Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Lyn Cote is my guest today - leave a comment and maybe win a book!

Hi everyone, Lyn Cote is my guest today. I'm so excited she's agreed to answer a few questions so we can get to know her better. Please leave a comment and possibly win a copy of her newest release, Her Captain's Heart.

1. Plug time! Please tell us a little about your latest release and why readers should run out and buy it as soon as it hits the shelves. I’m very excited about Her Captain’s Heart, the first in my “Gabriel Sisters” series, which follows each sister as she tries to help the US heal after the Civil War. Verity Hardy is a Civil War widow and goes to VA to teach at a Freedman’s School. And finds that the Civil War hasn’t really ended in the hearts of the people.

2. If you’re like me, you’re always writing something whether on the computer, in your head, scratch pieces of paper, etc. Where do you get your ideas? What triggers a story idea for you? I always start with setting and a time period. I like to watch my characters “brave the storms of history.” In my own life, I survived the assassination of JFK, Watergate, the Cold War, Vietnam War, two Gulf Wars, recessions, 9/11 and what we’re experiencing now. History impacts every life. And often pushes us and my characters to our limit of bravery, endurance and phileo or brotherly love. I also focus on women who were what I call “passionate participants of their times.” Women who took the Great Commission and the Golden Rule to heart and then tried to take them into the world.

3. In your opinion, what’s the toughest thing you find about writing? The easiest? The hardest is trying to choose and arrange words so that what I am seeing, hearing, touching in my mind go down on the page so that a reader GETS it all. The easiest is coming up with a new story “bud.”

4. When did you start writing for publication and what did people say when they found out? I had kept it pretty quiet. Some people were thrilled; others were tart. I took both with salt. God gave me a gift and as long as He’s happy, I am.

5. How long did it take you to get published? 1984 to 1997

6. How do you choose your settings for each book? I look for an area that experienced “exciting” history. Usually that means a lot of turmoil and conflict and change—not comfortable periods.

7. What would you be doing with all the time you spend writing if you weren’t writing? I’d keep my house clean! And make gourmet meals. And lose weight. And take up ballet. Ah, strike that last one.

8. Where’s your favorite place to write? On the front porch overlooking the lake in the summers; in the winters, in my recliner looking out at the snowy pines and frozen lake.

9. How do you make time for God in the craziness of life? My dh and I use Our Daily Bread devotional and I have a special prayer journal and a book “Praying God’s Will for My Daughter.” I read a page a day of scriptures about God’s promises for my son and daughter (I make the book work for both.) and then pray for them, their future mates and children.

10. Tell us a little about your family. My dh and I have been married 34 years and raised two children. We are grateful that “our anchor” has held. I call him my real life hero. And he is!

11. Who are your favorite authors? Georgette Heyer’s class Regency romances, Phyllis Whitney, Mary Stewart, Francine Rivers, Kathy Herman’s mysteries, Sharon Dunn’s funny mysteries and Sandra Byrd’s chicklit.

12. What’s next for you in the world of publishing? In February 2009, the first book in my Texas Star of Destiny series The Desires of Her Heart will debut. I did a lot of research on Texas history 1821-1847 and was amazed at the changes and unbelievable true stories that took place there. I often say that I use authentic history in my stories because what actually happened can often be more wild or interesting than anything I could make up!

13. What do you hope people take away from when they finish reading your book? Hope and love for others.

14. How many books have you written? List them for us so we can be sure to find them in the bookstore or online!  Well, why don’t you just drop by my website and click Lyn’s Books. Her Captain’s Heart is #25.

15. What advice do you have for a beginning author? Again, drop by my website. I have a page about Christian Publishers and advice.

16. Any parting comments? Please drop by www.LynCote.net and see what I have for readers, who are some of my favorite people!

Friday, December 05, 2008

Inspirational Suspense Author Barbara Phinney - Win a Book!

I am so pleased to have Barbara on my blog today. She has graciously agreed to pop in occasionally and answer any questions not already answered in her interview. Be sure to give her a warm welcome and leave a comment so you can be entered in the drawing to win her latest release, Deadly Homecoming. Welcome Barbara!

