the most iconic music venues in Nashville—and I spent most of the evening writing a chapter of Stand-In Groom on every napkin I could get my hands on.

When did you first discover that you were a writer?

From the earliest age, I always lived in a world of imagination, but it wasn’t until I was in my early teens that I started actually putting my imaginings down on paper. The first thing I ever wrote that was more than just some scene or vignette that came to mind was when I started writing a “sequel” to my favorite YA romance novel, Victoria by Willo Davis Roberts. I never finished it. In fact, though I wrote prolifically through my teens, I never let anyone else read what I’d written until I took a creative writing class my senior year of high school—and was told that I should consider pursuing it further. Even though I majored in Creative Writing as an undergrad student, it wasn’t until after I attended my first writing conference (Blue Ridge Mountain Christian Writers’ Conference in 2001) that I began calling myself a “writer.”

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

I tend to enjoy stories that have a strong romantic thread, whether they’re contemporary or historical, or even fantasy, science fiction, political thrillers, or mysteries. As anyone who’s read my blog regularly knows, Jane Austen is my favorite author; and with a degree in English, I’m sure it’s not hard to imagine that I do tend to read classics often. I’m currently reading the works of Elizabeth Gaskell, an early Victorian contemporary of Charles Dickens, who gave us Cranford, North and South, and Wives and Daughters, all of which have been adapted to film in the past several years. While I love the snap and sparkle and pacing of modern writers, I also love to immerse myself in the flowing, descriptive language of our counterparts of two hundred years ago. This year, I set reading goals for myself, making sure I had a good balance of CBA, ABA, and classic fiction, including My Name Is Russell Fink by Michael Snyder, Faking Grace by Tamara Leigh, Shadow Music by Julie Garwood, The Bourne Identity by Robert Ludlum, Bleak House by Charles Dickens, and Mary Barton by Elizabeth Gaskell.

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

I have a distinct advantage over a lot of people when it comes to this: I’m single and I live alone. Though I do desire to fall in love and marry, at this point in my life, singleness is a blessing, as it gives me the time I need not just for my writing, but for connecting with God and family and friends. I work a full-time, eight-to-five job as a copy editor, but my evenings are my own, with very few outside demands on my time other than those I’ve gladly taken on—such as writing deadlines! I go to the gym and workout with a friend every evening after work, and I swim on the weekends. It’s amazing the brainstorming I can get done while in the pool. In fact, it was while swimming that I came up with some of my favorite scenes in Stand-In Groom.
I have also learned over the years how to say NO. That was really hard for me for a very long time, as I always felt that people wouldn’t like me any more if I said I couldn’t do something or be somewhere. But six years of working fulltime and going to college/graduate school part-time helped me see the importance of prioritizing and not overcommitting myself. And all my friends still like me, even when I say no. :-)

How do you choose your characters’ names?

The characters’ names usually come to me along with the character, though that’s usually more true of my heroes than my heroines (my heroes usually come to me more fully formed than my heroines do too). When I first started writing Stand-In Groom, because my heroine wasn’t forthcoming with her name from the beginning, I named her Nell, my middle name. I wanted something classic with the strength of a one-syllable name. When I started submitting it for critique, however, so many questions came up about whether or not it was too autobiographical, with my heroine sharing part of my name, that I knew I had to change it. So Nell became Anne—and once I renamed her, it was amazing the transformation that the character underwent. She became more confident, a more successful businesswoman, and an all-around more well-rounded character.

I collect names from traditional places (baby name books, family genealogy), but also from more unusual places, such as movie credits or acknowledgment lists in books or CD-inserts. When I need a Cajun surname for someone in Bonneterre (the fictional Louisiana city where Stand-In Groom and its follow-up novels are set), I need look no further than my LSU yearbooks.

What is the accomplishment that you are most proud of?

I am most proud of the fact that, even though I took a detour or two along the way, I eventually got on track and followed the calling God put on my life to write and to teach others about writing. While the teaching I do isn’t in an official classroom, it’s through my blog and at my local writing group’s monthly meetings, every time I do it, I’m filled with a sense of accomplishment. Through teaching, I’m pursuing and fulfilling the desire God laid on my heart—to give others the encouragement and opportunity to learn and grow as writers that I didn’t get until I was almost thirty years old.

If you were an animal, which one would you be, and why?

Even though I’m allergic and I’m not a big fan of them anyway, I think I’d have to say I’d want to be a cat. They can do whatever they want to do, act however they want to act, and their owners still dote on them. What a life!

What is your favorite food?

Because my father was stationed in New Mexico for most of my childhood, my favorite cuisine is New Mexico-style Mexican food—with plenty of green chiles and heat! But because that’s hard to get here in Tennessee, my second favorite is Popeye’s spicy fried chicken with a side of red-beans-and-rice and beignets for dessert—you can take the girl out of Louisiana, but you can’t take the Louisiana out of the girl!

Tell us a little about your journey to publication.

My journey to publication, like the majority of authors, is about perseverance. But for me, the perseverance led me along a somewhat different path. As I’ve already mentioned, I’ve spent my entire life making up stories. After having a wonderful experience in my high school creative writing class, I felt God was calling me to major in CW in college—both to write and to teach.
However, once I got there, I realized I didn’t write the kind of stuff that was expected—literary, dark, angst-ridden and modeled after Hemingway and Faulkner not Jane Austen or the contemporary romance authors I read. After being completely broken down to the point where I swore I’d never let anyone read anything I’d written again, I dropped out of college and started working full time—and I kept my writing secret again.
But after a few years, I couldn’t deny God’s calling on my life to finish my education, and to focus that education on writing. So, while working full time at Nashville’s daily newspaper, I went back to college part-time. The first class I took was the general Creative Writing course. My professor was so supportive and encouraging about my writing that I regained the confidence in the gift God had given me.

Then, in 2001, I “mysteriously” received a brochure in the mail for the Blue Ridge Mountains Christian Writers’ Conference. My parents “gave” it to me as an early thirtieth-birthday present. I vividly remember spending the second night of the conference shut up in my dorm room in tears—not because I was sad, but because I was so overwhelmed at being surrounded by other people who wrote the same kind of stories I did, who cut pictures out of magazines because the models looked like their characters, who could teach me the basic fundamentals of how to structure a novel—not just tell me to “write something and turn it in.”
At that conference, I met Rachel Hauck and Patty Smith Hall, who not only generously listened to me read from my (what I now know is poorly written) manuscript, but who suggested I join what was then known as American Christian Romance Writers (now ACFW).

While finishing college and getting started on my master’s degree in Writing Popular Fiction (www.setonhill.edu), I became more and more involved in ACFW—first as a volunteer, then as an elected officer, and then as Vice President—and through that wonderful organization, I met mentors and critique partners and started networking with editors and agents.
In 2006, the first twenty-five pages of Stand-In Groom (then entitled Happy Endings Inc.) placed second in the ACFW Genesis contest. At that conference, I approached agent Chip MacGregor and asked if I could submit my proposal to him.
In January 2007, Chip signed me on as a client, and in December 2007, I received my first contract from Barbour, for Stand-In Groom. I have recently signed contracts for two follow-up books: Menu for Romance (Fall 2009 release) and A Case for Love (Spring 2010 release).

