Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Cheryl Wyatt - READY-MADE FAMILY - Free Book

Bio: Cheryl Wyatt’s closest friends would never dream the mayhem she plots during announcements at church. An RN-turned-SAHM, joyful chaos rules her home, and she delights in the stealth moments God gives her to write. She’s convinced that having been born on a Naval base on Valentine’s Day destined her to write military romance. She stays active in her church and in her laundry room. Her debut novels (Books 1 and 2-Wings of Refuge Series-Steeple Hill) received Romantic Times Top Picks. In addition, her debut books received the honor of coming in at #1 and #4 on eHarlequins's Top Ten Most-Blogged-About-Books, lists which included several NYT Bestselling authors. Cheryl is currently serving as Vice President of American Christian Fiction Writers. http://www.acfw.com/

To receive her quarterly newsletter for updates on new releases and contests with GREAT prizes (think: free books, CDs, iPods, and a Kindle!), visit her Web site at http://www.cherylwyatt.com/ and sign up in the space provided. Cheryl respects your privacy and will not share your e-mail address with a third party.

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

Aww! Thank you. I would really love to be able to sell my action-romance novels. They’re more single title length. But I LOVE writing for Steeple Hill and never want to stop, even if I sell a single title. It’s hard in a category length book to keep a lot of action scenes because the focus needs to remain on the romance. But that’s what I’m naturally inclined to write. So I hope to branch out into single title length books in the future. I would still want to write for Steeple Hill though. They are my first love. :-) Harlequin is a great company to write for. I love it and feel so blessed every time a contract comes through.

Tell us a little about your family.

My family is by far the greatest blessing that God has given me outside of my relationship with Jesus and salvation. I learn so much from my children. I have three girls all close in age, which means they’ll all be teenagers at the same time. So my husband has built a PMS Shelter for Men and I’m sure he plans to check himself into it pretty soon. LOL! Well, he SAYS the room is a nice sunroom where I can go to write in peace…but I know it’s a shelter for the poor thing when he gets overrun by female hormones. Hey...at least the dog is male. LOL! Actually my husband is one of the funniest (and funnest!) people I know. He is an absolute riot and keeps us all in stitches. Much of the funny/witty dialogue in my books comes from stuff he says right out of the blue. My extended family lives close to me too, which is wonderful.

We had only duaghters, and they were teenagers at the same time. I told James that God has a special place in heaven for men who have to live with a houseful of women. Has your writing changed your reading habits? If so, how?

I read a TON more now. And I tend to be a more critical reader now than before. Not so much critical in the sense of picking out all the craft mistakes as much as dissecting GREAT novels to see how the author engaged me to the plot and made me love the characters so much. Of course I find errors but ultimately story still trumps. I do know that I will never again blame an author for typos or missing quotation marks at the end of a stint of dialogue. I’ve seen the strange things that a typesetter can to do a novel and it end up in print. LOL! That kind of stuff doesn’t bother me anymore.

What are you working on right now?

Right now I’m finishing up a contracted novel (A Soldier’s Devotion) which will release in January 2010 from Steeple Hill Love Inspired. It’s Pararescue Jumper Vince’s story. It’s been the most fun book to write, yet challenging too because he’s not a Christian for a lot of the book.

I can hardly wait. What outside interests do you have?

NASCAR! Crafts of any kind. I am a tomboy kind of girl. I like motorcycles and guns and wicked looking swords. You’ll never see me in a dress…well because then my tattoo would show! LOL! I love to worship God. I love to reach out to orphans and elderly shut-ins. I have a huge heart for things like that. I love studying the Bible and I love hanging out with my girls and my nieces. Spending time with family. I’m very competitive so I love board games and playing basketball and all that jazz. Love going to concerts with my hubby…especially since he runs sound at many concerts and festivals.

How do you choose your settings for each book?

I try to take the reader on a $4.00 vacation that feels like a $3K vacation in the story. I like to pick places I’ve been or lived because if the season of the books gets changed on revisions, then I don’t have to go through as much research to figure out what flowers grow in that area during certain times of the year, etc. I like to pick unique, interesting places. Right now I picked an area in southern Illinois that is a wildlife refuge. I created a fictional town there, even named it Refuge. And I planted an imaginary unmapped military base called Eagle Point. I love creating an entire town for a series, which is what I’m doing for the Wings of Refuge books (7 so far are contracted) from Steeple Hill.

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

Jesus. For sure. Then Elvis because I want to know how he does that lip twitch thing. LOL! No seriously, it would probably be someone, a woman, who made maximum impact on this earth. Someone like Mother Theresa or Corrie Ten Boom. I love a bumper sticker I read once that said, “Most well-behaved women never made history.” That is SO true.

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

I wish I’d known about groups like ACFW http://www.acfw.com/. The networking from the eloop and the conference has benefited me greatly in the advancement of my career.

Mine, too. What new lessons is the Lord teaching you right now?

Well, right now He’s teaching me to give back. I love mentoring and have wanted to be at a point where I can truly help newer authors. But in some ways I still feel so new. We never stop learning. He’s teaching me to pull back a bit for a couple of years. I can easily do 5 books per year or more but I’m holding back in order to spend more time with my family and to serve ACFW as Vice President. So I’ll probably average more like 3 books a year rather than 5 or more for a couple of years.

Spiritually, He’s teaching me so much about Himself and His ability to sustain us during times of sickness and trauma. I had a bad wreck last year and am just recovered. One thing that time taught me was how oblivious we can be to the suffering of those around us. I was shut in for most of my recovery because I was unable to drive. The wreck shattered my foot and broke my ankle. I had multiple surgeries to repair all that. And I learned the importance of reaching out to those who can’t drive themselves to church. I am SO thankful for podcasts and technology that enables people to hear the message if they can’t be in the physical church building. But I pray that God will help me to know those around me who are shut in. I have a heart for that now whereas I never did before. So to that end, he caused good things to come out of a bad wreck. And at least no one was killed. He’s teaching me to be thankful every day.

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

1. Write as worship.
2. Be willing to hear hard things about your writing yet don’t let anyone discourage you.
3. Matthew 6:33 it and watch God blow open Eph 3:20 doors you never imagined. Meaning apply the principle of putting God and His stuff first, even above your writing. And watch how His spirit spills over into the work to touch readers in ways you could not even begin to imagine. And fiction authors have OUTSTANDING imaginations! LOL!

Tell us about the featured book?

Ready-Made Family is obviously a romance. But it’s also a cross-cultural/interracial romance. I felt strongly God wanted me to write one to show His love for diversity and ethnicity. I don’t write agenda-driven fiction and I don’t like to read it. But if we are in Christ—abiding in relationship—certain themes that He has placed in our makeup will naturally come through the book, I think. This story is about a heroine who was shunned by a toxic church when she became pregnant out of wedlock. It’s also about a hero who is a strong, Alpha military male, but he’s multilayered in that he’s also a worship leader in church who writes his own music and lyrics. So he and the townspeople of Refuge reach out to this girl and her little daughter. Lots of things are restored in this book but I don’t want to give too much away.

Please give us the first page of the book.

First page excerpt: Ready-Made Family, by Cheryl Wyatt

"Mister! Mommy needs help!"
The child's cry spun U.S.A.F. Pararescue Jumper Ben-li Dillinger on his toes to face its source. Purchases clunked beside his car, Ben's feet propelled him toward the youngster.Tears falling from two teddy-bear-big eyes brought Ben, heart and body, to his knees. Speaking of bears, she clutched a tattered brown one."What's wrong, princess?"
Ben scanned Refuge Mall's parking lot for the mother. Maybe she had car trouble. But it wouldn't make sense for a parent to send a child this young for help. No vehicle with its hood propped, either. In fact, his was only one of the few remaining since closing time minutes ago. Not only that, the child's duress surpassed a stranded-car scenario.
A tiny hand tugged him up. "C'mon! Mommy's over here. Something bad happened!"

