Reflections In Hindsight

Grace in the Rearview Mirror…it's closer than it appears

  • Ephesians 4:29

    Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen. (NIV)

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  • RSS April’s Blog: A Writer’s Journey

    • Celebrating the Church Year
      by guest author, Jessica SnellThe Lord is always with us. We are never out of His presence, never hidden from His eyes.But it’s hard for us to remember that.Where He is omniscient, and never sleeps, never slumbers, we are distracted and busy and fallible. Though He is always mindful of us, it is hard for us to keep our thoughts constantly turned towards Him. […]
      noreply@blogger.com (April Gardner)
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    • Featuring Critical Condition by Richard L. Mabry (Doc)
      Back Cover Blurb:It was supposed to be a quiet dinner party with her colleagues. Not the scene of a murder.But the murder of a stranger on her front lawn is only the first in a string of events that have Dr. Shannon Frasier’s life teetering on the edge of chaos: She’s unable to make the deeper commitment her boyfriend deserves. Her sister shows up at Shannon […]
    • An Interview With Texas Author Richard L. Mabry
      Welcome Doc Mabry, we are so thrilled to have you here with us today. I hope you don't mind that I used a photo of your book signing with a different book. I felt our readers need to know you have published many books.And now we want to know more about your novel Critical Condition. What can you tell us about the story behind this book? Most of my books […]
    • Interviewing Christian Author V.B. Tenery
      Welcome to the Barn Door Book Loft, Virginia. We are glad to have you here with us today.Question: Is there a story behind your book Works of Darkness?I wanted this story to show the consequences of not taking responsibility for ones actions, and the consequence of failing to do so. Question: What started you on your writing journey? I’ve always been an avid […]
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    • Permanent Resident at the Purse Table, a COTT Feature
      “Keisha’s debut novel is a sweet reminder of the redeeming power of love, along with a dose of drama between good friends! Her characters are so relatable because they’re imperfect people who’ve made some serious mistakes—just like the rest of us!”-Michelle Stimpson,nNational Bestselling AuthorAbout the book:If you’re size six, you dance. If you’re Ava Alexa […]
    • Escape to Ireland in "Londonderry Dreaming"
       "If you need one of those “Ahh…” moments, consider taking a trip with Keith and Naomi and read Londonderry Dreaming"--Sandy Ardoin, Romance Author and BloggerAbout Londonderry Dreaming:Acclaimed New York artist, Naomi Boyd, and music therapist, Keith Wilson, loved one another five years ago, until her grandfather with his influence over Naomi sepa […]
    • Worth the Wait--A Win Worth Waiting for!
      All the best things in life are worth striving for,such as Christmas, babies, and winning at Clash of the Titles! Our latest winner is a YA novel that, according to one of our voters, is the "perfect high school drama." The readers have spoken!Hats off to you, Laura, for your smashing win!To celebrate Worth the Wait's win, the e-book will be o […]
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    • Seeing The Life - Chapters 1-2
      I'm working fast and furious on my next book, Seeing The Life. My goal is to have it finished by the 15th and the release date is June 7. I truly feel God's hand in this work more than any other. The life of Jesus is well known and studied by, hopefully, all Christians. It places a huge burden on me to make sure things are correct not only in his l […]
    • Help!! I'm Being Buried 
      I've done it again. My email inboxes are overflowing. In my personal email there are 658 emails with 441 unread. In my Soph [...]
    • RETREAT!!!!!!!!
      I'm going on a quilt retreat on Wednesday the 19th until Sunday. For a number of years I was a professional quilter. I'm not now but I still love sewing. I don't do a lot of quilting anymore. I just made one for my granddaughter which I will bind at the retreat. It's the quilt Katie made for Joel's birthday in Giving Love. I'm w […]
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    • Fun new cozy by Susan Bernhardt
      The Ginseng ConspiracyBy Susan BernhardtEbook 5.95MuseItUp PublishingJanuary 2014  Amazon Barnes and Noble MuseItUp About the Book:On her way to attend a Halloween Ball, Kay Driscoll, a newcomer to town, witnesses the murder of a local professor. When the official coroner's report rules the cause of death to be accidental and the community accepts the j […]
    • Women's Expo starts next week April 17!
      Thursday, April 17, 2014, time 1-4 PM CT location www.BibleStudyExpo.comHere's a taste of what you can expect:1 PM CT - Lisa Bevere starts off our Expo with the story behind her book Girls with Swords: How to Carry Your Cross Like a Hero  1:15 CT - Dr. Jackie Roese will share the story behind Inhabit: A Study on the Holy Spirit. 1:30 CT - Kathy Howard w […]
    • Authors in Bloom - fun stuff, giveaways, tips, eReader prize drawing
      10 Days of Giveaways - Gardening Tips – Recipes - and more!Plus a GRAND PRIZE* you’ll be digging to win!What will be given away? Everything from books to swag, promotional products and more! The grand prize is a Kindle or Nook (a $200 value) and a $25 gift card worth of ebooks!!! (Winner’s choice which ereader and ebook retailer gift card.) A second prize of […]
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    • BOOK REVIEW: GOING ONCE BY SHARON SALA
      Nola Landry barely survives a flood in her small Louisiana town by clinging to a tree on higher ground. While hidden in its branches, she witnesses the brutal killing of three neighbors who are shot by a man in uniform in a boat. After being rescued, and losing her home, she is rescued by three FBI agents who have come to town to track a serial killer nickna […]
    • Book Release and Author Spotlight: Paula Mowrey, Legacy & Love
      Today I am featuring author Paula Mowery who has just released her first solo fiction book, Legacy and Love.Paula  is a published author, acquisitions editor, and speaker. Her first two published works were The Blessing Seer and Be The Blessing from Pelican Book Group. Both are women’s fiction, and their themes have been the topics of speaking engagements. I […]
    • Book Review: Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand
      Every now and then a book comes along that will stick with you for the rest of your life. For me Unbrokenis one of them. The story is based on a true story about the life of Louis Zamperini.  Zamperini, the son poor Italian immigrants, grew up in California and was a wild child on the path to serious delinquency when his older brother Pete finally managed to […]
  • BLOG NEWS

