WHAT'S IT GOING TO BE?

What book should you read next? What words should you write next? Whether you're a reader, a writer, or both, you need look no further for ideas and pointers to help you make up your mind. You might even get your next book for free--and signed by the author!

Sometimes I even give away my own novels. My Inspirational romances and devotionals are pictured below and are detailed on my Books page. You can always count on a trace of humor in my novels and nonfiction. Whether you're a teen or a woman mature in years, I think these stories will ring true.

Read on, and discover some of today's most appealing Christian novelists, their latest books, and their words of wisdom and imagination. Enjoy!

Sunday, August 31, 2008

Free Book and September Releases!

Happy Labor Day to all. By way of celebrating, I'm going to give away a signed copy of Beach Dreams to someone who leaves a comment below, and/or subscribes to my blog in the box at right. Include your email, in case you win, like so: trish[at]trishperry[dot]com. If you're already subscribed, you're automatically entered into the drawing, but posting below will enter your name an additional time.

I'll draw a name and announce the winner on September 25!

If you're looking for ideas about what book(s) to read next, take a look at the books releasing this month by Christian authors!

1. A Bride by Christmas by Linda Goodnight, Kelly Eileen Hake, Vickie McDonough, Therese Stenzel from Barbour. In an era when a single woman had little hope of support and security outside marriage, four young women find themselves talked into weddings on the eve of Christmas celebrations.

2. A Connecticut Christmas by Janet Lee Barton, Rhonda Gibson, Gail Sattler, Diane Ashley from Barbour. Snowbound Village, Connecticut, is full of holiday charm, especially at the mall’s Christmas Collectibles Shop where romance is in the air.

3. A New Joy, Book 2, New Hampshire Brides by Susan Page Davis from Heartsong Presents. Returned from captivity in Canada, Jane is sure she doesn't want a husband--until trapper Charles Gardner comes courting.

4. A Passion Redeemed, Daughters of Boston Series, Book 2 by Julie Lessman from Revell. A Passion Redeemed is the sequel to a sweeping saga of a close-knit Irish family in 1919 Boston, continuing the struggle between two sisters who love the same men.

5. A Time To Heal by Linda Goodnight from Steeple Hill Love Inspired. A burned out physician returns to her home town to rethink her future and encounters the high school sweetheart with whom she shares a painful secret.

6. Alaska Brides: Golden Dawn/Golden Days/Golden Twilight by Cathy Marie Hake, Kathleen Y'Barbo, Mary Connealy from Barbour. Trek into the wilds alongside three women who have strong faith, determination, and no need for a husband.

7. An Unexpected Love Book 2 in the Broadmoor Legacy series by Tracie Peterson and Judith Miller from Bethany House Publishers. Sophie Broadmoor sets out to find love on her own terms only to realize that life often deals you unexpected obstacles.

8. At His Command Homecoming Heroes Series Book 3 by Brenda Coulter from Steeple Hill Love Inspired. A disabled combat helicopter pilot comes to terms with his new life as he falls for a troubled but outwardly cheerful Army nurse who has adored him for years.

9. Back to Life Second in the Series of 2, "The Trophy Wives Club" by Kristin Billerbeck from Avon Inspire. What happens when you become a 35-year old widow? And your husband's first wife comes into your life to join you in mourning? Lindsay Brindle is about to find how to get "Back to Life".

10. Courting Miss Adelaide by Janet Dean from Steeple Hill. Charles Graves believed his heart was closed forever, but he swore to stand by Adelaide Crum, the lonely woman who was fighting for the right to love a motherless child.

11. Family of the Heart by Dorothy Clark from Love Inspired Historical. Sarah Randolph knew her heart was safe from romantic entanglement with her new employer Clayton Bainbridge. Who could abide a man who would not even look at his toddler daughter?

12. I Have Seen Him in the Watchfires, Stand alone sequel to William Henry is a Fine Name by Cathy Gohlke from Moody Publishers. As Civil War rends his family and the nation, seventeen-year-old Robert vows to rescue his estranged mother and the girl he loves from behind enemy lines.

13. It's Not About Me by Michelle Sutton from Sheaf House. When tragedy strikes in a young woman's life, two brothers fight to win her heart, but will she let the Lord heal her soul?

14. John 3:16 by Nancy Moser from Tyndale House. Roman Paulson hates God, and yet . . . circumstances spur him to hold up a "John 3:16" sign at a football game--and lives are changed, including his own.

15. Lonestar Sanctuary Lonestar Series Book 1 by Colleen Coble from Thomas Nelson. A young woman and her daughter flee danger to a ranch for abused horses.

16. Loving Cee Cee Johnson by Linda Leigh Hargrove from Moody Publishers/Lift Every Voice. In this sequel to The Making of Isaac Hunt, reporter Cee Cee Johnson discovers the true meaning of love and forgiveness.

17. Lying on Sunday by Sharon K. Souza from NavPress. When your husband dies in another woman’s bed, you can get down, get mad or get on. Abbie Torrington does all three, then discovers her real life is about to begin.

18. Rhapsody in Red by Donn Taylor from Moody Publishers. A history professor with musical hallucinations and a female Wiccan professor of comparative religions have to solve a campus murder before vengeful homicide police can pin it on them.

19. Single Sashimi, The Sushi series by Camy Tang from Zondervan. Venus helps her old nemesis in order to launch her video game company, but one wild youth group, a two-faced assistant, and her grandma's matchmaking might drive her insane!

20. Unpretty by Sharon Carter Rogers from Howard Books/Simon and Schuster. The city of Lehigh, West Virginia, faces the insidious threat of a sadistic cult bent on eliminating all "unpretty" things in the world...