You hooked me. How can readers find you on the Internet?

My Web site is http://www.cherylwyatt.com/
I’m running a Kindle Contest now that is only available to newsletter subscribers. Folks can sign up for my newsletter by visiting my Web site and signing up in the newsletter space provided.



Shoot me a friends request if you participate in the social network sites.



I also hang out regularly on the forums at ACFW and Steeple Hill.
Thank you, Cheryl, for spending this time with us. I always enjoy hosting you.
Readers, if you don't live near a store that carries these books, heres a link where you can order it:
Leave a comment for a chance to win a free copy of the book. Don't forget to check back a week from Saturday to see if you won.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Author DiAnn Mills - BREACH OF TRUST - Free Book

I'm really happy to welcome DiAnn back to my blog. She's been a good friend for a long time. I haven't ever included her bio in the blog, but I think you'll be interested in reading it.

Award-winning author, DiAnn Mills, launched her career in 1998 with the publication of her first book. Currently she has over forty books in print and has sold a million and a half copies.

DiAnn believes her readers should “Expect an Adventure.” DiAnn Mills is a fiction writer who combines an adventuresome spirit with unforgettable characters to create action-packed novels.
Six of her anthologies have appeared on the CBA Best Seller List. Three of her books have won the distinction of Best Historical of the Year by Heartsong Presents. Five of her books have won placements through American Christian Fiction Writer’s Book of the Year Awards 2003 – 2008, and she is the recipient of the Inspirational Reader’s Choice award for 2005 and 2007. She was a Christy Awards finalist in 2008.

DiAnn is a founding board member for American Christian Fiction Writers, a member of Inspirational Writers Alive, Romance Writers of America’s Faith, Hope and Love, and Advanced Writers and Speakers Association. She speaks to various groups and teaches writing workshops around the country. DiAnn is also a mentor for Jerry B. Jenkins Christian Writer’s Guild.
She lives in sunny Houston, Texas. DiAnn and her husband have four adult sons and are active members of Metropolitan Baptist Church.
Welcome, DiAnn. Since you’re being published regularly, what new avenues will your future books take?

I love the challenge of writing romantic suspense. It’s a stretch worth the research and the effort. I also enjoy writing a historical – an edgy historical. But there too I want a spin of suspense in an older setting. Although a historical isn’t as fast paced, the thrill of another era. I plan to continue in both of these genres.

What conferences will you be attending this year? Will you be a speaker at any of them?

April 3-7, I’ll be attending Mt. Hermon. This is the one conference I always attend to recharge my professional and spiritual life. This will be my 10th year, and every year I’ve participated at Mt. Hermon, I’ve always sold at least one book.

May 17-21, I’ll be teaching at the Blue Ridge Writer’s Conference at Ridgecrest, NC. Wow, this
conference has a sweet personality all it’s own. The faculty and attendees love Jesus and want to teach others how to write for Him.
June 5, I’ll be teaching an all-day fiction workshop for the San Gabriel Writers League in
Georgetown, TX.
You'll love that group. I have done a workshop for them.

August 1, I’ll be teaching two fiction workshops for Inspirational Writers Alive in Houston, TX.
I know you've taught there before. So have I. I love the group that comes to this conference.

September 11-12, I’ll be teaching a Fiction Mentoring Clinic for the North Texas Christian Writer’s Conference in Keller, TX.
I will be teaching a workshop at that conference, too.

September 17-20 is the ACFW Conference. This year the annual conference will be in Denver, CO. I don’t know if I’ll be teaching there.
I'll be attending there, but don't know yet whether I'll be teaching again.

October 4-8, I’ll be teaching at the Blue Ridge Novel Writing Retreat at Ridgecrest, NC. This is a
dynamic mentoring-type opportunity for writers to deepen their novel writing skills.

You are one busy woman. If you were in charge of planning the panel discussion at a writing conference, what topic would the panel cover, and who would you ask to be on the panel, and why?

I’d like to cover the topic of professionalism in approaching agents and editors. I see far too many writers “stalk” potential agents and editors. Unfortunately that doesn’t help the writer. Another problem that falls right in line with that issue is writer etiquette.

For the panel, I’d like to see Karen Ball from B&H, Sue Brower from Zondervan, Janet Grant from Books and Such, Chip MacGregor - agent, Stephanie Broene and Karen Watson of Tyndale, and Steve Laube – agent.

Why is it important to you to be active in writing organizations?
Two reasons: to deepen my writing skills and to help other writers deepen their skills.

Where in the community or your church do you volunteer?

I’m a church librarian!

Our church doesn't have a library, but I volunteer in the church bookstore. Who are the five people who have made the most impact on your life, and how?

1. Tracie Peterson – dynamic encouragement
2. Dean Mills – my husband who is my best cheerleader and my worst editor
3. Janet Grant – her professionalism and her belief in me
4. Kathy Olson – my copy editor at Tyndale
5. Lauraine Snelling – she’s a giver and a keeper

If you could writer the inscription on your tombstone, what would it be?

She is a daughter of the King

Tell us about the featured book.

Paige Rogers is a former CIA agent who lost all she treasured seven years ago when her entire
team was killed in a covert mission. She blames their leader—Daniel Keary—whom Paige believes betrayed them. Disillusioned and afraid for her life, she disappeared and started a new life as a small-town librarian. But when Keary announces his candidacy for governor of her state, he comes after Paige to ensure that she won't ruin his bid for office. He threatens everything she holds dear, and Paige must choose between the life of hiding that has become her refuge . . . or risking everything in one last, desperate attempt to right old wrongs.

Readers, I've read this book, and it is awesome. DiAnn, please share the first page with us.

Librarian Paige Rogers had survived more exciting days dodging bullets to protect her country. Given a choice, she’d rather be battling assassins than collecting overdue fines. For that matter, running down terrorists had a lot more appeal than running down lost books. Oh, the regrets of life—woven with guilt, get-over-its, and move-ons. But do-overs were impossible, and the adventures of her life were now shelved alphabetically under fiction.

Time to reel in my pitiful attitude and get to work. Paige stepped onto her front porch with what she needed for a full workday at the library. Already, perspiration dotted her face, a reminder
of the rising temperatures. Before locking the door behind her, she scanned the front yard and surveyed the opposite side of the dusty road, where chestnut-colored quarter horses grazed
on sparse grass. Torrid heat and no rain, as though she stood on African soil. But here, nothing out of the ordinary drew her attention. Just the way she liked it. Needed it.

Sliding into her sporty yet fuel-efficient car, she felt for the Beretta Px4 under the seat. The past could rear its ugly head without warning. Boy Scouts might be prepared; Girl Scouts were trained. The radio blared out the twang of a guitar and the misery of a man who’d lost his sweetheart to a rodeo star. Paige laughed at the irony of it all. She zipped down the road, her tires crunching the grasshoppers that littered the way before her. In the rearview mirror,
she saw birds perched on a barbed wire fence and a few defiant wildflowers. They held on to their roots in the sun-baked dirt the way she clutched hope. The radio continued to croon out
one tune after another all the way into the small town of Split Creek, Oklahoma, ten klicks from nowhere.

After parking her car in the designated spot in front of the library, Paige hoisted her tote bag onto her shoulder and grabbed a book about Oklahoma history and another by C. S. Lewis.
The latter had kept her up all night, helping her make some sense out of the sordid events of her past. She scraped the grasshoppers from her shoes and onto the curb. The pests were everywhere this time of year. Reminded her of a few gadflies she’dbeen forced to trust overseas. She’d swept the crusty hoppers off her porch at home and the entrance to the library as she’d done with the shadow makers of the past. But nothing could wipe the nightmares from her internal hard drive.
Her gaze swept the quiet business district with an awareness of how life could change in the blink of an eye. A small landscaping of yellow marigolds and sapphire petunias stretched toward the
sky in front of the newly renovated, one-hundred-year-old courthouse. Its high pillars supported a piece of local history . . . and the secrets of the best of families. Business owners unlocked their stores and exchanged morning greetings. Paige recognized most of the dated cars and dusty pickups, but a black Town Car with tinted glass and an Oklahoma license plate parked on the right side of the courthouse caught her attention.