    Thank you for your encouragement and support for the past three years. We've had fun connecting with you and hope you've found useful material here on Reflections. And here's the but... Reflections In Hindsight is closing on December 21, 2012. Elaine and Sophie and I can be found over at http://authorculture.blogspot.com; April can be found at Clash of the Titles, http://www.clashofthetitles, http://www.aprilgardner.com and watch for news for more novels from her!; Janet is ever-present on the Internet with her very special words of wisdom and grace at http://www.janetperezeckles.com, and Luther--who knows where he'll show up next, but I'd watch my back if I were you... Book Reviews are always important, so I, Lisa, will continue to offer them through my blog, as well as those promotions for your new books or book launches, or your news.
  • Second Monday: Sophie Dawson

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Archive for April, 2011

Positively Successful Book Signings with Tracy Krauss

Posted by Lisa Lickel on April 30, 2011

My special guest today is Canadian author Tracy Krauss who shares a recent experience with a book signing.

I’m still walking on air after a very successful Author Reading and Book Signing event held (March 24) at the Beaverlodge Public Library in Beaverlodge, Alberta, Canada.

 

(Yes, there really is a place called Beaverlodge!) There was a nice sized crowd – small enough to be intimate, but large enough to stroke my ego just a wee bit. :) We started the evening with me sharing a few things about myself, my journey into publication and a brief synopsis of my published work. Then I read from MY MOTHER THE MAN-EATER, and ended the formal part of the session by fielding questions. I must say, the folks from Beaverlodge had some very intelligent and thought provoking questions. Afterward, there were refreshments and a book signing session.

So what makes an event like this a success?  First of all, I would say planning. I really cannot take credit for this end of things, since head librarian Shelly Longson and her staff did ALL the work. The space for the reading and question and answer time was well laid out, comfortable and intimate and there was a separate area for signing and refreshments. Beautiful!

Second, there was sufficient advertising before the event. Again, Shelly did most of this, but there was enough ‘buzz’ on Facebook and through local media to bring people out. Without at least a few folks in the audience, a reading can be very awkward indeed! She also arranged for local media to attend the event, which serves as great post event publicity.

Third, (and this is where MY part of the process comes in) I did a little bit of research beforehand as to what makes a successful reading. One of the things I discovered was ‘too short’ is better than ‘too long’. The last thing you want to do is bore your audience. I chose the second half of Chapter One to read aloud, which I did after a short set up for the scene.  Even if your audience asks for more, it is probably best to keep it short. Stick to your plan for the reading and don’t get sucked into ‘one more chapter’.

Introduce yourself, but keep it light. People want to know something about you before you start to read, but keep too many details from overtaking the reading portion. You can always expand on these points later during the question and answer time.

Speaking of questions, it’s a good idea to think of possible answers to the standard questions before hand. What was your inspiration for this novel? How long did it take you to write it?  Which character do you identify with the most?  Of course, you can’t possibly anticipate every question, but anything you can do to prepare is worthwhile.

Be authentic. I write ‘edgy inspirational’ fiction. What does this mean exactly? It means that my work has a strong Christian element. People need to know that up front so they don’t feel duped – especially in a public setting like the one I was in last night. On the other side of the coin, readers need to know that my work is considered somewhat ‘edgy’. My characters are not perfect and they find themselves in real life and sometimes questionable circumstances.  One very good question came from a woman who asked if I would prefer my books be placed in the ‘Inspirational’ section or the regular stacks. I said ‘regular stacks’ because I don’t want to segregate my writing into this smaller niche. I’m pushing for less of this type of ghettoization, but perhaps this is a topic for another day!