21. Up Pops the Devil by Angela Benson from Avon A. Tempted to sin…but will he give in?

22. Where the Heart Leads by Kim Vogel Sawyer from Bethany House Publishers. Thomas Ollenburger has a hard-earned college diploma in hand...but what is he supposed to do with it?

23. White Christmas Pie by Wanda E. Brunstetter from Barbour Publishing. Herein lies all the ingredients for a heartwarming, bittersweet Amish Christmas romance.

24. Wyoming Christmas Heroes by Jeanie Smith Cash, Linda Lyle, Jeri Odell, and Tammy Shuttlesworth from Barbour. Annie has moved to a new state is about to give birth alone. Chris's snowmobiling trip puts her life in danger. Holly's daughter has become strangely accident prone. A fire threatens Stacy and her young son. Who will come to these women's rescue?

Happy reading! And be sure to check back this Thursday, when I'll announce the winner of the signed copy of Max Anderson's Legend of the White Wolf. Also on Thursday, I'll post my interview of Mary Conneally. Mary will discuss (and give away of copy of) her most current release, Calico Canyon!

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Max Anderson and Free Books!

Today we have a winner for the free copy of Daily Devotions for Writers, and that winner is:

msproule1225@

Congratulations! I'll contact you today for your snail mail address. I encourage readers to keep entering and/or subscribe at right in order to participate in future book give-aways!

Here's the tease on today's featured novel: Two eleven-year-old boys. A mysterious white wolf. A dangerous band of illegal hunters. And all the excitement of the rugged outdoors.

Today we meet Max Anderson, author of Legend of the White Wolf.
Max Elliot Anderson grew up a reluctant reader. He surveyed the market and sensed the need for action-adventures and mysteries for readers 8 and up, especially boys.

He was a producer of the nationally televised PBS special, Gospel at the Symphony that was nominated for an Emmy, and won a Grammy for the double album soundtrack. He won a best cinematographer award for the film, Pilgrim's Progress, the first feature film in which Liam Neeson had a staring role. He has produced, directed, or shot over 500 national television commercials for True Value Hardware Stores. Anderson owns The Market Place, a client-based video production company for medical and industrial clients. His productions have taken him to India, New Guinea, Europe, Asia, Canada, and across the United States.

Anderson uses his vast experience with motion pictures, videos, and television commercials to bring the same visual excitement and heart-pounding action to his stories.

So tells us more about the heart-pounding action in Legend of the White Wolf, Max.

Legend of the White Wolf puts a twist on the classic boy-and-his-dog theme. It all began when Brian discovered a white wolf pup caught in a trap and set it free. Since then, Brian was convinced that he and the wolf were brothers. Stung by the disbelief of his family and friends, Brian sets out to prove the story and ends up getting a lot more than he bargained for. It is bad enough that he is caught out in a snowstorm and attacked by a mountain lion, but when a group of lawless hunters begins killing off the wolf population, the situation reaches a critical point.

Which character in the novel most interested you while you wrote? Why?

The wolf--my entire attitude about wolves was changed in my research and then as the wolf developed as a character

Why will readers enjoy your novel?

Young readers tell me that reading one of my books is like being in an exciting or scary movie--good scary.

If you were the casting director for the film version of your novel, who would play your lead roles?

This is a good question because I'm a professional video producer, with an extensive background in the production dramatic films for kids. The wolf, of course, would have to come from a professional animal trainer. I think I'd run an open casting call for the other roles. One reason is that I wouldn't want an actor, to play my main character, who is known for his other work. I'd prefer a fresh face.

Chris Cooper, the horse trainer from Seabiscuit, would make a great outdoorsman, father character.

What facet of the writing craft comes easiest to you? Explain.

Though I'm comfortable with all aspects of the writing process, I think dialog is the easiest for me. Since I've been involved in the production of hundreds of films and thousands of television commercials, it's easy for me to hear the characters talk. Also, I enter the scene myself, mentally, and it's as if I'm carrying on the various conversations as I write. I can see and hear the characters, and the interaction between and among them is a fluid process. I also write as I go, rather than to an outline, so the action and dialog simply unfold as I go, as if I were actually watching a film.

What do you struggle with in your writing?

I don't have any struggles. Writing is pure joy and fulfillment for me. I've never experienced writer's block. When the stories come, they arrive, in my mind, fully formed. I know the setting, the main character, and the major issues that will be faced. I tell myself the story, into a recorder, and then transcribe those notes. This usually amounts to around ten or twelve pages of double spaced copy. I don't refer to those notes until the entire first draft is completed.

If there is any struggle, I guess it is in having to take the time to actually write a story that is already so vivid in my mind.

What are you working on now?

I've completed 35 manuscripts like Legend of the White Wolf. Each story has completely different characters, settings, and plots. After the publishing of 7 books, I changed my relationship with the publisher, signed with an agent, and we're now working on finding larger publishers who can take my work to the next level.

So, I'm working on developing my platform, I have a fiction short story under consideration at Boys' Life, have just sold a short humor article called "Cast Iron Killers," and I'll be in a sports anthology this October, with a short story called "Big Foot," published by Darby Creek.

It's a real discipline for me not to be writing more book length manuscripts. I have at lease a dozen I want to do. They're all ready to begin, but I'd rather place a few more manuscripts with publishers first.

The next story I think I'll be writing has a military family as characters, set in Europe, with a terrorist plot. It's very exciting, and I can hardly wait to get started. But other, more important things need to be done first.

I'm also about to start producing an industrial video project for one of my clients.

Choose an inanimate object to represent you. Explain what you have in common with that object.

Trumpet--sounding the alarm that we have a generation of children, especially boys, who aren't interested in reading.

What is something about your life, right now, that thrills you?

