Saturday, December 19, 2009

ACFW launches Press Release

Hey all, check out this great new resource for Christian fiction readers! I'm really excited about this. I still have to upload some of my stuff, but there's already a ton of wonderful reading available at your fingertips! MERRY CHRISTMAS!

ACFW, the nation’s leading Christian fiction writers’ organization, is launching, a new free resource for retailers, readers, media and other Christian fiction fans to search for authors and books. The search engine allows users to sort by author, title, genre, topic, publication date, and target audience.

Cynthia Ruchti, president of American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW), believes this trusted, easy-to-use resource is a significant development in the search for Christian fiction authors and new titles.

”The idea rose from a roundtable discussion between the ACFW leadership team and Christian booksellers looking for a better way to connect their customers with great Christian fiction,” says Ruchti. “ACFW responded by rolling up our sleeves and creating a comprehensive database to serve readers, booksellers, publishers, authors, book club coordinators, librarians and others on the hunt for information and inspiration.”

The site also allows readers to learn about the nature of the content of each book. Each title is rated for action, conflict, humor, mystery, romance, spirituality and suspense, in addition to more sensitive issues like language, sensuality and violence. Users can also post reviews to the site and learn more about soon-to-be-released titles.

The database is the first of its kind and is not limited to books written by ACFW members. The organization is also working with publishers to ensure Christian novels by other authors are incorporated as well.

ACFW’s presence as the voice of Christian fiction and its industry prowess has long been recognized, and its authors are a mainstay on bestseller lists. is the organization’s latest effort to make finding the best in Christian fiction as easy as possible for fans around the world.

Quick facts about

* Book information pages include facts about the publisher, main themes, setting and the author’s other titles.

* A special “similar books” section offers other titles the user may be interested in reading.

* Users can create an account with their preferences, making it easier to find new favorites.

Go check it out!

Monday, November 30, 2009

1. A Bouquet for Iris, by Diane Ashley & Aaron McCarver from Barbour Heartsong Presents. Iris Landon travels to Daisy, Tennessee, to care for two Cherokee children and finds romance and danger while aiding one family in the struggle to keep their land.

2. A Lady Like Sarah, Rocky Creek Romance, by Margaret Brownley from Thomas Nelson. He's a preacher. She's an outlaw. Both are in need of a miracle.

3. ANGEL WITH A BACKHOE, by Deb Kinnard from Desert
Breeze Publishing. A small-town widower and a spunky suburban transplant match wits over a church construction project, finding true love can mix with blueprints and concrete footings.

4. Child Finder: Resurrection series: Child Finder Trilogy, 2nd book, by Mike Angley from Total Recall Publications, Inc. Child Finder: Resurrection…the highly-anticipated sequel to the award-winning debut novel, Child Finder, which Library Journal placed on its 2009 Summer Reads list for Christian fiction!

5. Christmas Peril, by Margaret Daley from Steeple Hill Love Inspired Suspense. Christmas themed, romantic suspense stories.

6. Cup of Joe, by Teri Wilson from White Rose Publishing. A grieving oman resists the cups of comfort offered by the shy, but handsome, owner of the neighborhood coffee shop.

7. Field of Danger, by Ramona Richards from Love Inspired Suspense. When April Presley can’t remember details of the murder she witnessed, deputy Daniel Rivers must help her recall the event and protect her from the killer determined to silence her.

8. Her Patchwork Family series: The Gabriel Sisters, by Lyn Cote from Love Inspired. In spite of opposition from the rich and influential, can Felicity Gabriel establish a home for children orphaned by the Civil War and heal two wounded hearts?

9. Patterns and Progress series: Michigan historical, book 3, by Amber Stockton from Barbour Publishing. A farmer's daughter would rather turn back the hands of time than accept the fact that advancement in technology could be in God's plan.

10. The Sheriff's Surrender series: #1 of The Ladies' Shooting Club Series, by Susan Page Davis from Barbour Publishing. The men of Fergus aren’t keeping the town safe, so a group of feisty women take matters into their own hands.

11. The Glassblower series: First book in the New Jersey Historical Series, by Laurie Alice Eakes from Barbour Publishing. Colin Grassick moves from Edinburgh, Scotland to Salem county New jersey to take a position as a master glassblower. He loves his work and hopes of bringing his family to America for a better life. But his love for Meg, the daughter of the owner of the glassworks, threatens his job...and then his life.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Quiz for Smart People -- I must be dumb.

I got this from Brandilyn Collins' blog today. If you don't read her blog, you should! Have a good laugh.

The following short quiz consists of 4 questions and will tell you whether you are qualified to be a professional. Scroll down for each answer. The questions are NOT that difficult. But don't scroll down UNTIL you have answered the question!

1. How do you put a giraffe into a refrigerator?

The correct answer is: Open the refrigerator, put in the giraffe, and close the door. This question tests whether you tend to do simple things in an overly complicated way.

2 . How do you put an elephant into a refrigerator?

Did you say, Open the refrigerator, put in the elephant, and close the refrigerator? Wrong Answer.

Correct Answer: Open the refrigerator, take out the giraffe put in the elephant and close the door. This tests your ability to think through the repercussions of your previous actions.

3. The Lion King is hosting an animal conference. All the animals attend...except one. Which animal does not attend?

Correct Answer: The Elephant. The elephant is in the refrigerator. You just put him in there.

This tests your memory. Okay even if you did not answer the first three questions correctly, you still have one more chance to show your true abilities.

4. There is a river you must cross but it is inhabited by crocodiles, and you do not have a boat How do you manage it?

Correct Answer: You jump into the river and swim across. Have you not been listening? All the crocodiles are attending the Animal Meeting. This tests whether you learn quickly from your mistakes.

According to Anderson Consulting Worldwide, around 90% of the professionals they tested got all questions wrong, but many preschoolers got several correct answers. Anderson Consulting says this conclusively disproves the theory that most professionals have the brains of a four- year-old.

Sunday, November 01, 2009

ACFW November New Releases!

ACFW November New Releases:

1. A SILENT PURSUIT, by Lynette Eason from Steeple Hill Love Inspired Suspense. Gina Santino has something someone desperately wants. Now, she's on the hunt to find it. Her deceased fiance's best friend, US Ranger, Ian Masterson is her only hope of staying alive while they race to be the first to discover the treasure her fiance left behind.

2. Chasing Shadows, by Terri Reed from Steeple Hill Love Inspired Suspense. An heiress turns to her former love, a cop, for help when she fears for her grandmother's life.

3. Close to Home, by Carolyn Aarsen from Steeple Hill Love Inspired. A reunion of old lovers brings up the shadows of past tragedy.

4. Fit To Be Tied, The Sisters of Bethlehem Springs, Book #2, by Robin Lee Hatcher from Zondervan. Who says a woman can't do a man's job?

5. I'm So Sure, A Charmed Life, Book 2, by Jenny B. Jones from Thomas Nelson. Its prom time and someone is trying to sabotage the queen contest. Can Bella solve the mystery in time AND keep it together as her life goes public on a wrestling reality show?

6. The Bartered Bride, by Erica Vetsch from Barbour Heartsong Presents. Tempests rage, in the board room, the ball room, and on treacherous Lake Superior as two hearts set sail on a collision course.

7. Together for the Holidays, Fostered by Love series-book 5, by Margaret Daley from Love Inspired. Can the true meaning of Christmas bring two loners together?

Thursday, October 01, 2009

October New Releases

1. A Star Curiously Singing, The DarkTrench Saga, Book 1, by Kerry Nietz from Marcher Lord Press. An augmented human programmer is sent to space to solve the mystery of a bot’s destruction.

2. Double Take, by Jenness Walker from Steeple Hill Love Inspired Suspense. When a stalker becomes obsessed with a woman, the key to stopping him lies in a best-selling thriller…until he stops going by the book.

3. Dreaming of Home, by Glenna Kaye from Steeple Hill Love Inspired Two wounded hearts must learn to trust that God's dreams for them far exceed any they may have for themselves.

