Gail's Book Nook

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/.