Gail's Book Nook

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Looking Out the Window: The Writing and Wit of Jeanette Levellie.

Jeanette Talks about her new book, Two Scoops of Grace with Chuckles on Top. She shares an excerpt below: Can Preachers Have Sex on Sunday
She'll give away a free e-book or PDF download. To enter to win leave a comment with an email address.

Welcome, Jeanette.  Thanks for stopping by to talk about your writing and your new book. How did you get started writing for publication?
When my son was a baby, I wrote several poems for La Leche League, which they published in their international calendars.  I was thrilled to see my work in print, delighted that people all over the globe were reading it. LLL offered me a job editing the newsletter for our local region, but I turned them down, since I had two small children at the time, and wanted to devote all my time to them. When they were a bit older, I started writing for a large church’s daily devotional, and then my first article, Felines: Friend or Foe? was published by an educational magazine. Since then I’ve had hundreds of columns, articles, and stories published. Several of the columns I wrote for our local newspaper are included in my book, Two Scoops of Grace with Chuckles on Top.

Please tell us a little about the book.
 It is a light-hearted look at God’s enormous heart. I’ve taken 72 stories of everyday battles, brouhahas, & bliss, and added a touch of humor. My goal is to make you laugh, help you like yourself, and enable you to receive God’s love. I’ve aimed it primarily at Christians, but it has some “salt” sprinkled in it as well, to make pre-believers thirsty to know Jesus.

It sounds like a fun and inspirational read. Did you always want to publish a book?
 No. When readers of my newspaper column told me, “You should turn these into a book,” I said, “NO, I shouldn’t. That is hard work!” I was having fun with the column. I knew once I began pursuing publication, that I’d be committed to seeing it through. I didn’t want to have to work at it.  Not until my son suggested I should write a book did I seriously consider it. When I told him, “It could take me ten years to find a publisher and get a book on the shelves,” he said, “Well, you’re going to be doing something for ten years—why not this?” That did it. I began seeking the Lord, and He led step by step to where I am today.

 Thanks for sharing that neat story. Where do you find the inspiration for your books?
 Mostly from stupid things I’ve done or messes I’ve gotten myself into. I share what I’ve learned about God’s bottomless grace from my own misadventures. I also love to observe other people’s nutty behavior, and draw funny conclusions from those. Every happening and encounter in my life is a potential story to write about, and I see humor in nearly everything and everybody. So be careful if you ever hang out with me—I may use you in my next book!

 That would be unique. I don’t think I’ve ever been a character in a book. Since you work full-time outside your writing career, how do you manage your time?
 You said the secret word: manage. If I don’t manage my time, urgent things like finding a lost earring, perusing gourmet chocolate catalogs, and building a fence to put around my kitty litter boxes, distract me. When I first became serious about publishing a book, I decided to spend an hour a day writing. I’d come home from work, eat supper, then hide away in the computer room and write. I overrode my feelings, doubts, and distractions to stick to my plan. It is never easy to discipline your flesh, but it yields a harvest of blessing in the end. For me, that blessing is a published book.

 How long did it take you to write the book and find a publisher?
 You really don’t want to know that, do you? Okay. Since the book is partly a compilation of my newspaper columns, you could say it took me ten years to write it, since I’ve been a columnist since 2001. About half the stories, I wrote specifically for the book in the last three years. It took me almost a year to find an agent, and then another two years to find a publisher. I don’t want to discourage anyone by my long timeline. Everyone’s path is different.

How did you find your agent?
I went to the Write to Publish conference in Wheaton, IL. I did what they told me to do, and researched the staff ahead of time. I picked out Diana Flegal of Hartline Literary as my top choice, since she represented non-fiction writers, and she looked like a gentle soul. I had no idea she was also a pastor’s wife, like myself. When I met with her, we just clicked. It had to be the Holy Spirit guiding my steps, because she is the perfect agent for me. She gets my nutty sense of humor, and we’ve become great friends and prayer partners. But you really must do your homework on this one. It’s better to have no agent than a bad one. You can check out a potential agent on a website called Editors and Predators. Also, find out some of the authors they represent, and interview them.