4. Eternity Falls - A Rick Macey Cyberthriller, Book 1 of the Rick Macey Cyberthriller series, by Kirk Outerbridge from Marcher Lord Press. A cyber-enhanced detective must stop a religious zealot from destroying a serum for eternal life.

5. Gripped By Fear, Chicago Warrior Thriller Series, 2nd book, by John M. Wills from Total Recall. Chgo Detectives hunt a serial rapist in the mean streets of Chicago in the midst of personal struggles.

6. Leaving Yesterday, by Kathryn Cushman from Bethany House. A mother rejoices at the return of her prodigal, but is faced with an impossible decision as evidence from his past refuses to stay buried.

7. Loves Finds You in Bethlehem, New Hampshire, by Lauralee Bliss from Summerside Press. Set in the Guilded Age within the beauty of New
Hampshire's White Mountains, successful artist Tom Haskins and penniless Sara McGee discover through their circumstances that the most precious gifts of life and love don't always come as they're expected.

8. Love Finds You in North Pole, Alaska, by Loree Lough from Summerside Press. A story that's sure to warm your heart, despite the icy Alaskan setting!

9. Love is a Battlefield, Book One in the Walk in the Park series, by Annalisa Daughety from Barbour Publishing. War rages again at Shiloh, but this time it’s a battle of the heart.

10. Seaside Letters, by Denise Hunter from Thomas Nelson. Sabrina Kincaid didn't intend to fall for Nantucket native Tucker McCabe, the man she serves coffee to every morning-a man tied deeply to a past she
deeply regrets. But she has. And she's fallen hard. But she's kept this a secret from her handsome customer. And now Tucker wants to hire Sabrina to help locate his friend "Sweetpea"-the mysterious woman he's falling in love with online. Sabrina is not inclined to help, but if Tucker hires someone else, it could spell disaster. Because if someone else sifts through the emails and figures out the truth-then Tucker will discover that the person he's trying to find is . . . her.

11. Soldier Daddy, Wings of Refuge Series-book 5-all standalones, by Cheryl Wyatt from Steeple Hill. A USAF Pararescue Jumper searches for a nanny for his twins and instead finds a future with a woman harboring a secret tied to his past.

12. The Case of the Mystified M.D., Book 2, Bouncing Grandma Mysteries, by A.K. Arenz from Sheaf House. First a foot, now a hand--what body part is next?

13. The Christmas Journey, by Winnie Griggs from Steeple Hill Love Inspired.

14. The Jewel of his Heart, Heart of the West Series, by Maggie Brendan from Revell. Discover the classic struggle between the world's wealth and the lure of eternal love in this Western story of elegance and survival.

15. The Matchmaking Pact, After the Storm #4 , by Carolyn Aarsen from Steeple Hill Love Inspired. A single father and a single mother have to deal with matchmaking children.

16. Thirsty, by Tracey Bateman from Waterbrook. “Deep, cutting, an intoxicating blend of human and supernatural, of characters scarred by the past, drained by life. This is the book I’ve waited for.”

17. Trial By Fire, by Cara Putman from Steeple Hill Love Inspired Suspense. When an arsonist targets her family, Tricia has to find him before harm is done without losing her heart to a fireman.

Tuesday, September 01, 2009

September ACFW New Releases

1. A Blue and Gray Christmas, by Carrie Turansky, Vickie McDonough, Lauralee Bliss Tamela Hancock Murray from Barbour Publishing. A Blue and Gray Christmas highlights the faith and courage of four couples who remained true to their convictions and found lasting love despite the hardships of the Civil War.

2. A Man of His Word, Book 1 in the Hearts of Middlefield Series, by Kathleen Fuller from Thomas Nelson. Moriah's heart will only be safe with a man of his word.

3. A Passion Redeemed , by Julie Lessman from Revell. Depth of beauty ... shallow of heart, Charity O'Connor is a woman who gets what she wants. She sets her sights on a man who wants nothing to do with her. Although the sparks are there, he refuses to fan the coals of a potential relationship with a woman who ruined his life. Charity burned him once, destroying his engagement to the only woman he ever truly loved. He won't play with matches again. But Charity has a plan to turn up the heat, hoping to ignite the heart of the man she loves. And she always gets what she wants-one way or another.

4. A Silent Fury, by Lynette Eason from Steeple Hill Love Inspired Suspense. Detective Catelyn Clark and her ex-boyfriend, FBI agent Joseph Santino, must overcome their rocky past while working to solve the murder of a deaf student and find the friend who's still missing.

5. Always Ready, Book 1, by Susan Page Davis from Heartsong. Two Coast Guard officers find danger and romance in the hostile seas of Alaska.

6. An Amish Christmas, by Kathleen Fuller, , Beth Wiseman, from Thomas Nelson. Follow the lives of three Amish families through the Christmas season.

7. Beautiful Ugly, by Shelia Lipsey from Kensington Publishing Corp. Three friends need plenty of faith in God and support from each other to see their real beauty lies within.

8. Christmas at Lake Tahoe, by Jeanie Smith Cash, Lena Nelson Dooley, Jean Kincaid from Barbour Publishing. Will four young women fresh out of college, find love at Christmas as they persue their careers at a new ski lodge at Lake Tahoe's Incline Village?

9. Cowboy Christmas, by Mary Connealy from Barbour. A secretive singer with trouble following her, and a cowboy who hates liars, especially female liars, need a Christmas miracle to take a chance on love.

10. Fields of Grace, by Kim Vogel Sawyer from Bethany House. A Russian Mennonite family fights to survive and maintain their faith in a new land.

11. Finally Home and Finally Found, by Lyn Cote from Heartsong Presents. Two stories in one book. Finally Home-After her wedding that wasn't, Hannah Kirkland hides in her parent's small WI town But hiding is hard in a house that's under construction! As friendship with carpenter Guthrie Thomas, Hannah learns how to build a home--and love--of her own. In Finally Found-Ten years ago Marco da Palma left Spring Kirkland behind. What did a poor scholarship student have to offer her anyway? But when Marco, now a successful doctor, finds Spring again, the pair have a second chance. If only Marco can release his fears, and see the happiness that has been waiting all along...

12. Hearts and Harvest, by Amber Stockton from Heartsong Presents. A destitute young man fights society's mores to win the hand of his privileged sweetheart.

13. It's Not about Him, Second Glance Series, Book #2, by Michelle Sutton from Sheaf House. Two young Christians with an unplanned pregnancy where she wants to place her child in a good home but he wants to marry her so she'll keep her child even though it's not his.

14. Just Between You and Me, by Jenny B. Jones from Thomas Nelson. A family emergency pulls Maggie Montgomery back home to a town full of painful secrets and people she left behind. Sometimes the only thing scarier than living on the edge is stepping off it.

15. Love Finds You in Charm, Ohio, by Annalisa Daughety from Summerside Press. A summer in Charm, Ohio, gives Emma Miller the chance to decide once and for all what she wants from life--but soon finds herself pulled between two worlds.

16. One Imperfect Christmas, by Myra Johnson from Abingdon Press. Christmas is the season of miracles, but when blame and guilt keep people apart, a miracle needs a helping hand.

17. Painted Desert, by Nancy Farrier from Barbour. As modern life takes unexpected turns, love comes knocking on the doors of three Arizona women's lives.

18. Protector's Honor, by Kit Wilkinson from Steeple Hill Love Inspired Suspense. Rory Farrell searches for the link between Tabitha Beaumont and his ongoing murder investigation, but to protect her, he'll have to her trust as well.

19. Raising Rain, by Debbie Fuller Thomas from Moody Publishers. A single woman desperate for a child and the 3 college roommates who raised her meet her terminally ill mother on a stormy weekend and confront the past.

20. The Familiar Stranger, by Christina Berry from Moody Publishers. Secrets from Craig Littleton's past threaten to undue his troubled marriage, but if he literally can't remember the damage he's done, can he ever be trusted?

21. The Transformation, Project Restoration Series Book 3, by Terri Kraus from David C. Cook. Can a good, hard-working Christian man disregard his cultural and religious admonitions--as well as his mother's plans for his life--for the love of a woman and an historic church building?