Why would someone sporting a luxury car want to venture into Split Creek, population 1,500? The lazy little town didn’t offer much more than a few antique stores, a small library, a beauty shop, Dixie’s Donuts, a Piggly Wiggly, four churches—including one First Baptist and one South First Baptist, each at opposite ends of town, one First Methodist, and a holiness tabernacle
right beside Denim’s Restaurant. She wanted to believe it was an early visitor to the courthouse. Maybe someone lost. But those thoughts soon gave way to curiosity and a twist of suspicion.

With a smile intended to be more appealing than a Fourth of July storefront, she crossed the street to subtly investigate the out-of-place vehicle. Some habits never changed. Junior Shafer, who owned and operated a nearby antique store, stooped to arrange his outside treasures. Actually, Paige rarely saw an antique on display, just junk and old Avon bottles.

“Mornin’, Mr. Shafer. Looks like another scorcher.”

“Mornin’. Yep, this heat keeps the customers away.” The balding man slowly stood and massaged his back. “Maybe I’ll advertise free air-conditioning and folks will stop in.”

“Whatever works.” She stole a quick glance at the Town Car and memorized the license plate number. No driver. “Looks like you have a visitor.” She pointed to the car.

Mr. Shafer narrowed his eyes and squinted. “Nah, that’s probably Eleanor’s son from Tulsa. He’s helping her paint the beauty shop. She said he had a new car. The boy must be doing fine in
the insurance business.”

“Now that’s a good son.”

Mr. Shafer lifted his chin, then rubbed it. “Uh, you know, Paige . . . he ain’t married.”

“And I’m not looking.” She’d never be in the market for a husband. Life had grown too complicated to consider such an undertaking, even if it did sound enticing.

“A pretty little lady like you should be tending to babies, not books.”

“Ah, but books don’t grow up or talk back.”

He shook his head and unlocked his store.

“I have a slice of peach pie for you.” Paige reached inside her tote bag and carefully brought out a plastic container. “I baked it around six this morning. It’s fresh.”

He turned back around. A slow grin spread from one generous ear to the other. “You’re right. You don’t need to go off and get married. I might not get my pies.” He did his familiar shoulder
jig. “Thank you, sweet girl.” He reached for the pie with
both hands as though it were the most precious thing he’d ever been offered.

To read more of Chapter 1 please visit the author's website - http://www.diannmills.com/
Please sign up for my newsletter. There is a contest going on right now!

Thank you, DiAnn, for spending this time with us.
Readers, for those of you who don't live near bookstores, here's a link where you can order Breach of Trust.
Leave a comment for a chance to win a free copy of the book. Check back in two weeks to see if you won.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

More Winners!!

Nicole O'Dell is the winner of Another Hour to Kill by Anita Higman.

Edna is the winner of The Secret's in the Sauce by Eva Marie Everson and Linda Evans Shepherd.

Cecelia Dowdy is the winner of Love Finds You in Paradise, Pennsylvania, by Loree Lough.

Raspberrygirl is the winner of My Son, John by Kathi Macias.

Congratulations! To claim your book, email me with your mailing address. You can find the link to my email in my Complete Profile in the right hand column of this blog.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Author Leanna Ellis - RUBY'S SLIPPERS - Free Book

I happy to welcome Leanna back to our blog. Leanna, God has really been moving in your writing life. What do you see on the horizon?

I can’t see all the way to the horizon. But God can. I just try to take one step at a time and move in that direction, praying all the while and trying to listen to what God wants me to do.

Tell us a little about your family.

My husband is the most supportive husband ever! He’s always been that way and I am so grateful for him. God knew exactly who I needed to marry. We have two of the most wonderful children. For several years we homeschooled, but now they go to a university model school, which is combination of private school and homeschool. So they attend classes 3 days a week, like a university, and study and do homework at home on the other days. Homeschooling has been a blessing to our family. And then, there are our critters, which are members of our family too. We have a 13 year old llasa named Belle, a seven year old lab named Liberty, a feisty cat named Miracle, and a five month old labradoodle puppy who is into everything and making me doubt my parenting skills.

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

Oh, sure. Writing can often ruin your reading. You tend to be more critical of other books, reading them with that discerning writer’s eye. It’s good and actually beneficial to your writing as you study and learn. But it also, I think, makes reading more wonderful. For when you do find a book that transports you to another world and tugs at your heart, you appreciate that author and want to study how the writer accomplished such a book. What other profession can you go and hangout at a bookstore for hours and call it work? Or buy a ton of books and write them off on your taxes?

I'm with you. What are you working on right now?

I’m finishing a manuscript which is due in three weeks. It’s called Once in a Blue Moon. At the same time, I’m beginning to write the next.

What outside interests do you have?

Outside of what? My head? My house? Sorry, couldn’t resist. I love to watch my kids doing all of their activities: fencing, dancing, singing, football, piano, basketball, etc… Their interests keep me very busy. But I also love to travel, so I’m always planning or dreaming about our next vacation.

How do you choose your settings for each book?

I think the settings choose me. Usually the settings grow organically from the book. For Elvis Takes a Back Seat, it was natural for the journey to take them to Memphis and Graceland. For Lookin’ Back, Texas, my critique buddy suggested Luckenbach and it really was the perfect quirky location which then gave me the title for the book. For Ruby’s Slippers, the journey had to go to the Emerald City which Seattle is often called.

If you could spend an evening with one historical person, who would it be and why?
Genghis Khan. I’m joking. Bet you haven’t had anyone give you that answer before though.

You are so funny. What is the one thing you wish you had known before you started writing novels?

How hard it is! Actually, I’m glad I didn’t know. I was fairly oblivious to that which is probably why I ignorantly thought I could write a book. Why force reality on a fantasy?

What new lessons is the Lord teaching you right now?

There is a time for everything. Sometimes I get frustrated and anxious when I can’t get to my writing, but I’m learning to let that go. My time isn’t my own. It’s a gift I give to the Lord each day. Or it should be. Recently my father was in the hospital for three weeks. It was not only a stressful time for our family as his condition was very serious, but it was time consuming in driving an hour to the hospital each day. And I kept trying not to think about my book that was waiting for me to finish it. Letting go of even time is difficult and yet freeing.

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

Write. Rewrite. Rewrite again.

Tell us about the featured book?

I started Ruby’s Slippers with the idea of ‘what would happen if Dorothy lost her somewhere over the rainbow?’ As the story took shape, I realized it was a Wizard of Oz meets Cinderella story.

When Dottie Meyers loses her ‘no place like home’ during a Kansas tornado, she wakes up to find a pair of ruby slippers left by her father who abandoned his family thirty years ago. With her sister hot on her trail to find the treasured ruby slippers, Dottie travels a yellow brick road with three friends to find her father. No wizard can solve her problems. Only the love of a heavenly father can heal her wounds and give her the desires of her heart.

There’s no place like … the heart for God’s healing touch.

Please give us the first page of the book. Ruby’s Slippers:

Chapter One

Some people wish on candles, others on stars. When I was a girl, nose pressed against the passenger window of our Vista Cruiser, I watched truckloads of hay bales rumbling down the highway near our Kansas farm. Weather-beaten farmers driving thirty miles an hour (or slower), traffic piling up a mile behind them. Momma would ease the station wagon into the left lane to pass the snaking line and say, “Make a wish, girls, and don’t look back.”

My younger sister, Abby, always made a production out of her wishes. She squeezed her eyes closed, pursed her lips toward heaven, and proclaimed to all who were within hearing, “I’m gonna . . .” She leaned forward, her hand on Mama’s shoulder. “Can I wish on every hay bale?”