Which brings me to the next point. Humor also goes a long way. I like to keep things light and allow the audience to laugh with me. (Not saying I’m a standup comic or anything, but just don’t take yourself too seriously. Nobody likes a snob!)

Finally, don’t apologize. For many of us, we find it difficult to ‘blow our own horn’ and this whole promotion  business can be very uncomfortable, to say the least. However, keep in mind that the people who come out to see and hear you are genuinely interested in what you have to say. Confidence without arrogance goes a long way. Yes, I am a published author and I am proud of it. I feel that my writing stands up in terms of quality, content and entertainment value, so why be ashamed?

Thanks again to Shelly and the staff of the Beaverlodge Library. If you have never participated in an event like this (either as a presenter or in the audience) may I encourage you to do so. What have been your experiences at this type of promotional event?

Posted in Authors, Encouragment, Happiness, Writing | Tagged: , | 2 Comments »

Revolutionary Romance

Posted by elainemcooper on April 29, 2011

Posted by Elaine Marie Cooper

On this auspicious occasion of the wedding of Prince William to Kate Middleton, it seems only proper to celebrate weddings and romance.

Princess Diana on her wedding day

I clearly remember the wedding day of Prince William’s parents nearly 30 years ago when Prince Charles married the beautiful Lady Diana Spencer. Such a ceremony it was, with all the pomp and circumstance that the Royals do so well. I invited several friends over to my home that day. We “oohed” and “ahhed” over the bride’s train on her dress that, if I had been wearing, would surely have sent me sprawling onto the cathedral floor. As it was, I was then eight-months pregnant with my youngest son and I waddled around serving tea to my pals and feeling not-in-the-least like a demure princess. But our eyes were glued to the TV screen, imagining the joy of Lady Diana who was soon to become, Princess Di. It was all so lovely. Too bad the marriage was not so happily-ever-after. Sigh.

Such elaborate ceremonies were hardly a part of Colonial American weddings. In fact, compared to just about any wedding today, marriage ceremonies in early America were far simpler.

The traditions we now see—white dresses for the bride and elaborate ceremonies—go back to the Victorian age. Prior to this time, American weddings were certainly a cause for celebration, but were generally less ornate.

Most Colonial brides wore their best dress but it was rarely white.

Depending on the locale in the colonies, homeland customs influenced the traditions of a marriage ceremony. The Quakers in Pennsylvania brought their German ancestors’ method of marrying in the meetinghouse where church services were held. The wedded couple wrote and spoke their own vows to each other.

The Southern colonies always had a minister of the Church of England officiate at the wedding. The ceremony was performed in the home, however, unlike the Quakers.

In New England, weddings were considered a civil ceremony and were often performed in the bride’s parent’s home by a justice of the peace in front of a few close family and friends. There are instances, however, of the vows being spoken in front of a minister.

Regardless of the locale, a wedding was certainly considered time for a big party.

Colonial wedding

A diary of a wedding in 1726 in Connecticut describes three days of celebration. The first day, the menu included fish chowder, stewed oysters, roast pig, venison, duck, rye bread, and Indian cornbread. After that first day of partying and dancing, the bride and groom left on horseback, but the partygoers kept on celebrating. By the third day, more guests arrived—an unexpected group of friendly Indians. More food was served and the celebration continued. I hope they used paper plates for easy clean-up. :-)

Weddings in Virginia were a little more formal with official invitations going out to guests ahead of time. These Southern weddings were also filled with a sumptuous menu including a spice wedding cake. One tradition was to bake a cake with a whole nutmeg inside. Whoever got the piece with the nutmeg would be the next person to marry. I suppose, should Prince Harry get a piece of wedding cake with a nutmeg in it at his brother’s wedding, he might discreetly dispose of the dessert with trembling hands! Just supposing, of course…

So on this historic date of celebrating the wedding of royals, it is an opportune time to pause and think about the purpose of marriage in God’s eyes. From the beginning of time, it was God’s purpose for a man and a woman:

Genesis 2:24: For this reason, a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and they will become one flesh.”(NIV)

Proverbs 18:22: He who finds a wife finds what is good and receives favor from the Lord. (NIV)

Even Jesus’s first public miracle was performed at a wedding feast in the town of Cana.

The word “wife” alone appears in the Bible nearly 400 times.

And the whole relationship of Christ to His church is compared to a groom and bride. The list could go on but these are just a few of the many references to marriage in both the Old and New Testaments.

It is also clear in the Bible that not all men and women will marry; that God has a different and altogether fulfilling life for those who are single. But for those who do marry, the desired plan is a union that lasts a lifetime.

And while the times change and customs vary, the commitment of a man to a woman in the bond of marriage remains a powerful promise in God’s eyes—ideally a nurturing of love and commitment to each other, ‘til death do they part. While this cannot always be the outcome in all marriages, it is the hoped-for result as we honor our God and our spouse.

  It is a tradition as old as time.

