Gail's Book Nook

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Looking Out the Window: Meet Zeke Lam

Zeke Lam talks about his new book, SUBMISSION, and Submission Ministries. His ministry has led him all over the world.
Welcome Zeke. First, tell us About Submissioin Ministries.
This ministry exists simply to spread the love of Jesus Christ to the world. Our first book, titled SUBMISSION, released in mid November. As a “new” organization it is our goal to partner with other Christian ministries worldwide and allow the Holy Spirit to use us in whatever fashion will bring Him the most glory.
Thanks for introducing us to your ministry. Tell us a little about yourself.
I am 27 years old and have been married to my beautiful wife, Kathleen, for 6 years. We have three children (4, 2, and 2 months) that we love very much. I have been a minister since the age of 18 as a youth minister and evangelist. In addition to this, I operate a small business which constructs ornamental concrete such as flower pots, bird baths, etc. My family and I are passionate to see Christ glorified through our lives, and constantly seek to use our lives to share the Gospel. This has led our family all over the world. Our most recent “adventure” involved us literally driving to a town in Texas, renting an apartment, and seeking the Lord. Although we knew nobody or anything about the place, God gave us an entire church fellowship in 2 days! This turned into an incredible 7 month stay that is surely not finished yet.
Wow, a fellowship in two days is quite a feat. Some writers say reading as a child prompted them to want to write. Were you an avid reader as a child? If so, what did you read?
I only read as instructed by teachers or requirements related to school. This usually kept me in a book, but outside of that, I was not an avid reader as a child.
Why do you write?
First of all, writing helps me process thoughts and retain information. In addition to this, I write for the purpose of releasing the message God has placed on my heart. By putting it in written form, the message has the potential to reach people whom I will never get to meet personally. I greatly enjoy personal discipleship and relationships, but hopefully these words will impact lives around the world.

Tell us about your latest book.
SUBMISSION, heeding only His voice, focuses on addressing the need for solid Scriptural obedience. Using testimonies from the Word of God as well as a few personal experiences, my hope through this book is that God’s people will become more sensitive towards not only hearing His voice, but obeying it!
What inspired you to write this particular book?
Compromise is way too commonplace today. I have seen it in the church, in families, and in my own life. If revival is to take place in our society, God’s people must be willing to operate with the level of obedience and submission God requires. Mixing our opinions with God’s commands or desires is the very recipe for disaster. If we will fully release ourselves to Jesus Christ, and be willing to follow Him the way He commands, a shift will take place in our society! Ultimately, shortcomings in my own life with regards to submissions sparked this fire.
That's an interesting subject. What themes do you write about?
So far, my writing consists of topics related to spiritual revival in the lives of Christians.
Evangelism, discipleship, and encouragement appear to be a consistent theme.
What is your writing schedule and where do you write?
I can usually write anywhere that offers silence, but usually my writing occurs at the kitchen table.
Do you have to juggle writing with a job, family responsibilities or other obligations? How do you balance it?
Finding time to write while managing the responsibilities of family, work, and ministry can be quite challenging. I never lose sight of the fact that my ministry is in my home. As the Holy Spirit opens doors and assigns tasks, I take them. However, I am careful not to allow my “service” to become a distraction to the fact that Jesus wants me, not what I can do for Him. My mentality is this: be an open and available vessel through which the Lord can move to accomplish His work. By doing this, I keep plenty busy and my relationship with my Lord and my family does not diminish.
Does your faith affect your writing? How?
Absolutely. I write to bring honor and glory to Jesus Christ and out of love for the Church. Because of this, any topic I address will involve an aspect of urging the Body of Christ towards revival or presenting the Gospel message.
What are you working on right now?
I am working on the SUBMISSION series, which will hopefully materialize into several works focused on Biblical obedience.
Read What Zeke Writes about Preparing for Obedience Below
So often we cry out to God for His working in and through our lives. We beg for His will and plan to become clear to us day by day. In those quiet moments when we feel as if God has forgotten about us, our only yearning is His leading. In this condition of longing for His voice, it is absolutely critical that we prepare ourselves to respond when the call comes forth.
Preparing for obedience is about daily crucifying the desires of our flesh so that the works of Christ can be manifested in our lives. Galatians 2:20 states: “I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I that live, but Christ living in me: and that life which I now live in the flesh I live in faith, the faith which is in the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself up for me.” Why is this so critical one might ask? Often times, God may bring forth a call that does not come close to what you had in mind. He may ask you to sacrifice in ways you never imagined. He may ask you to do things you never thought you were capable of or comfortable with. If we do not prepare ourselves for absolute obedience, the call may come and we may not answer.
When we crucify any and all personal, fleshly desires and willfully submit to God’s purpose for our lives, we position ourselves for His glory. As we daily surrender to Him, His desires become our desires and we prepare our hearts to obey no matter what God asks of our lives. In this spiritual condition, we remain active and ready to respond to His call upon our lives.
Consider an athlete for example. Often times they know not when that BIG moment will arrive, but he or she must steadfastly prepare for that "such a time as this" moment. Are you daily preparing yourself for obedience? If not, one of two things will happen. 1) You will not hear the call. 2) You hear but do not have the courage to obey. God has a mighty plan for you! Prepare to respond to the call.
Faithfulness and intimacy with the Father is the only way to ensure that you and I remain in a condition that is prepared to obey His voice when it is our time to be used. Consider Abraham as you analyze and ponder this subject. Because he pursued a relationship with God, he was willing to offer his son as a sacrifice. Abraham could have rationalized in a number of ways. First, this was his son! Who could possibly slay his own flesh and blood? Also, Isaac was the promised seed. Sacrificing him had to appear contrary to God’s plan. Despite these two intense factors, Abraham prepared his heart to obey the command of his Father.
The question is not, “will God speak”. The question is, “will we obey”.
BIO
ZEKE LAM is the author of Submission, (http://www.amazon.com/subMISSION-heeding-only-His-voice/dp/193748100X/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1323527425&sr=1-1)
 a book that draws readers closer to the Savior. He is also the founder of SUBMISSION Ministries—a ministry devoted to seeing lost souls encounter God and live lives fully surrendered to the risen Christ. A graduate of Liberty University, Zeke’s deep passion for following Christ’s will has led him through many years of youth ministry and itinerant evangelism. Both of these experiences have enriched and fueled his desire to hand others the keys to a Christ-centered life. Zeke resides in Virginia with his beautiful wife, Kathleen, and a growing family of future world-changers.
Read more about Zeke and Submission Ministries at http://submissionministries.org/

Friday, December 23, 2011

Looking in the Window: Christmas Love



Luke 2: 11-12, “Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord. You will find a baby wrapped in cloths lying in a manger.”


God sent Jesus to save sinners, because he loves us. Jesus suffered and died to conquer death for us, because he loves us. In Matthew the Pharisees asked Jesus, “…which is the greatest commandment in the Law?” He told them “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it. Love your neighbor as yourself.” (Matthew 22: 36 – 39).
Christmas brings messages of giving, of our Savior, and of God’s love. There are so many different kinds of love. We love our friends, our fellowman, those in need, our spouses, and our children. God tells us to love our enemies. Where does it come from? How can we be sure it won’t run out? If we don’t have it, how can we get it?
I once heard a scientist had proven that chemicals in the brain produce love, but so far no one has isolated those elements or found a pill that stimulates defective chemicals to produce love that isn’t there. Even though sometimes it appears love can be bought or forced on someone, no one can dictate the feelings of another person’s heart. Love must be received and given. It was given that night in Bethlehem. We only need to accept it. Once we do, it lives inside us and spills over to others.