A few years ago, I made a film called Tracy's Choices. It's a documentary film about the consequences of the choices we make in our lives. After languishing for the first few years, I just shipped 500 DVD copies to an international ministry that will use it for AIDS education in Africa. Because of this large sale, a number of denominations and other ministries are also considering purchasing the film for use with young people. Tracy ultimately died from the complications of HIV. She contracted AIDS due to the choices she had made in her life concerning alcohol and drugs.

Where else can readers find you or your writing online? Please include the link for purchasing your book!

My books are most easily found on Amazon.com. If readers are interested in signed copies, those can be ordered directly from me.

Additional information about my books is available from my website: www.maxbooks.9k.com

Books for Boys blog: booksandboys.blogspot.com (Ranks in the top 10 on Google)

50 Pages of Reviews: maxbookreviews

Max, thanks for telling us about yourself and your latest work. Readers, Max will give a signed copy of Legend of the White Wolf to the winner of next Thursday's drawing. Simply leave a comment for Max below to be entered. Leave your email address, in case you win, like so: trish[at]trishperry[dot]com. And if you subscribe to my blog, at right, or if you're already subscribed, you'll automatically be entered another time.

Also, check back on Monday to see what I'm giving away next!

Monday, August 25, 2008

Free Book and Book Blogger Appreciation Week!

Today's winner, for the signed copy of Stephanie Whitson's latest novel, Unbridled Dreams is:

jenjohns@

Congratulations! I'll contact you today for your snail mail address. I encourage readers to keep entering and/or subscribe at right in order to participate in future book give-aways!

Today I want to alert you to another opportunity to participate in some free give-aways during the week of September 15-19. "My Friend Amy" will be hosting Book Blogger Appreciation Week, and the event is for both bloggers and readers. Here's what Amy says about the event:

Book Bloggers: You work hard. You read books, you write reviews, you maintain relationships with your readers, publicists, and authors. You are constantly running to the post office to mail your giveaways and participating in carnivals to help boost traffic. You sometimes want to faint when you see the size of your TBR pile, but faithfully you read. And you do it because you love it. Book blogging is for most a hobby. But it's a hobby that takes a lot of work and time. It's a labor of love.

I've been blogging for three years but only really got into book blogging in the last year. I have found, without a doubt, that book bloggers are the kindest, most open minded, and supportive group of bloggers on the internet. With book blogging, it's about community and a love for the written word.

The Readers: We love you! You don't have a blog, but you read our reviews and share your thoughts with us. You enter our giveaways and click on our Amazon associates link. We do this for you and appreciate your readership. We hope you'll join in the fun and festivities of BBAW! (we'll have a special contest just for you!)

Book Blogger Appreciation Week: Acknowledging the hard work of book bloggers and their growing impact on book marketing and their essential contribution to book buzz in general, I am excited to announce the first Book Blogger Appreciation Week. Think of it as a retreat for book bloggers and a chance for us to totally nerd out over books together. And of course, shower each other with love and appreciation.

Why bother? If you register, you will be added to a book blog directory which will exist long after this week is over. Additionally, you will receive one raffle entry into the daily giveaways during BBAW at My Friend Amy.


Instructions for registering are posted at My Friend Amy

I hope you'll stop by Amy's site. In the meantime, post a comment below to be added to the drawing (or added another time) for this Thursday's drawing for Daily Devotions for Writers.

And check back Thursday, when we meet Max Anderson, author of action-adventure novels for boys aged 8 and up.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Free Book and HUGE Book Signing!

To start today's post, let's announce the winner of our drawing for Joseph Bentz's A Son Comes Home. The winner is:

eviesmommo@

Congratulations! I'll contact you today for your snail mail address. I encourage readers to keep entering and/or subscribe at right in order to participate in future book give-aways!

As a matter of fact, this week you have a chance to win Daily Devotions for Writers, compiled and edited by Patricia Lorenz (Infinity Publishing, 2008). The book "provides 366 true stories about the highs, lows, struggles, and joys of writing. . . The page-a-day readings include a short prayer and an inspirational quote."

I'm one of the authors and will be happy to sign the book for the winner if desired. Or not! Just leave a comment below and/or subscribe at right. Each action will enter your name in the drawing once. Be sure to leave your email address, in case you win, like so: trish[at]trishperry[dot]com

Speaking of authors, if you happen to be anywhere near the Mall of America in Bloomington, Minnesota, on Saturday, September 20, between 1:00 and 3:00 p.m., you have a chance to meet an amazing number of your favorite Christian novelists. The American Christian Fiction Writers organization is holding a massive book signing, featuring 127 published Christian novelists. The signing will take place near the Best Buy and Sears Rotundas, and Barnes & Noble will have the authors' books available for sale.

Here's the list of authors participating! I'll be there. If you come, please be sure to come say hello, regardless of whether or not you have anything for me to sign!

Mall of America Booksigners:

