Sunday, September 30, 2007
Janna Ryan Sushi for One
Miss Bookwarm And If I Die
Kyndra And If I Die
Pattie Rietz Over Her Head
Lacy Williams The Begotten and the Betrayed
kpuleski Too Good to be True
Cherie J Fearless
Audra Marie Bygones
Laurie -- Reluctant Runaway
Congrats! And there will be more books coming. I just got a box with three copies of Amy Grant's new book Mosaic and will give those away in a couple weeks.
Saturday, September 29, 2007
Lady Isabel Ashton is back…this time with her baby in her arms until he is kidnapped in the middle of the night. Captain Kent Carlton is determined to show Isabel that he’s changed and reclaim his son. The big problem? Captain Carlton raped Isabel and is the reason she has a son and has been cast aside by her wealthy family. However, her family refuses to help her find her son, so Isabel is forced to accept Captain Carlton's help. Will her feelings for him change during their hunt for their son?
The characters are as varied as they can be on a pirate ship. And the plot is filled with twists from disgruntled pirates who want to plunder a ship to trying to avoid a Spanish fleet they sailed into. Then Isabel has to decide whether Kent is showing himself trustworthy and honorable as they search for their son. Then she’ll have to decide what she will do about that.
Kent battles against himself for her affections. In the process he is moved by her faith and the way God acts on her behalf. Could a God like that see him and care about him? The words of his father echo in head and heart to the extent that truth is hard to hear. At one point his spiritual journey seemed a bit simple – agony and then decision. But in whole, it fit well within the framework of the story.
I loved the setting details. You could feel the pitch of the ship in the seas. Sense the steam rise and soak you in the rain forest. The language of the pirates also seemed accurate – yet managed to still be readable and very enjoyable dialogue.
To view the You Tube video on the book, click here.
Friday, September 28, 2007
One of the challenges any time I walk away from a conference like ACFW that is packed with information on becoming a better writer is figuring out: what next?
Two years ago, I knew nothing. NOTHING. I drank in everything I could learn — even though it was like sipping from a fire hose — and enjoyed meeting attendees without regard for whether they were an editor, agent, published author, or brand-spanking new like me. And that relaxed attitude made the conference so enjoyable. And out of that conference God opened doors that led to my first four contracts.
Last year, at the opening general session of the conference, I received my first contract — for Canteen Dreams, the book that releases this month. Much of that conference passed in a blur. I kept waiting for someone to realize they’d given the wrong person the contract. Fortunately, Heartsong Presents stuck with me and later gave me two more contracts.
This year –wow! God exceeded my expectations all over again. He has nudged open doors that are mind-boggling. Hopefully, in the next few months I’ll be able to say more. For now, realize that He has exceeded my dreams.
This may sound strange, but God’s encouraging me to step back and dream a bit with Him. He’s throwing open doors I hadn’t even thought to ask Him to do. So now I need to sit down and dream. What does He want me writing in two weeks, two months, two years, two decades? Are my dreams big enough for what He wants to do? What stories generate a fire of passion in me that can’t be ignored? With all the possibilities, which ones fit what He is doing in me? And for me it’s hard to slow down and back away. So that’s my challenge in the coming weeks. One thing I’ve learned over the last two years — His dreams are so much bigger than mine.
Thursday, September 27, 2007
Diann Mills' latest release is When the Nile Runs Red. You can view a promotional trailer for the book here. For more about the book, here's DiAnn:
- What inspired you to write this novel?
I had previously written a nonfiction book about the Lost Boys of Sudan – Lost Boy No More. From that research, I wrote the novel When the Lion Roars, but the story would not let me go.
Through numerous interviews and extensive reading, I grew to love and admire the courageous Sudanese people and was burdened by their incredible needs. I had to bring them back in When the Nile Runs Red.
- Why Sudan?
This country went through nearly two decades of civil war strife. In 1983, the northern government launched a holy war against the south. This grew out of the views of the Islamic north against the mostly Christian black African south. The war had three aspects: religion, politics, and oil. The atrocities committed against the southern people are too many to list, but the war was fought in the south through genocide.
- How did you conduct your research?
I grabbed my backpack and sun screen and traveled to Juba, Sudan, the southern capital. There I stayed at a Christian compound and met with southern Sudanese from all walks of life: refugees, political leaders, and church leaders. I talked to as many people as I could, snapped pictures, and listened to what was being said.
- Regarding your trip to Sudan, what touched you the most?
The incredible faith. I could look into a Sudanese’s eyes and see the pain of persecution and the hope of Jesus. Here, we say we love Jesus while we live in our huge homes, drive our fancy cars, are well-fed, are not hunted down for our faith, or are concerned about medical care. The Sudanese understand that all they have and need is Jesus.
- Can you give us a brief description of your characters?
Paul Farid was once a Muslim who actively persecuted the southern people, but now he’s a Christian who flies dangerous missions into war-torn areas to deliver food and medical supplies.
Dr. Larson Kerr Farid risks her life to bring healing to the Sudanese. Just like her husband Paul, her life is often in danger. But there is a problem between her and Paul with no easy solution.
Colonel Ben Alier has been fighting and leading the southern army of Sudan for nearly two decades. Often referred to as a warlord, Ben fights his own demons.
The three are friends, an unlikely friendship forged by their love for Sudan.
- How do you build your plots?
Always out of character with two simple words: what-if? John Gardner said to create the best possible characters and allow the worst possible things to happen to them. That says it all. It’s easy to coat our darlings with easy trials and struggles, but the hard stuff, the struggles that define the character are what has to happen. I’m a huge fan of Donald Maass and wouldn’t consider writing a paragraph without using techniques found in his books Writing the Breakout Novel and Writing the Breakout Novel Workbook.