 Thanks for the tips. How do you overcome writer’s block?
I write. It may look horrible on the screen, and I may need to revise all but two sentences in every paragraph, but at least I am putting words on the page. Eventually the creative waves crash to the shore and it’s no longer work; it’s fun. But I have to be willing to put my booty on the chair and write, even when I feel no inspiration and my brain feels like wood. I do it by faith. Oh, that’s another essential to overcoming writers block: prayer. In fact, it’s an essential to succeeding at anything. If God isn’t in it, why bother?

Do you pattern your writing after anyone?
I love Erma Bombeck and Phillip Gulley. Both have inspired me in my writing. But I try to keep my own voice, so people won’t say, “Oh, she read an Erma book right before she wrote that chapter.”

I’m an Erma Bombeck fan too. Does the humor in your writing come naturally, or is it hard?
Mostly it slips out when I’m not paying attention. I grew up in a sarcastic family, so I have to temper my humor a bit to make it funny, not snarky. But I love to make people laugh, myself included. I laugh harder at my own jokes than anyone else does. So, even if no one thinks I’m funny, I’m entertaining myself. I especially think it’s hilarious when I do something dumb.

 Why is that?
Because it humbles me, knowing that God uses me, ditzy doings and all. I know His grace is flowing through me, because I’m just not bright enough to pull off all the things that I’ve accomplished in my life. That feeling of God working in you in spite of you, is so delightful.

 What part does prayer play in your writing career?
 A big part. I can do nothing without Jesus. I know that. So I ask Him to open doors for me, and lead me to people that can help me, direct my steps, and give me words that will touch lives. With all the completion out there, I can’t expect that my little pea brain or my personality alone will get me where I need to be. It has to be God. I’ve asked Him repeatedly to help me achieve more than I am capable of on my own, and He’s not let me down.

 What is the best writing advice you’ve received?
 Three things: 1. Go to a writers conference. 2. Keep your bum in the chair and write. 3. Keep improving. Never say, “I’m as good as I’m going to be.”

What’s the worst writing advice you’ve ever received?
 If your husband does not understand the writing life, ditch him. That is so stupid.  It’d be like a chocolate pie throwing away her crust and whip cream—she’d be foundationless and naked! Although my husband is not fond of my writing style—he prefers deep, theological studies—he loves me and believes in what I’m doing. I’d be an idiot to turn my back on him simply because he’s not my biggest cheerleader. Most of who I am as a person and a Christian is what I’ve learned from his example, or from having to put up with his annoyances. He gives me great writing material!

 LOL. Do you have a favorite food and drink of choice to sustain you while you write?
Occasionally a dark chocolate or four, and I drink mostly water.
You love to laugh, but what makes you cry?
 You don’t have time for the long list. But the top ones are: kids who suffer, teenage prisoners, broken lives, needless hate, and my own rebellion.

Watch a video

An Excerpt
Can Preachers Have Sex on Sundays?
(Excerpted from Two Scoops of Grace with Chuckles on Top ©2012 Jeanette Levellie, published by Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas)

When our son, Ron was in his preteen “girls are gross” stage, the word breast embarrassed him. For several months, I accommodated him by calling chicken breasts “chicken chests” when I served them. In my opinion, using a different name drew attention to them, but I was trying to respect his modesty.

A few people are not so respectful of intimate issues. As we were leaving a party one Saturday night, someone asked me what we were going to do the next day.

“Oh, the usual,” I replied. What do preachers usually do on Sundays? I thought.
The wannabe comedian then asked, “Can preachers have sex on Sundays?”

“Sure,” I said, “as long as it’s with their spouse.” And if the kids aren’t home.
When our kids were toddlers, the friends in Mr. Roger’s Neighborhood made great babysitters from time to time. On rare occasions, we saved up for a special night in a nearby motel. Relatives kept the kids overnight, and we felt like honeymooners. When Esther and Ron were old enough to stay alone a few hours, we’d sneak off for a drive at dusk, then park somewhere to sit and talk. And other stuff.

One night we were not doing any other stuff, simply visiting. I was on my side of the seat, leaned against the passenger door, facing my husband. We’d chosen a quiet, industrial neighborhood to park in, so few cars passed.

Suddenly, a police officer stood at Kevin’s window, his flashlight targeting our faces. Kevin’s hand trembled as he rolled down the window.

“Yes?” he managed to croak.

“I saw you sitting here, and thought I’d check to see that everything is all right.” The officer leaned down,  making eye contact with me. “You okay, ma’am?”
“Yes, I’m fine. We were only talking.” I said.