Tamera Alexander
Jennifer AlLee
A.K. Arenz
Diane Ashley
Karen Ball
Janet Lee Barton
James Scott Bell
Joseph Bentz
Terri Blackstock
Robin Caroll
Patricia PacJac Carroll
Jeanie Smith Cash
Eleanor Clark
Debra Clopton
Gloria Clover
Brandilyn Collins
Mary Connealy
Lyn Cote
Kathryn Cushman
Margaret Daley
KM Daughters
Susan Page Davis
Mary Davis
Janet Dean
Megan DiMaria
Brandt Dodson
Lena Nelson Dooley
Cecelia Dowdy
Sharon Dunn
Wanda Dyson
Lynette Eason
Meredith Efken
Leanna Ellis
Sharon Ewell Foster
Miralee Ferrell
Tina Ann Forkner
Darlene Franklin
Jonathan Friesen
Rhonda Gibson
Terri Gillespie
Debby Giusti
Beth Goddard
Cathy Gohlke
Rene Gutteridge
Cathy Marie Hake
Kelly Eileen Hake
Karen Harter
Rachel Hauck
Roxanne Henke
Cynthia Hickey
Patti Hill
Sharon Hinck
Joan Hochstetler
Steven Hunt
Angela Hunt
Denise Hunter
Annette Irby
Jennifer Johnson
Jenny B. Jones
Golden Keyes Parsons
Deb Kinnard
Julie Klassen
Kathleen Kovach
Harry Kraus
Patti Lacy
Maureen Lang
Jeanne Marie Leach
Tosca Lee
Julie Lessman
Michelle Levigne
Sherri L. Lewis
Elizabeth Ludwig
Christine Lynxwiler
Richard L. Mabry
Sharlene MacLaren
Gail Martin
Debby Mayne
Vickie McDonough
Andrew McGuire
Susan Meissner
Becky Melby
Dana Mentink
Amber Miller
Judith Miller
Sara Mills
Siri Mitchell
Nancy Moser
Janelle Mowery
Elizabeth Musser
Mark Mynheir
Jill Nelson
Mae Nunn
John Olson
Donita K. Paul
Trish Perry
Marta Perry
Allie Pleiter
Cara Putman
Deborah Raney
Sandra Robbins
Paul Robertson
John Robinson
Martha Rogers
Cynthia Ruchti
Gail Sattler
Kim Vogel Sawyer
Shelley Shephard Gray
Virginia Smith
Lynette Sowell
Candice Speare
Kathryn Springer
Denice Stewart
Sarah Anne Sumpolec
Michelle Sutton
Camy Tang
Donn Taylor
Janice Thompson
Cindy Thomson
Missy Tippens
Carrie Turansky
ML Tyndall
Amy Wallace
Susan May Warren
Linda Wichman
Beth Wiseman
Cheryl Wyatt
Kathleen Y'Barbo

Be sure to check back here next Monday, when we announce the winner of Stephanie Whitson's Unbridled Dreams.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Bonus Contest! Beach Bag Goodies!

DEADLINE: AUGUST 22 -- WRITING PROMPT AND CONTEST

Here's another item you could win. I'm in the middle of a blog tour for my latest release, Beach Dreams. You can participate in a special contest related to the tour. The prize is a beach bag filled with a few goodies.

Enter by visiting one or more of the blogs below. Sometime between August 11 and 22, those blogs are featuring Beach Dreams. At any of the blogs participating in the contest, you'll be invited to post a response to the following prompt: How has God used a mistake you made - big or small - for His purposes?

The example may be serious or funny, complex or simple, and you may or may not have realized He was even using it at the time it occurred. Tell your story on one of the participating blogs, and the stories will be forwarded to me. All entries must be received by 5pm CST on August 22.

I will judge the entries and declare my favorite. Go on, we've all made mistakes--here's a chance to win a little something by sharing yours.

A Christian Romance Writer's Journey
A Peek at My Bookshelf
Amber Miller
Artistic Blogger
Behind the Mountain
Blog Tour Spot
Book Junkie Confessions
Book Nook Club
Book Room Reviews
Camy's Loft
Christy's Book Blog
Edgy Inspirational Author Blog
Fictionary
Gatorskunz and Mudcats
Heart Chocolate
His Reading List
I Don't Wanna Blog
Kells Creative Musings
Lighthouse Academy
Lone Star Latte and Libre
Margaret Daley
My Christian Fiction Blog
Mystery, Suspense, and God, Oh My!
Net's Notes
Readin' N Writin' with Patricia
Real Women Scrap
Refresh My Soul
See Ya On the Net
Sips 'N Cups Cafe
So Many Books. . . So Little Time
The Friendly Book Nook
The O.L.D. Blog
The Writing Road
Toni V. Lee
Write by Faith
wandering, wonderings of a whacked-out woman
Writing on the Edge

Monday, August 18, 2008

Free Books and Stephanie Whitson!

Happy Monday, readers and writers! I'd like to start the day by announcing the winner of our drawing for Amy Wallace's Healing Promises. The winner is:

artist4christ@

Congratulations! I'll contact you today for your snail mail address. I encourage readers to keep entering and/or subscribe at right in order to participate in future book give-aways!

Now how's this for today's book teaser: A city gal chooses mud and manure over designer gowns and tea parties.

Today we're talking with Stephanie Whitson, author of Unbridled Dreams, (Bethany House Publishers, August, 2008).

A native of southern Illinois, Stephanie Grace Whitson has lived in Nebraska since 1975. She began what she calls "playing with imaginary friends" (writing fiction) when, as a result of teaching her four homeschooled children Nebraska history, she was personally encouraged and challenged by the lives of pioneer women in the West. Since her first book, Walks the Fire, was published in 1995, Stephanie's fiction titles have appeared on the ECPA bestseller list numerous times and been finalists for the Christy Award, the Inspirational Reader's Choice Award, and ForeWord Magazine's Book of the Year. Her first nonfiction work, How to Help a Grieving Friend, was released in 2005. In addition to serving in her local church and keeping up with two married children and three college students, Stephanie enjoys motorcycle trips with her family and church friends and volunteering at the International Quilt Study Center. Her passionate interests in pioneer women's history, antique quilts, and French, Italian, and Hawaiian language and culture provide endless story-telling possibilities.

Good grief, this makes two overachievers in a row, you and Joseph Bentz. I'm starting to feel like a bit of a slacker here, Stephanie. Okay, put down your quilt, get off the motorcyle, and tell us about Unbridled Dreams. In English, please.

Irmagard Friedrich has everything most girls want including admission to a prestigious finishing school--and she's miserable. To her, the perfect life means becoming "Liberty Belle" in Buffalo Bill's Wild West show. When Irma's father goes against her mother's wishes and orchestrates a secret audition, Irma begins to realize her dreams. But when the Wild West proves to be more mud and manure than applause and acclaim, Belle's willfulness could ruin everything--including her budding romance with the King of the Cowboys.