- What are you goals for this novel?
Paul Farid was once a member of the royal family who openly persecuted any Sudanese who failed to practice Islam. Now he’s a Christian who puts his life on the line to aid the persecuted Sudanese. His wife, Larson, is a doctor committed to giving her life for peace.
Colonel Ben Alier has fought for twenty-one years against the government’s mandates to control the oil, religion, slavery, and politics of Sudan. He neither trusts nor rests any hope in the newly formed government.
Ben’s health deteriorates while Larson finds out she is going to have a baby. Their worlds collide, and as the relational tensions escalate so does the physical danger.
Wednesday, September 26, 2007
From left to right: Pam Hillman (treasurer), yours truly (publicity officer), Pamela James (Vice-President), Michelle Hutchinson (Volunteer Officer), Robin Miller (President), Ane Mulligan (Zone Officer), and Pam Meyers (Secretary).
Don't forget to leave a comment so you, too, can be entered to win a copy of this book!
I picked up Sushi for One? for a light vacation read, and it did not disappoint. From the first page, I was hooked primarily because of the strong writing and fantastic characters. I could so relate to Lex Saki, the heroine.
Lex Saki’s family is big, nosy, and marriage-minded. And with one cousin’s fast-approaching wedding date and a substantial push from her Grandma, Lex suddenly finds herself on a quest she doesn’t want: she needs a boyfriend in four months. If Lex doesn’t, then her grandmother will pull funding of the girl’s volleyball team that Lex coaches. The boyfriend has to be convincing enough to make Grandma believe they are serious, while allowing Lex to maintain her freedom.
Lex is desperate to prevent the funding from being pulled. How hard can it be to find a boyfriend anyway? Forget about the pain from an old event she’s trying to avoid. Or the fact she’s trying to find a job that fulfills her. Oh, and there’s the matter of where to live.
Camy writes about a character many of us can relate to. She’s not a model, but athletic. She cares about her family, but fights being smothered by them. Then there are her strong relationships with her cousins that swing up and down until Lex begins to feel like she’s on a roller-coaster. In sum, her life is chaos. Just reading about her life made mine seem a bit more sane.
The book is a romance with chic lit trimmings. Camy tells the story in third person, so the reader gets to go inside several characters’ heads. The book has a fun, sassy attitude that even carries over to the glossary of Asian words.
Camy’s writing is also very physical and active. The characters don’t merely move. They grip another’s arm like talons. Tugged, coughed, freaked, flinched. Camy writes with strong verbs that convey exactly what the characters are doing and thinking. And often she has fresh ways of amplifying the characters’ emotions.
The romance is rife with boyfriends and prospects that are thrown at her from all sides. Her Ephesians list of traits that make a good boyfriend grows as the dates continue. And while Lex is willing to do what it takes to keep Grandma’s funding, there is only one guy who attracts her. She made a bad first, second and third impression, and his wasn't so great either. The fireworks between those two are wonderful!
I honestly didn’t know if I’d like Asian chic lit, but I have to tell you, I can’t wait to read the next book! Camy is a talented addition to the Zondervan line.
Tuesday, September 25, 2007
Camy writes romance with a kick of wasabi, and her debut novel, Sushi for One, releases this month. Eric and I read it during our vacation. It's great -- but check back tomorrow for more on that. Now to the fun part, the interview...
Camy, you're one of those hard-working writers who started at the top with Zondervan. Share a bit of your road to publication with us. How did you find your house and agent?
God really had His hand over the entire thing, because it was filled with so many chance meetings and coincidences.
I had a very Bad Book that happened to have a good marketing hook--Asian American chick lit/romance. I went to the ACFW conference in Denver in 2004, intending to pitch to Karen Ball. I'd done my homework and researched the different Christian publishers, and Zondervan was my top choice because I thought that my marketing hook would fit in with their current titles. They had some chick lit but not a lot, so I thought they might be open to my Asian chick lit.
However, Karen didn't go to that conference, and I ended up pitching to Sue Brower, who was Senior Marketing Director at the time. She heard "Asian chick lit" and was ecstatic. I sent the Bad Book to Zondervan, and it got rejected by a first reader.
However, Sue championed me in-house because she liked my marketing hook. She held on to a copy of the manuscript and eventually (over a year later) got Karen to read the Bad Book, which I'm heartily embarrassed to admit.
In the meantime, I went to another ACFW conference, this time in Nashville (notice a trend here?) and met Wendy Lawton face to face. She'd heard some other of her friends mentioning me and wanted to meet me. We hit it off right away--our personalities clicked, and we had
good communication styles. When I submitted to her, she took me on as her client right away.
In the meantime, I happened to be at the Mount Hermon Writers Clinic visiting my friend Randy Ingermanson, and met up with Karen Ball. She wanted to know who my agent was, because she saw potential in the Asian chick lit angle, and I'd won the ACFW Noble Theme contest since then, so she had hopes my writing had improved.
Karen is friends with Wendy from years of being in the publishing business together, so Karen, Sue and Wendy got their heads together. I had shelved the Bad Book, but written another manuscript, Sushi for One, as the first book in that series.
I'd written three more manuscripts since the Bad Book and crammed as much writing craft knowledge into my head as I could, so Sushi for One was EONS better than the Bad Book. Karen and Sue took Sushi for One to their pub board and it passed through.
This is why I'm such a proponent for writers conferences. It enables you to meet industry professionals and show them that you're not an ax-murderer. Also, it wasn't just my meeting with Sue, Karen, and Wendy--the reason Wendy sought me out is because other people had been talking to her about me. You never know how your contacts and friends at conferences can work in your favor later.