I wish I had some wonderful, encouraging story about being rejected so many hundreds of times and still sticking with it. The truth is that the first manuscript I ever submitted is being published. But it’s a manuscript that went through three years of critiquing, editing, and revisions before I felt it was ready to go out. And when I trace my journey back to 2003 when I originally came up with the idea for Stand-In Groom, after completing four other manuscripts, I started writing that book—and then stuck with it through the end—because I had faith in God’s promise that I was on the right path and doing what I was supposed to be doing.

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

For me, the biggest roadblock in writing was not finding a community of supportive, encouraging, loving writers from whom to learn until I was in my late twenties.

What advice would you give to others who are trying to get their first book published?

I work with a lot of “newbie” writers. The main piece of advice I always give them is: GET YOUR FIRST DRAFT FINISHED. If you’ve never completed a manuscript and you really want to pursue publication, the most important thing you can do is to complete your manuscript.
Two is even better. Don’t spend your time just revising and rewriting your first three chapters for contest entry or submission. I’ve learned more about writing by having to push through and finish manuscripts than I ever did by just playing around with stuff that isn’t finished.

Very good advice. What would you like to tell us about the featured book?

Stand-In Groom represents a life’s journey and a major dream-come-true for me. While I wrote it to entertain, I also hope that readers will be able to sense my desire to reflect Jesus’ light to others.

How can readers find you on the Internet?

Thank you, Kaye, for spending this time with us. I'm sure readers and writers alike will gain a lot from reading about your journey.
Readers, you can order a copy of Stand-In Groom by using this link:

Visit Kaye's web site, and leave a comment for a chance to win a free copy of the book.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

After Christmas Winners!!!

Stacie Vaughan is the winner of Deceptive Promises by Amber Miller.

RaeByuel is the winner of Postmarked Baltimore by Jeff LeJuene.

~ley is the winner of Bayou Betrayal by Robin Caroll.

Please send me your mailing address. There's a link to my email in my complete profile.

If you don't want to miss a single interview or announcement of winners, sign up for FeedBlitz while you're in the right hand column.

I pray your holiday was awesome.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Author Brandilyn Collins - DARK PURSUIT - Free Book

Today, we're welcoming my friend Brandilyn Collins, the master at writing strong Christian suspense. Brandilyn, tell us how much of yourself you write into your characters.

Usually not that much. But in Dark Pursuit one of the two main characters is an elderly suspense author. It was fun taking what I know of writing suspense and infusing it into his persona. In Exposure, my suspense novel releasing in May, the main character, Kaycee, is full of fears, some taken from my own life. I’m not incapacitated by them as she is, but I do have a touch of claustrophobia, can’t take heights, can’t stand going to the dentist, and am not good with bees. Some of these weaknesses on my part have resulted in rather interesting events, which I’ve written about on my blog, Forensics and Faith. A couple of Kaycee’s newspaper columns about her fears were taken from my own past blog posts.

What is the quirkiest thing you have ever done?

What, me quirky? I do get myself into situations sometimes, revolving around trying to gather data for my novels. Like the time I scared a young hot tub repairman to death because I was questioning him about holding down a corpse under the water with the jets on, and would the bubbles go down the corpse’s throat …

I can just imagine the look on his face. When did you first discover that you were a writer?

When I was in the second grade and won the class prize for the best short story. My opening line: Once there was a stallion named Betsy. I’ve been trying to write as eloquently ever since.

What a hoot! A stallion named Betsy? Right. Tell us the range of the kinds of books you enjoy reading.

Suspense, certainly. Also women’s fiction and contemporary fiction. I’ll go from reading a Dean Koontz to reading Anne Rivers Siddons. I love novels that thrill me with their word usage and their characters.

What other books have you written, whether published or not?

I’m currently working on my 20th book. My first published book was a true crime called A Question of Innocence. It’s now out of print. I’ve also written a how-to book on writing fiction called Getting Into Character. My novels are all published by Zondervan. My three-book Bradleyville series was women’s fiction (Cast a Road Before Me, Color the Sidewalk for Me, and Capture the Wind for Me). The rest are suspense. These include the Chelsea Adams series: Eyes of Elisha and Dread Champion. Hidden Faces series: Brink of Death, Stain of Guilt, Dead of Night, and Web of Lies. Kanner Lake series: Violet Dawn, Coral Moon, Crimson Eve, and Amber Morn. And now Dark Pursuit, my first stand-alone. I’ve mentioned my next stand-alone, Exposure, releasing in May. Also releasing in the spring are the two young adult suspense books I wrote with my daughter, Amberly. The Rayne Tour series features Shaley O’Connor, daughter of a rock star. These books are titled Always Watching and Last Breath.

Reading those titles is like reading a list of old friends. How do you keep your sanity in our run, run, run world?

I pray a lot. And I trust God to lead me on His path. It’s as simple—and complex—as that.

How do you choose your characters’ names?

They have to have the right feel to them. They have to be rhythmic. And, of course, they need to be right with the time frame of the book.

What is the accomplishment that you are most proud of?

It’s my and my husband’s accomplishment together. That is modeling to our children what a true Christian marriage looks like.

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

The biggest problem is that it’s doggone hard. And it doesn’t get easier. How to overcome that, book by book? Keep studying the craft. Keep working hard. Keep praying.

What advice would you give to a novelist just starting out?

Be teachable. Understand that learning how to write fiction is a long, difficult road. You have to really, really want to be published in fiction. If not you’ll give up along the way, and that’s okay. It obviously wasn’t for you. If you want it, you’ll hang in there. Learn the craft. Study, study, study. The statistics for published novels is mighty low—maybe 1-2 percent of all those written. You’re going to have to be good enough to beat those odds.

What would you like to tell us about Dark Pursuit?

I enjoy creating the fast-paced plots, but there's always symbolism beneath the story. For years I’ve loved the passage from John Milton’s Paradise Lost about Satan and his cohorts, kicked out of heaven and bemoaning their fate. In revenge Satan visits Adam and Eve on Earth and woos them away from their God. Satan offers them spiritual death—disguised as life. Man falls for the deceit. And so the need for redemption is born. Down the ages some of mankind would embrace redemption; others would be blind to their very need for it.With these thoughts in mind I created the contemporary characters of Dark Pursuit and set them on their twisting path.

From the back cover of Dark Pursuit:

Novelist Darell Brooke lived for his title as King of Suspense—until an auto accident left him unable to concentrate. Two years later, recluse and bitter, he wants one thing: to plot a new novel and regain his reputation.Kaitlan Sering, his twenty-two-year-old granddaughter, once lived for drugs. After she stole from Darell, he cut her off. Now she’s rebuilding her life. But in Kaitlan’s town two women have been murdered, and she’s about to discover a third. She’s even more shocked to realize the culprit—her boyfriend, Craig, the police chief’s son.