That sounds like such a fun book! Which character most interested you while you wrote? Why?

That changed about mid-way through the book from the protagonist, Liberty Belle, to Belle's mother, Willa Friedrich. . . probably because I'm at the age in life where I can empathize with a mother's concern for her nearly-grown daughter.

Why will readers enjoy your novel?

Because they'll be able to identify with the women--either the young woman trying to find her way in the world and discover who she really is--or the mother doing her best to guide her daughter into a happy life and having her every move cause tension and misunderstanding.

On a lighter note, the setting is just great fun. Buffalo Bill's Wild West was a unique phenomenon in American history. Most of what we think about the "true west" is because of that touring company. Cody mounted a spectacular event that played to sold-out audiences of twenty thousand or more people night after night after night all across the U.S. and in Europe for decades. In 1886 he had a lighted arena and his troupe performed at night. Can you picture Native Americans in full regalia taking the Long Island Ferry to work at Madison Square Garden? Neither could I. . . . but they did.

Belle goes to New York when the Brooklyn Bridge was new and the Statue of Liberty was just being completed. I had such fun researching this book. . .and I think readers will enjoy going along for the literal ride.

I'm thinking movie! If you were the casting director for the film version of your novel, who would play your lead roles?

That's hard because I have actual photographs of my characters and they don't look like any of today's movie stars. I have a large collection of old sepia-toned photos and I always find my character's faces in those photos.

We'd need a fiery redhead to play Irma/Belle, an elegant lady to play Belle's mother, a portly pushover to play Belle's father. . . and a tall outdoorsman to play Shep Sterling. If I suggested names they'd be from another era of film-making. So I'll leave that to your readers' imaginations.

Maybe some of our commenters have suggestions for us! Stephanie, what facet of the writing craft comes easiest to you? Explain.

Story ideas. As I say in one of my lectures, "what really happened is far more interesting than anything I could make up." I have an expansive list of things from history that I'd like to learn more about and develop into a novel someday. Which is proof that God is faithful to enable us to answer His calling on our life. When I was first offered a contract, instead of it being for the ONE book I had proposed, it was for a three book contract. I remember looking at my husband and saying, "I don't know if I can write three books. . . I haven't even finished one yet." Eighteen books later I'm scrambling to prioritize the idea file.

What a lovely problem, to have to come up with ideas for a three-book contract! What do you struggle with in your writing?

Self discipline. The simple act of placing myself at my desk and facing a blank computer screen and filling it with words is for me the most difficult part of writing. It is so easy to be distracted by the business of writing or the demands of homemaking or the delights of quiltmaking
. . .and put off simply doing the work.

Choose an inanimate object to represent you. Explain what you have in common with that object.

Has to be a quilt. As the poem says, my life is a "patchwork quilt of births and deaths and marriages and things, and sometimes when you're looking for a lovely piece of red, you only find a knot of faded strings," but I've learned "the red is redder when it's by a piece of brown, and grey is not so grey by sunny gold. . . " The patchwork quilt of my life isn't finished yet, but God has pieced in some amazing people and wonderful moments.

That's a gorgeous analogy. What is something about your life, right now, that thrills you?

Anticipating becoming a grandmother. My first two grandchildren are due in August--a girl and a boy. Instant grandma--and one of each. It doesn't get any better than that!

You said it, Gma (from one to another). What are you working on now?

A Claim of Her Own for Bethany House about a woman gold prospector in Deadwood, South Dakota, in 1876. It releases in 2009. An as-yet-untitled book for Bethany House about a single woman homesteader that will release in 2010. An unsold novel about a mysterious trunk full of quilts. An unsold non-fiction book celebrating Nebraska's pioneer women who lived in sod houses--by focusing on the quilts that "lived" with them in those soddies. A series of new lectures for writer's conferences.

And some quilts for those grandbabies.

What's the last book you read that impacted you? How did it affect you?

I just finished Quaker Summer by Lisa Samson. It challenged me to ask myself some hard questions about how I am impacting my community for Christ. . . and to stretch my comfort zone. My copy of that book has lots of underlinings and notes in the margins. One says, "Every parent should think about this while their children are young and decide what they will do about it." Quaker Summer will soon be sitting on my "these books changed my life" shelf.

Where else can readers find you or your writing online? Please include the link for purchasing your book!

www.stephaniewhitson.com There's a "buy now" button on my web site.

Unbridled Dreams is also available on Amazon, at Unbridled Dreams

Stephanie, thanks so much for telling us about yourself and your latest book. Readers, Stephanie will give a signed copy of Unbridled Dreams to the winner of next Sunday's drawing. Simply leave a comment for Stephanie below (maybe suggest some stars for the film version of her novel) to be entered. Leave your email address, in case you win, like so: trish[at]trishperry[dot]com. And if you subscribe to my blog, at right, or if you're already subscribed, you'll automatically be entered another time.

And be sure to check back this Thursday, when we'll announce the winner of the drawing for Joseph Bentz's A Son Comes Home.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Joseph Bentz -- Bonus Interview and Drawing!

Sometimes I'm doubly blessed in one week, and this is one of those weeks. Not only did we meet the lovely Amy Wallace on Monday, but we have yet another excellent author featured today. And he's giving away a copy of his latest novel for one of this week's readers.

First, let's hear the tease on his latest novel: A Son Comes Home is a contemporary novel that tells the story of a life-changing summer in an American family when a grown son returns home to face his father's illness and to confront the unresolved pain and secrets of years past.

Today we meet multi-published author Joseph Bentz.