Asian chick lit -- I think you're a trailblazer in that area. And while it is Asian chick lit, I found the story intriguing. I couldn't walk away from Lex. Did you work hard to make the book appeal to a broad audience or did it happen naturally?
I actually put a lot of deliberation in this manuscript. I read a lot of chick lit, both in the CBA and ABA, and most chick lit is written in first person point of view.
I like first person POV--it's fun and immediate. However, not everyone likes reading first person--many romance readers won't read romantic chick lit because of the first person POV.
While chick lit has many fans, romance is the foremost seller in both CBA and ABA. And I love romance--90% of my reading is romance. My books had that chick lit bite to the characters and storyline, but they were all essentially romances.
So when I wrote Sushi for One, I very deliberately wrote it in third person to appeal to three different reader demographics. 1) I wanted to appeal to romance readers, especially those who didn't like first person POV. 2) I wanted to appeal to chick lit, so I didn't market it to my editor as a romance, I said it was a chick lit. 3) While I like romance, I like how chick lit and women's fiction is ALL ABOUT THE GIRL, so I deliberately wrote Sushi for One with the heroine's story
arc like in a women's fiction novel.
I don't mind writing in third person, although I'd like to write in first person eventually. I'd done a lot of research on how to write deep third person POV, so I knew that a story written in good third person POV could be as immediate and emotional as a story written in first person.
So while Sushi for One was a creative process, the planning stages were very deliberate in terms of marketing and readership. I think that all writers need to think about their brands and reader
demographics as they write more and more manuscripts, and try to plan their stories around as broad a reader demographic as they can.
Lex has some hard issues to deal with. One of those you bring up is reverse discrimination. Why did you think that was important to include in the book?
I touched on it in the novel because it's real life. Just as not all Caucasian people are the same in their views and opinions, Asians aren't all the same. We all struggle with our own issues of race and identity. Even readers who aren't Asian will relate to some of Lex's struggles and issues.
Aiden is a man with issues of his own. Yet his soft touch with Lex was amazing. What aspect of his character did you find hardest to write.
Aiden is a bit like me in that he likes being able to control the things around him. He doesn't freak out like I do when he can't control things, but he still likes that sense of order and control.
The fact that he can't control things--that God is the only one who can--is an issue I deal with all the time. His scenes were difficult at times because they too closely mirrored my own questions and frustrations.
What do you hope readers glean from this fun story?
Entertainment! I wrote Sushi for One as a fun, flirty, fluffy book, a fast-paced, entertaining ride. I wrote the entire Sushi Series with the family and cultural issues of an Amy Tan book, but with the humor and romance of Bridget Jones.
This is the first book in a series. What's next?
Only Uni is Trish's story, and it comes out in February 2008. Then Venus's story is Single Sashimi, scheduled for release in the Fall of 2008.
In the meantime, I'm also a big proponent of Christian fiction, and I'm running a huge website contest giving away three baskets of books and an iPod Nano! Only my newsletter YahooGroup subscribers are eligible to enter, so join today: http://groups.yahoo.com/Camys_Loft/join
Thanks for the opportunity to be here with you, Cara!
Thanks for joining me. And Guys, run out and join her yahoo group. It's a fantastic contest! And then buy the book. You won't be disappointed. Also leave a comment and you'll be entered in the contest for a copy of this fabulous book!
Monday, September 24, 2007
Each ACFW conference I've attended has had an unique flavor. In Nashville, I was the newbie soaking in every detail and technique I could. In Dallas 1, I received my first contract and spent the rest of the conference waiting for everyone to figure out a huge mistake had been made. This year, at Dallas 2, I was in a new position. This time I had four contracts, but no books out yet. I still have tons to learn, and my goal was to introduce myself to a couple editors to learn more about their houses' needs and get permission to have my agent submit a proposal when I finally complete it.
God blew me away. There is huge potential coming out of this conference. So big that I am humbled -- trusting God knows what He is doing. Trying to hang on for all I am worth.
And He has challenged me to step back and take time in the next two weeks -- while I wait for my agent to return -- to dream with Him. God has blown past my original dream of writing a book that somebody would read. Now I need to discover His next dream for me.
You see, I don't want to step one centimeter outside of His will. I want to run with Him into whatever the future holds. Even when I feel unworthy and unprepared. I think He's trying to get me to realize those are the best spots to be. Then I have no choice but to rely on Him. How cool is that!
I LOVED seeing people and meeting others I feel like I know even though until this weekend it was a cyber-friendship. And soaking in all the teaching and ideas was incredible. James Scott Bell, our keynoter, challenged me in ways he'll never know. But at the core of it, this weekend was about God telling me to dream bigger than I've dared. When was the last time you dared to dream? And not just dream, but the kind of dreams that almost seem presumptuous to think? I truly believe we don't ask God for enough. He wants to do so much in our lives, but we are often content to ask for a crumb of cake when he wants to give us the entire bakery.
If you're still reading, please pray that God would flood me with wisdom and creativity like I've never experienced. Thank you!