A little bit about Barbara:

After she retired early from the military, Barbara decided to turn her creativity toward writing. Romance was a natural choice for her, because she likes happy endings, but she was actually scared that inspirational romance would be too hard and confining. That changed when she put pen to paper. Everything came together easily, and wasn’t the least bit confining. She thanks God for that. Now she writes for Steeple Hill’s Love Inspired Suspense line of books, with Desperate Rescue out in September 07, and Keeping Her Safe in June 08 and Deadly Homecoming in December 08.Barbara spends some days volunteering at her children's school, some days writing, and every day feeding a muse that seems to be working all the time. She and her retired husband live in rural New Brunswick, Canada, and when they aren’t volunteering, they enjoy a little camping, and traveling and hanging out with family and friends.

Interview Questions:

Plug time! Please tell us a little about your latest release and why readers should run out and buy it as soon as it hits the shelves.
Deadly Homecoming is the story we all need to read. We’ve all done things we regret and in this story, my heroine must learn to face her past and accept it. Another interesting fact about this story is that the back cover blurb reflects the original story idea and not the story that was finally published. Everyone should read it to find out what the differences are!

How many full manuscripts did you write before you sold? Or if you’re pre-pubbed, how many have you written to date?
Too many really bad ones. Ones that had ‘cliched’ scrawled along the top when I got them back! Ahh, live and learn.

In your opinion, what’s the most fascinating thing about writing?
It’s exciting for me to just sit and let the (sometimes bad) words flow. It’s great when odd things that have popped into your work become important foreshadowing later on in the novel.

What’s something you can tell us about yourself that most people don’t know?
You mean a skeleton? Well, without disclosing those, I think that most people don’t know that I am really afraid of promotion and going to conferences. It’s a vicious circle, actually. I won’t go because I’m scared, and because I don’t go, I can’t conquer that fear.

When did you start writing for publication and what did people say when they found out?
I started to write for publication shortly after I retired from the military, because I wanted to make a little money. (Little being the word here) But I knew absolutely nothing about writing, except how to string words into a sentence. People have always supported me. I can’t remember anyone criticizing my choice of genre.

What is your favorite food?
Shepherd’s Pie with either custard tart or cheesecake for dessert. It’s hard for me to resist those foods.

Tell us a little about your family.
My husband and I have two teens, a girl aged 18 and a boy aged 16. We live in a very rural area of New Brunswick, Canada, on land that was my husband’s grandfather’s. All my in laws live close by, so we see each other frequently.

Who are your favorite authors?
Tough choice! I enjoy Linda Hall’s books and Rick Warren’s, too. It’s not so much about favourite authors, but favourite settings, plots and suspense. Give me a good book set in South America, or a plot like ‘on the run’, with lots of suspense, and I know I’ll enjoy it.

What are you reading now and what’s in your “to be read” pile?
I’ve just finished off The Fruitful Life by Jerry Bridges. I hope to delve back inot my LIS books now, especially those with exotic settings.

Do you set out to write each story with a particular theme or does the theme develop as the story does?
I set out writing a story with a particular setting and conflict in mind, then very shortly after, I have a theme, mostly because I need to know my ending before I finish. That’s because editors want to know it too. That must really irk ‘pantser’ writers, but I’m not one of them.

Do you have a particular method for tracking the details in your story? Can you tell us a little about this?
I have a couple of methods. First up, I will, if possible, fill out the art facts sheets on my characters. But I’ve started using index cards because I need a detailed synopsis anyway for submitting proposals. Index cards are handy and can be stuck up on the walls of my office. They’re handy for lists and scene blurbs.

Who has had the most influence on your life in general? In your writing life?
The Lord. He has helped me tremendously. Next in line is my family. They put things in perspective and keep me writing. Probably as an escape!

Do you have an agent? If yes, did you have the agent before you sold your first book or after? If you are yet to be published, you can skip the second part of the question.
No. I always tell people that I couldn’t even buy an agent!

What advice do you have for a beginning author?
Keep writing. Keep submitting. Don’t be put off by rejection. Deepen your emotional conflict by reading things like the Bible and self help books. They show themes and character depth if you study them. You don’t have to just have ‘purple prose’ or lots of fancy words to be published. Just tell a gripping story.

Any parting comments?
To the unpublished authors – never give up! Write those bad stories and learn form them. Try not to be slighted by rejections. They hurt, but move on.
To the readers – take the time to read and savour the books you enjoy. Share them and promote reading. It’s a way to stimulate our aging brains and relax our tired bodies. Tell the author how you feel about her books, but more importantly, tell the editor! They need to feel the pulse of readers in order to keep giving you what you want in great reads.