Merry Christmas

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Looking Out the Window: Linda Weaver Clarke Book Give Away

Book Give-Away Dec 21 - 27: To win the award winning historical “sweet” romance novel, Melinda and the Wild West, leave a comment with your e-mail. U.S. and Canada. To enter the contest, visit http://lindaweaverclarke.blogspot.com/


ABOUT MELINDA AND THE WILD WEST
In 1896 Melinda Gamble—a very elegant, naïve young woman from Boston—decides to give up her life of monotonous comfort for the turbulent uncertainty of the still untamed Wild West. Driven by her intense desire to make a difference in the world, Melinda takes a job as a schoolteacher in the small town of Paris, Idaho, where she comes face-to-face with a notorious bank robber, a vicious grizzly bear, and a terrible blizzard that leaves her clinging to her life. But it’s a rugged rancher who challenges Melinda with the one thing for which she was least prepared—love. Awards: Finalist for “Reviewers Choice Award 2007”

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Looking Out the Window: Welcome Author E. A. West Blogging about Christmas and Autism. Read about Key to Charlotte, Her New Book












In her wonderful blog about Christmas and Autistics author E.A. West reminds us to keep the focus of Christmas where it belongs:  On Christ  
The holiday season can be stressful for anyone. Visiting family and friends, decorating the house, attending holiday parties, and shopping for the perfect gifts can wear anyone out. Now, take all of that holiday busyness and add in the extra challenges caused by autism. In that situation, holiday stress takes on a whole new meaning.
Autistics are known for struggling with social situations. A typical, uneventful day at school or work is enough to completely exhaust someone on the autism spectrum. A regularly occurring event, such as a weekly church service, can be completely overwhelming at times. I showed a brief glimpse into this in The Key to Charlotte. Although that situation was completely fictional, the emotions and thoughts shown are very real.
With all of this in mind, imagine being an autistic suddenly thrust into the midst of the highly social holiday season. Instead of peaceful, relaxed evenings and weekends to de-stress and prepare for the mandatory social interactions with fellow students or coworkers, you’re expected to go to parties, Christmas programs, and other events. The usual stress of shopping is increased exponentially by store aisles crowded with holiday displays and more shoppers than usual.
The simple act of putting up Christmas decorations can be overwhelming to some autistics. Routine and consistency are important to people on the autism spectrum, both children and adults. Putting a decorated tree in the living room, a few lights on the house, a wreath on the front door, and changing the centerpiece on the dining room table sound like small changes a person can easily adjust to. For an autistic, these small changes can be highly stressful. Instead of the familiar, soothing environment of home they now have strange, unfamiliar objects surrounding them. Some autistics will adjust more quickly than others, but all will have an adjustment period that likely causes them to feel stressed or insecure.
At this point, you probably wonder, “Can autistics enjoy the holiday season at all?” The answer: Absolutely! It just takes a little preparation and a lot of patience. Here are a few tips that can reduce the stress of the holidays for autistics and neurotypicals (non-autistics) alike.
Keep it simple. Many people treat the holidays as a time of excess in food, decorations, gifts, and activities, but all of this adds unnecessary stress that dampens the joy of the season. Keeping your holiday plans and preparations simple will reduce stress. Instead of trying to create a huge, professional quality, multi-course dinner of dishes you have never made before, set up a buffet-style dinner of family favorites with a few special holiday dishes. Be selective about what activities to participate in rather than trying to do them all. Put up only a few tasteful decorations instead of trying to outdo the Griswold family home.
Don’t wait until the last minute. A lot of stress is caused by rushing around at the last minute to buy gifts, prepare for a party, put up decorations, etc. If you start early, not only will it reduce your stress, it will also help autistics keep their holidays stress levels down by allowing them to adjust to a string of small changes spread out over several days or weeks rather than having to deal with a sudden mass of changes all at once.
Always have a quiet place available. Everyone needs a moment alone to relax now and then. By setting apart a room or other area of your house as a designated quiet zone for guests (and yourself), you’ll be doing autistics and your own stress levels a huge favor.
Learn to say no. Very few people expect everyone they invite to a party or event to show up. It’s okay to politely decline some invitations if you’re feeling overwhelmed. Instead of attending three holiday parties, two Christmas programs, and a holiday concert or two this week, pick the two or three events that are most important to you and say no to the rest.
Keep the focus of the Christmas season where it belongs: on Christ. Much of the stress caused by the holiday season comes from placing too much emphasis on the commercialized aspects of Christmas. If you return the focus to celebrating Christ’s birth, a lot of the stress from “keeping up with the Joneses” will fade away under the light of the true meaning of Christmas.


About Key to Charlotte
Charlotte Harris can't speak due to a quirk in her autistic brain, but that doesn't stop her from communicating with others. Unfortunately, it prevents her from achieving two of her dreams--to praise God through singing and to carry on a simple conversation with her own voice.
Zakaria Rush is the new Director of Children's Ministries at Charlotte's church, and he can't keep his thoughts off the partially mute blonde with a love for guitar music. Her innocence and love of the simple things in life intrigue him and make him long to give her what she wants more than anything: her voice.
Can Zakaria help Charlotte find the key to unlocking her ability to speak, or will his attempt to help her only lock away their chance for love?
Bio: E.A. West, author of sweet and inspirational romance, is a lifelong lover of books and storytelling. In high school, she discovered the wonders of sharing her stories with others through writing. She picked up her pen in a creative writing class and hasn’t laid it down yet. Her love of writing encompasses not only the romance genre but also a variety fiction and non-fiction styles.
Born and raised in Indiana, she still resides there today with her family and a small zoo of pets that includes the typical dogs and cats, and the more unusual African water frogs and a ribbon snake. Her interests are as varied as her critters. She has been known to carry on conversations about everything from politics and current events to gardening and theology. When she’s not writing, you can usually find her working on her latest knitting or crochet project.
Read more about E. A. and her work at
http://eawest.mcphitty.com/ and
http://thewestcorner.wordpress.com/

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Looking Out the Window: K Dawn Byrd Talks about Writing Books in Thirty Days and Her Latest Book












She'll give away a download of her new book, This Time for Keeps. To enter to win leave a comment and email address.

Many writers grew up with a love of reading. Were you an avid reader as a child? What did you read? I was such an avid reader as a child that mother has said many times that I was so quiet she never knew I was even in the house. Nancy Drew was my absolute favorite.
Why do you write? I first began writing seriously about four years ago. I write because it's more than a hobby, it's a passion. I can't NOT write. I write because the words bubble up inside me and I have to get them on the page.