3rd place: Jennifer Hudson Taylor, By His Plan
2nd place: Jennifer Lynn Cary, On The Court
1st place: Audra Harders, Rough Ride
3rd place: Audra Harders, Precious Possessions
2nd place: Jennifer Hudson Taylor, Promised Blessings
1st place: Pam Hillman, Stealing Jake's Heart
3rd place: Suzan Robertson, The Circle Game
2nd place: Dineen Miller, Manna Reign
1st place: Marci J. Burke, Shadow of Doubt
3rd place: Rebecca Grabill, Out of Darkness
2nd place: Chris Mikesell, Revival
1st place: Sally A. Apokedak, The Kisses of an Enemy
3rd place: Marcia Gruver, Love Never Fails AND Yvonne Anderson, Mom's Mirror
2nd place: Tina Helmuth, Hidden Snares
1st place: Carla Stewart, A Dandelion Day
3rd place: Sally Apokedak, Prisoners of the Throne
2nd place: Linda Fulkerson, The Rod of Schmazel
1st place: Rachael Phillips, Song of the Orphan Train
3rd place: Myra Johnson, Pearl of Great Price
2nd place: Angie Poole, Gravehopping With Myrna
1st place: Jennifer Griffith, Gumbo Ya Ya
3rd place: Kathleen Sprout, The Choice
2nd place: Ane Mulligan, When the Wind Blows
1st place: Kristine Pratt, Identity Theft
3rd place: Janet Rubin, Beneath the Steeple
2nd place: Gina Holmes, Deception Burning
1st place: Jane Robertson, Curst Be the Tie
3rd place: Jenness Walker and Tracy Bowen, Bliss
2nd place: Georgiana Daniels, Honey Do Inc.
1st place: Carrie Padgett, Oh Shop It
Thank you again to all the entrants and judges who helped make the Genesis contest a success!
Considering that Paul talks a lot about spiritual gifts in his letters to the Corinthians, Lisa gave her characters all the unique and powerful spiritual gifts he mentioned in the Scriptures—healing, prophecy, wisdom, faith, miraculous powers—and placed them in perilous times, the 14th century, pre-Reformation, pre-Renaissance. The Gifted are hunted both by the Church, who seeks to control them, and forces of evil, who wish to kill them. All in all, Lisa hopes it makes for a classic Good vs. Evil read—with inspiration and application for us in the 21st century.
Eric and I have thoroughly enjoyed these books. He inhaled both, caught up in the richness of the story. I was captured by the idea from the prologue. What was contained in the Paul's letters to the Corinthians that is referenced? What if that letter contained a prophecy that began to be fulfilled in 1339? What if the prophecy foretold a group of people who would walk in the gifts Paul outlined in First Corinthians? And what if that small group went head to head against incredible forces of darkness.
Lisa writes against a Medievial backdrop that is incredibly well-researched. I felt like I'd stepped back in time in the way the characters acted, what they ate, how they spoke, where they lived. The concerns of the time form a key backdrop for the story.
And the areas of the spiritual plot where people could disagree are handled very well. She weaves a story of what could be. And the display of how each of the gifts could be exercised and how they work together is masterfully woven.
If you like sweeping stories told against the backdrop of lore and legend, I think you will thoroughly enjoy this one, too. The Begotten and The Betrayed will be featured in Target stores September 4th on the Breakout Books display.
A final note: The Begotten was a finalist for this year’s Christy Award, one of three finalists for the Best Suspense of the Year award. Also, leave a comment to be entered to win a copy of the books!
Friday, September 21, 2007
Here are Allison Wilson, our wonderful conference assistant, and Sydney Zech, the conference coordinator. Without Allison and Sydney, there wouldn't be a conference.
Here's a bag from last year, being used at the hotel. And a group of volunteers helping set up the bookstore. Cara Putman, Camy Tang, Stuart Stockton and Tiff Stockton.
The wonderful advisory board: Brandilyn Collins, Rachel Hauck, Gail Martin, Randy Ingermanson, Deb Raney, and Colleen Coble. And then Deb Raney, Tamera Alexander, and Brandilyn Collins.
James Scott Bell, Robin, Cara, and Margie Lawson Friday in the presidential suite. Mama Ruth and Brandilyn.
Last photos... for now :-)
Then, over 100 writers came in for the general early bird session with Margie Lawson. Her Creating Character Emotion was packed with published and unpublished authors who left with all kinds of tools, tips, and ideas for kicking their writing up another level.
At 3:30, the opening session started with worship. If you haven't experienced it, just know that I would come for the worship alone. It is such a time to pull away and focus on God and His heart. That was followed by a crazy skit that introduced the operating board and advisory board. The actors nailed us! And had the audience laughing at their portrayals.
After a quick break, we launched into the agent and editor panels. New this year, look for video bites from them on the website. We'll update you as they are posted. The agents and editors are clamoring for stories that will move them. That are well written. And that have passion in them.
Then we had a sit-down dinner followed by James Scott Bell's opening keynote. He challenged us to 1) write books that are about something, 2) write from our passion, and 3) know our craft. The world is in need of authors who are writing about the reality of our world, but with that reality filtered through our passions. Think of the fellowship of the burning hearts. Our hearts should so burn with the passion that God has planted in each of us that it overflows into our writing.
The late night chats tonight were hosted by the different houses and agents. There's so much going on!
Wednesday, September 19, 2007
As earthquakes, fire, disease, and floods pummel the earth, its citizens watch in horror. But in the darkness there is hope – an anonymous but powerful hero the public calls “Guardian” emerges from the wreckage. He is one of the chosen few who walk the earth with extraordinary powers, determined to uncover the secret behind the world-shattering disasters. But signs of an ancient prophecy coming true push the world even further to the brink.
Fearless is the second installment in the three-part Dominion trilogy. The author describes Fearless as chapter two of three, and I agree. All the characters and plotlines from Relentless continue here, but don’t end. The story builds to a crescendo and left me wanting more.
Fearless focuses on the story of Grant Borrows and his team of Loci. Each of these individuals have unique powers or abilities. Grant can move things just by thinking the action, Lexi can sense people’s emotions and change them, Hector can heal people from injuries but not illnesses with a touch, Fletcher processes information three times faster than the average human, and there are many more. The connecting symbol of these “superheroes” is that they each have been shifted and have a ring.