Posted in History - American Revolution, Till death do we part | Tagged: , , , , , , | 5 Comments »

On Sabbatical

Posted by Ben Erlichman on April 28, 2011

I live a life of luxury. By that, I mean that I’m so poor that even the smallest treat seems life-changing sometimes.

Remember Charlie from Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory (the 1971 version, the one with Gene Wilder)? Remember that scene where he finds a silver coin in the sewer drain in the street? He rips it out of there and immediately runs into the neighborhood candy store for a treat. He buys a bunch of chocolate, something he and his poor family rarely get a taste of since they live in such dire straits.

We all dreamed of this moment as youngsters.

Of course we all know what happens next – he buys a Wonka Bar, the one that has the last remaining Golden Ticket inside, and then he gets to visit Wonka’s chocolate factory, etc.

Sometimes I feel like Charlie. Okay, I’m exaggerating a bit. Actually, I’m exaggerating a lot. I’ve been blessed in my life. I’ve never missed a payment on a bill, I’ve never gone hungry (except as a kid when I refused to eat my veggies), and I’ve never been so strapped for cash that I seriously feared I wouldn’t make it. I’m not that poor.

I could take this post in a number of directions, but we’ve all heard about how even some of the poorest Americans are still wealthy compared to the rest of the world’s people, but that’s not my point. The point I want to make is actually about my life as an aspiring writer, and it has very little to do with money.

I took a sabbatical from serious writing for the past month. Why? Because I promised myself I would. It’s not that I felt overwhelmed or that I desperately needed a break. I feel fine. Still do. No, I took my sabbatical because I accomplished a big goal. Actually two big goals, but they were on the same project: I finished the first draft of my second full-length novel, a historical western action/adventure titled Unlucky, and then I edited the entire piece to a point where I think it’s ready for a publisher’s consideration, so I sent it off to my agent, Les Stobbe, for his thoughts.

He’s still got it, but I’m confident this book is at least as strong (if not even stronger) than the book I wrote that caught his attention in the first place, my first novel (The Dreamer). Well, we’ll see what he thinks. I hear westerns are a hard sell these days…

The point is that I finished it, so I’m taking a break. I did the same thing after I participated in NaNoWriMo this past November for the first time. Why? Because writing 50,000 words in one month is a huge undertaking, at least for someone who’s never attempted it before, like me.

Well, I have good news: from February 24th through March 28th I replicated that result. I wrote over 65,000 words in just over a month’s time and finished Unlucky, then edited all 90,000+ words in just 10 days after that. If that doesn’t deserve a break, I don’t know what does!

So I took a month off. It will actually be a bit longer than a month because I’m at a church conference next week in Arizona, but I expect I’ll do some writing there anyway. It’s hard to keep away, isn’t it?

This is generally what I look like when I'm loafing. Believe it or not, sometimes it's much, much worse.

I’m happy, though. I’ve spent a lot of time doing exactly what I promised myself I’d do: playing video games, reading, and being lazy. Well, even amid all of my slovenliness, I still managed to get myself into some trouble. If you read my post last week, you know what I mean: I somehow landed a gig as the executive editor for a new magazine that I get to create, market, edit, and distribute for Written World Communications(WWC). Silly me.

When not loafing around, I found time to read and critique the proposal and first chapter of a novel submission for another of WWC’s imprints that also does books, Harpstring. (That’s a link to their latest magazine.)

As I’m writing this, I wonder if that will become my pattern: write and edit a book in two months’ time, then take a month off because I can. At that rate, I’d finish four books a year, and since I’m getting better at editing and crafting good stories, they might actually be good quality too. That’d be nice.

But if I get a contract, I don’t know if that pattern can hold up or not. I know a lot of authors agonize over deadlines and end up having to cram at the end. Do they get time off from writing afterward? Or do they have to jump right in to the next book? I wonder what it will be like when I finally reach that point in my writing career.

Until then, I’m glad to have the freedom to take a sabbatical. I’ll enjoy it while it lasts, I guess.

By the way, if you write short fiction and want to get pubbed, read my post from last week for submission guidelines to QuickTales Quarterly, the new magazine I’ll be working on. So far I’ve only received one submission and each magazine has spots for 10-16 stories. I’m also looking for awesome photographs, art, and graphic design work. Check it out, okay?

-Ben

Posted in Authors, Encouragment, Happiness, Life Experiences, Living Our Faith Out Loud, Uncategorized, Working from home, Writing | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

Reviews: Bane or Blessing?

Posted by JoAnn Durgin on April 27, 2011

Like it or not, once you put your writing out there for the world to read, you’re going to get reviews. In school, you earn grades. But in the real world, a review is more or less a grade for grownups. It’s true that everyone’s a critic, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing. Here’s my question: can reviews realistically help or hurt a writer’s career? I’m not sure I have the answer, and believe it may be different for every author. Let’s take a moment to look at the pros and cons of reviews.