Tell us about your latest book. Here's the cover blurb from This Time for Keeps:
India McGuire's peaceful life is shattered when on the night of her engagement to David Richards, she comes face to face with Chase Porter, a long lost love. India must come to terms with her overpowering feelings for Chase and choose between David, the neighbor who says he loves her, and Chase, the man who broke her heart.
Chase's plans of leaving quietly turn to disaster when he finds that it's impossible to disappear without seeing India one last time. Feelings begin to surface that he believed buried forever and he finds himself fighting to win her back even as David struggles to hold onto her.
India longs to follow her heart, but she's been hurt too deeply. Who will she choose? The neighbor who can provide stability or the man she vowed to love forever who may once again heed to the call of the open road?
Where do you get ideas for your books? My ideas for my books come from everywhere. Newspapers. TV. The internet. I recently saw an article about a homeless man who had inherited millions. I'm using the idea for my December 2012 release in the Zoe Mack Mystery Series.
In three words describe your style of writing. Fast. Frantic. 30 days. (Sorry, I don't count the 30 as a word. It's a number. LOL)
How do you get to know your characters? I fill out character worksheets in order to get to know them better and I'm constantly asking myself if my characters would say this or do that as I write.
What is your writing schedule and where do you write? I write every book in 30 days. I'll plot out how many words I need each day on a calendar and use it to keep track of where I should be. I write in my favorite room in the house. It's a small den without a TV, but it does have two 55-gallon fish tanks. I take breaks from time to time and watch the fish swim.
Are you a plotter or a pantzer? I'm a plotter. In order to write a book in 30 days, a pretty thorough plot is a requirement. That's not to say that my characters don't sometimes take me down roads I hadn't planned, because they do and that's okay too.
What are you working on right now? Right now, I'm about 75 percent finished with my April 2012 release. It's called Shattered Identity and is the sequel to Mistaken Identity, my first young adult novel release. Several readers wrote me asking me to tell Lexi's story and Shattered Identity was born.
Do you have any advice for aspiring writers? Don't write for fortune or fame because it may never come. Write as I do...for the simple joy of placing words on the page.
Visit K Dawn's Web site at http://www.kdawnbyrd.com/
and her blog at http://kdawnbyrd.blogspot.com/

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Looking Out the Window: October in Destin, Florida

During Thanksgiving I'm thankful for so many blessings, church, family, friends and good times. It's fitting to put up photos from our fall trip to Destin, Florida.

Waiting for sunset on the deck with friends. The lady in pink is ninety-six. The salt air's gotta' be good for you.


   It's almost time. More people show up to watch.

The view from a twelfth-story balcony just before sunset



The sun is setting

                                                   Almost...



                                              Side note: Hubby and me at Fisherman's Wharf                              

AND THE WINNER IS...

Hats and Horns!

Congratulations, Pam...

Pam Williams is the winner of Love Returned

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Looking Out the Window: A Chat with Mildred Colvin, a Disciplined Writer

Mildred Colvin talks about the writing life and her books of romance, faith, forgiveness and trust.

She'll be giving away a copy of her new e-book, Love Returned. To enter to win, leave a comment and email address.
Hi Mildred. It's great to have you. First, tell us a little about yourself.

Gail, thank you for inviting me here today. I write sweet, inspirational romances and have fifteen in print at this time. I’m excited to announce my first novella to be included in an anthology, titled Home for the Holidays, will be published early fall of next year in A Cascades Christmas by Barbour Publishing. I am privileged to be working with some very talented ladies. Mary Davis will contribute A Carpenter’s Christmas, Gina Welborn is writing All Ye Faithful, and Debby Lee’s story is titled One Evergreen Night. All four stories will tie in together as the four heroes are close friends who work in the lumber industry in one way or another.
I'll look forward to that. Tell us about your latest book.

I have recently self-published a contemporary romance set in central Missouri. Love Returned is the story of Megan McGinnis and Scott Landis who serve as Webelos Scout leaders. But Megan has a problem. She begins to notice coincidences about Scott and his son that lead her to believe his son is the baby she gave up for adoption nine years ago.
What an interesting plot. What inspired you to write this particular book?
I’ve worked in foster care and am an adoptive mother. Adoption interests me with each side having so many emotional issues to work through. This is true of Megan and Scott. Megan as the young teenager who gave up her baby and Scott as the adoptive parent who doesn’t want to lose his son. There’s a twist in the story that may surprise you.
Also for the setting, I served as a Cub Scout and Webelos Scout leader for several years while my husband was the Cub Master. I even researched for this book while attending Cub Scout camp. It’s always fun to write something you have first-hand knowledge of.
Absolutely. How do you get to know your characters?
I use charts when I have an idea for a story. These include character information that helps me learn about my people beyond their physical appearance. Basic personalities are determined along with their goals, conflicts, fears, spiritual issues, and motivations. A characters background often makes them the way they are in the book. But to really get to know the characters, I need to place them in the story and let them show me what they are like as they react to their surroundings and the other characters.
What themes do you write about?
I seem to do a lot of writing on forgiveness. I’m not sure why? Maybe because I feel to forgive or to be forgiven is so important. Trust is another favorite of mine. I try to write whatever God has laid on my heart as it fits the story.
What is your writing schedule and where do you write?
My schedule is to begin writing by 9 or 10 in the morning until about noon. I start again in the afternoon for 3-4 hours. I don’t write on Sunday and find that usually at least one day during the week is filled with other activities with my family.
Lately, I’ve been writing at the desk on the desktop computer, but as colder weather creeps in, I’m finding more comfy surroundings with my netbook. The fun thing about a netbook is that it’ll go wherever I want it to except in direct sunlight.
It's great to have that versatility. Do you have to juggle writing with a job, family responsibilities or other obligations?
I can’t imagine many writers having total freedom to write when they want to without interruptions. I’m no exception. I have children, and even though they’re adults and only one lives close, they still need attention at times.
How do you balance it?
I plan on at least one day a week being taken up by my family. The day may vary, but if I know it’s likely to happen sometime during the week, I don’t mind it when it does. Other than that, I try to use the free time I have to good advantage. Not that I always do, but I try.
A wise way to handle it. Are you a plotter or a pantzer?
I’m definitely a plotter. How can you write a book if you haven’t already written the ideas down and worked them out so they fit together? LOL! I used to write with my sister—and never understood her. She sat down and started typing. She had very few notes, but could tell her story verbally because it was in her head. Not the details, just the basic story. I have my charts filled out before I open the Snowflake program and fill it in. Then I take the synopsis from it and begin re-working it, expanding it, and shuffling the order if I need to. Basically, I write my book before I ever begin writing the first draft.
That sounds like the way to have a tightly written book. Does your faith affect your writing? If so, how?
Yes, in everything I write, my faith in God and His unchanging love shows. I’ve thought about writing simple sweet romances without the spiritual message, but I’m not sure I could. I think you’ll find a message of faith in every one of my books. It may not be stand-in-your-face in every one of them, but it’s there.
What are you working on right now?
I am nearing the finish line of a book that I’ve written three times. I first wrote Cora several years ago and realized it was much too long to sell, so I set it aside. My first book was accepted for publication in February of 2001, and because of an unexpected slot opening, the publisher rushed it to the press in May only three months later. After that flurry of activity died down, I wanted to send something else - maybe Cora. I quickly cut Cora in half and it was published two years later in 2003. Now, with rights reverted, I am doing an intensive rewrite of the original story, adding about 30,000 words to my shortened version and changing the title. Love’s Tender Call hasn’t been sent out to another publisher yet, but I hope to do that sometime this month. I’ll let you know later how that turns out.
Sounds good! What would you be doing if you weren’t writing?
Right now I would be making quilts. I love to piece quilt tops as an expression of creativity. Each is different and there’s something so comforting about wrapping up in a quilt when it’s cold out. I’ve given finished quilts to fund raisers for various needs and some have brought a few hundred dollars, which I think is pretty neat. I’d never be able to sell them for that, yet they can serve a useful purpose in this way.
Is there anything else you’d like to tell us?