While this book is filled with heroic moments, it also contains glimpses into the superheroes fears and backgrounds. They aren’t cardboard cut-outs who perform stunts and then leave for the next grand adventure. Instead, you see the effects of everything they are doing. And the point of view could best be described as omniscient; it’s the rare chapter that stays in one character’s perspective for the whole chapter. Instead, you often get a view of the situation from a couple people without clear breaks. Yet, unlike many books, it didn’t distract me, but worked well to keep me connected with multiple characters and keep the action moving.
The pacing in this book is quick. I read it in less than a day, while doing things other than read. The chapters are quick reads, teasing you into just one more. Because this is an action/fantasy/thriller, the plot races with quick points to collect your breath before hurtling into the next danger.
I’m not a huge comic book hero fan. I fully expect my husband to love this book, but I wasn’t sure what I would think. I haven’t seen Fantastic Four, dreaded going to Transformers, and find parts of the Spiderman movies too … fantastic for me (though I’ve ultimately enjoyed all three). So I really didn’t know what I would think of Fearless. Could I enjoy it even if it moved outside reality with its superhero themes? Would I make it past page 40 enjoying the ride? Would I care about the characters and what happened to them?
The answers to these questions was a resounding yes. Even though I have not read Relentless, the first act, and felt at a slight disadvantage at times in the book, I thoroughly enjoyed the book. The prophecy subplot had tones of the Da Vinci Code – only much better written. All the elements of a great thriller are in place: characters you root for, crisis of epic proportions that require larger than life answers, and questions that keep the pages turning late into the night.
Because Fearless builds on Relentless, without taking the time to explain how, my one regret is not reading Relentless first. I’m headed to the bookstore to get that book this week.
Tuesday, September 18, 2007
First, it’s the only conference that focuses exclusively on fiction. Since that's what I write, it's a good place to be.
Second, at it’s opening session last year, I received my very first book contract. I will never forget that experience. And can't wait to watch someone else get that blessing this year.
Third, God has used the people in ACFW to train me to be a writer. I’d read a ton before joining. I’d even read craft books on how to write. But it was in ACFW that I learned what terms of art like POV (point of view) meant. I still remember going to my first state meeting and wondering at the strange terms I kept hearing. It was like another language.
Fourth, I’m excited to get to serve. This will be my first conference as a national board member. Plus, I will serve as a workshop hostess again and work a shift in the bookstore.
Fifth, I actually get to teach a bit at this conference. I love to teach, so am THRILLED to get to share some of what I’ve learned. One of the times is on a panel with several of my writing buds, so it should be fun.
So if you don't hear a lot from me this week...you know why. And if you're interested in following what's happening at the conference, check out the ACFW Conference blog.
So to share my joy, I'm launching my give away books spree. I've got some great ones, but today, I'm starting with copies of John Aubrey Anderson's third installment in the Black and White Chronicles And If I Die. I can't wait to read this one, because my husband loved this series! He said it has the best integrated spiritual thread in any series that he's read. And those of you who know Eric know he is at least as discriminating in his book taste as I am. To learn more about the book, click here.
Leave a comment to be entered in the contest!
Monday, September 17, 2007
In The Seeing, 15 year old Luke Kauffmann takes center stage. He’s finally talked his dad into 6 weeks in the desert helping Pastor Virgil and Fiona with repairs to their church. However, as the days tick by he doesn’t spend any time with a hammer in his hand. Instead, he meets Misty, a young woman who is a technology whiz. She tweaks with his goggles until the vague spiritual forms he can see come into tighter focus.
At the same time the community’s churches are torn about the way to rid their town of the casino. Travis Lawton wants to take action through pickets and referendums. Virgil believes it’s solely an area for spiritual warfare. All the others fall along the spectrum, often based on denominational lines, and the disunity paralyzes the church.
This book has a complex, layered plot that races to a countdown with enough action that I read it in basically one sitting. The Seeing joins the growing list of books that focus on elements of spiritual warfare that reaches back to This Present Darkness and The Screwtape Letters, yet is unique in what its approach to seeing the spiritual realm. The spiritual elements intersect seamlessly with the overarching plot.
Luke shows the range of emotions a 15 year old would when given a power that noone else has. Flashes of fear and confusion are replaced with pride at what he can do. He and Misty stumble their way into the basics of spiritual warfare, backed up by Virgil and Fiona. When he was knocked flat by his experiences, life didn’t return to normal in a flash. Instead, it was a realistic portrayal of restoration.
Good vs. evil played out in the physical as well as the spiritual worlds through the casino. Misty’s mom is the tribal representative at the casino and plays a prominent role as she bridges cultures and generations. During the course of the story she had to reach deep within, and push beyond the past. I could see elements of me and many other moms in her struggle to balance the needs of employers and family, the past and the present.
The Seeing is the third installment in Bill Myers Soul Tracker Series, yet stands completely on its own. If you enjoy suspense with strong overtones of the spiritual realm, you will enjoy this book.
Friday, September 14, 2007
Alex is thrown into a tailspin when Josh Turner waltzes back into town. Normally, the entry of a new eligible bachelor in town wouldn’t bother this workaholic who keeps men at arms length. But this particular bachelor is eligible only because he left her 16 years earlier, one year into their marriage. Throw in her sister’s wedding and her father’s weird behavior, and Alex’s life is turned upside down.
This is the first book of Linda Windsor’s that I’ve read, but it won’t be the last. She writes with a sensitivity that allowed me, as a reader, to fully engage with the characters and see both Alex and Josh’s perspectives. And there are huge hurdles in this romance. Much more than the fact that he left her with only a note 16 years ago.