Desperate, Kaitlan flees to her estranged grandfather. For over forty years, Darell Brooke has lived suspense. Surely he’ll devise a plan to trap the cunning Craig.But can Darell’s muddled mind do it? And—if he tries—with what motivation? For Kaitlan’s plight may be the stunning answer to the elusive plot he seeks...

Wow! I can hardly wait to read it. How can readers find you on the Internet?

My web site is http://www.brandilyncollins.com/. There you can read about all my books, including the opening chapters. You can also request bookmarks and signed bookplates from the “Free Stuff” link. And you can sign up for my newsletter, Sneak Pique, sent every other month. Sneak Pique includes information on new releases in all genres of Christian fiction, as well as my own news. And there are always chances to win free books.

My blog is http://www.forensicsandfaith.blogspot.com/. There we discuss the craft of fiction, the writing business and the spiritual journey. Plus crazy stories from my own life. Those interested in writing fiction will find a lot of helpful articles in the archives.

Thank you, Brandilyn for spending this time with us.

Readers, you'll want to check out both Brandilyn's web site and her blog. You can order a copy of Dark Pursuit by clicking this link:

Leave a comment for a chance to win a free copy of this book.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Author Amanda Cabot - PAPER ROSES - Free Book

I'm happy to welcome Amanda to our blog, and I was privileged to be an endorser for this book.

Amanda, tell us how much of yourself you write into your characters.

I’d like to say “nothing at all,” but that’s not true. Like most authors, I know that part of me creeps into each book. While my characters are never based on real people (including myself), my heroes and heroines frequently embody my personal values. Because I believe in justice and happy endings, readers will find that my protagonists do, too. They’ll also find the recurring theme of the healing power of love, since that’s something I believe in. As for my villains, they tend to be the antithesis of the heroes and heroines, and I’d certainly like to think they’re not based on me.

What is the quirkiest thing you have ever done?

That would be participating in the annual Treasure Hunt at a friend’s summer home. What’s a Treasure Hunt? Picture twenty-five to thirty cars, each filled with six people, spending an evening driving down country roads at speeds we won’t mention, occasionally skidding to a stop. As soon as that happens, the passengers hop out, flashlights in hand, to run through fields, farms, ditches – you name it, we’ve been there – trying to find clues in coffee cans that have been buried in the ground. Whoever finds the clue runs away from the site (because no one wants to help a different team find the clue) and yells the team’s code word. That’s the signal for everyone on the team to race back to the car and start deciphering the new clue while the driver heads in what everyone hopes is the correct direction. Each clue leads to the next, with the car that reaches the final destination with all clues and the shortest elapsed time winning. What do they win? Money? Fame? No. They have the privilege of running the Treasure Hunt the next year. Yep, the winner has to draw maps, decide where to hide the clues, write the clues (Did I mention that they’re supposed to rhyme?), obtain permission to use private property, notify the state and local police. You get the idea. It’s a ton of work. So, why would anyone do that? Are we crazy? That’s exactly what we say each time we win. But it’s fun, in a crazy kind of way.

Sounds like fun. When did you first discover that you were a writer?

I’ve wanted to be a writer since I was seven. Admittedly, my first efforts, which included two plays that my fifth grade teacher allowed me to produce for the other classes and a very short-lived neighborhood newspaper, were less than stellar, but I never stopped dreaming of being a published author.

My first publication was a short story in the college literary magazine. Tell us the range of the kinds of books you enjoy reading.

Other than research, most of what I read is fiction. Since I’ve told you that I believe in justice and happy endings, you won’t be surprised to learn that I’m a fan of women’s fiction, romance, mysteries, suspense and legal thrillers. I also read an occasional literary book. What I don’t like are erotica, horror, and most of what is currently classified as paranormal, although I will admit to enjoying a good time travel.

What other books have you written, whether published or not?

I was in my teens when I first tried my hand at full-length fiction. Since then, I’ve accumulated an impressive collection of rejection notices, but I’ve also sold a number of books, including some writer-for-hire. For those of you who haven’t tried writer-for-hire, it’s an excellent way to hone writing skills, although it does have its frustrating aspects (like being paid a flat sum rather than royalties). In the writer-for-hire mode, I wrote two novelizations of TV soap opera episodes and three books about a very famous teenage sleuth (yes, that sleuth). I’ve also published three technical books and what I describe as “enough technical articles to cure insomnia in a medium-sized city.” Trust me, you don’t want to know any more about them.

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

Sanity? What’s that?

How do you choose your characters’ names?

It depends. Sometimes they come to me easily, as in the case of Sarah Dobbs, the heroine of Paper Roses. Other times, I change my mind half a dozen times until I find a name that suits my character’s personality. Like many authors, I use a baby book, since there are times when I want a name that has a specific meaning to it. I’m also very conscious of choosing names that are appropriate to the time period. You’d laugh if I had characters named Tiffany or Brittany in Paper Roses, since those weren’t common names in 1856. I also have to keep myself from having too many names with the same first letter. When I started Paper Roses, I had Clay, Clint and Clifford Canfield. My critiquing partner pointed out that those names were terribly confusing. Thanks to her, although Clay kept his name, the other two men are now Austin and Robert.

What is the accomplishment that you are most proud of?

Selling my first book. I turned the dream of being a writer into the goal of being published by my thirtieth birthday, although I didn’t start working seriously toward that goal until I turned twenty-nine. The next summer I received my first rejection and was so devastated by it that it took me a month to realize that if the story was good enough to send to Publisher A, it was good enough to send to another one. I did, and one week before my thirtieth birthday the second editor told me she loved the story and wanted to buy it. That book is long out of print, but I keep a framed copy of the cover on my office wall to remind me of the thrill of my first sale.

If you were an animal, which one would you be, and why?

An elephant. I’d like to say that I only possess the elephant’s best characteristic, namely a good memory, but I’m afraid that – like many writers – I also have the elephant’s sensitive skin.

What is your favorite food?

Butterscotch. Pudding, pie, cookies, cake, sundaes. You get the idea.

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

Surviving rejection. Although my first sale came relatively easily, I went years without a second sale. During those years there were many, many times when I wanted to abandon the whole idea of being a writer because of the heartache involved. Several times I stopped writing, but each time I did, I realized that I missed it. Oh, I didn’t miss the rejection letters, but I missed the process of writing. That’s when I changed my direction a bit. My philosophy became that a writer writes, and what’s important is the writing, not the specific genre. When my romances weren’t selling, I switched to writer-for-hire and technical books and articles. Now, fortunately, I’m back to writing fiction.

I had ten years between my first and second book publication. And I wrote a lot of other things during that time, much of it curriculum. What advice would you give to an author just starting out?

I have three pieces of advice. The first is to read extensively in the genre you want to write. That’s the best way to learn what a publisher is buying. Secondly, join a writer’s group. ACFW is wonderful for writers in the Christian marketplace, and Romance Writers of America is excellent for anyone interested in writing romance. A writer’s group provides support, networking and so many other resources to the aspiring writer that I can’t over-emphasize the importance of joining one. And lastly, never give up. Rejection is a fact of life. I won’t sugarcoat it: rejection hurts. But if you let it defeat you, if you stop sending out your manuscript just because it was rejected, you’ll never be published. Believe in your book and in yourself. Oh … that was four pieces of advice. Sorry!