I’ve seen some beautifully crafted, literary quality novels receive an unprecedented number of stellar reviews…but the book won’t sell. A year after its release, you’ll find it on the reduced tables at your local Big Lots or (gasp) Dollar Store. Sad, isn’t it? In some cases, it’s marketed to the wrong target audience, has an unappealing cover, is overpriced…there could be any number of reasons. On the flip side, I’ve seen some poorly written novels receive scathing reviews yet still become runaway bestsellers. Why? Maybe some reality TV star hyped it, or its subject matter is a very “hot button” issue and capitalizes on that phenomenon known as perfect timing, or it has a visually appealing cover. It makes no sense, and I certainly can’t explain it. So, is there a rhyme or reason or does it more or less depend on which way the wind blows?

Recently, there was a self-published, first-time author who made the unfortunate decision to engage in an online war of words and ranted and raved against her critics with profanity-laced tirades. I haven’t heard the outcome except to know that most believe she won’t have much of a future career as an author – at least with a traditional, royalty publisher. Page after page of comments on one website alone criticized this writer’s immaturity and unprofessionalism in responding to her critics. But you know what? I wouldn’t be a bit surprised if this writer’s book became an overnight sensation based on the publicity and hype. Because that’s sometimes the way the world works. Have you noticed how people just love a good controversy? They like nothing better than to jump on the bandwagon and express their opinion. But, hey, this is America, and we’re free to express our opinion. Thank the Lord. But some take that liberty to extremes.

Some writers say they never look at reviews. Of course, some of those who make this statement are multi-published, award-winning authors who’ve sold a gazillion copies of their books. Why should they worry what people think? They’ve got a proven track record of sales, so reviews probably aren’t going to make or break them. They’re “in.” Let’s face it – they could write a grocery shopping list and someone would publish it, knowing there would be a waiting public salivating for it. That’s an exaggeration, but I hope you get my point.

The primary intent of a review is to entice others to buy the book by highlighting its greatest strengths and selling points. I primarily surf online reviews to determine whether or not I want to spend my money on a particular book. Doesn’t really matter if it’s popular and everyone raved about it. I like the small press books as much, and sometimes more, than the larger publishers. Being published by a larger house doesn’t necessarily mean it’s better in quality or that I’ll like it any more. 

And this is where my confession (I’ve been prone to them in recent weeks, it seems) comes in: I usually hone in on the poor reviews first. Why are we drawn to the one-star reviews as much, if not more, than the five-star reviews? Think about it. You read glowing review after glowing review. After a few of those, it tends to get old real quick. Take a look at the one or two-star reviews. As a general rule, other than those you can automatically discount because they blast the book for being Christian and/or too preachy (and these seem very unfair from those who get the book free on Kindle or Nook) – these reviewers usually lay it on the line and tell it like it is. You know you’re reading a review from someone who’s not a friend, influencer or family member. It doesn’t mean they’re right or that you’ll agree with a two-star review any more than a five-star review. But it sure can be interesting reading.

Maybe it’s the propensity for the sensational. To a certain extent, we all succumb, so you may as well admit it. It’s like driving by the scene of an accident. You don’t want to look, but you usually do unless you have a very strong will. It’s that old I-want-see-what’s-so-bad mentality. And yes, I’ve become curious about certain books after reading the poor reviews – and bought the books because of it! What’s the sense in that? But I’ll venture to say I’m not the only one.

Since I’ve become a published author, I approach every review of my own book with bated breath. After a ton of marketing, five months after its release, Awakening is selling pretty well for a debut author with a new, small publisher. But I’ve been stalled at the same number of reviews week after week. So, here’s the facts: on the one hand, I have a book with relatively few reviews, but it’s selling. I think word-of-mouth has a lot to do with it, and it’s my personal opinion that friends telling others about a book they like is ultimately of equal importance to selling a book as reviews. In a perfect world, however, you’ll get tons of great reviews and sell a ton of copies of your book. The world’s not perfect, but it can be navigated.

My advice? Focus on writing your own story. Don’t worry about critics, reviews or what anyone else thinks (except your agent and/or publisher). It can drive you crazy. Write a story you can be proud of and you will be blessed…and bless others. In doing so, you’ll build a faithful, loyal readership. And, chances are, you’ll earn some pretty great reviews along the journey.

Do you read reviews? If so, why? If not, why not? Leave a comment and share. Until next time, keep writing and/or reading and appreciate the story the Lord has given this particular author. Because only that author can tell it in his or her own unique way.

Blessings, my friends. Matthew 5:16

Posted in Authors, Book Reviews, Encouragment, Life Experiences, Living Our Faith Out Loud, Writing | Tagged: , , , , | 6 Comments »

Sneak Preview – Julie Carobini and Fade to Blue

Posted by Lisa Lickel on April 26, 2011

Welcome, Julie! Fade to Blue releases in May. You can pre-order it here. I also recommend you watch her neat trailer and discover her other books on her web site.