Gail, again I thank you for having me here. You have a wonderful ministry of introducing readers to authors. I’d like to invite everyone to visit me at my blog where you may find another favorite author in the interviews I’ve posted there. It’s at: http://www.mildredcolvin.blogspot.com/.  Also you can find me at http://www.infinitecharacters.com/, a group blog with four other authors. Now, if you don’t mind, I’d like to leave with just a short teaser from my book, Love Returned.
Great! Here's an excerpt.
Megan hung the last ornament on the tree and turned to find Scott standing two inches from her with a twinkle in his eye and a sprig of greenery in his hand. He held it above her head.
She backed up but stopped when a branch touched her back. “That wouldn’t be mistletoe, would it?”
He nodded, took a step forward and grinned. “None other.”
Surely he wouldn’t kiss her in front of Randy. She looked from one side to the other before finding Randy leaning against the doorframe watching. A huge grin brightened his face. A slow burn started in her cheeks.
“Scott!”
Her objection might as well have been a request for all the notice Scott took. He leaned toward her, still holding the mistletoe in place above her head.
“Aren’t you supposed to be watching the spaghetti?” Megan couldn’t get away. A step either way might knock the tree down.
Scott shook his head, coming ever closer. “Spaghetti’s ready. I took it off the stove.”
His smooth baritone surrounded her while his spicy aftershave drew her even closer. One more inch and she’d be in his arms. Warmth from his body reached for her, and she swayed. Then Randy giggled.
Scott dipped his head for a quick peck on her cheek and straightened laughing.
“Oh.” Megan’s cheeks flamed, and her pulse raced. Disappointment and relief warred inside.
“I’ll do better when there’s no audience.” Scott stepped back after his whispered promise.
Thanks for visiting, Mildred.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Looking Out the Window: Welcome Award-winning Author Darlene Franklin



 Award winning author Darlene Franklin     discusses writing and talks about Lone Star Trail, the first book in her new Texas series





Hi Darlene, it looks as though reading has been a big part of your life. Were you an avid reader as a child? What did you read?

My mother introduced me to the joy of reading as a young child (I can still quote large portions of The Cat in the Hat, which was fairly new when I was a child!) I graduated to Nancy Drew and the Hardy Boys, but by the time I was ten, I was bored with the children’s section of the library and started reading adult novels. I had a marvelous list of books you should read before college, and I read as many as I could. I went through my Charles Dickens’ phase as a high freshman and Thomas Hardy as a junior.
It’s always interesting to learn what inspires writers. What inspired you to write this particular book?
I have a tremendous interest in the multitude of immigrants who have made America what it is. My first book, Romanian Rhapsody, featured Romanian orphans; my first historical foray, Dressed in Scarlet (my BOTY-nominated novella from Snowbound Colorado Christmas), had an Italian hero. So when I looked at starting points for writing a Texas story, I was drawn to the German Verein of the 1840s.
Even one of my as-yet-unpublished books, Calm Before the Storm, deals with Korean immigrants!
Where do you get ideas for your books?
Ideas are everywhere. They come from things I see as I’m driving (a castle on a hillside in Kentucky inspired Plainsong and Knight Music, my two most recent Heartsong releases). The name of a place can spark an interest (although I haven’t sold any of those stories yet, lol). Often, a historical event sparks a book. It can be a natural disaster (hurricane, in Beacon of Love; worst blizzard in Snowbound Colorado Christmas); a war, a folk tale, any one of a number of things. I can learn a tidbit, like the story of Blanche Leathers, the first woman to be a licensed steamboat pilot; and that in turn sparks a story idea.
Are you a plotter or a pantzer?
I’m a bit of both. I start out with a synopsis that provides most of the basic framework. I add to that, scenes and chapters and even characters as the story develops.
Do you put yourself in your books?
I have to. I mean, they do all come out of my head and heart. But I know what you mean. When I imagine what emotions my characters might be feeling as I put them through their paces, their reactions often reflect how I think I might feel (or have felt!) Some of them, more so than others. I also usually write about places I have been, so they are based on first-hand observations.
What are you working on right now?
I am currently working on A Bride’s Rogue in Roma, Texas (scheduled for release next fall from Barbour). In Bride’s Rogue, my straightlaced Victorian heroine inherits a steamboat from the father she never knew—as well as the resident gambler.
That sounds like a fun book. Do you have any advice for aspiring writers?
Start with this: read, read, read and write, write, write. I just taught a workshop on settings. I read from four different books: Tolkien and Lewis (which might be considered classical literature), Nancy Pickard, one of my favorite mystery authors—and JR Moehringer’s memoir, The Tender Bar. The four titles suggest the breadth of my reading.
The other piece is this: Talent doesn’t matter as much as a thick skin, perseverance, and a willingness to learn.
Thanks so much for sharing with us, Darlene.


                                                 

About Lone Star Trail
  Lone Star Trail is the first book in a six-book series about the Morgan family, set in Texas in the 1840s. Jud Morgan runs the Running M Ranch near Victoria, Texas; he is immensely proud of his Texas roots. His father died in the war for independence from Mexico and then Comanches captured his youngest sister. He resists the arrival of the German immigrants (the Verein), since their aim is to create a “New Germany” on Texas soil.
Wande Fleischer is one of those German immigrants. Torn from her beloved native land, she faces disappointment on every side when her fiancé abandons her and she loses a sister to illness in the swamps of Carlshafen as soon as they arrive in Texas.
Can these two see past their differences to the love God has for them?

BIO
Award-winning author and speaker Darlene Franklin lives in cowboy country—Oklahoma—near her son’s family. She recently signed the contract for her nineteenth novel. She is also a prolific devotional author with over 200 devotions in print.
Visit Darlene’s blog at http://www.darlenefranklinwrites.blogspot.com/

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Looking Out the Window: Blog Award / Visit Sixteen Blogs

It's always an honor to have one's blog noticed by someone. I'd like to thank  Tracy Krauss at Tracy Krauss Expression Express  for giving mine an award. To visit her blog click on her blog's name or the picture.




I'm presenting the award to the following blogs. To visit them, click on their names.


The Balanced Writer
Laurean's Lore
ReginaAndrew'sBlog
JDP News
E. A. West Writing
Larry Hammersley
Inspirational Writer
Christian Regency 
Linda Weaver Clarke
Living The Body of Christ
Romantic Reflections
Life in an RV - The Roving Writer
Infinite Characters

To claim the award:

1. Thank the giver and link back to his or her site
2. Provide seven random facts about yourself
3. Pass the award to fifteen other blogs, let them know, and link to their sites
4. Copy the award logo and paste it on your site.

Seven Random Facts about me. Hmm. Let me see.
1. Two of my favorite Bible verses are from Matthew 22: 37 - 38, "Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: Love your neighbor as yourself..."
2. I like to swim
3. There isn't much better than watching the sun set over the ocean
4. Fish, especially fried, makes a great meal
5. I enjoy making flower arrangements
6. I've always loved to read and rarely find a book I don't like
7. My favorite sports to watch are college football and professional baseball




Monday, October 24, 2011

Looking Out the Window: Mystery Book Giveaway

VISIT LINDA WEAVER CLARKE'S  
HALLOWWEEN BOOK GIVEAWAY
OCTOBER 24 - 31
FOR A CHANCE TO WIN A MYSTERY ADVENTURE NOVEL!




Mayan Intrigue is full of adventure...Suspense..Romance...Humor...Intrigue
ABOUT THE BOOK
The jungles of the Yucatan, Mayan ruins, looters, a mysterious artifact, and a nosey reporter are focus of Mayan Intrigue. With a blend of mystery, suspense, and Julia’s curiosity, John and Julia find themselves on the run once again. The discovery of a priceless artifact soon puts Julia’s life in great danger. From valuable artifacts to shady businessmen, the Yucatan Peninsula becomes a dangerous vacation spot for John and Julia Evans.