Thank you so much for being here, Barbara! It was a pleasure getting to you a little bit better.

All righty everyone, leave those comments so you can be entered in the drawing to win Deadly Homecoming.

You can find Barbara at www.barbaraphinney.com

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

December already??

How can this be? I haven't even taken my kids' Christmas picture to send out to the bazillion folks who are expecting it. I haven't gotten the tree skirt under the tree yet. Of course I have been a little busy with homeschooling and writing and laundry and co-ops and getting a new dishwasher (yay!) and piano lessons, karate lessons, acting lessons, drum lessons, a little more writing, and and and....

Okay, so maybe the Christmas letter won't get out this year. Is it really that important? I'm trying to decide. On the one hand, I've heard that a one-page dissertation on the happenings of your family is egotistical and boring to some people. On the other hand, I know of some who will be greatly offended if I don't send it out. And the list of "receivers" has grown so long, it actually costs about a paycheck to mail it to every one, not to mention the cost of printing the pictures that accompany the letter. Bah humbug? No, just wondering....If anyone has any comments on this, please feel free to let me know.

And be sure to stop by on December 5th for an interview with Barbara Phinney and the chance to win a copy of her latest Steeple Hill Suspense release Deadly Homecoming.


Friday, November 21, 2008

Don't stop stopping by

Some of you keep checking to see if I have any new posts about authors up. Well, don't stop dropping by. More posts are coming soon, I promise! And some of you have asked me where's my newsletter. I know, I know, it's coming too. The months of October and November have been super incredibly busy. Just crazy with family stuff and writing to meet deadlines. So, please be patient, I'll be back up and running soon.

Hugs to all,

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

We have a winner of Megan's book

Hi all, Cathy, congratulations, you're the winner! If you'll send me your snail mail addy to lynetteeason@lynetteeason.com, I'll get your copy sent to you. Thanks so much!


Saturday, November 08, 2008

Winner of Michelle Sutton's Book

Hi all,

Jessica! You're the winner of Michelle's book. I'll send you a private email, but wanted to post it here.

Thanks so much for entering the drawing.

Hope you guys will come back. I've got a lot of great interviews coming up in the near future with lots of fun giveaways.

Thanks again,

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Author Megan DiMaria - win a book!

Hello everyone, today I'd like to welcome Megan DiMaria to my blog. Please leave a comment if you'd like to be entered in the drawing to win a copy of this book!

Megan DiMaria loves to be an encouragement to women as they live out their faith in today’s busy world. Her upbeat personality and deep appreciation for the humor in ordinary moments creates a bond with other women as they laugh and learn that life is an adventure, one not for the weak of heart.
Searching for Spice, Megan’s debut novel about a long-married woman who wants to have an affair—with her husband, released in April 2008. Her second novel, Out of Her Hands, released in October 2008. Out of Her Hands is about taking life as it comes with all its surprises and challenges. Her son’s dream girl isn’t what she had in mind. Between her family, her job, and her friends, life is moving at warp speed. How will Linda manage when she realizes it’s all out of her hands?
Megan and her husband live in suburban Denver near their adult children. They often travel back to their roots in Long Island, NY to visit family and get their fill of delicious Italian food.

All right, Megan. Plug time! Please tell us a little about your latest release and why readers should run out and buy it as soon as it hits the shelves. Have you ever heard the expression, “When our children are little they’re on our feet and when they’re big they’re on our hearts?”

Yes, I have.

That’s how my character feels in Out of Her Hands. Linda learns how to deal with unpleasant choices made by adult children, she helps her father-in-law mourn the loss of his wife, and has to contend with the fact that her best friend is moving across the country. My early feedback says that I write what many women are currently living though. One reviewer said, “This is a great read for a quiet afternoon or in those times when you feel your own life spinning out of control and need the reality check of knowing you're not in it alone.”

Oh, wow, this sounds great. I can already think of several people who might like a copy of this book.

How many full manuscripts did you write before you sold? I wrote two full manuscripts before I got my first contract. My first manuscript doesn’t deserve to see the light of day, but it proved to me that I could write a novel-length piece of fiction. I began writing Searching for Spice, my first published novel, to enter it into the ACFW Genesis contest. It didn’t score well, but I hung in there and worked on it for a year before it was acceptable.

In your opinion, what’s the most fascinating thing about writing? I love to discover the story highlights along with my characters. I’m not a plotter, I’m an intuitive writer. I know the beginning and end of the story as well as the main plot points. I find it very exciting the see the plot unfold as the story continues.