22. The Unfinished Gift, by Dan Walsh from Revell, Division of Baker Publishing Group. Set at Christmastime in 1943, The Unfinished Gift is an engaging story of reconciliation between a father and son, and how God uses an unexpected gift from the past to mend this broken family.

23. Tidings of Great Boys, All About Us #5, by Shelley Adina from Hatchette FaithWords. Lady Lindsay (Mac) MacPhail invites her classmates home to her castle in Scotland for an unforgettable Christmas.

24. Wild West Christmas, by Lena Nelson Dooley, Kathleen Y'Barbo, Vickie McDonough, Darlene Franklin from Barbour. Christmas courtships corral four sisters in Texas.

Friday, August 07, 2009

Lyn Cote is here with me today talking characterization

Characterization in the Inspirational Romance
By Lyn Cote

Characterization is the basic building block of all fiction and especially for romance, which concentrates so heavily on emotion. So in preparing for this article, I polled other Christian authors for their insight. Gail Martin who writes for Love Inspired and also her 2008 release Writing the Inspirational Romance offered this:
"Characterization begins with backstory, digging deep into the past and pulling out the hurts, sorrows, guilts, shames, successes, failures, experiences, education, family morals and values. The backstory triggers the elements of personality, actions/reactions, present values and morals of the character. All of these elements create character…."

As useful and basic as that information is, I realized that any writing teacher would say that about characterization in any type of fiction. So how does characterization in inspirational novels differ from in secular ones?
Cheryl Wolverton, a past RWA Rita finalist, who has written over twenty books replied: "Characterization in Inspirational Romance is no different than in any other book or genre. It has to be strong [and] well developed, [but] the author must develop the characters' spiritual elements as well as everything else."
Ah, the spiritual element—yes, that's the difference. The Christian novel must have a strong spiritual aspect reflected in the characters.

Lenora Worth made this clear: "Characters need depth in order to make the faith journey that is required in our books. That added journey allows for compelling, multi-layered characters, who really do go through emotional struggles as they fall in love and resolve their life issues."

The faith journey is an integral part of the inspirational romance. The hero and heroine can't merely fall in love in spite of themselves (internal conflict) and cope with their circumstances (external conflict). Each also has a spiritual journey. They are not only in conflict with each other, but also with themselves about their relationship to others and to God. Over the course of the novel, the hero and heroine must come to a point of decision about this.

It is common misconception that in every novel of faith, someone must search for and find God. Most publishers don’t want a "conversion" scene in every romance. Tyndale House, for example, tells aspiring authors that they don't want either the hero or heroine to be in the process of finding faith. They don't want a romance to hinge on a person finding God—as if that would solve all the character's problems and they would become perfect. So what is a faith journey if it's not that?

Every person of faith must work out what she believes and why. She also must integrate that belief into her real life, her everyday life. Thus, there are an endless variety of spiritual quests.

In my own romances, the hero and heroine often are at the opposite ends of the same spiritual struggle. This adds another layer of conflict to the novel. In my romantic suspense, Autumn’s Shadow, (Tyndale), the spiritual theme is "Am I my brother's keeper?" My heroine's spiritual conflict centers on her continual efforts to help her teen-aged brother who has been over-indulged by their parents. This comes to a head when her parents transfer the boy to the school where she is the principal. The parents reason that with their daughter as principal, the son will be sure to graduate. Then they can send him off to college and get on with their lives. But the boy is a danger to himself and finally, to others. My heroine is at her wit’s end and about to give up trying to help her brother.

At the same time, the hero is also struggling with family ties. After years of distancing himself from his family, he becomes guardian to his troubled nephew who attends the same school. As the heroine is ready to cut family ties, the hero is trying to reconnect with his nephew. In the end, both the hero and heroine, as people of faith, must accept that they can only do so much for those they love. God can change hearts; they can't. And they finally realize they have a right to a life and love of their own.

That is a sample of a faith plot, which is a requirement in each inspirational romance. Because plot derives from character, inspirational characters must have unfinished business in their lives with God. That faith journey sets the inspirational romance apart from the secular.

Deborah Raney, RITA winner 2002 for Beneath a Southern Sky, summed it up this way: "In the inspirational novel, the main characters generally come from one of two places. Either they are already people of faith and the story is a showcase for how their faith enables them to overcome the conflict and dilemma of the plot, or they have not yet come to faith and the novel is the story of their journey from unbelief to faith, darkness into light.”

This discussion is for the romance writer, so the faith journey will end with victory: the hero and heroine will overcome the conflict, just as the hero and heroine will find committed love at the end of the romance. Seeking and finding spiritual wholeness is part of the necessary satisfying ending to the inspirational romance.

The trick to including the spiritual dimension in characterization is to ensure that the romance doesn't turn into a "sermon in dialogue." Show the conflict; don't tell it. Again, all plot derives from character. The inspirational romance succeeds when it focuses on first creating realistic and compelling characters, and then on letting the spiritual dimension flow from the depth and substance of these multi-faceted characters. Not vice versa.

Lyn Cote's first novel, Never Alone, was published in 1998. Her seventeenth, Blessed Bouquets, and her eighteenth Chloe, the first in her "Women of Ivy Manor" series were released in June 2005. The second in her newest series which is “Texas Star of Destiny” is Her Inheritance Forever. She's written articles on the inspirational market and does an annual update. The 2009 market update, including an agent list link is on her site now. She has also had numerous articles on the craft of writing published. An award winning author and speaker, Lyn writes both historical and contemporary fiction.

Visit her at and her contributors:

Deborah Raney-
Cheryl Wolverton-
Lenora Worth-
Copyright 2005 Lyn Cote

More Lyn Cote books:

2009 Releases—Lyn Cote
February 2009
Historical Romance
The Desires of Her Heart
1st Texas Star of Destiny series
Avon Inspire
In 1821, Dorritt Mott is a woman ahead of her time. When her family is forced to leave New Orleans, she meets Quinn. The New Orleans lady and the half-breed scout, become unlikely allies on the trek to the Austin settlement in Texas. Two armies, marauding Comanche and a traitor in their midst stand between them and their destination. All Dorritt thinks she wants is her own independence, but is it possible that she will gain the unrecognized desires of her heart? And teach Quinn to enlarge his vision also?

August 2009
Historical Romance
Her Inheritance Forever
2nd in Texas Star of Destiny series
Avon Inspire
ISBN # 9780061373435
Blurb: In 1836 Texas, Alandra Sandoval is the lady of Rancho Sandoval, determined to prove to a doubting world that a woman alone can run a ranch as well as any man. But when Comanches attack her ranch and kidnap her, Alandra must admit she needs protection. A top hand at a nearby ranch, Scully Falconer, is chosen for the task and though Alandra tries to pretend she doesn't need his help, he quietly stays by her side.
Though they believe their paths to be worlds apart, the rugged American cowboy with a troubled past and the proud lady of Mexican descent are united when Alandra's greedy relatives burst into their lives. And when General Santa Anna's army crosses the Rio Grande—marching toward a rendezvous with destiny at the Alamo—Alandra and Scully are swept up together in the tide of history...and their world will never be the same.

One sentence blurb: Forced from her vast ranch into the heart of the Texas Revolution, will this proud senorita find the faith to withstand these troubling times?

September 2009
Contemporary Romance
Finally Home/Finally Found
Love Inspired Classic (reissue)
ISBN: 978-0373651320
Blurb: After their mother develops leukemia, three sisters decide that they must discover their mother's birth parents so that they will have another pool for bone marrow transplants if it reoccurs. In the meantime, one falls in love with a carpenter in WI while the other falls in love with a Latino MD in FL. Both stories are filled with tears and laughter.

December 2009
Historical Romance
Her Patchwork Family
2nd in Gabriel Sisters series
Love Inspired Historical
ISBN 978-0373828258
Blurb: In spite of opposition from the rich and influential, can Felicity Gabriel establish a home for children orphaned by the Civil War and heal two wounded hearts?

Thanks for joining us today, Lyn!