“Okay, just wanted to be certain. No problems? You sure?” His gaze held mine, his eyes serious but kind.

Hoping he didn’t notice my face turning the same color as the light on his patrol car, I nodded and smiled. That seemed to satisfy him, and off he roared.

The following day, I called the L. A. Police Department, thanking them for their diligence. I explained how protected I felt the previous night. The sergeant in charge was shocked.

“Most people resent it when a patrolman checks on them, and they call to complain about the invasion of privacy.”

“Well, we were parked in an industrial district. That’s not exactly private. And the officer who questioned us didn’t know we were married, and just needed to get away from our kids for a while!” He chuckled appreciatively. I’ll bet he had kids of his own.
After we hung up, I grinned in satisfaction and thought, I enjoy making someone’s day. Maybe I’ll invite him and his wife over for dinner one night. I’ll serve them my special recipe of chicken chests…

Two Scoops & a Sprinkle

 It’s okay that your older kids know you enjoy an intimate relationship, as long as you set boundaries on how much they know. TMI (too much information) can be unhealthy for children and teens.

 Turning off the phone at certain times is a way to show your spouse that they take priority over work and friends. If you allow calls any time of day or night, your sex life may suffer.

 Finding creative ways to get off alone adds pizzazz to your marriage.

Buy Links for Two Scoops of Grace with Chuckles on Top

Barnes and Noble

Learn More about Jeanette on Her Facebook Pages
Jeanette's Page
Jeantte's Author Page

Monday, August 20, 2012

The Winner of Tapestry of Trust

I mixed up the names and drew one yesterday!

Drum roll....

Congratulations to Danielle Thorne!

Monday, August 13, 2012

Looking Out the Window: Mary Annslee Urban Tells Us About Tapestry of Trust, Her New Release and Her New Christmas Book Coming Out This Fall

Mary Annslee will give away a copy of Tapestry of Trust. To enter to win leave a comment with your email address. Mary Shares the first chapter of Tapestry of Trust below.

Welcome Mary. First, tell us a little about yourself.
I’m a wife, mother, grandmother, nurse, author and most of all child of God! I live in Charlotte, NC. When I’m not writing, I work part-time as a behavioral health RN. I also love to travel, cook, have lunch with friends and spend time with my family.

Many readers are interested in what motivates authors to write. If you would, share with us why you write.
It is a passion. I love watching my characters come to life and the story about them evolve.

Tell us about your latest book.
My latest book, She Came to See the Snow~A Colorado Christmas Romance, is a story about a young reporter who goes to visit her grandparents for Christmas. She's ready to relax and enjoy beautiful scenery and snow. What she doesn’t expect is to be swept off her feet by her grandparent’s neighbor and his three year old daughter. A story of rising beyond the fears of the past and moving forward together into the future.

Congratulations on another new book. Christmas will be here before we know it. What inspired you to write this particular book?
I love a cozy Christmas story.

As for writing in general, where do you get ideas for your books?
First I come up with characters, then write a story around them.

In three words describe your style of writing.
Romance, witty, wholesome

What themes do you write about?
Inspirational romance. Finding love, overcoming life issues.

What is your writing schedule and where do you write?
I have an office in my home and I write whenever I have a moment. Much of the time late into the night.

Are you a plotter or a pantser?
Pantser absolutely. Although I have an idea of where I want the story to go, how I get
there is always an unknown journey.

Does your faith affect your writing? If so, how?
All of my writing reflects Christian values. My characters do or learn to depend on the
Lord. I am eternally grateful that the Lord allows me to write and has opened the door
to be published.

Do you have any advice for aspiring writers?
Believe in yourself. Allow the Lord to lead your path.

What is the coolest, wackiest, most risk-taking thing you’ve ever done?
When my husband and myself were adopting our daughter, I flew down to Lima, Peru with my aunt during a very volatile time in the country. When we arrived even the taxi driver told us to go home. The lights in the city had been turned off because of riots and there were water cannons in front of our hotel. But, I couldn’t leave, my baby daughter was waiting to meet me.

That's a touching story. Thanks for sharing it and for spending time with us.