  1. Tell us a little about yourself and your background.

Sure! I write seaside stories filled with faith, flip flops, and waves of grace. My family and I make our home onCalifornia’s central coast, and I’ve written five novels plus hundreds of published articles on everything from parenting, to team building in the workplace, to Christian surf dudes on a mission.                                               

2. How did you become interested in writing?                                                                                                                 

 My father wrote magazine articles on the side, including interviews with entertainers such as Fred Astaire and Fred MacMurray. Always loved that! I too became an article writer almost twenty years ago, but I always yearned to create fiction. I wrote two novels that did not sell, but as they say, third time’s a charm, and my debut novel, Chocolate Beach, released in 2007 (re-released with recipes in 2011 as an eBook). By that time, I had a renewed faith in God as well as a redefined focus on the kinds of stories he was leading me to write.                                                                                                                                     

  1. What compelled you to write a book on this subject?

Ever since the inception of the Otter Bay Novels with Sweet Waters, I’ve wanted to set a book with the famed Hearst Castle as its backdrop. So much intrigue and mystery about that real castle on the hill and its eccentric, yet astute owner. Of course, novels are more than their location.  So after writing the 2nd of these stand-alone novels, A Shore Thing, even I longed to know what happened next for the big-hearted, single mom from that story.  Fade to Blue satisfies that curiosity …                                                                                                                                                                                                                

  1. What is the main theme or point that you want readers to understand from reading your book? Are there any other themes present in the book?                                                                                                                                                                                                                           

 Writing this story was much like holding a seashell, constantly turning it over in my hand.  Though they’re often tossed into the sea with nary a glance, seashells are intricately beautiful—even when broken.  The more I examined the shattered life of Suz—the heroine of Fade to Blue—the more beauty I found.  Only the One who restores our souls can make that happen.                                                                                       

  1. Are there some specific lessons you hope readers will learn and apply to their lives after reading your book? 

I hope readers get lost in the story and the beautiful setting, that they revel in God’s creation as much as I did while writing it. I also hope they experience the Good Shepherd’s gentle leading (Psalm 23), and fall in the love with the concepts of forgiveness, sacrifice, and grace—as  much as they do the breathtaking locale.                                                                                        

6.    What makes your book different than any other books similar to yours that are in circulation today?               

        Although I’ve been compared to some amazing writers—something that humbles me—I also  know that God made each one of us uniquely. I knew you even before you were conceived.  Jeremiah 1:4-5. One unique aspect of my books is the focus on God’s creation of the sea and  everything in it. My characters have loved dolphins, sea lions, otters—even giant, glowing sea anemones. But they take that admiration a step further by drawing closer to the God who made  such beauty.                                                                                                                                                                             

7.  How does the book intertwine with God’s call on your life and how you are currently serving Him?            

        This story reminds me not to dwell on the past, but to prayerfully, joyfully—and ‘hope’fully— move forward. Such lessons there! Suz Mitchell made mistakes in her past—so have I—yet healing brokenness and restoring souls is God’s business. Praise him for that!                                                                                                                                                                                                              

  1. Do you have a favorite Scripture verse? 

        I have more than one favorite, but this one’s been spinning in my mind again lately: Psalm 19:14 NIV, “May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing in your sight, O LORD, my Rock and my Redeemer.”                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  

9.    When you are not writing, what do you like to do? Do you have any hobbies?         

        I love to comb the beach, to jog the sand with Charlie the Dog, and take coffee breaks with my husband—so adore that man!                                                                                                                                                                                                                      

10.  As we close, is there anything else you would like to add?

       Just that I hope people reading this are encouraged to follow their heart’s desires with the Good  Shepherd as their guide. God took all the lows and highs in my life and created something new with them. Although I’d always wanted to write, I had no inkling that I’d be writing beach-themed novels one day. I just kept praying and writing and seeking until an idea popped into my  head. I followed that idea, and now find myself talking about my fifth novel filled with ‘waves of  grace.’  Be encouraged!

Other places to buy the book:

Amazon

Barnes and Noble

Christianbook.com

Posted in Author Spotlight, Authors, Encouragment, Life Experiences, Living Our Faith Out Loud | Tagged: , | 1 Comment »

Market Mondays – Part 3 of Why Networking is Important

Posted by Lisa Lickel on April 25, 2011

For the third article on the John 3:16 Marketing Network, I made a video highlighting our goals, successes, and more. 

  

Be sure to visit our Facebook page at http://on.fb.me/h6FI57  today. Some of our authors will be available to answer questions you might have and share about the John 3:16 Marketing Network. For those who submit an application to join during the time of the Facebook party, there will be some free book give-aways.

To learn more, check out our blog at http://john316mn.blogspot.com/.