What’s something you can tell us about yourself that most people don’t know? I’m never bored and almost always have a goal that I’m pushing toward.

LOL! I know that feeling.

When did you start writing for publication and what did people say when they found out? Following college graduation, I was a radio and television reporter. I started writing for publication in magazines and newspapers in the early 1990s when I was a stay-at-home mom. Writing is a natural extension of who I am. When I started writing novels, it wasn’t much of a shock to those who know me.

What is your favorite food? I love Italian food and vegetables.

Tell us a little about your family. I’m blessed because I have a wonderful marriage—we’ll celebrate our 30th anniversary this January. We have three great young adult children that live nearby, and we spend a lot of time together enjoying each other’s company. Occasionally we’ll make to the trip to Long Island, NY to spend time with the entire DiMaria clan, and that’s always a fantastic visit.

Who are your favorite authors? I would hate to pin myself down to a few favorite authors because I read voraciously and enjoy many different genres.

What are you reading now and what’s in your “to be read” pile?
This past week I’ve read Dark Pursuit by Brandilyn Collins and Enoch by Alton Gansky. My to-be-read list includes Quills & Promises by Amber Miller, Riven by Jerry Jenkins, Beloved Castaway by Kathleen Y’Barbo, Rhythms of Grace by Marilynn Griffith, Where the Heart Leads by Kim Vogel Sawyer, and The Perfect Life by Robin Lee Hatcher.

Sounds like a pile I might like to raid!

Do you set out to write each story with a particular theme or does the theme develop as the story does? When I write, the theme develops along with the story.

Do you have a particular method for tracking the details in your story? Can you tell us a little about this? I always have a word document that has the details about each character listed.

Who has had the most influence on your life in general? In your writing life? I think I’m greatly influenced by the times in which I grew up. My generation was the last generation to enjoy a lazy, carefree childhood and at the same time I grew up watching huge events unfold: the civil rights movement, the deaths of JFK, RFK, MLK, the Viet Nam war, peace marches, Woodstock, the women’s movement, Roe V Wade, the rise of the religious right, etc. Forget about all the technological changes that have occurred. I’m blessed to be living during interesting times. As far as my writing life goes, the authors of ACFW (American Christian Fiction Writers) have had the biggest impact. If it weren’t for that organization, I don’t know if I would have persevered until I was published.

Do you have an agent? If yes, did you have the agent before you sold your first book or after? My first contract was a direct result of meeting Jan Stob, Tyndale’s acquisition editor, at the 2006 ACFW conference. Since then, I’ve come to be represented by Beth Jusino of Alive Communications.

What advice do you have for a beginning author? Continually strive to improve your craft by studying books on writing, attending conferences and writers groups, and writing and submitting.

Any parting comments? Yes, accept that there is a process to becoming a published author; it’s usually something that doesn’t occur overnight. Pray about the direction of your writing and be open to the Lord’s leading, even if it leads you in a direction you had not anticipated.

Megan, thanks so much for being here today.

Readers, if you'd like to contact Megan, here is the link to her website and the link to her blog.


Don't forget to leave a comment to be entered in the drawing to win a copy of this fantastic book on Sunday, November 9th.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Author Michelle Sutton talks about her new book and answers a few other questions. Win a free copy!

Michelle Sutton is here today to talk about her newest release, It's NOT About ME. Please be sure to leave a comment so you can be put in the drawing to win a copy of this awesome book.

Welcome Michelle, it's good to have you here.

BIO: Michelle Sutton is a member of ACFW, Volunteer Officer on the ACFW Operating Board, Editor-in-chief for Christian Fiction Online Magazine, Sheaf House Marketing Director, edgy fiction writer, book reviewer, avid blogger/alliance member, CWOW blog mistress, mother of two teenagers, wife, pet owner, social worker by trade, and follower of Jesus Christ.

Plug time! Please tell us a little about your latest release and why readers should run out and buy it as soon as it hits the shelves.

It’s a fast paced story with characters who are very much like real people. It’s also edgy, so if you like a nice sweet prairie romance you won’t want to read my story. However, if you love angst, drama, and tension in a story you’ll probably like mine. Just don’t read it during a weeknight if you have to go to work the next day. I’ve been accused of keeping people up too late at night.