About Tapestry of Trust
Surrendered Hearts—Interwoven Grace Isabelle had always envisioned Charlie Hamilton as the hero depicted in the romantic tapestry hanging in the Hamilton home. Then Charlie abandoned her to make decisions no one should make alone. Now, six years later, Charlie’s back, and despite Isabelle’s best efforts, she can’t ignore the longing his presence reignites. Charlie wants a second chance, but can Isabelle trust the man he’s become? Can she surrender her threadbare heart long enough for God to weave Isabelle's own happily-ever-after tapestry?

Buy Tapestry of Trust at Amazon and Book Strand

Chapter One
Isabelle Crafton’s breath stilled at the sight of the man standing on the other side of the doorway. No. It couldn’t be.
Charlie Hamilton. His name clattered in her head as his gaze held hers. The traitor she’d spent the last six years trying to forget.
Unable to move, unable to wrench her gaze away, she bit her lip to keep from gaping. No longer the gangly soccer star who’d scored the winning goals in high school, broad shoulders now filled his tailored suit, his face square and chiseled, and those eyes… Would she ever forget those eyes? Dark and warm. Once as soothing as sipping hot chocolate on a blistery winter’s day.
“Isabelle, I can’t believe it’s you.”
She blinked and looked away, her heart pounding. Get a grip. After all, his visit presented one redeeming quality. He was holding her cat.
She lifted the feline from Charlie’s arms. “There you are Humphrey, you had me so worried. Bad kitty!” She scolded him the way she’d love to scold Charlie, but held back. Her roommate Kate, was in the apartment and well within earshot. “Charlie, thank you.” She forced her voice to remain calm.
“You look great.” He smiled, brushing cat hair from his jacket.
Likewise. She scrunched Humphrey closer. “You found my cat. I’ve been so worried. I’m not sure if you remember Humphrey, but he’s deaf.”
Charlie nodded. “He was hanging out in the drainage ditch near the parking lot. The woman in the office told me who lost a cat. She offered to return him, but I had to see if it was really you. And here you are.” He opened his arms and stepped closer.
Unexpected emotion clogged Isabelle’s throat. Swallowing hard, she grabbed the knob and pushed the front door halfway shut, blocking his entrance into the apartment. How dare he act like nothing had happened between them? “I must say, you’re the last person I expected to see.” The last person she wanted to see.
For a moment, their eyes clashed. The corners of his lips curved up. “Yes, a nice surprise. It’s been a long time, Isabelle. Too long.” His gaze drifted from her face to the furry bundle in her arms. “I should have recognized Humphrey.”
Surprise? Yes.
Too long? A lifetime wouldn’t be long enough. And why would he recognize her cat? He hadn’t been around since Humphrey was a kitten.
Isabelle eased the door within a couple inches of closing. “See you around, Charlie.” Except for a discreet glance through lowered lashes, she kept her gaze averted, cuddling the cat closer to her face.
“Isabelle, wait.” Charlie pushed against the door. “Tell me how you’ve been. What are you doing here in Austin?”
Isabelle froze and peered at him through the space he’d created. She wanted to tell him she’d graduated from college and was doing fine without him. Raking her fingers through Humphrey’s knotted fur, she tried to transform bitter thoughts into a civil response. A beat passed, then another. “Not much to tell. Just working,” she blurted finally after what seemed like eons.”
“She teaches second grade at McGee Elementary,” Kate bellowed from behind her. “We came here last year after graduating from East Texas.”
Thanks, Kate. Isabelle sucked in air to hold back a sigh.
A dimple flashed in Charlie’s cheek. “Isabelle, congratulations.”
Her heart gave a little leap despite her efforts to control it.
“The man is trying to make conversation.” Kate breezed up beside her and squeezed her arm.
“I’m sorry. I just don’t have time to chat right…” Isabelle’s words faded in defeat, as Kate swung the door wide open.
“It would be nice to catch up, Isabelle.” Charlie shifted even closer. He sunk his hands into his trouser pockets.
She caught a scent of his cologne, tickling her nose. Something, clean and fresh like…Stop it. Isabelle blinked. What was she doing? She tightened her arms around Humphrey and backed away, doubling the distance between them.
How could she ever forget?
Eighteen… and pregnant. She ground her teeth. Life before Jesus. Shaking her head, she pushed out a weary breath. “Who knows when Humphrey ate last? I better feed him.”
As if on cue, Humphrey let loose a scraggly meow.
“Isabelle, so good to see you.”
Charlie’s gaze narrowed, and she was struck by the unexpected intensity. Perhaps he had regrets. Well… so did she.
“Let’s talk soon.”
She started to answer, to tell him to forget about her, but why bother. Her response would only fuel more conversation. “Again, thanks for finding Humphrey.”
“No problem. I look forward to catching up with you soon.”
She ignored the comment and stalked out the entry and into the kitchen. Maybe, Charlie would pick up on her hint and take a hike himself.
Isabelle set Humphrey on the floor, stretched on tiptoes, and yanked open the cabinet over the stove. She grabbed the plastic container of cat food and poured fish-shaped morsels into a bowl. With whiskers twitching, the cat licked his forepaws and stared up at her. She crouched and set the bowl in front of him. “I’m glad you’re safe.” She pulled a twig from his fur.