Lorilyn Roberts

Author, Children of Dreams and The Donkey and the King

Founder of the John 316 Marketing Network

http://lorilynroberts.com/

http://lorilynroberts.blogspot.com/

http://on.fb.me/fL67wf

http://twitter.com/llwroberts

Posted in Authors, Encouragment, Writing | Tagged: , | 3 Comments »

Sunday Book Review: Winds Across the Prairie #4

Posted by Lisa Lickel on April 24, 2011

Caroline’s Choice by Martha Rogers

c. 2011

Realms Fiction

Book four in Winds Across the Prairie

ISBN: 9781616381936

$12.99

“Will Caroline finally find the adventure she longs for?”

Caroline and Matt were supposed to be married by now. Both of them know it, and so does everybody in their orbits. Eleven years is a long time to wait for a proposal; Caroline’s domineering mother, the mayor’s wife, makes sure her daughter doesn’t mark the passing days while training her to be the perfect dutiful society wife for the perfect man—who isn’t Matt, the well-to-do rancher.

Set during the days of Oklahoma settlement and statehood, 1907, Rogers’s fourth novel in her Winds Across the Prairie series is a well-documented and beautifully period-faithful story of independence.

Caroline can’t understand why the love of her life, Matt, is so reluctant to propose. Her parents sent her off to college after high school, unbeknownst to her then, to keep her away from the undesirable ranch family, to whom they’d already given their son in marriage to Matt’s sister. By the time Caroline is near twenty-seven, she takes matters into her own hands and asks her parents if she can move out on her own and get a job in a nearby city and live with friends. Caroline finds a suitable escort almost immediately in the politically-inclined Stuart who is on the hunt for a complementary wife. Meanwhile, back at home, Matt, who couldn’t stomach the thought of having an even closer relationship with the vitriolic mayor’s wife, tries to move on by dating a school teacher.

An accident reunites them and brings them to their senses and that long-awaited proposal.

I loved Martha’s first book of the series, way back when we were critique partners. In this story, the constant reminder that Matt and Caroline belong together gets tedious despite the wonderfully delightful portrayal of a society adapting to a new age and the descriptions of food and clothing. The underlying theme of finding out that independence often needs a lot of help from friends, including the very realistic story of reclaiming grace by one who had strayed so far from it, is a quality addition to the prairie set.

I received a copy of this book from Title Trakk for review.

♦♦♦◊

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A Poem for Easter Weekend

Posted by Lisa Lickel on April 23, 2011

The Crucifixion

 

…he struggled…

       Blood streamed freely and dripped

from his forearms and toes into the dust

making little black beads as it mixed

with the dirt, nine feet below him.

…pain…

       Surged and rolled over him, then

dimmed and quieted as

          a

               much

                    greater

                                 need

                                              formed…

To breathe. His lungs and heart were

bursting, his side caved in…

He pulled himself up straight

    using the nail through

         his feet as a fulcrum.

Air eased down his bruised and strangled

throat and filled his lungs,

stabbing him like a hot knife in his ribs.

His heart slowed, the screaming

dimmed in his ears…

…his legs cramped…

     He fell back, sagging against the

              splintering crosspieces

to a slow and miserable death by strangulation.

…agony…

He shivered as his warm blood

crept down his side

   tickling him.

His ears roared and his head thundered…

                   he gazed about madly through eyes

                                    filmed with red.

…he gasped…

And painfully drew upward, shaking…

They came and broke his legs

and left him

        to a slow and miserable death by strangulation

                          nailed to a freshly killed tree

            still oozing sap.

Posted in Writing | Tagged: , | Comments Off

Open Your Eyes

Posted by Jennifer Slattery on April 22, 2011

Lately it seems, my world is full of contrasts. The other day, I spent the afternoon working in the yard, planting newly blossomed flowers beneath newly budding trees. Nestled in the branches above me, birds chirped gleefully, making their nest. Then I came inside to a message from a dying friend.

Each night, I sift through my bountiful pantries, debating which meal to prepare for our family. Which meal will receive the greatest reviews and the least complaints, and in June we leave for Salvador to visit an orphanage full of girls grateful for whatever morsel they get.

Contrasts.

The more contrasts I see, the more clearly I see my selfishness. The more I realize how convenient and comfortable my life is. And if I compare myself to most of the Christians sitting next to me on the church pew, I might look pretty good. On the sliding scale of America’s standard…I might even be tempted to think God is pleased:

When I cash a hundred, then give ten to a man huddled on the street corner.

When I serve a few hours at a shelter then cuddle up in my nice warm bed while many of God’s children sleep on the streets.

And I’ll console myself with thoughts like, “The poor will always be with us,” or “You can’t help them all,” and give myself a nice pat on the back.

I’m not saying sell all you own and live among the “least of these” (although Mother Theresa did and left an eternal legacy of love) but I am saying open your eyes to what really matters this Easter and be alert to God’s higher calling. When God stirs your heart to give or serve, fight the desire to justify it away. Fight the desire to compare yourself to those seated in the pews around you.

Most importantly, the next time God asks you to give, remember what He did for you, and remember what’s at stake. If you were standing on the edge of eternity, watching a soul hover between heaven and hell, how important would that parking spot or big screen tv be?