                                                                                      

BOOK REVIEWS
Suko’s Notebook Review: “What starts out as a romantic trip quickly turns into a dangerous adventure among the Mayan ruins and jungles! Excitement prevails, and this book is full of mystery and suspense. Linda’s writing is lively and down-to-earth; she has the ability to make you feel as if you’re in these stories, along with John and Julia, trying to decipher the truth and escape from harm..”
Socrates Book Review: “Ms. Clarke’s descriptions easily transport the reader to Mexico. You really feel as if you are part of the story. Her words flow beautifully through each page of the book. Readers learn more and more about the beautiful relationship shared by John and Julia. Their commitment to each other is stronger than ever. With each book, these two become more like friends of the readers instead of book characters. I enjoyed this very much and am looking forward to the third book in this thrilling series.”

To win a book, leave a comment at http://lindaweaverclarke.blogspot.com/

LEARN MORE ABOUT LINDA AT
Welcome to the World of "Make Believe": http://www.lindaweaverclarke.com/:
Thoughts About Life & Writing: http://lindaweaverclarke.wordpress.com/

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Looking Out the Window: The Clash Tournament: Join the Fun and Games, Win Prizes

IT CONTINUES!!
HOP OVER TO CLASH OF THE TITLES FOR WEEK THREE, BEGINNING ON MONDAY, OCT. 24TH
READ THE EXCERPTS, PLAY THE GAMES, WIN THE PRIZES
Over the last year, there have been 
OVER FIFTY 
clashing author in twenty-four CLASHES, 
but only ONE can win the
LAUREL AWARD.

YOU decide which!


In the process, we invite you to repeatedly enter to win
THREE GIFTS A WEEK,
 including the GRAND PRIZE--
15 NOVELS


http://www.clashofthetitles.com/



PROMO VIDEO CREATED BY COTT ASSISTANT EDITOR, MICHELLE MASSARO

Monday, October 10, 2011

The Winner of And the Beat Goes On / More Books and Prizes

I put the names for And the Beat Goes On on pieces of paper and asked my husband to draw one.
He pulled out...drum roll...

Pam... Congratulations, Pam.

To enter to win more books and prizes visit the Clash of the Titles anniversary tournament. Click here or see below.

Tournament of Champions: Week One http://bit.ly/qB4Vkx Vote on the first clash, then play to win a
prize! #christianromance #books

Monday, October 3, 2011

Looking Out the Window: Author Tracy Krauss Talks About Her Books and Her Life as a Teacher





Tracy will be giving away a copy of And the Beat Goes On. To enter to win leave a comment and your email address.  

Hi Tracy. First, tell us a little about yourself.
I work as a high school teacher. I teach Art, Drama and English – all the things I love. My husband and I used to be in ministry but we are taking a sabbatical of sorts. Our four children are all grown up, but at one time I homeschooled them for several years. We dragged them around the countryside, moving about 15 times (I actually lost count) so it was a great solution. Besides writing, I paint, lead worship and play the piano at our church, and direct an amateur theatrical group. Life is full.
Full, indeed. Were you an avid reader as a child? If so, what did you read?
I loved reading as a child and I still do. I read all the ‘Anne’ books by Lucy Maude Montgomery, lots of Judy Blume, Beverly Cleary, and ‘The Adventures of ...’ Series by Thornton Burgess. Then I got seriously into Edgar Rice Burroughs and read all the ‘Tarzan’ books. (There are a ga-zillion …) My Star Trek addiction as a teen got me hooked on anything Sci-fi and to this day, Spec and Sci-fi are still my favorites.

                                          

Tell us about your latest book.
MY MOTHER THE MAN-EATER is the story of a forty-something cougar whose life gets very complicated, indeed. Her search for fulfillment leads to multiple boyfriends, trouble with her grown daughters (each with their own quirks), and an ex fresh out of prison looking for revenge. Dark secrets from the past begin to resurface and she finds herself in a twisted web of love, lust, lies and danger.
In three words describe your style of writing.
Edgy inspirational suspense
How do you get to know your characters?
I use my training in theater to really dig into my character’s motivation. I develop elaborate back stories that often don’t see the page, but help me to understand who they are and why they do things.
It’s great that you have training in theater. What themes do you write about?
So far my books have a very strong redemptive quality. I like characters that are kind of ‘bad’ – as in naughty – but then come to God. I like the idea that God is not prejudice. He sees the potential where people see the failure.
I like that idea too, Tracy. Do you have to juggle writing with a job, family responsibilities or other obligations? How do you balance it?
This is much easier now that my children are grown. However, I still struggle to fit some writing time into each day. I try to keep a schedule for both my creative writing and my online activity, but of course, one has to be flexible.
Are you a plotter or a pantzer?
I start with a plot, but then I let the ‘pants’ take over! I find a framework keeps me from losing sight of the goal and I don’t get frustrated by writing in circles, so to speak. However, fresh ideas always surface. Characters say or do unexpected things, a new idea crops up . . . then I just go back and revise the framework.
What are you working on right now?
I’ve actually got a lot going on. My third novel PLAY IT AGAIN is currently in production and should be out in November. It’s the prequel to my first book AND THE BEAT GOES ON, and is the story of Mark Graham’s parents – an ex rock and roll junkie and a stuffy accountant. (Mark Graham is the main character from the first book – an archeologist that finds evidence for creation but is threatened when he tries to share the truth.)
I’m also pitching another book about a small prairie town where ancient medicine resurfaces in the form of generational curses. It’s called WIND OVER MARSHDALE. I have about six other WIPs, too.
Is there anything else you’d like to tell us?
I love it when people stop by my blog or fanpage. My links are here:
Website: http://www.tracykrauss.com/
Blog: http://www.tracykraussexpressionexpress.com/
FB: http://tinyurl.com/Tracy-Krauss-Author-Fanpage
Amazon: http://www.kraussamazon.com/
Thanks for having me on your blog!
You’re most welcome, Tracy. It was fun.
About My Mother the Man-Eater
What’s a girl to do? Joleen Allen is on the hunt. For a man, that is. Unfortunately, every time the mother of five meets a prospect, he falls for one of her daughters instead!
Meanwhile, her ex-husband, Harold, is back in the picture after a stint in prison, and he’s looking for revenge. He’ll do anything to see Joleen’s reputation and her relationship with their children ruined. Harold has devised an elaborate plan to slander Joleen and ruin her financially, and will stop at nothing – even murder – to see it through.
At forty-four, Joleen has seen a thing or two. She became a mother at sixteen, and her five highly independent children are now grown. Jasmine is a successful ad executive, but has a drinking problem. Jill is a tough cop, while middle child Jennifer surprises them all with her tenacity. Jinger is a self-centered glamour girl, and the baby of the family, Jade, is utterly spoiled.
All the interesting men they meet get tossed around by this pack of barracudas. Adding to the mix are some drug deals, a kidnapping, insurance fraud, and secrets from the past, making life very complicated, indeed.
With grit, humor, action, intrigue and romance, My Mother the Man-Eater is a redemptive story about a woman whose search for meaning in life sends her straight into . . . the arms of God.
About Play It Again 
Sparks fly when an ex rock and roll junkie and a stuffy accountant rendezvous at a local resort, but neither are prepared for the emotional entanglements, family complications, and a threat from the past that unexpectedly resurfaces. Set in the 1980′s, this story brings two opposing forces together in a clash of romance and danger, while its musical undertones highlight the theme that God can turn anything into beautiful music.
About the Author
Tracy Krauss is a high school teacher by profession, and a prolific author, artist, playwright and director by choice. She received her Bachelor’s degree from the University of Saskatchewan and has gone on to teach Art, Drama and English – all the things she is passionate about. After raising four children, she and her husband now reside in beautiful Tumbler Ridge, BC where she continues to pursue all of her creative interests. Her first two books, AND THE BEAT GOES ON and MY MOTHER THE MAN-EATER, were both nominated for the ‘Indie Excellence Book Awards’ for religious fiction in 2011. A third novel, PLAY IT AGAIN, the much anticipated prequel to her first book, is currently in production. Tracy also has one stage play in print.