Joseph Bentz is the author of four novels and two non-fiction books. His most recent releases are the contemporary novel A Son Comes Home (Randall House, 2007) and the non-fiction Christian living book, Silent God: Finding Him When You Can't Hear His Voice (Beacon Hill Press, 2007). His other books include contemporary novels published by Bethany House and a fantasy novel, Song of Fire, published by Thomas Nelson. Some of his books have been chosen for the Guideposts and Crossings book clubs and have received various honors. Bentz is a professor of English at Azusa Pacific University in Southern California, where he teaches courses in American literature and writing. He earned a Ph.D. and M.A. in American literature from Purdue University, and he graduated with a B.A. in English from Olivet Nazarene University. He and his wife Peggy and their two children live in Southern California.

Really, Joseph? That's all you've accomplished so far?

Mercy, something tells me you don't spend as much time in front of the TV as I do. So, tell us in more depth about A Son Comes Home.


It took the news of his father's illness to bring him home for the summer. After fleeing Indiana following the tragic death of his idolized older brother, Chris LaRue struggles to set aside his bitterness and to renew the fragmented relationships abandoned two years earlier. But he discovers that his brother's presence still echoes through the house and time has not healed the wounded.

Battling a deep sense of loyalty to his brother, Chris tries desperately to patch together his family. But new challenges rock its foundation and threaten to undo their fragile progress. Chris yearns for a future free from the past—will it require revealing the betrayal his brother took to the grave?

The cover alone makes me want to read the book. Gorgeous. Why will readers enjoy this book?

The comment I have heard most from readers is that they recognize aspects of their own families in this book. The novel deals realistically with family dynamics, manipulative relationships, sibling rivalry, and emotional and spiritual reconciliation.

Which character most interested you while you wrote? Why?

A Son Comes Home is told by three alternating first-person narrators--the father Jack, his grown twenty-something son Chris, and his nineteen-year-old daughter Robin. To write these characters I had to get inside their heads and "be" them. The one I had the most fun with was Robin. She's impulsive, constantly in trouble, but lovable and lively. As I sat down to write her chapters, I never knew quite what she might do or say. As she fought with her boyfriend or hid things from her parents or ran off to try to escape her troubles, she kept me constantly on edge.

What facet of the writing craft comes easiest to you? Explain.

Coming up with ideas is the easiest part of writing for me. I have enough book ideas right now to last me for the rest of my life, and they still keep coming. Getting the actual writing done is the hard part.

What do you struggle with in your writing?

I struggle with seeing a book through from start to finish. It's so easy to get bogged down in the middle. That's when the doubts and insecurity rise up and threaten to kill a book, and that's also when I'm most prone to let procrastination and excuses sidetrack me. This summer I've been working on sticking to a writing schedule and getting those words written each day no matter how distracted or insecure I feel at that moment.

Oh, my goodness, I completely identify! And it's such a great feeling at the end of a day when you've stuck with it. What are you working on now?

Right now I have two books going. I'm under contract for a non-fiction book on the Tipping Point between doubt and faith. I'm looking at what allows people to move from being sometimes passionate atheists or agnostics to being devoted followers of Jesus Christ. I'm also interested in how that pattern of doubt and belief repeats itself throughout the Christian life as believers go through spiritual crises or come up against faith-challenging questions. I've been looking at lots of conversion stories, and it's been inspiring.

I'm also working on a novel that combines supernatural elements with history. It's a supernatural thriller set partly in the present and partly in Germany during World War II.

What's the last book you read that impacted you? How did it affect you?

Right now I'm reading a spy thriller called The Company of Strangers, by Robert Wilson. It is set in Portugal during World War II, and I'm impressed by the author's ability to create that time and place so richly. When I'm reading it, I feel like I'm right there with those fascinating characters. It's hard for me to read a novel purely for pleasure anymore. I'm either looking at it from a teacher's perspective if it's a book for one of my courses, or from a reviewer's perspective if it's a book I've been assigned to review, or from a novelist's perspective if it's anything else. Part of me always wants to peek "behind the curtain" to see how the writer creates.

What is something about your life, right now, that thrills you?

What I'm most grateful for right now is that I'm at a point in life where I'm able to do many of the things I've always wanted to do. I love teaching and writing, and now that's what I'm able to spend my days working on. I also love family life, and I have a beautiful wife and two lively children, ages 10 and 9, who bring balance and joy and keep me humble.

Wonderful words to hear from such a busy writer! Where else can readers find you or your writing online? Please include the link for purchasing your book!

The best place to find more information about my books is at my website: www.josephbentz.com

A Son Comes Home is available at Amazon.com, Barnesandnoble.com, christianbook.com, and other online bookstores. Here is the Amazon.com link: A Son Comes Home

Joseph, thanks so much for telling us about yourself and your latest book. Readers, Joseph will give a signed copy of A Son Comes Home to the winner of next Thursday's drawing. Simply leave a comment for Joseph below to be entered. Leave your email address, in case you win, like so: trish[at]trishperry[dot]com. And if you subscribe to my blog, at right, or if you're already subscribed, you'll automatically be entered another time.

Also, check back on Monday to see who wins the signed copy of Amy Wallace's Healing Promises and to meet novelist Stephanie Whitson and hear about her latest book.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Amy Wallace and a Free Book!

Happy Monday! Before we meet today's author, Amy Wallace, I want to congratulate the winner of the drawing for the two-book set of The Guy I'm Not Dating and Too Good to Be True. The winner is:

serenity_vulgamore@

Your free books will go out tomorrow! I encourage readers to keep entering and/or subscribe at right in order to participate in future book give-aways!

And now let's take a look at the book we'll give away next Monday. How would you like to read a high-voltage suspense novel which explores how cancer and the search for an elusive serial kidnapper affects even the most solid, loving Christian marriage and poses a key life question: Can God be trusted?