I leave you with one song. Listen to it, then listen to God. What would He have you do this Easter in response to His tremendous love and mercy? Who will He place in your path today who’s crying out for a Savior? Will you walk by?

Posted in Living Our Faith Out Loud | 1 Comment »

A Writer’s Life: Not for the Faint of Heart

Posted by JoAnn Durgin on April 20, 2011

So, you want to be a writer. Think you have what it takes? Here’s a checklist – search your heart, answer honestly and see if you pass the test.

Are you willing to…

*Voluntarily lose sleep on a semi-regular basis? You never know when the inspiration might strike. Middle of the night writing sessions can prove extremely creative…or a little scary.
*Work hard for very little monetary reward, probably for a long time? We’re talking years here, and you’ll be in the red long before you’re in the black.
*Put up with the inevitable eye-rolling, foot tapping and sighs from well-meaning family friends and family tired of hearing all the writer “stuff”? Learn to recognize the signs – the glazed-over eyes, the mask of resignation, fiddling with the fingers, taking phone calls even though you don’t hear the phone ring, sudden urges to walk the dog or run to the store.
*Smile in the face of criticism of your work, harsh reviews, blatant honesty from crit partners and readers, and rejection from agents and publishers?
*Accept scores and constructive comments from judges? It’s like a report card for grownups. The trick is acting like a grownup and accepting your fate graciously. The difference being that with report cards, it’s based on the amount of work you put into it. Writing scores are all subjective and based on one person’s perception of your talent – or lack thereof. Repeat to self: I am a worthy writer. I belong to Him, and I will keep plugging away for His glory.
*Understand that characters are likely to invade your thoughts at the most inopportune times, and even your dreams? As I sat in a meeting with five male attorneys around the conference room table this week – in the midst of a scintillating discussion of GRATs and ILITs (don’t ask), I was pondering whether my hero should be an ex-FBI agent in addition to being a child psychologist. Oh, yes, and a former professional football player.
*Market yourself at every available opportunity? It’s all good until people start ducking behind the first available display when you enter a store. And draw a fake mustache and glasses on your business card tacked onto the community bulletin board.
*Maintain a website and blog your little heart out?
*Have another family member cook more meals? This can be a positive, proactive exercise and empowering for both of you. If it gives you time to write another chapter, it’s amazing how mac and cheese can taste more delicious than a gourmet meal in a fancy restaurant.
*Install a dry erase board next to the shower? Some of your best thinking might be done in that room.
*Smile at dust bunnies (before erupting in the inevitable sneezing fit)?
*Risk being labeled as crazy because you talk to yourself (and yes, sometimes even answer yourself) in the car, in the checkout line, and in public restrooms? I loved the advent of hands-free phones in cars – people think you’re on the phone. It’s easier to get away with conversations with self.
*Give away lots of books once you have one to give away? Repeat under your breath several times: It’s all going to pay off in the long run.

Now, for the BEST news, especially for Christian authors:

*It won’t be a lonely journey as long as you reach out to others. They’re your lifeline. Accept their friendship, encouragement and guidance. Reach for it, grab on and hold tight. Don’t ever let go. God gave you these people, and they share your passion for Christ and sharing Him with the world.
*Marketing is much easier with groups like the ACFW, the Christian Authors Guild, the Christian Writers Guild, the John 3:16 Marketing Network and so many others to assist, support and encourage you. You’ll always have a ready, willing and able group who share your pain, rejoice in your triumphs and give you cyber hugs. And when you get to finally meet them in person, oh how sweet it is!
*You realize it’s not a competition. We’re all here to tell the unique stories the Lord has given to each one of us.
*You have the opportunity to influence lives and touch hearts for the cause of Christ. Jermaine at my local Circle K – a guy whose bright smile lights up my days – told me he took my book home with him on his last trip to New Orleans. His sister snatched it up to read, then his mother. Yesterday, he told me seven of their friends had read it, and some were even fighting over it! How exciting is that! You never know where or by whom your words will be read. Make them count.
*As you learn and grow in your craft, you might have the opportunity to mentor other, younger writers. Your role might be as encourager, critique partner or editor, but when you get “the call” in God’s timing, it’ll be all the sweeter for the time you’ve invested in learning the craft and then helping others.

Now, you tell me, isn’t it worth the time and the effort? Of course, it is. Write with love, and write with passion the words He’s gifted to you. Until next time, blessings my friends.  Enjoy a glorious Easter. Matthew 5:16

P.S. We’re under a tornado warning and the lights are flickering, sirens are going off…so please forgive any typos and the like. 
Update at 7:30 a.m. EST: Our town and neighboring towns were without power for awhile and a few places were hit, but thankfully, no one was injured. The Lord is good.

Posted in Authors, Encouragment, Heart and Home, Life Experiences, Living Our Faith Out Loud, Writing | Tagged: | 16 Comments »

 
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