THE WINNER OF THE ARTISTOCRAT'S LADY

THE WINNER OF THE ARISTOCRAT'S LADY IS...

LAUREAN BROOKS.

CONGRATULATIONS LAUREAN!

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Looking Out the Window: Meet Love Inspired Author Mary Moore


Love Inspired author Mary Moore talks about her new historical book,  The Aristocrat's Lady. She'll be giving away a copy. To enter to win leave a comment and your email address.

Welcome, Mary. First, tell us a little about yourself.
I’m 54 years old and my husband, Craig, and I have been married for 27 years. We both grew up in the suburbs of Washington, DC, but 8 years ago we felt the Lord’s leading to move to our retirement property in southwest Virginia. I think we’re finally getting over the culture shock!
I’m glad you’re settling into your Virginia home. It’s always interesting to know what writers like to read. Were you an avid reader as a child? What did you read?
Yes, I’ve always loved to read. I confess I prefer fiction, but I do like biographies as well. I’m a Regency fanatic, and my favorite read has always been Georgette Heyer. I was aware of her even before Jane Austen, but my love for the era certainly took me to Austen as well as the Bronte sisters, Elizabeth Gaskill, etc. I still read all of them over and over again.
Why do you write?
It has always been for my own pleasure. I love each story when I’m finished with it, and I would read them over and over again as if I were a real author! I tried to get a manuscript published early on, but I knew nothing about it, so failed miserably. And it didn’t matter (too much) because I still had them to read with my favorites.

                                        

Tell us about your latest book.
It’s my first book, so I’m really excited about it. It is a Regency (duh!) about a woman that has a malady that she believes excludes her from love and marriage. She keeps it from everyone so they will not feel sorry for her or awkward around her. She meets an earl and likes him prodigiously and a friendship begins even though a friendship between genders is not a totally accepted thing then. As it turns into more than friendship, it makes it even harder to tell him the truth about herself, and when he eventually finds out, he turns from her believing she was trying to trick an him into marrying her. She feels rejected, he feels distrust, and it is up to their dependence on God to see whether any more could ever come of it.
It sounds as though this book has some interesting twists and turns in it. What inspired you to write it?
The idea intrigued me because it was unlike any Regency I had ever read. But in between the 15 years that I wrote it to now, I’ve had some of the experiences in the book and I think it became more personal to me and maybe more relatable to a reader. I was able to put a little more real emotion into some of the scenes, which made me realize how badly they were done back then. This was the first story I ever wrote, so I am closest to it.
In three words describe your style of writing.
Seat of my pants! (Sorry, that’s four!)
How do you get to know your characters?
You know, I know the kind of hero/heroine I like to read about. So when I come up with the story premise, I make the characters that I already like. I can usually make them fit into the story because I know them ahead of time. I don’t know what each one will look like necessarily, but I know attributes my hero/heroine should and would have, because they are based on what I like. And, since I am your ordinary book lover, I feel like my readers will get my characters and like them, too. I hope that is the case!
Do you have to juggle writing with a job, family responsibilities or other obligations? How do you balance it?
Oh my, yes! And I’m not doing it very well! I knew nothing about any part of the business end of writing. Finding an agent and going through the process of honing and polishing a work I thought was finished before it could go to a publisher. Then the work required once you’ve got a contract and your editor gives you a list of items to do to that manuscript I thought was finished. Did I mention the email “loops” that could take up an entire day if I let it? And putting my self “out there” has really been time consuming. So, when you add all of that to working PT and being very active in my church, you come up with a husband and a dog that are ready to mutiny!! I’m hoping, if I am blessed with another book, that now having been through the entire process, I can improve on my time management.
Does your faith affect your writing? How?
It does now, yes; greatly. When I wrote this book so long ago, Christian fiction was not popular. In fact, such books were few and far between. I didn’t know how much of my beliefs to put into the story or whether anybody else was interested in even reading “inspirational” stories. And I know now that all of this had to be in God’s timing. My level of maturity, in life as well as in my spiritual walk, was so far behind where I am now that it shows up so clearly when I look at the old stories now. I want my writing to be a ministry. I want my book to land in the hands of anyone God knows that needs that message. I admit, I’m not there yet…I enjoy it when someone tells me they love my book or I get a good review on Amazon…but in my heart I want it to be that God ultimately gets the glory.
What are you working on right now?
Now that all of the “book release” priorities have lessened, I am able to work on my second Regency. It’s constantly changing at the moment, but I’m really excited about it.
What would you be doing if you weren’t writing?
Reading! Seriously, in the time management issues I talked about earlier, I lost the time I normally had to just sit down and read a good book; especially one of those that you start and could keep reading straight to the end. That’s a luxury I didn’t have time for. But I plan to change that this time around so I can do both!
What is the coolest, wackiest, most risk-taking thing you’ve ever done?
White water rafting! It was as scary as I thought it was going to be, but it was so fun. Fortunately, it was a professional outfit, and we all had guides in our boats to tell us what to do. It was a blast.
That sounds like a neat experience.
Thank you so much, Gail, for the opportunity to meet some of your readers and let them get to know me a little better.
It was my pleasure, Mary.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Looking Out the Window: Writers and Readers Promoting Christian Authors

Tourney Banner 2

Happy Anniversary, Clash of the Titles!

It's been almost a year since COTT opened its voting-booth doors and invited everyone in. Over the past twelve months, readers have chosen 25 Clash winners and received 48 free books. And along the way, a family formed. That family consists of the voters, authors, staff, and the 25+ blogs who have banded together in mutual support with COTT.

This is cause for major celebration! So COTT is doing it up to the nines.

Clash of the Titles' first annual Tournament of Champions begins next month! Over the course of four weeks, past winners from the previous year will compete in a series of clashes for the ultimate prize: the Laurel Award. The Laurel, COTT's most prestigious honor, is awarded by public vote to a single author among the year's champions.

Voters are expected to turn out in droves to support their favorites and participate in games just for readers. Each week, COTT sponsors—consisting of various authors and staff—will issue fun challenges to readers along with the chance to win gift cards, critique services, a business card design, and more. A dozen sponsors are lined up for the event so far. That's a lot of prizes!

Throughout the month, details and updates on the Tournament of Champions will be shared on the COTT website and featured within the Blog Alliance. To help spread the word, please grab the special Tournament Button (below) to display on your site. Then send a link to your page to: contactcott at gmail dot com to enter the special COTT Shout-About drawing. The drawing will take place during the first week of the Tournament and the winner will receive a Clash of the Titles mug.

Please also consider Tweeting or sharing this article on your Facebook wall.
(it only takes a second--just click the share button.)

Mark your calendars and spread the word. This BYOV (Bring Your Own Vote) party begins on October 10th!









Michelle Massaro is the Assistant Editor of COTT and a writer of contemporary Christian fiction. Find her on Twitter @MLMassaro or Facebook.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Looking Out the Window: Welcome Staci Stallings

       
In her wonderful devotional Staci Stallings Shows Us How We Could
Be Like the Children in her Sunday School Class.