If you’re like me, you’re always writing something whether on the computer, in your head, scratch pieces of paper, etc. Where do you get your ideas? What triggers a story idea for you?

I may see someone in a situation and think, “what a great premise that would make.” But I’d say nine times out of ten I just feel like the idea came from the Lord. He’ll pull to mind some experiences I’d had either through work or my personal life and prompt me to create a tale using those scenarios or something very similar in order to bring the reader to a place where they will glean something from it.

In your opinion, what’s the toughest thing you find about writing? The easiest?

The toughest thing? I don’t know. Never had writer’s block. Maybe just sitting down and doing it. The easiest is actually writing the story. It’s like a movie reel is rolling in my head while my fingers type the story as I see it.

When did you start writing for publication and what did people say when they found out?

I started writing in August 2003 with the intention of selling to Steeple Hill’s Love Inspired line. I hadn’t a clue how to write so it was rejected, but considering that I had no experience at all, it was still a pretty good story. From that point on I’d be asked by everyone who knew me if I’d sold a manuscript yet. Then after my book came out in print people constantly ask how my book is doing in regards to sales. They seem to want to see me do well as an author rather than just being nosey. It’s funny how people just assume you’ll be quitting your day job in the future, like selling a novel will make you rich or something. They have no idea.

Tell me about it! (Although, I did quit my day job, but not just to write! LOL)

How long did it take you to get published?
Exactly five years and one month from the day I started my book was in print and for sale.

How do you choose your settings for each book?

Depends on the story. If it’s a story that I don’t want people to associate with my job or me as a state employee, then I’ll locate it in another state. Otherwise I will place it in Arizona.

What would you be doing with all the time you spend writing if you weren’t writing?

Reading, of course. I have been an avid reader all of my life.

Where’s your favorite place to write?

Smack dab in the middle of my living room.

How do you make time for God in the craziness of life?

I pray when I am walking or driving or just singing. I try to read my Bible regularly. I’m in a weekly Bible study and I never miss church. This all helps.

Tell us a little about your family.

I’ve been married for 18 years to a great guy. He graduated from high school before I was born so there is a big age difference, but we are very compatible. I have two sons who are sixteen and fifteen. One is a junior and the other is a sophomore in high school.

Who are your favorite authors?

Do you have all day? Sheesh, I love so many authors I’ll just list some right now off the top of my head. Siri Mitchell, Tosca Lee, Susan Meissner, Sherri Lewis, Melanie Dobson, Virginia Smith, Francine Rivers, Robin Lee Hatcher, Deb Raney, Rachel Hauck, Susan Page Davis, Julie Lessman, Kristin Billerbeck, Karen Kingsbury, Kathi Macias, J. M. Hochstetler, Victoria Christopher Murray, Michelle McKinney Hammond, Claudia Burney, Melody Carlson, Maureen Lang, Marlo Schalesky, Bonnie Leon, Sandra Glahn, Nancy Jo Jenkins, Tracie Peterson, Cindy Woodsmall, Kristin Heitzmann, Nancy Rue, Chris Fabry, Christa Banister, Tamera Leigh, Julie Klassen, Tracey Bateman, Deanna Dodson, Michelle Moran, Jenny B. Jones, Tricia Goyer, Allison Pittman, etc.

Wow! And I'm right there with you on the favorites. Just about everyone you listed is in my to-be-read pile right now...ha.

What’s next for you in the world of publishing?

The sequel to “It’s Not About Me” releases in Sept. 2009. It’s called “It’s Not About Him.”

What do you hope people take away from when they finish reading your book?

Examples of true love, real faith, and boundless joy for Christians and non-Christians alike.

How many books have you written? List them for us so we can be sure to find them in the bookstore or online!

For now you can only buy It’s Not About Me. Look for the sequel next year. The others are listed on my website and have not been sold yet.

What advice do you have for a beginning author?

Learn the craft and join a legitimate writer’s organization like ACFW where you can learn about the business and become a better writer before you try to sell something.

Any parting comments?

Thanks for the opportunity. Peace, everyone!

Thanks so much, Michelle.

Thanks for stopping by and chatting with us.

Readers can find Michelle online at:


Just a reminder: Leave a comment and I'll enter you in the drawing for a free book. Winner will be announced on Saturday, November 8th!