What would you like to tell us about the featured book?

Paper Roses, which is the first in the Texas Dreams trilogy, is what authors sometimes call a book of the heart. Quite simply, it’s a story that I’ve wanted to write for many years. Here’s a brief description that I used to sell the book:

Socialite Sarah Dobbs never thought she’d be a mail-order bride. But, then, she never thought she’d be destitute, shunned, and her young sister’s only hope for a normal life. Drawn to the Texas Hill Country by the poetic letters she calls her paper roses, Sarah believes her secrets will be safe there. But the town is deeply divided and harbors its own secrets, including the identity of the person who murdered Sarah’s fiancé. There’s no one she can trust, not Clay Canfield, and certainly not God. He’s abandoned her.

Talented physician Clay Canfield has only one desire: to find the man who murdered his brother and exact vengeance. He’ll never marry again, especially not a woman burdened with a child. As for faith, that’s not for him, any more than it is for Sarah.

But God has plans for Sarah and Clay, plans that challenge everything they hold dear.

How can readers find you on the Internet?

My web site is http://www.amandacabot.com/ .

Thank you, Amanda, for spending this time with us.

Readers, you can order Paper Roses by clicking this link:

Leave a comment for a chance to win a free copy. Don't forget to check back a week from Saturday to see if you won.

I'm still waiting to hear from:

Carly (fecarly)
Pat (grist)
Ronie Kendig

All these people have won books they haven't claimed.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Author Margaret Daley - WHAT SARAH SAW - Free Book

Welcome back, Margaret. God has really been moving in your writing life. What do you see on the horizon?

I have contracted for two more Love Inspired Suspense books, which will keep me busy until May. I am working on a book that is longer, so no telling where my writing will take me. This is a suspense that can’t be told in the shorter format.

I can hardly wait to read them. Tell us a little about your family.

I have a husband who is a wonderful support. We’ve been married for thirty-eight years. I have one son and three granddaughter with another on the way—due the first of April. Another girl, which means my son will be surrounded with five females.

We only have daughters. I've told my husband often that God has a special place in heaven for men who live in all-female households. They're special. Has your writing changed your reading habits? If so, how?

Yes, I don’t have as much time to read. I often have to read for research purposes rather than pleasure. I’m a slow reader so it takes me a while to get through a book.

What are you working on right now?

I am writing the proposal for the third book in the Love Inspired Suspense continuity series for 2010. It’s called Cowboy Protector and the series centers around the Witness Protection Program in Montana.

When I can catch my breath with contracted books, I will be working on a historical proposal set in Montana. Maybe we can compare notes on Montana. What outside interests do you have?

I love to go to movies and lunch with my friends. I play bridge once or twice a month. And of course, I have three granddaughters!

How do you choose your settings for each book?

I choose places that interest me or fit the book I’m writing.

If you could spend an evening with one historical person, who would it be and why?

That’s easy—Jesus. That evening would be mind blowing. I can’t think of a better evening I could have.

What is the one thing you wish you had known before you started writing novels?

How hard it is! This isn’t a job that is easy. Whipping out a novel takes a lot of work you have to be ready to do.

That is so true. What new lessons is the Lord teaching you right now?

Patience and His will. I went back to teaching after retiring last December to fill a long term sub job. He didn’t want me to, and I learned how much I had changed over the year. When I walked away from teaching, I really did in my heart. The Lord wants me to write and I’m listening now.

What are the three best things you can tell other authors to do to be successful?

Read a lot of what you want to write. Network (contacts can really help you) and oh yeah, write then send the book out.

Tell us about the featured book.

What Sarah Saw is my Love Inspired Suspense for January 2009.
The only witness when a single mother mysteriously vanishes is her three-year-old daughter. FBI agent Sam Pierce needs to question little Sarah. Yet child psychologist Jocelyn Gold will barely let him near the girl. Or herself. The tragic conclusion to a kidnapping case broke Sam and Jocelyn apart the year before, and their hearts still haven’t healed. But for the child’s sake—and the mother’s—they must join forces to uncover just what Sarah saw.

How can readers find you on the Internet?

Readers can go to my Web site at http://www.margaretdaley.com/ and they can also go to my blog at http://margaretdaley.blogspot.com/.
Margaret, thank you for spending this time with us. I always enjoy having you come by.
Readers, you can order the book by clicking this link:

Leave a comment for a chance to win a free copy of What Sarah Saw.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Last Winners Before Christmas

Sorry to be so late in the day with the announcement. The holidays, you know.

Pat (grist) is the winner of Love Finds You in Romeo, Colorado, by Gwen Faulkenberry.

Martha A. is the winner of Copper Fire by Suzanne Woods Fisher.

Hippmom is the winner of Real Girls of the Bible by Mona Hodgsen.

Each of you needs to click on the View Complete Profile link and find my email link. Send me your mailing addresses so we can get the books to you.

And a very Merry Christmas to you all.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Author Robin Caroll - BAYOU BETRAYAL - Free Book

One of my favorite authors, and a good friend, is back with us today. Welcome, Robin. By the way, I love the picture. Why did you become an author?

Because I loved telling stories. Always have, even as a young child. Just ask my momma! LOL

If you weren’t an author, what would be your dream job?

To be on the American Publishers Clearing House prize patrol! :D

If you could have lived at another time in history, what would it be and why?

Pre-Civil War . . . back in the day when ladies were ladies and men were gentlemen.

And I loved the clothing back then. What place in the United States have you not visited that you would like to?

Maine, and I haven’t a clue why!

Part of my romantic suspense, Who Am I?, is set in Maine. How about a foreign country you hope to visit?

I'm holding out for Australia. What lesson has the Lord taught you recently?

What isn’t He teaching me all the time? LOL Actually, I’ve been working through a study revolving mindset and professing positive words over our own lives.

Yes, we often speak self-defeating words. Now, Robin, tell us about the featured book.

Bayou Betrayal is the 5th book in the bayou series. It’s Deputy Gary Anderson’s story and for the first time, I wrote a heroine who was a widow. I think being separated from my husband for 4 months due to extenuating circumstances recently really helped me dig deep into that emotion of mourning the loss of our spouse with us every day.

Was is only 4 months? It seemed much longer to me, too, as I prayed for all of you. How can readers find you on the Internet?


Thank you, Robin, for spending part of this busy season with us.

Readers, you can order Bayou Betrayal by clicking this link:

And you can leave a comment for a chance to win a free copy of the book. But be sure and check back a week from Saturday to see if you won. I still have several winners I haven't heard from.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Author Jeff LeJeune - POSTMARKED BALTIMORE - Free Book

I am so sorry to be so late posting this interview. We've had a major ice storm, and my daughter and son-in-law over 30 miles away were sick and needed my husband and me to help them.