 Hiding the Obvious

Kids are fascinating. If you watch them, they will teach you very profound lessons about life and yourself.
A couple weeks ago in Sunday School, we did the infamous puzzle day. On that day we are talking about the Holy Spirit and how, if you let Him, the Holy Spirit can put your life together in such a way as to make it fit perfectly--not just for you but for everyone else too.
I have this puzzle that's the picture of Jesus hugging the person who's just come to Heaven. In the sky is a rainbow representing the Father. Also above Jesus' head is a dove. The puzzle is like 560 pieces. Since I'm not good with puzzles and we have to put the thing together with 40 different kids in about 30 minutes, I have put nine pieces in each of 63 bags and numbered them.
The idea is that each kid gets a "day's" worth of pieces--nine. They are to put those pieces together and then as I call out the number of their bag, they bring them up and I put them together. Then they go and get a new bag of pieces. Of course this is the ultimate lesson in working together because everyone is putting their own pieces together and then helping others who are trying to get theirs together as well. It's quite the class.
At the end of putting the puzzle together, there is a "trick." The Holy Spirit played it on me first, so I don't take credit for thinking it up. See, the first time we put the puzzle together, we got the whole thing done--and we were missing one piece (which we later found and put in a separate bag). That piece is right up in the sky, part of the Holy Spirit's wings, and it is really obvious when you get the thing together that one piece is missing. So, of course, one bag has only 8 pieces in it. But I don't tell them that. They expect the puzzle to be whole when it's finished.
Every year the kids freak out about the missing piece. Most of the time they all go on scouting duty around the tables trying to find it. This year, they took a different tack.
Now, I know there is one piece missing. They just don't know that I know.
Well, this year, that pesky bag with only eight could not be solved. The poor girl working on it was really good at puzzles but because of the missing piece, she was having a really hard time getting it together. Therefore, that section was the last one to be put in. In fact, several of the boys tried to "help" by putting it in piece-by-piece rather than as a completed section. That was interesting.
The thing is, everyone was around the table when the last piece went in, and guess what... it wasn't the last piece!
I'm not sure which student figured it out first, but as I was standing there talking, all of a sudden like 8 students had their hand on the puzzle. They were all trying to cover the missing piece, looking up at me as if nothing in the world were wrong with this picture. Like... "Maybe if we stand here and act natural she won't notice." What they didn't know is that they hadn't lost the piece at all. It was missing for a reason.
But isn't that just like all of us? We perceive that we have a "missing piece," and so we do everything in our power to cover that thing up so maybe no one will notice--especially God. What ends up happening is instead of making it less noticeable, we draw attention to it!
What pieces are you trying to cover up in your puzzle? Maybe, just maybe, there's a reason the Holy Spirit hasn't filled that piece in yet. One thing is for sure... He knows better than you that there's a missing piece. He knows where it is, and He knows where it goes. If you will trust Him and stop trying to hide the obvious, maybe together, you and He can fill it in. Otherwise, frankly, you just look a bit silly standing there with your hand over the puzzle like no one's going to notice you're trying to hide that missing piece.
(Copyright 2011)

BIO
A stay-at-home mom with a husband, three kids and a writing addiction on the side, Staci Stallings has numerous titles for readers to choose from. Not content to stay in one genre and write it to death, Staci’s stories run the gamut from young adult to adult, from motivational and inspirational to full-out Christian and back again. Every title is a new adventure! That’s what keeps Staci writing and you reading. Although she lives in Amarillo, Texas and her main career right now is her family, Staci touches the lives of people across the globe every week with her various Internet endeavors including:
Books In Print, Kindle, & FREE on Spirit Light Works:
http://stacistallings.wordpress.com/
Spirit Light Books--The Blog: http://spiritlightbooks.wordpress.com/
And… Staci’s website http://www.stacistallings.com/
Come on over for a visit…
You’ll feel better for the experience!
Connect with her on Twitter: @StaciStallings


AND THE WINNER IS...

THE WINNER OF HAILEE IS FAYE.
CONGRATULATIONS, FAYE!

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Looking Out the Window: Welcome Inspirational Historical Romance Writer Penny Zeller

Penny will be giving away a copy of her latest book, Hailee. To enter to win a copy leave a comment and your email address.


Hi Penny, welcome. First, tell us a little about yourself. Hi Gail! Thank you for hosting me on your blog. It’s great to be here! I am a wife, mom, and author of several books and numerous magazine articles. I also write a humor blog “A Day in the Life of a Wife, Mom, and Author” (www.pennyzeller.wordpress.com). I am an active volunteer in my community, serving as a women’s Bible study small-group leader and co-organizing a women’s prayer group. My passion is to use the gift of the written word to glorify God and to benefit His Kingdom. I devote my time to assisting and nurturing women and children into a closer relationship with God. However, all that being said, my greatest ministry is to, with my husband Lon, raise our two daughters for Christ. When I’m not dreaming up new characters for books, I enjoy spending time with my family and friends and camping, hiking, canoeing, gardening, and playing volleyball.

Sounds like you have a full life, and it’s great that you can bring us humor. Were you an avid reader as a child? What did you read? I was an avid reader as a child. I loved Nancy Drew and Trixie Belden mysteries and read every copy of those books I could get my hands on! I also loved The Little House on the Prairie series.
This is funny and not something I have shared much, but beginning when I was 10 years old, I also loved the romance stories in the back of “Good Housekeeping Magazine.” In those days, the stories were wholesome and I would sneak outside with my mom’s copy into our playhouse to read. I loved the stories because they would have pictures of the characters drawn by an artist with a little tidbit under each picture, such as, “Lydia thinks she’ll never love again – that is until James unexpectedly walks into her life…” I laugh when I think of those early days reading those stories! I suppose I have always been a romantic at heart!
I remember those days too. Tell us about your latest book.

Hailee is the third book in my Montana Skies Historical Romance Series, which began with McKenzie and Kaydie. Following is a short blurb:
For years, orphan Hailee Annigan was just a ragamuffin in the Cincinnati streets, stealing food to keep her two younger brothers fed. Her thievery landed her in a home for delinquent youngsters, where her life was changed, thanks to her teachers. Now, nineteen-year-old Hailee excitedly heads to Montana to be a teacher, yet she's still plagued by her shameful past and the fear of never seeing her brothers again.
Based on his upbringing in high-society Boston, no one would have guessed that Nate Adams would attend seminary and become a church pastor in rugged Montana. Even now, Nate's parents refuse to put aside their own plans for his future and accept his calling.
When their paths converge, an immediate attraction draws Hailee and Nate together, even as the pressures and demands of others pull them apart. Can the unlikely pair come to terms with their pasts and face the future together?
Watch a Trailer for HaileeI’m excited about the new trailer for Hailee, which was just produced and can be found at http://youtu.be/LEGoM43jtwA
Are you a plotter or a pantzer? I am definitely a pantzer! *grins*
Does your faith affect your writing? How? My faith influences my writing 100%. In November of 2000, I gave my writing to the Lord. I quit my fulltime job with a social services agency to stay home with my infant daughter. That was the start of my writing career, beginning with magazine articles in national and regional publications. I am humbled that God has called me into a ministry of writing.
Because faith plays such an important role in my writing, I love the opportunity it has given me to share Christ with others. Being able to talk about my career has opened the door to sharing the Gospel in countless ways.
What are you working on right now? Next on the agenda is my historical romance series set in the post-Civil War era. I recently completed the first draft of the first book and am hard at work on the second.
Do you have any advice for aspiring writers? God calls us all to do different things for His Kingdom. If He has called you to write, seek His guidance. Never give up, even when you feel like it or when someone has unkindly criticized you. Seek to please and honor Him in whatever you write, whether it is for the secular or the inspirational market; whether it be fiction, nonfiction, poetry, song lyrics, or a screenplay. Find a mentor and be open to ideas and suggestions from one who’s “been there, done that.” Join forces with other Christian writers. After all, we are all working for the same Boss.
I speak from experience when I say that when He closes one door, He opens a (much better) one and I firmly believe that if God calls you, He will guide you.
I give more tips for writers, including sticking with writing and how to prepare for a writer’s conference here: http://pennyzeller.wordpress.com/sticking-with-writing/
What would you be doing if you weren’t writing? If I wasn’t a writer, I would love to be a television talk show host for a Christian TV show. I think that would be a lot of fun!
Is there anything else you’d like to tell us? I love to connect with my readers at my website http://www.pennyzeller.com/
my blog http://www.pennyzeller.wordpress.com/,
on Twitter at http://twitter.com/pennyzeller, and
on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/pennyzellerbooks
where I post updates about new books, giveaways, events, making a difference in the lives of others, and Just-for-Fun Fridays.
Thank you again, Gail, for having me as your guest! I’m excited to see who wins the copy of Hailee.
It was my pleasure, Penny