Saturday, August 01, 2009

August New Releases from ACFW

1. All That Glitters, Scenarios for Girls, book 2, by Nicole O’Dell from Barbour Publishing. The reader will decide if Drew Daniels does the right thing when sudden popularity causes her to forget about things that were once important to her.

2. Forgiven, Sisters of the Heart Series, Book 3, by Shelley Shepard Gray from Avon Inspire, a division of Harper Collins Publishing. Tragedy strikes when a brother and sister find themselves facing two difficult situations.

3. Surrender the Wind, by Rita Gerlach from Abingdon Press. When a patriot of the American Revolution inherits his grandfather's estate in England, he inherits more than a crumbling manor house.

4. Sweet Waters, Otter Bay Series Book 1, by Julie Carobini from B&H Publishing Group. Sweet Waters is the story of a newly-jilted woman who talks her sisters into moving back to their hometown only to discover family secrets that threaten the fairy tale image she'd always had.

5. The Blue Enchantress, the Charles Towne Belles Series book 2, by MaryLu Tyndall from Barbour. An adventure-seeking woman and a security-minded captain are shipwrecked together.

6. The Last Woman Standing, by Tia McCollors from Moody. A man, his woman, and his ex-wife search for love again.

7. Truth or Dare, Senarios for Girls Book 1, by Nicole O’Dell from Barbour. Peer pressure threatens to drive Lindsay Martin to doing something she doesn't want to do; the reader will decide.

8. Under the Tulip Poplar, by Diane Ashley and Aaron McCarver from Heartsong Presents. When Rebekah Taylor and Asher Landon struggle to find their ways to the other, will they allow God to direct bring their separate dreams together as one?

9. You Make Me Feel Like Dancing, Book #1 in the VA VA VA BOOM series, by Allison Bottke from David C. Cook. When life is a dance and Disco is a state of mind, it’s Mamma Mia goes Vegas!

Friday, July 31, 2009

Two more books sold to Steeple Hill

Hi all, just wanted to let you know that I got the call from my agent today informing me that Steeple Hill is purchasing the two books I proposed a couple of weeks ago. I'm really excited about this as I'm continuing to use characters from the latest series that's been releasing.

Just to refresh your memory, A Silent Terror released in March, 2009.

A Silent Fury releases September 2009:

And A Silent Pursuit will release November 2009.

I'm giving away the first two. Leave me a comment and I'll send you a copy of A Silent Terror and A Silent Fury.

Also, do you have any writing questions you'd like answered? Leave those and I'll answer as well as I can.


Friday, July 24, 2009

Maggie Contest Finalist!

I got a phone call yesterday! Okay, usually I just ignore numbers I don't recognize, but for some reason I answered this one. The 770 area code threw me because normally the 888 or 8-- numbers that are telemarketer stuff...and yes, I listed my number with and still get those stupid phone calls. Anyhow, I answered this one. Thank goodness!

It was a very nice lady calling to tell me I'd finalled in the Maggie Contest! Whoo hoo! My first contest to final in. I'm so excited. So, Snoopy dance with me and then check back on October 4th to see if I win the whole thing or not.

Happy Friday!

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Review of Too Close to Home

I had a great review of my upcoming Revell book. I'm so excited that this LONG process finally has an end in sight. True, April 2010 seems like it will take forever to get here, but time is moving so fast that I'm sure I'll blink and it'll be here. I'll be giving away quite a few copies so I hope you'll check back for contests. I'll also announce contests in my newsletter. Go to my website to sign up at

Click on the link above to see it.

Happy reading to all!

Thursday, July 02, 2009

ACFW New Releases

1. A Promise Kept, Heartsong Presents Historical Ohio Book 1 , by Cara C. Putman from Heartsong Present. Newleyweds Josie & Art must choose whether to honor the promises they've made when their relationship experiences the fire of pain.

2. Blackmail, sixth and final book in the Bayou Series, by Robin Carroll from Steeple Hill Love Inspired Suspense. The sixth and final book in Robin Carroll's romantic suspense bayou series.

3. Cranberry Hearts, by Lena Nelson Dooley, Beth Goddard and Lisa Harris from Barbour Publishing. What will happen when three Massachusetts women find their journeys home lead them down dangerous paths?

4. Deadly Intent, by Camy Tang from Steeple Hill Love Inspired Suspense. Massage therapist Naomi Grant must prove her innocence when her client is murdered in her family's Sonoma day spa.

5. Gripped By Fear, The Chicago Warriors Series, by John M. Wills from TotalRecall. Two Chicago Detectives struggle to capture a serial rapist.

6. Hometown Courtship, by Diann Hunt from Steeple Hill Love Inspired. A carpenter and a hair stylist work to build a house together--but are they building much more?

7. Lonestar Secrets, Lonestar Series Book 2, by Colleen Coble from Thomas Nelson. A young veterinarian returns to her childhood home and finds the man who humiliated her may be in custody of a daughter she thought had died.

8. Love's Rescue, The Sierra Chronicles Book One, by Tammy Barley from Whitaker House. A headstrong Southern woman falls for her kidnapper, a Western cattleman she blames for the loss of her family.

9. Maggie Rose, Second in The Daughters of Jacob Kane series , by Sharlene MacLaren from Whitaker House. Mission-minded Maggie Rose takes a job at an orphanage in New York City, never expecting to fall in love with a hardnosed newspaper reporter.

10. Menu for Romance, Brides of Bonneterre Series Book #2, by Kaye Dacus from Barbour Publishing. The Chef and the Party Planner Each Seek the Kind of Love that Requires No Reservations.

11. Montana Rose, by Mary Connealy from Barbour Publishing. Love Comes Softy, with mayhem, comedy and gunfire.

12. Ransome's Honor, Book 1 The Ransome Trilogy, by Kaye Dacus from Harvest House PUblishers. Once Youthful Sweethearts—Can Their Love Be Renewed?

13. Rose of the Adriatic, Sequel to Jewel of the Adriatic , by K.M. Daughters from The Wild Rose Press. Messages of hope and peace for the world from Our Lady of Medjugorje woven into a prayerful, fictional love story.

14. Second Chance Family, Fostered by Love Series Book 4, by Margaret Daley from Steeple Hill Love Inspired. Whitney and Shane, two wounded people, come together to try and help each other heal from their past through the appeal of a little boy who is autistic.

15. The Kidnapping of Kenzie Thorn, by Liz Johnson from Steeple Hill Love Inspired Suspense. Kenzie Thorn is surprised when she's kidnapped from the prison where she teaches a GED course, and even more shocking is that someone wants her dead.

16. The Last Resort, The Wanderlust Mysteries Book 2, by April Star from Five Star Gale I Cengage Learning. One woman's murder and a bottle washed ashore on the St. Anastasia beach open a Pandora's box and unleash secrets pursued by an entire camping resort . . . and the truth proves as elusive as the killer in their midst.

17. The Sacred Cipher, by Terry Brennan from Kregel Publications. An ancient, secret scroll could trigger nuclear war or world peace, four Americans are caught in the crossfire, and opposing radicals will stop at nothing to silence The Sacred Cipher.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Welcome Cheryl Wyatt! Win a free book

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 stays active in her church and in her laundry room. She's convinced that having been born on a Naval base on Valentine's Day destined her to write military romance. Prior to publication, Cheryl took courses through Christian Writers Guild. An active member of RWA, FHL and ACFW, she won numerous awards with multiple manuscripts. Visit her on the Web or here. Sign up for her newsletter for news and chances to enter contests with great prizes. You can also find her skittering around Steeple Hill's message boards as "Squirl" at

Welcome Cheryl,

I'm so glad you were able to stop by and say hello.
Tell us about your new book that's now out on the shelves? (I just bought it last night at Target!) And how you came up with the ideas for your Refuge stories.

Thank you for buying the book! I give away your books frequently on my Free Book Fridays on my blog.
Ready-Made family is the third book in Wings of Refuge. Each book is its own story and a person need not have read the previous books to jump right in. Each WOR book features one man from a fictional Pararescue Jumper (PJ) team.