Even at this distance, Isabelle could hear the conversation in the entry. She glanced at her watch and sighed when Kate burst into a hearty laugh. Didn’t Charlie have somewhere to be?
“I can’t believe you’re in graduate school with Mark.” Kate’s voice lifted.
Isabelle rolled her eyes. Perfect.
“Yeah, he’s in my study group this semester. Nice guy.”
“I think so, too.” Kate giggled. “This is such a busy semester for him, with our wedding and all. I can’t wait until he’s finished.”
“I’m right there with you. School can’t end soon enough for me either.” A pleasant chuckle trailed Charlie’s words.
“So, you graduate in May, also?”
Grad school. Lucky Charlie. No hiccups in his life. No change of course. Unlike hers, whose life made a U-turn when she got pregnant and spun further out of control when she’d lost the baby. Their baby. Isabelle shook her head. Why Charlie? Why couldn’t you have— She flinched. History, she reminded herself. One she wanted to forget.
The kitchen started to feel stuffy. She pushed to her feet and slid open the window above the sink. Fresh air blew against her face. Who cares when Charlie graduates anyway? Their life together ended years ago. She pinched dead leaves off the potted ivy meandering across the windowsill.
A moment passed, then another. She inched toward the doorway. She cocked her head and gnawed on an already too short fingernail, reassuring herself Charlie no longer meant anything to her.
“I’ve been working at my gir―, uh, friend’s father’s marketing company in San Marcos. After graduation, I’ll be a director there.”
Isabelle slapped her hands over her ears. She braced herself against the counter before her wobbly knees gave out. Of course, he had a girlfriend. After six years, people moved on.
Well, most people.
Even as the thought crossed her mind, she shook her head. The last thing she wanted was Charlie to be privy to how boring her life had become. Not that her boredom had anything to do with missing him. Straightening, she lifted her chin. She’d just been busy, that’s all.
Still, why, out of the hundreds of people in their apartment complex, did he have to be the one to find her cat? She picked up the cat food container and shoved it back into the cabinet. Humphrey crunched his meal on the floor next to her. Snagging a deep breath, she grabbed a dishcloth and ran circles across the already spotless counter. Then she jerked open the refrigerator door and yanked old take-out containers from the shelves. If she had to be stuck in the kitchen, she might as well get something done.
Charlie’s tone rose above the trilling grind of the garbage disposal. “Tell Isabelle good-bye for me. I’ll catch up with her soon. Oh…and make sure she lets Sadie in the office know to take the sign down now that Humphrey’s home safe.”
That did it. Isabelle thumped her hands on the counter and opened her mouth to shout a retort, but no words came—only tears. Charlie hadn’t changed. Still trying to take care of things. Why wouldn’t she tell Sadie? Who did he think put the sign up in the first place? She clenched her left fist, nails digging into her palm. Six years ago she’d asked for his advice, and he had nothing of value for her. In fact, he had nothing to say about the matter at all.
Squaring her shoulders, she wiped hot tears and resisted the rush of illogical nostalgia parading through her. No, she wouldn’t look back. Instead, she slammed her eyes shut and prayed—for God’s grace.
Charlie climbed the stairs to his second floor apartment, trying to sort through the whirlwind of emotion warring inside him. Facing Isabelle and her lukewarm reaction after all these years served only to remind him―he’d messed up. Big time!
Procrastination. Ten days he’d pondered. Ten days too long.
He couldn’t blame Isabelle for her coolness. Their years apart had taken care of that. Then again, wouldn’t she think he might harbor some resentment? After all, she’d never answered his calls or letters.
Melancholy swept through him in the wave of a memory, tugging at his already tight chest. He thought about the message from his mother, via Isabelle’s aunt. A miscarriage and Isabelle wouldn’t be coming back. His breath grew shallow. He would have been there for her if only he’d known her whereabouts.
Charlie opened his apartment door and trudged inside. Despite the angst tumbling in his gut, he couldn’t help but think how unbelievable it was that Isabelle lived in the same complex, and he’d found her cat. Coincidence? He flung his keys on the table and shrugged off his jacket. He knew better than that.
No longer concerned with his hunger, he leaned against the counter and rolled the quandary around in his head. He could have said something more to Isabelle, reminded her of the good times. Reminded her they were young, but with her roommate there, that might have only made things worse.
Isabelle. He worked his finger over the stubble on his chin. The woman he’d loved for the better part of his youth. He had to admit those feelings still gripped his core. It only took a few shallow relationships, especially his last, to remind him what he’d lost when he lost Isabelle.
As he stood alone in his kitchen, he couldn’t help but replay the what if’s and if onlys, wondering what life would be like if he and Isabelle hadn’t compromised and if fear hadn’t gotten the best of him. No! He slammed the brakes on that train of thought.
Despite lingering regrets, a grin tugged at his lips. He hadn’t seen a ring on her finger. Maybe it was time to put history behind them and get reacquainted.
He scratched his head. An intriguing thought, but from her cool reception he doubted she wanted the same.