Today, we're welcoming Jeff LeJeune to the blog. Jeff, tell us how much of yourself you write into your characters.

There is a lot of me in my characters, but it’s more of the “me” that never ends up visible to the outside world. Sure, there are some events in my work that are borrowed from my life, but most of my characters’ actions represent things I could have done or thought about doing but didn’t. It’s like I get to live two separate lives. And it works both ways: Sometimes I have my characters do the right thing when I wish my life had reflected that; sometimes I have my characters do the wrong thing that I didn’t do. Rarely if ever will I put something wrong that I did do because I simply don’t see the need to relive it nor does my soul need the reminder.

What is the quirkiest thing you have ever done?

I once hopped around the classroom like a frog stuffing rolled up paper in my mouth to provide a spark to my class for the lesson on Twain’s “The Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calaveras County.” When I see students from that year now seven years removed, take a guess what they remember :-).

Students always remember the interesting things teachers do to liven their learning. When did you first discover that you were a writer?

I discovered it when I was in high school and people raved about my voice in writing. However, the seeds were being planted along the way even before that. My sister taught me my ABC’s when I was two, I was reading in Kindergarten, and I wrote short stories all the time all the way through my freshman year of high school. The interesting thing is that people I knew in high school noticed my future before I did. Whenever they find out I have two books published, they tell me that they are proud of me and that they are happy my dreams of being a writer were finally coming true; the thing is I have no recollection of ever talking about being a writer in high school. Maybe who we are and what we’re destined to be just leaks out to the people who care enough to notice, even though we might not talk about it.

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

I like to read fiction—short stories and novels—but it’s difficult for me to stay fully immersed in novels, even though I’m a novelist myself. Short stories are good because they’re easy to bring into the classroom to teach; but there have only been a handful of novels that I just couldn’t put down. Ayn Rand’s The Fountainhead, as long as it is, was like that. What seems to really touch me are memoirs and theological non-fiction reading. I also like to throw in an audio CD when I’m on the road, The Godfather being my favorite. Poetry is also wonderful because it’s short and I often don’t have a lot of time to read, but the genre does not stick with me as do the others. “The Raven” by Edgar Allan Poe is a marked exception.

What other books have you written, whether published or not?

The Final Chase, a novel being marketed as fantasy, but really, it’s more speculative fiction.
Poof, a darkly-comedic novel I am currently working on.

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

I remember to walk every now and then.

How do you choose your characters’ names?

They’re chosen randomly, but in the old British tradition, I try to come up with last name that will somehow symbolize the character. Not all of them are like this, but I think it’s a neat thing to do because I can play on their names in the narration of the story.

What is the accomplishment that you are most proud of?

Being named Mr. HMS my senior year at Hanson Memorial High School may seem like I won a popularity contest, but I really don’t think that’s what it was. I always tried to represent myself, my school, and my family with passion and integrity, and I think my peers recognized that. I am most proud of that because I hadn’t grown up with my classmates; I joined them in seventh grade, stayed at the school six years, and apparently was a good enough person to earn their respect. I was genuinely shocked when my name was announced, and the absence of desire for the award actually made it sweeter.

Cool. If you were an animal, which one would you be, and why?

No question a tiger. It really has nothing to do with species itself; it has more to do with the symbolic nature of the animal in the Rocky series. The “Eye of the Tiger” for me means to live life with passion, focus, and an edge that will not accept defeat as final.

What is your favorite food?

A meal I love and eat a lot of is scrambled eggs, biscuits, grits, and turkey bacon. I eat it at least once a week. However, my favorite is a food I rarely eat because it is so unhealthy—fried chicken. Chinese food and pizza are also fat-piles I indulge in only every so often.

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

The art of the trade has become a breeze compared to the business side of it. It is very difficult to get everyone involved—publisher, distributor, and bookstores—on the same page with the vision I as an author have. I am actually dealing with that right now, so I can’t say I’ve overcome it. I don’t know if I ever will, but I just keep waiting for my break to come, and while I wait, I work.

What advice would you give to an author just starting out?

As far as the artistic side of it goes, I’d advise him or her to make sure the book is in order before it is published. Don’t hold onto things just because it took you a long time to write it. I think it is always difficult to do that, to delete creations the creator has created; but it is a necessary evil in writing. Sometimes, as good as something is, it just doesn’t fit.

I would also advise a new author to be ready for the trials involved in the business side of being an author. There are no promises in this trade, and oftentimes the gratification must be found from within yourself.

What would you like to tell us about the featured book?

A struggling priest. A jilted lover. One letter that changes it all after fifteen years.

Sounds intriguing. How can readers find you on the Internet?
My website is http://www.thefinalchase.com/, and links to where readers can buy the book can be found at the bottom of the home page. I suggest ordering through my publisher to ensure a swifter shipment. I also have a blog site at http://www.postmarkedbaltimore.blogspot.com/. Facebook and Goodreads are two social networks I am a part of. Find me, befriend me, and I’ll be glad to accept!
Thank you, Jeff, for spending this time with us.
Readers, check out Jeff's web site. Also leave a comment for a chance to win a free copy of the book.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Author Amber Miller - DECEPTIVE PROMISES - Free Book

We're welcoming Amber Miller back for an interview with her third book in series.

Amber, God has really been moving in your writing life. What do you see on the horizon?

Honestly, each step is a new one on this exciting journey. God has blessed me in more ways than I could imagine with this career, and I eagerly await all that He has in store. In the more immediately future, I’m working on a new 3-book series with the first book releasing in April. But, I’m also pursuing a break into trade-length from the mass-market fiction as well as seeking an agent. We’ll see what happens.

Tell us a little about your family.

I am married to another author, Stuart Stockton, who has his first book releasing in April of 2009. We are expecting our first child in March, and we live at the base of beautiful Pike’s Peak in Colorado Springs. We also have a half border collie, half flat-haired retriever named Roxie, who keeps life bouncing. Outside of our little circle, I have 3 brothers and my parents have been married for over 35 years. Stuart has 2 sisters and a brother, 3 aunts, 2 uncles, 4 cousins, 1 nephew and 1 niece. His parents have also been married 35 years.

Has your writing changed your reading habits? If so, how?

Definitely! I’ve discovered books I used to enjoy that I no longer do because I have become quite a bit pickier than I used to be. As a writer, you have to be aware of the rules of writing and write what an editor will deem a worthy novel. Once you’ve established yourself and proven that you can meet those guidelines, there is a bit more freedom granted. I’ve found that I can’t usually get into a book that hops in and out of point-of-view characters within a scene or includes a lot of telling and not showing. And books with pages and pages of nothing but narrative without interspersing dialogue usually don’t hold my attention.

What are you working on right now?

I am on books #5 and 6, which are the second and third in my next series, set in historical Detroit during the Industrial Revolution. The time span of the series is from 1875 through 1907, covering 2-1/2 generations. I also have 2 historical 3-book series, one set in Colorado and one in Wyoming, as well as 2 contemporary standalones that I’m shopping around.

What outside interests do you have?