While the old sparks and attraction are still there, Alex isn’t willing to jump into his arms and repeat the mistakes of the past. And the characterization fully supports her reactions.
The setting is the fun Maryland Eastern Shore which Linda writes well. I could practically see the community and the real ones that surround it. There is also a full cast of supporting characters who add to the book’s warmth and layering. And I have a feeling her girlfriends will find themselves in leading roles in future books.
The inaugural contemporary book from Avon Inspire, this book is a very enjoyable romance.
Thursday, September 13, 2007
Barbour was an absolute dream to work with on getting this cover. They sent me one option. I made a suggestion. They sent me THREE revised cover options. I made another suggestion. And now I have a cover that I absolutely love!
Final galleys are in and to the printer. Last step: finished book. I can't wait to hold the first copy in my hands!
Here's the blurb: In the aftermath of Pearl Harbor, Audrey Stone wants to help in the war effort. But what's a young schoolteacher from Nebraska to do? When her community starts a canteen at the train station, Audrey finds her place. Willard Johnson worries about his brother who joined the navy to get off the ranch and see the world. Will his budding relationship with Audrey survive in the pressures of war? Can two such determined people find their place in the war and with each other?
Wednesday, September 12, 2007
Now you have to understand something about me. I am incredibly cheap. I HATE to spend money on things like furniture. So I will hunt for ages to find just the thing. And once I do, the checkbook flies open before the treasure disappears. Couches...everybody sees so a bit easier to spend money on. But a chair that only I will use. A desk that only I will use. Ugh. Hate it.
Another reason I hate it is chairs aren't designed for small women like me. Usually something doesn't fit. The back rest is too high. The arms don't move. The seat part is too long. I kind of feel like Goldilocks. Well, after literally years of searching and grousing, I found the right chair at a price I was willing to pay last week.
I've also found the desk set that I love and had a dear friend who's a professional organizer come over and make sure what I wanted would fit in our office and that it would work with my needs. I like to be organized, really I do. But for the last year since I've been writing in a focused way, you would never be able to tell by looking at my writing surface. It was an explosion of books and paper with my laptop peeking off the top.
Anyway, I ordered all this furniture from Office Depot .com last week -- delivery September 21. Perfect! It would be waiting when I get back from ACFW Conference and I could spend that next week getting organized.
Um, yesterday I got a call. You know, the kind that says we'll be there in an hour to deliver. I said no, I'm teaching at Purdue this morning. So I fly home from teaching at two, and start frantically moving boxes out of the closet, clearing off a huge bookshelf, pulling that into the now empty space in the closet. And out the window go my plans of careful purging and using this opportunity to cut back some of our stuff as we clean and rearrange.
The boxes get delivered and the bottom one is damaged. Sigh. So last night after Eric got home I called Office Depot and let them know. No problem, we'll get a replacement out. Fantastic. Then Eric opens the box for the lateral file, the piece I really want to start with so I can empty the laundry baskets I cleared my desk into. Yep, a broken piece. So I call Office Depot again while Eric examines the other two boxes of wood pieces. Fortunately, they're fine and Office Depot promises to send out a replacement. I feel kind of bad, because in both cases, one or two pieces are all that need to be replaced, but that's not how they work.
So we put together the desk while watching Ultimate Gift last night. FANTASTIC movie by the way. WATCH IT!!!!!
I'll post photos when I get all the other furniture and we get it put together. But let's just say I'm thrilled to have a desk that finally fits with a chair that is comfy.
Just when she thinks things can’t get worse, she meets her new boss, starts taking calls from her crazy ex-boss, and has to hide a huge secret from her best friends. The kind of secret that could help her best friend.
The stabilizing factor in Libby’s life is an aunt who lives thousands of miles away in Eastern Europe. Via email, her aunt directs her to a book by Brother Lawrence. The principles in that book begin to give Libby guidance as she seeks a balance and happiness.
The book was an enjoyable vacation read. Libby reacts in believable ways to the situations life throws at her. If you’re looking for a fun read, try this one out.
Tuesday, September 11, 2007
Then we have to take the dreaded, feared bar exam. Huge intake of breath.
The bar exam is HORRIBLE. I am licensed in two states: Virginia and Indiana. At the time I took the Virginia exam there were 20 some topics that could be on the 1 day state portion of the exam. Only six essays, but you had to know 20 some topics. Can we all say gamble. Fortunately, my study group guessed right.
In Indiana there was a more manageable 12 or 14 topics for the one day state portion of the exam. And fortunately much of it wasn’t that different from the Virginia exam.
Then there’s the one day multi-state. Could you see me shudder. It is a full day, multiple choice test that covers 6 (!) topics. I had to take that sucker twice in 18 months. There should be a special award somewhere for doing that. Ugh! I want to say it’s 100 questions. However many it is, it’s horrible.
Do you get the sense attorneys don’t like the bar exam? It has nothing to do with real life. Nothing. Since when does an attorney not take the time to grab the code or do research when presented with a client question?
But every state has a bar exam. And if an attorney moves, they will either have to be waived in or take the new state’s bar exam. Can you sense the plot twist here?
In the legal thriller I’m working on, I had to deal with this very issue, because my heroine flees from one state to another. To make it real, I can’t have her practice in Indiana on her Virginia license.
So if you’re attorney character is recently out of law school, likely the words bar exam will send them into all manner of twitches. And it is an experience common to all attorneys. We’ve all had to take it at some time. We can all trade war stories about it. Part of that common experience.
Sidenote: a handful of states do allow you to sit for the bar exam without going to law school. These folks read the law like Abraham Lincoln and others did. Those states include Vermont and Virginia. Still not the safest way to do it since other states may not recognize that if you try to take their bar.