Ready-Made Family
April 2009-Steeple Hill Love Inspired--IN STORES NOW!
(Received 4.5 Stars from Romantic Times)

Wings of Refuge Series
This is Ben's story.

Back cover blurb:

Amelia North needs refuge, and finds it--in Refuge, Illinois. Stranded there after a car wreck, the single mother expects to be cold-shouldered. After all, she’s already been rejected by her parents, her church and her daughter’s father. Instead, she finds a town full of people with open hands and hearts…including pararescue jumper Ben Dillinger.
Ben wants to help Amelia and her daughter find safety and stability. Instead, he finds himself freefalling—right into love with the ready-made family.

I come up with ideas many different ways. I love to eavesdrop on conversations and sometimes all it takes to spark an idea is hearing something say something original that sparks a story premise.
I don't really have to (thankfully!) try very hard to think of stories. Ideas come to me in droves...they stalk me really. I have to fend them off. I get countless story ideas every single day. Other aspects of writing don't come so easily though. LOL!

I want to hear the story (abbreviated is fine) about how you detained an ambulance while driving a stick shift!
HE HE! WHO TOLD? My sister was trying to teach me how to drive a five speed car. I had learned to drive on a stick shift pick-up, but for some reason I could NOT seem to keep from grinding the gears in her little car. I kept getting the clutch timing off and the car kept stalling in traffic. So in a panic, I swerved the car into the next available parking lot. Unfortunately that was a hospital. And more unfortunately, when I swerved in the car stalled at an angle that blocked an entire row of the lot. An ambulance with lights and sirens quickly approached (not for the car! LOL) and I could NOT get the car to GO! My sister was shrieking at me, "GO!" And laughing hysterically. I was sobbing and yelling, "I'M TRYING!" And the ambulance driver was jabbing fingers at the windshield and yelling what looked suspiciously like, "Move that stupid car!" And I think there were a few #&@!* words in there somewhere too! I finally jumped out and my sister crawled across the consol and moved the car. I felt HORRIBLE for the poor patient having to wait on that ambulance.

Why in the world is Cricket your favorite sport?

I think because it's so different than any sport we play in the U.S. I became addicted to it when I went to India on a media/humanitarian mission after the big tsunami. We watched it constantly. I brought a real Cricket bat back to the U.S. but it was so huge (like a boat oar) that it would NOT fit in my luggage. So I tried to carry it on.
I was accosted by security who said I could technically use it as a weapon if I wanted. Of course I had no intentions of trying to hijack a plane but they didn't know that. So they would not let me get the bat on the plane in India. This was after 9-11 of course and security was uber tight.
Security in India seemed even more daunting than in the U.S. The Indian security guards have an automatic weapon strapped to one side of them plus another rifle plus belts of ammo criss crossed over their chests. They all look like Rambo. Most of them also carried at least one sidearm or other handgun plus these wicked looking machete swords. I mean these guys were STRAPPED with weapons. At least at this particular airport.
Trust me, I did NOT want to tick them off.
So I bid goodbye to the Cricket bat which was to be my souvenier to my husband. They confiscated the bat and I burst into tears. Part of it was because I'd walked so many miles to get that bat and had wanted to bring it home more than anything.
Security must have felt sorry for me because they chased me down and told me they could try to send it through along with the checked luggage, but they doubted it would ever make it to the U.S. much less past Paris. They tied this itty bitty rubber band and a two inche tag that had my name on it and the destination.
I never thought that bat would make it home...but it DID!
My husband terrorized my children (kidding) by telling them it was a paddle for when they didn't obey me and Time-Out didn't work. LOL! They were a little worried for a few seconds until he started laughing. Because that bat is about five feet long and flat like a paddle or a boat oar.

What are you working on now?

Wrapping up A Soldier's Devotion (Vince's story which releases in January 2010) and mailing influencer copies out of A Soldier's Reunion (Nolan's story which is will be in stores June 1 and is available for preorder now). Then I'll finish writing Chance's story (title pending) which releases in Fall 2010.

How long does it take you to write a novel?

Rough draft: 4-7 days. All the other stuff that goes with it? 2-3 months.

What do you do when you're not writing?

Read! Spend time with family and friends. Worship. Go to NASCAR races and sound gigs with my hubby who runs sound for just about every major Christian band out there.

Do you have a certain process when it comes to writing? For example, do you create your characters first or do you come up with the story idea first? And so on.

It varies. I might have a premise first then create characters around the premise. But more often I have an idea for a character first and create a story around that character. I do extensive research on the character's career. Then comes the characterization then I brainstorm the story structure with friends like Camy Tang, who is an ace at sensing sound story structure. I also love brainstorming with my editor and agent. And getting their feedback before really diving into the story. Then I do a brief and scantily clad scene index and I'm off and running.

Any advice for new writers out there?

For authors targeting CBA:
Write as worship.
Be willing to hear hard things about your writing yet never let anyone discourage you into giving up.
Remain teachable and join supportive groups such as the eharlequin community , American Christian Fiction Writers and Faith, Hope and Love the Inspirational Chapter of Romance Writers of America.

What are your goals for your writing/career?

I hope I can always write category romance and especially for Steeple Hill. I love working with them. But I'd also like to branch out into single title romance and also so I can focus more on the more complex/longer action-driven stories. Romance that is high-action where I have room for subplots.

Are you driving yet? LOL!

LOL! YES! Finally. (For those of you who don't know, I was in a car accident last year that resulted in several surgeries. The accident broke my right foot and ankle so I was unable to drive for a few months.) I tell you, have a new respect for shut-ins and those homebound.

What's your favorite food?

Grilled chicken caesar salad, ribeye steak salad, baked potatoes, McD's sweet tea, my husband's chicken and my daughters' famous chocolate. Well, famous in our household anyway.

Any parting comments?

Thank you for having me here on your blog! It's an honor. And thanks to those of you who drop by and take time to read it.
Blessings everyone!

Cheryl! What great answers. Thanks so much for stopping by to visit.

All right, people, leave those comments and tell Cheryl what you think about her books and I'll enter your name to be drawn on Saturday for a copy of Ready Made Family. Thanks for stopping by!

Tuesday, April 07, 2009

Bonnie Leon is here today...leave a comment to win a free book

Storytelling has always been an integral part of Bonnie Leon’s life. From childhood, she cherished the legends and family history handed down through her Aleut ancestors.

Throughout the ensuing years, Bonnie dabbled at writing but didn’t seriously consider becoming a professional author. Instead, as a young woman, she happily stepped into the full-time profession of homemaker and mother. Pollywog hunting, finger-painting, blackberry picking, and creating fun messes in the kitchen with her children are some of her most precious and irreplaceable memories.

When her youngest child was nine years old, Bonnie decided it was time to return to the working world. She took a position in her hometown of Glide, Oregon, working with the elderly and handicapped.

Then on June 11, 1991, her world was shattered when a log truck hit the van she was driving. The accident left her unable to work, and after months of rehabilitation she was told by physicians that she would never return to a normal life. Facing a daunting fight to reclaim her life and feeling as if she had nothing to offer the world, she asked God to give her something to do that mattered.

His answer came when she received a scholarship to attend the Oregon Christian Writer’s Summer Conference. That conference ignited Bonnie’s passion for literature and for writing, and she has been writing ever since.

Her first book, The Journey of Eleven Moons was released by Thomas Nelson in 1994 and made the CBA bestsellers list.

Since that time, she has written and published thirteen historical novels. Her most recent series, The Queensland Chronicles, published by Revell, has been contracted for a Dutch-language edition by Ultgeverij De Banier bv, an organization based in The Netherlands. Her books are truly being read across the globe!

And with each book she writes, her love for the craft and the challenges of writing grows. “The learning never ends,” she says, “But I relish the challenge of becoming a writer known for quality storytelling.”

In addition to her work as a writer, Bonnie has a passion for teaching of all kinds, especially on the art and intricacies of storytelling. She teaches at conferences and workshops and says, “There’s nothing more thrilling than to see a student’s eyes light up with understanding as she grasps the concepts of the writing craft and begins to believe she can tell stories someone else will want to read.”