Monday, August 6, 2012

Looking Out the Window: Meet Nora St.Laurent, Founder and CEO of The Book Club Network. Join the Big Birthday Celebration Give Away -- Ten Books a Day During August

Nora St.Laurent, the founder and CEO of The Book Club Network, talks about  the book club, her dyslexia, and her inspiration for becoming an avid reader.

Big Birthday Celebration

TBCN’s Having a Huge Birthday Bash during August! They’re giving away ten books a day.

Hi Nora, welcome. We can’t wait to hear about TBCN. What inspired you to start TBCN?
The Book Club Network was born out of a desire to share Christian Fiction authors with other book clubs, share book club ideas with other leaders and to encourage the authors who are writing such amazing books. The economy has been really tough for a few years and people are not parting with money like they used to. Through TBCN they can take their time and find the right book or win it. We have give away opportunities each month. ALL of our contests are from the 19th – 21st of the month.
I run two face to face book clubs one at the Christian Book Store I work at and the other at the church I attend. It’s a position I never imagined I’d be in since I didn’t read for pleasure much before I started working in a Christian book store 11 years ago.
But since I love talking with people and the main thing to talk about in a book store is books I started reading Christian Fiction (publishers sent ARC copies to our store and I started checking them out) The first book that rocked my world and got me hooked in Christian Fiction was a book by Linda Nichols called Not a Sparrow Falls her next book did me in and I couldn’t stop talking about it, At the Scent of Water was her next book that prompted me to contact the author and let her know how much her book touched my spirit.

After reading these two books and telling customers about these reads I had a reason to read.  These books spoke to me because I wasn’t expecting it. It reminded me of the stories in the bible. Jesus is the greatest story teller and He knew a story could change a life or prick our spirit and move us in a direction we never thought we’d be in.
I tell you all that to say I’m dyslexic and I have not been a fan of reading. Movies were more my thing. I could watch a movie of a book and have a lot more fun. Reading Christian Fiction changed my life in more ways than one.  I wanted to tell everyone about the greatest book I read, and I’d do that at the book store.  It was possible to talk about the new book I read and loved for about a month or more but when At the Scent of Water and Not a Sparrow Falls were not on the shelf anymore, I had to find some other books to talk about at work.  I’m not a very fast reader so; discovering the next new book was a challenge. Would I get the book read before it disappeared from the shelf?  How long do books live on a book shelf? The shelf life of a book was a mystery to me and still is.

I was whining to my husband, Fred, about my problem. How can I get the word out about great books for a very long period of time??? Being a man who likes to face challenges head to head we began to talk about how we could do this and the fact that I can’t read books fast enough to keep up with it’s shelf life at the store.