“Why not?” Mama shook her head with bewilderment as if my sister was a novelty act in the circus. To me, she was.

Puckering up again, Abby rattled off her litany of wishes. “I’m gonna be famous! I’m gonna be on the big screen! I’m gonna fly around the world.”

Like any good big sister, I rolled my eyes and let out a long, loud huff of irritation. Looking back on it now, I realize I was jealous that Abby knew what she wanted and wasn’t afraid to throw her dreams out there for all the world to see.

Cynical, even at age nine, I never wished on candles, stars, or hay bales. Maybe I’ve always been looking back rather than forward. Nowadays, I’ve become a moderately healthy realist at age thirty-five. But sometimes, in the dark of a lonely night, I do imagine wishes coming true.

Otto’s barking first signals something amiss on this damp, overcast afternoon. He’s my loyal, scruffy black dog, not more than ten or twelve pounds soaking wet. He follows me everywhere and will defend me if so much as a crow flies too near. Crouched on my knees in the garden, holding a prickly weed, I watch a strange sedan clip along the forlorn drive at an unsafe pace and feel a catch in my chest.

What a hook! How can readers find you on the Internet?

I’m also on Shoutlife and on Facebook.
Thanks for having me here, Lena!
My pleasure, Leanna.
Readers, here's a link where you can order the book:
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.

Author Patricia Davids - A CLOUD OF SUSPICION - Free Book

Here we are with another book in the Without a Trace series by Love Inspired Suspense. Welcome, Patricia. I just love reading these series by Love Inspired Suspense. What is the name of the series this book is in, and where in the series does it occur?

A Cloud of Suspicion is book # 4 in the Without a Trace series. It’s an April release from Steeple Hill Love Inspired Suspense, and it’s my first attempt at a suspense book.

Who came up with the idea for the series?

You know, I’m not sure who had the original idea. The projects are proposed and developed by Steeple Hill editors. I got into the series because I was contacted by Steeple Hill through my agent and asked if I would like to participate. Since I had just finished a book for the Love Inspired continuity Homecoming Heroes, I wasn’t too sure that I wanted to take on another one just yet. However, I’m certainly glad I did.

I know that working on a series that weaves together takes a lot of work. How did your team schedule the work?

I love people who schedule their lives and work. I always wanted to be one of them. Instead, I’m a crisis junkie. Take housework. If I did it every day the house would be clean, and I wouldn’t have to break out the backhoe when my mother calls to say she’s coming over. Nope, that’s not me.

But I digress. Back to the question. All the authors received what’s called “the bible” or outline of the stories and character sketches and then we had a certain amount of time to draft our first three chapters and turn them in. The first thing we did was to set up an e-mail loop, then we read all the story lines and picked apart and repaired any contradictions we found. There were a few. Things like one character’s name had been inadvertently changed from book one to something different in another book. Details are so important in a suspense book. Once we ironed those out, we got underway. This entailed lots of e-mailing each other.

Did you find it hard to work within the series framework?

Yes and no. How easy or difficult a continuity is depends a lot on the authors involved. I was privileged to work with some great women on this series. A Cloud of Suspicion was difficult for several other reasons. First, it was my first suspense novel, and I wasn’t sure I could write suspense, and I really didn’t want to let the other authors down. Second, I didn’t get to reveal the killer. For me, that was worse than cleaning the oven. Did I mention I hate housework?

What other books have you had published?

Thank you for asking. I have seven previously published book. They are all from Steeple Hill Love Inspired. His Bundle of Love, Love Thine Enemy, Prodigal Daughter (book 5 of the Davis Landing series), The Color of Courage, Military Daddy, A Matter of the Heart (book 4 in Homecoming Heroes series) and A Military Match.

Besides A Cloud of Suspicion, I have two additional books coming out this year. Speed Trap, another suspense book in September and A Family for Thanksgiving (book 5 in the After the Storm series)

When you aren’t writing or spending time with your family, what is your favorite activity?

Not housework. I like movies. My husband has this enormous DVD collection and we watch a lot of our favorites when we aren’t puttering around in the yard. I love to travel and I get to do a fair amount of that when I’m researching storylines.

Where do you do most of your writing?

I have a home office. I’m chained to my computer most days. I have a new series I’m working on that will feature Amish characters. My writing time is 10 p.m. until 2 a.m. Yes, you read that right. I’m a night owl. It’s easier to ignore dust bunnies in dim light.

What part of the country do you live it? And why do you like that part of the country?

I am a Kansas girl, born and raised on the Great Plains. I’m a farmer’s daughter, but I moved to Wichita many years ago. I love the open grasslands, the push of the wind, the ripples of waving wheat fields.

Tell us about the featured book.

A Cloud of Suspicion features Loomis librarian, Shelby Mason in the role of heroine. Shelby’s friend Leah has been missing for four months and several murders in Loomis remain unsolved. The hero, Patrick Rivers, the town bad boy, has returned after ten years to settle his step-father’s estate. Patrick, once the town’s football hero was accused of rape, but the charges were dismissed for lack of evidence. As soon as he rumbled into town on his custom motorcycle, Shelby begins to receive threats to keep quiet. She isn’t sure about what. As the threats against Shelby escalate, Patrick finds himself drawn to help protect her.

Sounds intriguing. I can hardly wait to read it. How can my readers find you on the Internet?

That’s easy. You can read about me, contact me and enter my contest by clicking over to http://www.patriciadavids.com/

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

Readers, for your convenience, I'm including this link where you can order the book:

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.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Author Interview - DOG GONE - Free Book

I am really pleased to introduce Eileen Key with her debut book. It was a long time coming, but well worth the wait. Welcome, Eileen. Tell us how much of yourself you write into your characters.

I chose to write in first person, so there’s a touch of me in my heroine. She’s skinnier and smarter though.

What is the quirkiest thing you have ever done?

While on vacation in England, I rented a car and hit a hearse—it was on the wrong side of the road, in my opinion. No injuries sustained to people or cars.

When did you first discover that you were a writer?

In fourth grade, my closest friend and I wrote a book about a lonely pine tree at Christmas. I’m sure it was made into a movie. Professionally I began writing in 2001.

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

I read mystery and suspense. I especially like those with a continuing line of characters because they draw me into their world.

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

I’ve written two other complete manuscripts which were rejected by Steeple Hill. I’m a contributor in nine anthologies and have written numerous devotionals.

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

Whew! Isn’t it difficult? I’m blessed at this season of life to have a quiet apartment with only me in residence. Turning off the tv and settling into my overstuffed chair is a requirement by the end of the week. Other days I visit my grandson and use light sabers to play Star Wars. My two-year-old granddaughter still likes to cuddle. They brighten my days.

How do you choose your characters’ names?

Arabelle, or Belle, is my heroine’s name in Dog Gone. Her name came from someone I knew. I always thought it tripped off the tongue nicely. I choose names from different time periods, people I’ve known, and try saying them out loud.

My mother's name was Frances Arabella after two of her aunts, but she didn't like it. She went by Fanny Belle. I didn't know her real name until after she died. What is the accomplishment that you are most proud of?

Rearing three children as a single parent, with Jesus as my guide. They are now successful adults and love the Lord.

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

A dog. House pet of my youngest daughter because I’d be spoiled rotten.

What is your favorite food?

Steak and taters. Texas gal that I am.

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

Fear. Fear of rejection and fear of reviews. I submitted because I finally typed The End on a volume of pages and found rejection didn’t kill me. Recently Angela Hunt’s wisdom put the review thing into perspective. At the ACFW conference, Angela stated if God called us to write, someone somewhere needs to read our words. Aha! Might only be one person, but my words are there for that someone.

I learned that some time ago. When I receive a rejection from a publisher, I know the readers who need this story wouldn't be reached by that publisher, so I keep looking for the one that will reach them. What advice would you give to an author just starting out?