Friday, October 31, 2008

I suppose it's time to catch up here

Hi all, I've been a little slack lately, wouldn't you say? But all that's about to change. I've been hit with requests to blog, so I'm going to give it my best shot. Pretty soon, I'll have author interviews up and going and will be running contests for you to win. Just wanted to let you know. Also, Holiday Illusion, the third in my Amazon Adventure series is just about to be released to stores. I hope you'll pick it up!

God Bless,

Wednesday, June 25, 2008


Hi all, River of Secrets will be out in August of 2008. This is Book 2 in the Amazon Adventure Series. Be sure to check your local Christian bookstore or favorite online shopping site.

And please drop by to tell me what you think about it after you read it. I'm pleased to announce that the Romantic Times Review magazine gave it a 4.5 star rating! How cool is that??

Again, thanks for stopping by.

Monday, May 05, 2008

Has it been that long?

Oh my goodness, I didn't realize it had been so long since I'd last posted. Well, I don't really have a whole lot to say other than the fact that my family has been besieged with illness over the last four and a half weeks, and to top it all off, I broke my toe this past Saturday!

Anyway, the writing is going well, I'm busy, busy, writing during every spare minute I can find. Soon, it'll be summer and the kids will want to have me chasing all over the place, so gotta write while I can.

I just finished up A SILENT TERROR and will be shipping it off to my editor in about a week or so. It is the first in the new series I've started and will be released March 2009.

Hope things are going well for everyone.

Until next time,


Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Missy Tippens is here...win her latest book!

Hi Missy! I'm so glad you are able to join us today. Thanks so much for the privilege to learn a little more about you. I was so excited to see Her Unlikely Family in Wal Mart the other day. I snatched it right up! What a fantastic story. You did a wonderful job with the plotting, the characters, and the setting. It was a wonderful read.

LE: When did you first start writing and what led you to write Christian Fiction?
MT: I started writing about 13 years ago . I know that because my now 13-year-old son was a baby. I would hold him in one arm and type with the other hand! I didn’t start writing toward publication until 1997 after I joined Romance Writers of America and Georgia Romance Writers. While at GRW, I met Sandra Chastain and went to work for her one day a week. She was the first to read my new book idea summary and said, “You’re writing an inspirational!” I had no idea until that moment. But as I thought about it, I realized I couldn’t write books without God in them because my faith is so integral to my life and to who I am. I knew God would be important to at least one of my characters in my books. After realizing I was called to write inspirational fiction, I joined the Faith, Hope and Love Chapter of RWA. Then years later, I joined ACFW. These organizations have been a huge support and source of information.

LE: Who has influenced your writing the most?
MT: Wow, that’s hard. I don’t think anyone has asked me that before. I’d have to say that I’ve been most influenced by all the authors I’ve read over a lifetime. I’ve learned what I like in stories and what I don’t like. I’ve learned, subconsciously, how a story should flow. I think that internalization has been the biggest influence.
I guess I’d also have to say my parents, because they instilled the idea that I can do anything I set my mind to doing. And of course, I’ve inherited their stubborn genes, the ones that kept me trying to publish for the last 10 years!

LE: How do you plot out your novel? Can you take us through it step by step?
MT: I usually have a what if scenario which involves characters who are opposites in some way. Then I start thinking of their backstory. I’ve found two how-to workbooks that have helped me take it from there. One is Alicia Rasley’s The Story Within Guidebook. The other is Carolyn Green’s Prescription for Plotting workbook. These have really helped me stay on track, especially Alicia’s chapters on conflict. Once I’ve filled a legal pad with character info, sequences for how the characters will change and grow, scene ideas, etc., I start writing. I usually plow through the first 3 chapters, then struggle a little to do chapter 4. Then for some reason I hit a wall at chapter 5. At that point, I take some time to re-read what I’ve written and to revise it. Then I move on. Once I get to the last few chapters, the writing flies by. I love to get to that happy ending! No more torture of my poor characters.

After that, I begin a long revision process. I go through the book several times on paper. Then enter changes, send to my critique partner, and then make changes according to her feedback. Now that I finally have an editor, this is the point where she would get the book. And then the revisions start over again with her input. It’s been wonderful to work with an editor! You and I are extremely lucky to work with Emily. I feel it made my first book so much better.

LE: You are so right. Emily is fantastic. So, what are you working on now?
MT: I’m working on a story set in a small town in Georgia about a man who comes home to move his grandmother back to Boston with him. But the girl he secretly loved in high school is very close to Granny, and they have a ministry together. She doesn’t want Granny to move. And Granny doesn’t want to move. Will he harden his heart and move Granny up to Boston anyway? Or will he fall in love with the heroine all over again and stay in Georgia?
Hmm. Sounds like a romance, doesn’t it?