Today we're talking with Amy Wallace, author of Healing Promises (Multnomah Fiction, April 2008).

Amy, tell us who you are, girl.

Who am I? That's a sweeping question. Listing some of the hats I wear--wife, homeschool mom, writer, speaker, Bible study teacher, chocoholic--might give a little insight into who I am. But then again, that's only a small snapshot.

Going deeper, I'd have to say that I'm married to an awesome, incredibly good-looking, and God-honoring man. Together we homeschool three amazing daughters. Some of my favorite moments are the ones I spend laughing, reading, and being goofy with my family.

In my spare time, I love writing stories, teaching teenagers, scrapbooking, playing basketball, and taking walks with my family. The beach is my all-time favorite place to be. Chocolate is my favorite food. I collect teddy bears, tons of books, and dust on my furniture.

But getting to the heart of who I am can be summed up in a few short words. I'm a daughter of the King learning to live and love with laughter.

Readers, I had the pleasure of meeting Amy's girls during their recent trip to Washington, D.C. They're as amazing as Amy says, and they definitely enjoy being goofy. Okay, Amy, what would you like to tell us about Healing Promises?

Here's the back cover blurb...

Facing a new threat
When FBI Agent Clint Rollins takes a bullet during a standoff, it might just save his life. But not even the ugly things he's seen during his years working in the Crimes Against Children Unit could prepare him for the overwhelming powerlessness of hospital tests revealing an unexpected diagnosis. If only Sara weren't retreating into doctor mode...he needs his wife now more than ever.

Frozen in fear
Sara Rollins is an oncologist with a mission--beating cancer when she can, easing her patients' suffering at the very least. Now the life of her tall Texan husband is at stake. She never let the odds steal her hope before, but now the question of God's healing promises is personal. Can she hold on to the truth she claimed to believe?

Faith under fire
As Clint continues to track down a serial kidnapper despite his illness, former investigations haunt his nightmares, pushing him beyond solving the case into risking his life and career. Clint struggles to believe God is still the God of miracles. Especially when he needs not one, but two. Everything in his life is reduced to one all-important question: Can God be trusted?

Which character in your novel most interested you while you wrote? Why?

Clint was the character who resonated with me most. Until I finished the first round of edits and realized Sara's story contained so much of what God was teaching me about who I depend on when circumstances are tough. Both were fun to write with their deep love for each other, nine years of marriage and the challenges they faced together and individually.

Why will readers enjoy your novel?

Healing Promises captures real-life circumstances in a redemptive way without pat answers to life's challenging questions. Plus, it's a fast-paced FBI suspense novel with great characters, and strong relationships. I might be just a little bit partial, but the ending is one of my favorite.

If you were the casting director for the film version of your novel, who would play your lead roles?

Clint: a taller Mark Harmon

Sara: Amy Adams

Steven: David James Elliot


Gracie: Ashley Judd


Michael: a young Val Kilmer


Hannah: Reese Witherspoon





That's a pretty striking cast! What facet of the writing craft comes easiest to you? Explain.

The heart of the story and characters who breathe. I'm really not sure why this comes easiest except to say it's how I think and process life. I'm painfully shy and probably appear stuck up in large social gatherings because I don't chit chat well. I much prefer talking to a few people about heart issues, what they're thinking about, struggling with, praising God about, and that's how I think and write.

As for characters who breathe, I think the only way to do that is to bleed into your work. In other words, to open yourself and your story to God and allow Him to work through you as you pour yourself and your God into the pages.

What do you struggle with in your writing?

I struggle with lies about myself and my worth when I can't seem to figure a story out in the blueprint stage, when I receive negative reviews, and even with positive comments because I sometimes wonder if I'll be able to write that well again. So writing for me is a tangible exercise of working out my salvation, what I know is true of God and clinging to Him until my feelings line up with Truth.

Yeah, that self-doubt is a killer, and I think most writers (probably most people in general) struggle with it from time to time. How about you as a reader, Amy? What's the last book you read that impacted you? How did it affect you?

Sharon Hinck's Restorer's Journey profoundly affected my outlook on praying for those who hurt others. And, as with all the Sword of Lyric books, it drew me to worship, laugh, cry, and love God a little more because I saw Him more clearly.

Choose an inanimate object to represent you. Explain what you have in common with that object.

A carved wooden picture frame. We both hold lots of happy memories and it's our purpose to showcase what's inside. I thought about saying my huge Godiva coffee mug, but the huge part went somewhere I didn't want to go.

LOL! I hear ya. So where else can readers find you or your writing online? Please include the link for purchasing your book!

I'd love it if readers stop by my Heart Chocolate website at www.amywallace.com. Stay for a while and enjoy some virtual chocolate as well as read the stories behind the stories, tips for keeping kids safe, writer's resources and the first chapters of Ransomed Dreams and Healing Promises in a very cool book reader format on the web! There are also past newsletter links and links to join my Dark Chocolate Suspense newsletter.

The Amazon link for Healing Promises is Healing Promises

Thanks for having me on your blog, Trish! It's great to be here!

It's been fun hearing from you, Amy.

Amy has agreed to give away a free, signed copy of Healing Promises to the winner of this week's drawing. Leave a comment below and/or subscribe at right to my blog. Each of those actions will enter your name a single time. If you comment, leave your email address, in case you win, like so: trish[at]trishperry[dot]com. I'll hold the drawing Sunday and announce the winner on Monday.

And be sure to check back here this Thursday, when we'll meet Joseph Bentz, author of the novel, A Son Comes Home.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Free Books and New Endings

We had a sudden change of schedule today, so we'll be meeting Steve Bonenberger (and hearing about his latest novel) on October 2.