I love to travel, enjoy photography, have fun designing web sites (especially for other authors and speakers), relax when watching old movies and listening to music. It’s rare for my home to be “silent” even if it’s just music playing in the background.

How do you choose your settings for each book?

Generally, I will read a story in the paper, hear a report on the news, or see a house or a building and start asking questions. Once in a while, the setting is changed to a place I can research easily if the original location looks like it might be difficult. But, for the most part, the setting comes as a result of the research I do. I’d say the setting chooses me. I don’t choose it.

If you could spend an evening with one historical person, who would it be and why?

Some of the names that come to mind are Abraham Lincoln or George Washington or John Adams. But, I’m going to go back even farther and say I’d love to spend an evening with Mary, the mother of Jesus. During this Christmas season, her acceptance of God’s plan for her life and her willingness to do what was asked of her, despite her fears and uncertainties are quite an inspiration. None of know exactly where our lives are headed, but if we make up our minds to say “yes” no matter what, I think we’ll discover amazing things.

What is the one thing you wish you had known before you started writing novels?

Well, I am not the common story, or what appears to be the more popular path taken in the publishing world. I was published before I turned 30 and have books released before any kids have come. So, I have already established a pattern and routine and placed a certain spotlight on my writing that will transition with the growth of my family. What this means is that I won’t have to try to convince my family of the importance of my writing and my career. They will see it first hand and know it from the start.

But if I could latch onto something I wish I had known, it would be the knowledge that being younger in this industry isn’t always better. It just means I have to work twice as hard to be accepted. I have often encountered folks who are fifteen or twenty years older and more, who have treated me with the belief that because I have not passed certain rites of passage or earmarks along the way, I don’t qualify as a bonafide success or one who can offer any advice to others.

On the flip side, I have encountered others who have been inspired by my goals and determination and have found their own inspiration as a result. They commend me for going for what I wanted early in life, and gain a newfound desire in their own lives. The numbers in this group far outnumber the ones in the first group, but that doesn’t mean the struggle is any easier.
I also wish I had known how much marketing would be required on a constant basis to keep your name out there. It’s a trial-and-error basis, finding your niche and what works. But, it would have helped to have a heads-up at the start.

What new lessons is the Lord teaching you right now?

Trust. The past few months have been a bit rough with the economy and seeing a lot of my design business decline. People are cutting everywhere they can, and a web site is an expense that can wait for most. Plus, income as an author is sporadic. But, regardless, God always provides, even if it’s just a few extra dollars to get us through the next day. I have a tendency to be concerned about paying bills, but God is telling me to trust Him. He’s got it all under control and He will provide. My security is not in my job. It’s in Him. And it’s a daily process for me.

A lot of people are learning that right now. James and I went through just such a period when we were younger. What are the three best things you can tell other authors to do to be successful?

One, study the market and familiarize yourself with what’s selling or what looks like it’s going to be a big seller. Two, network with other authors and industry professionals to glean wisdom from their experiences, as well as instruction on the writing craft. Three, read, read, read…especially in the genre where you write, so you can improve your own skills.

Tell us about the featured book.

Margret Scott is approaching adulthood during the American Revolution and the forming of a new nation. She gets involved with a spy, and her actions could endanger herself, her family and the man she comes to love.

Is deception fair in wartime? Margret Scott finds she must deal with this question as she becomes attracted to the enigmatic Samuel Lowe. As the tensions grow between the colonists and the British soldiers and loyalists, Margret struggles to determine where Samuel's loyalties lie, despite his reassurances that they lie with the colonists. Samuel's duties have him working for both sides of this war, and he is often torn between what is right and what is wrong. He promises Margret she can trust him, and Margret promises him she does. But can promises born in deception be trusted? Can relationships built in uncertainty survive?

How can readers find you on the Internet?

I have an author web site at http://www.ambermiller.com/,
and my business web site at http://www.eagle-designs.com/.
I also am a team blogger at Bustles and Spurs, http://bustlesandspurs.blogspot.com/, where I blog on the 18th of every month with several other historical western fiction authors. If historical fiction is your thing…this blog is the place you want to be!
Thank you, Amber.
Readers, check out all of Amber's web sites. I'm also a team blogger on the Bustles and Spurs blog, and I blog on the 13th of every month, so I just posted yesterday.
Leave a comment for a chance to win a free copy of Deceptive Promises. But don't forget to check back a week from Saturday to see if you won. I haven't heard from any of the winners from yesterday or last Saturday.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Winners!!! Check It Out!!!

Becky C. is the winner of The Molech Prophecy by Thomas Phillips.

Abi is the winner of Lookin' Back, Texas, by Leanna Ellis.

Ronie Kendig is the winner of The Queen of Sleepy Eye by Patti Hill.

Each of you needs to email me your mailing address. Click on View my complete profile to find the link.

I still haven't heard from any of last weeks winners.

FeedBlitz is your friend. The announcement will come to your Inbox with all the winners names showing. You'll know immediately if you won, so sign up at the top of the right column of the blog.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Author Mona Hodgsen - REAL GIRLS OF THE BIBLE - Free Book

Mona, welcome. You are writing nonfiction. Do you also write fiction?

Real Girls of the Bible: A Devotional (Zonderkidz/HarperCollins, February 2008) is my first nonfiction for middle-grade readers.

I’m currently writing historical fiction for middle-grade readers and for women. My published fiction includes the Desert Critters Friends series of twelve early readers. I also have six fiction I Can Read books due to release in November 2008 and February 2009.

What would you like for our readers to know about you personally?

Hmm. I hadn’t dreamed about being a writer until I reached my 30s, and then I knew I wasn’t qualified. You can read my Jonah story on the “For Writers” page at http://www.monahodgson.com/. I’m learning that the true adventure kicks in when I recognize my weakness because then I get to view it in light of God’s incredible strength and power. Thanks, Paul. Apostle Paul articulated it so well in 2 Corinthians 12:9.

I’m a big fan and advocate of writers’ conferences. Not only do I enjoy the instruction, the inspiration, and building relationships with writers, editors, and agents, I have encountered many of my spiritual mentors at Christian writers conferences.

I agree with you about conferences. Tell us about your family.

Bob and I will celebrate 36 years of marriage this August. Our oldest daughter, our son-in-law, our two oldest grandsons, and our only granddaughter live and work in Africa. Our youngest daughter and youngest grandson live about an hour away from us.

I have a close friend living and working in Africa. She sends the most interesting information to me. Have you written other nonfiction books?
Yes. Hide and Seek for early readers is a devotional on the fruit of the Spirit from Galatians 5:22-23. How Did Bible Heroes Pray?, a picture book. My six I Wonder books are also considered nonfiction, though the narrator is a fictional character—I Wonder Who Hung the Moon in the Sky, I Wonder Who Stretched the Giraffe’s Neck, I Wonder How Fish Sleep, I Wonder Who Made Me, I Wonder How God Hears Me, and I Wonder What I Can Give God. My rhymed picture book Bedtime in the Southwest is also considered nonfiction, though it is a series of questions that I answer at the end.

What other books have you written, and where can the readers of the blog find them?