Monday, September 10, 2007
Also, can you believe the Cornhuskers are in 14th place in the USAToday and AP college football polls? Gosh, it's nice to be solidly back in the top 25. Even if this week's game was a bit of a squeaker against Wake Forest. Purdue has won it's first two football games running away. 50 something to 6. Eric and the kids got to go yesterday. Jonathan told me this morning it was AWESOME. :-) Raise up children in the way they should go....
And what about them Colts?!?! What a great game on Thursday!!!! They sure look like they are back in Super Bowl Champion form. I have to say though, that what I am enjoying most about watching the Colts games right now is how in each game almost an entire segment is dedicated to Coach Dungy's book and his faith. Isn't God good!
Saturday, September 08, 2007
- Vasthi Reyes Acosta
- Tamera Alexander
- Bill Andrews
- James Scott Bell
- Steve Bonenberger
- Molly Noble Bull
- Julie Carobini
- Jeanne Smith Cash
- Debbie Clopton
- Colleen Coble
- Brandilyn Collins
- Mary Connealy
- Katie Cushman
- Margaret Daley
- Mary Davis
- Susan Page Davis
- Mary DeMuth
- Brandt Dodson
- Lena Nelson Dooley
- Wanda Dyson
- Meredith Efken
- Linda Fulkerson
- Deeanne Gist
- Debby Giusti
- Sandra Glahn
- Louise M. Gouge
- Tricia Goyer
- Robin Jones Gunn
- Cathy Marie Hake
- Kelly Eileen Hake
- Lisa Harris
- Anita Higman
- Sharon Hinck
- Kathy Ide
- Nancy Jo Jenkins
- Jenny B. Jones
- Kathleen E. Kovach
- Maureen Lang
- Tosca Lee
- Sharlene MacLaren
- Gail Gaymer Martin
- Zoe McCarthy
- Vickie McDonough
- Marion McNair
- Susan Meissner
- DiAnn Mills
- Ruth Axtell Morten
- Jill Elizabeth Nelson
- John B. Olson Jr.
- Trish Perry
- Katy Pistole
- Deborah Raney
- Martha Rogers
- Gayle Roper
- Cynthia Ruchti
- Gail Sattler
- Kim Vogel Sawyer
- Virginia Smith
- Lynette Sowell
- Sarah Anne Sumpolec
- Camy Tang
- Donn E. Taylor
- Janice A. Thompson
- Carrie Turansky
- Susan Wales
- Amy Wallace
- Susan May Warren
- Elizabeth White
- Merrillee Whren
- Linda Windsor
- Cindy Woodsmall
- Lenora Worth
- Kathleen Miller Y’Barbo
- Nicole Young
Friday, September 07, 2007
1. A Big Apple Christmas by Vasthi Reyes Acosta, Gail Sattler, Lynette Sowell, and Carrie Turnasky from Barbour. A contemporary collection of four novellas that captures the sights and sounds of Christmas in New York City.
2. A Mommy In Mind, A Tiny Blessings Tale, Book 3 of 6 by Arlene James, from Steeple Hill Love Inspired. A single woman trying to adopt an infant eventually realizes that the attorney behind a nightmarish custody suit is God's chosen mate for her.
3. A Shadow of Treason, 2nd book in The Chronicles of the Spanish Civil War series by Tricia Goyer from Moody Publishers. Sophie must leave behind the man she loves and return to the person who betrayed her. Another layer of war in Spain is revealed and nothing is as it seems.
4. A Texas Legacy Christmas, Texas Legacy series Book 4 by DiAnn Mills from Barbour Publishing. Snuggle down between the covers of A Texas Christmas Legacy, where the miracle of love and life awaits you on every page.
5. Boo Humbug, The Boo Series by Rene Gutteridge from WaterBrook Press. The zany characters of Skary return in this Christmas novella.
6. Finding Marie sequel to Frasier Island by Susan Page Davis from Harvest House. Marie Belanger witnesses a murder and runs for her life not knowing why, eluding her pursuers so well it’s nearly impossible for her husband Pierre to
7. Long Trail to Love 2nd in the Vermont Contemporary series by Pamela Griffin from Heartsong Presents. Carly loses her boyfriend, her job, and the town’s respect in one crazy moment while out-of-towner Nate suffers a similar fate, but when they become “team mates” during a hike into Canada, the trek doesn’t allow for a smooth climb – in more ways than one!
8. Mason's Link by Bill Andrews from Xulon Press, recounts he fictional discovery of a link used to communicate with a departed loved one, considered by Heavenly powers to be the most important event since the Resurrection.
9. Montana Mistletoe by Lena Nelson Dooley, Lisa Harris, Debby Mayne, and Kim Vogel Sawyer from Barbour Publishing. Four friends make a pact to marry by their twenty-eighth Christmas, but as the deadline looms, careers and experiences threaten to douse their Christmas spirit — and their chances for romance.
10. Shadow of Danger by Jeanne Marie Leach from Mountain View Publishing. Sent away from home because of an undisclosed danger, a woman locates
an old friend to help, but will she find love or will the danger get her first?
11. Sushi For One? by Camy Tang from Zondervan. Will Lex Sakai be able to surrender her "perfect man" list and give Mr. All Wrong a chance?
12. The Restorer’s Son by Sharon Hinck from NavPress. A new, reluctant Restorer is asked to sacrifice for his people—if he can find a way to yield to the One.
13. When the Morning Comes by Cindy Woodsmall from WaterBrook Press. Wounded by her family, doubted by her fiance, Hannah Lapp plunges into life outside her Old Order Amish community.