So anyone who posts an appropriate comment on today's topic (see below) will be added to the drawing pool for the two-book set of The Guy I'm Not Dating and Too Good to Be True, to be held next Sunday. I'll even add your name twice, since some thought is required.

In the meantime, let's congratulate the winners of today's drawing for Shirley Connolly's latest novel, Flame From Within! Shirley asked me to pick two winners, so the winners are

Don Parker
pleblanc_1@

Congrats to both winners! I'll contact you today for your snail mail address, and we'll get that copy to you right away!

I encourage everyone else to continue posting comments and/or to subscribe to my blog to participate in upcoming drawings.

The other night I finished watching an old BBC production of Edith Wharton's The Buccaneers. I highly recommend it! Wharton died before finishing her novel, and the screenwriter Maggie Wadey provided the ending she thought most appropriate. Of course, Wadey could only guess at how Wharton planned to end her story, but I, for one, was glad Wadey chose some happy turns of events for some of the characters.

That got me thinking. If I could change the ending of any novel, play, or film, which ending would I change? I have to admit, even though Shakespeare wrote a beautifully tragic story in Romeo and Juliet, I'm never able to watch Zefirelli's version without harboring the foolish thought that this time Juliet will awaken before Romeo chugs the poison. Alas, she never gets it right.

So that's what you need to comment on, below, to be entered twice for the two-book set of The Guy I'm Not Dating and Too Good to Be True. What novel, play, or film has an ending you wish were different, even if it would diminish the impact of the author's work?

Monday, August 4, 2008

Free Books and New Books!

August is a big month for Christian novels, and to kick the month off, I'm going to give away a signed two-book set--The Guy I'm Not Dating and Too Good to Be True--to someone who leaves a comment on this posting and/or who subscribes to my blog, at right. I'll draw a name next Sunday and announce the winner Monday. Leave your email address (in this format: trish[at]trishperry[dot]com) so I can contact you if you win.

Also, today we're announcing the winner of the signed copy of Frances Devine's cozy mystery, Miss Aggie's Gone Missing. The winner is

maryzan

Congratulations! I'll contact you for your snail mail address today!

I encourage readers to keep entering and/or subscribe at right in order to participate in future book give-aways!

Fourteen new Christian novels are releasing this month. Though technically summer lasts into September, August holds more hot, kick-back days to read to your heart's content! And we've got plenty of good choices to pick from!

1. A Lady of Secret Devotion, Ladies of Liberty series Book 3 (independent series where each book stands alone) by Tracie Peterson from Bethany House Publishers. Cassie Stover gets caught up in an intriguing mystery that may cost her her heart, if not her life.

2. An Irishwoman's Tale, First book of related books by Patti Lacy from Kregel Publications. A family crisis sends an impetuous Irishwoman and her chatty Southern friend back to the breathtaking cliffs of County Clare.

3. Bluegrass Hero by Allie Pleiter from Steeple Hill Love Inspired. Farm owner Gil Sorrent has his hands full when bathshop owner Emily Montague's soaps clean up his farmhands.

4. Criminal Obsession by Tamara Tilley from Evergreen Press. The most terrifying part was she knew it was just a game to the killer.

5. Double Jeopardy Book 2 of The McClains: Bound by faith, honor and love by Terri Reed from Steeple Hill Love Inspired Suspense. Anne Jones witnessed a murder. Now she’s in hiding. But someone knows where—and who—she is. Her new handsome boss has vowed to keep her safe. Yet she will have to disappear again lest she put both their lives in jeopardy...

6. Hidden Deception by Leann Harrison from Steeple Hill. Haunted by the past, Elena struggles to trust God for the future.

7. Hidden Treasures Book Two of the McBride Sisters' series by Kathryn Springer from Steeple Hill Love Inspired.
Searching for a valuable painting on the Halloway's estate is risky business for photographer Meghan McBride . .but when she comes face to face with Cade Halloway, who's there to sell the former family vacation home, she discovers the real risk is losing her heart.

8. Love Starts With Elle Lowcountry book 2 by Rachel Hauck from Thomas Nelson. Elle Garvey loses everything to gain it all. Heath McCord heals from his painful past in order to find true love a second time.

9. Miss Aggie's Gone Missing The Misadventures of Miss Aggie: Book One by Frances Devine from Barbour Publishing's Heartsong Presents Mysteries. In attempts to rescue Miss Aggie Pennington-Brown from her many misadventures, Victoria Storm and her elderly boarders find hair raising and sometimes hilarious adventures of their own.

10. Quills & Promises Delaware Brides, book 2 by Amber Miller from Barbour/Heartsong Presents. Separated from Madison when he leaves to fight the French and Indians, Elanna Hanssen must choose between her heart and her head, especially when Madison's integrity is questioned.

11. The Falcon and the Sparrow by M.L. Tyndall from Barbour Publishing. Against the European upheaval of the Napoleonic wars, a young timid lady is forced to betray her own country or watch her brother die.

12. The Flower of Grass by James E. Robinson from Monarch Books (Kregel in the U.S.). A classic love story framing deeper themes of mortality and passing time, the true nature of faith, and the delicate balance of human relationships.

13. The Fruit of My Lipstick All About Us series by Shelley Adina from FaithWords. Teenager Gillian Chang is prepared for anything boarding school can dish her--except love.

14. Unbridled Dreams by Stephanie Grace Whitson from Bethany House Publishers. Liberty Belle's dream to be a headliner for Buffalo Bill's Wild West has come true. . . so why isn't she happy?

Wow! Plenty of new choices!

Tune in on Thursday, when we announce the winner of Shirley Connolly's Flame From Within, and we'll also interview Steve Bonenberger, author of the Through Gates of Fire trilogy. Steve will give away a copy of the third book in the series.

And be sure to leave a comment below if you'd like to win the two-book set I'll give away next week!
 

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