Read, read, read, and write, write, write. So many begin a thousand books but don’t see them through until The End. Finish. Find a critique partner if possible to give it a look-see, then submit. You won’t know until you try!

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

Dog Gone introduces Belle Blevins, owner of Belle’s Featherduster Cleaning Service. When her best friend Ginnie reports that a dog has been stolen from her pet spa, Belle rushes to help find Schotzie. A loss of revenue for the kennel will be bad for Belle, since the Pampered Pooch sits on Belle’s property—and taxes are due! Then a rash of stolen pedigreed pooches begins, and Belle discovers the underworld of dognapping.

How can readers find you on the Internet?


Thank you, Lena, my mentor and friend, for this interview.
And thank you, Eileen, for spending this time with us.
Readers, if you would like to purchase a copy of this book, contact Eileen at:
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.
Each week, I have at least one winner who doesn't contact me.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Author Beth Wiseman - Plain Pursuit - Free Book

Why do you write the kind of books you do?

People are looking for peace – the kind of peace that only comes from a relationship with God. I have been blessed with a lot of wonderful emails from readers, but my favorite was a simple email from a young woman who said, “Your book made me want to be a better person.” I had a very strong calling to write the kind of books I write, and there is no greater reward than to know that you are touching people through words that glorify Him.

That is so true, and those letters and emails confirm the calling. Besides when you came to know the Lord, what is the happiest day in your life?
The day I married Patrick. But a close second would be the day I sold to Thomas Nelson. Of course, that’s not counting births of children.

How has being published changed your life?
I work harder than I have ever worked in my life! Where’s the bon-bons? I could have sworn someone said bon-bons came with this job? The idea of being published and the reality are two very different concepts.

No bon-bons, but I have to have dark chocolate some days. What are you reading right now?
This Side of Heaven by Karen Kingsbury.

What is your current work in progress?
Up until a week ago, I had two works in progress. But I just turned in book #3, Plain Promise in the Daughters of the Promise series to my editor, and I’m currently wrapping up a novella that is due next week. Working on two books at once is challenging for me, but I will be doing the same thing again soon when I start book #4 in the series and another novella. In addition to the six series books, there are also two novellas on the horizon, and I’m honored to be partnering with two fabulous authors – Kathleen Fuller and Barbara Cameron. The first novella, An Amish Christmas, will release in August of this year, followed by An Amish Gathering, scheduled for release in the fall.

What would be your dream vacation?
A trip to Italy that includes cooking school. The best lasagna I ever ate was made by a woman who went to culinary school in Italy, and I’m determined to master the perfect lasagna before I die.

How do you choose your settings for each book?
All of my books are set in Amish Dutch Country, the fascinating world of the Plain People. Most of the scenes are based on actual places I have visited in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, or farms in Texas near where I live.

If you could spend an evening with one person who is currently alive, who would it be and why?
The President of the United States – whoever it is at the time. I have questions…

What are your hobbies, besides writing and reading?
I love to travel, play tennis, fish, and cook.

What is your most difficult writing obstacle, and how do you overcome it?
Besides the weight I’m gaining by never leaving my computer? Hmm… It would have to be balancing everything – home, family, friends, and writing (and everything that writing entails aside from the actual writing – i.e. websites, emails, blogs, book signings, etc.) Writing these books is a calling for me, and as such – a huge blessing. But my friends and family are also very important to me, and relationships have to be nourished. So, I’m still working on balancing everything.

It is a delicate balance indeed. What advice would you give to a beginning author?
I know it sounds cliché to say, “Never give up,” but I spent years reading all the debut author stories, and you do get to a point where you think it just won’t happen for you. But then it does. So, never give up.

Tell us about the featured book.
Plain Pursuit is the second book in the Daughters of the Promise series. Each book in the series features one woman’s journey into an Amish community where she discovers new meaning to the words faith, hope, and love. I have brought the characters from book #1, Plain Perfect, forward in Plain Pursuit, but I have incorporated two new main characters. Here is the blurb for the book:

Carley has given up chasing her dreams, now her dreams are chasing her.

Carley Marek is traveling from Texas to Amish country to visit her friend Lillian and to write a newspaper article. Lillian is married to an Amish farmer and has found happiness in adopting the Plain life. Carley hopes some of Lillian’s newfound peace will somehow rub off on her.

Just when Carley is getting used to the peaceful nature of the Plain community, Lillian and Samuel’s son, David, falls ill. Strangely, the local doctor who can offer the most help, Noah, was shunned by the Amish community and is forbidden to intervene. As David grows worse, Noah is determined to do whatever it takes to save the boy’s life. Now Carley is caught in the middle—drawn to Noah, loyal to her Amish hosts, searching for ways to be helpful in the crisis . . . and confused by all the talk about a God she neither knows nor trusts.

Carley must decide what in life is really worth pursuing . . . and what to do when she finds herself pursued by a love she never expected.

Includes Reading Group Guide and Authentic Old Order Amish Recipes

How can readers find you on the Internet?
I have a website at http://www.bethwiseman.com/, a blog at http://blog.bethwiseman.net/, and I’m on Facebook and Shoutlife. I’m excited about a new co-authored blog that just launched this month with myself and three other authors of Amish fiction – Kathleen Fuller, Barbara Cameron, and debut author Amy Clipston. http://www.amishhearts.com/ features news about our book releases, interesting facts and news about the Amish way of life, and authentic Amish recipes. We’ll be hosting book giveaways and contests also.

Lena, thanks so much for having me! Your blog is popular with readers, so it’s always an honor to be a guest.

Blessings, Beth
Thank you for spending this time with us. I love having you. So do my readers.
Readers, I'm including this link to the where you can order the book, for your convenience:

Leave a comment for a chance to win a free copy of the book. Don't forget to check back in two weeks, on Saturday, to see if you won.

Saturday, March 21, 2009


Katie8407 is the winner of A Promise for Spring by Kim Vogel Sawyer. I spent part of yesterday at Christian Book Expo with Kim. I just love her, and you'll love this book.

Sharon 54200 is the winner of The Naked Earth by Jonathan Adam DeCoteau.

Marla is the winner of Trouble In My Way by Michelle Stimpson. You'll love her writing, too.

Veronica Leigh is the winner of Every Sunrise by Tricia Goyer.

Don't forget to also enter at the link for the contest for the rest of the Tricia Goyer giveaway.

If you weren't a winner of any of these books, go ahead and get a copy. There are links to order the books on most of the interviews.

Sorry to be so late in the day with the winners. I've been catching up from being at CBE all day yesterday.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Kathi Macias - MY SON, JOHN - Free Book

We've had Kathi with her latest nonfiction book, now we're featuring her just-released novel. Welcome back, Kathi. Tell us how much of yourself you write into your characters.

I think all authors write a part of themselves into each book. I know that’s true of the 21 I’ve published so far, and will no doubt continue to be in the future, whether I’m writing fiction or nonfiction. However, in My Son, John, though I’ve never been in the heartbreaking situation our heroine finds herself in, I have had to learn a lot about unconditional love through the lives of my own now-grown children. So, in answer to your question, there’s a lot of “me” in my characters, particularly the main character in this story.

What is the quirkiest thing you have ever done?
Oh my, I’m so predictable and boring that I’m going to have a tough time coming up with this one. Quirky to me is probably a yawner to most people. My idea of a good time is to sit in a beach chair (preferably in Hawaii), reading someone else’s book and glancing up occasionally to watch the waves roll in and take a sip of something cold. However, I do ride on the back of my husband’s Harley, and my road name is “Easy Writer,” if that counts.

It counts. When did you first discover you were a writer?
I’ve never wanted to be anything else. I’ve loved books for as long as I can remember. My husband still talks about the day when we were walking home from junior high and I told him I was going to be a writer when I grew up. Not so sure I grew up, but here I am—a writer!

Tell us the range of the kinds of books you enjoy reading.
A good novel, one that unfolds through unforgettable characters, has to be at the top of my list. But I also enjoy good meaty Bible studies and commentaries, particularly if they deal with Hebrew culture, language, and history.