14. When the Nile Runs Red by DiAnn Mills from Moody. An Arab Christian dedicated to helping the Southern Sudanese is hunted by his Muslim brothers.
Thursday, September 06, 2007
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Camy Tang is a member of CFBA and is a loud Asian chick who writes loud Asian chick-lit. She grew up in Hawaii, but now lives in San Jose, California, with her engineer husband and rambunctious poi-dog. In a previous life she was a biologist researcher, but these days she is surgically attached to her computer, writing full-time. In her spare time, she is a staff worker for her church youth group, and she leads one of the worship teams for Sunday service.
Sushi for One? (Sushi Series, Book One is her first novel. Her second, Only Uni (Sushi Series, Book Two) comes out in February 2008!
To celebrate the launch of her debut novel, she's got a huge contest going on. Camy is giving away baskets of Christian novels and an iPod Nano! Only her newsletter YahooGroup subscribers are eligible to enter, so join today.
For more information about the contest, visit her website.
Contest ends October 31, 2007!
ABOUT THE BOOK:
Lex Sakai’s family, big, nosy, and marriage-minded, is ruled by a crafty grandmother. When her cousin Mariko gets married, Lex will become the OLDEST SINGLE COUSIN in the clan, a loathed position by all single female family members.
Lex has not dated for years.
Grandma homes in on this fact and demands, bribes, and threatens Lex to bring a boyfriend (not just a date) to her cousin’s wedding.
Lex does not want to date ... not since that terrible incident a few years back ... but, Grandma doesn't give her that choice.
Lex's options are slim because she has used her Bible study class on Ephesians to compile a huge list of traits for the PERFECT man (and the more she dates, the more she adds to the list).
The one man she keeps running into (and is completely attracted to) doesn’t seem to have a single quality on her list. It’s only when the always-in-control Lex loses control and lets God take over that all the pieces of this hilarious romance finally fall into place.
Wednesday, September 05, 2007
Your character did not wave a magic wand and become an attorney. She didn’t sing abracadabra either.
Instead, your character who is now an attorney, spent at least four years in an undergraduate program and then went to law school. If they went to law school as a day student, then three years of hard work later, they’ve got their diploma. If they went to law school at night, like I did, then they worked and went to school for four years to earn that diploma.
During law school your character competed for grades (the best jobs and plumb assignments go to those with top grades). They competed for positions on law review, other scholarly journals, moot court, inn of court, and on it goes. Then there’s the summer clerk positions. The brightest minds go to the best firms. And then there’s the all powerful judicial clerkships.
One of my best friends from law school basically graduated at the top of the class. She clerked for a circuit court of appeals judge. I graduated with honors, but not at the top, and clerked for a federal special court judge – think district court level. Others behind me, clerked for state judges, and those too much further back didn’t get the opportunity to clerk at all.
That’s why so many people come out of law school with competition bred into them. Let’s face it, you probably don’t go to law school unless you want to be or think you are one of the best. Then the process of law school burns that into your psyche.
The school you go to also makes a huge difference. I went to George Mason University School of Law, a young program. Our first US Supreme Court Clerk just happened in the last couple years. Harvard, Yale, and Georgetown have done that for centuries.
So if one of your characters is an attorney, you’ll need to know some of their backstory. Did they got to a top school, earn top grades and get their pick of jobs? Or did they got a midline school, barely graduate and have to scrape for every court appointment they get?
The answer to those questions will dramatically impact who your character is and how they behave.
Tuesday, September 04, 2007
I hate to do this -- but I guess it's part of publicity...The ACFW bookclub is voting on whether Canteen Dreams will be one of the books they read this fall. The selected book will be read in November and then there will be an on-line chat with yours truly. The bookclub is free. Would you consider joining -- if for no other reason than to vote for my book? Right now I'm leading the poll. Woohoo! But only 18 out of 550+ members have voted :-) The other authors who are up for consideration are all very good writers with lots of books to their names. I just think it would be a hoot to win.
If you choose to join and vote for me, thanks! It's easy to join. Just send a blank e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org Membership is free. And if you're already a member, I'd appreciate that vote, too.
My good friend Robin Miller's first book is up for consideration in the Love Inspired category. Thanks!
Monday, September 03, 2007
Our escape to North Carolina was amazing.
I’ve always been more of a mountain girl than beach girl. It probably has something to do with growing up in Nebraska rather than Florida. Either way, while the beach is nice, give me a mountain. I can’t be near them without being literally surrounded by evidence of God.
We have spent days hiking to waterfalls, playing in swimming holes, sliding down rocks into pools, going horseback riding, etc. Building memories. The kind that our kids will pull out for years to come.
Some of my favorites are watching Jonathan overcome his fear of that huge horse and let me put him on its back – alone. He was so excited about being the lead horse, that before long he was holding on with a nonchalance that made me think he was going to fall asleep. His little legs barely stretched across the back of the horse’s back – too cute. Abigail really enjoyed the ride, too. And it was great to be back on a horse again. It’s been a long time.
Then there’s the two hours that we spent at Little Sliding Rock. It was a blast, but I am so GLAD that Amy Green had warned me the day before to wear shorts over my swimsuit. I literally wore a hole in the seat of those shorts. We all had so much fun sliding up and down, over and over, in the freezing water. We literally had to pull the kids away.
That’s what this vacation was for. After the insane pace of our summer, we needed the chance to reconnect. To play card games as a family. To hike together and see amazing vistas. To window shop because we couldn’t quite get to town in time before the stores closed – there were way too many thing to see.
And I think we will make vacations like this a regular part of our rotation. Even if the cicadas are so loud at night I can hardly think.
So what does your family do to reconnect after a hectic season?