Hi Bonnie! Welcome to my blog. Thanks so much for joining us.

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.
“Enduring Love”, book three in the Sydney Cove Series, will release on May 1st. I’m very excited about this book. It’s a great ending to the series and will keep readers wondering how even God can fix the mess my characters have gotten themselves into.

How many full manuscripts did you write before you sold? And how many have you written to date?
My path to publication is not typical. I sold the first book I’d ever written to the first editor who looked at it. In 1992 I attended the Oregon Christian Writers Summer Conference. The coaching conference is fabulous and provides endless opportunities for learning. That first year I learned enough to write my first book, which I sold the following summer.

In your opinion, what’s the most fascinating thing about writing?
I’m still surprised by the process of story development. I never know exactly how it’s all going to work out, but it falls together, somehow. Although I outline before I begin I’m always surprised by unexpected plot twists and new and interesting characters who jump into my stories.
At this stage in my career I’ve written enough books to have confidence in the process. Ideas for foreshadowing often just seem to appear, characters become real and their lives intertwine with one another and the story makes sense. I’m fascinated at how it all just seems to work and it’s always great fun.

What’s something you can tell us about yourself that most people don’t know?
I’m a very open person and there’s little people don’t know about me. But readers might be surprised to know that at one time I was addicted to drugs. It was a very long time ago. Back in the late 60’s I fell into the “drug scene” and amphetamines were my drug of choice. With the help of a friend (who is now my husband) I kicked the habit. At the time I was very unhappy and could never have imagined the wonderful life that waited for me. I’ve been blessed beyond measure.

Wow, thanks for sharing such a personal issue. Your husband must be an incredible man.

When did you start writing for publication and what did people say when they found out?
In 1992 I started to imagine that one day I might publish my writing. I kept it a secret for a long while because I was embarrassed. After all, who did I think I was? Only extremely intelligent and incredibly creative people wrote books—right?
My family was very supportive. My mother got real excited and bought me a computer, and my husband made sure I had a good desk and chair. My children were a little miffed because instead of being a full-time mother I was working. However, they adjusted and are very proud of their writing mom.
Friends were surprised. They had no idea what I’d been up to. I remember a long-time friend read my first book when it released and she admitted that she was surprised that the book was good. I guess she’d never imagined me as a writer. I’ve heard from other friends, who read my books, that while they’re reading they sometimes stop and think, “I can’t believe Bonnie wrote this.” I take that as a compliment. :- ]

What is your favorite food?
I’m a pasta lover. And of course there’s always chocolate.

Tell us a little about your family.
I grew up in a large family—there were five of us kids. My parents were married twenty-eight years and then my father died at an early age. My mother remarried and is now in her 31st year of her second marriage.
I met my husband when I was seventeen. We married two years later and are still together thirty-eight years later. We have three children Paul, the oldest, Kristi, our middle child and Sarah our youngest.
Paul has his mind on his career so children are not on his radar yet, but Kristi has a little boy—Gabe. Sarah has three children—Corey, Ezra and Olivia. Her husband, Fernest, is in the army. Please keep him in your prayers.
My husband and I decided early on that I should stay home with the kids and that’s what I did. Those years as a full-time mom were my very best. Now I get to be a grandma and I adore my grandchildren. They are so cute and smart and . . . well I really have no clear perspective—they’re nearly perfect. 

LOL! Funny, that's what my parents think about MY children. What is it with you grandparents?? HA!

Who are your favorite authors?
In the Christian market I have two favorites—Francine Rivers and Ann Shorey. They write beautiful stories. I like a book with characters who feel real, people that I care about.
In the general market I’d have to stick with some of the classic writers, such as John Steinbeck and James Michener. Their writing styles are very different from one another. Steinbeck is a magician with words and Michener writes great stories.
Now, if you asked about favorite novels that’s easier—Redeeming Love, The Thorn Birds, The Girl With the Pearl Earring, Hawaii, The Kite Runner, and The Last Sin Eater to name a few.

What are you reading now and what’s in your “to be read” pile?
Presently I’m reading the book of the month for the ACFW Readers Group—Suspicious Minds by Christy Barritt. I’ve never read one of her books, but so far it’s great fun. And the next book in my to-be-read pile is Secrets on the Wind by Stephanie Grace Whitson. I can’t wait to begin. Historical fiction is my favorite genre to read and write.

Do you set out to write each story with a particular theme or does the theme develop as the story does?
I always begin with a theme, but occasionally the theme changes as I discover the story. When I write I want to say something of significance and I hope what I pen will make a positive difference in a reader’s life. That, however, does not mean characters and plot are not important. Careful plotting and creating characters who feel like real people are imperative. After all, what good is a noteworthy theme without a great story?

Do you have a particular method for tracking the details in your story? Can you tell us a little about this?
I use a time line for every book. It may look a little complicated to someone seeing it for the first time, but it really isn’t. I use a chart. Across the top I divide the book into months because my books usually span a year or more. Along the left hand column I write in different geographical areas that matter to my story, usually it’s world history plus state and regional history. Also on the left hand column I include the main characters names and the plot lines of my story and fill in events in the date columns.
Using this method helps me connect the events of the time period with the story my characters are living. The world’s events have an effect on how my characters live and think. Knowing what was going on at any given time adds realism to the story. Sometimes I find incidents in history that fit perfectly with my story, and also some that drive home the message of my theme. I love it when that happens.
The written description of this may be confusing. I’d be happy to send an example to any of your readers who’d like more clarification. They can contact me at

Who has had the most influence on your life in general? In your writing life?
The most influential person in my life has to be Jesus Christ. He took a sad, empty person and filled me with love and gave me hope. He’s my inspiration for every book I write. When I’m working I always keep Him in mind. I want to honor Him in everything I do and say.
In my persona l life, my husband is my greatest influence. He’s a fine man who loves me just as I am. I know he prays for me and always supports me. He’s forever patient and works hard without complaint. He’s a wonderful example of living sacrificially.

Do you have an agent? If yes, did you have the agent before you sold your first book or after?
Presently Wendy Lawton is my agent. She’s wonderful to work with and has been a great help to me. However, when I signed for my first book I was unagented. Back in the early nineties most writers didn’t use agents. But things have changed a great deal since then. Most publishing houses prefer to work through an agent and unless a writer can get their manuscript in front of an editor at a conference they’ll have a difficult time finding a home for their work.

What advice do you have for a beginning author?
Most budding authors don’t understand how much work lies ahead of them. The process of learning to write for publication is a long road. There are highs and lows and lots to learn.
I was one of the few who sold right off. However that’s not all good. I had a great deal to learn about the art of writing. I was truly a newbie. I’m certain there are readers who tried my early work who didn’t stay with me.
Having time to mature as a writer is a gift. I know it doesn’t feel like that when writers work hard year after year, hoping to publish and find themselves waiting. But the time and the work will pay off. It’s wonderful to explode on the writing stage already tested and tried and able to present a great read right from the beginning.

Any parting comments?
Stepping into the writing world takes courage. It means people will know who we are. We always show up in our books in one way or another, at least our views do.
Writers need to develop thick skins. There will be those who adore every word we write and others who will be unimpressed. We mustn’t be afraid of growth, but we must also sift out the voices we should listen to and those we need to shut out.
Relish the gift and the joy and fulfillment found in serving God in this creative and surprising life. It is a fabulous, frightening and unforgettable journey.

Thank you Bonnie! What a wonderfully inspiring interview. I so appreciate you taking the time to answer the questions as it's always fun to learn a little more about a fellow writing buddy.

All right everyone, it's time to tell Bonnie how much you want to read her book! Leave a comment for the possibility to win. The winner will be announced on Saturday, so check your email. God Bless!

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Susan Davis is back! Win a free book...

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.