What other books have you written, whether published or not?
I’ve written more than 100 books, actually, most of which have been published. Almost 100 of them, however, were ghostwritten for other people, so most don’t have my name on them. I’ve also written/published 21 of my own, slightly over half of them fiction and two of them for children. My women’s devotional was the bestselling so far, having sold nearly 200,000 copies.

How do you keep your sanity in our run, run, run world?
I’m fanatically disciplined, to the point that I drive people crazy. I’m up at 4:30 (sometimes earlier), and as soon as my husband is out the door, I take my cup of tea and go off to my quiet place with my Bible and study books and prayer journals. When I emerge an hour or so later, I’m ready to tackle my day.

How do you choose your characters’ names?
That depends a lot on the book. Right now I’m working on a book set in South Africa just prior to the release from prison of Nelson Mandela, so I’m doing a lot of research into the meaning of African names before assigning them. The same holds true any time I’m writing anything historical or set in another culture or time. For My Son, John, which is contemporary, I just picked names I liked that I felt suited the characters’ personalities.

What is the accomplishment that you are most proud of?
Assuming you’re referring to writing, I’ve won the Silver Angel Award from Excellence in Media; I also won the grand prize in an international writing contest. In addition, I’ve had the honor of working with some wonderful authors, such as the late Chaplain of the United States Senate, Dr. Richard Halverson, Dr. Jack Hayford, and many others.

If you were an animal, which one would you be, and why?
Egads, that’s a tough one. I suppose the kind of animal I like best—a small, quiet dog (which rules out Jack Russells).

What is your favorite food?
It’s a toss-up between pizzas and donuts. I DO NOT do health food.

What is the problem with writing that was your greatest roadblock, and how did you overcome it?
Probably because my training is in journalism where writer’s block doesn’t exist, I don’t have problems being able to write on command. However, the biggest challenge for me has been finding the time to write all the many projects that come my way. I’ve had to learn to be careful what I say yes to, and then to plan accordingly, remembering that I’m only required to be faithful to do what I’m called to today.

What advice would you give to an author just starting out?
On the practical side, keep your day job! It took me quite awhile to get to the place where I was actually operating in the black on a regular basis. On the spiritual side, stay true to God’s calling on your life; don’t let yourself get sidetracked.

What would you like to tell us about the featured book?
This book has been a long time in the making. I originally wrote it with an entirely different plot, though the theme has always been unconditional love. After not being able to sell it as it was first written, though I tried for years, I offered to change the plot, and voila! Here it is.

How can readers find you on the Internet?
I’m in various places, but my primary site is http://www.kathimacias.com/.
I also serve as spiritual director to Set Free Today ministries, so they can find me there at http://www.setfreetoday.com/. I’m a member of CAN (Christian Authors Network), where I serve as spiritual adviser, and AWSA (Advanced Writers and Speakers Association), where I serve as membership chair, so I can be found on those sites as well. My weekly devotionals post in Spanish and English every Monday on Crosswalk.com and various other sites as well. A Google search will pull up most of them.
Thank you, Kathi, for spending this time with us.
Readers, leave a comment for a chance to win a free copy of My Son, John. Don't forget to check back a week from Saturday to see if you won.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009


This is our first time to have Loree with us on the blog. Welcome, Loree. Tell us how much of yourself you write into your characters.

I’d have to say there’s a little of me in every character I’ve written, regardless of age, gender, or good-guy/bad guy status. Like most authors, I rely heavily on my opinions, beliefs and background while considering what motivates my characters, as well as how they react to situations and events.

What is the quirkiest thing you’ve ever done?

Hmmm…I suppose I’d have to say that I paid my way through college by literally singing for my supper. Yep. You read correctly. Instead of "the piano lady" found in hotel lounges all across this great land of ours, you would have found me, strumming my Yamaha and crooning tunes requested by patrons. And hoo-boy did I learn a lot about human nature, watching the actions and interactions that took place all around me, Monday through Saturday, from 9 p.m. ‘til 2 a.m.!

When did you first discover you were a writer?

I’m not one of those authors who can honestly say “I wrote my first story while still in diapers!” For me, the concept dawned when I was in my early 30s, the by-product of my career as a freelance writer. Writing all sorts of stories, on assignment for a wide variety of newspapers and magazines, I was frequently frustrated by the way editors and/or publishers changed certain facts to appease advertisers. One day it hit me: If I was gonna write fiction for a living, why not admit it, and pen a novel! I did just that, sold it, and the rest, as they say, is history!

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

Wow. Now that could take pages and pages! I’m one of those goofballs who will read anything, from cereal boxes to junk mail. I have a vast collection of non-fiction books on my shelves, on topics that run the gamut from self-help to gardening. The novels I like best can’t be filed under a single genre, either. I read anything I can get my hands on, from light romantic comedy, to mysteries, to suspense and psycho-thrillers. My favorite classic? Steinbeck’s East of Eden. My favorite more-contemporary title? Watchers, by Dean Koontz.

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

With a total of 68 books in print, I can’t in good conscience list every title here. I’ve written for many publishers (Barbour, Chelsea, Silhouette, Harlequin, Steeple Hill, Summerside, and more). I’ve written fiction and non-fiction for children and adults (and even had one novel optioned for a TV movie). Right now, I have fourteen books in progress, in various stages of completion, on my desk. Of those, four are sold and two are holding the interest of editors. There area literally dozens more false starts and completed novels that will probably always stay in those dark file drawers, right where they belong!

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

Um…answering this one assumes I AM sane! Seriously, I credit the love and support of my husband and daughters for helping me keep my feet planted on terra firma. Then there’s good ol’ Cash, our formerly-abused, now overly-spoiled German Shorthaired Pointer whose devotion and loyalty promise to keep me humble. And if all that fails to remind me life is about far, far more than what appears on my computer screen, God always manages to find innovative ways to put my focus back where it belongs.

How do you choose your characters’ names?

I’m a strong believer in the old "Words Mean Things" mindset. With that in mind, I want my characters’ names to reflect who and what they are.

What is the accomplishment you’re most proud of?

Without question, it’s my happy marriage of 37 years to my very own romance hero, Larry. Close on the heels of that accomplishment, my beautiful daughters.

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

That’s easy! I’d be a wolf. No doubt about it. I researched them years ago, while writing Montana Sky, and fell absolutely positively in love with the magnificent beasts. They’re smart, savvy, family-centered, and loyal to the death. And the vain-woman side of me has to point out that I’ve never seen an ugly wolf!

What is your favorite food?

Omygoodness. I love love LOVE food. There are three things I don’t like: lima beans, peas, and squid. I figure I must’ve driven my poor mother nuts, putting things in my mouth. But my all-time most-favorite love-it-best-food of all? Gnocchi, made like my Nonna used to make it, smothered with thick and rich, meatless Italian tomato sauce.

I noticed that Olive Garden has added a chicken and gnocchi soup. I'm going to try it next time I'm there. What is the problem with writing that was your greatest roadblock, and how did you overcome it?

By far, patience has always been my greatest stumbling block. Or more accurately, lack of patience. This is not a business for sissies, and anyone who’s been around as long as I have has learned the hard way that the publishing industry is way, way worse than the Army when it comes to the “hurry up and wait” philosophy! If I figure out a way to overcome it, I’ll let you know! Seriously? Prayer is the one and only method for climbing over that particular hurdle.

What advice would you give an author just starting out?

Don’t swallow the Silly Pill known in so many circles as “write the book of your heart.” Instead, save yourself a ton of time and heartache by studying the market. Find out what readers want by spending time at your favorite bookstore, and watching what genres seem to be flying off the shelves. Then, using that information, go back home and bend “the book of your heart” so that it meets those reader demands.