Readers can find my books on my website (http://www.monahodgson.com/), on Amazon.com, or they can ask for them at their favorite bookstore.

Here is a complete list of my books:

The Princess Twins and the Tea Party (Zonderkidz I Can Read, February 2009)
The Princess Twins Play in the Garden (Zonderkidz I Can Read, February 2009)
The Princess Twins and the Birthday Party (Zonderkidz I Can Read, February 2009)
The Princess Twins and the Kitty (Zonderkidz I Can Read, February 2009)
The Best Breakfast (Zonderkidz I Can Read, November 2008)
Thank You God for Rain (Zonderkidz I Can Read, November 2008)
Real Girls of the Bible: A Devotional (Zonderkidz, February 2008)
How Did Bible Heroes Pray? (Kregel Kidzone)
Bedtime in the Southwest (Rising Moon Books)
Desert Critter Friends Series
Friendly Differences
Thorny Treasures
Sour Snacks
Smelly Tales
Clubhouse Surprises
Desert Detectives
Jumping Jokers-
Campout Capers

Sticky Statues
Goofy Glasses
Crabby Critters
Spelling Bees

I Wonder Series (Out of print, available at www.monahodgson.com)
I Wonder Who Hung the Moon in the Sky
I Wonder Who Stretched the Giraffe’s Neck
I Wonder How Fish Sleep
I Wonder How God Made Me
I Wonder How God Hears Me
I Wonder What I Can Give God

Hide & Seek, A Devotional Book (Out of Print, available at http://www.monahodgson.com/ )

Do you have any other books in the works right now?
I’m spending most of my writing time on finishing the draft on my historical novel for women, but I’m also working on Hey, God, It’s Me: Prayer for Real Girls and I’m hatching more stories for Zonderkidz I Can Read.

Where on the Internet can the readers find you?

http://www.monahodgson.com/, http://www.desertcritters.com/, http://www.realgirlsofthebible.com/.

What kinds of hobbies and leisure activities do you enjoy?
I’m an avid reader of children’s books, contemporary and historical fiction (women’s, romance, mystery), and nonfiction that feeds my soul and fuels my writing. I’m currently reading Art & Fear by David Bayles and Ted Orland, Writing for the Soul by Jerry B. Jenkins, A Bride So Fair by Carol Cox. I recently finished Secrets on the Wind by Stephanie Grace Whitson and Forevermore by Cathy Marie Hake.

Walks and table games are favorite pastimes. Hula hoop and ping pong are on that list too.

Some of my favorite places to retreat include, funky coffee shops, a drive through a stand of aspens, mountain cabins, and a trip to the beach.

Why did you write the featured book?

I’d been asking God for the right idea for a middle-grade book. It wasn’t happening.

After reading Lynne Cheney’s book A is for Abigail: An Almanac of Amazing American Women, I got the idea to write an alphabet picture book on Bible girls. I showed it to an editor at the Mount Hermon Christian Writers’ Conference and she asked me if I’d consider writing a book about women from the Bible for middle grade girls. “Sure,” I said. After I left the room, I collapsed to my knees.

What do you want the reader to take away from the book?
I want girls and women to know they are not alone. We are all on this life-journey and faith-walk together. And we have a rich heritage in the stories of women who have encountered the living God and found their home in His heart. I want the readers of Real Girls of the Bible: A Devotional to know that God has a divine and trustworthy plan for their lives just as He did for those Bible girls and women.

I want to bring our Bible girls—Ruth, Martha, Esther—to life for my readers, which is why I’m making myself available to present mini-dramas at Real Girls Retreats (overnights or Saturday) at churches across the country. For more information on those, go to http://www.monahodgson.com/.

Mona, thank you for spending this time with us.

Readers, you can order a copy using this link:

And you can leave a comment for a chance to win a free copy of the book.

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Author Suzanne Woods Fisher - COPPER FIRE - Free Book

Welcome, Suzanne, to my blog. Tell us how much of yourself you write into your characters.

I don’t really think I write a character who represents me…though there are some characters I’d like to be more like. It’s funny how a writer can create varied characters…maybe they’re all showing different sides of the writer.

What is the quirkiest thing you have ever done?

Quirky? Or embarrassing? Just a few months ago, I spoke to a huge group of women and later discovered a Velcro curler was stuck to the back of my blazer. Sheesh!!!! Felt like such a dingbat.

When did you first discover that you were a writer?

I remember writing a novel when I was eleven years old. It was a terrible, plotless piece of work…but I loved to write.

Yes, I believe writers are born, not made. Tell us the range of the kinds of books you enjoy reading.

I love to find an author whose writing is inspiring, then read everything that author wrote, until I have a sense of who the author is. It gets to the point where I start seeing formulas, and similar word phrases, and I have a hunch I could give you a profile of the author’s life and be fairly accurate.

What other books have you written, whether published or not?

I’ve written Copper Star, the prequel to Copper Fire, which won three literary awards. I’ve also written Grit for the Oyster: 250 Words of Wisdom for Aspiring Writers. It’s a non-fiction book to encourage writers. In February, 2009, For the Love of Dogs will be published—a novel set in 1969 about a young woman who is losing her sight and ends up with a Guide Dog…and the dog’s instructor. Then, in Fall 2009, Amish Peace: Simple Wisdom for Complicated Lives (Revell/Baker) will be released. After that, I have three novels due, like airplanes stacked up, for Revell/Baker.

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

Dogs! I raise puppies for Guide Dogs for the Blind, and I take my dogs on long walks every single day, rain or shine. It’s my appointment with nature…and helps keep life in perspective. Plus, you can’t take yourself too seriously when you have a puppy in your life, tearing through the house with underwear in its mouth.

How do you choose your characters’ names?

I try to find the name that suits the person…and it’s important to settle that early on because the person really does come to life. I keep a notebook for interesting names of people. Places, too.

What is the accomplishment that you are most proud of?

Personally, I would say that my four children are my greatest accomplishment. They span from 25 to 17 right now, and I’m so pleased with each one. Professionally…Amish Peace: Simple Wisdom for Complicated Lives (Fall 09/Revell/Baker) has been a very fascinating, inspiring, thrilling journey for me. I started with a basic understanding of the Amish (maybe more than most people because I have Anabaptist family roots). It seemed as if God opened door after door, contact by contact, and six months later, the manuscript was just turned in. The editor loved it, too! I think it’s one of those “once-in-a-lifetime” book. It’s filled with true stories about Amish people…with “takeaway value” for the reader. You don’t have to “go Amish” to integrate some of their principles of a simpler, gentler life.

If you were an animal, which one would you be, and why?

Kind of obvious…a dog! Maybe even a guide dog.

What is your favorite food?

I love to cook and try new things…chopped salad is my current rage. Problem is that I don’t use recipes very much so I can never re-create a good meal.

Me neither. What is the problem with writing that was your greatest roadblock, and how did you overcome it?