On A Killer’s Trail

This book has the down home charm of Maine, great characters, and a puzzling mystery with a good dash of suspense. Kate Richards is a rookie reporter at a daily newspaper, determined to make good. She’s assigned to be “on call” to cover local news on Christmas Day, when everyone else takes the day off. She plans to spend the day with her sister and brother-in-law—who happens to be a police captain.
When the captain is called to investigate an elderly woman’s murder, Kate tags along, which brings her face-to-face with Detective Neil Alexander, the man Kate broke up with six months ago. Neil was too wild then, and she did what she knew was right. But everyone says he’s changed now. Kate is resolved not to go there. Her new job eclipses everything else. Neil is still attracted to Kate, but his boss warns him to leave her alone. He has good intentions. Really. When a second murder occurs, Neil and Kate are in the thick of it together. Can they set aside the past to catch the killer?

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?

Ideas are everywhere. News stories, overheard comments, TV commercials, a photo that doesn’t look quite right. My question is, how can people NOT have ideas for stories?

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

The toughest is making sure all the details match up so that the whole thing hangs together without ends of threads sticking out. The easiest for me used to be writing dialogue, but I find I like writing action very much, too.

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

I started writing fiction in 1999. Most people were encouraging, if a little dubious.

How long did it take you to get published?

I began selling short stories in 2001. My first book was published in 2004, so five years.

How do you choose your settings for each book?

Some ideas come complete with setting. If not, I either choose a setting I’m familiar with or research to find out where the story would best unfold.

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

Probably working a part time job.

Where’s your favorite place to write?

Here at my desk at home.

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

I like to start out the day with prayer and reading. Our family reads the Bible together and has a time of prayer after lunch. This seems to be our best time of day to have everyone together, as we home school and my husband works late and gets up late.

Tell us a little about your family.

My husband is an editor for a daily newspaper. We have six children, three of whom are married, and five grandchildren. The three children still living at home are 23, 16, and 14. The two younger ones are still being schooled at home. We live in Maine, and right now that means I have a lovely snowscape out my study window—firs, maples, and beeches dusted in snow, and about 18 inches on the ground. The woodstove is cranking, and it’s quiet here today. Oh, did I mention the dog? Monte Cristo is my bane, but the kids love him.

Who are your favorite authors?

It’s hard to choose, but for true history, Nathaniel Philbrick rules! I do love Dick Francis and Alexander McCall Smith. I like mysteries. Dorothy L. Sayers is a perennial favorite of mine, along with Ellis Peters’s Brother Cadfaels (not so much for her other books).

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

I am working on my first “long historical.” The Sheriff’s Surrender is to be the first in a series titled The Ladies’ Shooting Club. I love the characters. This book is set for release in December. After that I’ll finish off my second Alaska book for Heartsong. Writing three Alaskan stories is an adventure in itself.

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

The power of forgiveness. Kate and Neil have issues between them to deal with, but each also has some self-forgiving to do. It’s part of the spiritual maturity their struggle toward.

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

Hm, more than 20.
Romantic suspense: Frasier Island, Finding Marie, Inside Story, Just Cause, Witness, and On a Killer’s Trail (upcoming—Hearts in the Crosshairs from LIS).
Historicals: Protecting Amy, The Oregon Escort, Wyoming Hoofbeats (repackaged in Wyoming Brides); Weaving a Future (repackaged in Virginia Brides); The Prisoner’s Wife, The Castaway’s Bride, The Lumberjack’s Lady (repackaged in Maine Brides); Return to Love, A New Joy, Abiding Peace (to be repackaged as White Mountain Brides in the fall); novella “Almost Home” in the Snowbound Colorado Christmas collection; and the upcoming Ladies’ Shooting Club series.
Cozy Mysteries with my daughter Megan: the Mainely Murders series—titles are Homicide at Blue Heron Lake, Treasure at Blue Heron Lake, and the upcoming Impostors at Blue Heron Lake.
And two book for young people: Feather (fantasy); and Sarah’s Long Ride (horse story).

What advice do you have for a beginning author?

Write a lot. Read a lot. Listen to people who know what they are doing. Don’t listen to people who don’t. And if you can figure out the difference, you’re a genius. Now go read some more and write some more.

Any parting comments?

Come visit me on my Web site: . I love to hear from readers, and I give away a free book each month. Thanks for this opportunity, Lynette!

Thank you, Susan! So glad to learn a little more about you. I can't wait to read this book.

Thursday, February 05, 2009

Rene Ryan is here! Win a free copy of her latest book.

Renee Halverson w/a Renee Ryan Bio:

Renee grew up in a small Florida beach town. To entertain herself during countless hours of "laying-out" she read all the classics. It wasn’t until the summer between her sophomore and junior years at Florida State University that she read her first romance novel. Hooked from page one, she spent hours consuming one book after another while working on the best (and last!) tan of her life.

Two years later, armed with a degree in Economics and Religion, she explored various career opportunities, including stints at a Florida theme park, a modeling agency, and a cosmetic conglomerate. She moved on to teach high school Economics, American Government and Latin while coaching award-winning cheerleading teams. Several years later, with an eclectic cast of characters swimming around in her head, she began seriously pursuing a writing career.

Renee sold her first book, EXTREME MEASURES, to Dorchester Publishing by winning the inaugural New Historical Voice Contest in 2002. She eventually reconciled her writing with her faith and began writing Inspirational Romances in 2006. She sold her first Inspirational manuscript to Love Inspired Historical in December 2006 and has since sold three more. Her first book in the Charity House series, The Marshall Takes a Bride was a February 2009 release. Her next book in the series, Hannah’s Beau, hit the shelves July 2009.

For further information check out

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.

The Marshal Takes a Bride is a Love Inspired Historical February 2009 release. Why buy it? Well, for one, it’s a Western. Who doesn’t love Western’s? Add into the mix a wounded hero, a determined heroine, and her lively 5-year-old sister and now you have a story of hope, redemption and the healing love of family.

How many full manuscripts did you write before you sold? Or if you’re pre-pubbed, how many have you written to date?

I completed five manuscripts before selling. The first three were total shots in the dark. I was utterly clueless. But I proved to myself that I could start and finish a novel, so I consider the time well spent. Then I joined my local RWA chapter and my real education began. Three years after joining, I sold my first book.

In your opinion, what’s the most fascinating thing about writing?

I am consistently amazed at the process of discovering new characters that previously didn’t exist. I fall in love with them every time, and I mean every time. So I set out to make sure they get their happy ending. If only real life could have such closure.

What’s something you can tell us about yourself that most people don’t know?

I’ve been skydiving several times. That’s right. I have jumped out of a perfectly good airplane on more than one occasion!

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

I started writing seriously in 1997. From day one, I received the same question I still get today. Are you published? I hated that question before I sold. I’m not crazy about it now. The assumption that we’re only “real” writers if we’ve published a novel is absurd. It’s about the journey, not the destination! Chasing the sale never works in the long run. Sadly, I know this from experience.

What is your favorite food?

Steak! Medium-rare. I love, love, love steak. LOVE IT. The best I’ve ever had was at Ruth’s Crist. Unbelievable seasoning. I could gush all day about this particular food item. Suffice it to say, I’m a bona fide carnivore.

Tell us a little about your family.

We’re a blended family. I married my husband when my daughter was three and his son was nine. The four of us lived happily together in the same house for thirteen years. However, now that our son has graduated college (sniff, sniff) it’s just the three of us left in the home. My daughter is a junior in high school (and all that that implies). My husband is in radio, and has the magnificent voice to prove it. We also have a large, fluffy cat that my husband is convinced is part bear. He will not believe me when I say I saw BOTH her mother and father at the pound where I found her. And they were, indeed, cats. It’s our only on-going argument to date.

Who are your favorite authors?

I love Francine Rivers, Liz Curtis Higgs, Beth Moore, Susan Elizabeth Phillips and all the Love Inspired Historical (LIH) authors. Honestly, I’ve enjoyed every one of the LIH releases this past year. Steeple Hill has done an excellent job with the launch of this new line.

What are you reading now and what’s in your “to be read” pile?

Right now, I’m reading WWII research books—mostly ones about Nazi Germany (where my current WIP is set). I’m fascinated with tales of the German Resistance. It took great courage to fight the Nazi Regime from the inside. Such heroism is inspiring.