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

BUY IT and READ IT! I’m not kidding! Okay, for the more serious-minded souls out there, I’ll say this: Paradise features characters who must overcome sad pasts in order to find happiness, fulfillment, and love. Set in Pennsylvania’s Amish country, readers will meet a few of "the plain people" whose friendship and spiritual counsel help the hero and heroine come to grips with adversity, grief, and self-righteousness.

How can readers find you on the Internet?

Easy! Visit http://www.loreelough.com/, or http://www.theloughdown.blogspot.com/. (And if you drop me a note, your email becomes your official entry form that might help you win a free copy of Love Finds You in Paradise, Pennsylvania!)

Thank you, Loree, for spending this time with us today.

Readers for your convenience, I'm including a link where you can order the featured book:

Leave a comment for a chance to win a free copy. Be sure to check back a week from Saturday to see if you won, or you could sign up for FeedBlitz in the right hand column, and the posts will come to your Inbox.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Authors Eva Marie Everson & Linda Evans Shepherd - THE SECRET'S IN THE SAUCE - Free Book

Since this book has co-authors, I'm going to talk to each one, with Eva Marie first, just because her name comes first alphabetically. Welcome, Eva Marie. Why do you write the kind of books you do?

Specifically on the Potluck books? Because women relate. If we, as writers, want to draw readers to our work we must first write books they will laugh with, cry with, and relate to all the way around. It never ceases to amaze me the number of comments I receive at “potluck book club” parties where I’m either a live guest or a phone-in guest; those that say, “I know this woman!” or “I am this woman!” or “Have you been visiting our women’s group???”

Linda and I both travel a lot and we both speak at women’s groups and we listen not only with our ears but with our hearts. What we have discovered in talking with each other is that not one single women’s group is truly different from another. The same women make up the groups. The same types of women. The same hurts. The same personality quirks. And the same love of and for God that binds them together.

Besides when you came to know the Lord, what is the happiest day in your life?

I have more than one, quite honestly. There is no “happiest.” The day I got married I was so happy I was two hours late to the wedding (I stopped to talk to someone). The day I gave birth was a pretty happy day (except when I discovered I’d lost only 11 of the 50 pounds I’d gained). The day my husband and I gained legal and permanent guardianship of our little girl by the Florida courts was an exceptionally happy day. The day of our oldest daughter’s wedding was happy (except when my husband got lost on the way to the church and we were therefore late because…well…he’s a man, and….) Then there was the day of my first book being contracted. Very happy day. I remember dancing in the kitchen. And I’d have to say one of the single BEST days of my adult life was lived out last year in Israel. It began on the shores of the Galilee and ended climbing the Arbel Cliff. I threw out my arms as my friend Miriam snapped a photo of me, high above land, with the Sea of Galilee turning lovely shades of blue and pink in the background. Really, this is one photo that says it all.

How has being published changed your life?

I work harder than I ever have in my whole life. :-) But I get to travel a lot which I love! And I get to tell people about Jesus which I love even more! I’m excited to think that one day, as we are all dancing on streets of Gold, I’ll know so many more of Heaven’s citizens from the jump than, you know, having to meet them as we go along.

What are you reading right now?

I’m reading several books right now. The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane which is hands down one of the best books I have read in my LIFE. We finished it last night and I cried like a child. Revision and Self-Editing by James Scott Bell. Always learning…always learning…and Bell is a masterful teacher. A Good Life by Robert Benson (a re-re-re-read) and a book I was given a few weeks ago by a fairly new Baker/Revell author, Julie Lessman, called A Passion Most Pure. I’m not a huge historical romance reader but the cover (and the author) caught my attention. I’m really enjoying it!

I just love Julie's books. What is your current work in progress?

I am currently working on a project with Baker/Revell titled This Fine Life about a young preacher who is called to the Work of God in the early 1960s. It’s told from the viewpoint of his wife, a young woman who struggles with who and what she wants to be when “she grows up” and with understanding her faith in God when laid next to her husband’s “save the world” mentality. When I’m done with writing it, Linda and I will write the final chapter (book) in the Potluck series. I’m both excited and sad. Anytime a series comes to an end, it’s a thrill to see where all the pieces will land but at the same time, it will then be a bygone era for us and for our work.

What would be your dream vacation?

See…I’m torn again. I’d return to Israel (again) in a New York minute. (Oh, and I love New York in December!) My first trip to the Holy Land was as a journalist and my second was to research for a(nother) book but I’d love to go just to be there, to shoot more photos, to learn more stuff, to drink in the presence of God. I also love the mountains. Linda and I hole up in her mountain cabin near Breckinridge, CO to do our writing for Potluck always in the winter months. I am like a wild child at Christmas when we’re up there. Linda has to force me to stop playing in the snow! But I also live near the sunny beaches of Florida and the Gulf of Mexico (I’m in Central Florida) and I think there is nothing more wonderful than being near the water. More than anything, right now, I’d like to go somewhere quiet for a week of reading, rest, and respite.

How do you choose your settings for each book?

I don’t. They choose me. Recently I discovered I should be writing fiction set in the land I know best: the South. These are my people. This is my neck of the woods. So, I proposed to Baker/Revell a number of works all set in the South. I turned in the first one Things Left Unspoken in early January. The next one is tentatively titled This Fine Life.

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

Oh, you had to say “alive.” I’d love to spend one more evening with my daddy, who went to Glory in 2006. But…hmmm…alive, you say…okay. Me. I like being alone with myself. I’m comfortable with who I am (most of the time). I like quiet reading. Quiet opportunities to chat on the phone uninterrupted. Quiet cups of coffee while watching quiet TV or listening to quiet music. So….me.

What are your hobbies, besides writing and reading?

my new favorite hobby is biking. That and “Twittering.” (Come! Follow me!)

Oh, yes, I Twitter, but I can only spend a little time each day there. What is your most difficult writing obstacle, and how do you overcome it?

You know, when you have a family and a life it is often the “time issue.” Just about the time I find myself on a roll in the writing arena, someone wants dinner…or to be driven to ballet…or to get their clothes washed…or needs to chat on the phone…or some blog questions answered…. (Oh! Oops! :-) )

What advice would you give to a beginning author?

Do you believe you are supposed to do this? Okay then do it. Be aware of the closed doors. Look for the open doors. Only walk through the open ones.

Very good advice. Tell us about the featured book.

Secret’s in the Sauce? Ohmygoodness….this book is so stinkin’ funny. These “potluck gals,” I have to tell ya…they are a hoot. And yet they have some of the most poignant issues in their lives. Secret’s in the Sauce has an important lesson from me. I won’t get into it but it should be suffice to say that everyone has had tremendous burdens in their lives and chosen to run anywhere and everywhere but to God with them, only to discover they’ve made a bigger mess than what they had before. I learned it the hard way. I’m just so happy I had friends (like our potluck gals) to love me through it.

How can readers find you on the Internet?

Here’s my new thing. I love to Twitter (did I mention that?) Facebook and MySpace are good, too, and I can be “followed” at my website. Here are all my current locations:

Website: http://www.evamarieeverson.com/
Twitter: http://twitter.com/EvaMarieEverson

Now, we're going to visit with Linda. Welcome, Linda. Why do you write the kind of books you do?

I once got asked what it felt like to write ‘fluff.’

That question could only be asked by someone who had not read our series. The truth is Eva and I use the power of a great story, combined with the power of humor, to broach topics that most Christian authors won’t tackle. By using humorous stories, we’re able to bring healing and help as well as a few good laughs to our readers.

Besides when you came to know the Lord, what is the happiest day in your life?

The day I brought my youngest child home from the hospital was probably my happiest day. For when I placed baby Jimmy into his sister’s arms, the excitement of the moment actually woke two-year-old Laura from a year-long coma that was the result of a car accident. What a moment!

Wow, sounds powerful! How has being published changed your life?

I’d probably be a lot more carefree if I weren’t living the disciplined life of a writer. But despite my long hours at the keyboard, writing has led me to a world of wonderful characters, creative friends and dear readers.