LE: LOL. Well, of course! How has having a critique partner helped or hindered your writing?
MT: I wouldn’t be where I am today without my critique group—Belinda (Lindi) Peterson, Meg Moseley and Maureen Hardegree. I never finaled in a contest until after they got hold of my manuscript. The first time I entered after they worked with it, I finaled and won. They critiqued the book that sold, too. We don’t work together as much as a group now (we met in person weekly back then). But we do email things off occasionally. I always pass my manuscripts by Lindi, though, before sending them off. (She also rooms with me at all conferences and manages to sleep through my snoring!)

LE: Ha. LOL. Isn't it great how God puts just the people we need into our lives right when we need them? SO, tell us about your new release and what sparked the story?
MT: Way, way back, many years ago, I thought what if? What if a stuffy blue-blooded bank owner gets together with a spunky waitress who is from a poor family? But then while Lindi and I were brainstorming, she said, “What if you put a twist on it, and the waitress is actually from a wealthy family but doesn’t want to have anything to do with the wealth?” So I took her advice! Then I had to figure out how to throw the characters together. And I thought it might be fun if the hero was guardian of a runaway teenaged niece, and maybe the waitress was hiding her.

Here’s a blurb: Her Unlikely Family Steeple Hill Love Inspired Feb. 2008

Opposites attract when an uptight banker encounters a free-spirited waitress during the search for his runaway teenaged niece. As they work together to heal the young girl’s damaged spirit, an unlikely family begins to form….

LE: Anything else you want to tell us?
MT: That I can’t wait to read your book! I looked for it at Wal-Mart today, and they still had the January LI Suspense books. I’ll keep checking! Or maybe I’ll order it.
LE: Aw, thanks, Missy. And thanks again for stopping by to chat with us. I can't wait to read the next one!

Okay, everyone, leave us a comment and we'll put your name in the hat for a drawing of Missy's new book Her Unlikely Family. It's a great read!

Monday, January 07, 2008

Cheryl Wyatt is here today! Win an i-pod, too!

Hi everyone! Cheryl Wyatt is my guest today and I just want to tell you a little bit about Cheryl and her new book that’s out now.

I had the privilege of meeting Cheryl back in November when she came all the way from Illinois to North Carolina for a writer’s brainstorming weekend. There were six of us and we had so much fun hanging out!

It was just a pleasure to get to know her and share laughter, prayers and brainstorming. She was one of the crazy people who stayed up until 4:00 in the morning working. I have to admit that I missed that part as I slipped off to bed around 11:00 each night! (The joys of getting old. Hehehe.)

Just so you know, Cheryl is an awesome prayer warrior. I know that if I ask her pray for something, she’s storming the gates for me. Thank you for that, Cheryl.

Now, if you readers want to win a copy of A Soldier’s Promise, Romantic Times TOP PICK, just sign the guest book and leave a comment. We’ll put all the names in a hat and draw one at the end of the day.

Lynette: Cheryl, I read A Soldier’s Promise and absolutely LOVED it. You have a wickedly clever sense of humor. Your book was laugh-out-loud funny in some places. And quite the tear-jerker in others. You did a fabulous job and I highly recommend it to anyone who loves a love story…but is so much more, too. Tell us a little bit about the process. Give us a little background on your story, A Soldier's Promise. How did you come up with the idea, the characters, etc.?

Cheryl: I love to write about characters who have very unique careers. I also love to read and write anything high-action. I'd heard about PJs some years ago and became enthralled with them. You hear quite a bit about Navy SEALs but hardly anything about PJs. I wanted to do a series about them, so I plotted it out. The stories were originally romantic suspense. But the suspense I write is more the action/adventure-driven suspense rather than mystery/murder/mayhem type of suspense. Steeple Hill was interested in the story, but it needed serious help. LOL! They gave me the option of either repairing the ailing suspense thread, or stripping it out and deepening the emotion to aim it more toward Love Inspired than Love Inspired Suspense. I stripped the suspense and focused on the romance, and executed all the changes in their revision suggestions and it sold. I chose my heroine to be a teacher, but I gave her a specialty in that she taught children with special needs. I did this to honor my author mentor, Margaret Daley, who spent a lot of time encouraging me and answering questions and critiquing my work until it improved to the point of being publishable.