Do you set out to write each story with a particular theme or does the theme develop as the story does?

I find I have recurring themes that show up no matter what story I set out to write, themes such as the condition of our hearts, first impressions, courage in the face of fear, shame and, a big favorite, forgiveness coupled with grace.

Do you have a particular method for tracking the details in your story? Can you tell us a little about this?

I’m a plotter, but not in the traditional sense. I plot my characters before I worry about the “events” of the story. Once I know who the hero and heroine are, what they’ll struggle to overcome, why they need the other person in their life and why that other person is also their worst nightmare, I start thinking about the actual events that will mess with their status quo. By then I have a good idea of the story’s theme, which is simply what the characters need to learn. I pick a Scripture that reflects that theme and sit down to write a detailed synopsis. If I know where I’m starting and where I’m going, the getting there becomes the easy part. In other words, if I know how my h/h will meet, what will lead them to their black moment and what will be the resolution then all the other scenes grow organically out of these three major plot points.

Who has had the most influence on your life in general? In your writing life?

Hands down, the most influential person in my life is my husband. I have never met anyone with his level of integrity. He once lost a job because he refused to sacrifice his employees and their welfare for his own sake. He is a true spiritual leader, both in the home and out. Best of all, he makes me feel beautiful, loved and forgiven on a daily basis. Every woman deserves a man like him in her life. My heroes tend to be a lot like the man I married. Go figure. In terms of my writing, I would have to say my critique partners, Cindy Kirk and Teryl Oswald. They are the hardest working writers I know. Both have a commitment to the craft that inspires me. Their insights and comments always help me take my stories to the next level. I value them both dearly.

Do you have an agent? If yes, did you have the agent before you sold your first book or after?

I have an agent now, but I didn’t have one when I sold my first book. I sold my second book with the help of my agent at the time. I appreciate having an agent to negotiate the business end of my career. I focus on the writing; my agent focuses on the business aspects. It’s really that simple for me.

What advice do you have for a beginning author?

Finish manuscripts! I can’t stress this enough. If you aren’t finishing manuscripts you aren’t learning how to work through the tough spots (and there are ALWAYS tough spots). You won’t know what your strengths are as a writer, or your weaknesses. Finishing manuscripts also provides the perfect avenue for developing your own unique style and command of the language, or what some call “voice”.

Any parting comments?

One of the best pieces of advice I can give is this: Choose your words carefully, whether you’re speaking, writing, blogging or emailing. You will always have editors, agents, readers, marketing departments, family, friends, co-workers and many others making requests on your time and talent. Either give them what they want or give them a kind, courteous reason why you can’t do what they ask at that time. You will never go wrong in this business by being nice.

Rene, thank you so much for taking the time out of your busy schedule to join us today. We appreciate it and it's been so much fun learning more about you. I'm so impressed with the skydiving!

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Shirley Connolly is here with her new a free copy!

Hi all, Shirley Connolly is here today introducing us to her new book. I hope you enjoy the interview! Leave a comment and you'll be entered to win a free copy.

Shirley Kiger Connolly, born and raised in the Pacific Northwest, now lives on the Southern Coast of Oregon with her husband. Their three children are now grown. When not writing, Shirley is with her animals, doing stitchery, or reading, or watching classics with her husband. Shirley attended college in Northern California.
She later became a graduate of Institute of Children’s Literature. A Christian for over forty years, it was through her relationship with the Lord, she developed a passion for women’s ministry and teaching. This blossomed further when her husband went into pastoral ministry. While teaching, Shirley’s love for research led to the publishing of two historical fiction novels. Shirley also wears another hat, penning light-hearted devotional books . The first in a series of three: I See God in the Simple Things is scheduled to release this month. Shirley’s goal is to keep her fiction as true to life as possible, and focus her devotionals on simple everyday living to encourage her readers to enjoy life to the fullest regardless of its difficulties.

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’ll be talking about my new light-hearted devotional coming out in February. It’s called I See God in the Simple Things and it’s about those things in life you and I experience every day through simple daily living. God is so wonderful the way He shows us more about ourselves simply by having us look at life as it really is. He also shows us through those basic experiences where we truly are in our walks with Him. Have you ever noticed that? It’s sad how so many of us get caught up in making things difficult for ourselves, especially during a trial. God tries to urge us back in the sweetest sort of way. We oftentimes don’t take the time to open our eyes. I See God in the Simple Things takes the reader behind the eyes of maybe a chicken, or a goat, or it might show us a word of wisdom from a child’s response to something we are doing. In the book, after each reflection, is an area for the reader to journal her own thoughts about what God has shown her that day. I think women of all ages who are ready to take a little moment out of their day with God, will be blessed and encouraged through the reading of this book. I See God in the Simple Things is the first in a three-book series I’m doing.

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

The toughest in my fiction stories is the beginning. The easiest in my fiction work is working out my characters and their dialogues. For my devotionals doing the index I guess is the most difficult or at least time consuming. I like to index the scriptures that can be used for various subject matter for my readers. The easiest? Probably coming up with the subject matter.

How do you choose your settings for each book?

For my fiction work, I like to write what I know, so it could have been someplace I have been before, or someplace I have done research on. As far as the time to go with the place, I love books written about the 1800s most of all. That, too, helps me determine where my setting might be. For my devotionals, the setting for each reflection is right where I am at the moment: in the chicken coup, out in the barn, in the garden, at my kitchen window. You name it.

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

God is first and foremost, Lynette, so I don’t even start my day without Him going before me. I find, if I don’t do that, my day never goes quite right.

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

Right now, I am working on my third fiction book, and also getting my second devotional ready for release in November. I am pretty excited about all the Lord is doing, even though my work is not yet well known to the public.

Any parting comments?

Simply a great big thank you and hug for allowing me to share about my new book. I hope you all get a chance to read it. I think you will really be encouraged by it.

Where can we find you online?

You can find me at and At A Pen for Your Thoughts I usually have a contest going on, and I’m always interviewing old and new authors, whether published or not. I love to get to know people and tell others about them. Come on by, please, and sign up to be a follower. Then you can stay up to date with what I’m doing.

Thanks so much for being here, Shirley, it was great getting to know you a little better. God Bless!

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Randy Singer, a unique opportunity - and a free book!

Hi everyone, I have just been told of a great opportunity. YOU can influence the ending of Randy Singer's next book.

If you’ve ever read a legal thriller or watched an episode of Law & Order and thought you would have rendered a different verdict—step into the jury box.

You have the unique opportunity to participate in helping determine the verdict of a court case in an upcoming legal thriller by critically-acclaimed author, Randy Singer. Here’s a bit about what Randy is doing:

Beginning January 12, readers will have an opportunity to determine the verdict in Randy’s upcoming legal thriller, The Justice Game (Tyndale House, July 2009), which features a court case centered on the gun debate. The verdict voted on by the readers will be written into the story and kept under wraps until the book’s release. This is the first time in recent memory that an author has taken reader involvement and feedback to this level.

“I wanted to do something different and get my readers really involved in the story,” said Singer. “This gives them an opportunity to hear both sides of the national gun debate and gets them thinking. Plus, it adds an element of fun to the book.”

Taking a new approach to the popular book trailer, Singer has produced a short, online video that mimics a cable news report. Featuring real-life talk show host Lorri Allen as the lead news anchor, the video shares the latest updates on the trial at the center of the book interspersed with segments of the closing arguments direct from the courtroom. At the end of the video, viewers are directed to a special section on Singer’s Web site to render their verdict.

You can access the video at:

Randy, who is a practicing veteran trial attorney as well as a teaching pastor in Virginia Beach, VA, has written seven critically-acclaimed legal thrillers. Publishers Weekly has said he, “is as enjoyable as John Grisham,” and his work has received several noteworthy reviews. His latest book, By Reason of Insanity (Tyndale), debuted in hardcover last summer and releases this month in softcover.

Tell us how you voted and why. Your name will be placed in a drawing for a copy of Randy's By Reason of Insanity. When The Justice Game becomes available, I'll come back to this post and choose another winner for a copy of that!

God Bless!