I also told him as a book club leader I wanted to promote great books and share them with other groups. Not everyone has the advantage of working at a book store to see what new books hit the shelves each week. Another struggle I had was if I had an author speaking at my book club I wanted to share them with other book clubs in the area. How could I do that? Where are book clubs meeting?

Our answer to many of these questions and more was the birth of The Book Club Network - TBCN. Connecting authors to book clubs and readers to their books; it’s also a network of book clubs as they post what they’ve read and how the meeting turned out.

It’s a place to find where a book club is located. We have a member map where you can find a book club near you. Message them and see if they are accepting new members. I envision it to be similar to the Weight Watchers program (don’t laugh. Grin). You can go to a meeting anywhere in the country right? All you have to do is look on line and get connected. This is my hope for the future of TBCN.
Have there been any surprises for you @TBCN? What benefits have you seen by bringing readers and authors together?

Author Reader Interaction

I’ve been encouraged and fascinated by our growth. I can see there were other people out there like me wanting to connect with other book club members.
I’ll tell you what has surprised me is the author/reader interaction each month. This is something I didn’t foresee as I’ve watched. The authors are having a blast interacting with the readers and visa/versa. The beauty of this discussion is it’s there forever for all to read no matter when you join TBCN.

The authors have done a great job coming up with questions for readers to answer that give them a peek into their book – create interest and then the discussion helps book club leaders connect with the author. I’ve been pleasantly surprised at the amount of authors that want to be featured @The Book Club Network. It’s been a great thing.
The interaction with the authors is almost like having a book club meeting on line. It’s a huge benefit for both the authors who’ve wanted to ask clubs questions and readers who want to get to know authors. The authors are catching on. Our sponsors have loved the interaction as well. Members have told me that they love the author interaction from the 19th-21st as much as having a chance to win all these books. It’s hard to know if a book will be a fit for your group so these interaction times are helpful for that and so much more. Another thing I love about TBCN members is the fact they are not afraid to share what they think in a good way. I’ve learned so much and laughed out loud in some discussion where the questions lead to sharing funny moments.

My hope is that book club leaders and/or members participate in the discussions and make that book connection with the author and their book. I want TBCN to be a tool for them in picking out their books. Maybe invite the author to speak to their book club on the phone. It’s my hope. The discussion will be there forever. No worries about a books shelf live here @TBCN. So, everyone has time to get to know each other!! It’s a beautiful thing!

How can readers join in the anniversary celebrations?
It’s easy to sign up to be a member of TBCN.  We ask a few questions for you to answer and for other information that helps us keep spammers and other information seekers out of the network. It’s also FREE. You have opportunities to win lots of books. For our BIRTHDAY BASH we are giving away 10 books a day and announcing winners once a week. You’ll have all week to enter the daily featured contests.

Do you have any other comments for my readers?
 If you are avid reader this is the place for you to learn about the latest in Christian Fiction and interact with the author each month.

Are you a book club leader? Well this is the place for you to find your next book club pick. We’d also love for you to set up your Book club page at our site for others to see. It’s a place to share your latest featured book. Post pictures of your club and the field trips you’ve taken. The authors you’ve met and the book fun you’ve had. Learn from other book clubs that have already set up their pages.

Want to start a book club but felt it was too overwhelming? You can learn from other experienced book club leaders, and you can start right away making your book club list!

Do you like to win books? This is the place for you. You’ll have a chance to get to know the authors and their books and read genre’s you normally wouldn’t. We’ve been giving away about 100 books a month and for our birthday bash it’s going to be 10 books every day; starting August first. Winners are picked weekly and announced each week.

Nora's Bio:
Nora Stlaurent’s Bio: Nora is the CEO of The Book Club Network Incorporated. Nora and her husband run The Book Club Network She runs two book clubs near Atlanta, Ga., Former ACFW On-Line Book Club. Nora currently writes a Book Club column for the Christian Fiction OnLine Magazine and is a Book Club Talk Columnist for Novel Rocket. You can read author interviews on her Finding Hope Through Fiction blog, located at, and reviews around the web at The Christian Pulse Mag, Title Trakk, Novel Reviews, and Suspense Zone.

THANK YOU! You’ve been a grand host to have me here and let me talk about The Book Club Network and our Birthday Bash!! I hope to see you there @TBCN
You are a Blessing!!
Nora :o)
The Book Club Network CEO

It was my pleasure, Nora.