Lynette: I’m so impressed. Stripping your story like that had to be a lot of work. Obviously, it paid off for you. How does your faith influence your writing?

Cheryl: It influences every aspect of my writing but especially the faith thread in the story. I try to give my characters a faith struggle and triumph that comes from something God has taught me in my own struggles. The situations in the book are entirely different than my real life situations, but often, the way God responds to the character reflects God's dealings with me on a lot of things.

Lynette: Do you do anything special to plot out your books? Do you have a system or are you a Seat of the Pants writer?

Cheryl:I'm in between. I used to fly by the seat of my pants but since I have to turn in a proposal before the book is finished now, I have to have an idea of where the story will go. So I do a loose scene index and a very detailed, in-depth character analysis and charts.

Lynette: And I know you have three little ones and a husband at home. When you write?

Cheryl: I'm very creative with time management and fiercely protective over family time. I always strive to put my children and husband first. As a result, they're mostly understanding and considerate of my writing time. I try to write while my children are in school so I can focus on them when they're home.

Lynette: What's one thing you want your readers to know about you? One kinda crazy, quirky thing, and one serious kind of thing.

Cheryl: One crazy quirky thing is I really do have a phobia of Popsicle sticks. The wooden kind that, when I see someone's teeth touch them, I flee the room and shudder. It makes my skin crawl like someone is scratching on a chalk board with a nail. The thought of them touching my teeth makes me cringe and my teeth physically hurt. It agitates me to write about it in fact, I'm pursing my lips and pinching my face as I type this. Really strange. So my poor children are deprived of ice cream bars. I'm the only mom in town who runs from the ice cream truck when it jingles through town. But who can blame me? I know that thing is FULL to the roof of all kinds of evil wooden Popsicle sticks.

Lynette: Oh. My. Goodness. I am seriously rolling on the floor laughing. I can so see you putting that into one of your books. And the serious thing?

Cheryl: One serious thing is I know my main gift is intercessory prayer and the one thing I love to do more than write and create, is worship the living God, and pray for people. The one thing that struck me as I started getting reader letters, is as I widen my readership base, that's all the more people I can pray for. Especially when some of them really open up about their life circumstances if something in your book has surfaced stuff in them or ministered to them in some way. I consider it a blessing and an honor to pray for people. In addition, I consider prayer from others for me and my loved ones the best gift ever.

Lynette: Cheryl, thanks so much for stopping by and answering these questions. I’m sure readers will have tons more. So, readers, if you didn’t get enough of Cheryl here, she'll be on Jill Elizabeth Nelson's blog tomorrow. Hop on over to visit:

Cheryl is the guest there on Jan. 8th!

To purchase Cheryl’s book online, follow this link: http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0373874669

Okay, one more thing I need to mention. Cheryl is having this ***cool contest***.

I’ll let her explain it in her own words.

First, to celebrate the release of my debut novel (A Soldier's Promise) I'm holding a contest for a chance to win great prizes. The main prize is your choice between an 8 GB iPod Nano, an AlphaSmart Neo (www.alphasmart.com) or a six-month subscription to any Steeple Hill line of your choice.

Other prizes include ten 128mb flash drives, ten $10.00 certificates to Barnes and Noble, autographed books from me and pens.

And one lucky person will win the chance to name a character in one of my upcoming books.

Only my newsletter subscribers will be able to enter.

To sign up for my newsletter, go to the homepage of my Web site www.CherylWyatt.com and type your e-mail address in the space provided that says "Join Cheryl Wyatt's Author Mailing List". Once signed up for my newsletter, send an e-mail to

Cheryl@CherylWyatt.com and be sure to put "CONTEST" in the header.

Deadline entry for the contest is Midnight, Central Standard Time the night of February 14, 2008. I will draw winners' names February 15, 2008 and notify them that week, so be sure to leave a valid e-mail address when you sign up. Also, for every person you send to sign up for my newsletter, you will receive another entry in the hat. So be sure to tell them they need to sign up for my newsletter on my Web site and remind them to mention who sent them to sign up.

Second thing...
My blog tour is happening right now. There are tons of chances to win a free, autographed copy of my debut novel, which is a Romantic Times TOP PICK! for January.
Visit the link for a list of where I was/am/will be the month of January. http://scrollsquirrel.blogspot.com/2007/12/my-blog-tour-schedule.html
Thanks so much for your support!