Confidence. There’s a parable in the Bible that I’m sure you remember: A king gave three servants differing amounts of talents and told them to invest them during his absence. When he returned, he asked each one what they had done with the talents. Servant #1 and #2 both invested what they had—though they had different amounts—and the king was thrilled! Servant #3 blew it and didn’t even invest it. What struck me about that parable was that the king showed an equal delight in the efforts of Servant #1 and #2. I’ve always felt like a writer with less talent…very aware that others have more talent. Yet that isn’t God’s perspective. He wants me to use what He’s given me. Period. That parable helped me to let go of feeling inferior and just get to work.

What advice would you give to an author just starting out?

Do not stop writing! Take it seriously, but don’t take yourself too seriously.

What would you like to tell us about the featured book?

Copper Fire reads like a stand-alone, which has been commented on in numerous reviews. It makes me so happy…that’s just what I wanted. There’s enough back story woven in that you’re not lost, but you won’t feel lost as you read it. Nor will you be bored!

How can readers find you on the Internet?

Find me on-line at http://www.suzannewoodsfisher.com/. Drop a comment!

Thank you, Suzanne for spending this time with us.

Readers, you can order the book by clicking on the link below:

Leave a comment for a chance to win a free copy of the book.

Sunday, December 07, 2008

Author Gwen Ford Faulkenberry - LOVE FINDS YOU IN ROMEO, COLORADO - Free Book

I'm impressed with the new Summerside Press. Here's the third author we're featuring from them. Welcome, Gwen, tell us how much of yourself you write into your characters.

While none of the characters in this novel “are” me, they all contain pieces of me and other people I know. One of the beauties of fiction is that you can take a piece of yourself—or a quality you’ve observed in another—and construct a whole puzzle around that piece to make an interesting character. An example of that in this book is Abuela. While my maternal grandmother was not Mexican, rich, nor as vocal about her faith as Abuela; she was a strong, beautiful woman who nurtured the good in me and whose love is still is a very powerful force in my life.

What is the quirkiest thing you have ever done?

The quirkiest thing…hmm. It’s tough to pick just one. Singing “To God be the Glory” from the top of Mt. Pilatus in Switzerland; jumping into a fountain with my clothes on to illustrate God’s grace to a Bible study group; not kissing my husband till our wedding day; dancing in the rain with my two-year old; skinny dipping in the Mediterranean Sea; hitchhiking; getting a tattoo; and numerous other fun but quirky things I wouldn’t necessarily advise.

You sound like a really fun person. When did you first discover that you were a writer?

In my fourth grade year, my teacher “published” several “books” I wrote by putting them on the shelf in our class—and the other students actually read them!

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

My taste in books is pretty eclectic. I love classics, and specifically the Victorians. I also enjoy—and often identify with--Southern writers. In contemporary literature, I like Roy Lessin, Elisabeth Elliot, T. Davis Bunn, Jan Karon, Khaled Hosseini, Ian McEwan, Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Jhumpa Lahiri, and the poet Franz Wright.

What other books have you written, whether published or not?

Published—a gift book entitled God’s Heart Through You.
Not published (yet)—a devotional called The Shepherd’s Voice, co-authored with Roy Lessin, and a novel, Small Town Girl.

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

My husband and I are very strategic with our time. Family comes first; which means saying “no” to lots of other good things. Keeping my family spiritually healthy goes a long way toward promoting sanity for me. Other rituals I enjoy are long walks, hot baths, playing music, and cooking.

How do you choose your characters’ names?

I love names. I had names picked out for my children by the time I was in fifth grade. Sometimes I choose a character’s name because of its meaning, and sometimes to convey cultural background or advance the story. In this book, Claire’s son is named Graeme because of his father’s Scottish heritage. Desirae, the nurse, is named that because I wanted Claire to be bothered by the spelling.

What is the accomplishment that you are most proud of?

Being married for fourteen years to the same great guy, and being a mother of three adorable children.

If you were an animal, which one would you be, and why?

I’d be a bald eagle. Of all of the animals in the world, they have to be the most awe-inspiring. We have some that come where I live (on a high bluff on the Arkansas River) in winter. They fly right by my deck at eye-level, and it takes my breath away every time I see one. I love the Biblical implications of Isaiah 40:31, and I also love it that eagles are the symbol of America. To me, they represent timeless beauty, fierce intelligence, and absolute freedom.

What is your favorite food?


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

I think my greatest roadblock has been a fear of failure. This may sound silly, but for years I had a dream of writing the great American novel, winning the Pulitzer Prize, doing something grandiose like that. Because my life as a mother of three small children doesn’t lend itself to writing several hours a day to create “one true sentence,” as Hemingway put it, I didn’t even try writing anything other than cards or newspaper articles. I was afraid it wouldn’t be worth anything.

Then, DaySpring sent me to a writer’s conference where I met T. Davis Bunn. He told me not to wait till my children were grown to start writing, but to write what I could now, with them “crawling around my feet.” He said, “All that time you can be learning more, honing your craft, and contributing something valuable to the world.”

He didn’t make fun of my dreams, even though he must have thought they were naïve. Instead he told me, “If that world-changing novel happens for you one day, great. But you have to start somewhere. Be faithful now, working within the life God has given you, and leave the future to Him.” That was great advice, and I have followed it.

What advice would you give to an author just starting out?

Probably the same advice Davis gave me.

What would you like to tell us about the featured book?

Long version: In Love Finds You in Romeo, Colorado, Claire Caspian is a young widow who has moved back to her hometown of Romeo, Colorado, to live with her grandmother and raise her five-year-old son, Graeme.

When the novel opens, Claire is in her office at Adams State University, where she has just accepted a job as an assistant professor in the English department. She sits at her desk grading papers when the phone rings and she finds out her son has been rushed to the hospital with an asthma attack.

Enter Stephen Reyes, the doctor who takes care of Graeme in the ER. He is good-looking, gentle, and divorced. A few sparks of interest fly between them in that first encounter, but is a rocky road they take to finally finding true love—and letting love find them.

The rest of the book chronicles Claire and Stephen’s journey along that road. He must come to terms with his failed first marriage—and his fault in it—and she must put past heartache behind her and allow herself to love again. It’s a journey of forgiveness, trust and healing, by renewing the faith they both thought they’d lost. A host of colorful characters help them along the way: Claire’s feisty Abuela, the richest woman in the county; Stephen’s sister Maria, his friend Joe, the football coach who takes him to a Bible study; a crusty old professor named Oscar, a burly nurse named Victor, other friends and neighbors, and even a child--Claire’s five-year-old son. Set in the beautiful and mysterious San Luis Valley, the novel blends local flavor with timeless truths to give readers an experience that will both engage the mind and touch the heart.

Short version: Buy it!

How can readers find you on the Internet?

They can find me at http://www.lovefindsyou.wordpress.com/, or email me at gfaulkenberry@hotmail.com.

Thank you very much for your interest and time. It was fun answering your thought-provoking questions.

And thank you, Gwen, for this fun interview.

Readers, you can order the book by clicking on this link:

Also, you can leave a comment for a chance to win a free copy of the book. Be sure to check back a week from Saturday to see if you won. If you don't, you can still use the link.

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