Monday, September 5, 2011

Looking Out the Window: Announcing a Faith-Based Facebook Page

OPENING TODAY - LIVING BY GRACE

When Facebook first launched, articles saturated the web warning us of the dangers of internet relationships. Would society become more isolated? More selfish? Shallower? Would having a computer to hide behind teach us to create barriers or could the safe and constant access to others actually have a positive effect? Like most tools, the values of social networking depends on the user, but for me, a writer who spends countless hours each day shut inside my office, Facebook has provided a much needed window to the outside world. It’s allowed me to stay in contact with distant friends and has deepened many relationships I hold dear. Facebook has become a wonderful, vibrant, interactive community. What better place to launch a Christ-centered devo-group? Follow the link below:
https://www.facebook.com/pages/Living-by-Grace/208718449189065
 ABOUT LIVING BY GRACE
Living by Grace is a Facebook faith community where believers, seekers, and inquiring minds can pop in and out for a snippet of truth and a friendly chat. Each week, five other authors and I will post links to inspiring, challenging, or thought provoking articles which will serve as discussion launchers. It’s a time to connect and be renewed and we invite you to join us.
Living by Grace (LBG) co-host and inspirational fiction writer, Patty Wysong is excited to see how God will use our faith-based community. “For over a year I’ve had the idea of an online Bible study group in my mind and heart,” Patty says, “and Living by Grace is better than I’d hoped. Isn’t that just like God?! FB is a bit like the modern day well. It’s where people worldwide go to hang out and visit with friends.”
THE LADIES BEHIND LIVING BY GRACE

LBG co-host and inspy author Jessica R. Patch is looking forward to increased relationship building. “I’d love to see it become a place of sisterhood,” Jessica says. “A place, like Cheers, when you walk in you’re welcome and everyone knows your name. You’re important. You matter and you feel that way when you settle in. Okay, not the best analogy, but hey, you should feel more welcome at a devotional online community than a bar!”
      


LBG co-host, isnpy and devo author Maria Morgan expects our new faith community to create an atmosphere conducive to personal growth. “What an opportunity to see my own faith grow as I study God’s Word and rely on the still, small voice of the Lord to guide my writing,” Maria says. “And I look forward to being challenged by the posts of the other devotional writers. It's a true honor to be part of a team of godly women who are seeking to make 2 Peter 3:18 a reality: But grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and forever. Amen."

Co-host, faith and fiction writer, Joanne Sher, is a people-addict (in a good way). She’s looking forward to the faith-based interaction. “It’s easy to connect with folks on Facebook,” Joanne says. “You can have real conversations, and get to know others: their gifts, their needs. I’d love LBG to be a go-to place for folks looking to draw the Lord more into their lives—where we can examine our lives in connection to His Word, and learn from one another.”

Co-host, former missionary, and Bible-study-teacher extraordinaire, Lynda Schultz is looking forward to the opportunity to be stimulated challenged. “I want to meet new people who share my passion and rejoice in the journey they have taken to get to this "sweet spot" in their lives.” For me, co-host, Jennifer Slattery, I’m looking forward to getting to know some of my readers on a more personal level. I believe God’s love is exponential—the more you give it, the more you receive it. And I believe He never intended for us to go it alone. In fact, like a great grandparent who takes pleasure in seeing his children come together at family reunions, I believe God receives great joy when His children unite. And if God’s doing it, I want to be in it.
We hope you’ll join us Monday through Saturday for some great, Christ-centered posts and relationship building chats. Stop by today to meet me and my co-hosts, share your thoughts with us, maybe ask a question or two.
Who we are: Writers' Bios

Patty Wysong is an ordinary girl living the good life, the life God gave her. A home executive with over 20 years of experience, she homeschools three of her five children, but don't let that fool you. Much of her time is spent working on what God has placed in her hand: her keyboard. From the corner of her living room she writes inspirational fiction, devotionals, blog posts, and teaches online blogging workshops. You'll also find her drinking kool aid from her china cup, preparing for the ladies Bible study she leads, and helping at their church. Through her writing, Patty has found the extraordinary God in her ordinary life. http://www.pattywysong.com/
Joanne Sher is a Jew by birth, a Christian by rebirth, and a writer by gift. A native Southern Californian, she now lives happily in West Michigan with her husband and two school-aged children. She is a blogger and writer, of both true-life stories and fiction, attempting to ride God's grace over rough roads. http://www.joannesher.com/
Jessica R. Patch grew up in southern Illinois before attending Central Bible College, where she majored in Missions and Bible. She is devoted to her local church, having served as a Biblical Studies teacher, Women’s Ministry leader, Regional Women’s Representative, and volunteer co-pastor with her husband of the Young Adult Ministry. She’s taught workshops and frequently spoken to Women’s ministry groups. Her heart is to help women step out into deeper waters of intimacy with Jesus Christ. http://jessicarpatch.blogspot.com/
Maria I. Morgan is an inspirational/devotional writer, whose passion is to share the truths of God's Word with today's generation. She is a regular contributor to Around About Cumming, and Cumming Patch. You can visit her on the web Mondays and Wednesdays for a life lesson you can relate to. Maria resides in Georgia with her husband, Steve, daughter, Riley, their 2 dogs and 1 cat. http://www.mariaimorgan.blogspot.com/
Lynda Schultz is a "never-married." She has served in church ministry as Director of Christian Education in several Canadian churches. For the past thirty years or so, she has been a missionary with a Canadian Baptist mission and have served in Colombia and Venezuela, as well as on home staff. She is currently Director of Christian Education/Spiritual Formation in Timmins, Ontario and still works part-time with the mission in the area of communications. Lou Lou Belle and Abby are her Venezuelan cats who have returned to Canada with her. She likes reading, writing, but definitely not arithmetic, as well as cooking and plants. http://web.mac.com/lyndalee1,
http://lyndasgrainsofsand.blogspot.com/
and http://web.me.com/lyndalee1/Northern_Breezes



Jennifer Slattery writes for Christ to the World Ministries, the Christian Pulse and Samie Sisters. She loves seeing people experience the life-changing love of Christ. She believes no sin is too sinful, no heart to dark, no wound too deep when placed in pierced hands of Christ and she prays daily that her writing will allow others to catch a glimmer of God’s all-consuming love. http://jenniferlsatterylivesoutloud.com/.