What are you reading right now?

All the Tea in China by Jane Orcutt.

That's one of my favorite books. What is your current work in progress?

I’m currently working on my new book, tentatively titled Be Your Own Prayer Project, due out in January from Revell. That, and a screenplay about a historical character from Colorado’s past.
What would be your dream vacation?

I’ve vacationed in wonderful places around the world, but my favorite location is any place with a great book and a beach.

How do you choose your settings for each book?

I live in Colorado and enjoy the beauty of the mountains. I wanted to turn that majesty into not just a cardboard backdrop, but a rich, intriguing force. So choosing the Colorado high country as our backdrop was a no-brainer.

I love the Colorado Rockies, too. If you could spend an evening with one person who is currently alive, who would it be and why?

I love to read John Grisham novels and I would be tickled pink to invite John and his wife to dinner.

What are your hobbies, besides writing and reading?

I am the founder and CEO of a nonprofit ministry called Right to the Heart. Among other things we minister to the depressed and suicidal on the Internet, publish a weekly ezine called Right to the Heart of Women, conduct the women’s conference Stepping into Destiny and minister to the top Christian women who write and speak through our Advanced Writers and Speakers Association.

What is your most difficult writing obstacle, and how do you overcome it?

I’m such a terrible speller that I sometimes refer to myself the Typo Queen. My secret weapons against misspelled words and other typos are spellcheck, editing my work till my eyeballs pop out, and of course having a wonderful writing partner who often sees what I miss. But actually, my forced attention to detail has helped me become a better writer.

What advice would you give to a beginning author?

A. Read the classics so you will know how to recognize a good story.
B. Study the craft of writing a great story.
C. Ink your own great story to paper.
D. Send your great story to publishers.
E. While you wait for your first big break, write your next great story.

Tell us about the featured book.

Though the characters in our new series, The Potluck Catering Club, are the same characters as in the Potluck Club series, they have all new secrets. These very secrets have helped spread the rumor that The Potluck Catering Club The Secret’s in the Sauce is a bit of a page turner. This is rumor that I won’t deny, but if you want to know more, you’ll have to go to Summit View, Colorado, and visit our characters (six church ladies) so you can get to the bottom of this controversy. (You won’t believe what these dear friends are trying to hide.)

How can readers find you on the Internet?

Ha, the question is how can they not? I love creating webpages and have over 100 domain names. I create pages for all my new series or books, like http://www.potluckclub.com/.
You can link to many of my web pages at http://www.visitlinda.com/.
But my all time favorite webpage is http://www.godtest.com/.
Eve Marie and Linda, thank you for spending this time with us.
Readers for your convenience, here's a link to order the book:

You can leave a comment for a chance to win a free copy of the book. Just remember to check back a week from Saturday to see if you won.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Author Anita Higman - ANOTHER HOUR TO KILL - Free Book

I loved your first Barbour mystery, and I can hardly wait to read this one. Welcome back, Anita. Why do you write the kind of books you do?

Interesting question. I have an unusual answer. I’d written a gothic chick-lit novel, but it didn’t sell, so when I heard that Barbour Publishing was starting a line of mysteries, I took the little bit of mystery in my novel and expanded it. After a couple more rewrites my gothic chick-lit became a gothic mystery. Then I took that original concept and made it into three books. I wish I had a more glamorous story concerning my entrance into the mystery genre. Like maybe I was a relative of Agatha Christie, and it was in my blood, or my life was so full of mysteries that it naturally flowed into my writing. Truth is, I had to work hard to take a chick-lit and remake it into a trilogy of mysteries. I’m worn-out just thinking about it. But I’m hoping readers enjoy Another Hour to Kill. It’s the second book in the series, but I tried to write them so people could read them out of order or buy only one and still be fully satisfied. Of course, that was my goal. I’ll let the readers decide if that’s true.

Besides when you came to know the Lord, what is the happiest day of your life?
Oh, holding my babies for the first time. Of course, I’d had C-sections and I was in a morphine haze, but I still remember those moments perfectly…playing with those velvety toes, and smelling that baby powdery hair, and kissing those darling little cheeks. Does life get any better?
How has being published changed your life?

Well, I have less time on my hands. There’s all that coming up with new ideas and characters. And well, writing and editing takes up a huge amount of time. And then there’s all that promotion too. Whew! I wish I could buy rolls and rolls of time at Target like I buy toilet paper.

Interesting thought. What are you reading right now?

Well, the book I was reading was so offensive, I gave it a new dwelling place—my trash bin. As readers we really do have the right to do that. I think it’s easy to get this idea from the secular world that once an author’s words are printed onto paper they become like sacred texts. Baloney. Sometimes books are profane and sleazy and not fit for human consumption. Sometimes novels can make me feel more assaulted than entertained or enlightened or inspired. This is America. We can disagree over a book, write essays about a book, or toss a book into the dumpster if we choose to. Maybe I should have just given a simpler answer. :-) Here’s a more cheerful response. Not too long ago I finished all of J.R.R. Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings. It was an amazing masterpiece, and his work humbles me as a writer.

What is your current work in progress?

For the moment, I’m in between projects. So, I’m spending some time telling people about the books that I already have out in the marketplace. But I will be back writing in a couple of weeks.

What would be your dream vacation?

Ahhh, now that’s a lovely question. I would go to Aspen and stay at the St. Regis Hotel. I would hike the Maroon Bells and then go back into town to eat something nice and fattening. I did that vacation, and I highly recommend it!

How do you choose your settings for each book?

I like to keep the settings close to home if at all possible. Since I live in Texas I know the plant life, the people and their ways, the weather, etc., so I feel very comfortable having the setting here.

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

Josh Groban. I am a HUGE FAN. Anybody else out there a Grobanite? I listen to his music all the time. I never get tired of it. If you have never heard him sing, you are missing out on an awesome treat.

The man does have an fantastic voice. What are your hobbies, besides writing and reading?

I love decorating my house. I know that sounds awfully girly, but it’s exciting to see the right drapes and the right colors and flooring and accessories all come together to make a pleasant room—a place where you want to spend time and a place you want to share with your family and friends.

What is your most difficult writing obstacle, and how do you overcome it?

I’ve always had the annoying problem of not being able to come up with enough plot and conflict, so in my latest novel, Love Finds You in Humble, Texas, I decided to give it some built-in trouble. In the Humble, Texas, book I have two sisters fall in love with the same man. I can assure you there is enough natural conflict there to create a tome!

What advice would you give to a beginning author?
Don’t rush the process. Take your time. Read and learn about the craft, network, and attend conferences. Start a blog, and find your own unique voice. Be faithful to your stories and write every day. If you really have a passion for writing, you won’t find my suggestions as a punishment—but a pleasure.

Tell us about the featured book.

The novel today is Another Hour to Kill, which is the second book in the Volstead Manor series. All three novels in the series are cozy mysteries with a gothic tone. By the way, the name of my fictional mansion comes from Prohibition—The Volstead Act of 1919—and even though this series is contemporary, the dark history of the house is connected to that era. I suppose I’ve always been intrigued with that period of time in American history, but more than that, I’ve always been fascinated with really old houses and their secrets.

While writing Another Hour to Kill my favorite part was coming up with the character, Vlad, who was one of the suspects. Vlad has an interesting delusion that he lives with, and that internal mirage was fascinating and bizarre enough to keep me interested in the character all the way through. I hope readers are intrigued too. His full name is Vlad Tepes. Maybe that will give you a hint as to his delusion.

How can readers find you on the Internet?

Here’s my new web site, http://www.anitahigman.com/. Please stop by and sign my guest book.
Lena, thanks so much for having me back. It’s been fun. You are a great hostess!
Thank you, Anita, for joining us. I love having you.
Readers, here's a link where you can order the book:


Leave a comment for a chance to win a free copy. Don't forget to check back in two weeks on Saturday to see if you wond the book.